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By Helen Morgan

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First Published 6/7/2021
Last Updated 23/8/2022

 

From Brook House to a boxing kangaroo, I kid you not!!

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Esso Petrol Station Finney Lane c 2021 CB comparison.jpg

Fig. 1a Esso Garage, Westminster Bank
and Beech House behind the trees 1957

© Ratepayers' Association
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Fig. 1b Beech Shopping Parade in 2021
© Colin Barnsley
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The land that the shops would be built on can be seen on the tithe map of 1841 as belonging to John Worthington, alongside his tanyard and bark mill. It was classed as a small plot, numbered 364  .  When Cheadle Royal was built in 1848, houses were also built in the community for their patients  . The house built near the Tanyard for patients was called Brook House  .
At some point Brook House was renamed Beech House   .  

 

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Heald Green Tithe Map Colour b - waterma

Fig. 2a The Location of Tanyard & Bark Mill Tithe Map 1841
© F. & T. Mitchell / St. James Church
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Fig. 2b Brook House, OS Map, 1888-1913 (with 2020 overlay)
© ARCHI Information Sytems Ltd 2020
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Beech House

Beech House was next to Rogerson’s garage in the 1920s and was owned by the Ward Jones family   . The house became Heald Green High school, a private school for 50 children aged 11-15   . During the war it was an Air Raid Precaution Post with a siren on top and cellars for use as air raid shelters  . 

 

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"I remember Beech House [in the 1920s] on the left hand side of Finney Lane, where the [Ed: Tesco Store] store is now. It was owned by Cheadle Royal for their patients as part of the idea of living in the community. We used to love watching the landaus with four grey horses drive out, taking patients for a ride into the countryside."
- Gladys Short, Linkline Memories, 2013

"When in the Junior Red Cross [in WWII] , I didn't see much of the rooms in Beech House, though I do remember high ceilings, desks and walls, disfigured by cream and brown paints; but do recollect a handsome staircase sweeping up from the entrance hall and the beautiful beech tree at the front, with its wonderful autumn colours."
- Anne Rushton, Linkline Memories, 2014

"[One private school was at 6 Outwood Drive]. The other private school was established at Beech House on Finney Lane, and known as Heald Green High School. It catered for up to 50 pupils in the age range from 8-15 and the headmaster was Mr. Spoonly. They wore brown uniforms.  We called them 'swankpots'.  At home-time, if our two schools [Anne attended Cheadle Etchells] should happen to meet, there would always be a fight. Eventually the school moved to Gatley and became known as Gatley High School."
- Anne Rushton, Linkline Memories, 2014

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The aerial map of 1959 shows a swathe of trees within which the buildings can just be seen   . 

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Fig. 2c Aerial Photo of Heald Green, 1959
© English Heritage
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In the Contact magazine of February 1963, the Ratepayers talk of “vandalism” at Beech House. They had tried hard to press for Tree Preservation Orders to save some of the remaining trees in Heald Green. They were not happy that “when a developer buys land, he can destroy trees that have been growing for centuries and the council are powerless to stop him. At Beech House some most beautiful trees have been felled and the face of that part of Heald Green has been completely changed”. They go on to say that planning permission had been given where Beech House "formerly" had stood. So by early 1963 the house had already gone. There were to be 11 two-storey shops similar in design to those already built opposite Outwood Road on Finney Lane. It was hoped that the shops would be built by Christmas 1963    .   
 

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Beech House 2 1962 RP.jpg

Fig. 2d Beech House 1962
© Ratepayers' Association
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The Copse on Finney Lane where the cafe now stands Beech House behind Fashionable pram 195

Fig. 2e The Copse on Finney Lane, behind which stands Beech House, date c 1957-1962
© Ratepayers' Association
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Fig. 2f Children look on as Beech House is demolished 1962
© Ratepayers' Association
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One such tree - although not protected by a Tree Preservation Order - does remain behind Tesco Express, on the car park that was built on the site of Beech House.  From its girth of 3m 18cms (10ft 5in) it was dated c1841, making it 180 years old.  Sadly this tree will be chopped down to make way for the building of flats above Tesco, by planning permission granted in 2019   .

I hope to preserve a part of this tree with the help of a wood sculptor, and have the artwork placed near to where the tree is now. Fingers crossed that I am eligible to get a grant for the work to be done. Councillor Carole McCann is helping me with this.

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Fig. 2g  Last Tree from Beech House 2021
© Helen Morgan
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Betfred Betting Shop - No. 236 Finney Lane

In the 1960s the Betfred shop was a small branch of the Westminster bank. The nearby District bank, formed in 1924, was on the corner of Neal Avenue. In 1962 the District Bank became the National Provincial Bank, and both banks later merged to form the National Westminster Bank, in 1968. For a while there were two Natwest banks in the village.

The premises eventually became part of LoCost food stores. Since 2008 Betfred the betting shop has been there.
 

