Wednesday, 31 May 2017

On Range Road in Whalley Range with the Manchester Carriage and Tramway Company depot

Now as far as a story goes that I think will have to wait but I couldn’t resist using Andy’s picture of this bit of Grange Road taken last month.

Range Road, once a tram depot later a laundry and homes, 2014
The jury maybe out on whether using the facade of an old building and constructing something entirely new behind it constitutes good design but I rather like the idea.

If you can’t use the original for what it was intended for this at least allows a little of its history to be preserved and in the process gives a context to this bit of Range Road.

It also prompted me to try and understand what this building was and more importantly how it fits with the rest of the structure on the corner of Range and Withington Roads.

The bits of the deport that are left, 2014
Today the bits of what was once one building look odd and pretty much defy any attempt to make sense of what is a brick block with a canopy on one side of it.

If I think hard enough I can just remember it as a garage and that is about it.

You would see it as you passed on the bus and it never really intruded very deeply.  It was just a jumble of ugly bits of building made worse by someone’s attempt to paint some of the brick work.

That canopy, 2014
But once it belonged to the Manchester Carriage and Tramway Company and extended along Withington Road and round on to Range Road.

The company had been formed from a merger of two transport business's in 1880 and for over 20 years operated horse drawn tram services throughout Manchester and Salford.

At its greatest extent in 1900 it ran services over 140 route miles, using 515 trams and 5,244 horses housed in 19 depots.*

And our building was one of those depots with another close by on Chorlton Road.

Badly painted walls, 2014
But by the early 20th century local authorities were showing an interest in operating their own Corporation transport services and the Manchester Carriage and Tramway Company ceased trading in 1903.

So while in 1894 our building was one of their deports by 1911 it had moved with the times and was home to the Provincial Motor Cab Company Ltd.

But this “new century” enterprise had no use for all of the original building and so the stretch on Range Road was used by Mrs Emma Thompson as a laundry.

And that pretty much is where we started the story with that picture of Andy’s which was once part of a horse drawn tram empire became a laundry and now fronts private residences.

Not that I have finished because just as I couldn’t resist starting with Andy’s picture I shall close with this one of part of the building in 1962, when it was the Range Garage.

Range Garage in 1962
Something of the grandeur of the place when it was owned by the Carriage Company can be seen from the picture by A H Landers.

And there is that canopy to the left of the great entrance, complete with petrol pumps.

But this original was too big even for a garage which boasted it was open Day & Night so the section to the right housed the Metalic Construction Company (Manchester) Ltd.

All now gone save that odd bit of brick and canopy and of course the facade on Range Road without which Andy wouldn’t have had a picture or me a story.

Pictures; Range Road and the surviving bits of the deport from the collection of Andy Robertson, and the Range Garage, 1962, A H Landers m41068, courtesy of Manchester Libraries, Information and Archives, Manchester City Council,

* Gray, Edward (1977), The Manchester Carriage and Tramways Company, Manchester Transport Museum Society

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