Wednesday, 3 May 2017

A chance photograph, some demolished houses, a lost Chorlton road and a lesson in always carrying a camera


It is one of those curious things that it is often the most recent history that goes unrecorded.

I must have walked down Ransfield Road loads of times in the late 70s and early 80s, but cannot remember these houses which were being demolished in Andrew’s photograph.

It was taken in the April of 1983 and like always there is a bit of story.

They date from the last decade of the 19th century and didn’t make their 100th birthday.  All of which is more puzzling given that they were six roomed properties and occupied by relatively well off working class people.  Here was a salesman a secretary, two clerks a plumber, tailor and a telegraphist.

And judging by Andrew's picture they were typical of what had been built at this end of Chorlton

Added to this the properties on the northern side of the road and those in the adjoining Claridge Road are still there. So there is a puzzle which a trawl of the clearance orders might throw up a reason or perhaps it was just a case of a developer buying the properties.

I had wandered down Ransfield Road just a few weeks earlier and couldn’t place when the new properties went up and for a while tracking the history of Ransfield was equally hazy.

Maps from 1907 showed them there but the street directories stubbornly refused to mention them.

All of which was because during the early part of 20th century Ransfield was called Richmond Road and may have been renamed because of the presence of another Richmond Road in Fallowfield, several Richmond Streets and two Richmond Groves one of which was here in Chorlton.

So in the process of exploring a line of demolished houses in the 1980s the quest turned up  another of our lost roads and in the process also points up that simple rule “never let an opportunity go by to record those moments of change."

Picture; from the collection of Andrew Robertson

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