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Fig. 3a Betfred Betting Shop 2021
© Colin Barnsley
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Fig. 3b Westminster Bank Logo pre 1968 before merger to become NatWest
© Natwest
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Tesco Express Supermarket - No. 232-234 Finney Lane

Originally, this was three separate units with a passageway. Tesco Express eventually altered the parade, amalgamating multiple units into a bigger retailing space, and also closing off the passageway that led shoppers to the car park at the back.
 
In the corner of the parade was Paragon Cleaners, declaring itself “now open” in the advertisement of March 1964. In December 1968 it was still “next to Mercury Market” on its advertising, By 1979 it had gone and Mercury Market had extended into that unit as well.

Mercury Market, run by the DeRooy grocer family, was first based in Greenway Road. By 1966 it was definitely operating in Beech Parade and was still there by 1979.

Lo-Cost foodstores moved in next, before 1996 and made the shop bigger by using the former Westminster Bank premises. The tills were in the now-Betfred part of the store, and you came out of the shop on that side. They stored all their food trolleys in a row down the side of the passageway; it was a tight squeeze.

The Co-op moved in until their new store was opened on July 14th 2005. Tesco Express closed off what is now BetFred and moved into the unit on the other side of the passageway, that was by this time, New Look (wallpaper and paint). Tesco Express bricked up the passageway and opened a larger store on 10th November 2006, and are still there now.

Fairhome was a wallpaper and paint shop. It started on the ground floor of what is now Main and Main’s premises on the nearby set of shops, moving location in 1963. Fairhome traded until 1983 and the premises became New Look in 1984.
 

"My gran used to work for 'Daddy D' of DeRooy's, and my Dad used to deliver orders on a pushbike like in 'Open All Hours'.”
- Richard Osbourne, 2021

"Betfred and Tesco Express used to be one larger store called Lo-Cost supermarket,  It was very cramped and had those annoying tiny shopping trolleys.”
- Richard Osbourne, 2021

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Fig. 4a Paragon Cleaners Advert
Contact Magazine, March 1964

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Fig. 4b Tesco Express Supermarket 2021
© Colin Barnsley
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St. Ann's Hospice Charity Shop - No. 230 Finney Lane

Ashley Shoes Ltd sold Clarks shoes and was there by Mar 1964, advertising in the Contact magazine. This shop went on to have different owners and names, selling ladies and children’s clothes. Shops included Second Thoughts, Labels for Less and possible Fashion Fayre. By the mid 2000s the shop was KC Kitchens.

Since August 2012 it has been St Ann’s Hospice charity shop.
 

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Fig. 5a Ashley Shoes Advert
Contact Magazine, March 1964

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Fig. 5b St. Ann's Hospice Charity Shop 2021
© Colin Barnsley
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Cafe Unity - No. 228 Finney Lane

Bambinos was run by Sonia DeRooy, daughter of the owner of Mercury Market and may well have been there from the start. It sold nursery goods, prams and cots upstairs and children’s toys downstairs and was there in 1979. Toddlers World took over next. In 1985 Kids ‘n’ Kards bought the shop off Toddlers World and traded until 1998. They sold toys and cards downstairs and nursery goods upstairs. Then came a shop called MusicZone, selling compact discs and was run by the sons of the owners of the block of shops. It lasted 1 or 2 years and then the property remained empty for a while.

Café Unity, a community café, opened in 2005 as part of a Churches Together Youth Initiative until 2014, when the youth work continued elsewhere. In 2015 it became a registered charity and is run by Sarah with a team of volunteers. Upstairs, a room can be hired. 
 

"Aw, Bambino's at Christmas time.”
- Gill Crossley, 2021

"Indeed. Just entering the shop door was like walking into paradise.”
- Terry Gibson, 2021

"Some friends of ours arrived unexpectedly on Christmas Eve and I rushed out and bought presents there for their kids, it cost me a fortune!”
- Margaret Regan, 2021

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Fig. 6a Litter Pick circa 2008
© Ratepayers' Association
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Fig. 6b Manager Sarah and staff outside Cafe Unity Community Cafe 2021
© Colin Barnsley
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Mounteney Solicitors / Nino's Gents' Hairdressers - No. 226 Finney Lane

This premises may have always contained a hairdressers. By the late 1960s/early 1970s it was owned by Hilary Nelson and possibly John Richards and was called Nelson Richards. The business was sold and by 1977 was Ann Margret ladies' hairdressing salon, with Nino Gents' Hairdressers upstairs.  Hilary Nelson then returned to open her salon aptly named Hilary’s. This became Marsha’s ladies hairdressers, with the barbers still up the steep stairs above them. In 2015 Marsha’s closed.

Today, the premises downstairs is Mounteney Solicitors,. Toni - Antonino Salvatore - continues to run Nino’s barbers above.
 

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Fig. 7a Solicitor Monica and staff outside
Mounteney Solicitors 2021

© Colin Barnsley
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Fig. 7b Entrance to Nino's Gents' Hairdressers 2021
© Colin Barnsley
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Fig. 7c At Work In Nino's 2021
© Colin Barnsley
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Fig. 7d Toni - Antonino
Salvatore 2021

© Colin Barnsley
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Cinnamon Tree Indian Restaurant - No. 224 Finney Lane

This premises has always been a restaurant. La Bonne Auberge served French cuisine and was run by the Boutinot family, opening in 1964 and closing in 1987. Roger Boutinot was a WWII war hero who learnt to parachute at Ringway before returning to his native France to coordinate raids with the French Resistance. He married a local girl and settled here to open his restaurant   . The Fragrant Harbour chinese restaurant was owned by Richard for many years. It was still there in 2004. Later came Chopsticks that took over for a short while.

