Harry Rutherford's
Festival of Britain Mural

Monday, 27 June 2011

The Gardens, Hyde Junction

We are delighted to show this article on here which was sent in to us by Dave Davis and hope you enjoy reading it as much as we did!

Thanks very Much, Dave - A very interesting piece, indeed!

A History Of The Gardens, Hyde Junction

By David Davies, former tenant.

I had the great privilege of spending the first five and most formative years of my life at The Gardens.  My world until the age of 5 was small, secure and enclosed.  The length of four houses and the same width.  The width measured by a roughly paved access road and on the opposite side the gardens to the houses.  It was named The Gardens.  The way in from the south being via a steep cobbled path or ‘brew’.  The steepness emphasised by the name the local postman gave to the house ‘kiss arse gardens’.  The way out to the north was through factory gates, the houses at one time being tied to Beeley’s Iron Works.  By the 50’s it had become Rhodes Oven Works, security had been less well kept and the houses, though’ still belonging to the factory no longer tied.  My granddad, at the top house was a wagon driver for Rhodes and ‘nanny’ Doris the cleaner.  Great granddad Ned (Papa) at the bottom house had been the night watchman until he retired.  This role being taken on by granddad George when the long distances became too much.

The first house as you came up the brew was the most modern and the biggest a red brick house, Number2.  Despite it being the most recent it still only had an outside lav and no bath.  Hot water was provided via a large set boiler in the back kitchen.  When I was born Ned and Mary Anne Higgins lived there (Papa and Papa’s nan).  Ours was the next house, number 1! A tiny two up two down with back kitchen, the walls were rendered with cement.  Outside lav about ten yards form the door and adjacent to the outhouses for number 2.  The out houses, sheds, midden and lavs formed one block.  The lavatory was a broad board seat on a brick stanchion with a large galvanised bucket to collect the cess.  This could be removed from a small door at the side of the privy and once a week a corporation cart would come to take the contents away.  It was freezing out there in winter so one did not linger and up to a certain age the ‘po’ could be used and emptied out in daylight.  No toilet rolls, squares of newspaper, punched and hung from a string.

The living room to numbers one and two had an old-fashioned iron range fireplace with a selection of trivets and an oven.  The oven was no longer suitable for cooking it having been superseded by a gas oven but it was a handy place for drying washing and warming clothes and bedding.   Off that we had small dining room heated by a gas fire and beyond that the kitchen, simply equipped with the oven, a gas boiler and mangle for washing and the brown slop stone sink.  The window above the sink looked out over a small makeshift garden onto the privy wall.  I think the opposite wall had a back door but I do not remember using it.  I think it led into Grandma Beswick’s back yard.  She lived in the adjoining house, number 3 and the reason for a door into a neighbour’s yard was that at one time this had been one house. During its history this property had been an Inn.

About 1850 a large coaching inn was added and built in such a way as to extend the house already standing in that the front bedroom now extended into the new property.

Two double bedrooms had fireplaces that were no longer serviceable so in the worst of the weather the chill was taken off them by a “Beatrice” paraffin heater placed at the top of the stairs.

The security was nothing to do with gates and cul-de-sacs.  The boundaries were never really defined except that within the square that was the Gardens we had complete freedom to roam and visit any of the houses as they were all occupied by our extended family.

This family connection started in 1885 when another house was built and the first occupant was my great great grandfather Thomas Higgins.  There would be Higgins’s at The Gardens until the houses were condemned in 1956 due to the lack of inside toilets and baths.

Early beginnings, gardens and the inn

The start of the oral history of the gardens comes from one George Eaton of Atlanta, Georgia, USA.  In the year that Dukinfield was given its Charter of Incorporation Eaton was prompted to record his living memories.  He sent them to the Ashton Reporter   and it was published in four parts between May and June of 1900.

The opening explanation from The Reporter is as follows:
A long manuscript has been handed to us by the gentleman in Dukinfield to whom it has been addressed, the writer having desired that the reminiscences contained in it should be published in the Reporter. It was not originally intended for publication. It was merely written as an easy pastime at idle moments when he was in the humour, and given in the form of a letter to his friend. We give the first portion this week, and other parts will follow in due course: —
Exposition Mills, Atlanta, G.A., U.S.A.
George Eaton recalls – “About where the top end part of Beeley’s boiler works stand there was over sixty years ago a small boilermaking works, and at the top end of the works a house stood close to the works; close by the end of the house was a footpath to the top of the bank, and that ran past that small apology of a pleasure garden to Bennet-lane. In the year 1837 old Johnson Brook-road, with its banks and braes, and trees, brook, and dingle, was a true type of an English country lane. From those houses in Newton Wood the nearest houses would be one near to the workshops of the company and near to the canal, the house near the boiler works, two old houses at the top end of the lane, but as they stood on the other side of the brook they were in Newton, and not a long distance from the Cotton Tree Inn.”

With grateful acknowledgement to Ian Rhodes who published this in his “Rhodes Family History” http://www.rhodesfamily.org.uk/

You will see from the map below dated 1873 that the gardens are still intact.


The Census records give further information.  In the 1841 Census there is a house listed off Johnson Brook Road as Newton Wood and the occupants are an agricultural labourer and his family, Moses Tunnacliffe.

The 1851 Census list an address “Foundry Brow” off Johnson Brook which could well be The Gardens.

