Sunday, 16 July 2017

Another story from Tony Goulding ..... HISTORY OF A HOUSE

I began researching the history of this house for no better reason than the fact that for a brief period during the first decade of this century I resided in it, by which time it had long  since been converted into flats and bed-sits (termed more correctly now as a “house of multiple occupancy”). 

549 Stoney Croft and 551 Overlaw Barlow Moor Road, 1959
However, the house has a number of fairly interesting connections which turned up in the investigation

The house known as “Stoney Croft” was built in the 1880’s as part of the great expansion of Chorlton-cum-Hardy which followed the opening of its own railway station on New Year’s Day, 1880.  The earliest records of the house’s inhabitants are the rate books from the mid-1880. During 1885/6 Edward Wickham was living at the address with his family.

Edward, who was born in Somerton Magna Nr. Malmesbury, Wiltshire in the September quarter of 1842, a linen draper/agent/manufacturer married Harriet Rebecca, the daughter of John Davis a mining engineer, at St. Clements, Chorlton-cum-Hardy on 31st August, 1871.

The newly-wed couple moved to the Anfield area of Liverpool: Edward joining his brother Henry in a drapery business.  The census of 1881 shows Edward still living in Liverpool but by then a widower with 3 young daughters. Later that year, on the 6th August, Edward married his second wife Louisa Kate (née Miller) at St. Margaret’s, Anfield.

In 1886 the family had re-located to the Manchester area staying for a short time at “Stoney Croft” during which Edward and Louisa had a daughter, Louisa Maria Kate born 27th May, 1886 and christened at St. Clements on the 3rd October, 1886. (1)  Not long after this event the family moved out of Chorlton-cum-Hardy to settle in the Heaton Norris area of Stockport.
Following the Wickham’s brief stay the house was rented by a young widow Alice Henrietta  Leverson Weigall (née Cowen) with her 2 young children Geraldine Florence, aged 8, and 5 year old Arthur Edward.(2) Alice was born in 1857 in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) and  left bereaved when her husband, Arthur Archibald Denne,(3) a paymaster and Hon. Captain in the 57th Regiment of Foot (and an ex-pupil of Rossall School, Fleetwood) died shortly before Christmas 1880 while serving on the North West Frontier (of India).

Perhaps to assuage her grief the young widow became involved with the church’s missionary activities in the slums of Manchester and Salford and it was this work which led to her removing from Stoney Croft. In October, 1890 she took on the administration of “Stoneleigh” a new home for those who were then known as “fallen women” which was opened with much fanfare by the local M.P (for Salford South Division). Mr W. Mather on 13th October. As this home was located off Eccles New Road, Salford it necessitated the family moving for a time to Grove House, Eccles New Road, Pendleton as recorded in the 1891 census. 5 years later Alice re-married on 18th April, 1895 in St. Clement Danes, Westminster to a clergyman, George Craggs. She died, aged 77, in Brentford, West London in the March Quarter of 1935.

The 1891 census also records that the house vacated by the “Weigalls” was then occupied by the sisters Ellen and Mary Jane Clayton and their 15 year old niece Ethel Maude. This same source shows that both sisters were born in Heywood, Nr. Bury, Lancashire; Ellen, the elder, on the 30th October, 1842 and Mary Jane on the 15th August, 1849 as revealed by the records of St. Luke’s church in that town. Earlier censuses reveal the sisters’ parents to be George the owner of a cotton mill and his wife Ellen née Jardine (who married at St. Mary the Virgin Church, Bury on the 11th April, 1833). For a time the sisters  lived at Stockton Grange on the corner of Manchester Road and Edge Lane with their elder brother John (a West African merchant) and widowed mother.

