Thursday, 2 August 2018

Denbigh Villas ...... the name that was lost and is found

It is odd how a house can lose its name, but that is what almost happened to Denbigh Villas on High Lane. 

Denbigh Villas, 2018
The two properties were built in 1877 and were recognised as Denbigh Villas in the rate books, were listed as such in the street directories and are recorded on the stone gate posts.

But possibly because by the end of the last century the two houses had been converted into eight flats, the name had fallen out of common usage.

And that presented a problem, because the name had also been lost from the official records which the Council relies on when a property is registered, which seemed to preclude the present owner, Armistead Properties from using the historic name.*

All of which would have meant that a little piece of our history could have been erased, taking with it the link to Josiah Thomas Slugg, Miss Booth and Mr C Dadley, all of whom made their own contributions to Chorlton.

Denbigh Villas, circa 1910
J.T. Slugg had arrived in Manchester in 1830, still in his teens, went on to have a successful career as a chemist and manufacturer of microscopes and played a part in the cultural and political life of Chorlton.

Miss Booth and Mr Dadley ran successful private schools from Denbigh Villas during the opening decades of the 20th century.

So the two houses on High Lane have history, and have Chorlton history and today the Council confirmed that they have been registered\as Denbigh Villas, which means that there is now that seamless continuity which reaches back to 1877 and stretches on into the future.

Of course the Council can’t be blamed for losing the record as the name appeared in the rate books of the Withington Local Health Board which was responsible for public health in Chorlton from 1875 until 1894 when its powers and responsibilities were taken over by the Withington Urban District Council which was subsumed by Manchester City Council when the ratepayers of Chorlton, along with Withington, Burnage and Didsbury voted to join the City in 1904.**

Denbigh Villas, 2009
All of which meant that the name was there in the historic record, albeit in a convoluted way.

That said, both the 1903 and 1909 street directories also listed the properties as Denbigh Villas.

These street directories were not official listings but commercial ones but were widely regarded as the first port of call to look for an individual householder, or business.***

So I bet Mr Thomas Alker, Josiah Thomas Slugg and our two teachers would be pleased at the outcome.

Location; Chorlton

Pictures; 57-59 High Lane, 2016 from the collection of Tony Goulding, in 1910 from the Lloyd Collection and in 2018 from the collection of Andrew Simpson

*Armistead Properties,

**Manchester Rate Books, 1706-1900 including surrounding townships, Manchester Archives, Central Ref

***Slater’s Manchester, Salford and Suburban Directory, 1903 and 1909

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