The first clear record in the census is of a Botanical Gardens on the 1861 census listing William Hinchcliffe, Inn Keeper as living there (RG9/2992) along with his wife Elizabeth and children, Lavinia, Robert, Martha and Elizabeth. On the 1851 Census Hinchcliffe is listed as a tailor living on Muslin Street (Talbot Road).

By 1871 there is no record of The Botanical Gardens but there is a Publican, Joseph Oldham at Johnson Brook.

It is possible that this was part of the Newton Hall estate which was cut off from the main estate with the building of the Manchester Sheffield railway in 1841.  This might explain why in 1841 the houses are occupied by an agricultural worker, by 1851 a coal miner and as the work of the railway progresses, taking a branch of the Manchester – Sheffield railway from Hyde Junction into the centre of Hyde by 1858 then becomes an Inn.

Until 1867 there was a small workshop and foundry on Johnson Brook Road owned by a man named Rains.  Thomas Beeley, a former employee of the local boilermaker’s Daniel Adamson, took this over on 1 May 1867.  Beeley slowly acquired all the land from Johnson Brook Road to the Manchester – Sheffield Railway line developing the factory, brick yard, kilns and taking on the Inn and developing it into houses for his workers.

The 1881 census now records the houses as Beeley’s Houses and at number one resides Wright Arnfield, Grocer, along with his wife Ellen and children William, Hannah, Joseph and John.  There is now another house 2 Beeley’s Gardens and William Wright, night watchman lives there with his wife Jane and children Henry, Elizabeth and Mary.

By 1886 the area had been surveyed again and you will now see that the old inn has been divided, a yard marked out by a brick wall and the stables built on.  The new house, Number 2 is now shown on the map.


The actual gardens have now disappeared, the factory extended and the chimney and a crane erected on land formerly taken up by gardens.

The 1891 census now list the address as Hyde Junction Gardens and the occupants are at number one William Bains, (Ancestry.com lists him as William Davids – a misreading) his wife Harriett and nephews George Morton and John Sedery.

Thomas and Mary Higgins are now at number two with their children Elizabeth Ann, William Edwin, Sarah Jane, Thomas, Alice Higgins now Corfield and John Bailey, lodger. This was the start of a dynasty that would occupy and enjoy The Gardens until they were condemned in 1957 and finally demolished in 1968.

At number 3 is Wright Arnfield, Coachman with his wife Ellen, son William, also a coachman and other children Annie, Joseph, John, Tom and Elizabeth E.

By 1901 Thomas Higgins, his son Thomas and Alice and John Corfield and family are at number 2, William and Helen Noble and children William, Alice and Annie are at number 3 and at number 1 we have Wright Rowbotham, carter, his wife Elizabeth and children George, Lily Ann and Florence S.

Doris Higgins, my grandmother, was born at 2 The Gardens in 1899. Doris Married George Davies from Sandbach and they lived at the gardens until the houses were condemned.

The numbering was strange.  The picture below shows the factory after it had been extended and the boiler house added.  The larger house to the left of the chimney which is pebble dashed was the former Botanical Gardens.  This was divided when the detached red-brick house was added.  The red brick was number 2, the smaller part of the pebble dashed building number 1 and the larger part number 3.  Some years later the smaller part was again sub-divided leaving the numbering as:- Detached red brick number 2; first cottage number 1; second cottage number 3 and the larger part of the pebble dashed building number 4.  The dividing left rooms of odd proportions as number 3 had a very long bedroom at the front which went over the alleyway and into number 4.


The oil painting below shows the entrance to number 1 now by the side of the house.  The window above the front door of the house on the right belongs to the cottage coloured yellow.


Access to The Gardens was from Johnson Brook Road via a steep, narrow cobbled path or “brew”, walled in at either side.  The gradient was recorded by the local postman in the 1940’s who dubbed it “kiss arse gardens” in that one had to walk single file and the hill was so steep that this defined the relationship between the person behind and the one in front.
Access from Bennett Street was a path across the field, roughly following the line of the railway.  In the 1940’s, William Edwin ‘Ned’ Higgins single-handedly built a brick road some 220 metres long by 3 metres wide to connect The Gardens with the start of Carter Street.  It was robust enough to carry the lorries delivering bricks and machinery to Beeley’s.


The Gardens are just visible in this aerial photo from Tameside Archives, top centre.


During the first 50 years of the twentieth century The Gardens would be tenanted by
Thomas and Mary Higgins (nee Bennett) and family.
William Edwin and Mary Ann (nee Dixon) Higgins and family.
Sam and Dorothy Beckett, long time leaders with Rosemount Chapel.
The Winterbottoms, the Beswicks.
Albert and May Ryder
Arnold and Mary Davies (nee Leah)
Alan and Kathleen Davies (nee Lowe)
Sid and May Booth

After Beeley’s the factory was Rhodes’s Oven Works then George Corner and Son.  It has now been split into industrial units.

All that is left now (2008) is the brick wall that was built for extra security for the factory when the houses were vacated in 1957 and the back wall of the former number 2.


This wall can be seen on the Google earth image just in front of the single white car.


The postcode for the factory is SK14 4RB


1 comment:

Tom said...

Fantastic post and great information and memories from Dave.
I do like the painting as well.... Johnston Brook would have been such a nice area at one time that's for sure... I love the brick road and can well imagine the pride of a 'job well done' when it was complete.... I'd like to think a few of them bricks are there abouts still.
The Botanical Gardens is a pub that as been well erased from memory now and is one to add to Paul's book on the local pubs if ever it gets up-dated again.