A small town in the North of England, Swinton is located between Salford, Walkden, Worsley1 and Eccles, on the outskirts of Greater Manchester. Swinton lies directly on the East Lancashire Road which is the main route connecting Manchester with Liverpool. It also has easy access to the motorway to Yorkshire, meaning it is only a 40-minute journey away from Leeds. Swinton also has a train station with links into Manchester and some nearby towns such as Walkden, but the train station seems to be used more as a meeting point for teenagers than as a place to wait for a train, especially seeing as the buses to Manchester2 stop every five or so minutes. There is also a Swinton near Sheffield, and it may or may not be a very nice place to live, but this entry isn't about it.
Swinton's (not so) Illustrious Background
The name 'Swinton' roughly translates as 'town of Swine', so it's a fair bet that either it was the site of a pig farm or market in the past, or someone really didn't like the population of the town. Information on Swinton's history is hard to come by, with local history being centred around the Ship Canal3 in Eccles and Worsley, or Salford's history as a prominent port and key part of the industrial revolution. There is only one Industrial Revolution era factory in Swinton, so it seems that either all the old mills had been demolished for housing, or that Swinton just wasn't in the right location. A quick look at the graveyards in the local churches show that people have lived in Swinton since at least the late 1700's, but what they did here remains a bit of a mystery. Maybe they sold pigs.
What is in Swinton?
Swinton's Civic Centre is the administrative centre of Salford4, although Swintonions don't like to consider themselves as part of Salford. This is generally because Salford was just a small town itself before it annexed Swinton, Eccles and Walkden among others. And besides, the only famous Salfordian, the artist LS Lowry, was from Wigan anyway!
Swinton also has a shopping precinct which houses, among other things, a Woolworths, a Kwik Save and a market. Also of note is the sweet-seller, Mickey the Mixer, who loves his job so much that he likes to sing to customers and passers-by alike. Other commercial parts of Swinton include the Aldi/Safeway row opposite the precinct, Pendlebury industrial estate and Wardley industrial estate (although both Walkden and the hated Worsley try and lay claim to this, saying that Wardley is part of their towns!).
Swinton also has the highest concentration of Joseph Holt's pubs5 anywhere in the world with three on Worsley and Manchester Roads alone, the three being The White Swan Hotel (Swan to the locals) The Park Inn (Park) and the Cricketer's Arms (Cricks, Dive, 'Oh no not there again', etc). Other pubs include Yates's Wine Lodge outside the Library, and The Bull's Head just along the road, both of which provide a bit of night life even if they are usually four deep at the bar all night and you don't have any room to dance on the dance floor. If you like to play pool then not only does Swinton Recreation Hall (not to be confused with the nearby Pendlebury Recreation Centre which is a swimming pool) has a fair few tables, and on Bolton Road the Pendlebury and Albert pubs have free pool nights on Mondays and Tuesdays respectively.
After the drinking and pool has finished, you will doubtlessly need food. The two best restaurants in Swinton are the Isis on Bolton Road and Puccini's Italian Restaurant on Manchester Road, which was visited by the England Football Team before the World Cup qualifier against Greece in 2002. For those with smaller wallets, the Little Kitchen on Worsley road does a great 'half fried-rice, half chips with a bit of curry' number for about £2.50, and Decker's cafe on Wentworth Road does a 'breakfast wrap' for a pound which contains bacon, sausage, beans, scrambled eggs, cheese and salsa on a tortilla wrap. All prices correct at the time of writing.
The Perils of Swinton
Swinton's Valley Estate is home to many dozens of scallies and the only known ways to disperse them are to either give them what they want (usually alcohol or cigarettes), intimidate them (claiming you come from Weaste6 or to distract them with shiny money and footwear while you run, shoe-less, into the night. Scallies tend to accumulate on fields, near off licenses and on Victoria Park, so watch out in the evenings! Most places have Scallies but Swinton and Walkden seem to have more than, say, Worsley.
The Yates's on Manchester Road is a hotbed for trouble and best avoided on weekends when the clientele is either under 16 or looking for a fight. To avoid a fight try one of the Holt's pubs such as the Cricketers Arms or the Park Inn where the regulars tend to be either old or easy-going (with the exception of one or two in the Park Inn).
The only one commonly known of is 'Welsh' midfielder Ryan Giggs of Manchester United who attended Grosvenor Road primary school and Moorside High School in the 1980's while under the name Ryan Wilson. The writers of Red Dwarf, Doug Grant and Rob Naylor, both went to nearby Eccles College but where they lived is anybody's guess. Considering how rich they are now, probably Worsley.
Related BBC Links
Find out what's going on in the North West of England, starting with the city of Manchester.