Monday, 6 February 2012

Chorlton in the snow, a postcard from Australia

Yesterday evening I heard the Snake Pass had reopened. It was closed from the Lady Bower Reservoir down to Glossop because of the snow. We often travel the route on the way home from Sheffield and I can well believe how it had become impassable

This is as good an introduction as you will get to this picture of Chorlton in the snow. It was taken where the Brook twists away from what is now Brookburn Road. Today the view across to the church and the barn of Hannah Cheshire at Ivy Farm is hidden by the modern Bowling Green Hotel and the row of houses that follow the line of the brook into Chorltonville.

The postcard was sent in the November of 1908 but the image is likely to be much older. To the right beyond the barn is the Queen and Pasley Laundry with is distinctive tall chimney which dates the photograph to after 1893 when the laundry was opened. But there is much in the picture which could take us back to the middle decades of the 19th century. The old Bowling Green Hotel which stood slightly to the side of the parish church was built in the 1780s, while the cottage on the left behind the hut had been built by 1818 and may be older.

So with a little imagination and a will to wipe out most of the buildings to the east of Hannah Cheshire’s barns we could be staring at the village from the meadows at anytime during the 19th century.

But that is not quite the end of the story. The postcard was sent from Australia to Matthias Hoyland Petts and his wife Laura at 16 Thorpe Street, Old Trafford. It is not a conventional postcard and was made by the sender who writes that she has “been out of postcards” and what we have is one of her own photographs. Now Matthias Hoyland Petts was easy to track. He was a cashier. He had married Laura in 1907 and was still living at Thorpe Street in 1911. By then they had a baby girl born the year before. 16 Thorpe Street is still there; it was part of a terrace, had six rooms and could only have been built in the decade before Louise sent her postcard from Australia.

It seems that Louise was married to Hoyland’s brother Charles who was a brass engraver and lithographer. It is his name on a stamp that appears on the postcard which places them at Warriston Street, in Brighton, Victoria.

Today it looks a pleasant enough little street of clapperboard bungalows and brick houses. Now the assumption is that she came from Chorlton and married Charles sometime between 1901 and 1908 but then there is just too much that we do not know. Perhaps Charles brought the picture out and maybe Louisa was already in Australia.

All of which is a long way from a photograph of Chorlton in the snow taken between 1893 when the laundry opened and 1908 when the new Bowling Green Hotel was built.

Picture; from the Lloyd collection

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