Friday, 29 May 2015

What's in a name? Pound Place by Eltham High Street in the summer of 1909

Looking south into Pound Place, 1909
“Pound Place is the name of the street on the side of the High Street opposite the Public Library.  

It derives its name from the fact that the old Pound occupied the spot where Mr Cook’s shop now stands at the corner near the High-street.  

The latest Pound was at Eltham Green.”

Most villages had a pound or pinfold.  Any animal left to wander could do a lot of damage and so strays were confined in the pound and the fine to release it matched the seriousness of the offence.

This amounted to 1s [5p] which was paid to the parish constable.   The owner would also be expected to pay for any damage the animal had incurred.

If the animal was not collected in three days it was sold to defray expenses.   Anyone attempting to release the animal without paying was liable to either a fine or imprisonment.

Some of the cottages
All of which is a reminder that names do not come from the minds of city planners or rich landowners intent on lasting posterity but from the experiences of ordinary people.

In the village I now live in the junction of the four main roads was once known as Kemp’s Corner because Harry Kemp set up a chemist shop on one side.

It remained the unofficial name for over half a century and was a recognised meeting place.

And today long after Mr Kemp has all but been forgotten it is now referred to as the Four Banks or Four Banks Corner which is a practical name for a place which does indeed have a bank on each corner and pretty much pushed the official Corporation name of Chorlton Cross into the long grass.

I like this picture which shows Pound Place looking south from the Library.  It is one of two in the collection and dates from 1909. Judging from the leaves on the trees and the shadows this was taken on a summers afternoon and already a small crowd has gathered to witness the photographer capure the moment.

And as ever amongs the adults there are the curious children drawn by the camera.

Sadly we can not make out the detail on the newspaper posters which would pin down the day and confirm that we are sometime in the symmer or early autumn.

The houses were there well before the middle of the 19th century and there was quite a large community living there including Richard White and his family.  Mr White is someone I have featured already.**  He was the village school master and responsible for the collection of the census returns for part of Eltham in 1841.

Mr Cook's shop, 1909
Now I am no romantic and rarely indulge in idle speculation, but I rather think he would have known these cottages and may even have lived in one.

And that is about it although I will go off and hunt down Mr Cook who sold papers from his shop on the corner of Pound Place.

Picture; Pound Place, 1909,   from The story of Royal Eltham, R.R.C. Gregory, 1909 and published on The story of Royal Eltham, by Roy Ayers,

*R.R.C. Gregory, the Story of Royal Eltham, 1909


So who remembers that church and the Davenport Mores Hall on the corner of Albany and Brantingham?

Now here is one of those mysterious which started out as something else.

Andy Robertson sent me this picture of the building at the bottom of Albany Road in response to a story on Enoch Royle the coal merchant whose father had his coal yard next door.

As you do it took me off on a series of thoughts about that house the yard and our reliance on the coal man.

And make no mistake well into the 20th century coal was the preferred way of heating our homes and for some the fuel that heated the open range used for cooking.

Along Albany Road down from the station there were a collection of coal merchants whose offices sat beside the railway line.

In 1911 there were Clifton & Kersley, Coal Co Ltd colliery proprietors, William Mylett coal merchant and Andrew Knowles and Sons Limited and well into the 1950s coal was unloaded bagged and sent out to homes across Chorlton.

And there will be plenty who remember being sent as a child to pay the coal bill at the offices of one of the merchants.

All of which seemed to make a nice story, mixing Enoch Royle’s coal yard where the garage now operates from, a bit on the house next door and reflections on how we heated our homes.

Until that is I turned up a reference to the St Andrew’s Protestant Episcopal Evangelical Church and the Davenport Mores Hall on the corner of Albany and Brantingham.

It was run by the Rev William R. Graham D.D. and it was built sometime between 1907 and 1909, and two years later had become St Luke’s Protestant Episcopal Evangelical Church.

By then in 1911 the hall was unlisted but beside it on Albany Road sandwiched between the church and the home of Mrs Annie Kennedy was Metcalf & Higginbotham Ltd, paper merchants.

Now I am intrigued by that church and the paper merchants which have far outstripped my interest in the house in Andy’s picture which I remember as a retail unit well into this century before it was returned to residential use.

So it is off to the archives and a search for St Andrew’s and St Luke's, the Rev Graham and Davenport Mores Hall.

They appear still to have been there in 1934 which means it is just possible they will be remembered by someone.
And remembered they have been is a sort of way, because Tony Goulding went digging and came up with this, "I have only known of the existence of this church for a couple of weeks when I found its location whilst consulting one of my old maps of Chorlton about another query,Intrigued I did a little of my own investigating----the only extra details I unearthed were from the 1911 SLATERS directory which gave the opening date as November 26 1905.

