Monday, 10 July 2017

The story of one building in Chorlton over three centuries ...... part 4 Samuel and Elizabeth Nixon, Mr Hayes, Mrs Lothian and the Bone Man

Number 70 2013
The continuing story of one building in Chorlton over three centuries*

Number 70 Beech Road has been home to many businesses since it opened as a beer shop in 1832 and of all the people who lived there it is the Nixon’s who we know most about.

Now this is all the remarkable given that they occupied the house from the 1840s but that is often how historical research pans out.

Sadly closer to our own time much that would reveal the lives of people are locked away and subject to that 100 year rule.

But the records offer up much about the Nixon’s.

Samuel was born in Staffordshire in 1817 and by the 1830s his father was running that pub across the river by Jackson’s boat.

Mr and Mrs Nixon
In 1842 Samuel married Sarah Ann Mason whose father and grandfather ran the Bowling Green during the first three decades of the 19th century and also described themselves as Land Surveyors.

Given that both came from the pub trade it is not surprising that they took over the tenancy of the beer shop sometime around 1842 and continued running it till their deaths.

Samuel died in 1877 and Sarah Ann in 1886 and were buried in the parish church year where their gravestone can still be seen.

Their eldest son went on to run the stationer’s and post office next door and his son established the newsagents on the corner of Beech and Chequers Road.  Lionel the grandson married Hilda Brownlow whose family had made and mended wheels from their business at Lane End.

The Travellers Rest, circa 1901
Number 70 continued a beer shop until the early years of the 20th century and we can track a number of tenants, including a Mr Valentine and Mr Hayes of which the second presents one of those intriguing little mysteries.

For in 1891 Mr Hayes was selling his beer at number 70 Beech Road which had changed its name from the Travellers Rest to the Trevor Arms not that this lasted for long for when Mr Hayes moved across the road to run a rival beer shop he took the name with him and the old and familiar name of the Travellers Rest reappeared.

And after Mr Hayes and Mr Valentine we enter one of those periods where the building  was pretty much all things to all people.

Mr Riddle ran his upholstery business there from around 1909 onwards and two decades later the widow
Mrs Lothian was offering up prime fish for sale and continued to do into 1936.

Now she had lived at one time or another on Brundrettes, Chequers,  and Wilbraham Road before settling down on Whitelow and I am intrigued by the hint that she may have run two shops, for along with number 70 she is listed at various addresses along Wilbraham Road  during the same period.

She died in 1953 leaving £1074 to her daughters.

Bob Jones circa 1950s
By then our building had for a while become a pet shop run by Mr Jones and it is to his son Bob that I owe the story of the bone man.

Unlike pet shops today Mr Jones offered an extra service which was the humane disposal of loved animals.

Mr Jones would put them in a specially designed box and fed in a lethal dose leaving his son Bob to hand over the remains to the Bone Man who made regular calls.

Now over its long 183 years there will have been plenty of others who made this place their home and I guess their stories will be rediscovered in the course of time.

Pictures, number 70, 2013 and gravestone of Mr and Mrs Nixon, 2010, from the collection of Andrew Simpson, in 1958, as the Travellers Rest circa 1901 in 1979 from the collection of Tony Walker, taken R.E. Stanley, m17658, courtesy of Manchester Libraries, Information and Archives, Manchester City Council,   and Bob Jones outside Mr Neil’s shop sometime in the 1950s,opposite number 70 from the collection of Bob Jones.

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

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