Wareing Street in Tyldesley is one of just many residential streets in the town. However the history of this particular street is quite interesting and from the different architectural style of properties, we can see how this street is was a microcosm of Victorian and Edwardian society.
This is a two-part post, the second post will focus on the history of specific buildings on Wareing Street.
In 1764 Thomas Johnson (also known as ‘Squire Johnson’) inherited the Tyldesley Banks estate from his grandfather, also named Thomas Johnson. The elder Thomas Johnson had been purchasing land in and around Tyldesley since 1728 but it was his grandson who began to develop the estate. The estate was known as the ‘Banks Estate’ because Tyldesley is geographically situated higher than neighbouring towns and much of the town was built on the embankments.
At this point in the late 18th century, industrialisation was only slowly encroaching on the largely agricultural town. In 1792 Johnson had established a steam-powered woolen mill on Factory Street and silk weaving was a popular ‘cottage industry’. Construction of houses and other buildings began towards the western end of the town also began in the late 18th and early 19th century, this included Tyldesley Top Chapel in 1789 and St. George’s Church and school in 1825 and 1827.
By the early 1830s houses began to spring up on the embankments leading off Elliot Street, the main street in Tyldesley. One such street was Wareing Street, which was named in honour of Thomas Johnson’s wife, Susannah Wareing.
19th Century Wareing Street
The 1841 census records Wareing Street for the first time and it records just 10 households. It is very much a working class street, most of the occupants work in the cotton industry or as skilled worker such as nailors or joiners. Much of the construction work of the new street took place at the northern top end of the street, the southern end of the street was used as allotments.
Within a decade the street has expanded and now has double the amount of households. In 1851 the residents of Wareing Street are much more varied socially than they were a decade earlier, some of the residents now include a land surveyor and Lieutenant General in the army. One big social change is the amount of Irish families living on the street, ten years before there was none, in 1851 there was 3. The Dolan, Hand and Parden households were all entirely Irish-born and its extremely likely that they came over to England fleeing the awful famine of 1845-49 which left one million dead and caused about one million more to emigrate. It is also worth noting that each of the Irish households have less skilled jobs than their English-born neighbours (the heads of families are agricultural labourers) and therefore to subsidise their incomes they all have lodgers despite living in ‘two up – two down’ houses.
By the 1860s Wareing Street had changed yet again. Tyldesley was expanding rapidly as an industrial town, it now had several cotton mills and it was beginning to sink coal mines too. The 1861 census reveals Wareing Street has expanded slightly and now has 22 houses. With the exception of two households at Canonbury House and Prospect House, the street can be identified as distinctively working class. The increased industrialisation of Tyldesley means that the residents of the street, mostly in rented properties, are ever changing. Only Benjamin and Sarah Duddle have been consistent residents since the 1841 census and in 1861 there are now several Irish-born households on the street.
At the southern end of Wareing Street there was a railway line and just beyond this was St. George’s Bank Colliery. In 1861 the London and North Western Railway Company established a line through Tyldesley and it officially opened in 1864. The new station was located just at the bottom of Wareing Street making it one of the most prominent streets in Tyldesley, it was even allotted Gas street lighting (see photograph above). The new railway line was an exciting prospect for the town. At same time the station opened, a new public house was built on Wareing Street, it was called the Railway Inn. This added another dimension to the street which was now a mixture of private and public space.
Wareing Street: A Mirror of Society
By the end of the 19th century and the dawn of the 20th century, Wareing Street was entirely developed and built upon. In the early 1880s a large imposing property, The Thistles, was built at the centre of the street, opposite the Railway Inn. In the 1890s the allotment grounds at the southern end of the street was cleared and made way for terraced houses. However unlike the ‘two up – two down’ terraces at the northern end of the street, these new properties were garden fronted and featured large bay windows. A pair of semi-detached villas were built in 1893 which again added a more refined character to Wareing Street than there had been decades earlier.
The 1911 census is an absolutely fascinating insight into Edwardian Tyldesley and Wareing Street is a microcosm of society at the time, all piled into one street. As mentioned, towards the end of the 19th century the street took on a more dignified air, as the larger more modern houses attracted middle class residents. The 1911 census shows a very clear social divide between the northern end of the street and the southern.
The northern end of the street, numbers 2-20 and numbers 3-9, are the much older houses and still inhabited by working class people. In 1911 Albert Thompson runs his dying and cleaning business from his 3 roomed house, other occupations include a butcher, letterpress printer and cotton mill worker.
At the centre of the street are three detached properties and the Railway Inn. The residents of these households are very much middle class, The Thistles and Prospect House are homes to doctors and at Canonbury House is a widow “living on independent means”.
