Thursday, 3 September 2015

One hundred years of one house in Chorlton part 59 ............ looking out on the Rec and thinking of Joe and Mary Ann

The continuing story of the house Joe and Mary Ann Scott lived in for over 50 years and the families that have lived here since.*

I wished I knew more about Joe and Mary Ann, after all they were here longer than any of the families since and in the case of Mrs Scott I missed her by just a year.

The basics I know which include when they were born, when they married and when they died.  Added to which I know that Joes’ dad was a Londoner who moved to Chorlton with his family just as the building boom began in the last two decades of the 19th century all of which made sense given the he was a plasterer by trade and his sons followed him into the building trade.

But that is about it.  I have no photographs of the couple, have not been able to find out much about their siblings, and the anecdotal evidence is fast fading.

There are a few people who still remember them and in particular speak fondly of Joe who built many of the smaller houses around Beech Road which he rented out.

He was a good landlord who according to both Marjorie and Ida was particularly helpful when their families first moved into new houses on Provis and Neale Roads.

Sadly I don’t expect I will be able to turn up much more.

So I will never know what they thought about the great events of the day, how they spent their leisure time or even what their favourite meal was.

And I wish I did because as I write this I am looking out over the Rec at a view which will not have been that different from what Mary Ann would have seen a century ago and I wonder if they spent time there.

Back then the recreational ground was less than a decade old having been gifted by the Egerton’s sometime around 1896.

Before that it was still farmed by a few tenant farmers of whom the Bailey’s on Beech Road and the Higginbotham’s on the village green were ploughing and harvesting from at least the 1840s.

Mr Higginbotham had the plot that stretched from Beech Road along what is now Cross Road.

And given that Joe had been born in 1888 he may well have remembered young Mr Higginbotham working that stretch of land.

Of course when Mary Ann looked out at the place it differed a bit from now.

The trees have matured, the flower beds have come and gone and judging from the old photographs there were far more park benches than now.

But the shelter on the north side survived into the 1980s and then as now there were the odd bald patches where the grass refused to grow back and a remarkable amount of litter, perhaps even more than now which an interesting take on that idea of the good old days.

And back then the Rec went in for a collection of play apparatus dominated by four see saws which looked as equally lethal as the ones I played on in the 1950s.

The trick as I remember was to come down hard so that your companion was lifted off the wooden seat which did on occasion result on them being unseated.

Such were the joys of the see saw.

I have no idea when they vanished and I doubt that anyone else will now.

Of course Mary Ann might have remembered but alas that will be a conversation I will never have.

Pictures; the Rec, 2013-2015, from the collection of Andrew Simpson and the Rec circa 1910-33 from the Lloyd Collection

*The story of a house,

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