Monday, 3 April 2017

Snaps of Chorlton No 1 a lost road and a demolished house from Ida


Most of the images we see of Chorlton in the late 19th and early 20th centuries were the work of professional photographers. 

They arrived in the township, focused on the popular bits and sold them on to the postcard companies.  Sometimes on the off chance they prowled the new roads of New Chorlton and the Ville, taking pictures of individual houses and offering them at a knock down rate to the residents.

Then there were the serious amateurs like Aaron Booth* who in the early 1880s was taking photographs of Martledge. But there are also the snappers, who captured whatever took their fancy.  Often the images are a little blurred and in many cases have a significance lost in time.

And so with this in mind here is the new series.  Snaps of Chorlton, is an occasional rummage through pictures most of which were never meant to be shared beyond the family. Of course the advent of the camera phone has given this a new lease of life.

But for now I am concentrating on old fashioned images and I am starting with two from Ida.  The first was taken by her dad and while the date is unknown it must be before the development of the precinct, because this is Manchester Road from the corner of Wilbraham Road.  Back then it is still a tree lined road of big houses which gently curved round past the Savoy Picture House and around the library.  The car park has yet to break the sweep of the road.

It is a scene I featured recently from a 1938 postcard but is well worth another look.

The second is more recent.  We are on Beech Road, after the demolition of Row House and the factory which stood beside it.  And Ida’s picture perfectly reflects that other thing about snaps which is that they seldom are of popular or photogenic views which makes them equally important.

Row House dated from the early 19th century and had quite a history.  Here lived the Blomely’s who gave their name to the fish pond that ran from Acres Road up to Chequers Road, and also lived William Batty, politician, jeweller and Methodist  For a while the house was used as our “Penny Reading Room”, while the adjoining building had been a laundry and factory.

So its passing which generated a stir at the time is important as it was one of the last examples of an early 19th century property in the township.  And here I have a confession, for I have a brick from the house.  I asked for it and the demolition gang a little bemused handed it over.  It was handmade, perhaps with clay from our own clay pits off Oswald Road and I guess was put in place around about 1800.

And a little later Ida took her picture.

Location; Chorlton, Manchester

Pictures; from the collection of Ida Bradshaw


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