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Canal Archive: Bridging the Years

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Hooley and the Birth of Trafford Park Estates

The Estate had been purchased by a company promoter, Ernest Terah Hooley, a colourful character renowned for his business ventures. Wasting no time he formed Trafford Park Estates Ltd with the new company being registered on 17th August 1896.

Initially plans for the Estate included the setting aside of a strip of land for a racecourse, along with the construction of an exclusive housing development. It was also thought that Hooley would use the land to build a cycle works, the financier having been involved in the promotion of Raleigh Cycles and Dunlop Tyres.

However, proposals for the use of the site were to change as a result of a meeting between Hooley and Marshall Stevens, General Manager of the Manchester Ship Canal Company. Stevens saw the potential of the newly acquired land with its close proximity to the Ship Canal and he persuaded Hooley to develop the site as an industrial estate. He realised that the Estate and Ship Canal could help each other in attracting firms and industry.

For the first few years after its opening in 1894 the new Canal had not achieved the success it had expected in winning over business. Firms which were established in Liverpool before the construction of the Ship Canal were not willing to uproot and change their operations in favour of the new Canal. Stevens saw that the way forward was to attract new factories and firms to Manchester who had no ties and would then also bring their raw materials into the new Docks, further stimulating trade. Trafford Park provided the ideal location for such new arrivals. Hooley was won over by the plan. The development of Trafford Park into the first industrial estate in the country and possibly the world was underway.

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This is page 4 of Trafford Park - The Early Years.
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Entrance to Trafford Park after coming into the hands of its new owners. The sign at the entrance states  'Trafford Hall is now closed to the public by order, Trafford Park Estates Ltd'.

Entrance to Trafford Park after coming into the hands of its new owners. The sign at the entrance states 'Trafford Hall is now closed to the public by order, Trafford Park Estates Ltd'.
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Marshall Stevens, First Managing Director of Trafford Park Estates

Marshall Stevens, First Managing Director of Trafford Park Estates
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