Friday, 7 July 2017

The story of one building in Chorlton over three centuries ............. part 1 a beginning

Number 70 in 2014
Now over three centuries a building can pretty much be many things to many people and so it is with number 70 Beech Road. 

It began as a beer shop was briefly home to an upholsterer, and has also been a fish shop, a bakery and art gallery before becoming home to a jewellery and craft business.

All of which means it may well be our oldest commercial property with an unbroken record of selling various things dating back to 1832.

As such it is only beaten by the Horse & Jockey which opened its doors sometime around 1800 in a building dating back to the 16th century.

And yes the Bowling Green does date from the 1780s but is now in a building which was built in the early 20th century, while the pub over the water at Wilton's bridge is now no longer in Chorlton.

Now I can’t be sure of the exact date but 1832 is a good starting point.

Nu 70, the Travellers Rest, circa 1901
It does not show up on Hennet’s map of 1830 but was open for business just two years later when it was run as the Robin Hood.

But perhaps to distinguish it from a pub with the same name in Stretford it became the Travellers Call and by the 1840s was known as the Travellers Rest.

It fronted directly on to the road and so those who chose to visit it would walk straight in off the Row.**

Inside there was just the one room with all the natural light coming from a window beside the door.  

Judging by the size of the room which was just 3.5 metres [11.5 feet] wide by 1.75 metres [6 feet] long, and its customers were packed in sitting on simple wooden chairs and benches with just enough room for one table

It lacked the size of the Bowling Green Hotel or the position of the Horse and Jockey on the green, but it was a natural stopping off point for anyone coming down the Row.**

Grouped around about were a fair few village homes, and there was the added attraction of William Davis’s smithy just across the road.

Looking up Beech Road around 1901
For those dropping off tools to be mended or horses to be shod the “Rest” was a natural port of call, particularly for those thirsty from the heat of standing near the forge.

Like other beer shops the Travellers Rest may not even have had a bar.  It was a simple drinking room where men gathered, drank their beer and enjoyed each others’ company.

Its first “beer keeper” was Thomas White who was succeeded by Samuel and Elizabeth Nixon and they ran the place until the mid 1880s, after which it continued as a beer shop until the early years of the 20th century.

The corner of number 70 in 1979
But that is not quite all for this first chapter in the story.

Samuel’s father ran the pub over the Mersey, his son took over the post office next door at number 68 and his grandson opened the first newsagents on the corner of Beech Road and Chequers Road and had married in to the Brownlow family who had been making wheels at Lane End from early in the 19th century. ***

So less a story of one beer shop more of one family and what they did in Chorlton.

Next; from beer shop to upholster and the story of Mrs Lothian who sold fish from number 70 well into the 1930s.

Pictures; number 70 Beech Road, 2014 from the collection of Andrew Simpson, and the Travellers Rest circa 1901 and the Oven Door, 1979 from the collection of Tony Walker.

*The story of one building in Chorlton over three centuries,  

**The Row or Chorlton Row was the name  of Beech Road

***Lane End was where High Lane and what is now Sandy Lane joined Barlow Moor Road

1 comment:

  1. I remember the Beech pub very well. It was my dad's local when we lived in Ivygreen Road. I often went in their with him and occasionally my mam came with us. Happy memories. Thank you.