Bury Metropolitan Borough consists of six towns, Bury, Ramsbottom, Tottington, Radcliffe, Whitefield and Prestwich. Formed in April 1974 as a result of Local Government re-organisation it was one of the ten original districts that formed the County of Greater Manchester.
Geographically, Bury is an attractive blend of town and country ranging from Pennine moorland in the north to the suburbs of north Manchester in the south. The common feature of the area is the River Irwell and there are attractive villages throughout the Borough but especially in the north and west. The East Lancashire Railway which features steam and diesel preservation runs along the Irwell Valley and since its opening a decade ago has brought tourism on a large scale to the whole of the area.
There is a wide range of industry in each of the six towns with a particular concentration of paper-making in Radcliffe and Ramsbottom. Other industries include heavy and light engineering, woollen and worsted manufacture, chemicals, spinning, textile finishing, luggage, carpet manufacture, rubber, plastics, confectionery and greetings cards.