Daisy Bank Cottages

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By Steph Windross

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First Published 31/12/2021
Last Updated 11/1/2022

 

Steph Windross talked to Wendy MacCallum about the history of Daisy Bank cottages, and their various occupants.

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Fig. 1 Cottages on Daisy Bank Lane, then Styal Road, 1967
© Cheshire Life
Click On Image To View, or "Cheshire Life" to read the 1967 article

 

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Fig. 2 Indentures, no. 2 Daisy Bank, 1764
© Wendy MacCallum
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The two cottages that sit at the corner of Daisy Bank Lane are some of the oldest buildings in Heald Green, with indentures for the land for No.2 showing as early as 1764.  

The oldest noting in a well-kept stack of Indentures passed to me seemed to lease the house ‘For Profession’ on the 26th of November 1764 from Mary Harkey to Hewitt Higginbottom.

An older local story allegedly places King Charles II in the house, staying overnight on a journey and drinking ale under the roof – though that is far harder to prove!

 

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Fig. 2 Charles II
© Painting by John Michael Wright ( c 1660-1665)
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I moved into No. 2 at the end of 2019 for relocation to a job and was struck by the charm of the low ceilings, bricked fireplaces and neatly lined rows of original beams running across the ceilings of the two-storied property. It was only on speaking to my landlady that I started to learn about the rich history the little cottage on the corner has had through the three generations her family have owned it.
 

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Information about these cottages as far back before 1764 is difficult to find, but the tithe map of Heald Green in 1841 shows us the cottages, and census data collected that year explains that the handloom weaving of cotton was carried on in cottages or in work rooms attached to the cottages.

Notches in the original beams that run through both No. 2 and No. 4 - which used to be joined together as a single property - confirm this as a place where weavers would have worked.

 

Fig. 4 Daisy Bank Location, Tithe Map 1841
© F. & T. Mitchell / St. James Church
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The current owner, Wendy MacCallum, has provided me with a rich oral history about how the cottage came to her, as well as the various businesses that have moved in and out of it as the years have gone. Both of her parents were born in the same cottage on the small landing on the stairs, within three years of each other - the Cash and the Robinson families.
 

The Cash Family
 

Wendy's great grandmother, Sarah Jayne, was more affectionately known in the local community as Jenny Cash. Jenny (nee Cash) went on to have a daughter named Beatrice Thomson Robinson (nee Cash) who was born on the 15th of October in 1906. Having come from money and a well-off family in Northenden, Jenny stayed in the Daisy Bank property whilst the Moss Nook restaurant underwent renovations. The family stayed in Daisy Bank from 1906, moving out in 1909 when Beatrice was three.

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Fig. 5 Jenny with daughter Beatrice, 1906-1909
© Wendy MacCallum
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Jenny ran a small café at Moss Nook called the Sunny Side Café, half of the Moss Nook restaurant. The small café was regularly visited by the No.1 Parachute Training School, R.A.F officers and N.C.O. officers. In a local newspaper clipping dated 1st March 1946, Jenny is referred to affectionately as "Mother Jenny (a) small, frail widow with a kind heart and an abundance of energy”.  

Fig. 6 Jenny, providing hot tea on a winter's morning to two parachute airmen who had just ‘dropped in’ for lunch, 1946
© Wendy MacCallum
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The Robinson Family
 

Once Jenny and Beatrice Cash had moved out of the cottages, the Robinson family moved in. Wendy’s father William was born on the 12th of November in 1909 to parents James E. Robinson and Elizabeth Ann Robinson (nee Ratcliffe). Grandmother Ratcliffe set up a small tea room in the front room, alongside working as a matron in the Cheadle Royal hospital.

Wendy spoke animatedly about her father William, and recounted that he and her mother Beatrice met twenty-one years later at the Ship Inn in Styal. William came across to me in conversation as an enterprising individual who moved back into the cottage at the age of 24 in order to start his own business. He was working at this time as a gardener in Gatley Hill but began a greenhouse business in the garden to the side of the cottage in 1937. He rented the property out to farmers that would eventually cycle up to work at his greenhouses, selling tomatoes.  His five acres of land soon grew to forty.

Robinson's Nurseries business at Yew Tree Farm still thrives in Heald Green today, spearheaded by Wendy’s nephew who lives there. As both of her brothers inherited the family business, the house at Daisy Bank was passed to Wendy as a form of inheritance in 1977. She also informed me that the house had operated as a bakery at one point in time; the brick oven chimney stack is still preserved to this day.

 

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Fig. 7 William & Elizabeth Robinson
© Wendy MacCallum
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Fig. 8 Wendy was Rose Queen at St. Catherine's Church, 1955
© Wendy MacCallum
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Fig. 9 William, Peter & Frank Robinson, Yew Tree Farm, 1967
© Cheshire Life
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The MacCallum Family
 

Wendy and her husband Doug transformed the cottage to be used as a private doctor’s surgery for them both to work out of, alongside the Moss Side NHS practice. The upstairs bedroom was, at one point in time, filled with filing cabinets and patient records for Doug to reference as clients came in and out. Wendy explained how Doug travelled to Mongolia for a month-long course in the study of acupuncture.

On the unfortunate passing of her husband, the doctor's surgery dissolved and the cottage went back to being rented out under Wendy’s care. Both of her daughters and a niece have lived there at various points in time, and the property has seen a fair few people come and go in the run-up to the time of writing.

Towards the end of 2021, I moved out of No. 2 - a house I had called home for two years - and out of Heald Green altogether. Learning the history of the property and the interesting stories and people that have lived there reminds me of why I am passionate about local histories and their preservation to begin with. I hope the new occupants continue to appreciate what makes it such an important landmark in the history of Heald Green.

 

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Fig. 10 Daisy Bank Lane Cottages, 2021
© Colin Barnsley
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