Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Mr and Mrs Heywood’s fine house ...... pushing back the history of Edge Lane

Looking towards Chorlton, with Heywood's house on our left, 1914
There will be someone I know who has the answer to the mystery of those two houses on Edge Lane which stood between Longford Park and Alderfield Road.

Mystery is perhaps over egging it a bit but they are there on the maps from the 1890s appear on the rate books for 1863 and will have been demolished well within living memory.

Now I can be pretty sure that they date from 1863 and the first residents will have been Mr & Mrs  Heywood who occupied the house beside the park and Mr John Bury who lived in the adjoining property.

The Heywood family can be tracked to Didsbury in 1851, Stretford a decade later and so I guess the move just across the boundary into Chorlton made sense.

Our two houses and a few more, 1893
Given that they were in Stretford in 1861 and the rate books show them on Edge Lane two years later I rather think they were the first occupants.

And it was an impressive house consisting of thirteen rooms, set in its own grounds and  with commanding views across open land to the north and south.

Mr Heywood variously described himself as a Land agent and Commission Agent who left his wife Hannah sufficient money for her to style herself as of “private means.”

And there is no doubt the family were well off.  In 1851 at the age of 38 he described himself as “retired” and on his death in 1874 left his wife Hannah £7000 and when she died in the November of 1911 she in turn left £12987.

Looking towards Stretford, 1914
All of which put them in good company for the other residents of the grand houses which stretched back towards the village were equally well off  describing themselves as professionals and merchants and living in properties which commanded rateable values of  up to nearly a £100 in the mid 1860s.

These represented what could be described as the first development boom, preceding the one that transformed the area around the Four Banks by almost 20 years.

In part I suspect it will have owed a lot to the arrival of the railway at the bottom of Edge Lane in 1849 which provided these people of plenty with a swift route into town and allowing them also to live in what was still a rural community.

One of the grand houses on Edge Lane and Alderfield Road ,1959
But a century later these grand homes were too big for modern living and they fell to the cheap jack developer who carved them up into bed sits or wiped them away altogether.

After all the the foot print of a house like ours along with its garden could accommodate a large block of flats with space left over for a car park

Happily those that survived have either been converted into more stylish flats or returned to single families.

Sadly ours were torn down.  I am not exactly sure when, but in 1969 the home of Mr and Mrs Heywood was occupied by a James Ashcroft while its neighbour had been subdivided.

So it will have been after that but when is as yet unclear.

On the other hand as so often happens someone  well pop up with the answer.

We shall see.

And within hours of posting the story Peter Thompson, commented that "the Alderfield Road flats were built in 1973. I worked on them as an apprentice painter and decorator aged 16, my first ever job."

And that I am guessing is just the start.

Additional research by Andy Robertson   

Next; some of the other fine homes of the people pf plenty on Edge Lane a century and ore ago

Pictures; looking north along Edge Lane with the Heywood house behind the wall to our left, 1914, Identifier m17758 , and looking towards Stretford, 1914, m17758, Edge lane north east junction with Alderfield Road, A E Lander, 1959, m17783, courtesy of Manchester Libraries, Information and Archives, Manchester City Council, http://images.manchester.gov.uk/index.php?session=pass and detail of Edge Lane in 1893 from and the OS map of South Lancashire, 1893, courtesy of Digital Archives Association, http://www.digitalarchives.co.uk/

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