Sunday, 2 April 2023

A bridge, a missing street……. and Mr. Samuel Moore ....... baker in residence for over half a century

Now it began with a request for information about a plaque on the wall of the Boardman Street Bridge, and quickly became something else.

The plaque commemorates the building of the bridge over the River Medlock in that area between London Road and Fairfield Street, and is a reminder that once the river marked the boundary between Manchester and Chorlton Upon Medlock.

That in itself is  a fascinating story and drew me into research on Boardman Street, which today is pretty much an uninspiring bit of road which runs from Fairfield Street twisting  and turning on itself till it joins London Road.

Some time in the past it exchanged its historic name of Boardman Street and became Baring Street and gained a bridge.

The bridge and the original plaque were built after 1851 and before that the road stopped at the river where it joined Buxton Street.

I have yet to find out when the bridge was built but it was there by 1894, while the original line of Boardman Street was by the 1840s a mix of back to back properties some larger houses, a pub and a sprinkling of industrial units.

And so far it has yet to yield anything more.  It doesn’t appear in the early street directories, which in turn means I can’t find any names of lived there and that in turn hampers a search for the census returns for the street.

So as you do I turned to Buxton Street, which is in the Directory for 1851 and offered up a series of names for residents along its stretch from London Road past Boardman Street.

But none of those names can be found in the census records for that year, and after a long trawl of the existing enumerator districts, I could only turn up half of Buxton Street for 1861.

They will be there, it will just take more time to find them, and in particular to locate a Mr. Samuel Moore who was photographed outside his baker’s shop in 1895.  

He looks to be quite elderly, and so he should given that he first appears in the Rate Books in 1847 on Buxton Street renting a house and shop from a J. Campton.

And there he still is fifty-three years later.

So, I will continue to go looking for him in the census records, and when I do , I will be able to discover more about his life, that of his neighbours and the photographs of the houses from 1895.

But in the way these things work, someone will come up with the details, and that is the fun of it.

Location; Manchester

Pictures;  Mr. Samuel Moore, 6, Buxton Street, 1895, m00653, 3, 5 Buxton Street, 1895, H. Entwhistle, Plaque, Boardman Street, 1971, Ann Jackson, m11046, courtesy of Manchester Libraries, Information and Archives, Manchester City Council,, Buxton Street in 1851, from Adshead map of Manchester 1851, courtesy of Digital Archives Association,

*Buxton Street was in the London Road Registration District, but the rest of it may be in Aedwick, we shall see 

Shops I have known

I can’t even remember when I took this photograph but it wasn’t that long ago.

Like all these types of shops there was a wonderful collection of anything and everything ranging from under a £ to a tenner.

In the pursuit of a washing line I came across a pink plastic embossed flower vase, mounds of household goods and of course that picture of New York Bridge in the early morning.

It provided cheaper versions of things and more often and not things which were unavailable in the supermarkets.  Its passing was quickly filled by other such shops and now in the last month a new You and Me has opened up beside the bus station.

Not that it has always been a shop.  Back at the beginning of the 20th century it was the home of Mrs Margaret Barber and her six children.  In those days it was a fine 11 roomed house facing out on to Maple Avenue.

But some time during the mid century the extension was added and it became a shop.

Now I will set myself the job of digging out just what Harvey’s were selling in the May of 1959 when A.H.Downes took his photograph and I guess it continued for sometime before becoming You and Me.

And for those who regularly pass the spot they too will have seen it transform into different furniture shops.

Pictures; from the collection of Andrew Simpson, Information and Archives, Manchester City Council, and from a series taken by A.H. Downes in May 1959,  m17594, Courtesy of Manchester , Information and Archives, Manchester City Council 

Remembering Eltham in 1977

Nothing dates more than the recent past.

I am looking at pictures of Eltham taken in 1977 and what strikes me most is how different the place looked just under 40 years ago.

It is a mix of the colour that was used on the prints and the slightly unfamiliar looking clothes.  And of course the absence of some of the buildings which you take for granted.

All the more so when Eltham is no longer your home but just a place to return to.

Which takes me back to the pictures of the Castle in the High Street and the King’s Arms, which are pubs whose names stretch back well into the past.

I can’t say I liked the Castle and only ever went in there once, but in the space of two visits home it had gone and I can’t even remember when.

Likewise the Kings Arms which was for a while was our local is also no more.

Thinking back I am not sure why I did like it, unless it was that tendency in the young to scorn old pubs which had character and interest on their side.

All of which is my loss.  The Greyhound would certainly have impressed my Italian family as did the Royal Sun when I was in there a few years ago.

But we do take things for granted and I suppose don’t even register the changes that are happening.

All of which makes pictures like these wonderful pieces of history.

As always you have to be careful not to descend into nostalgic rubbish.

Places evolve, buildings come and go and not everything that is demolished is worth saving.

Although as I grow older I do rather look on the buildings of the 1950s, 60s and 70s with a bit of a jaundiced eye.

Simple concrete box designed shops and houses lack something of the charm of earlier buildings.  The 1970s Post Office has little to compare with its predecessor

So while I don't mourn the end of the Castle I would hope that its neighbour is still standing in 30 years time.

This is  the old David Grieg building which is a fascinating piece of old Eltham with fine brickwork, balconies and terracotta initials of the company in the gables.

And in turn will write in with their memories of their last pint in the King’s Arms as I  remember eating in the Golden Orient or whatever it had become by the 1990s.

So it matters to keep taking the pictures, saving them and bringing them out every so often to chart the changes which we miss.

Pictures, courtesy of Jean Gammons

Celebrating a year of peace on Salford streets in the summer of 1919

Now my grandparents never talked about the Great War.