After Ellen Clayton died in 1914 (March quarter) her sister continued to live in the house for another 5, or so, years until she too passed away, in Rochdale, in 1920 (June quarter). Stoney Croft had by then become home to the Hazel family father also named, coincidentally, Archibald Arthur and his wife Mary Florence (née Daly), who resided  together there for more than a decade. Archibald(4) a Birmingham born commercial traveller (in among other things coffin furniture ) died in the county infirmary of Limerick, Ireland on 17th September, 1933 leaving in his will the then quite substantial sum of £1115-4s-9d to his widow. Mary Florence remained at “Stoney Croft” and in the June Quarter of 1937 re-married a Manchester native Vincent Michael Haberlin, also a commercial traveller.

Following his wife’s death on 10th March, 1944(5). (at 20, Nell Lane) Vincent fairly quickly re-married in the September quarter of the same year to Edith Richardson and shortly thereafter moved away from the area settling in the London Borough of Willesden.
 Post World War 2, this very large house was soon converted to its present use being much too large for the smaller nuclear families which prevailed and also as a result of the pressures of the shortage of housing stock through war damage and slum clearance.

© Tony Gouilding

Pictures; 549 (Stoney Croft) and 551 (Overlaw) Barlow Moor Road as captured by A.H.Downes in May, 1959 , m17501, courtesy of Manchester Libraries, Information and Archives, Manchester City Council,, remaining images from the collection of Tony Goulding

Stoneycroft as it is now

1) Edward and Louisa Wickham also had a son, Samuel Miller, who was born, in Liverpool, on 25th June, 1882. Samuel was to become a clergyman in the Church of England and in 1911 was serving as a curate in Poulton-le-Fylde, Lancashire. He was later for many years the rector of All Saints church in Greetham, Nr. Horncastle, and Lincolnshire. He died in June, 1965 and was buried (3days short of his 83rd birthday) on22cnd of that month in Lincoln’s St. Peter in Eastgate cemetery. Gertrude Agnes Wickham, his older half- sister, (born Liverpool 1st January, 1874) entered the nursing profession spent a lifetime working in hospitals in London before also retiring to Lincolnshire where she died shortly after her 96th  birthday in 1970 and was buried in St. Helen’s churchyard, Willoughby.

2) Arthur Edward (Pearse Brome) Weigall had a very distinguished career as an Egyptologist, author, journalist and pioneering set designer in the fledgling cinema industry. In November, 1922 he witnessed the opening of the tomb of Tutankhamun by Howard Carter and Lord Carnarvon, reporting on the scene for the Daily Mail. He married twice first to an American, Hortense Schleiter whom he wed in Cairo, Egypt and with whom he had at least 3 children. After his divorce from Hortense he re-married the pianist Frances Muriel Lillie the sister of Beatrice Lillie the famous comedian. He died on 3rd January, 1934.

3) Captain Arthur Archibald Denne Weigall was born in France in 1845.  His father Edward was a Church of England, clergyman who was born, in London in London, in 1801 and married Arthur Archibald’s mother Cecilia Bythesea Brome in St. George’s Church, Bloomsbury, London on Friday 26th October, 1832.  At this time he held the position as a stipendiary curate in Blakely, Lancashire a short time later he was appointed the rector of Hurdsfield, Nr. Macclesfield, Cheshire   The family were friends with a fellow Cheshire clergyman Charles Dodgson, and his family which included the young Charles Lutwidge who was to become better known as Lewis Carroll the author of the “Alice” stories. In the 1861 census some members of both families were residing together in a hospital in Chapel-en-le-Frith, Derbyshire. The Rev Edward Weigall died on 2nd April, 1865 at which time he was the incumbent of St. John’s church in Buxton, Derbyshire being buried in its churchyard on 6th April,

4) Archibald Hazel had moved around quite a lot before settling in Chorlton-cum-Hardy. The 1901 census shows him living with his widowed mother in Rhyl, North Wales    By the 1911 return he was back in Aston, Birmingham living with two of his sisters who were both described as “pie makers”.

5) Mary Florence Hazel/Haberlin is buried in Manchester’s Southern Cemetery, grave I 903 in the Roman Catholic Section although she has no memorial in situ.

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