Thursday, 21 July 2016

Lost and forgotten streets of Manchester .......... nu 6 Bootle Alley

Now you could be forgiven for missing Bootle Alley which was always a very poor second to Bootle Street which twists up from Deansgate to Mount Street directly opposite the back of Central Ref. 

Onward Buildings,  with the alley just to the north, 2014
Its main claim to fame is that it is home to the pub, Sir Ralph Abercromby and of course a police station.

Walk along it today and you will be plunged into one of those narrow thoroughfares which with just a little bit of imagination takes you back to the early 19th century.

And once running parallel was Bottle Alley which gave access to the dark and dismal courts of Munday Square and Royle’s Court which between the two accounted for nineteen back to back cottages.

Its northern side faced onto the old Quaker Burial ground and its southern side was occupied by nine properties one of which gave access to a closed court which didn’t even merit a name.

And for those emboldened by an evening in the Sir Ralp Abercromby there is just a hint of that long vanished alley in the space between 201 Deansgate and the neighbouring restaurant.  It advances no more than a few paces before an iron gate bars the way.

Bootle Alley, 1849
So insignificant is the alley today that I have never got round to taking its picture.

Which means you will have to be content with a picture of the southern end of Onward Buildings which is the bit at the corner with Bootle Street.

Looking at the maps the lane still existed in 1900, although by then the courts had vanished.

On the burial plot stood the warehouse and offices of Leech Brothers and Manchester Corporation’s Joiner’s Shops, while directly opposite all those buildings running from the alley to Bootle Street had been cleared in preparation for Onward Buildings.

Location; Manchester

Picture; Onward Buildings 2014, from the collection of Andrew Simpson, and detail of Bootle Alley, 1849 from the OS of Manchester & Salford, 1849, courtesy of Digital Archives Association

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