Whitworth experiences a temperate maritime climate, like much of the British Isles, with relatively cool summers and mild winters. There is regular but generally light precipitation throughout the year.

Brown Wardle is a hill between Whitworth and the village of Wardle, Greater Manchester The summit is on the border of Greater Manchester and Lancashire and stands 400m (1,312 ft) above sea level. The hill is part of the South Pennines, lying within the historic county boundaries of Lancashire.[19]

Situated between the towns of Bacup to the north and Rochdale to the south, the town is a built around the Whitworth Valley in the Pennines.

His next innovation, in 1840, was a measuring technique called "end measurements" that used a precision flat plane and measuring screw, both of his own invention. The system, with a precision of one millionth of an inch (25 nm), was demonstrated at the Great Exhibition of 1851.

Whitworth's current mayor is Councillor Lynda Barnes and the current deputy mayor is Councillor Jim Mellor.[16] They lead a twelve strong council made of six councillors representing two wards. Facit and Shawforth to the north of the town, and Whitworth and Healey to the south.[17]

More usual sporting activities are also catered for including golf at Lobden Golf Club,[21] crown green bowls at the Festival Park Bowling Club and fishing care of the Whitworth Angling Club.

Visit the University of Manchester events calendar to find out What's on and coming up at the Whitworth and other parts of the University

Sir Joseph Whitworth, 1st Baronet (21 December 1803 – 22 January 1887) was an English engineer, entrepreneur, inventor and philanthropist.[2] In 1841, he devised the British Standard Whitworth system, which created an accepted standard for screw threads. Whitworth also created the Whitworth rifle, often called the "sharpshooter" because of its accuracy and considered one of the earliest examples of a sniper rifle.[3][4][5][6][7][8]

Whitworth spans the Whitworth Valley, a 7 square miles (18.1 km2) area consisting of Healey, Broadley, Whitworth, Facit and Shawforth, linked by the A671 road.[2] Several smaller hamlets are now part of Whitworth, such as Cowm Top, which was removed to make way for Cowm Reservoir.[3]

At his death in 1887, he bequeathed much of his fortune for the people of Manchester, with the Whitworth Art Gallery and Christie Hospital partly funded by Whitworth's money. Whitworth Street and Whitworth Hall in Manchester are named in his honour. Whitworth was created a baronet on 7 October 1869.[9][10][11]

Whitworth also designed a large rifled breech-loading gun with a 2.75 inch (69.85 mm) bore, a 12-pound 11-ounce (5.75 kg) projectile and a range of about 6 miles (10 km). The spirally-grooved projectile was patented in 1855. This was rejected by the British Army, who preferred the guns from Armstrong, but was used in the American Civil War.

Today the town council consists of twelve elected members and a part-time town clerk. Its mission statement is "To improve the quality of life for the community of Whitworth". The town council acts as a pressure group upholding the rights and values of Whitworth, a sounding board for local opinion and a centre for promoting the town's historical, cultural and social identity.[14]

The refurbishment and extension work resulted in the development winning a RIBA National Award in 2015 and subsequently being shortlisted for the RIBA Stirling Prize.[14]

The Whitworth Art Gallery is an art museum in Manchester, England, containing about 55,000 items in its collection. The museum is located in Whitworth Park south of the Oxford Road campus of the University of Manchester. Since 2006, the director of the gallery is Dr Maria Balshaw.

Whitworth popularised a method of producing accurate flat surfaces (see Surface plate) during the 1830s, using engineer's blue and scraping techniques on three trial surfaces. Up until his introduction of the scraping technique, the same three-plate method was employed using polishing techniques, giving less accurate results. This led to an explosion of development of precision instruments using these flat-surface generation techniques as a basis for further construction of precise shapes.

A number of football clubs exist in the area, the most senior of which is the Whitworth Valley Football Club.

View from Brown Wardle looking out over Watergrove Reservoir, formerly the site of the town of Watergrove.

The gallery was founded in 1889 by Robert Dukinfield Darbishire with a donation from Sir Joseph Whitworth, as The Whitworth Institute and Park. The first building was completed in 1908.[1] In 1958 the gallery became part of the Victoria University of Manchester.[2]

Local government services in Whitworth are provided by three local authorities; Lancashire County Council, Rossendale Borough Council and Whitworth Town Council.[14]

In 1850, architect Edward Walters was commissioned to build 'The Firs' for Whitworth. This was a grand mansion at Fallowfield, Manchester, which still stands today, functioning as Chancellors Hotel & Conference Centre.

The facilities available in Whitworth for the pursuit of sports, although limited, are varied, and in some instances unique. Chief among these is water sports. The Whitworth Waterski and Recreation Centre[20] based at Cowm Reservoir provides integrated facilities for both the able bodied and the disabled.

