Thursday, 12 July 2018

Denbigh Villas ..... on High Lane ... their story over one year

This is the story of two houses in Chorlton.

57 and 59 High Lane, 2016
They were built in 1877 and in their long history have been fine residential homes, before becoming a school and finally ended their days as flats.

Not that this is the end, for they are now in the process of being developed into a series of apartments by Armistead Properties and I am quite excited at the project.*

The company has undertaken other such developments around Chorlton, including the impressive twin properties at 198 and 200 Upper Chorlton Road which saved the exterior and transformed the interior.

In the past these Victorian and Edwardian houses would have been demolished and replaced by anonymous blocks of flats or left to slowly moulder and decay.

Mr Dadley's Grammar School, circa 1910
But numbers 57 and 59 High Lane will not pass away, which is good given that they offer up a window on our past.

The first owner of both properties was a Thomas Alker.  He appears to have taken up residence in the March of 1877 at number 57 and was joined next door by Josiah Thomas Slugg, who is best remembered for his book, Reminiscences of Manchester, published in 1881 which is a wonderful description of the city in the 1830s.

There are vivid accounts of the stage coach inns, the shops and personalities that occupied the main streets and detailed description of a journey Mr Slugg took on the Liverpool to Manchester Railway soon after it opened in 1830.

Work begins, 2018
Later the properties were converted in to a school run by a Mr Dadley, whose Grammar School specialized in training for “Law, Medical Accounts, Prelims, University, and Civil Services Exams” and attracted the “middling people” who had moved into Chorlton during the housing boom which had begun in the 1880s.

All of this and more will be featured on an installation which will front the building work from later this year till its completion and will consist of six panels, telling the story of the house, the surrounding area and the conversion into apartments.

In the meantime the two houses will be part of an occasional series which will focus on the progress of the development.

Location Chorlton

Pictures;57-59 High Lane, 2016 from the collection of Tony Goulding, in 1910 from the Lloyd Collection  and the back of 57 High Lane, 2018 courtesy of Armistead Properties

*Armistead Properties,

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