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Heald Green House
Irvin Drive

Helen Morgan-oval.png

By Helen Morgan

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Published on Facebook 2023
Last Updated 02/02/2024

 

A house with many stories to tell
 

1. Kell Green

The research on this house has led me in all directions through the centuries and has turned out to be perhaps the most interesting article I have ever written.

Heald Green House is not actually in Heald Green but right on the border with Moss Nook. Located today on Irvin Drive, that stretch was formerly part of the old Styal Road. It was located in Northen Etchells with our village being in Stockport Etchells. Maybe it began life as part of a 16th Century farm. Maps going back that far are notoriously incorrect and not to scale and the house may show up as just a square, so nothing really to see. On the map below, Heald Green is Kell Green and one of the row of 3 squares, above the K, may well be our house. On later maps we were known as Yell Green, Hield Green and then Heald Green. [Ed: A yell, yeld or heald is a device that lifts and lowers threads on a loom so a shuttle can pass through it with a perpendicular thread. Daisy Bank Cottages (which housed hand looms) and the green at the Heald Green Hotel opposite them may explain where our unusual village name comes from.]
 

HGH1794 County Palatine Map of Chester.jpg

Fig. 1.1 Kell Green and Heald Green House 1794
© County Palatine Map of Chester
Click On Picture To View

 

2. John Walker Knight

My story really begins with a man called John Walker Knight. He was born in 1801 to Edward and Martha, in Essex of all places. The village was called Great Bardfield, near Braintree, and he was born on Blue Egg Farm. Whilst looking to see where that was, imagine my surprise to see Blue Egg on the map, still there today!
 

HGH20240123-01 Blue Egg Farm area (c) HM.jpg

Fig. 2.1 Blue Egg Farm, 2024
© Google Maps
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HGH20240123-02 Blue Egg farm area 2 (c) HM.jpg

Fig. 2.2 Blue Egg Farm, 2024
© Google Maps
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I cannot begin to imagine how a young man from Essex ended up here and what that journey would have been like. He married a girl from Morley (a village now behind the airport) called Catherine Goodier in 1830. Her parents were John and Hannah and they were Quakers. On their marriage certificate, John’s parents had both died. John was classed as a yeoman. That meant that he owned the land he farmed. I am assuming that once married they returned to Essex as their first child, Ann Goodier Knight, was born in Essex in 1832. Their first born son, Thomas Walker Knight, was born the next year in 1833 in Cheshire as was their other son, Edward, in 1840.

By 1839 the Knight family owned the house and the land around it. That included many acres around the house, used as arable and meadow lands. The fields had names like Little Cow Hey, Further Cow Hey, Picca, Nearer Mean Field, Nearer Hey Meadow and Barn Field. The L shaped house is marked in red in the right hand corner within the red line.

The house stood in its own grounds and also had stables with a driving lane up to it for the carriage and horses. He also owned at least another 23 acres north of
Brown Lane of pasture, meadows and an orchard.

 

HGH1839-40-02 Land of John Walker Knight (c) Cheshire Tithe Maps.jpg

Fig. 2.3 John Walker Knight's Land, 1839
© Cheshire Tithe Maps Online
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Fig. 2.4 John Walker Knight's Land, 1839
© Cheshire Tithe Maps Online
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On the census of 1841 the family of five are living with hired help. Two female servants, Hannah Walton aged 65 and Eliza Shaw aged 23 as well as an 18 year old agricultural labourer, John Mottershead.

How things were to change over the next 10 years…… By 1851 the census revealed that Heald Green House was now an uninhabited farmhouse. Catherine and her eldest son had moved to live on a road near Morley Smithy, therefore returning to her family roots. Their son had dropped the name Walker from his name and although both state occupations as farmer’s wife and son, their relationship oddly states mother and brother. The other son Edward had died and the daughter Ann had moved into a dwelling next door to her mother. In that house were Catherine’s mother Hannah, her sister Sarah who had married farmer William Frankland and he was now the head of the household. Along with Ann, their niece, was another niece Sarah Moore and two servants. A domestic called Sarah Walker aged 19 from Gorton and a 20 year old labourer called Alfred Thompson.

