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John Ellis's profile

About me

Fascinated to discover this site, because it shows a considerable number of aerial views of the south Manchester area, where I grew up, as it was in the 1920s when much of it was still rural.

Most of the subsequent development took place during the 1930s and was before my time, but the last burst of building on green fields between the Mersey and the Bollin I do recall, because it happened during my primary school years in the early '50s when wartime building restrictions were finally lifted.

So I remember at least some bits and pieces which were still farms and open fields in my time; and the train services which ran, until Dr Beeching swung his axe, calling at railway stations - some of which were still lit by gas and oil and gave you LMS tickets! - which have long been obliterated by housing or light industry.

And some of the maps on sale then hadn't quite caught up with the latest house-building, and still showed the names of farms and lanes which had already vanished.

Soon no one, except a few local history buffs, will remember anything of the area as it used to be. So I thought it might be worthwhile, in this archive, to mark the lanes, farms and woods - especially in the Wythenshawe area and around Manchester Airport where the changes have been near-total - so that the photos do make some sort of sense to anyone who's managed to lay hold of an old map and tries to use it to interpret the photos.

Which has brought back some half-forgotten memories - including the thought that there can't now be that many people around who, like me, have walked along a field footpath that ran under the tarmac of the apron of the Airport's Terminal 2. Or along the centre of what's now the M60 motorway ...!

