Number 138 Elliott Street stands out from its neighbours on the main street in Tyldesley, a large Georgian domestic property surrounded by Victorian shops. Who built this house? How has it survived? This is the hidden history of 138 Elliott Street.

Manley House

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Manley House, 138 Elliott Street, 2017 (Source: Own Photograph, 2017)

An indenture for the property dated 8th November 1825 reveals the house was constructed that year for William Ecksersley Manley. The architecture of typical of the early nineteenth century as the fashion for simple, symmetrical façades was popular even in the late-Georgian period when Manley House was constructed on Elliott Street.

The building is built with a Flemish bond and features three bays. The solid original front door is framed by two fluted Tuscan columns and a decorative fanlight of glazed bars (note the door is hung on the right, as all doors were historically).  The four chimney stacks each feature three chimney pots, suggesting at one time there was at least 12 fireplaces in the house. The sixteen-over-sixteen sash windows are large and bright, as is a round-headed long staircase window at the rear of the property. The fenestration is a testament to the wealth of William Manley as the window tax was still applicable during the 1820s. To the side of the building is the original wall containing a carriage gate and a pedestrian gate to the garden at the rear. The property features large, airy rooms over three floors including a cellar. There is also a separate additional extension to the rear of the building. Fortunately the house retains many original features such as the cornices, shutters, fireplaces and staircases, which add to its Grade II listed status.

The Rate Book of 1841 reveals the house and garden was worth £30/14s/17d in rates (£2568 in modern terms) and there was an attached shippon stable and gig house (coach house) worth £3/17s (£321). The Ordnance Survey Map of 1849 reveals there was large garden to the side of Manley House. By 1890 the garden was still visible, although Number 136 Elliott Street had been built adjoining 138. All traces of the garden had disappeared by 1908.

Who was William Eckersley Manley?

William Eckersley Manley was born on 25 October 1802 in Atherton and baptised almost three weeks later at Chowbent Chapel. His parents were Edmund Manley (1780-1833) and Jane Fildes (1780-1859) who had married on 28th January 1802 at St. Peter’s in Bolton. At the time of his marriage Edmund Manley gave his occupation as a cabinet maker, however later trade directories for Chowbent reveal he was a machine maker, as well as the licensed victualler of the Kings Head Inn, located at Market Place in Atherton. The public house had been in his wife’s family for some fifteen years and in 1807 the pub passed from Jane’s mother Ann Fildes and her step-father William Eckersley to her husband. The pub, which was rebuilt during Manley’s tenure, still stands today (although it is now named “Weavers Rest”).

The Manley family were clearly prosperous in their business ventures as they sent their eldest son, William Eckersley Manley to London to train as a surgeon and general practitioner. He was granted his license in 1824 by the Society of Apothecary and the following year he was granted membership into the Royal College of Surgeons. Upon completing his education William returned to Atherton, where he trained under Dr. Cleworth. In June 1826 William married Mary Ann Jepson (1803-1874) at St. Mary’s, Leigh.

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Front door detail, 138 Elliott Street, Tyldesley (Source: Own Photograph, 2016)

By the time their first child, Edmund, was born in August 1827 William and Mary Ann were already living on Elliott Street in Tyldesley. The couple had eight children together; Robert (1829-1889), Eliza (1831-61), William (1833-34), Mary Ann (1836), William (1838-46), Hugh (1841-46) and Herbert (1842-43). As the dates show, infant mortality was rife in the early nineteenth century especially in growing industrial towns such as Tyldesley, in which affected all classes of society.

Life in Tyldesley

When William Manley first went to Tyldesley in 1825 he described it as a “straggling, rude village, possessing few attractions and little promise of success for a professional beginner”.  However Tydesley was slowly starting to establish itself as a town and St. George’s Church and School were subsequently built. William quickly grew fond of his adopted hometown and strove had to implement social improvement schemes. He was a member of Tyldesley Local Board since its foundation in October 1863 and he took a great interest in improving sanitary conditions in the town; in 1867 the Local Board was successful in securing piped water from Manchester. He was also the oldest trustee of the Tyldesley Church Schools and his name appeared regularly in the local newspapers donating sums to charity and philanthropic projects.