It accommodated 450 seats and there was a Sunday school with 300 places attached."

So there you are.

Pictures; Albany Road in September 20102 , with Flynn's Electricals, courtesy of Andy Robertson and sometime in the 1930s with Enoch Royle and father from the Lloyd Collection

*Waiting for the coalman

The mystery collection........... part 1 the photographer and his subject

Now I am always fascinated by pictures which challenge you to uncover their secrets.

They are usually ones where there are few clues to where they were taken with no date and often shed no light on the identities of the people who stare back at you.

And that is pretty much what we have here from a collection of images which belong to David Kennedy.

The originals were 4 by 5 glass negatives and date from sometime around the end of the 19th or the beginning of the 20th century.

Some are of street scenes, others of men and women at work and include a fair number showing life on board a selection of working ships.

They range from causally posed scenes to ones where the photographer has caught his subjects fully occupied and perhaps unaware that they are being photographed.

Amongst these are a few which may even be family members including this one which is a favourite of mine which is one of two.

In the first the mother is staring down at her baby and in the second she smiles back at the camera while in both the photographer is caught in the mirror.

There are no clues as to where they were taken but in one there is a reference to Ostend and a few carry the names of hotels and restaurants, added to which there is a very distinctive church  all of which should help.

And so over the next few weeks I shall feature more of these images and try to get closer to solving their mystery.

Pictures; by courtesy of David Kennedy

A little bit of religious dissent in Whalley Range .... The Independent Lancashire College

I like this picture of the Independent Lancashire College in Whalley Range.

It had been here since 1843 and even before it was finished it was causing a stir amongst “the Public and more especially by strangers, respecting this beautiful specimen of gothic architecture which is seen to great advantage from the roads leading westward out of Manchester.”

It origins lay in the fact that Dissenters along with the Catholics were still barred from entering the Universities, and lay professions.  They could not marry in their own places of worship and had to rely on Anglican Churches for registering births and deaths.

This had led to the establishment of an independent academy in Blackburn was opened in 1816 to “educate young men of decided piety and competent talents for the Christian ministry.”**

By 1838 the academy was no longer adequate for this purpose and a new “collegiate building affording more extensive domiciliary accommodation,”” was agreed upon which would be sited in Manchester.

A public subscription was launched to meet the cost of what was estimated would be £10,000.  It says much for the strength of dissent in the North West that within two years the sum of £14, 736 was raised which eventually exceeded £25, 000.

And with all such subscriptions the contributions ranged from the modest to the very substantial, so while Mr Joseph Taylor of Ashton handed over £2, George Hadfield from Manchester gave £2,100, Samuel Fletcher £1,300 and our own Samuel Brooks of Whalley House £1, 550.

Brooks however also benefited from selling the seven acre site for its construction for £3,650.

The foundation stone was laid In September 1840 and the college opened in 1843.

Pictures; of the college circa 1910 from the Lloyd Collection and the Blackburn Independent Academy from The Lancashire Independent College, 1843-93

Tomorrow; the building, the teaching and stories from those who were there

*Manchester Guardian 1842
** resolution of the committee held in the vestry of the Mosley Street Chapel, Manchester February 1816, and quoted by Thompson, Joseph,  in The Lancashire Independent College, 1843-93, Manchester 1893 Memorial Volume, p18

Thursday, 28 May 2015

Uncovering one of our local photographers, A H Clarke .............where local history met family history

Now I have been fascinated by Harold Clarke who was one of our local commercial photographers.*

Barlow Moor Road, circa 1926
During the 1920s and 30s he recorded many scenes of Chorlton and they are a priceless snap shot of the area.

This one was taken by Harold Clarke of 83 Clarence Road Chorlton, and may have been part of a series issued by Lilywhite Ltd, of Brighouse, in Yorkshire.

There are 21 of his photographs in the Greater Manchester County Records collection dating from 1926 through to 1934 and some from 1926 carry a serial number close to the one in the picture.

All of which is an introduction to a story written by Tony Goulding, who has contributed to the blog before.

“Your posts using postcards produced by A H Clarke re-kindled in me an interest in my family history. A  H Clarke was my maternal grandfather. 

Miss Clarke's ration book, 1939
I had previously searched in vain for 83, Clarence Road where my mother was raised, as her ration book shows. 

I had not noticed the name change to Claridge Roadd. 

On a recent walk past the house I realised how close it was to the old brickworks and remembered how my mother had told me how she used to get into trouble for playing around them and the clay pits.

My grandfather was born in Reddith, Worcestershire in 1889, the son of William who owned tobacconist/photographers on the High St. 

