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Wilton Avenue Estate

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By Helen Morgan

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Published on Facebook 26/10/21
Last Updated 30/7/2023


A family affair from builders to residents.

Farmland to First Houses

I have Mrs Anne Fleet, who is still a resident, to thank for being able to put most of this article together. It has been a labour of love for me because I lived there at number 26 from 1964 to 1976.

On the Tithe Map of 1841, where Wilton Avenue would be built, were two fields owned at the time by John Cross. They were called the Old Meadow, complete with a pond, and the Great Meadow.

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Fig. 1 Old & Great Meadows, 1841
© Teretta and Frank Mitchell, St. James Church Archive
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On September 6th 1922, 4 acres, 3 roods and 6 perches of land were sold by John Tulloch to Mary Rowson. This was the full 3 acres and 2 roods of the Old Meadow and a strip of land alongside it from the Great Meadow.

Fig. 2 Mary Rowson's land, 1922
© Anne Fleet
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The Rowson family built Outwood Lodge, which is still there today, on this land. It is side-on to the Avenue and faces the back of the shops now. However, when it was built, it would have had the most beautiful of scenery, looking out onto the pond with a copse of trees and then just fields beyond. The deeds stipulated that water could be taken from Brookfield Farm's pump or well (where Avon Road is now).

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Fig. 3 Outwood Lodge, 2021
© Helen Morgan
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By 1924, Mary’s eldest son, Harold, had had a bungalow called Easedale built diagonally opposite the lodge. It too is still there today with a much later addition to its frontage. The deeds showed that there was a septic tank and that any excess effluent could drain into the pond!


Fig. 4 Plan from deeds, 1947
© Anne Fleet
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Fig. 5 Easedale bungalow, 2021
© Helen Morgan
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"I remember the pond. There was a rope swing from one of the trees, so many a local kid ended up with a soaking.”
- Les Clough, Facebook, 2021

"Where the shops are now on Outwood Road there used to be a swamp.
- Pete Durrant, Facebook, 2021

"It was very swampy. I remember getting stuck up to my thighs in glupe."
- Mike Sadler, Facebook, 2021

"My dad worked with someone who grew up in Heald Green in the 1940s and used to walk up Outwood Road from the village with his mates to play in the swamp. He was amused that it now had houses on it.”
- Matthew Thompson, Facebook, 2022

Mary maintained her estate by borrowing money as a mortgagor from Annie and Herbert Jackson and then Arthur Bates in the 1930s. In Mary’s will, dated 8th February 1946, she appointed her sons Harold, William and James as Executors. Mary died on 17th September 1946 quickly followed by her son William who died 8th February 1947. Probate was therefore granted to Harold and James who went on to sell her property.

The land, the bungalow of Outwood Lodge and its outbuildings, were bought by James Whittle on 7th July 1947. James was Anne Fleet’s uncle.  Anne explains:-

That is when we possibly came to see them, in the summer of 1948. We had been on holiday and when we got back, there was an invite waiting for us. They had two daughters, Susan and Leslie, who had birthdays in August like me. Our mum and dad said to the three of us (me and my two brothers, Brian and Peter), you go on ahead and we will meet you there. We got the bus from Longsight and were told to get off at Quicks garage and walk up Outwood Road. This was nothing more than a lane. We walked past a house set in its own grounds (Greenacre), past Chantlers nursery and past a big house where the Beech Tree pub would eventually be. We then turned onto a dirt, unpaved track before going down a path that led to the front door. (Today the entrance is from the side). The house was set in its own grounds and where my house is now was a bit of an orchard. In fact, I still have an apple tree in my front garden. At first Uncle Jim ran it as a pig farm. After the second world war it was a good thing to be raising pigs. The outbuildings were styes and shippons. After that he bred guinea pigs which went to the University. Auntie Susan was my father’s sister. She was a teacher at the old grammar school, Moseley Hall. They also had a horse called Jane. When Wilton was built, she was moved to a field near the house where the pub was then built. A bungalow called Easedale was opposite.

"The far side was the bedroom of Uncle Jim and Auntie Susan. This side was the lounge. All were very big rooms. At the back was another biggish bedroom and bathroom. The room I now overlook was the dining room and the kitchen was like a lean to. From the front of the house they had a very nice view looking at the pond and a country lane."

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Fig. 7 Outwood Lodge, 2021
© Helen Morgan
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"I think that when Heald Green started to be developed, Uncle Jim possibly saw an opportunity. My father, Frank Bennett, was a bricklayer. They had both worked together when we lived in Plymouth. Dad had been a general foreman for a firm of builders and Uncle Jim was the contracts manager. Dad had the expertise to build, and Uncle Jim had the land, so they formed a partnership and that is how Wilton Avenue was built.”

The Wilton Ave Estate


Fig. 8 Plans for Wilton Ave Estate, 1957
© Anne Fleet
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This plan was sent to the Cheadle and Gatley Urban District Council, where they were approved in December 1957. This was when the Town Hall was at Bruntwood. Building work began on numbers 2 and 4 in 1958.

I spoke to Peter Bennett who now lives in Perth, Western Australia, and is Anne’s nephew. He is the son of Brian Bennett and grandson of the builder Frank Bennett.

“My parents, Brian and Grace, were married in 1959 and moved straight into number 39. My dad is now 87 and still lives there. It was our family home for me, my brothers John and James and my sister Sarah.”

