Monday, 25 July 2016

Cobden Street Pendleton, looking for the past

The Kingston Mill Cobden Street
In 1911 there were five Cobden Streets listed in the twin cities which I suppose should not be a surprise.

Richard Cobden the radical politician and co founder of the Anti Corn Law League lived in Manchester from 1832 spoke regularly in Salford as well as Manchester and was MP for Stockport.

He was associated with that economic idea that advocated free trade which was rooted in the simple idea that wealth would be created and trickle down to all if nations were free to trade with each other without having to pay tariff charges.

That said most of our Cobden Streets were in places where wealth was not in over abundance and where people’s lives were carried out in the shadow of cotton mills, dye works and rubber plants.

Annie Holland circa 1911
All of which brings me back to Cobden Street in Pendleton, in Salford.  It is a place I have already written about and it was where a young Annie Holland lived and worked.*

Annie was a cotton worker and all probability worked at the Kingston Mill, almost opposite Hardman Street which was owned by Turner Wright & Sons.

It was the only mill on the street but it competed for space with a printing company, the Unity Rubber Company and Gardener, Telford and Hardman who made boilers along with a tin and copper works, a dry-salter and a firm of engineers.

So I doubt that this Cobden Street would have attracted an entry in a scenic guide book for Salford.  It would have been a noisy, smelly and busy place.

Today none of those 1911 businesses have survived although many of the buildings are still there and are now sub let.

Inside the Kingston Mill
But the Kingston Mill is pretty much as it would have been when Annie worked there, and her grandson kindly lent me some pictures of the place.

Walking through the building even given that it has not made cotton for years and all the machinery has long gone still allows you to touch history.

Now I know I might be accused of romantic tosh but there is something in being here in a building where Annie once worked.

Even given the passage of a century there is much that she would have recognised.

A little further back is another mill complex which in 1911 was the Pendleton Flax Mill which was disused.

Inside the Kingston Mill
And there are earlier echoes of the Salford of the 1840s.

For on the site of the Kingston Mill was the Pendleton Mill which would have been well known to my cousin’s family who worked in the dye works close by.

All of which is a reminder of how much has survived.

Pictures; Annie Holland and the Kingston Mill courtesy of Alan, who is the grandson of Annie Holland


* Annie Holland in Salford in 1911

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