Thursday, 2 July 2015

A week and a bit in the history of Beech Road Part 4

Here for no other reason than I have the images are a selection of pictures of Beech Road during the last thirty years.

I don’t claim they are all great photographs, some are just snaps others a bit more but they do chronicle how the place has changed.

All have appeared before at some point on the blog and most have included detailed stories about the buildings and the people who worked or lived in them.

So this time round it will just be the pictures.

And for anyone who mutters darkly that their bit of Chorlton is not here rest assured it will be.

And to make sure we cover all bits here is the appeal for anyone wishing to share their photograpgh of their bit of Chorlton to pass the image over.  It can be any period.

There is no no offer of money of course just the pleasure of seeing your picture on the blog.

I can't say fairer than that.

Oh and of course you will be fully acknowedged.  If you can add anything about the picture so much the better.

Pictures; from the collection of Andrew Simpson and Lawrence Beedle

On Shooters Hill with Mrs Craven and George Field in the June of 1841

I have decided to head north of Well Hall to Shooters Hill in search of a story. 

Back in the 1830s and 40s, it was a mixed bunch of those deriving an income from the land and the well off.

So of our forty two people in gainful employment in the June of 1841 the largest group were those who described themselves as agricultural labourers, farm servants or gardeners.

These were followed by those of “Independent means” along with one solicitor, a governess, a tea broker and a publican.

They lived fairly close together on the southern side of Shooters Hill on a stretch facing the Bull Inn.

And I guess quite a few of our band of workers would have spent time in the company of George Field who along with his wife Mary ran the Bull Inn.

Not that I would expect the Bull was ever frequented by Louisa Crewe who rented 21 acres  from the Crown and lived in Hazelwood House which was a big enough pile for it to be marked and named on the tithe map of 1844.

She had not long become a widow.

But of her, her employees and the others in Shooters Hill more next time.

Picture; detail from the tithe map of Eltham, courtesy of Kent History and Library Centre, Maidstone, http://www.kent.gov.uk/leisure_and_culture/kent_history/kent_history__library_centre.aspx

A church on Barlow Moor Road and a missing hall in Greenfield


Now I fully accept that I am being a tad lazy.  Were I not I would have fully researched this postcard using the catalogue number from the Wrench Series but sometimes there are too many research projects and anyway in this case I shall just let the date slide by.

It is instantly recognizable as the Macfadyn Church on Barlow Moor Road. Today only the hall remains.  The church was demolished in the 1970s.

It was one of the many churches built in the township as the population grew in the final decades of the 19th century and like those on High Lane and Wilbraham Road did not quite last a century before declining congregations  made amalgamations, rationalizations and eventual demolition the fate of many church groups in Chorlton.

“The Chorlton cum Hardy Congregational church started its life in the Masonic Hall in September 1879 under the joint control of the Chorlton Road and Stretford churches. In June 1881 Chorlton Road, under Rev. J. A. Macfadyen, M.A., D.D., assumed full responsibility. 

A school-chapel was opened for worship in September 1883 and forty seven members enrolled at the new church in December. 

Its first pastor, Rev. Robert Mitchell, was appointed in June 1885. With the death of Dr. Macfadyen, in 1889, the church's connection with Chorlton Rd. came to an end, but in October 1890 a fund was started to build a new church in memory of Dr. Macfadyen, - the Macfadyen Memorial Church, whose opening service was on 25 October 1894.

In October 1972 with the union of the Presbyterian and Congregational churches it became known as Macfadyen United Reformed Church. In October 1975 Macfadyen United Reformed Church and McLaren Baptist Church decided to worship and work together as Chorlton Central Church.”*

All of which puts our picture at some time after 1894 and more exactly after 1903 by which time Holland Road** had been cut and the houses built.

So it is another of those scenes that is now history and one that pretty much has gone from living memory.

But that is not quite the end.  The card was sent by Lena in the summer of 1913 to a Miss Taylor of Stock Lane Stalybridge from Grasscroft Hall, Greenfield.  Nothing odd about that except of course that both Greenfield and Stalybridge are both  well away from Chorlton and so raises an interesting possibility that postcards of the township were being sold in Oldham where the card had been sent from. Or it may be that Lena had either visited or came from Chorlton.

I did try finding Grasscroft Hall but the local historian had no knowledge of such a place. Miss Taylor did however prove to a worthwhile search for there she was at Stocks Lane.  In fact two of them.  A Miss Emily Taylor aged 47 and her niece Edith Alice aged 29.

Now that is a long way from the Macfadyn Church on Barlow Moor Road.

*The National Archives, http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/a2a/records.aspx?cat=127-m186&cid=0#0

**now Zetland Road

Picture; from the Lloyd collection

Heading towards the twin cities along the canal towpath

You don’t have to travel far to get to some large and very impressive expanses of water in the city.