But where was John Walker Knight? Was he dead? No. In 1851 he was in
Chester Castle Prison as a debtor, spending the last of his days in there working to pay off money owed to whomever. Debtors and prisoners were kept separate. He later died in 1855.

 

The 1861 census revealed the plight of another family living at the house. They were the Mottershead family. Perhaps relations of the labourer of 1841, although there were many Mottersheads in the Moss Nook area. This family, with no male head of the household, would have struggled daily in a cruel society, where being poor was your own fault and with no benefit safety net to fall into. Ann aged 41 was a charwoman. This meant that she cleaned for a living in the service of others but returned home afterwards. She had three daughters to support. Sarah aged 16 and Eliza aged 11 were fustian cutters. Fustian was a very heavy cloth that was used to make work clothes and the job was heavy and hard. A daily grind of lifting and cutting must have been dreadful for girls of their tender ages. The youngest was Elizabeth aged 9 who was a scholar, but I bet she also had to help out too.

Fast forward 10 years on to 1871. Although still at the house, their mother and sister Eliza have gone, leaving the two sisters to continue as best they could. They had become launderesses, probably taking in washing to their home from the surrounding area. The man in the house was 31 year old Ralph Bruckshaw, a farm servant. He was one of the sons of John and Hannah Bruckshaw, who farmed 62 acres around where
Outwood Road Primary School is now and they were regular churchgoers at Long Lane Chapel. Indeed, the old chapel hall was called Bruckshaw after the generosity of the family. The Mottershead story ends in Moss Nook where they moved to. The ladies remained launderesses and Sarah had a son, John Henry Hudson or later just Henry Hudson, who became a grocer. After Sarah his unmarried mother died, his spinster aunt Elizabeth continued to live with him around the Ringway Road area.

The 1881 census is less clear. The name Heald Green House is not noted. Trying to work out the cottages between the Tatton Arms pub and Chamber Hall, I would put my money on three unmarried servants living at the house. Mary Broadhurst, aged 40 from Rusholme, Annie Hutchinson aged 55 from Kendal and Elizabeth Williams from Wales. You have to remember that the census was where you were on a particular day, so their employers may have been elsewhere.

What I can say for definite is that from 1891 until at least 1911 the house was classed as a lunatic asylum, caring for patients from around the country and being used to take patients moved from nearby
Cheadle Royal. I find it very sad that these ladies, anonymised to just letters, were left to be institutionalised for many, many years. Their ailments would have included being depressed, having post-natal depression or having children out of wedlock and therefore ostracised by their families. A very dark time in our social history. The Housekeeper in 1891 was Miss Elenor Hunter aged 50 from Yorkshire along with four servants who were also single. Mary Perrin the cook aged 46, Fanny Warrington a housemaid aged 17, Mary Woodings an attendant aged 23 and Maud Hankinson another housemaid aged 20. They looked after 12 female patients, noted as lunatics, from as far away as the London area. On the day of the census there was a male visitor. He was 18 year old George Bawn from Crewe. An apprentice to a draper.

By 1897, more buildings are shown than just the original house and stables. Heald Green Farm was now established behind the house.

 

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Fig. 2.5 Map revised 1897, published 1898
© Cheshire Tithe Maps Online
Click On Picture To View
 

“My dear great auntie Mary Maud Hankinson, sister of my grandfather Charles (from Griffin Farm). Everyone should have an auntie Maud. She was a nurse in Cheadle Royal in 1901.”
- Mick Hankinson, FB Messenger, 2023

3.  Twentieth Century

By 1901 the house is still home to 12 female patients from as far away as Cheltenham, Huddersfield, Wales, Devon, Ireland and London. There was even a lady who had been born in Russia! They were looked after by five single, female staff. Gertrude Baker from Stockport aged 41 was the asylum matron. The cook Mary Perrin aged 53, Gertrude Toft aged 23 was an attendant along with housemaid Martha Toft aged 16. They all came from Styal. Lastly another Hankinson housemaid. She was 17 year old Alice.