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James, I took the name "Beccles Farm" from the Ordnance Survey maps of 1875 and 1910. If you want to take a look, the maps are available on line via the Cheshire Archives and Local studies website. Click on "Tithe Maps Online" and search for the township of Baguley; they have old OS maps as well as the tithe maps. I lived about helf a mile from the farmhouse at the same time as you lived there, and remember it well. By then, of course, the farmland was built over and it was just a house at the end a suburban road distinguished only by being older and a bit bigger than its neighbours. Indeed, I think it may be there still, though I haven't been that way for some years now. But I never remember it having a house name sign - at least an obvious one, which is why I just relied on the maps for the name.
John Ellis's picture
John Ellis
Monday 4th May 5:59pm
Hi John, You make reference to Beccles Farm on Maple Rd. I lived in that house from 1956 when my father rented it from Manchester Corporation. We knew it as Birtles Farm though. I think it had been empty for a while having previously been occupied by a Mr Hughson who, I think, was a dairy farmer.
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James Doran
Monday 27th April 7:13pm
Living in Hazel Grove now. I left the area in 1964 to go to university in Wales and stayed in those parts for 20 years. Then came back in '84 and lived successively in Cheadle Heath, Hawk Green (Marple), Didsbury and, now, Hazel Grove. When I was a kid the west end of Baguley and some adjacent bits of Timperley were still semi-rural, with market gardens and greenhouses, and I caught steam trains from Baguley station which was still lit by gas! Virtually nothing of that left by the time I came back in '84! Looking back, it seems idyllic; but probably that's a trick memory plays on all of us when we think back to childhood and teenage years! But, like you, I miss it ...
John Ellis's picture
John Ellis
Wednesday 14th January 10:13am
Where are you now john ? are you still Wythenshawe based? like yourself i'm an old Wthenshawe lag who misses some of those old roads and places
brian chadwick's picture
brian chadwick
Tuesday 13th January 5:55pm
... not to mention a grey and white cat called Hermes that would chase anything that moved ...
John Ellis's picture
John Ellis
Thursday 17th July 8:57pm
... and a little dog called Dandy Boy that hung out with the road sweeper up Riddings Road ...
John Ellis's picture
John Ellis
Thursday 17th July 8:54pm
Ah, memory gets sluggish with advancing years, but it does seep back after a little while. Jonathan L. from no 3 - son of George and Eunice (Reena), brother of Rory, and a grandma who lived up round Acresfield Road? Has to be ...
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John Ellis
Thursday 17th July 8:51pm
Funny humorous or funny strange? Either way, the answer's yes - at least up to 1964, and then part time until 1969, and occasionally thereafter until 1986. But you have the edge on me - the only Jonathan I remember from those days was an H., not an L. ...
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John Ellis
Tuesday 15th July 12:42pm
John Ellis from St Ives Crescent? How funny to find you on this site.
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Jonathan L
Monday 14th July 11:07pm
Stretford Station info: the answer is yes! Because between September 1959 and some point around 1963 I used the station daily travelling to and from school. The station had four platforms; if I remember rightly, 1 was the westerly one for north-bound trains, backing on to the canal; 2 & 3 formed an island platform in the middle; and, the easterly one, behind the houses on Hapton Avenue, off Kings Road. 1 & 2 were only used by one or two trains a peak times, usually to allow Chester trains - which in steam days usually ran non-stop between Manchester and Altrincham (though when the diesels came in, they also stopped at Sale) - to overtake the slower stopping Manchester-Altrincham electric. For most of the day only 3 & 4 would be used. The line split into two just after Old Trafford station (now Metrolink Trafford Bar) and rejoined just before Sale station, so Dane Road, Stretford and Warwick Road (now Metrolink Old Trafford) were the only three stations on the line which had the four platforms. They were substantial structures, with brick-built ladies' and general waiting rooms, toilets, plus a staff/parcels offices on - I think - the middle platform, and with all four platforms covered for the three quarters of their length at the booking office/Edge Lane end by a high. grubby and obviously deteriorating glass and wood canopy. The four lines were curtailed, and the brick and timber platform structures pulled down - and replaced by bus shelters! - after I'd moved away - maybe in the '70s, but I'm not sure.
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John Ellis
Monday 10th March 11:36am
Hi John, I couldn't help but notice your annotation of some old aerial pictures of Stretford that I found fantastic to see. I'm quite the geek when it comes to buildings, railways, local history and in all my internet geekery had never found this site before. Shocking I know! I've been forever trying to search for old pictures of Stretford railway station and a couple on here are the closest I've come! I had always wondered if it had more than one platform and more than 2 lines running through it and these pictures seem to suggest just that. I don't suppose you know any more info at all?
LJK's picture
Sunday 9th March 11:58pm
"... and the former Congregational (now "Full Gospel") church which still stands at the corner of Altrincham Road with the old and truncated Floats Road". I went past there the other day for the first time in quite a while and saw that the church too has now gone, along with - as far as I could see - all vestiges of what used to be that bit of Floats Road.
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John Ellis
Tuesday 14th January 9:44pm
