Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Looking for the lost ...... one street over time in Ancoats ..... no 7 St Andrew’s Church

The story of one street in Ancoats, and the people who lived and worked there.*

One hundred years of St Andrew's
Homer Street nearly made its 100 birthday but the passage of time and a grand slum clearance plan did for it sometime just before 1938.

Its parish church which was St Andrew’s survived for another three decades before it too was demolished.

The church had opened in 1831, and according to one account had been built in “the midst of fields [when] the waters of the River Medlock which are close by ran pure and sweet and were the home of beautiful trout.” **

At the time “the congregation of St Andrew’s was in its early years a fairly comfortable middle-class body, [with] most of the pews in the church being privately rented by people of substance. But by the middle of the century it was surrounded by rising Lancashire industry and black slums filled the parish."***

Inside St Andrew's, date unknown
Surprisingly within just thirty years after it was built and not long after the creation of those “black slums”, the population of the area was in decline.

But it would be Corporation’s slum clearance programme which finally depopulated the area.

So much so that he vicar of St Andrew’s described the area in 1939 as one of “debris and desolation.”

And yet so loyal was the former congregation that many who had been moved out to estates in the north of the city and Wythenshawe in the south returned to attend services, including the popular Sunday School.

St Andrew's date unknown
In 1931 the church had produced a commemorative booklet, which makes fascinating reading.

What I didn’t know was the church also issued a set of souvenir porcelain to mark the event.

And for the picture of these I have Kath Kelly Hughes to thank who saw an earlier story about Homer Street and posted the picture on social media along with two of the church before its demolition.

She added “ I attended St Andrews Sunday school it's a part of my childhood”.

Sadly the site of the church is now an overgrown bit of discarded land, which for a while was home to industrial units.

I think the spot deserves better.

All of which is just a start I hope of a whole set of new stories.

Pictures; commemorative porcelain, and pictures of St Andrew’s courtesy of Kath Kelly Hughes

*Homer Street,

**Commemorative Booklet, St Andrews Church Ancoats, 1831-1931

***A Centenary in Ancoats, St Andrew’s School, Manchester Guardian, June 13 1936

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