Now there is no doubting that 11 St John’s Street in the heart of the city was a pretty impressive address and it was the home of the very wealthy Holt family.*
It had been built around 1794 and despite some very modest cottages on Camp Street and the surrounding streets it was still open countryside with fields west all the way down to the river, and the same south to the canal basin at Castlefield. This was very much living on the edge of the city.
True along the river there were some dye works and beyond the Duke’s Canal** a small lime works but that was it.
And even as late as 1819 there was still open land down to the river and across to the canal. But I rather suspect the writing was on the wall.
The Byrom family had entertained high hopes that the area would be developed along the lines of St John’s Street with fine late 18th century town houses but it was not to be.
And the coming of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway across the Irwell and part way up Liverpool Road sealed the fate of the area. Soon it would be warehouses and lots more mean and small cottages which would dominate.
So in a sense it is a surprise that the very wealthy Holt family stayed there as long as they did because they didn’t leave for their very fine estate in rural Chorlton until the mid 1850s, by which time all those fields west down to the river, and south to the canal basin at Castlefield were built over and were either mean small and basic working class cottages or warehouses and timber yards.
Now to be fair, John Holt had to wait till his father died to inherit the pleasant Beech House, but there were other places.
Still when you see the inside of number 11 you can see why perhaps they continued in the heart of the city.
The pictures were taken with the kind permission of the manager, Liz Wilson who actually lived on the top floor back in the 1960s.
Now much of the grandeur has vanished but something of the style and comfort is still apparent and remember from that big bay window which spread across two floors the Holt’s could have views the one up one down properties of Holt’s Place, James’s Place and John’s Place.
* Now the contrast is with Spam Court and partially enclosed court of six back to back houses in the next street https://chorltonhistory.blogspot.co.uk/search?q=Spam+Court
** The Bridgewater Canal
Pictures; from the collection of Andrew Simpson