This second part blog post on Wareing Street in Tyldesley will focus on the hidden histories of some of the buildings located there.

Prospect House

Prospect House, Tyldesley (Source: Own Photograph, 2015)
Prospect House, in Tyldesley is one of the oldest properties on Wareing Street (this is shown in its construction as it is the only building facing south). It is a substantial property built in the early 1840s in a classical style.

In the late 1840s it was home to Henry Mort, a land agent and surveyor and his housekeeper Susannah Bowker. By the mid-1850s Mort had passed away and the house was advertised for sale or rent. It was described as having; “Dining, sitting and drawing rooms, five good bedrooms, dressing room, water-closet, storeroom, Butler’s pantry, kitchen, scullery, etc, etc.”. The house was also advertised as “being suitable for a country residence” which infers that even by the mid-1850s much of the land south of Tyldesley was still open greenery.

Oliver Sibberin, his wife Ellen and their children Jane Ann, William, Samuel and Matilda are living at Prospect House in 1861. Oliver Sibberin is a pawn broker, a common feature in many industrial towns as it offered the working classes the chance to pawn their few possessions and then reclaim them next pay day. His business is obviously successful (although he was previously a farmer) as he employs a domestic servant, Maria Halliwell and an assistant in the business, Alice Chorlton who also lives with the family.

Unfortunately Oliver passed away later in 1861 and this seems to affected his families fortunes, by 1871 they are still on Wareing Street but now living in one of the ‘two up-two down’ terraced houses. Living at Prospect House is Edward Burton, son and heir of the industrialist James Burton. Like his father, Edward lives amongst his workers, albeit in a better house. Prospect House is a busy property consisting of; wife Emily and three young children Edward, Oliver and James and a cook, two nurses and a housemaid. The Burton family didn’t stay long in Tyldesley and they moved around the country. By the time Edward Burton died in 1913 his estate was valued at £29003’17’3 (well over £2.5 million in modern money).

By the 1880s a new street began to be built alongside Prospect House, Upper George Street and from this point onwards the address for Prospect House changed from Wareing Street to 1 Upper George Street. In 1891 Dr. William Duncan is living there (he actually lived in Prospect House, The Thistles and Canonbury House).  In the 1911 census, Dr. George Jessell is living at Prospect House along with his housekeeper, Flora Marsh. In the 1950s Jack Johnston used this property as a showroom for his furniture business.

The Thistles

The Thistles, Wareing Street, Tyldesley. Note the ironwork in the shape of Thistles on the window above the porch. (Source: Own Photograph, 2015)
Number 13 Wareing Street, also known as The Thistles was built in the late 1870s opposite Prospect House, it was the first property to be built towards the southern end of Wareing Street. It was the largest house on the street with at least 13 rooms and from the outset this house was inhabited by medical professionals.

In 1881 Doctor William Duncan was the first inhabitant of the house, he was born in 1843 in Lincolnshire but studied at the University of Glasgow. He was not only a medical practitioner but also a master of surgery. He lived at The Thistles with his wife Margaret, their daughter Agnes and two domestic servants Anne Dunn and Ann Simon.

As mentioned above in the section on Prospect House, within a decade Dr. Duncan had moved across the road to live there. In 1891 another doctor is living at The Thistles, Dr. James T. Neech along with his wife Jennie and a maid and a groom. Both Duncan and Neech both held the position of Medical Officer of Health for Astley Sanatorium. Neech held the position until his resignation in 1900, it was then held by Duncan until his death in 1908.

Doctor Thomas Gray (Source: Wigan Archives and Leigh Local Studies)
In the early years of the 20th century Dr. Thomas Buchanan Whitelaw lived there. From 1911 and for the next few decades The Thistles was home to Dr. Thomas Gray, his wife Elizabeth Hope Yates and their daughter Elizabeth born in 1916. Thomas Gray was born in Knockcloghrim, Londonderry, Northern Ireland. He followed in the footsteps of his older brother William George, who was also a doctor and had moved to Britain. In fact the romance between Thomas Gray and Elizabeth Hope Yates was likely a result of her living next door to his brother in Leigh.

Apparently it was at The Thistles that Dr. Reginald Arthur Dench came to live in the 1920s with his wife Eleanora Olive Jones. The couple met whilst Reginald was studying medicine at Trinity College, Dublin. They had two sons born in Tyldesley, Peter (1925) and Jeffrey (1928) but they moved to Yorkshire by 1934 where their daughter Judith was born. Both Jeffrey Dench and his sister Judith (better known as Dame Judi Dench) would go on to become world-famous actors.

Canonbury House

Canonbury House, Wareing Street (Source: Own Photograph, 2015)
Canonbury House is located at the northern end of Wareing Street, nestled between numbers 3-7 and Prospect House. It is a detached property and it was built July 1845 for Lieutenant John Hine and his growing family. It was fitted with modern appliances of the 1840s including hard and soft water.

