Local Context

The name Bury comes from the Anglo Saxon for fort or stronghold, the town was also referred to as "Buri" or "Byri". There was a Roman fortress at Mamuciam (Manchester) from around 78AD. One of the roads built by the Romans, Watling Street, crossed through the borough of Bury and parts are still visible today. Bury lies in the historic county of Lancashire, with the town and borough now inside the county of Greater Manchester.

In the middle ages and early modern period the borough of Bury was largely agricultural. Ownership of the larger tracts of land passed between several powerful families, before settling with the Earls of Derby and the Earls of Wilton. Bury had been a centre for wool and wool cloth due to the large amount of land devoted to sheep pasture. However it was not until the invention of the 'flying shuttle' by John Kay (of Walmersley, Bury) that the textile industry in the area, and the town itself, expanded significantly. With this new technology mills could produce huge quantites of textiles at previously un-thought of speeds. Paper manufacture also became important to the economy of Bury and some of these mills still operate today. The Bury Art Gallery was founded on paper money, with a bequest by local paper merchant Thomas Wrigley and family in 1880.

One of the best known local landmarks is the tower commemorating Sir Robert Peel on Holcombe Hill at Ramsbottom, in the north of the borough. Peel, nicknamed "Orange Peel", was born in Bury in 1788 and served as Prime Minister of Great Britain twice between 1834 and 1846. He is particularly known for establishing the modern police force ("Bobbies") and repealing the corn laws. Other famous products of Bury include black pudding; a noted local delicacy.

In more recent times landmarks have been added to the local landscape as part of the Irwell Sculpture Trail, with the notable presence of a work by Ulrich Rückriem in close proximity to the site of Alan Johnston's Northern Mirror.

Bury Bury town centre Bury town centre Bury town centre Peel Tower, Holcombe Hill
Peel Tower, Holcombe Hill, from Ramsbottom