Out to the south along with the two water parks there is the Mersey.

And for those with less grandiose ambitions there are also the Dukes Canal and a some smaller water courses.

But for those with a mind to get in some industrial history as well as water you can’t beat the Ship Canal.

So a few days back  Andy Robertson went off on another adventure,  “with the sun looking interesting”  he “ventured down to Ordsall Lane again, this time turning east along
the tow path. It is amazing how near this place is and I bet more often than not I can drive there quicker than to your place, given Chorlton traffic.”

And here are some of the pictures.

We both have our favourites, for me it was the crane  set against skyline .

The historian in me wonders about the stories that go with this tiny bit of the canal, while for Andy it was that stretch of water with the buildings set against the dying light.

But of course there is so much more. So while the big ships may not now glide along the water way instead there are the rowers continuing to make the walk an interesting one.

Pictures; 2014, from the collection of Andy Robertson

The photograph which begs a story

I have no idea who this woman is or where and when the picture was taken.

But that doesn’t diminish my interest in the photograph.

It comes from David Harrop who has kindly given me access to what is a fascinating collection of letters, postcards and photographs spanning the late 19th century to the present.*

At the core of the collection are a priceless array of material from the two world wars which provide an insight into how people got on with their lives during these conflicts.

And so back to the photograph which shows a woman working in a back yard.

She could be a servant which is a reasonable guess given that she appears to be wearing a uniform.

But the picture was one of a number of which all the rest showed a young man from the Great War and so I guess she may be his grandmother carrying on a set of domestic chores on a warm summer's day.

Sadly I guess we will never know.

But it remains one of those pictures which draws you in and prompts a whole range of questions which is just as it should be.

Picture; unknown woman, date unknown, from the collection of David Harrop

*David Harrop, http://chorltonhistory.blogspot.co.uk/search/label/David%20Harrop 

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

A week and a bit in the history of Beech Road Part 3

Here for no other reason than I have the images are a selection of pictures of Beech Road during the last thirty years.

I don’t claim they are all great photographs, some are just snaps others a bit more but they do chronicle how the place has changed.

All have appeared before at some point on the blog and most have included detailed stories about the buildings and the people who worked or lived in them.

So this time round it will just be the pictures.

And for anyone who mutters darkly that their bit of Chorlton is not here rest assured it will be.

And to make sure we cover all bits here is the appeal for anyone wishing to share their photograpgh of their bit of Chorlton to pass the image over.  It can be any period.

There is no no offer of money of course just the pleasure of seeing your picture on the blog.

I can't say fairer than that.

Oh and of course you will be fully acknowedged.  If you can add anything about the picture so much the better.

Pictures; from the collection of Andrew Simpson and Lawrence Beedle

The 1970s and the story of the man who muttered that he "was never playing darts again as he had been beaten by a woman."

Now I am the first to admit that as a society we still have a long way to go in addressing issues of equal opportunities.

But that said from the standpoint of when I first began a “serious job” in 1973 huge strides have been made.

I can still remember Kay’s mother having to keep quiet after she had got married in the early 1950s because the firm she worked for in the North East had a policy of not employing married women.

And twenty years after that I was told by work colleagues that they felt uncomfortable working for a woman, which was all the remarkable as one of the three was my age and had grown up in the 1960s when gender barriers appeared to be falling.

Of course those gender barriers were for many still tall and insurmountable.

In 1968 woman in Fords at Dagenham had gone on strike over a regrading of their work which highlighted the common practice of paying women less than men often for the same work.

The subsequent Equal Pay Act of 1970 had been met by derision from some, was criticised by others and was claimed would drive firms to the wall.  A set of responses which were mirrored when the Minimum Wage Act was passed in 1998

All of which is really a link to tomorrow's story of  women playing in dart’s teams.  In the mid 1970s the Trevor Arms fielded a mixed dart’s team which was met with consternation and opposition from some pubs.*

In one case one pub grudgingly accepted the team but the landlord did so only on condition that the women did not drink.

I appealed for similar memories of this mindless bout of discrimination and Debbie Cameron provided her memories.

"It was 1979 and I was the first woman in a darts team in a league.' 

The League had to look up the rules but because it was always ASSUMED women wouldn't (?couldnt) play darts there was no exclusion so I played. 

I was good and  I remember finishing on 170 once and the guy threw his darts down and muttered that he was never playing again as he had been beaten by a woman. 

His mate even said 'random darts’. 

If it had been a bloke finishing they'd have slapped him on the shoulder an bought him a pint! 

However the guys in my team were furious. 

By the time I left we had 4 women in the team! Result!"

So keep the memories coming, lest we forget.

Picture; badge circa 1978, from the collection of Andrew Simpson

*The goat, the tent on the meadows and the mixed darts team,