By 1911 the asylum was now run by Mary Elizabeth Storr. A single lady from Yorkshire now aged 50. Her work title was Asylum Matron. Margaret Jones aged 46, a widow from Shropshire, was an asylum nurse. The Toft family connection was still there. Ellen aged 21 and Agnes aged 19, both single. Ellen was an asylum nurse and Agnes a domestic housemaid. Lastly the cook from Shropshire was 23 year old single Sophie Humphreys. There were still 12 female patients, no longer anonymised, from as far away as London, Wales and Stafford. The saddest thing on this census is the column that states how many years the patient had been classed as a lunatic. All were over 20 years and one lady for 70 years. I cannot begin to even quantify that.

In the
Alderley and Wilmslow Advertiser dated 27th June 1913, there was an advertisement for an auction to take place at the Albion Hotel in Manchester on July 1st. Up for sale was a freehold property known as the Heald Green Estate. This was the sale of Heald Green House described as “a commodious residence containing 4 entertaining rooms, 10 bedrooms etc with charming old garden containing altogether 8 acres and 26 poles with possession.” Within the estate was the house, Heald Green farmhouse with its outbuildings and 38 acres of land, 3 cottages and gardens on Styal Road, 7 and a quarter acres on the easterly side of Styal Road and 1 and a half acres on the westerly side of it. If it could not be auctioned as one going concern it would be split into 5 separate lots.

Using the electoral registers, the next part of the history of the house concerns the Linney family. I found Joseph Frederic and Mary Maria there from at least Spring 1919 and into the 1930s. The 1921 census gave more details. On this Heald Green House was classed as being in Wilmslow, Chealde, Cheshire. (Note the spelling!) Joseph, born 1886 in Denton, was an auctioneer. His wife Mary, born 1884 in Hyde, classed her occupation as home duties. Her widowed father lived with them, who was a Doctor of Medicine. He was James Joseph Edge, born 1852 in Laois (Queen’s) Ireland. Joseph employed two servants. Margaret Alice Roberts was the cook. She was 38 years old from Llanarmon-In-Yale, Denbighshire, Wales whose parents were both dead. Martha Anicy McPonigale was the 24year old housemaid/waitress. She was from Donegal in Ireland and her parents were still alive.

This family were remembered by residents who recalled their memories in the
St Catherine’s Linkline magazine.

 

“I do remember three big 'moneyed' houses in the village. Heald Green House on Styal Road owned by the Linneys.”
- Emily Watson, St Catherine's Linkline, re-published in 2012/2013

"There was Heald Green House at Moss Nook owned by the very wealthy Linney family and they had a tennis court at the back, on which we were allowed to play. When we went carol singing to the house, we were always invited in and had hot ginger beer and mince pies in front of a roaring fire. Sadly, now the house has been converted to flats.”
- Gladys Short, St Catherine's Linkline, re-published in 2012/2013

By 1939 the Reynolds family lived there. 38 year old head of the household was Leonard. His job was listed as the Managing Director of Government Khaki Dyeworks. Obviously doing his bit for the war effort. His wife was Kathleen aged 33 and they had a son, Jacob, who had been born in 1916 and was a student. The family employed a cook called Kathleen Clarke. She was a single lady aged 42.

Fast forward now to the late 1940s. When I was doing my “O” level history way back in 1979, I spoke to elderly residents about their memories of our village. Many told me about “Lord and Lady Hamilton” who lived at Heald Green House. Until now I had always assumed it was like a pseudonym for a posh family. The house apparently had the most beautiful staircase in the entrance hall, well-appointed rooms with high ceilings and fireplaces and the family went to
St James’s Church in Gatley in their carriage down Styal Road. Unbelievably I have found the Hamiltons and yes she was a Lady and her husband was Sir Patrick Hamilton. They owned a house in London and one in Heald Green….who does that!

Adverts were placed in the regional newspapers for hired help.

 

HGH1950-001 House Parlourmaid Ad 1950 (c) MEN.jpg

Fig. 3.1 M.E.N. advert, 1950
© Manchester Evening News
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Fig. 3.2 M.E.N. advert, 1951
© Manchester Evening News
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HGH1951-001 Resident Cook Housekeeper Ad 1951 (c) MEN.jpg

Here’s an article on the lady herself from the Manchester Evening News of October 22nd 1951. Unfortunately, the whole article is unavailable, but you can get the gist. She was obviously a tour de force who worked tirelessly for the Women’s Voluntary Service here in Manchester.