His mother Bessie was a member of the Woodfield family prominent in the town both as needle factory owners and in local politics. 

Arthur Harold became a professional photographer. 

In the 1911 census he is recorded as working as a photographer’s assistant in Hitchin, Herts. He later moved back to Redditch, then after the break-up of his first marriage in the early 1920's lived for a little while in Toxteth, Liverpool, where my mother was born in 1927 before settling in  Chorlton in about 1930.

Book marks Central Ref, 1934
He was obviously quite enterprising at this time as can be seen by these bookmarks he produced of the newly opened Central Library.

Sometime in the early 1940's he both re-located the family home and ceased making his living solely from photography as a 1944 wedding certificate shows him as an Inland Revenue clerk residing at 5, Keppel Rd. 

It must remain a matter of conjecture whether this change was for personal reasons or was due to economic pressure on the photographic trade by the advance in camera ownership and the decline in postcard usage as a result of the increased availability of telephones. 

Of course any such difficulties would be exacerbated by war time shortages, rationing, and restrictions.

Finally it is ironic that I haven't got any photos of my grandfather, who died  in 1952; two years before I was born ------a man who must have taken 10's of 1,000's of them in his lifetime.”

And so there you have it a little bit more of the history of those who recorded our history.

© Tony Goulding May 2015

Pictures; from the collection of Harold Clark, Barlow Moor Road, circa 1926, from the Lloyd Collection, and the ration book and book mark courtesy of Tony Clarke.

*Harold Clarke,

Woolwich on a Sunday in September

I am always fascinated by photographs which capture reflections of buildings.

Part of the appeal is the way the reflected building is distorted but also it is the multiple layering of images.

And so here we are with the Woolwich Centre on Wellington Street with the Town Hall captutred in the glass.

Picture; from the collection of Colin Fitzpatrick

On Range Road in Whalley Range with the Manchester Carriage and Tramway Company depot

Now as far as a story goes that I think will have to wait but I couldn’t resist using Andy’s picture of this bit of Grange Road taken last month.

Range Road, once a tram depot later a laundry and homes, 2014
The jury maybe out on whether using the facade of an old building and constructing something entirely new behind it constitutes good design but I rather like the idea.

If you can’t use the original for what it was intended for this at least allows a little of its history to be preserved and in the process gives a context to this bit of Range Road.

It also prompted me to try and understand what this building was and more importantly how it fits with the rest of the structure on the corner of Range and Withington Roads.

The bits of the deport that are left, 2014
Today the bits of what was once one building look odd and pretty much defy any attempt to make sense of what is a brick block with a canopy on one side of it.

If I think hard enough I can just remember it as a garage and that is about it.

You would see it as you passed on the bus and it never really intruded very deeply.  It was just a jumble of ugly bits of building made worse by someone’s attempt to paint some of the brick work.

That canopy, 2014
But once it belonged to the Manchester Carriage and Tramway Company and extended along Withington Road and round on to Range Road.

The company had been formed from a merger of two transport business's in 1880 and for over 20 years operated horse drawn tram services throughout Manchester and Salford.

At its greatest extent in 1900 it ran services over 140 route miles, using 515 trams and 5,244 horses housed in 19 depots.*

And our building was one of those depots with another close by on Chorlton Road.

Badly painted walls, 2014
But by the early 20th century local authorities were showing an interest in operating their own Corporation transport services and the Manchester Carriage and Tramway Company ceased trading in 1903.

So while in 1894 our building was one of their deports by 1911 it had moved with the times and was home to the Provincial Motor Cab Company Ltd.

But this “new century” enterprise had no use for all of the original building and so the stretch on Range Road was used by Mrs Emma Thompson as a laundry.

And that pretty much is where we started the story with that picture of Andy’s which was once part of a horse drawn tram empire became a laundry and now fronts private residences.

Not that I have finished because just as I couldn’t resist starting with Andy’s picture I shall close with this one of part of the building in 1962, when it was the Range Garage.

Range Garage in 1962
Something of the grandeur of the place when it was owned by the Carriage Company can be seen from the picture by A H Landers.

And there is that canopy to the left of the great entrance, complete with petrol pumps.

But this original was too big even for a garage which boasted it was open Day & Night so the section to the right housed the Metalic Construction Company (Manchester) Ltd.

All now gone save that odd bit of brick and canopy and of course the facade on Range Road without which Andy wouldn’t have had a picture or me a story.

Pictures; Range Road and the surviving bits of the deport from the collection of Andy Robertson, and the Range Garage, 1962, A H Landers m41068, courtesy of Manchester Libraries, Information and Archives, Manchester City Council,

* Gray, Edward (1977), The Manchester Carriage and Tramways Company, Manchester Transport Museum Society