Hi Lewis. Yes, not much of the old remains around the old sanitorium, or indeed around Baguley in general: agriculture/market gardening is now almost entirely defunct (the very few open fields left being unused even for grazing) and not many of the old properties left. Dobbinetts Lane is an exception to the latter, though the old Methodist church is now converted into a house. And one crumbling and empty old house remains - or did until recently - as a relic of Shady Lane in the heart of the Roundthorn industrial estate. The "bottom village" of Baguley, along Altrincham Road, has vanished entirely with the exception of a couple of cottages on the south side not far from the old "Royal Oak", and the former Congregational (now "Full Gospel") church which still stands at the corner of Altrincham Road with the old and truncated Floats Road. Much more of the original "top village", along Wythenshawe Road from the Gardener's Arms to Woodwise Lane, still survives, along with the odd house further south towards Altrincham Road. There must be hardly anyone around now who can remember Baguley when it was entirely rural, but I'm just old enough to recall the time when Southmoor Road hadn't been constructed and when there was very little new building west of the present line of Southmoor Road and there will still plenty of working market gardens. And, of course, when the old, gas-lit, railway station was still open, as that lasted into the mid-'60s.
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John Ellis
Thursday 2nd January 4:46pm
Hi John, I love the commentary on alot of the Manchester and surrounding area pics, very helpful indeed. I'm addicted to this site after I discovered it this morning! Baguley Sanitorium pictures are great, such a terrible shame most of it has now sadly gone. It's almost heartbreaking to see some of these buildings slipping into the past as they all disappear and are replaced. All the best to you! Lewis
Woodford's picture
Thursday 2nd January 12:26am
Hello Lee ... Glad to know that you found my tags useful. Your knowledge of Moss Nook and Heyhead will be greater than mine; I grew up on the borders of Baguley, Brooklands and Timperley in the '50s and early '60s, so Moss Nook, being four or five miles away, was a bit beyond the area where I routinely wandered on my feet or on my bike. But I developed a fascination for maps, and bought, or was given, quite a variety of them, portraying the area as it was over the years between around 1910 and the early 1950s, and I still have them fifty years later. They helped a lot in identifying the names of farms and houses, even in the areas I didn't know too well. Also really useful were the on-line maps on the Cheshire Record Office website, which cover the period between the tithe commutation maps (in our area mostly late 1830s and 1840s) and the later ordnance survey maps (c. 1875 and 1910). If you're interested, do a net search for "Cheshire Archives and Local Studies" and when it comes up, click on "Tithe Maps On-line" at the top of the page. Put the township name in the search field - for Moss Nook and Heyhead, it's Northen Etchells, Northenden. You'll then be able to compare, in parallel panes, the streets and houses as they are now with the countryside as it was in the 1840s, the 1870s and in the period just before the first world war, with the ability to magnify the map if you need to. Good luck - hope you enjoy!
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John Ellis
Monday 4th November 8:12pm
Hi John Just a quick line to say thanks for adding your comments - very helpful. Weve had some fun looking at this site - My mum (now 72) lived at Highfield House,across the road from the Airport Hotel, in the 1940s/50s. Her name was Dorothy Hancock, one of 6 children of Fred and Kathleen Hancock- Noel, Brian,the twins Elizabeth and Margeret, Dorothy and Maurice. She is amazed to see the house in a couple of the pictures, which Ive marked. All that farmland gone! Sad. They all went to Shadow Moss School. The family moved out in 1953 when the house was demolished for the new council estate and roads to be built. Eventually my grandparents ended up in Styal, where they lived until they died - Fred died aged 90 in 2004, and there is a bench bearing his name by the old post office in Styal village, across the road from The Ship Inn. I lived at 64 Ringway Road in late 60's-1976, when we then moved south to Hampshire. I remember walking to Fullaloves corner shop on Woodhouse lane for groceries, and my Dad had an allotment across the road from there, which Ive marked as well. We also went to Bracegirdles at Moss Nook. Amazingly my Dads childhood home is also shown on this site, in Wellfield Road, near Wythenshawe Park, which Ive also marked. 8 of them lived in a 2 up 2 down council house - Bernard and Ethel, and 6 kids - Bernard, Annie, Angela, twins Gerard and Margaret, and my dad Terance. We used to visit my Grandma there, and its still there today. regards Lee Morris
Lee's picture
Wednesday 30th October 5:43am
Sorry, Stephen, no knowledge of it, or even detailed memory. I only know of it because I grew up about three miles away and still have a collection of old maps which I got hold of back in the 1950s. The name of the house appears on one of them.
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John Ellis
Friday 10th May 5:35pm
I notice you put a pin on Brockhurst. This was a house that my Great Great Grandfather lived in. Do you have any more information about it?
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Stephen Ross
Thursday 25th April 10:09am
