Altrincham has been since 1974 a market town within the Metropolitan Borough of Trafford, in Greater Manchester, England. It lies south of the River Mersey about 8 miles (13 km) southwest of Manchester city centre, 3 miles (5 km) south-southwest of Sale and 10 miles (16 km) east of Warrington. As of the 2001 UK census, it had a population of about 41,000.
Until 1974 Altrincham was a part of Cheshire. It was established as a market town in 1290, a time when most communities were based around agriculture rather than trade, and there is still a market in the town today. Further socioeconomic development came with the extension of the Bridgewater Canal to Altrincham in 1765 and the arrival of the railway in 1849, stimulating industrial activity in the town. Outlying villages were absorbed by Altrincham's subsequent growth, along with the grounds of Dunham Massey Hall, formerly the home of the Earl of Stamford, and now a tourist attraction with three Grade I listed buildings and a deer park.
Altrincham today is an affluent commuter town, partly because of its transport links. The town has a strong middle class presence; there has been a steady increase in Altrincham's middle classes since the 19th century.
Municipal Government while in Cheshire
Altrincham became an urban district in Cheshire under the Local Government Act 1894. In 1920 parts of the neighbouring civil parishes of Carrington and Dunham Massey were added. A further expansion took place in 1936; Timperley civil parish was abolished and most of its area incorporated into Altrincham UD. At the same time, there was a minor exchange of areas with Hale Urban District; a minor addition from Bowdon Urban District; and a further substantial portion of Dunham Massey civil parish was added.
In 1937 the urban district was granted a charter of incorporation and became a municipal borough. The new borough was granted armorial bearings which featured heraldic references to the Masseys and Earls of Stamford. With the passage of the Local Government Act 1972, the administrative counties and municipal boroughs were abolished and Altrincham became part of the Metropolitan Borough of Trafford in Greater Manchester on 1 April 1974.
Altrincham has included the hamlet of Broadheath since before 1866. The population was 1,692 in 1801, 4,488 in 1851, 1,6831 in 1901, 39,789 in 1951, and 40,376 in 2001.