Monday, 6 March 2017

Walking into Stretford along Edge Lane in 1847

Now if I wanted to walk to Stretford from the village in the late spring of 1847 I would have used the old road.

It started at Hardy Lane as a foot path twisted and turned its way following the course of the Brook at one point before skirting the church and green and going off across Turn Moss, under the Duke’s Canal and coming out at the pump opposite the Cock Inn.

It is a road I have written about before* so instead I think I will take Edge Lane which if you were at all of an inquisitive nature would be a better choice, for it offered you a chance of gazing over some fine houses.

So Edge Lane it is, starting at the green with its farmhouses and pubs and then out along the road which took you to the junction with High Lane.

Now I said it gave you a chance to gaze on some fine house but most of these are set back in their own gardens.  This is particularly true of Longford house the home of the Walker family from the early 19th century.

They too are a family who I have written about, Thomas Walker was a Manchester politician, radial and businessman who is buried in the parish church yard, and his son Charles was a noted author.  But there home like its successor Longford Hall was some distance away from the road and not therefore easily visible.

Nor so Edge House home of George and Mary Bannister who farmed 150 acres of land and employed eight men.  Their home was up a long winding lane set in an orchard.

There were of course more humble homes, along the way which were lived in by James Cain, carpenter,James Hodcroft, market gardener and William Barlow florist.

And then there was Peel House, the last before the canal.  I think it dates from after the 1830s, had its own lodge house, orchard and gardens and was the home of Norbury family who included an inspector of houses, a retired cotton merchant and a solicitor’s clerk.

I would have liked to have seen Peel House, and there are photographs but these are the property of Trafford Libraries who guard their copyright.  Had I arrived just a few years earlier in Manchester and I might have seen the building for myself, but it was demolished in 1967.

Like all such walks what you saw depended on when you walked the walk.

So a little earlier in the decade and there would a have been a few meaner cottages, while  just into the next decade and beyond Peel House the home of Thomas Massey who lived by the new railway station and was employed as a railway porter.

Fast forward just another 30 years and this end of Edge Lane would have been dominated by a series of large houses with impressive sounding names like Standish House, Fern Bank, Wansbeck House and Beech House.

But the 1880s and 90s are out of my comfort zone, I as many know prefer to walk the fields and lanes of the township in the years before 1850.

So I shall close with a place that would have been easily accessible both from the old road and Edge Lane and this was Turn Moss Farm. It is mentioned in some of the histories of Stretford, was the subject of plenty of photographs and is remembered by my old friend Alan Brown who worked for the farmer during the last war.  Bu that is a story for another time.

Location; Chorlton, Manchester

*http://chorltonhistory.blogspot.co.uk/search/label/The%20Old%20Road
**http://chorltonhistory.blogspot.co.uk/2012/01/childhood-memories-of-war-service-farm.html

Pictures; detail of Edge Lane from the OS map of Lancashire 1841-53, and Hennet’s map of Lancashire 1830 courtesy of Digital Archives, http://www.digitalarchives.co.uk/ and looking across Turn Moss circa 1950s, from the collection of David Bishop

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