Saturday, 13 August 2016

Lost and forgotten streets of Manchester .......... nu 18 Marriot's Court

This is Marriot’s Court which for some people will just be a cut through from Spring Gardens to Brown Street and for others that narrow little street beside the Post Office.

Marriot's Court, 2016
But for me it is one of my favourite little streets, more so because back in the 1970s the building opposite the Post Office was home to a Curry House and a little jewellery shop which always caught my eye.

If I am honest I never clocked its name or for that matter the history behind the street.

Had I paused to think about the origins of Marriot’s Court I might have wondered who Marriot was and where the court was situated.

The court was easy enough to find it was on the north side of the street under what is now the Post Office and was there by 1793.*

But as to who Marriot was that has proved more difficult.  In 1775 a Thomas Marriot was the Borough Reeve for Manchester which was the most important municipal post and just twenty years later there are four Marriot’s listed in the street directory for 1774.

So you can take your pick from Mrs Marriot who lived at nu 6 Princess Street, Richard Marriot, a “fustian manufacturer" listed at the Bridgewater Arms yard, Christopher Marriot manufacturer who lived on Alport Street and William Marriot, yarn merchant residing at 41 Cannon Street.

Any one of these might have gone in for some speculative building leaving their name as testimony to their enterprise but I just don’t know.

Marriot's Court, 1851
The Rate Books are no help for while there is a William Marriot listed in 1768 and a Richard Marriot in 1798 neither has properties on Marriot Court and there are no others listed for the period from 1768 until 1802.

As for the occupants of the court which provided part of the streets name there no records although we do know that in 1850, at nu 9 there was Spencer John & Son  who were manufacturers, along with Samuel Sedgewick Goodwin, solicitors and John Prince, share broker.

Marriot's Court, 1900
Later in the century all the properties on the northern side were swept away to be replaced by the Post Office.  Work began on the new building in 1881 and was finished six years later which in turn was demolished in the 1960s.

I just missed visiting the old Post Office by a few years which is a shame particularly because I would have been able to see the large memorial to the men of the Manchester Post Office who died in the Great War.

It consists of a Winged Victory at the centre, holding a flaming torch flanked by a young boy and girl and at their feet are the symbols of war including a helmet and a sword.

After the closure of the Post Office the memorial went on its travels and currently resides the entrance to the Royal Mail Sorting Depot on Oldham Road.

Now I could have just left it there but in trawling the Annals of Manchester I came across this entry for 1775 when Mr Thomas Marriot took up his office of Borough Reeve, “the Theatre Royal, in Spring Gardens was built and opened on June 5.  The first stone was laid of the Gentleman’s Concert Room in Fountain Street.  

Marriot's Court, 1793
Mr Richard Arkwright took out another patent for carding, drawing and moving frames.

The ducking-stool was still in use.  

It was an open bottomed chair of wood, placed upon a long pole, balanced on a pivot, and suspended over a sheet of water at Pool Fold***  I

t was afterwards suspended over the Daub-holes- the Infirmary Pond – and was used for the purpose of punishing scolds and disorderly women.”****

Now I have no idea what Mr or Mrs Marriot would have made of all that or whether they frequented the Theatre Royal or even if they took a stroll down to Pool Fold but two centuries and a bit on I suspect they would have been a little miffed that their court had disappeared.

Location; Manchester

Pictures; Marriot's Court, 2016 from the collection of Andrew Simpson, and Marriot's Court, 1851 from Adshead’s map of Manchester, in 1900 from Goad’s Fire Insurance Maps,  and in 1793, from Laurent's map, courtesy of Digital Archives Association,

*Laurent’s Map

**Scholes Directory, 1794

***Pool Fold ran from Chapel Walks to St Market Street and is part of Cross Street

****Axon, W.E. The Annals of Manchester, 1885, p103

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