Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Back with the Block on Hardy Lane in the winter of 1912


Just occasionally I like to revisit a past story, more especially when there is a new photograph in the collection.

And so here is another image of the farm cottages on Hardy Lane which survived into the 1950s.

The date is 1912 and from the look of the trees it must be late winter, and we are looking up the lane towards Barlow Moor Road.


They were nicknamed the Block and appear in different photographs and post cards. They consisted of  eight and sometimes nine dwellings.

Annie Gresty was born in 1871 and grew up at number 2.

During the last quarter of the nineteenth century they stood as a lonely outpost of the community on the edge of the flood plain which led down to the Mersey.

Looking out of an upstairs window Annie would have seen a landscape dominated by meadow land, gardens and orchards. She may have played in Barlow Wood to the south east of the cottages and surely would have walked across the fields to the river.

Beyond her home there was only Hardy Farm before the river with Barlow Hall and Barlow Hall Farm some distance away.

The cricket ground and golf course which had been laid out behind the cottages were a recent development.

Before 1900 the Gresty’s and their neighbours would have had an unobstructed view from their cottages across to Barlow Woods.

But there is no getting away from the truth that here the residents of the Block were out of the way.  Apart from the farms they were very much on their own, and the walk up to Barlow Moor Road would then involve a hike to Beech Road and the village or further north to Martledge.

And in the summer this stretch of the lane took on a magical feel as the tall hedges and trees hid you off from the fields on either side.

And there will be some who mutter more romantic tosh, because by 1912 there was a cemetery on Barlow Moor Lane and with in a few years a regular tram service.

Still I like the remote and lonely idea.

Picture; from the Lloyd collection

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