Sunday, 5 March 2017

Love stories from number 28 Edge Lane

Now here is what looks like a series of love stories featuring no 28 Edge Lane.

But first to the house which for a great chunk of its existence was known as Barway House.

It is still there hidden during the summer by a canopy of leaves but recognisable from this 1958 photograph by A E Landers.

Barway House 28 Edge lane, 1959
It is typical of the sort of house which ran along Edge Lane and dates from the 1880s when it went under the name of Barway Villa.

I can’t be sure exactly when it was built but it was there by 1881 and was the home of Alexander Henry Gilbody and his wife Mary Ellen.

The Gilbody’s had three children and were cared for by three servants which is what you would expect of a family which appear to have been comfortably well off and living in a 12 roomed house set in its own grounds with a large greenhouse to the south and stables to the rear and a rateable value of £110.

The family were still there a decade and a bit later which neatly offers up the first two love stories.

For on November 8 1891, Philip Matthew Schofield aged 25 married Hanna Crosby from Wales.  She was just 20 and both worked in the house.  Mr Schofield was the coachman and Hannah a servant.

And in the February of the following year Miss Amelia Caroline Sharpe married Harry Wells Currie a hair dresser, both were from Port Maddock.

Barway House on Edge Lane and Barway Road, 1894
Ten months earlier she had been living with her mother and brother at home in Wales and I guess may well have come to Barway House to take the place of the newly married Hannah Schofield.

In time I shall go looking for both couples but for now I shall finish with George Davison who was living at Barway House during the end of 1904 and into the following year.

I did at first think he was lodging there but a little later a George Davison is listed as the caretaker and later still is on the census return.

But this was his father because by then our George had married his sweet heart who he had written to throughout 1904 and 1905.

Some of his courting letters have survived and they are a mix of affectionate comments, concerns about Nellie’s health and descriptions of his studies which take up much of the correspondence

He was set on bettering himself and here are the records of his success in Latin and French along with English and Maths all of which were governed by his desire to do well and offer her a secure future.

From George to Nellie, 1904
But what strikes you more than anything is the frequent reference to the arrangements of where to meet whether it was at the “end of the Grove” or at her parent’s home.

Today all of this would be accomplished by a phone call or a text but back then it was the letter and the postcard which with the frequency of the post meant that arrangements to meet could be made on the same day with the confidence that both would get the message.

By the end of 1905 he was living in Old Trafford and in 1908 the couple were married by which time he was back in Barway House, and from there they started their married life in Hulme.

So perhaps not a tale of great consequences or matters of high politics but just a set of stories of people behind the door of number 28 Edge Lane, a house I have passed countless times but given no thought to.

Pictures; Barway House in North east side, 1958, A E Landers, m17773, courtesy of Manchester Libraries, Information and Archives, Manchester City Council, http://images.manchester.gov.uk/index.php?session=pass extract from the OS map of 1894 courtesy of Digital Archives Association, http://www.digitalarchives.co.uk/ and letter from George Davison from the George Davison collection courtesy of David Harrop

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