In those early years, Whitworth came within the ancient parish of Rochdale which, although vast, was itself a part of the hundred of Salford, one of the main divisions into which the historic county boundaries of Lancashire were divided during Norman times. The Abbot of Whalley Abbey held much of the land in this area. Saxton’s Map of Lancashire of 1577 does mark Whitworth, setting it between neat pyramid-like hills on either hand.[7]

The Enfield rifle was converted to Snider-Enfield Rifle by Jacob Snider, a Dutch-American wine merchant from Philadelphia. By converting existing Enfield rifles this way, the cost of a "new" breech-loading Snider-Enfield rifle was only 12 shillings (60p).

Whitworth is a small town and civil parish in Lancashire, England, amongst the foothills of the Pennines between Bacup, to the north, and Rochdale, to the south. It had a population of 7,500 at the 2011 Census.[1]


The extension, which opened on 14 February 2015 doubles the gallery's public space. It will provide more space for displaying the 55,000 items in the gallery's collection and link the building to Whitworth Park.[13]

Queen Victoria opened the first meeting of the National Rifle Association at Wimbledon, in 1860 by firing a Whitworth rifle from a fixed mechanical rest. The rifle scored a bull's eye at a range of 400 yards (366 m).

On Saturday 26 April 2003, three paintings — Van Gogh's The Fortification of Paris with Houses, Picasso's Poverty and Gauguin's Tahitian Landscape – were stolen from the gallery.[5][6] They were later found rolled up in a nearby public toilet and were subsequently put back on display.[7]

The Whitworth has notable collections of watercolours, sculptures, wallpapers and textiles. The gallery focuses on modern artists, and the art collections include works by Henry Moore, Barbara Hepworth, Ford Madox Brown, Eduardo Paolozzi, Francis Bacon, William Blake, David Hockney, L. S. Lowry, Paul Gauguin, Vincent van Gogh and Pablo Picasso, and a fine collection of works by J. M. W. Turner. One of its most famous works is the marble sculpture Genesis (1929–31) by Sir Jacob Epstein.

A strong believer in the value of technical education, Whitworth backed the new Mechanics' Institute in Manchester (later UMIST) and helped found the Manchester School of Design. In 1868, he founded the Whitworth Scholarship for the advancement of mechanical engineering. He donated a sum of £128,000 to the government in 1868 (approximately £6.5 million in 2010) to bring "science and industry" closer together and to fund scholarships.[14]

The aim of the site is to be a one-stop information shop for all things Whitworth, and the key to the success of the site will be to keep it as informative, current, comprehensive and fresh as possible - in order to achieve this, we need your help!  Please contact Melanie, our Clerk, with items or areas you'd like to see included on the site, such as photos of Whitworth or forthcoming events information, or with your ideas for the website's content.

The Grade II listed gallery was built between 1895 and 1900 in a free Jacobean style to the designs of J.W. Beaumont. The gallery consisting two storeys and a basement is constructed of red brick with bands and dressings of matching terracotta and has green slate roofs. Its nine-bay main range has two towers and a large projecting semi-circular porch with a screen of paired stone Ionic columns and a stone frieze below a balustraded parapet.[8]

This site has been designed for use primarily by those who live in Whitworth, but also aims to be a useful source of information for those visiting to the town.  The website is split into two main sections. The first provides information on Whitworth Town Council, including the roles of the Council, details of Councillors and the Mayor, and meeting agendas and minutes.

In 1841 Whitworth devised a standard for screw threads with a fixed thread angle of 55° and having a standard pitch for a given diameter. This soon became the first nationally standardised system; its adoption by the railway companies, who until then had all used different screw threads, leading to its widespread acceptance. It later became a British Standard, "British Standard Whitworth", abbreviated to BSW and governed by BS 84:1956.

The second area of the site contains more general information on Whitworth as a town - its history, a diary of forthcoming events, local contacts and so on.

While trying to increase the bursting strength of his gun barrels, Whitworth patented a process called "fluid-compressed steel" for casting steel under pressure and built a new steel works near Manchester. Some of his castings were shown at the Great Exhibition in Paris ca. 1883.

In October 1995 the mezzanine court in the centre of the building was opened. The new gallery, designed chiefly for the display of sculpture, won a RIBA regional award.[3] In 2010 the art gallery received 172,000 visitors, making it one of Greater Manchester's ten most-visited tourist attractions.[4]

In April 1976, an area in and surrounding Healey Dell, at the south end of the valley became legally designated as a statutory local nature reserve. A prominent feature of Healey Dell is the railway viaduct which stands 150 feet above the River Spodden, which rises in the Lancashire Pennine hills above Whitworth and proceeds south through Healey Dell and on to Rochdale, where it merges with the River Roch.[18]

Construction of a new civic hall on Market Street in Whitworth began in early 2006 after the previous hall was destroyed by an electrical fire on 6 December 2003.[22] The new hall is called "The Riverside" and is run by the Community Leisure Association of Whitworth (CLAW). It was officially opened at 2pm on Saturday, 28 October 2006.

Whitworth Town Council was formed in 1974 following the Local Government Act 1972, as part of the terms of successor parishes. Prior to this date, Whitworth formed the Whitworth Urban District which was the administrative unit of the valley but was abolished following the reorganisation.

From contemporary commissions to displays from our outstanding collection, find out what’s coming up