Friday, 27 January 2017

The 27 Steps a mystery no more

The Twenty-seven steps, 1959
Just when you think you have pretty much nailed knowing some of the history of Chorlton, up pops an obscure reference which sets you off.

So for about a year now I have been pondering on a caption on a photograph by the local historian John Lloyd where he referred to the 27 steps.

It crops up in a number of pictures and I thought it referred to somewhere along the bank of the Mersey.

I can’t say I had been over energetic in hunting down the spot, consoling myself with the thought that the location had been radically altered and that it had long since passed out of popular knowledge.

Not that I asked anyone.

And like so many other little mysteries it just dropped off the list of things to find out about.

But then Peter Blunn posted this picture on a facebook site which he had come across on the digital archive of Manchester Libraries.

According to the caption this was the “Twenty--seven steps, a noted local landmark on Mauldeth Road West, Manchester 21, railway bridge over BLM Region Main Line to London (St Pancras)”

The railway line and bridge, 1893
The photograph was taken by Mr R.E. Stanley in the September of 1959 and clearly back then the steps were well known.

So one bit of the mystery solved only to lead to another, because the obvious next question is when were the steps constructed?

The line was in place by 1880 and the bridge carrying what is now Mauldeth Road West is there on the OS map for 1893, so still some digging to go.

But I bet there is someone out there who knows.

Picture; Twenty--seven steps, a noted local landmark on Mauldeth Road West, 1959, R.E. Stanley, M18106 courtesy of Manchester Libraries, Information and Archives, Manchester City Council, and detail of railway line in 1893 from the OS map of South Lancashire, 1888-93, courtesy of Digital Archives Association,

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