Interesting to read your reminicences of Sale. My memories run between the early 1950s and the mid-'60s when I went to university and, in the usual way, my focus of interest shifted elsewhere. My memory of Sale Council's tip is that it was accessed off Rifle Road, the lane that led from near the Old Hall (north-east of Sale Moor) across the river to Chorlton via the Bridge Inn, Jackson's Boat and Hardy Lane. It covered the tract of land north-west of Rifle Road and extended roughly to Cow Lane, north of Dane Road and adjacent to Arnesby Avenue. That area of land's now on the perimeter of Sale Water Park. Samuel Brooks (known, affectionately or otherwise, to his tenants as "owd stink-o'-brass" was a corn merchant from Whalley who established himself around 1845-50 in Manchester, diversified into banking, land and property and made a bomb. One of his early lucrative ventures was to buy the moss adjacent to Moss Side, drain it, and then flog plots of land off to businessmen keen to build themselves pleasant villas on the fringe of Manchester. He called the area "Whalley Range", after his native village. He ended up owning very large tracts of land south of Manchester, including much of Sale, Baguley and Carrington, where he drained the moss and then rented the land out to farmers and market gardeners. "Brooklands" takes its name from his, as a consequence of another speculation involving the acquisition of land and the building of a long, straight road from Marsland Road to the Altrincham-Wilmslow Road, the idea again being that business men would fancy living out in the country once the Machester-Altrincham railway was opened in 1851 and commuting became feasible. Brooks persuaded the railway company to open an additional station to serve his new suburb, which they named "Brooklands". His son, Sir William Cunliffe Brooks, became later in the 19th century MP for East Cheshire and was a landowner along the Mersey from Stockport to Partington. Although we lived a couple of miles from the centre of Sale, south of the brook in what was technically (though not postally) Baguley, Wythenshawe and Manchester, in my youngest days my parents viewed Sale as their town, and I too got taken to Worthington Park and recall leaping on the stone lions. I remember there was an iron cannon too - and a really high brass slide which seemed enormously high to a four year old, but in reality probably wasn't! My mother used to push me down Hope Road in a pram as a tiny, and I recall looking through the hawthorn hedge across the railway and the canal to Springfield Road houses and school. Not because I was a precociously geographical tot, but because I was always fascinated by that six-coach train that was shunted into the central siding south of Sale station until it was needed at rush hour; and because St Paul's clock - "the clock that tells Sale the time" - used to intrigue me when it struck the hour. Like you, I moved away and for years I was t'other end of Wales. Even when I came back, it was to Stockport - just far enough from Sale not to go in that direction very often. So it's a bit of a strange land now, especially because my occasional visits have demonstrated that quite a lot has changed in the intervening years. But some of the memories remain vivid ...
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John Ellis
Monday 14th January 5:51pm
I too was fascinated to find this site, quite by accident - I had googled "Rosherville Gardens" after reading an interesting article about it on the BBC website and when I followed a link to a photograph it brought me here. I grew up in Sale in the late 1950s/60s/70s and also remember before they built the M63, as it was then. My father used to take me to the tip, which as I recall was somewhere alongside the River Mersey on the way to Stretford. I guess it would be somewhere near the slip road from Cross Street up onto the M60, as it is now. I remember rooting through piles of furniture, all kinds of belongings...everything just seemed to be piled up in heaps, and everybody just seemed to help themselves to whatever they wanted! The house I grew up in, and which my grandparents got for a song because it was haunted (it was! I was scared to death!), was called "Brookfield" because it was built on land owned by Samuel Brooks, who donated a lot of land in the Sale area. In fact, if you go to google street view and zoom in on the original gateposts, you can still see the name - "Brook" and "Field"! I don't live here now and haven't done since 1982. I went to Springfield School on Springfield Road, which is directly across the railway and the canal from my house in Hope Road. When I was able to walk to school on my own I used to go into the playground and wave to my mother, who used to stand at the bathroom window and wave back! She liked to make sure I had got there safely! From looking at google street view, the infants' playground appears to be a teachers' car park these days :( The Brooks Institute in Ashton on Mersey was built by Brooks. He also built Brooklands Road, and I was amazed to see just how rural it was in another photograph on this site. JP Joule grew up on Wardle Road, and there is a statue of him in Worthington Park. I used to play on the stone lions in the park (there used to be three but now only one remains and that has been relocated a couple of times). I used to go to Manchester Airport when it was still called Ringway and go through the turnstiles at the back and watch the planes from the piers. I vaguely remember lots of little lanes around the back of the airport, somewhere near the Airport Hotel, although these have long gone. My father was a paratrooper in the war and used to train at Ringway, doing his training jumps over Tatton Park. I used to go to the Galleon Baths in Didsbury in the 1960s and, from what I recall, you went down a little country lane to get to it. I've managed to find the entrance of the lane on google street view, but it's far from a country lane these days! I live in Penwortham, Preston now. I haven't been back to Sale for about 30 years and find it fascinating to see the Sale (and other places) of yesteryear!
mariaud999's picture
Wednesday 26th December 1:42am
Interesting to hear from someone who knew it - or, at any rate, knew about it! I've responded more fully on the thread associated with the photo. No more market gardening in East Didsbury any more - most of the land, being near the river and too low-lying and subject to flooding, is now used as private sports grounds. The only relic of farming which remains is the use (at least until very recently) of a few of the fields to graze cattle from the community farm based at Wythenshawe Park.
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John Ellis
Friday 12th October 8:27pm
John Great to see your pin over Willow Bank Farm - I would not have thought anyone could have remembered it being there. It was my G Grandfather who lived there around the turn of the 19/20th century as a base for the family nursery business where my grandfather was the greenhouse manager. Rgds Doug Rogerson
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Friday 12th October 2:56pm
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