This is the continuing story of one house built in 1911 and set against the changes in Chorlton and the country over a century
During the late 19th and early 20th centuries Chorlton had expanded and with this expansion there came a clear shift of the centre of the township to the area around the station. So much so that there seemed to be a clear divide between these new communities close to the station and the older centre of population around the green and the Row. This divide was still there in the minds of some as late as the 1970s that could still be heard talking about old and new Chorlton. And it was also reflected in the positioning of the banks. All of these were close to the station while the Row and green had only the post office and the Penny Savings Bank which conducted its business once a week from the school house.
Historians of the township have drawn the link between these developments and the opening of the railway in Chorlton. But the coming of the railway is only part of the explanation for the housing boom, and those who sought to make the link between the train and new Chorlton have ignored the importance of water. Ours was a township which had relied on wells, ponds and water courses for all its water. Even in the 1840s and 50s these may have only just been an adequate and by the 1880s the wells were either polluted or drying up and the water courses disappearing into culverts.
The pivotal year was 1864. George Whitelegg had just finished building his four fine houses on High Lane known as Stockton Range in 1863 and had supplied them with indoor wells. But in the following year Manchester Corporation responding to a request from 17 rate payers had resolved “to authorise the laying of a [water] service Main in Edge Lane ........... for the supply of the houses included in the Schedule submitted and situate in Chorlton cum Hardy” The 3 inch main extended down Edge Lane, along St Clements Road to the Horse & Jockey. At the time there were only 11 houses along the course of the main, but during the next 13 years it was frequently extended till in 1877 a new 12 inch main was laid from Brooks Bar, along Manchester Road, Wilbraham Road and Edge Lane to Stretford which was as well as within another ten years the remaining wells were all but empty and becoming contaminated. Alongside which came plans to improve the sanitation of the township which led to the building of a sewage farm in 1879. It was as it had been for the ancients that the provision of clean water marked the moment a rural community looked towards becoming an urban one. This was in our case much advanced when in 1904 along with Withington and Didsbury we elected to join the city of Manchester.
Picture;Holland Road early 20th century still open land in the early
1890s, renamed Zetland Road from the collection of Tony Walker