Friday, 22 January 2016

Mrs Annie Frazier and her shop on Kingshill Road

Now 80 years is a pretty long time in any one’s life and more so I think when it spanned most of the 19th and a bit of the 20th centuries.

The Vintage Beauty Parlour, 2016
And so I am intrigued by Mrs Annie Frazier who was born 1830 and was running the newsagents and tobacconist shop on Kingshill Road in the January of 1911.

Today after many years of lying empty the shop is The Vintage Beauty Parlour, but back in 1911 the building was still relatively new and Mrs Frazier may well have been the first resident.

I know a decade earlier she had been in Withington and a little before that in Rusholme.

But for now it is her earlier life that interests me.

Looking back over 80 years most of us would be able to record a shed load of changes.

For me in my mid 60s, I can remember a time before the internet, before domestic computers when milk was still delivered by a horse drawn milk cart and space travel was still science fiction.

These are profound enough changes but are nothing compared to the transition that took place in her life time.

She was born just 15 years after the Battle of Waterloo, may very well have talked to veterans of those long wars with Revolutionary and Napoleonic France, would almost certainly have been given a souvenir on the coronation of Queen Victoria in 1837 and marvelled at the invention of the telegraph, the telephone and the wireless and I guess will have thrilled at seeing the first moving pictures in the cinema.

Of course I will never know how much she used these technological advances and am only just beginning to explore her life which began in Birmingham and ended with her death at the close of 1911.

But it is a start and in time I will draw out the story of her daughter Ada who was born in Leamington in 1868 and try to unravel the history of Mr Edmund Bowman who was their lodger and had been living with the family for at least a decade.

I did wonder if Mr Bowman had become Ada’s husband when she got married in 1914 but this was not so.

After Mr Whitaker had taken over
Instead she became Mrs Compton continued to live in the same house and died just nine years later in the April of 1923.

And that l wonder if there was a connection between Ada and Mr John Hodginson who was buried in the same grave in Southern Cemetery just two years later.

Of course there may be no link, burial plots were not exclusively restricted to one family, but he was also living in Chorlton and in 1911 aged 12 gave his occupation as errand boy so perhaps there is a connection which as yet is unclear between this young man and Mrs Ada Compton.

So for now that just takes me back to the shop because the current owners have records dating back to 1919 and can draw on local memories when belonged to the Whittaker family whose main shop traded on Beech Road from the 1850s.

Now that I grant you is a tad longer than Mrs Frazier’s 80 years and covers a great chunk of Chorlton’s retail history than nu 1s time as a newsagent and I think will be another story spanning its time from grocery to beauty parlour.

Location; Chorlton, Manchester

Picture; sthe shop in 2016 courtesy of The Vintage Beauty Parlour and an advert for T.C.Whitaker, 1928 St Clement's Bazaar Handbook

*The Vintage Beauty Parlour,

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