Tuesday, 31 January 2017

That lost picture of the Royal Oak in 1902 with young Thomas Kelsey

This is a picture of the old Royal Oak I have never seen before.

The caption gives a date of 1902 and refers to “the boy Thomas Kelsey, son of the landlord of the inn at the time.”

Now it is very unusual to be able to name a person in a Chorlton photograph from the early 20th century.

Usually we are just presented with a sea of faces whose identities are lost in time.

But this is different.

Thomas was born in 1893 in Salford and his parents ran the Duke of York pub at 186 Regent Road, before moving in 1895 to the Royal Oak here in Chorlton.

The pub trade ran deep in the family, Thomas’s father was working in the Glass House on Regent Road by 1881 when he was 18 years old and his parents had run a beer shop just off Regent Road.

But what makes this picture all the more interesting is the detail which it reveals about the pub.

The Royal Oak was originally a beer shop which dated back to the early 1830s and consisted of little more than four rooms.

But what intrigues me is the building behind which seems to have been added on by the 1890s.

The OS map for 1894 and 1907 show that pub had been enlarged and the 1911 census return records that there were eight rooms.

Nor is that all because George Kelsey appears to have been more than just a publican because the sign to our right announces that he was also in the business of “CABS, HANSOMS” and offered a LIVERY STATION.”

Sadly at present I lose them after 1911 but this is a start and in the fullness of time I shall discover more.

But as ever there is always someone who pushes the story on.  So I was pleased when Andy Robertson  trawled the rate books and fond that 1895 as the first year George Kelsey paid rates in the township.

More will be revealed.

That said there is that finger print just below the sign, now that would be a real detective story.

Picture, the Royal Oak, 1902, m50447, courtesy of Manchester Libraries, Information and Archives, Manchester City Council, http://images.manchester.gov.uk/index.php?session=pass

*The Royal Oak, http://chorltonhistory.blogspot.co.uk/search/label/The%20Royal%20Oak

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