Yesterday I wrote of the young life and awful death of William Eric Lunt, born here in Chorlton in 1895 and died of his wounds on the Western Front in the October of 1916.
Now the Lunt’s had been market gardeners and farmed a stretch of the land on the other side of Sandy Lane during most if not all of the 19th century. Along with our other market gardeners and farmers their market was Manchester where they would have made regular trips.
But at some time before 1901 they made the move from Rose Cottage which stood on the land they farmed. William and his sister Gladys and their parents John Henry and Mary Ann moved to the house and shop in the picture. I can’t be sure but I think 1895 is a good guess, because this was the year they married and it made perfect sense to move across the road.
Likewise John Henry’s father and sisters may also have moved at about the same time as they were living on High Lane in 1901.
But this is a bit off the story and so back to that photograph. Look closely and it is possible to follow the hedge opposite all the way down Sandy Lane behind which were still fields.
There is a charm about these early commercial photographs. The residents have turned out to watch. Some strike poses but most just look curiously back at the camera. And there to the right behind his fruit and veg is John Henry and behind him Mary Ann. And because this is a family shot there to are Gladys and William.
It is a powerful image not just because there is William Eric but we know his fate at 36th Casualty Clearing Station on the Somme in the October of 1916.
And I think there is one other point to make. Often we don’t make the connections. This picture has been one I have looked at countless times and its significance was just that it caught a moment in time. Here was the Chorlton of the early 20th century pretty much as we know it today, but there is always more to a picture.
And by putting this together with the story of the Lunt’s we have uncovered a little more of the people who lived here.
Picture; from the Lloyd collection