Sunday, 17 December 2017

Walking into Stretford along Edge Lane in 1847

Now if I wanted to walk to Stretford from the village in the late spring of 1847 I would have used the old road.

It started at Hardy Lane as a foot path twisted and turned its way following the course of the Brook at one point before skirting the church and green and going off across Turn Moss, under the Duke’s Canal and coming out at the pump opposite the Cock Inn.

It is a road I have written about before* so instead I think I will take Edge Lane which if you were at all of an inquisitive nature would be a better choice, for it offered you a chance of gazing over some fine houses.

So Edge Lane it is, starting at the green with its farmhouses and pubs and then out along the road which took you to the junction with High Lane.

Now I said it gave you a chance to gaze on some fine house but most of these are set back in their own gardens.  This is particularly true of Longford house the home of the Walker family from the early 19th century.

They too are a family who I have written about, Thomas Walker was a Manchester politician, radial and businessman who is buried in the parish church yard, and his son Charles was a noted author.  But there home like its successor Longford Hall was some distance away from the road and not therefore easily visible.

Nor so Edge House home of George and Mary Bannister who farmed 150 acres of land and employed eight men.  Their home was up a long winding lane set in an orchard.

There were of course more humble homes, along the way which were lived in by James Cain, carpenter,James Hodcroft, market gardener and William Barlow florist.

And then there was Peel House, the last before the canal.  I think it dates from after the 1830s, had its own lodge house, orchard and gardens and was the home of Norbury family who included an inspector of houses, a retired cotton merchant and a solicitor’s clerk.

I would have liked to have seen Peel House, and there are photographs but these are the property of Trafford Libraries who guard their copyright.  Had I arrived just a few years earlier in Manchester and I might have seen the building for myself, but it was demolished in 1967.

Like all such walks what you saw depended on when you walked the walk.

So a little earlier in the decade and there would a have been a few meaner cottages, while  just into the next decade and beyond Peel House the home of Thomas Massey who lived by the new railway station and was employed as a railway porter.

Fast forward just another 30 years and this end of Edge Lane would have been dominated by a series of large houses with impressive sounding names like Standish House, Fern Bank, Wansbeck House and Beech House.

But the 1880s and 90s are out of my comfort zone, I as many know prefer to walk the fields and lanes of the township in the years before 1850.

So I shall close with a place that would have been easily accessible both from the old road and Edge Lane and this was Turn Moss Farm. It is mentioned in some of the histories of Stretford, was the subject of plenty of photographs and is remembered by my old friend Alan Brown who worked for the farmer during the last war.  Bu that is a story for another time.

Location; Chorlton, Manchester


Pictures; detail of Edge Lane from the OS map of Lancashire 1841-53, and Hennet’s map of Lancashire 1830 courtesy of Digital Archives, and looking across Turn Moss circa 1950s, from the collection of David Bishop

A Christmas sometime between 1955 and 61

I don’t usually do nostalgia, but this week is an exception.

So for all those who grew up in the 1950s and 1960s here is a selection of the presents that came into our household each Christmas from 1952 till 1963.

They are not in any order and lean heavily on my own child hood experiences, but I bet they could be replicated by many who read this.

And for those whose childhoods came later there will be in another post, with images of Barbie Dolls, the Bay City Rollers and Mud annuals, along with scaletric, my little Pony and the Turtles, including all four sourced from the cellar.

Of course if I wanted to really revel in nostalgia I could invite contributions on the upstairs of Quarmby’s, the sparkling and  groaning shelves of Woolworths and that paradise for all ages which is Toys R Us.

I don’t recall doing the storehouse Father Christmas and think we avoided it when the lads came along, but I have always been a sucker for Christmas trees.

They have to be so big that you end up chopping a bit off the bottom, come from a forest somewhere and have a mismatch collection of decorations which are as much about past Christmases as they are about elegant design and appearance.

Only recently I gave up on the multi coloured tree lights and went with the wishes of our Josh that they should be all one colour.  And every year we still put the Christmas angel designed by Saul somewhere near the top.

That said there is always that debate when to buy the tree, too early and it runs the risk of losing its needles and too late and all that is left are those sad two foot specimens which have a bit missing in the middle.

But the event is as much about family traditions as anything so despite being 29 Ben will still get a Beano album in his stocking and Luca a selection of wine gums, fruit pastilles and the odd Kinder egg.

And because I grew up in the 50s and that pretty much has frozen in time the Christmas I like, we shall bring out the Monopoly board, insist that everyone tries a selection of the festive nuts, and gather to watch “It’s a Wonderful Life.”

That said there will be the addition of those nice things to eat that Tina grew up with at home in Italy, at least three phone calls to Varese during the day and a visit from Ron and Carol.

All that and the Christmas football match which the boys and their friends play for half an hour on the Rec sometime after the presents and before the big meal.

It is a tradition which they have played for as long as I can remember, and over the years the event has pulled in friends, and anyone who is around the house on the day.

But mindful of my responsibilities I stay indoors, tending the fires, laying the table and reflecting on past family gatherings.

That said a few things have changed.  Back in the early 1950s we still attached candles to the tree, went out for a brisk walk up to Peckham Rye and ate directly after the Queen’s broadcast.