John Hine was born in 1788 in Cumberland, he eventually came to Tyldesley. Hine joined the army was in the 45th Foot Regiment and also the 8th Foot Regiment. During the Peninsular War of 1807-14, Hine served under the Duke of Wellington and was involved in the Siege of Badajoz in 1812. Altogether Hine served 37 years in the army and rose to the rank of Lieutenant.

In June 1845 he married France Gould (1825-1857) and together they had four children; Joseph Hinton (1846), John William (1847), Sarah Letitia (1849) and Frances Louisa (1859). Unfortunately the 1850s were not a kind decade to the Hine family, John William died aged 10 in 1856, the following year Frances died aged 33 subsequently followed by Sarah Letitia aged 8. In 1862 11 year old Frances Louisa died and in 1865 John Hine himself died aged 77.

On Monday 8th May 1865 there was an auction at Canonbury House of “the whole of the truly valuable furniture and effects, all in modern taste and comprises nearly every article required in a genteel family.” The property itself was sold later in June 1865, purchased by James Knott who died in the early 1870s. It was then occupied by Dr William Duncan and family before he moved to the other properties on Wareing Street.

In 1881 Canonbury House was home to the Smith family. At aged only 40 Thomas Smith had ran such a successful grocery business he was able to retire and he lives comfortably at Canonbury House with his wife Elizabeth and their two children James and Edna and also a domestic servant Alice Reed.

Thomas Smith eventually let the property out, it seems to other sucessful merchants in Tyldesley. In 1901  James Kay, a draper and his family are living there. In 1904 Robert and Ann Isherwood move into Canonbury House.

Robert Isherwood was born in Tyldesley in 1845 and from the age of nine he worked in the coal mines. In 1870 he left the mines and established a building business as well as successfully running two grocery businesses. He was famously recorded as “one of the biggest individual ratepayers in the township”.

Robert Isherwood, c.1890 (Source: Leigh Journal, 5 September 1890)
From 1875 until his death he was an agent of the Leigh and District Miners’ Association, in 1881 he was treasurer of the Lancashire and Cheshire Miners’ Federation and also held the position of Vice President within the Miners’ Permanent Relief Society. His obituary describes him as “One of the best known trade unionists in Lancashire”. He was also a Justice of the Peace, a Councillor of the Highways and Chairman of the District Council in 1897/8. In 1893 he built the Miners’ Hall in Tyldesley, as a place where miners could meet and hold discussions.

Just after lunch on January 4th 1905, Robert passed away in his chair at Canonbury House. His widow, Ann Isherwood continued to live at Canonbury until her death in 1919. After this, her son Fred Isherwood (1873-1949) must have purchased Canonbury House as he moves here with his wife Fannie and their three daughters; Agnes, Winifred and Dorothy. The family had previously lived just further down Wareing Street in Stanley Villas.

Fred Isherwood, c.1910 (Source: Leigh Chronicle, 29 April 1910)
Like his father, Fred Isherwood was greatly involved in civic life. He was a member of the Education Committee, a County Magistrate and also club President of Tyldesley Swimming Club. As well as this he was Manager of the Union Bank of Tyldesley, rising to this position from starting as a junior clerk in 1889. He was well-travelled too but he stated “If Tyldesley has been good enough to earn your living in, then it is good enough to spend your retirement in.” He died in 1949.

A third generation of the Isherwood family is also a notable resident of Wareing Street. Dorothy Isherwood (b.1907), youngest daughter of Fred, joined the Women’s Royal Naval Service (W.R.N.S.) at the outbreak of World War Two. She quickly rose through the ranks to Chief Officer. In 1942 she was appointed Director of the Dominion and sent to establish a branch of the W.R.N.S. in Canada. She was later given command of the W.R.N.S in the Mediterranean Zone and travelled between Malta, Italy, Gibraltar and Palestine. She had also served on the League of Nations at Geneva. After being demobbed in 1946 she held an executive position at the BBC. In 1947 she was awarded a C.B.E by King George VI at Buckingham Palace for her wartime service.

Canonbury House was later purchased by the Leather family, in-turn the Wilson-Smith family purchased it from them and finally the Livesey family bought Canonbury House and continue to reside there today.

Dorothy Isherwood in her W.R.N.S. uniform,(Source: Leigh Chronicle, 31 October 1947)



  • John Lunn, A Short History of the Township of Tyldesley, (Manchester: Co-Operative Wholesale Society Limited, 1953)
  • Census Records –
  • BMD Records –
  • Information about later residents – – ‘Tyldesley and Atherton; It’s our past, present and future’ – Posts by Maureen Livesey and Mary Aspinall, 6 August 2016
  • Wigan Archives and Leigh Local Studies
  • The Bolton Chronicle, 29 March 1856, pg.1
  • The Leigh Chronicle, 29 April 1865, pg.2
  • The Leigh Chronicle, 17 June 1865, pg. 2
  • Leigh Journal, 5 September 1890
  • Leigh Journal,  6 January 1905
  • The Leigh Chronicle, 29 April 1910
  • The Leigh Chronicle,  31 October 1947
  • The Leigh Chronicle, 4 November 1949