Thursday, 28 June 2018

Looking for the lost ...... one street over time in Ancoats ..... no 1 Homer Street

You won’t find Homer Street.

St Andrew's School, 1910
It disappeared sometime between 1934 and 1938 and I guess was part of an early clearance policy.

There will be ways of finding out but for now I am going to concentrate on the 100 or so years it was there when it was home to generations of families who worked in the factories the mills, and the timber and railway yards.

The project was prompted by my friend Bob Armato who commissioned a report on the area in advance of building a warehouse on the site.  By then Homer Street and the neighbouring properties on St Andrew’s Square, Gees Place, Dryden Street and Marsden Square had vanished so completely that they do not appear on any modern maps.*

Homer Street, 1851
But go back into the middle of the 19th century and they are all there.

It is difficult at present to get a sense of what the houses were like, but some at least were back to backs that looked out on to narrow and half enclosed streets and courts.

At the end of Homer Street was a reservoir and three streets down was the Mount Street Dye Works.

Sometime around 1851 the St Andrew’s National School was opened.  It is there on Adshead’s map of that year but is missing from the OS for 1849.

In time I will explore its story but so far I know that in 1911 the boys school had 248 students on roll although the average attendance was just 155, while the girls school had 272 with an average attendance of 160.

St Andrew Street, 1850
Some at least of the students would have been drawn from Homer Street.**

In 1851 it consisted of 15 houses which were home to 93 people.

The occupations of the residents included a porter, charwoman, several labourers, a carter and a number who did various jobs in the textile industry.

Most were from Manchester or the surrounding townships but a fair few as you would expect from the date were from Ireland.

At number 9 was Mr John McCormick a stone mason from Ireland living with his wife Mary who had been born in Manchester and their son James.  The house was also occupied by the five members of the Harris family.  Mr Harris and his wife were also from Ireland although their children were born here.

St Andrew's Church. 1960
There is much more and over the next few weeks I shall wander back to the beginning of Homer Street and forward into the 1930s in an effort to record some of the changes to the area and how the families of Homer Street fared.

But I shall conclude by observing that for almost all of its existence it didn't even get an entry in the street directories leaving me to fall back on St Andrew Street's listing for 1850***

Location; Ancoats

Pictures; St Andrew’s School, Homer Street, 1920, m48646, and St Andrew’s Church, 1964, T Brooks, m10604, courtesy of Manchester Libraries, Information and Archives, Manchester City Council, and Homer Street in 1851, from Adshead map of Manchester 1851, courtesy of Digital Archives Association,

*Amato Food Products,

**Homer Street, Enu 1u 2-6, London Road, Manchester, 1851

***Slater's Directory of Manchester & Salford, 1850, page 90

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