Not that it ever seemed to snow back then either.  But as they say be careful about what you wish for.  Back in the afternoon of Boxing Day in 1962 the snow fell across Peckham, New Cross and Eltham, and continued for months.

Pictures; from the collection of Andrew Simpson

Annot Robinson;

Annot before her marriage to Sam Robinson
I have decided to revisit Annot Robinson*.

I first came across her   in an excellent account of her contribution to Manchester politics in the early 20th century.**

I had already been reading some of her correspondence to the Daily Citizen in 1915 on the exploitation of woman in the workforce. 

“Women” she wrote “will most certainly have to take the place of men.  

There is already a shortage of men workers in Manchester  but so far as I am aware no women taking on a man’s work will be receiving a man’s wage.“***

She had been born in Scotland in 1874 married and moved to Ancoats in 1908 and returned to Scotland in 1923 where she died two years later.

She had become active in Scottish politics in the 1890s and by 1895 was working for the Independent Labour Party in Dundee.

Annot Robinson speaking at a Suffragette meeting circa 1910 with her daughter
“She entered a marriage based at first on love and shared political ideals but which was ultimately disastrous. 

Subsequently living as a single-parent in an unaccepting age, she struggled in support of her chosen and unpopular causes, a constant and active member of the ILP and at different times of the WSPU, the NUWSS and the Women’s Labour League (WLL), Women’s War Interests Committee, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, an ebullient speaker and tireless traveller and twice a candidate in local elections.”****

All of which was set against the backdrop of being “at first the family bread winner and then a single parent of two young children.”*****

And at this point rather than just lift Ms Rigby’sresearch I shall point you towards the article and in the fullness of time return to Annot Robinson when I found out more myself.

Pictures; Annot  before she married Sam Robinson, and Suffragette meeting in Manchester, circa 1910, Annot Robinson standing.  The baby is her daughter, Cathy.  From ANNOT ROBINSON: A FORGOTTEN MANCHESTER SUFFRAGETTE

*Annot Robinson,

**ANNOT ROBINSON: A FORGOTTEN MANCHESTER SUFFRAGETTE, Kate Rigby, Manchester Regional History Review, Vol 1 Nu 1 Spring 1987,

***"no women taking on a man’s work will be receiving a man’s wage" ............stories from the Great War,

****ibid Kate Rigby

***** ibid Kate Rigby

Letters to the Daily Citizen, courtesy of the Labour History Archives & Study Centre,  at the People’s History Museum, Manchester,

Christmas from the Western Front .......

Christmas is supposed to be the season of goodwill but war has a habit of twisting the message.

This Christmas card was sent by my uncle to my father on December 12th 1918. The Great War had ended just a month before and uncle Fergus and his battalion of the Black Watch were in Cologne, relieved no doubt that the fighting was over.

On that Thursday in December he wrote that “Cologne was a lovely city with some fine cinemas” but they were prohibited from fraternizing with the civilians which for a young man of just 21 was a bit of a bore given the attractive young women he came across.

But duty was never far away and preparations were a foot because “we are crossing the Rhine tomorrow” and there was a determination “to show the rest of the division the way as we proved to be the finest marchers during the trek to Germany.”

Picture; With Best wishes for a Happy Christmas and a Victorious New Year, December 1918 from the collection of Andrew Simpson

Slowly fading away .......... no. 9 ...... from The Goldsmith Collection

I suppose it might be more fitting to say. "slowly rusting away".

Location; Brighton

Picture; the Pier, 2017, from the collection of Jillian Goldsmith

Tales from the Ordsall Chord ...... part 3 ..... a start and a view

Now Andy won't be the first to have "done the Ordsall Chord" last week but he took the pictures, and beat me to it.

Starting out
So as a thank you to Andy and as a celebration of the new railway link from Manchester Piccadilly Railway Station to Victoria Railway Station vi Salford here are two more with lots to follow.

What I like about the new series is that some will offer up views of Salford and Manchester most of us have never see.

All were captured as the train whizzed along the line.

And some are of bits of Salford's buildings that I know a few are not best pleased with ,but I have a soft spot for, like the elastaplast car park

Whizzing along
What better reason to travel the line.

Location; The Ordsall Chord

Pictures; the Ordsall Chord, 2017, from the collections of Andy Robertson

The Asylum Tavern

Now there will heaps of people far more qualified to pass comment on the Asylum Tavern.

The last time I passed the place will have been in the summer of 1960 and given that I was just ten I doubt that it even registered with me.

So Peter’s painting has caught my interest but I have yet to discover much about its history.

I know there was a pub on the spot by 1874 and that in between 1913-15 the landlady was a Mrs M Garwood to which I can add that her telephone number was New Cross 1625, and that is about it.

I was tempted to phone the number but of course that would just have been silly.  Instead I tried phoning the one that is currently listed but “the number you dialled hasn’t been recognised” which just left that excellent pub site London Pubology which offered a an opening date of 1851 but no new telephone number.*

So that is about it except that I doubt looking at Peter’s painting that this is the building dating back to 1851.

But we shall see.

Painting; The Asylum Tavern, © 2015 Peter Topping 


Facebook: Paintings from Pictures pictures 

* London Pubology,