HGH19541201-01 Advert Lady Hamilton and boilers (c) MEN-small.jpg

Fig. 3.3 M.E.N. article - Lady Hamilton, 1951
© Manchester Evening News
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HGH19540604-02 Lady Hamilton (c) MEN.jpg
HGH19540604-01 Lady Hamilton (c) MEN.jpg

Fig. 3.4a & b Extracts from M.E.N. article - Lady Hamilton, 1954
© Manchester Evening News
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Fig. 3.5 M.E.N. article - Lady Hamilton, 1955
© Manchester Evening News
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In 1958 The Hamiltons moved out and returned down south. They gave the house to Manchester Corporation for them to convert into flats for the elderly. Later on in the 1980s, there would be legal wranglings over this deal.

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Fig. 3.6 Selling Heald Green House, 1958
© Manchester Evening News
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In 1979 I photographed the house that was for elderly people. I only wish I had taken more! The bungalows promised in the grounds had not materialised. At this time the house was all white.

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Fig. 3.7 Heald Green House 1979
© Helen Morgan
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Fig. 3.8 Heald Green House 1979
© Helen Morgan
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Once into the 1980s the house fell into disrepair, was vandalised and had a fire.
 

“I remember messing about in there when it was derelict, then it got renovated in the late eighties I think.”
- Mark Jackson, Facebook, 2022

"I remember it was derelict for a while & we went in as kids.”
- Sean Ingham, Facebook, 2022

“We always believed it was haunted. I used to cycle so fast past it!”
- Sally Percival, Facebook, 2022

“Is this the one we called the haunted house?”
- Kim Orton Mannion, Facebook 2022

“I remember as a child there was an old fashioned car still parked in a garage there when it went into disrepair.”
- Gaynor Downes, Facebook, 2022

"If I remember rightly a builder by the name of Phil Carter renovated it late 80s if that helps, cause before that it was a haunted house and was derelict and I played there when I was about 9/11.”
- Daz Price, Facebook, 2022

“It was empty in the mid-80s as we used to go in there as kids. It was bought and turned into flats, must have been the late 80s if I remember correctly..”
- Darren Thompson, Facebook, 2022

 

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Fig. 3.9 News article, 1984
© Manchester Evening News
Courtesy of Stephen Piskor
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With this article came confirmation that it had once been part of a 16th century farmhouse. The house and the adjoining land were sold to the same purchaser. Unfortunately, this now became another tale of legal wranglings that has been noted in public records.

Mr and Mrs Rodgers and her parents, Mr and Mrs Franks, had a joint venture in 1984 with their newly formed company called Norglen Ltd. The company would become only the Rodgers’ later. With a loan from the bank of £65,000 they bought Heald Green House and converted it into 12 self-contained flats. (Sadly, I would imagine that this will also have been when original features were removed). The total cost was £783,000 but the venture only realised £726,000 leaving them in debt to amongst others, Manchester City Council.

Their only remaining asset was the house freehold and 1.8 acres of surrounding land. Mr Rodgers asked Prudential Property Services to advise him on the viability of getting planning permission for the surrounding land as it was critical for them and to act as the selling agent. He was advised that permission was remote and instead they introduced him to a Mr Richardson. He wanted the land to graze his children’s ponies on. He offered £10,000 for the land with a covenant not to build on it without the consent of Norglen, as they held the freehold to the land. However, the covenant could be released if at a later date planning permission could be obtained, for which Norglen would receive a third of the increased value.

 

That last sentence holds the key to what followed. On the advice of Prudential, Mr Rodgers sold the land to Mr Richardson on 12th May 1988. Mr Richardson immediately transferred the land to Metier Property Holdings Ltd. He controlled that company and was already putting together a large scale development on adjoining land later bought from Manchester City Council for £400,000 an acre. Mr Rodgers believed they were victims of a fraud as he believed his land would have been worth far more if he had been given all the facts of the proposed site next door to his property. In November 1991 Norglen took Prudential, Mr Richardson and Metier to court. The allegations were strenuously denied. What followed was a long and protracted legal case that as I say can be found in public records. Norglen went bankrupt, applied for legal aid, still had the freehold asset on the actual house.

The legalese attached to the case, within our justice system, is mind blowing and I will leave anyone who wants to, to look it up!!

