Sunday, 9 July 2017

The story of one building in Chorlton over three centuries ............. part 3 the recent past

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

Number 70 Beech Road, 2015
Now it is a lesson to us all, well to me any way that it is so easy to take a building for granted.

So for decades I passed number 70 Beech Road with no thought that it might have had a history or that that history stretched back to 1832.

This of course was the year of the Great Reform Act, a year which saw a deadly outbreak of Cholera in Manchester, the publication of Dr Kay’s book on The moral and physical condition of the working-class employed in the cotton manufacture of Manchester and the opening of a beer shop at the bottom of a country lane that led on to the village green.

It proved successful enough to continue to offer pints to the thirsty of the village until the beginning of the 20th century and thereafter was the home of a varied set of business from upholstery to selling fish and baking bread.

Number 70 in 1958
I only got to know it when as the Oven Door I would occasionally call in for a loaf of bread and a bag of cakes.

It closed sometime in the 1980s and once again I pretty much took its passing for granted.

But number 70 was on a prime location and as Beech Road went through its transformation from small traditional shopping centre to the cosmopolitan place it is today offering everything from Spanish tapas, interesting coffees and plenty of bar opportunities our building was bound to be snapped up.

It began with a developer who raised the level of the roof much to the consternation of some local residents and later took on a new facade.

And with that sorted it opened as picture framing business and we still have one fine poster which was framed there.

I can’t remember how long the business lasted but like all things it finally closed to become the home of Franny & Filer which “is a unique contemporary jewellery and craft gallery, set up by jewellery designers Frances Stunt and Abby Filer.

Franny and Filer, 2013 
Fran and Abby set up the gallery with the aim to provide emerging designers specialising in handmade jewellery with a modern space to showcase their talent. Alongside a handpicked selection of established designers.”*

Now what the building sells may have changed but it is still a commercial property and I rather think it is the oldest commercial building in Chorlton still offering things for sale since it opened in 1832.

That of course is not to miss out Number 68 next door which has been everything from a stationer’s and post office, to drapers, grocers and for a while a bakery.

The two properties have been linked not only by a common owner but also by the Nixon family who ran the beer shop ad later took over the stationers but that is for another day.

Pictures, number 70, 2013 from the collection of Andrew Simpson, back in 1958, R.E. Stanley, 1958, m17658, courtesy of Manchester Libraries, Information and Archives, Manchester City Council,

Next; more on some of the people who lived at number 70

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

**Franny & Filer,

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