Friday, 22 June 2018

Lost and forgotten streets of Salford nu 11 Collier Street

Now Collier Street will mean many things to many people.

Collier Street, 2015
For those with a preference for music there is the Blueprint Studios directly opposite on Queen Street and for those who fancy a drink as well as their music there is the Eagle half way up Collier Street.

For others it will be the old baths on the corner with Rolla Street where I am told Mark Addy learnt to swim and which were opened by the same company that built the Leaf Street baths in Hulme and others across Manchester.

But sadly there is no one left who can tell me about learning to swim in its pool or even of a Saturday morning splash about with friends and family because the  baths closed  in 1880 after just 25 years of serving the community.

The Eagle Inn, 2011
So you might be forgiven for thinking that Collier Street has abandoned its history, but not so.

My old friend Val got in touch to tell me that her grandparents lived  in “Artisans Dwellings on Collier Street. 

I have now looked up the place and an interesting tale emerges. They were built by the Artizans Company mainly they built in London.

The man who started it started out working as a scarecrow! The company went bust at one point because of embezzlement by the Company secretary and others. 

His name very Dickensian was Swindlehurst.”

The company had begun in 1867 with high intentions of building for profit good quality low rise properties for working people.  This put them slightly at odds with other companies also building for the poor who had gone down the model of multi story blocks of flats.

Most of their properties were as Val said in London, but they seem to have built here on Collier Street running up from Queen Street as far as Rolla Street.

I can’t exactly date them yet, but they are listed in the 1901 census and while they don’t appear in earlier lists there were people on the site in 1891.

Of course these may be earlier buildings which predate Artisans Buildings but there are a row of properties on the 1895 OS map which do seem to conform to what I think they would be like.

Collier Street, 1895
According to the 1901 census Artisan S Buildings consisted of 68 properties in which lived 276 people.*

Their occupations ranged across the sort of\semi and and unskilled jobs that this bit of Salford had to offer.

So far no picture of the buildings has come to light but Elaine Craven remembers “we left the Greengate area in 1959/1960 I don't know when the Artisans were pulled down, but they were a red brick and cream brick if I remember rightly, it had a big courtyard with a gate which was always locked, and I think they were three high, could be wrong, and they looked good. 

All the kids played in the dwellings, but I don't remember how many kids lived there."***

And that just leaves me with the story behind nu 19 Collier Street in 1911 which was home to Mr and Mrs Stone who lived in the last house on the corner of Collier Street and Rolla Street, which was a pub and here in just five rooms lived the Stone’s and their nine children.**

Pictures; looking down Collier Street towards Queen Street, 2015 from the collection of Andy Robertson, and detail of the area in 1894 from the OS map of South Lancashire, 1894, courtesy of Digital Archives Association,

Painting; the Eagle Inn, Salford © 2011 Peter Topping


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*Enu 14 10- 19, Greengate Salford, Lancashire, 1901

**Enu 131, Salford, Lancashire, 1911

***Elaine Craven, 2016

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