 

Whilst all this was going on at this end of the village, residents were also becoming increasingly alarmed about what was happening in the rest of the village. The Stockport Advertiser ran an article in February 1990 about a group of residents who wanted to try and stop the developments. (Thanks again to Stephen for supplying me with this one too.) They were called RAID (Residents Against Irresponsible Development). For Heald Green House they wanted it and the cottages on Irvin Drive to be listed and therefore saved “all of which form a diminishing part of old Heald Green.” Unfortunately, the house being on the very border of Moss Nook and Heald Green, would not have helped their cause. Would they be fighting Manchester or Stockport Councils? Either way the House was never protected and Pear Tree Cottage would be demolished.

HGH19990202-01 Express Advertiser Article c) Stephen Piskor-small.jpg


Fig. 3.10 News article, 1990
© Stockport Advertiser
Courtesy of Stephen Piskor
Click On Picture To View

 

4  Recent Developments

In 2022 Heald Green House was sold to Heald Green House Management Limited/Edge Property Management Company Ltd. Their plan, through Manchester City Council, is to knock down the house and create parking for 743 cars. At the end of September all residents left the house, including Garry Humphries, who had brought the matter to our attention through the Heald Green Heritage Facebook page. I asked for permission to go and photograph the interior before that but was refused. Thankfully ex residents have sent their photos to share with us.

Here are some photos from in and around Stephen Piskor's flat 6 from 2001 onwards.

 

Fig. 4.1 Flat 6, 2001
© Stephen Piskor
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HGH2001-03 Flat 6 (c) Stephen Piskor.jpg
HGH2001-01 Flat 6 (c) Stephen Piskor.jpg
HGH2001-04 Flat 6 (c) Stephen Piskor.jpg
HGH2001 Inside flat 6 (c) Stephen Piskor.jpg

Fig. 4.1 Flat 6, 2001
© Stephen Piskor
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Fig. 4.3 Flat 6, 2001
© Stephen Piskor
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Fig. 4.4 Flat 6, 2001
© Stephen Piskor
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HGH2004-01  looking towards Irvin Drive (c) Stephen Piskor.jpg

Fig. 4.5 Looking towards Irvin Drive- I love this one 2004
© Stephen Piskor
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HGH2004-01 looking out of flat 6 (c) Stephen Piskor.jpg

Fig. 4.6 Looking out from flat 6 to the back 2004
© Stephen Piskor
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HGH2004-02 taken from front door (c) Stephen Piskor.jpg

Fig. 4.7 Taken from the front door 2004
© Stephen Piskor
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Fig. 4.8 Approaching the House, 2005
© Stephen Piskor
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HGH2005-6-02 car park (c) Stephen Piskor.jpg

Fig. 4.10 Car Park to Side of House, 2005
© Stephen Piskor
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HGH2005-2006 (c) Stephen Piskor.jpg

Fig. 4.9 Approaching the House, 2005
© Stephen Piskor
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HGH2005-6 looking towards Finney Lane . The car park fencing and lights can be seen on the

Fig. 4.11 Car Park to Side of House, 2005
© Stephen Piskor
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HGH20070121-01 Fence panels missing after heavy snow. All surrounding trees removed by dev

Fig. 4.12 Cunningham Drive to the left and Styal Road to the back, 2007
© Stephen Piskor
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HGH2005-6-02 car park (c) Stephen Piskor.jpg

Fig. 4.14 Car Park to Side of House, 2005
© Stephen Piskor
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HGH2009-02 Flat 6 (c) Stephen Piskor.JPG

Fig. 4.16 Kitchen, 2009
© Stephen Piskor
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HGH2009-03 (c) Stephen Piskor.JPG

Fig. 4.13 Perhaps one of the most poignant. Gone are the snowmen and of course the fields opposite, 2009
© Stephen Piskor
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HGH2005-6 looking towards Finney Lane . The car park fencing and lights can be seen on the

Fig. 4.15 Car Park to Side of House, 2005
© Stephen Piskor
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HGH2009-03 Flat 6 (c) Stephen Piskor.JPG

Fig. 4.17 Bathroom, 2009
© Stephen Piskor
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In September 2022, after hearing from resident Garry Humphries [Ed: that the 13 residents had to leave and the building was due to go.] I went to take outside photos. This was 7am before work!! The morning light just set the brick off so beautifully.
 

