Sunday, 26 March 2017

Rare pictures of the Horse and Jockey and a mysterious historian of Chorlton

This is one of three photographs that I doubt very few people have seen.

It is the Horse and Jockey in 1933 and appears in a Short History of Chorlton-cum-Hardy published privately in that year.

There are plenty of pictures of the pub from the very early years of the 20th century and lots from the 1950s onwards but so far I have only come across a couple which date to the 30s and 40s.

So this is an interesting one and shows the original before it expanded into the cottages on the left of the front door.

To our right beyond the fence had been the home of the Wilton family who lived there for most of the 19th century.  It was Samuel Wilton who around 1818 enclosed the green for his own personal garden with tall hedges and an allotment.  The space only returned to public use with the death of his daughter.

The remaining two photographs are of the parish church and Hough End Hall and all three were taken by F. Blyth who also printed the book at the College of Technology in Manchester while on his second year course.

But the text is by a J.D. Blythe and is as far as I know the first new account of Chorlton’s history since the twenty-six articles written by Thomas Ellwood during 1885-86.

Mr Blyth drew heavily on those articles and in places follows the earlier history word for word.  Not that this is to rubbish the book, particularly as I doubt it was meant as a serious rival to Ellwood’s work.  It may have just been a vehicle for F Blyth to complete a course at the college demonstrating his skill at photography and printing.

Now there is very little on either man.  J.D. Blythe was here on Claude Road between 1922 and 1929 and  is listed in the telephone directory but without trawling the street directories for the period we have no knowing when he went to live in Chorltonville and when he left.

There is a record of a J.D Blyth leaving for South Africa in 1919 with the stated purpose of settling in the Natal, but he returns just four months later in February 1920, and so far that is about it.

Location; Chorlton-cum-Hardy

Picture; the Horse & Jockey in 1933, F Blyth from A Short History of Chorlton-cum-Hardy, by J.D.Blyth, 1933

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