Saturday, 22 April 2017

Hough End Hall still a working farm in the 1950s

This will be the last of the descriptions of the Hall from Oliver Bailey whose family rented and then owned Hough End and the surrounding land.

The Hall from Nell Lane, in 1952
It is a fascinating account not least because it is the only detailed description of the place during the 20th century.

There are a few anecdotes about the place from people who remember it as children and there is the 1938 survey commissioned by the Egerton Estate.

But most of these anecdotal accounts are vague and lack detail while the Egerton survey cannot be copied or photographed.

Back in the 19th century there is a short description of the Hall by the historian  John Booker which includes an engraving * and an inventory of the contents of the farm in 1849 published in the Manchester Guardian but this  sheds little light on the Hall itself.

So Oliver has cornered the market on descriptions of the Hall in the 20th century and at anytime come to that.

And in the process of sharing these memories he provided a plan of the buildings which to my knowledge apart from the Egerton survey is the only idea we have of what was there.

The Hall and surround buildings 1950s
It confirms that part of the hall was a smithy and right up to the end the place was a working farm with Mr Bailey’s pigs, horses and cattle and Jimmy Ryan’s rabbits.

“At one time my father had Highland cattle in the field where the school once was and there may be pictures in the Manchester Evening News archive. 

"My memory might be playing tricks there, he definitely had Highland cattle but they may have been in the field near Chorlton Station or perhaps even in both locations.

He also had a peacock with a couple of peahens and for a period Hough End was nicknamed Peacock farm because of the noise they made and because the peacock used to fly across Nell Lane into the park so lots of people saw it. 

There was a deep depression in the field near the rear left hand corner of the plot of the Hall itself and it was made a by a bomb which dropped there during the second world war, certainly it was known as bomb crater corner. 

According to family history the blast knocked my father over – he was an ARP Warden during the war so could have been out at night on fire watch.

During the war there was a riding school at Hough End, a Mc somebody – a search through a trade directory might find him - and my sisters learnt to ride horses at that time. The horses were kept in the loose boxes in the long building parallel to Mauldeth Road."

All that is left is for me to thank Oliver and his family for taking the trouble to recall the old hall and just hope it provokes more memories.

© Oliver Bailey, 2014

Picture; Hough End Hall from Nell Lane, T Baddeley, 1952, m47852, courtesy of Manchester Libraries, Information and Archives, Manchester City Council,

Plan; © Oliver Bailey, 2014

*John Booker, A History of the Chapels of Didsbury & Chorlton, 1857, Cheetham Chetham Society Manchester

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