Saturday, 1 October 2016

Lost and forgotten streets of Manchester ................ nu 53 Silver Street, a bus station and some nasty history

Now this is Chorlton Street Bus Station in the 1960s and the image presents a bit of mystery, but more of that later.

Chorlton Street Bus Station, 1964
For now it is that gap between the office block and the ramp to the right of the picture and Chorlton Street which gave its name to the bus station which interests me.

That gap was the continuation of Silver Street.

You can still walk down Silver Street from Aytoun Street which ran on to David Street but my bit has vanished.

Back in the 1850s Silver Street and its neighbours were a warren of small closed courts leading off narrow alleys and filled with small back to back houses.

They were not perhaps the worst the city had to offer but they were neither the best.  In his case notes during the cholera outbreak of 1832, Dr Gaultier offers up a a vivid picture of the area. Chorlton Street he wrote “was tolerably clean and open but the vicinity crowded and populous.”*

Silver Street, 1849
But the home of the Bullock family was dire.

Mr and Mrs Bullock lived in one room with their two children and Mr Bullock’s mother.

The room was on the upper storey of a “filthy and crowded house” and was equally as “filthy.”

Even before they contracted cholera none were seen to be in good health and baby Martha aged eight months was “ricketty, and emaciated.”

In the course of just one week all of them died of cholera.

A month later our doctor was back in Silver Street attending Jane White who lived in a cellar and who died just days after contracting the disease.

Today Chorlton Street and Silver Street look far removed from the mass of courts, alleys and crowded houses of 1832 and that stretch of Silver Street occupied by Jane White is now underneath Chorlton Street Bus Station.

And here is the puzzle with that first picture, because read the histories of the bus station and they all agree that it was opened in 1950, redesigned in 1967 with the addition of the multi story car park and went through a major rebuild in 2002.

Major Street and the lost Silver Street, 1963
Now all of that is fine, but the caption on the picture offers up a date of 1964 which means that somebody is wrong.

I am confident someone will offer an explanation for the date of the rebuilt bus station and while I wait I suggest that those wishing to walk the past can just step back into the past can get a stab at it, because that vanished bit of Silver Street is now the entrance to a small car park between the back of Yates’ and the car park ramp, while the small road that runs along the bus station is the continuation of Major Street, but that is for another time.

Silver Street, 2016
But that is not quite all, because soon after I posted the story Andy Roberston sent me this picture of the corner of Silver Street where it joins Princess Street.

In may haste to complete the story I had failed to go looking for any more of Silver Street.  So the intrepid seeker after lost streets of Manchester can walk along another bit of my street, although it does end in a car park.

Location; Manchester

*The Origin and Progress of the Malignant Cholera in Manchester, Henry Gaulter M.D., 1833case notes no 5-8, page 162 and nu 71, page 178

Pictures; Chorlton Street Bus Station,  W. Higham, 1964, m56893, the ramp under construction 1963, W. Higham, m56982, courtesy of Manchester Libraries, Information and Archives, Manchester City Council,  Silver Street from Andy Robertson  2016, and detail of Silver Street 1849 from the OS map of Manchester & Salford, 1849, courtesy of Digital Archives Association,

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