It was something they lived through and seemed happy not to dwell on.

Nor did they or my mum and dad spend much time looking back at the rerun.

To be fair they answered the questions I asked but never initiated a conversation.

Given our own family tragedy which hung over the events of the Second World War I can understand why.

I don’t know how mum and dad celebrated either VE Day or VJ Day and I never cared to ask my grandparents how they saw in the Armistice Day celebrations on November 11, 1918.

But it will not have been like many.  Granddad was somewhere on the Western Front, and Nana was in Cologne, and so while my grandfather, his two brothers and my two uncles would have passed  the day with a mix of relief and fun, she faced up to the defeat of her country.

Al of which would have been a long way from the streets of Salford when this Corporation tram was dressed for a Victory Day Parade the following year.

It comes from the collection of David Harrop who maintains an extensive collection of memorabilia from both world wars along with an equally extensive set of material covering the history of the postal service.

In time I will go looking for stories of that day along with others from Armistice Day.

Location; Salford

Picture; illuminated Salford “Victory” Tram 1919, courtesy of David Harrop

Dandelions are flowers ........

Location; Beech Road

Picture; Dandelions are flowers, 2023, from the collection of Andrew Simpson

Saturday, 1 April 2023

Lost Tudor home found in Chorlton ..............

Now there are many myths, and half-truths about both Hough End Hall and Barlow Hall which circulate and pop up for debate from time to time.

The young Henry VIII, 1530-35
The most persistent are the tunnels which are supposed to connect the two, along with another which runs from the Horse and Jockey on the Green to the site of the old church.

So, the story goes they were dug during the Reformation and Counter Reformation as an escape route during religious persecution, while the pub tunnel allowed expensive and illegal casks of French brandy to be stored in the vaults of the church during the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars.

Of course, they are total tosh.  The residents of Barlow Hall were Catholics and those of Hough End Hall were Protestants and so hardly likely to conspire in challenging which ever form of Christianity was official during the 1540s into the 1590s, and neither the old St Clements nor its later replacement had a vault.

But it now turns out that there maybe more than a little truth in the story that Henry VIII had a hunting lodge somewhere close to the western side of Chorlton Park.

A chance find in the Royal Library of a book listing where the King visited during his Royal Progresses suggests that in 1539 on a trip to the North he commissioned the construction of a grand lodge close to an unnamed stream near what is thought to be Barlow Moor Road.

The building predates the second Hough End Hall which was built just over fifty years later and may have used some of the timbers and glass from the King’s house.

Sadly, nothing now remains of the lodge according to Eric Thistlewaite who was a superintendent at Manchester Parks and Recreational Grounds [retired]. He confirmed that prior to the laying out of Chorlton Park in the 1920s an extensive programme of digging in the location had found nothing.

Hough End Hall, 1849, all that is left of Henry's hunting lodge?
The most plausible explanation for the lack of any evidence is the simple one, that the lodge would have been made of prefabricated units which were assembled on site, and sometime in the mid-1590s Queen Elizabeth sold off everything including the fittings, furniture, and the fabric of the building to recoup losses made during the costly battle to defeat the Spanish Armada.

But the presence of the lodge has led  Mrs Trellis of Sandy Lane to call a meeting to petition King Charles to honour the township with the prefix Royal.  “I think” she said “it would be a great honour to live in the Royal Township of Chorlton-cum-Hardy, and who knows one day we may even be able to find out who the King entertained in his lodge, which I believe would have been just before his ill-fated fourth marriage”.

The exact location and time of tonight’s meeting has yet to be announced.

Location; Chorlton

Picture; Henry VIII, circa, 1530-37, by Joos van Cleve,   Royal Collection RCIN 403368, and Hough End Hall in 1849, from The Family Memoirs, Sir Oswald Mosley, 1849

Lost and forgotten streets of Manchester nu 24 Barton Square .......... all in a name change or two

Barton Square, 2016
Barton Square is that narrow little street that runs from Exchange Street round to St Ann Street and is dominated by Barton Arcade that 19th century shopping mall more glass than wall.

I use it quite a lot and I always let my imagination wander as I follow its twisty route but until recently I had never given much thought to its name.

Barton is obvious given the arcade, but square seemed a little odd, after all this is a street. 

I supposed there might be a connection with St Ann's Square but that seemed remote and the more I thought about it even Barton threw up a puzzle given that the arcade was built in 1870 and the street is there a century before.

So as you do I went looking at the old maps of the area and the story is as complicated as you could expect.

In the 1840s and 50s that first stretch leading to the arcade was Red Lion Street which extended  under what is now the arcade just stopping short of Deansgate with four little side streets around a small square called Barton’s Buildings.  These were accessed via an entry.

Red Lion Street & Back Square, 1851
And that almost offered up the answer, but not quite, because the rest of what we now know as Barton Square had undergone a number of name changes, from Back Square in the first half of the 19th century to Back St Ann’s Square in 1793.

So mystery solved, and with a bit more digging it should be possible using the directories to pinpoint the date it all became Barton Square which it was by 1900.

Leaving me only to record that in 1851 Red Lion was occupied by mix of professional occupation including an accountant, commission agent, stockbroker and consulting engineer while Back Square was full of small manufacturing businesses.

As for Barton's buildings these belonged to a Mr Barton and consisted of four warehouses and an office with a joint annual rental income of £305 which were occupied by George and Edward Wood who dealt in cotton and cotton waste and and Tobler Anschelf & Co listed as merchants.

Location; Manchester

Pictures; Barton Square, 2016, from the collection of Andrew Simpson, and in 1851, from Adshead’s map of Manchester, and in 1900 from Goad's Fire Insurance maps, courtesy of Digital Archives Association,