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Trafford

 

Trafford is a metropolitan borough of Greater Manchester, England, with an estimated population of 235,493 in 2017. It covers 41 square miles (106 km2) and includes the areas of Old Trafford, Stretford, Urmston, Altrincham, Partington and Sale. The borough was formed in 1974 as a merger of the metropolitan boroughs of Altrincham, Sale, and Stretford, the urban districts of Bowdon, Hale and Urmston and part of Bucklow Rural District. The River Mersey flows through the borough, separating North Trafford from South Trafford, and the historic counties of Lancashire and Cheshire.

Trafford has a strong economy with low levels of unemployment and contains both Trafford Park industrial estate and the Trafford Centre, a large out-of-town shopping centre. Apart from the City of Manchester, Trafford is the only borough in Greater Manchester to be above the national average for weekly income. Socially, the area includes both working class and middle class areas like Bowdon and Hale. In Parliament, Trafford is represented by three constituencies: Stretford and Urmston; Altrincham and Sale West; and Wythenshawe and Sale East, which mainly covers neighbouring Manchester.

Trafford is generally flat, with most of the land lying between 66 feet (20 m) and 98 feet (30 m) above sea level, apart from Bowdon Hill in South Trafford which rises 200 feet (60 m) above sea level. The lowest point in Trafford, near Warburton, is 36 feet (11 m) above sea level. There are areas of mossland in low-lying areas: Warburton Moss, Dunham Moss, and Hale Moss. Greenspace accounts for 51.8% of Trafford's total area, domestic buildings and gardens comprise 25.6%, the rest is made up of roads and non-domestic buildings.

The coat of arms of Trafford Council depicts a griffin on a shield flanked by two unicorns. The line bisecting the shield horizontally symbolises the River Mersey running through Trafford from east to west and the canals in the borough. The white legs of a lion on a red background represent the parts of Trafford previously controlled by the De Massey family, while the red body and head of an eagle on a white background represents the areas of Trafford previously controlled by the De Traffords. Both elements were taken from the coats of arms of the respective families. The fist holding bolts of lightning represents Stretford and the electrical industry; the cog on the arm represents Altrincham's engineering industry. The unicorns stand for Sale and Altrincham. The oak branches represent Urmston and the rural areas of Trafford.

Historically, the economy of the Trafford dominated by agriculture. This continued to some extent even during the Industrial Revolution, as the textile industry in Trafford did not develop as quickly or to the same extent as it did in the rest of Greater Manchester. There are only two known 18th-century mill sites in Trafford, compared with 69 known in Tameside and 51 in Manchester. After reaching a high of 43% in 1812, employment in the textile industry in Trafford declined to 12% according to the 1851 census. The textile industry in Trafford could not compete with that in places such as Manchester, Oldham, and Ashton-under-Lyne, partly because of a reluctance to invest in industry on the part of the two main land owners in the area: the Stamfords and the de Traffords.

In 2001, of 99,146 residents of Trafford in employment, the industry of employment was 17.1% property and business services, 16.5% retail and wholesale, 12.3% manufacturing, 11.9% health and social work, 8.2% education, 8.0% transport and communications, 5.9% construction, 5.5% finance, 4.5% public administration and defence, 4.0% hotels and restaurants, 0.8% energy and water supply, 0.6% agriculture, and 4.6% other. This was roughly in line with national figures, except for the proportion of jobs in agriculture which is less than half the national average, reflecting Trafford's suburban nature and its proximity to the centre of Manchester.

A range of bus services provide connections between various towns in the borough and links to the city centre, and other urban areas of Greater Manchester and Cheshire. Operators include Stagecoach Manchester, Arriva North West, First Greater Manchester as well as smaller operators, who generally run services under contract to Transport for Greater Manchester. Trafford Cycle Forum was established to promote cycling in Trafford; the group actively campaigns to raise money for cycling in the borough.

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