Anne continued,
Newbury Road was being built at the same time and my husband’s sister moved in there. Harry and I got married in 1958 and lived elsewhere for two years, saving up. We wanted to buy the last house on Wilton but had to settle for this one. We moved in in 1960, just before our second wedding anniversary. The purchase for the house next door fell through, so we could have had it, but it was too late.”

Wilton was built, Uncle James hung onto two plots on either side of him, and then he sold them separately to two brothers called Clarke, Vincent and John, I think. Identical detached houses were built on either side of the Lodge. I think Don Mackenzie was the bricklayer. The Whittles eventually moved to Wilmslow to farm minx. They sold the house to Mr. Waldron. It was him that planted the golden privet hedge that is still there now. It was a large family with five girls, Maria was the eldest.”


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Fig. 9 The Hedge, 2021
© Helen Morgan
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Personally, I can remember a large family living there and being scared to walk past. I always ran past the gate. It was such a high hedge, and you could just make out the archways on the side of the building. I thought it was a witch’s house!

"As kids we were scared to walk past. We always thought we could see a figure in the top window.
- Tracey Ann, Facebook, 2021

I recently spoke to Kath Perks, nee Clarke, whose dad Vincent and Uncle John, built the detached houses on either side of Outwood Lodge, around 1964. Chris, who now lives in the Lodge, asked me to find out why the numbers on the avenue have no number 40. This may sort of answer the question. This is what she told me.

“Both my dad and Uncle were joiners by trade and worked full time and so they built their houses on
Wilton Avenue in the evenings and at weekends. My 14 year old brother used to help them too. They took over a year to build. We were living in Hulme and Uncle John had already moved from there to Newall Green. We were the last family on our street during the slum clearance to move out. I remember leaving our old house, that was a 2 up 2 down with an outside loo, and driving up in a transit van, past fields on Outwood Road to this 4 bedroomed detached house! We grew up in streets and had seen nothing like that then. We moved in in July 1965 and Uncle John’s house took a little longer to finish before his family arrived probably around 1966. My dad was a site manager in the building trade and so that was how he could build his own house and help his brother too. Don Mackenzie and Danny Cotton, who already lived on the avenue, helped. Don was a bricklayer and Danny was a labourer, becoming a bricklayer a few years later. Both houses were not quite identical, as their layout was different. I know my dad did have plans originally to have a stone chimney up the front. However, the council deemed it too striking and not in keeping with the other houses and so knocked back those plans. Uncle John’s house did have some stonework added, but not to the extent my dad had wanted."

"I remember the shops. There was a newsagent who had counters down both sides and across the top. George Pearson, the butcher, had a shop with a great doorway for hanging about in, as it was set back. My son in law worked for him as a 14-year-old for a while. Horsefields grocers was a double fronted shop. The owner wore a white coat, a bit like Ronnie Barker’s Open All Hours character! There was an off licence and then the chip shop. I do remember the doughnut making machine they had on their counter, as I used to love watching them being made. The chippy had angelfish tiles on the walls. I used to roller skate and slide down the slope from the shops when it was icy. The slope no longer looks massive! We used to climb up onto the roof of the substation via the drainpipe. I still have the scar where a metal spike on there cut my leg. We would go fishing in ponds in the horse field next to our school, where Marquis Drive is now. I went to
Outwood Road School, as did my younger brothers to start with. They moved on to Cheadle Catholic when it was built and I stayed for my final year at primary there. I lived on Wilton until 1981.”


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Fig. 10 Plan for Vincent Clarke's detached house, 1964
© Kath Perks
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The original plans show that Vincent’s house would be number 42. This would make John’s number 38 and the Lodge in between number 40. However, Vincent’s house became number 44 and the Lodge number 42 for no logical reason! There is therefore no number 40 Wilton Avenue.

Anne again.

 “Once the
Beech Tree pub was built, the brewery had no need for the extensive triangular shaped garden that had belonged to the original house. The land was put up for sale. Two residents, Robert Howbrook of number 51 and Ralph Laidlaw of number 59, negotiated with solicitors for the residents on our side of the avenue to buy the extra land to increase the size of our small back gardens. Most but not all did, some buying two plots to increase their gardens substantially. In 1963 my extended garden then reached and overlooked Chantlers nursery. Today I have the side of a house there from the Longfield Estate”.


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Fig. 11 Anne Fleet's back garden, 2021
© Helen Morgan
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“The shops at the top of Wilton were built around 1964. When they were first built, they were nice and tidy. Sadly, that is not the case today. Japanese knotweed is being treated there by the owners of the house next to the shops, as it encroaches towards their family home."

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Fig. 12 Back of the shops and no. 44 Wilton Ave, September 2021
© Helen Morgan
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“The Beech Tree chippery was on the end. The man who ran the chip shop and the taxi service lived in the Easedale bungalow. There was an outdoor licence shop, then a grocer, butchers, and a newsagent on the other end. Pearson's butchers did not want to leave but the lease was up, and the landlord would not renew it on a short-term basis."

Fig. 13 Outwood Road Shops, c. 1966
© Ratepayers' Association
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"I can remember the old Easedale bungalow, and it was eventually extended across the front, retaining the older part at the back of the property. The large garden on one side of it, now has another bungalow built on it. Where the double garages were on the other side, now stands a four bedroomed detached house."

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Fig. 14 Easedale bungalow 2021
© Helen Morgan
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Thank you to Mrs. Anne Fleet for her documents and her time and her nephew Peter. Thank you also to Mr. Chris Cash, who let me photograph Outwood Lodge, and Kath Perks for her documents and memories too.

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