Saturday, 19 November 2016

Down on Nell Lane with a smelly story ................... the Destructor Plant

Now I remember the Corporation depot on Nell Lane and think we may even have used it once, but its closure and demolition passed me by.

The Destructor Plant in 1925
There will be someone who knows and I hope they get in touch to offer up a date and perhaps a reason.

Like so many bits of our most recent past the closure of the depot pretty much went unreported and the information has yet to arrive in an archive.

In the case of the Nell Lane site that is a shame given that its story goes back to 1892 when the Withington Board of Health decided it needed its own “destructor plant” to deal with the increasing amount of refuse.

As far as the Board was concerned the need was obvious and set out the case at a local government inquiry in 1892.  “The population of the district was 25,000 in 1891, and was now estimated at 27,000. ............. The number of houses was 5,200.  There were the same number of ashpits, and of these 2,284 were dry ashpits.  

The Local Board had to deal with about 15,000 tons of refuse and other matter in the course of the year. 

Part was disposed of to farmers and it had hiterto been the custom to tip the rest.  Objection had been taken to the custom to tipping and the Board had been obliged to give up all the tips but two.”**

Salford Corporation had a decade earlier been forced to do the same. Mr J Swarbrick the consulting engineer of the scavenging department of Salford explained at the inquiry that similiar objections to land tipping had been made and the Council had recourse to building a destructor in 1881, which was all to the good as early evidence had suggested that tipped land when disturbed gave off awful smells and was unsuitable for building on.***

The original plans for the site included placing the destructor’s furnaces ten feet below the surface of the ground and surrounding the area with an eight foot high wall.

The destructor had been opposed by the Chorlton Union who expressed their concerns for the health of the inmates of the nearby Withington Workhouse.

But the plant was built and in 1912 Manchester Corporation who had taken over the destructor reported that it accounted for 12,320 tons of refuse, some which was sold on to farmers, and 365 tons burned in the destructor.

And that is it the first smelly story on the blog.

Location; Nell Lane, Chorlton-cum-Hardy, Manchester

Picture; Aerial Views, Chorlton-cum-Hardy, Manchester Corporation Destruction Works, Nell Lane, 1925, Imperial Aerial Photo Com72045, courtesy of Manchester Libraries, Information and Archives, Manchester City Council, http://images.manchester.gov.uk/index.php?session=pass


*The Withington Board of Health and later the Withington Urban District Council was the local government body responsible for Burnage, Chorlton-cum-Hardy, Withington and Disbury.  The latter ceased to exist when the rate payers of the four areas voted to join Manchester in 1904

**Proposed Refuse Destructor at Withington, Manchester Guardian, November 23 1893

*** Proposed Refuse Destructor at Withington, Manchester Guardian, February 16 1892


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