Radcliffe can trace its roots back to the Stone Age, archaeologists having found the remains of a settlement at the junction of the rivers Roch and Irwell. Radcliffe was mentioned in The Doomsday Book in 1066, centuries before our better known cousin Bury had even been thought about. Radcliffe was also mentioned in reports of the Civil War, and was even visited by Oliver Cromwell, who parked his cannons on the Sailors Brow, just of the current Radcliffe New Road.
In the mid ’70’s the booming Radcliffe had it’s council dissolved and came under the auspices of the newly formed Metropolitan Borough of Bury.
Deep joy. Bury decided to build on Radcliffe’s strengths and immediately invited every brain dead, drug addled, botty wipe to move out of Bury and in to the thriving Radcliffe. To ease the housing shortage, the council ramped up the rates on pubs and shops, kindly allowing them to close after decades of successful business. This allowed them to convert superb buildings like The Rams Head, the Boars Head, and even the Town Hall, in to bed sits for the incoming oxygen thieves and benefit cheats.
Just in case any businesses had survived the rates rises, burglary and theft explosions, Bury then built a by-pass and closed the main shopping street to traffic. This then allowed the casual shopper to circumvent Radcliffe businesses and get to the newly revamped Bury market. This helped the uninitiated to enjoy the experience of the Bury Black Pudding. A delicate cocktail of floor sweepings of the local abattoir, mixed with various heart attack inducing morsels, which is gently heated in a lukewarm pan to allow the bacteria to multiply.
But Bury council did not stop there! Oh no. They discovered a few businesses hanging on by the skin of their badly rotted teeth. Something needed to be done to kill off the dreaded family businesses. In a stroke of absolute genius, they granted the building of a superstore. This was positioned right next to the new by-pass and attracted the travelling shopper like a tramp to a bag of chips.
After several council meetings, it was obvious to Bury that Radclliffe’s new bed sit community now had an excess of giro cash waiting to be spent, and with no shops and pubs, they were likely to drag themselves out of abject poverty and, possibly, move back to Bury. Something had to be done.
In the early 2000’s, permission was given to revamp the ancient Radcliffe Market and all it’s surrounding empty shops. New shops sprung up to help the upwardly mobile scroats to lose their hard earned giro cash. An obvious choice was for Bookmaker outlets. So three were given permission to be built within a hundred yards of the two pubs still open in town. Every scroat needs to eat once a week, so a budget chip shop was thrown in to the mix to supply the buckets of chips and cheese required after a decent spliff and a pint of watered down Wife Beater Lager. It was an obvious decision to then demolish the ancient market, and convert it to a car boot sale. Not only did this allow people to buy each others possessions, but it gave the burglars an outlet for their goods.
The demolishing of so many local, family businesses freed up a lot of space in the town, and Bury council had to think long and hard before making the decision to tarmac over the lot and make them “community areas” (car parks). These now are a haven for local wildlife. The wildlife can be regularly seen sat in the car parks drinking Stellar, smoking pot and passing round the used condoms.
If you ever find yourself on the A665, keep an eye out. Between the towns of Whitefield (Catalogue Central) and Bolton (Whippet Worriers) you may just see a glint of sunlight. This is Radcliffe. A fine, ancient and thriving town. Well, it was until 1977.