Sunday, 18 June 2017

One hundred years of one house in Chorlton part 88 ......... a ten foot pit and a mystery

The continuing story of the house Joe and Mary Ann Scott lived in for over 50 years and the families that have lived here since.*

The stone slab, 2017
Now the stone slab in our front garden has become a mystery more so because it sits above a brick lined pit which is eight to ten feet deep and has water at the bottom.

I had taken the slab for granted but it was our neighbours who lifted it and revealed the secret.

I doubt that it belongs to the road drains, and nor is it a cess pit.

Our houses were built in 1915 when mains sewers were in place and so the pit I think predates them.

There is no reference to it in the deeds and nor does it show up on any of the OS maps I have.

Back in the 1840s our bit of land was rented by Samuel Gratrix who lived just a little east of us on the other corner of Beech and Beaumont.

His farm was known as Bowling Green farm and in total he rented seven acres of land.

Gratrix's field, 1854
Some, like our field was turned over to arable, but he also had pasture and meadowland along with an acre and a bit of orchard.

I suppose it could be a well but in would have been in the neighbouring field to the farm house.

All of which leaves me to ponder on a link with the Egerton Sewer.

Now I remember major work done on this sewer sometime in the mid 1980s which involved a huge hole on Beech Road and an equally big one on the Rec in the north east corner.

The sewer dates from the late 1860s and was built at the same time as Wilbraham Road.

One of the only historic references comes in one of the articles written by Thomas Ellwood in a series of articles published in the South Manchester Gazette between 1885 and 66.

The out fall, circa 1890's
The sewer he wrote “runs along the road to within a short distance of the railway bridge at Chorlton station, and then passes through the fields to Barlow Moor Lane, adjoining Lane Edge, crossing High Lane, Cross Road, and Beech Road, thence through various gardens, finally emptying itself into the Chorlton Brook at a point about 200 yards below the bridge which crosses the stream leading to Jackson's boat.”**

So there is a chance that our pit is connected with it.

I have no confidence that the water authority will know.  When I did some research on the water courses of the area they could only tell me about the Chorlton, Longford and Black Brooks,, making no reference to the small streams that crisscrossed the area including my favourite, The Rough Leech Gutter.**

There is one fascinating photograph of the Egerton sewer from a picture postcard dated around 1890 which was taken directly in front of the old parish church.

To the right is the Bowling Green Hotel which was demolished in 1908 for the present building.

According to the caption, “the circular opening, bottom right is the out fall of Wilbraham Egerton’s sewer since extended and covered by a bank and not the arch of the bridge which was later rebuilt.”

Not that this helps with our pit but I bet there will be plenty of people with some theories.

Location; Chorlton

Picture; the stone slab and our house, 2017 from the collection of Andrew Simpson, the out fall of the Egerton Sewer circa 1896 from the Lloyd collection, nd Mr Gratrix's field, 1854, from the OS Lancashire, 1854, courtesy of Digital Archives Association,

*The story of house,

**Ellwood, T.L., Chapter 6, South Manchester Gazette

*** The Rough Leech Gutter, rises at the bottom of Sandy Lane, follows the route of Corkland and Wilbraham Roads before crossing Edge Lane at the the church and running on to Turn Moss


  1. This continues to be a fascinating series... there must be a book here!!