Tuesday, 13 June 2017

On finding Miss Wright of Chorlton .............. unlocking a bit more of our history

464 Wilbraham Road, home to Miss Wright circa 1900
Now Miss Wright of Chorlton has been found.

She was and continues to be a clue to the story of the Girls Friendly Society and the Chorlton-cum-Hardy Church Institute which have featured in stories over the last few days.*

The Chorlton-cum-Hardy Church Institute was based for a while in one of the big houses in St Clements Road and the Girls Friendly Society met there during the early decades of the last century.

In 1928 Miss Wright was the President of the G.F.S. and I always knew that if we could find her we would come to know more about both the society and the Institute.

And yesterday Sandra Hapgood came up with Miss Wright’s story which came to light in the 1934 St.Clement’s church magazine in which “she is mentioned as Branch President Miss Wright of 464 Wilbraham Road (now the RBS)

The Acting Branch President was Mrs Evans of 99 Claude Road [and] in 1934 they met every Thursday in the New School (St. Clements) 7.40 - 9.45pm.”

It may also be that the short description of the "G.F.S" in the magazine was actually written by Miss Wright.

"The long, light evenings have gone, so it was with a certain amount of pleasure that we turn to meetings indoors for our recreation and instruction.

During October, on Thursday evenings, G.F.S members will commence their various activities, including musical drill, country and ballroom dancing, ping-pong and other games, needlework - and chatting by the fire.

The evening of Thursday, October 18th, has been reserved for a Lantern Lecture, to which an invitation has been extended to all. Details of the lecture will be announced nearer the date."**

Looking down Wilbraham Road, circa 1900
Sandra adds "it is signed M.I.W and I thought we had Miss Wright's initials but sadly not. 
M.I.W is Miss Wilson the headmistress of the Infant school at that time.”

Now all of that helps with the Institute which was the home of Mr and Mrs Crowhurst in the 1890's who ran a “Ladies School” there and which may have been rented out to the church by its owner William Batty around 1900.

The house was still listed as a club in 1934 but as the new school had been built on St Clements Road some at least of the events that were hosted there had moved across the way.

All of which for me is a fascinating little bit of our local history more so because it is a bit that now sits very much in the shadows.

So I shall go looking again for Miss Wright, Mrs Evans and the others who will tell me more about the Institute and the G.F.S., which just leaves a thank you to Sandra.

Picture; the corner of Wilbraham and Barlow Moor Roads and Miss Wright’s house, circa 1900 from the Lloyd Collection

*The Girls Friendly Society, http://chorltonhistory.blogspot.co.uk/search/label/The%20Girls%20Friendly%20Society

**St Clement’s Church Magazine, 19232, courtesy of Sandra Hapgood

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