Saturday, 11 March 2017

No 200/198 Upper Chorlton Road ...... part 1 looking for stories

Now I don’t suppose I would ever have been drawn into the story of no 200 Upper Chorlton Road if Mr Armistead had not asked me to research the house and its neighbour.*

200 and 198 Upper Chorlton Road, 1960
They are two of the grand villas set back from the road which you just know have histories but are all too easily ignored as you pass them on the bus.

Once and not that long ago there were many more of them along this stretch of Upper Chorlton Road, but the trend to smaller families, higher fuel prices and the demise of the domestic servant pretty much meant that they were no longer attractive places to live.

Some like nu 202 were demolished to make way for a modern block of flats retaining only the old name of the house as a faint reminder of what had once been there.

202 Upper Chorlton Road..... the Allied Library, 1960
The fate of many other big houses was to be converted into bedsits with little regard for the original architecture or lay out.

As someone one who spent his student years in a succession of bed sits the memories are of cold, damp properties.

At best the rooms had been re papered with wood chip and at worst a coat of bright orange or green emulsion had been applied over the original wall paper.

They were dismal dreary places, where you got to know none of your immediate neighbours.

Most were just passing through and the only record that they had stayed were those piles of junk mail and old election addresses which sat for months in a corner of the hall.

Of course once each of these properties had been a real home, and each would have had their share of stories.

So it was with no 202 which for a while had been the Allied Library and from where at its peak in March 1962 hired out 362, 000 books to small private lending libraries.

But cheap paperbacks did for the small commercial libraries and the Allied Library closed sometime in the 1960s.

Our two houses with the Lawn Tennis Ground, 1994
All of which brings me to its neighbours no 200 and 198 Upper Chorlton Road.

They were built sometime after 1871, and appear on the OS map for 1894 set in their own grounds and looked out on to a tennis ground with clear views across open countryside to Hullard Hill Farm.

Just to the north was “Manchester Football Ground.”

That said the urban sprawl down from Hulme as far as Stretford Road and Brooks Bar was in place, and the opposite side of Upper Chorlton Road was full of largish villas.

Our two houses were big.

The 1911 census records that no 200 had fifteen rooms, excluding “scullery landing, lobby, closet, and bathrooms” and no 198 had twelve rooms.

It is more than likely they would have been built with a well and there is documentary evidence that houses in Chorlton built in 1862 had internal wells.

Mains water came into Chorlton in 1864 and it is possible that around this time properties your properties could have been connected by another pipe from wither Manchester or Stretford.

Sadly the 1881 and ’91 census do not allow us to be exactly sure who was occupying the properties but by 1901 a Mrs Emma Hyde was at no 198 and a Mr John Windsor next door.

They were as you would expect comfortably well off.  Mrs Hyde described herself as as “living on own means.”  She shared the house with her four unmarried daughters and Edith Baynes who was the “cook/domestic.”

The Hyde family were still there in 1909, although sometime between 1903 and 1909 Mrs Hyde died and the householder is listed as Miss Annie Hyde who was the eldest daughter and had been born in 1861.

The entrance of 198 Upper Chorlton Road, 1960
In a way more promising might be the Windsor family who moved into no 200 sometime after the April of 1891.

He was a “merchant” and at the turn of the last century owned Windsor’s Bridgewater Union Mills with a factory in Rochdale and an office/ warehouse at 1 Canal Street in Manchester.

Sadly all we have are two photographs of the exterior of the houses taken in 1960.

There will be more and I rather hope that someone will come forward and share their pictures and perhaps even have a few of the inside of each house.

The added bonus would be a few stories of what it was like to live in no 200 and no 198.

As a historian I would be fascinated to see what there is, as would Mr Armistead who is currently developing the two properties.

All of which is a good point to stop.

You can contact me by leaving a comment on the blog.

Location; Manchester

Pictures; Allied Librarie,  202 Upper Chorlton Road, m40870 no 202, m40865 and 198, m40864, Downes A H m40870, courtesy of Manchester Libraries, Information and Archives, Manchester City Council,,  Upper Chorlton Road, 1894, courtesy of Digital Archives Association,

*Armistead Properties,

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