Thursday, 23 March 2017

Remembering a lost Chorlton farm from over 79 years ago

Now I am looking at two pictures of Park Brow Farm which was doing the business of growing food from before the start of the 19th century.

And what makes the two pictures all the more remarkable is that I know one of the sons of the last farmer.

He is Oliver Bailey and his family ran the farm from sometime after 1911 and before that had been on Chorlton Row from the 1760s.*

Over the years Oliver has made available a whole heap of family documents from the contract his ancestor signed with the Egerton’s back in the middle of the 18th century to receipts for night soil from the 1850s, house and farm inventories and lots more.

Added to which he was able to describe in some detail the inside of Hough End Hall before it was much knocked about by a succession of developers in the late 1960s.**

And his memories have also opened up the story of Park Brow Farm before it too was developed with that small group of houses to the west of the farm house and the barn conversion.

So I shall start with the farm yard and this photograph from 1938.

Oliver tells me that one of the young lads is his brother and the building behind them with the tall chimney was “used for boiling up p food bought from the UCP,” while the two elephants Mr Bailey hosted when the travelling circus arrived were watered from the wooden pump directly in front of the building.

And given that this was the farm yard, the two downstairs rooms of the building to our left were the kitchen and office, with the living room and dining room facing south onto the garden which backed on to Sandy Lane.

Now I could go on but think I will save the rest for another day, which will include more pictures of the front of the farm house, something on the certificates the farm won and a piece of garden furniture which links the farm to the old Assize Courts in town.

Those intrigued by the idea of hosting two elephants can read the story on blog which will also offer up some fine pictures of the Bailey bulls on the land where Adastral House now stands and can summon up in their imagination an image of the young Oliver driving live stock through Chorlton back to Park Brow from the railway station.

All of which just leaves me to ponder on how rural is the scene of the farm house when this picture was taken in the summer of 1940.

Location; Park Brow Farm, Chorlton-cum-Hardy

Pictures, the farm yard, 1938, m17381, and the farmhouse looking north, 1940, m17388, courtesy of Manchester Libraries, Information and Archives, Manchester City Council,

*Chorlton Row is now Beech Road

**A new book on Hough End Hall,

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