HGH20220930-06 (c) H Morgan.jpg

Fig. 4.18 Heald Green House, 2022
© Helen Morgan

Click On Picture To View
 

HGH20220930-04 (c) H Morgan.jpg

Fig. 4.19 Heald Green House, 2022
© Helen Morgan
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HGH20220930-05 (c) H Morgan.jpg
HGH20230930-07  approach to the house (c) H Morgan.jpg

Fig. 4.20 Heald Green House, 2022
© Helen Morgan
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Fig. 4.21 Heald Green House, 2022
© Helen Morgan
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“Heald Green House empty from tomorrow (September 30th). I have helped to vacate people. Not sure if a car park or something else, but they have paid a lot of money out to buy. I lived there for 6 years. It’s a beautiful building but now developers took over to knock down. There is permission for a road off Styal Road for new access. I have been round and can’t believe what I saw. Pipes have burst, a foot of water in aisles, alarms going off.”
- Garry Humphries, Facebook Messenger, 2022

HGH20220930-09 dorrway (c) H Morgan.jpg

Fig. 4.22 Heald Green House, 2022
© Helen Morgan
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I still had no recent interior photos. In December 2022, Garry went to collect his post and took some for me.
 

HGH202212--08 (c) Garry Humphries.JPG

Fig. 4.23 Heald Green House, 2022
© Garry Humphries
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HGH202212-07 (c) Garry Humphries.JPG

Fig. 4.26 Heald Green House, 2022
© Garry Humphries
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HGH202212-06 (c) Garry Humphries.JPG

Fig. 4.24 Heald Green House, 2022
© Garry Humphries
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HGH202212-03 (c) Garry Humphries.JPG

Fig. 4.27 Heald Green House, 2022
© Garry Humphries
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HGH202212-01 (c) Garry Humphries.JPG

Fig. 4.25 Heald Green House, 2022
© Garry Humphries
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HGH202212-04 (c) Garry Humphries.JPG

Fig. 4.28 Heald Green House, 2022
© Garry Humphries
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What is going to replace the house? I have Cynthia Mellish to thank for sending over the plans.
 

HGH2018-01 Plans for HGH demolition and car park for 743 cars.JPG

Fig. 4.29 Plans for Heald Green House, 2018
© Planning Office, Manchester
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HGH2018-02 Aerial view of plan for HGH house demolition and new car park.JPG

Fig. 4.30 Plans for Heald Green House, 2018
© Planning Office, Manchester
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Well, that was a tale and a half wasn’t it! I hope that I have done justice to the many families who have called it home. With many thanks to Stephen, Garry and Cynthia and everyone who put their memories on Facebook.

I went back to the house in September 2023, after hearing about tales of squatters, rats, dumped rubbish and just general neglect. After hurrying to get all the residents out so quickly last year, there must have been a major hold up with the plans. I have Cynthia to thank again for the update.

 

“It appears it’s being held up, as planning have refused to discharge a condition, as the land surface drainage management is deemed inadequate.
- Cynthia Mellish, Facebook, 2023

Local residents are rightly up in arms about the state of the property and the surrounding area and rightly so. There’s rubbish everywhere, broken windows, open windows and the roof is deteriorating.
 

HGH20231001-02 rubbish piles (c) HM.jpg

Fig. 4.31 Heald Green House, 2023
© Helen Morgan
Click On Picture To View
 

What a sad state of affairs the once beautiful Heald Green House is today. Photos from 2024.
 

HGH20240127-001 Driveway up to the house (c) H Morgan.jpg

Fig. 4.32 Heald Green House, 2023
© Helen Morgan
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4

HGH202400127-002 Front door (c) H Morgan.jpg

Fig. 4.33 Heald Green House, 2024
© Helen Morgan
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HGH20240127-003 Front of the house(c) H Morgan.jpg

Fig. 4.34 Heald Green House, 2024
© Helen Morgan
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HGH20240127-004 Looking up the driveway (c) H Morgan.jpg

Fig. 4.35 Heald Green House, 2024
© Helen Morgan
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HGH20240127-005 Side on to the house (c) H Morgan.jpg

Fig. 4.36 Heald Green House, 2024
© Helen Morgan
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Bibliography


 

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