Trafford Park Estates Limited

Ernest Terah Hooley formed Trafford Park Estates Ltd on 17 August 1896. Hooley bought the former de Trafford family estate at Trafford Park following the opening of the Manchester Ship Canal.

Trafford Park had been the ancestral home of the de Trafford family since the early 1200s. In 1761, the Duke of Bridgewater constructed of a section of the Bridgewater Canal along the southeast and southwest side of the park. In 1894, the Manchester Ship Canal opened. The Manchester Ship Canal also ran alongside the park, and the two waterways made the area an ideal location for industry. The family consequently put the land up for sale.

Hooley transferred ownership of the estate to his new company, Trafford Park Estates Ltd, which he formed to act as an agent for leasing the land to manufacturing companies.

In 1897, Hooley declared bankruptcy, but Trafford Park Estates Ltd continued in business. Marshall Stevens, the former General Manager of the Manchester Ship Canal Company, held the position of Managing Director of Trafford Park Estates Ltd from 1897 until 1930.

Various manufacturing companies realised the potential of being close to canal and began to invest in building factories on the site. Trafford Park was the first planned industrial estate in the world and remains the largest industrial estate in Europe. Continued expansion included the acquisition of parcels of land to the west during the 1920s.

Trafford Park continued to thrive until the 1960s when employment began to decline as companies moved to newer premises closer to Ellesmere Port and Runcorn. The decline was further exacerbated by the fall in the amount of shipping using the canal due to containerisation. Vessels built to carry containers gradually increased in size, which meant they could no longer navigate the canal.

Early initiatives to halt the decline were made with the creation of the Trafford Park Industrial Council (TRAFIC) in 1971. TRAFIC looked at improving the declining area with landscaping and environmental improvements. This did little to slow the decline and in 1987 a new body, the Trafford Park Development Corporation, assumed responsibility for the estate, along with Salford Quays and other industrial areas close to the estate, until it was dissolved in 1998.