Thursday, 28 July 2016

A lost bridge across the Brook


Now I think it is time for a walk across the meadows in search of Mosley Bridge.

It was a small bridge over the Brook put up by Charles Walker and later washed away.  Charles Walker was the son of Thomas Walker, the radical, and lived at Longford Hall and the bridge connected his land on either side of the brook.

In the 1830s it was destroyed by a flood, and a new one was built where the brook joins the Mersey which makes it easy to find.  It’s there on the old tithe map of 1845 and looks to be roughly where the bridge is today.

But I am not sure that this is our bridge.  Over the last fifty years the banks and the land on either side of where the brook runs into the Mersey have been raised a number of times but from memory the masonry looks old.  And a bridge does show up on the right spot not only the tithe map of 1845 but on the earlier OS for 1841 and the later OS of 1888-93.

So far I have not come across any old photographs of the bridge but there is a painting made by J Montgomery in 1963 looking east along the line of the Brook.  Stand on that exact spot today and to the south there is a dense collection of bushes and small trees which were entirely missing when Montgomery recorded the scene.

But neither his or the modern view are how it was.  Back in the 1840s, to the south of the Brook on what was Charles Walker’s land were water meadows, while away to our left just beyond the field was Walker’s orchard.

Now before I take a walk down to the spot I should really ask my old botanist pal David Bishop whose knowledge of the place goes back to the 1970s and whose blog at http://friendsofchorltonmeadows.blogspot.co.uk/ is a wonderful collection of information about the land and the plant life along this stretch of the Mersey on the edge of our township.

Picture; Courtesy of Manchester Libraries, Information and Archives, Manchester City Council, Junction of Gore Brook [Chorlton Brook] and the River Mersey, J Montgomery 1963, m80140

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