Coronation Street (Weatherfield) - postcode MM0 77G - is the centre of the action in the Coronation Street series. The vast majority of scenes are in the street itself or in one of the nearby buildings.
Coronation Street is located in Weatherfield, a town in the north-west of Greater Manchester. The street runs between Viaduct Street and Rosamund Street, the main route into Manchester. Built in 1902, the street originally consisted of seven terraced houses on the northern side, with a public house, the Rovers Return Inn, at the Rosamund Street end, and a Corner Shop at the opposite end. On the south side of the street was the rear of Hardcastle’s Mill. Over the years, the street has been developed several times with additional businesses and houses being built, but the original row of houses remains relatively unchanged.
The planning of the street began in 1900, and it was originally to be called Albert Street. Construction work was completed on 8th August 1902 and the first families moved into their new houses on the following day, which was the coronation of King Edward the Seventh – that event inspired the planners to change the street’s name from Albert Street to Coronation Street. Over a hundred years later, though residents have come and gone and each house has been modernised in individual ways, the terrace remains basically as it was when it was built. The only exception is No. 7, which collapsed in 1965 as a result of a shift in the mine workings upon which the street was built. The site of No. 7 was cleared until 1982, when a new house was built on the site by Len Fairclough. The Rovers Return and the corner shop have also been refurbished and modernised several times over the last century. The corner shop, in particular, has seen several changes over the year, and for a time in the 1960s, was a sub-post office. In the late 1980s, Alf Roberts modernised the shop and turned it into a self-service mini-mart. A small self contained flat is located above the shop.
The original, distinctive cobbles on the street still remain in place. Weatherfield council planned to dig them up and replace them with tarmac, but a campaign to save the cobbles was set up by residents in December 2000, and had a successful outcome.
The terraced houses originally faced the back of Hardcastle’s Mill on the southern side of the street. The Mill opened on Victoria Street in 1882 and closed in 1931, one of many businesses across the country to suffer as a result of the Depression. The following year, the disused mill building was bought by Jack Elliston, who opened a factory that first produced raincoats, and then, in the 1960s, more modern PVC hats and coats.
Also on this side of the street was the Mission of Glad Tidings, the sixth Christian Mission hall to be opened in Weatherfield. When Coronation Street was being planned, the Mission committee used funds to open a new hall on the land between the mill and the viaduct, and the new Mission was opened on Christmas Eve 1902, with its main entrance in Victoria Street. A caretaker lived on site in the vestry at the back of the hall, with a door that opened onto Coronation Street. The longest serving caretaker was Ena Sharples, who lived in the vestry from 1937 until the Mission closed in 1968.
In the same year, the PVC factory and the Mission were demolished, to make way for a new block of council-owned maisonettes to be built on the site. These consisted of three one bedroom, single storey OAP flats and four two-storey maisonettes above them. The maisonettes were not a success – they were cheaply built and were damp, and several lay empty. In 1971, Valerie Barlow, who lived in the maisonettes at No. 14, died when she was electrocuted by a faulty plug socket. This led to a fire which gutted the flats.
Following the fire, the council decided to demolish the block, and further rebuilding took place on the site. At the viaduct end of the street, a Community Centre was built, complete with a small flat for a caretaker. Beside the community centre, a warehouse was built, despite protests from local residents. Originally the warehouse was used by a mail order catalogue company - Mark Brittain, until the building was gutted by fire in 1975. The following year, Mike Baldwin, a London businessman, bought the building, renovated it and opened a denim factory called Baldwin's Casuals.
In 1989, deciding that the locals no longer needed a community centre, the council sold the site to Maurice Jones, a local property developer. Jones also made approached Mike Baldwin and made an offer to buy the factory, and Baldwin agreed to sell. The residents of Coronation Street were shocked to wake up on the morning of 20th September 1989 to find that the community centre and factory were being demolished. In their place came a whole new development of homes and businesses.
Rita Fairclough moved her newsagents business, The Kabin, from Rosamund Street to a site in the new development where Ena Sharples’ vestry had once stood, and also moved into one of two flats above the shop. Beside the Kabin is a garage, originally owned by Mike Baldwin, and now run by Kevin Webster. Also at the viaduct end of the street was a small factory unit. Mike Baldwin opened another business in the factory, originally as a printing company, until in 1997 he started up Underworld, a company that produced lingerie. This factory has since changed hands.
Beside the factory a row of three houses were built, larger than the terraced houses on the other side of the street, and each with their own small back garden. At the end of the street, opposite the Rovers Return, another shop unit was built. At first, Emily Bishop ran a charity shop in the unit. In December 1992, the lease was bought by Denise Osbourne, who opened a hairdressing salon in the shop and moved into the flat above. A hairdressing business still trades there, currently owned by Audrey Roberts.