This page has been very kindly provided by John Medley who was brought up in Bollington but moved away in about 1970.
These old cottages stood on Palmerston Street opposite the chip shop. They were entirely demolished in the early 1970’s and the modern property in close proximity is in fact slightly to the left of the original site. For ten years up to 1954, I lived at number 26, the left hand and bigger of the two cottages. That it had originally been built as a farmhouse was evident from the remaining outbuildings in the backyard/garden. Immediately above the front door, under the eaves, was a date stone that I am fairly sure from memory said 1756.
The cottages were rented from the Parrott family who lived further down Palmerston Street at Beech House (now demolished) by the entrance to Tullis Russell, and I believe the rent was 10 shillings (50p) per week. The Parrott family also owned the field behind the cottages (always referred to as Parrott’s field) that was used by St. John’s school as a playing field. The large Anderson style air-raid shelters that occupied about half of the field were not removed until well into the 1950’s, although two large brick-built shelters with concrete roofs that stood in the north-east and north-west corners of the field were demolished in the late 1940’s.
The cottages were simple two-up and two-down, with solid stone walls at least 18 inches thick. There was an outside toilet at the back shared by both cottages. The solid timber front door was always left wide open during the day. It opened into a small vestibule with a half-glazed internal door which in turn opened into the front room. Whilst electricity had been installed, there were still working gaslights in the front room lit by gas mantles and attached by brackets to the wall. The only source of heat was from a coal-fired range in the front room and, of course, no hot running water. There was a single cold tap in the back kitchen above a large, shallow, stone sink, commonly called a ‘slopstone’. Water was heated in a free-standing gas boiler on the kitchen floor and, as children, the weekly bath was taken in a metal bathtub in front of the fire. In a corner of the kitchen was a large walk-in larder with stone shelves. The staircase went up between the front room and kitchen with a large storage cupboard beneath the stairs. The two bedrooms were well up in the roof space, and it was difficult to stand upright much further than halfway across the rooms because of the slope of the roof.
The raised stone platform in front of the cottages extended right out to the road, and the steps down to the road were originally centrally placed between the two cottages. The perimeter wall surrounding the platform was a mere 12 inches high, and there were no protective railings. The alterations seen in the picture were carried out in the 1960’s when the front part of the platform was removed to create space for the footpath.
A family called Warburton lived next door at number 28. They had two children, Margaret and Tony, but they emigrated to Australia circa 1949/50. The next occupiers were Jack Brown and his wife Dorothy (nee Walker), whose parents, Alf & Florence Walker, lived next door at number 30. When we left number 26, the tenancy was taken by the Dale family, Mrs Dale being Lavinia ‘Vinnie’ Mills whose parents lived in Church Street.
26 – Benjamin Press (b.1880) and wife Sarah (b.1883)
28 – Harold Booth (b.?) and wife Alice (b.1904)
30 – Alfred Walker (b.1900) and wife Florence
26 – John Hopper (age 64)
28 – Arthur & Minnie Hough (both aged 32), and their two sons, Walter and Colin
30 – Mary Bunting (aged 76)
Earlier census returns are more difficult because they all lack numbers to the houses, but if we take Mary Bunting (nee Turner) as the constant, then it is possible to deduce the occupants of Nos. 26 & 28, at least for the 1891 and 1901 census returns. This is what I think based on local landmarks, eg. The Meridian pub:
26 – Jane Gardiner (widow aged 24)
28 – Emma Bradley (aged 26) and three other single Bradley sisters, Minnie, Maud and Bertha
30 – Mary Bunting (aged 66)
26 – William Gatley (?) aged 42
28 – William Biddulph (aged 67)
30 – Mary Bunting (aged 56)
In 1881, Mary Bunting and husband, Benjamin, were living on Mount Pleasant, which doesn’t help!
1901 is particularly interesting because the four Bradley sisters at No. 28 were the nieces of Mary Bunting at No. 30. Mary was sister to their mother Alice (nee Turner), and the sisters had been orphaned in the 1880’s leaving Mary with a significant part to play in their upbringing. The occupant of No. 26, Jane Gardiner (nee Bradley), was another sister. She married Arthur Gardiner in 1897 but was widowed in 1900 when her husband drowned in the Oak Bank mill pond at the bottom of Shrigley Road, reportedly a suicide!
In 1911, Minnie Hough living at No. 28 was the Minnie Bradley who had been living in the same house in 1901. She married Arthur Hough (1879-1962) in 1905, and they had four children, Walter (1906-1961), Colin (1909-1983), Leslie (1911-1973), and Kathleen (1918-1985). Minnie died in 1936 aged 57.
Why do I know all this? The Maud A Bradley living at No. 28 in 1901 was my grandmother. She married Samuel Wright in 1904 and their daughter, Alice, was my mother.
Our thanks go specifically to John Medley whose memories and researched census information present an interesting history of this location. We also thank John for the historic picture.
Our thanks go to all those who researched and discovered the history that is presented in these pages. Please read the full acknowledgement of their remarkable achievement.
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