Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Hailing a cab in Chorlton in the 1920s


Charles Croton was one of our taxi drivers and successful enough to have moved from horse and cab to motor vehicle by the 1920s and was listed in the telephone book by 1911.

All of which makes him a suitable candidate for a story.

He was another of those new people who moved in to Chorlton just as the place was expanding.  He had been born in London in 1867 and his father was also a hackney coach driver.

His earlier years are a little murky but I know he married Ann in 1887 and their first child was born two years later.  These were the years when they seemed to move about the country. Some of the children were born in Hulme but others in Littlemore in Oxfordshire, but by 1901 they were settled here in Chorlton on Sandy Lane.

So this makes them a perfect example of the families who moved here to take advantage of the new housing development which was going up mainly along Barlow Moor, Wilbraham and Manchester Roads and the areas off in each direction.

These were the middling people who mostly earned a living by working as office workers and professionals in the city taking advantage of the new railway which could whisk commuters into Manchester in under fifteen minutes.  But there were also more wealthy families who owned businesses as well as skilled semi skilled and manual workers who lived in the six shilling a week houses.

The Croton’s however occupied what had been a farm house and here the attraction may well have been the yard where the taxi could be kept as well as the close proximity to Shaw’s motor garage and petrol pump on Barlow Moor Road.

And in other ways they reflect this new Chorlton with all four of the children entering the new trades.  So while Reg the eldest followed his father into the cab trade, was an engineer in the Corporation electrical works and both daughter worked as shop assistants, one in confectionary and the other in drapery.

Charles died in the summer of 1926 but the business continued into the 1930s still on Sandy Lane.  Which takes me back to Reg.  The picture was taken in 1922 which would have made him thirty years old.  He is parked up in the station I guess waiting for the arrival of a train and a potential fare.

So there you have it, a little bit about one of our families.

Picture; from the Llyod collection

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