Thursday, 20 October 2016

Lost and forgotten streets of Manchester ..... nu 70 the disappearing house on Major Street and the Cross Keys

Now for three years I passed Major Street without even giving it a second glance, it was just one of the streets you passed on your way up Minishull Street.

The Cross Keys on the corner of Major and Minishull Street, 1970
Although I did have my own moment of destiny on the corner where the two meet which involved the publican of the Cross Keys pub and a dispute about the length of my hair.

It was November 1969 I had been in the city for just three months and in the company of four others we went into the Cross Keys for a drink, only to be refused because we had long hair which in my case hadn’t even covered the top of my ears.

We of course left only to return a year later having seen the landlord leave as we were passing.  By then all of us had shoulder length hair and it seemed a fitting revenge.  Such are the great moments of history.  Others marched and demanded social change and we defied a publican.

The Cross Keys has gone now along with a big chunk of the two streets I knew.

That said the one I am really interested in had gone even before the start of the last century.

This was number 14 Major Street and it is a building I have been interested in ever since I discovered it was briefly one of the refuge buildings for a children’s charity.

Nu 14 Major Street, 1886
The charity was the Manchester and Salford Boys’ and Girls’ Refuges which had been established in 1870 to provide a bed and a meal for destitute boys.

It quickly extended its work to include girls as well as boys, and  provide more permanent homes offering training for future careers along with holiday homes.

It also campaigned against some of the worst cases of child exploitation taking negligent parents to court and arguing against the practise of employing young children to sell matches on the streets of the twin cities.

And sometime after 1883 it took over number 14 Major Street as an additional home.*

I can’t be exactly sure on the date, but the 1883 street directory does not list it and the 1886 one does.

Nor did it have a long time, because by 1890 it had gone and in its place was a factory.

And just leaves me with the building which was sandwiched between the Cross Keys and number 14.

It went through various uses but by the 1880s had become an “eating house” which it remained through all the time the charity occupied the building next door.

And that is all I want to say.

Location; Manchester

Pictures; the Cross Keys, A Davison, 1970, m49464 courtesy of Manchester Libraries, Information and Archives, Manchester City Council, and nu 14 Major Street, 1886  courtesy of the Together Trust,

*Slater's Directory of Manchester & Salford, 1863-1911

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