Wednesday, 14 December 2011

The great debate ................ which is the oldest business in Chorlton?

Now my mother always maintained that history was just facts and facts don’t change, which is sort of true. Of course how you interpret the facts is the thing that makes the subject so much fun, and also a bit contentious. Nikita Khrushchev was well aware of this when he said “Historians are dangerous people. They are capable of upsetting everything.”
And so I have to record the first moves in a debate on which is the oldest shop here in Chorlton. The title belonged to H.T. Burt the gentleman’s outfitter on Wilbraham Road which sadly closed last month. Bernard Leech has pointed to the claim made by Ken Foster’s Cycle Logic on Barlow Moor Road which has tweeted: “Now H.T. Burt is no longer in Chorlton does that make us Chorlton's longest established family run business? est. 1954”. Phillip Lloyd, has suggested R. Pepperdine & Sons, Funeral Directors on Manchester Rd ( ), but though it was started in 1873, it only moved to Chorlton from Alexandra Rd in Moss Side in the late 1970’s. So perhaps the title belongs to Richardson’s the bakers on Beech Road. Their web site records that
“J. B. Richardson Bakers was formed in 1947 by James and Nellie Richardson, after Nellie died in1953, James remarried in 1956 to Barbara, hence the name J.B.Richardson.
Working at the company since 1975, Peter Kellett went into partnership with Colin Richardson in 1983.
Colin's farther Mr David Richardson was born at the premises in 1934 whilst his farther was working for Mrs Chester the original owner. The company is now in its third generation of Richardson Bakers hands.”
The site also offers some very interesting historic documents.
On the other hand if the question becomes which is the oldest continuous building still operating commercially I guess it would be the Horse and Jockey which dates from the beginning of the 19th century followed by numbers 68 & 70 Beech Road which were operating by the 1830s as a stationers and a beer shop.
Picture; the shop of W.Nicholson on the corner of Beech Road and Neale Road circa 1911. Now the site of Richardson’s the shop had been a bakery in 1903 and a dairy in 1909. From the collection of Rita Bishop

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