Today, Cinnamon Tree serves Indian food at this restaurant.

 

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Fig. 8a Roger Boutinot, proprietor of La Bonne Auberge French Restaurant from 1964-1987
© Cheshire Life
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Fig. 8b Cinnamon Tree Indian Restaurant 2021
© Colin Barnsley
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"Being a very good restaurant, and being local, La Bonne Auberge used to be frequented at lunchtimes by Ferranti (then on Simonsway just over the "border" into Manchester) by management entertaining their
(prospective?) customers. I was once told a story that some French customers were taken to the restaurant and on entering the restaurant one immediately rushed to the owner and they hugged each other - they had both apparently been in the French resistance and not seen one another since WWII."

- Phil Broughton, email, 2022

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Subway Sandwich Shop - No. 222 Finney Lane

222 Finney Lane has had many owners as an off-licence. I have been unable to establish the name of this shop in the 1960s [Ed. Possibly Taylor Anderton in 1967 - see Cheshire Life photo below]. However it went on to be a Threshers, Wine Sellers and a Victoria Wine by 1980.

Since 2008 it has been a branch of Subway.
 

"My first Saturday job was in Victoria Wine stacking shelves at 14.”
- Chris Owen, 2021

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Fig. 9a Subway Sandwich Shop 2021
© Colin Barnsley
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Beechwood Charity Shop - No. 220 Finney Lane

This shop started as White & Swales Ltd., founded in Altrincham in 1955 by Peter Swales, Chairman of Manchester City Football Club and Vice President of the Football Association; and Noel White; Vice President of the Football Association and a founding architect of the Premier League. They sold sheet music, records and musical instruments before moving into the growing market of television rentals. Upstairs became the record shop selling vinyl singles and LPs and residents could listen to music in booths. Downstairs became the electrical shop.

The shop was opened by a group called The Four Pennies, a 1960s beat music group who had a Number 1 single on the hit parade called “Juliet” in 1964. They also appeared on the Top of the Pops television show. Alongside them opening the shop was a boxing kangaroo!! [Ed. Some readers didn't believe our tale about Bing Crosby's visit to Newbury Road, but at least we found a photo.  If anyone has a photo of the kangaroo, let us know!]

 

 

"I remember White & Swailes was opened by the Four Pennies and there was also a boxing kangaroo in the shop.”
- Mick Hankinson, 2021

"There was a mirror to the left of the doorway and we used to do the 'Harry Worth' move [made famous in the opening credits of his TV show], for those of you who remember!" 
- Irene Jagla, 2021

"I worked there on a Saturday. Great little job listening to singles and LPs all day."
- Karen Podlaski, 2021

"[The window in which Harry performs] was Hector Powe's tailors shop in St Ann's Square, Manchester, an exclusive gents' outfitters. The Powe family are related to my husband. Vince Powell, who scripted many shows for Harry Worth, actually worked at Hector Powe's."
- Binnie Thompson, 2021

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Fig. 10a The Four Pennies opened White and Swailes in 1964
Image from Spotify
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Click Here To Listen To Their No. 1 Single, "Juliet" (Youtube)

 

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Fig. 10b Harry Worth doing his signature "move" October 1962
© Nostalgia Central.com 
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Click Here to Watch the Opening Titles of Harry's TV Show (YouTube)

 

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Fig. 10c Beech Parade near White & Swailes 1967
© Cheshire Life
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By the early 70s Rumbelows had taken over the store, continuing the trade of electrical goods, televisions and records. I am not sure exactly when the shop closed, but it was still there until 1992; Peter Stanton Davies tells me he has a receipt from a purchase dated 27/12/91. There was then a shop called Jeremy Marks selling curtains and floor coverings here, and later still in the 1990s it was called Interior Curtains - owned by the husband of Granada News television presenter, Lucy Meacock.

Since 2002 the shop has been Beechwood, a charity shop raising funds for cancer care.

 

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Fig. 10d Staff at the Beechwood Charity Shop 2021
© Colin Barnsley
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Roger Dean Estate Agents -No. 218 Finney Lane

Derek Nixon, Auctioneer and Estate Agent, may well have been on the parade from the beginning. He was definitely there by 1967 advertising in the Contact magazine. Roger Dean took over and was advertising by Christmas 1972. They are still there today.
 

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Fig. 11a Derek Nixon Advert 1967
© Ratepayers' Association
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Fig. 11b Manager Carole and staff Outside Roger Dean 2021
© Colin Barnsley
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Thank You
 
This has been another complicated set of shops and I hope that I have correctly named all the shops past and present. My thanks to residents and business owners of Heald Green for their comments and answers, via our Heald Green Heritage Facebook Page.
 

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