Saturday, 16 April 2016

Discovering more about our big houses on Beech Road .......... a set of deeds, a rate book and Mr Sutton's rent

Beech Road, Cross Road, 1959
Now I am never surprised at how another bit of Chorlton’s story comes out of the shadows.

And so it was this week when my friend Bronwen told me a little of the story of the houses that stand on Cross Road and round on to Beech Road.

Now I knew these had been built in the 1870s and were part of the very beginning of the second big housing boom in Chorlton but the details had always eluded me.

Before they were built this stretch of Beech Road up to Barlow Moor Road had consisted of a row of cottages and the big house and garden of the Holt family.

The Holt's had bought into Chorlton in the 1830s but retained their doubled fronted house on John Street in town.  This had been built in the late 18th century and the Holt's owned a substantial part of the houses in the area.

Their home in Chorlton was equally grand sitting in a garden which ran up Beech Road, along Barlow Moor Road and down High Lane almost as far as Cross Road.

High Lane, Cross Road, 1959
Sadly so far there is only one picture of that house although much of its history is slowly being discovered.

But as for those 1870s houses they were more of a mystery but now with Browen’s help their story is also coming out of the shadows,

When we bought our house, we discovered that we had to collect the chief rent for two plots.

These being the oblong area from 22 Beech Road up to 28 and along the part of High Lane containing the house that was once owned by Dawson’s Estate Agents.  There is on the other side and old wall making up the fourth side of the oblong.

I found out that the land had been purchased from the Egerton family for the building of the houses.

The builder started constructing his own house facing onto High Lane and this was to become Dawsons.

Then in 1872 he built number 22 and carried on down to 28 but aafter putting down the footings from 21 Cross Street known as Knowle Lea he ran out of money.  

It said in the deeds that he became a gambler and ended up in debt leaving the other houses on Cross Road to be built by another builder.”

Cottages with the Holt's home behind, Beech Road, 1907
All of which points yet again to just how useful the deeds of a property can be because when combined with the rate books and census returns they can shed light on a tremendous amount of history.

But for now it was that odd looking set of cottages sticking out on to Beech Road that drew me in.

They were quite old by the time our builder constructed number 22-28 and the names of some of the residents are in the historical record.

In 1871 these were James Sutton Charles Ree, William Williamson and George Heath.

Mr Ree and Williamson were paying a rent of 11 shillings a week and Mr Heath five shillings to the Holt's whose extensive gardens abutted the cottages.

And for those of a curious nature the remains of entrance to those cottages is still there on Beech Road.

Pictures; corner of Beech and Cross Road, R E Stanley, November 1958m m17651, and cottages on Beech Road, J Jackson, 1907, m17651,Clarence House corner of High Lane and Cross Road, A E Landers, 1959, m17900,  courtesy of Manchester Libraries, Information and Archives, Manchester City Council,

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