Wednesday, 9 May 2018

Walking the streets of Manchester in 1870 ................ part 4 ... calling on Mr and Mrs Hall at no.35 Wood Street

Now I am standing outside numbers 33 and 35 Wood Street in 1903.

33 and 35 Wood Street, 1903
In time I will search out who had been living in the two properties although by the time Mr Bradburn took his picture on March 20th 1903 they were unoccupied and in a pretty poor state.

That said I suspect they had never been prime examples of good housing.

In 1870 when we were walking the streets of Manchester they backed onto Paul’s Court, which consisted of eight back to back properties facing onto a narrow open space.

Originally our two houses had been made up of just three rooms but at some point in the 19th century they were extended, by the simple process of knocking through into the two homes they backed  onto.

Without more research I can’t be sure when this was but I do know that in 1871 number 35 was occupied by Mr and Mrs Hall who had moved in the year before and were still there twelve years later.

He was a general labourer aged 46 and had been born in Manchester.  His wife Ann was three years younger and was from Ireland.  They had two children, but the youngest, Jane carries a different surname and there in no clue as to the relationship with Mr and Mrs Hall.*

Wood Street, circa 1900
The rate books show that when they moved in they were paying 2shillings and sixpence which a decade later had risen to 3 shillings.

And back in 1871 number 35 was unoccupied.

Their immediate neighbours made a living from a mix of skilled, semi skilled and manual work.

Three doors down at number 29 Mr Leslie was a shoemaker, while his wife was a seamstress, and there was a brass moulder, butcher, poulterer, two charwomen and a cotton weaver close by.

33 and 35 Wood Street, circa 1900
Now we can actually pinpoint numbers 33 and 35 on Wood Street, for while they have long ago vanished, maps of the period place them directly opposite the Wood Street Mission.

Today the site is a small car park for the Rylands Library and just down from that space is a passageway which may have been the entrance to another court called Bradley’s Yard.

I like the idea of being able to walk along Wood Street and stand in front of what had been a house I have come to know.

Of course the challenge is now to peel back more of its past and in so doing reveal a little of its residents and

We know the names of some of the other occupants, and also that for two decades it was owned by the Taylor family.

Back of 33 and 35, once Paul's Court, 1900
But there will always be much that we will never know, and I suspect the young Jane Thompson will be one of those lost stories.

Still a trip down Wood Street is well worth it.

The Mission Hall which the Hall family would have seen every day is still there and is well worth a picture.

After that there is always the Rylands Library or a quick walk down that passage sandwiched between the back of the library and the side of the Magistrates Court and on to a small open square.

Location, Deansgate, Manchester

Pictures; Wood Street, 2007, from the collection of Andrew Simpson, numbers 33 &35, m05389, backs of numbers 33 & 35 m05391, A Bradburn courtesy of Manchester Libraries, Information and Archives, Manchester City Council,  and Wood Street, circa 1900, from Goad's Fire Insurance Maps, Digital Archives Association,

Wood Street, 2017

*Wood Street, 1871 census, Enu 2 11, Deansgate, St Mary’s Manchester, 1871

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