The southern end of the street is made up of the aspiring working and middle classes. Occupations of these households include; a civil engineer, a bank manager, a master painter, teachers, milliners and dressmakers and a cotton mill manager. The Gregory family at Number 30 even employ a live-in domestic servant.
Perhaps the most social extreme revealed by the 1911 census is ‘Back Wareing Street’, which was a row of four slum-like properties hidden behind Numbers 3-7 and only accessible by a short passage at the side of these houses. Three of the properties comprise of only two rooms, the other property has only one room. In this property lives Elizabeth Houghton and her two sons aged 12 and 11. With the exception of children, all the adults who live at Back Wareing Street are employed, either in cotton mills or coal mines. At Number 4 Back Wareing Street is John and Faith Rigby and their 2 year old son Norman. Despite having only two rooms to occupy, the Rigby family also have a lodger, 18 year old Nellie Lawson to try and supplement their income. However this is by no means the most crowded Back Wareing Street appears to have been. In 1881 one property is home to two different families, which comprises of nine people.
The real different in background of the street can be seen in the roles of the young women who lived there. At the southern end of the street, some young ladies engage in ‘suitable’ occupations by Ewardian Standards. Gwendoline Heywood, age 16, a milliner, Margaret Thompson, age 33, a tailoress and Annie Chadwick, age 23 and Jane Crippin age 19 both dressmakers. The census reveals these four unmarried women are using their skills and leisure time to develop their independence and earn an income, something which would have been frowned up a generation or two earlier.
For the less fortunate working women at the northern end of Wareing Street, it was the main industries of Tyldesley, the cotton mills and the coal mines, which provided them with employment. Nellie Lawson aged 18 and Jane Yates aged 22 both lived in Back Wareing Street and both worked as “pit brow lasses”. The other women; Sarah Emma Barber, Elizabeth Crippin, Lucy Grundy, Agnes Jones and Jane Ann Thomas, who were all aged between 14 and 38 worked in the towns numerous cotton mills as carders or weavers. Their dirty, physical work contrasts sharply with their contemporaries who lived just down the street.
Therefore Wareing Street is quite a bizarre street and it encompassed so many different aspects of society in the early 20th century. Despite having a railway station and pub located there it was still a desirable place to live. The properties range from overcrowded one roomed dwellings to spacious elegant homes complete with domestic staff. In fact Back Wareing Street would have been visible from the upper windows of Canonbury House. However as all the census records show, Wareing Street has always been a melting pot of the different classes and they have always been living cheek-by-jowl from the moment the street was laid out. The rapid change of Tyldesley from an agricultural landscape to a industrial town occurred so quickly that land was purchased by speculative builders and houses thrown up or demolished without much thought. Despite the differences in background, Wareing Street appears to have been a peaceful street, many of the residents recorded in the 1911 census had lived there for years and continued to inhabit the street for decades more.
The 20th and 21st Centuries
During the First World War hundreds of men from Tyldesley enlisted to fight, including men from Wareing Street. Three of the men James Charlton, Fred Thomason and Corporal Sneyd survived the war. Although Thomason received shrapnel wounds to the head and severe frostbite to his feet and Sneyd was treated back home at Salford Royal from wounds caused by an explosive bullet. However others such as William Jones and James Scott McCairn were not as lucky.
During the 1920s Back Wareing Street was finally cleared and the inadequate housing demolished. In 1939 the Second World War broke out and a new generation of men and women left to fight. At least 3 men from Wareing Street died during the Second World War; 23 year old Ronald Boydell, 28 year old Joseph Heywood and 24 year old George Charlton (son of James Charlton above).
Tyldesley railway station was one of the victims of Dr. Beeching’s cuts in the 1960s and the former railway line became a natural woodland, until 2016 when a guided bus route opened along the line. Wareing Street continues to be a residential street and the northern end of it is now in Tyldesley’s conservation zone.
- John Aiken, A Description of the Country from Thirty to Forty Miles around Manchester (London: David & Charles, 1795)
- John Lunn, A Short History of the Township of Tyldesley, (Manchester: Co-Operative Wholesale Society Ltd, 1953)
- Thomas McGrath, The Women of Wareing Street: A Snapshot into the lives of Tyldesley Women in 1911, PastForward Magazine, Issue 69, Decemeber- March 2015
- Leigh Journal, 24 November 1916
- Leigh Journal, 2 November 1917
- Leigh Jounral, 10 May 1918
- Leigh Journal, 7 June 1918
- Leigh Journal, 23 August 1918
- Leigh Journal, 21 March 1919