Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Chorlton’s own brick works Part Two ......... a lost road and several tragedies

The development of a brick works in Chorlton by The Chorlton Land and Building Company is an interesting insight in to the way the township developed.

 It made sense to develop the clay pits for the growing building boom in the area and I guess many of the internal walls of our houses are made from their brick. The Egerton and Lloyd estates who owned most of the land in Chorlton were keen to prevent industrial development. Chorlton was too valuable as a residential area to be having the smoke stacks of factories dominate the landscape.

The brick works had a short life but there is still some evidence of its presence. I am told that it is still possible to dig up the odd brick on the site and the tall chimney of the works was still standing in 1959.

On a more tragic note, throughout the 1920s and 30’s newspapers reported the deaths of young children who had fallen into to the water filled pits and drowned.

The works attracted labour from outside the township. Ernest Stubbs was born in 1879 in Kendal. Sometime around 1901 aged just 22 he had made his way here to Chorlton and was living with the Hartington family. They too were newcomers. Joseph Hartley had been born in Wakefield across the Pennines in 1844 and his wife in Rochdale.

Ernest later moved in to a tiny row of terraced houses off Longford Road in Cardiff Road. In 1909 there were eleven houses on the road and four of the householders were connected with bricks. Two were brick makers and two brick layers. Cardiff Road had a short life. It was built sometime after 1903 and may have been demolished by the 1940s. There is however a tantalising clue to its exact location. At the top of Longford Road there is the entrance to St John’s playing fields. The slight curve of the road matches that from the OS Map of 1907. More research will need to be done to date the demolition of Cardiff Road and there may still be people who either remember it or may even have lived there.

Location; Chorlton, London

Map; Longford Road, the brickworks, and the lost Cardiff Road, from the 1907 OS map of Chorlton

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