The Manley family were prominent members of society, as Tyldesley progressed into industrial hub. His daughters attended Miss Gretton’s Ladies School at Chaddock Hall, Boothstown. Moreover as the only medical professional for a number of decades, Manley was well known by all members of society and his obituary records: “No man more thoroughly knew the place – its wants, peculiarities, and character of its inhabitants. He was thoroughly at home with everyone – knew their history and position.”

On the evening of Monday 27th April 1868, William had attended a Local Board meeting, upon his return home he went to bed, saying he felt unwell. At midnight he was woken by a messenger asking him to call on a sick patient, whilst he was preparing himself he told his wife he felt unwell. Mary Ann Manley sent the housekeeper to fetch Mr. Hoyle, a surgeon but before he could arrived, William suffered from a “fit of apoplexy” (a nineteenth century term for a stroke) and he sadly died aged only 65. He was buried in the family plot in the grave yard adjoining St. George’s Church, the flat stone marker has since been completely covered by grass.

The Late Nineteenth Century

By early 1870, Mary Ann Manley and her children left Tyldesley and moved to Wimslow (both she and her son, Edmund would both later be buried in the family grave in Tyldesley). The house was advertised for rent and in July 1870, the Tarbuck family moved into the property. John Tarbuck (1826) and his wife Margaret (1834) had previously lived in Abram with their children: Harold (1865), Edith (1866), Bertha (1868), Rhoda (1870). In 1871 the family are living at Manley House, along with Margaret’s mother Jane Jackson. During the 1870s the family was completed by the following children: Ludovic & Herbert (1874 -twins) and Margaret (1876) and in 1881 the family employed a maid, 21 year old Elizabeth Horrocks.

John Tarbuck was a mining engineer and land surveyor and he would have found plenty of work in and around Tyldesley in the 1870s. Among the collieries in Tyldesley at this time were: Cleworth Hall, Combermere, Gin Pit, Great Boys, New Lester, Nook, Pear Tree, Shakerley, St. George’s and Yew Tree. However these collieries needed men and women to work in them and as a result the population of Tyldesley doubled in a twenty year period; rising from 6,408 in 1871 to 12,891 in 1891.

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Advertisement placed by John Tarbuck in the Leigh Chronicle, 1870. (Source: Leigh Chronicle, 22 October 1870, p.1)

This impacted on Manley House and the topography of the town changed rapidly. By the 1880s the property was now surrounded by shops, pubs, terraced houses and mills, it would have been unrecognisable to the scene in 1825 when William Manley first arrived there. Among the Tarbuck’s immediate neighbours were a confectioner, a painter,  a gunpowder agent and an ironmonger.

The Bennett Family

In 1882 John Tarbuck died and his widow and family moved to Moss Side, Manchester (in the late nineteenth century the area was home to the up-and-coming working and middle classes). By 1885 the Bennett family have moved into Manley House.  Head of the family is widow Eliza Bennett (1844-1914). Eliza was born in Northamptonshire and married John Bennett (1840-1878), they came to Tyldesley around 1864 where they commenced their grocery business, a few doors away from Manley House on Elliott Street.

Eliza lived at Manley House with her children; Arthur (1864), Annie (1870-1885), Eleanor (1873) and Kate (1865). She successfully ran the grocery business, which continued to expand. By 1901 the family owned the adjoining property at 140 Elliott Street which they used as the retail premises. Eliza was assisted in the business by her son and a lodger, Fred Lees who works as an assistant. Her daughter Eleanor worked as a teacher in a private school.

Eliza had retired from her grocery business later that year and the family had left Manley House. Eliza retired to Lytham and she was greatly missed by the community in Tyldesley, especially the Wesleyan Church in which she was heavily involved and another of other institutions such as the Nursing Association and Leigh Local Board. She died in September 1914.

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“WANTED, good GENERAL SERVANT, one who understands plain cooking. – Apply, Mrs. BENNETT, Manley House, Tyldesley.” (Source: Leigh Chronicle, 12 August, 1892, p.4)

Manley House: The Twentieth Century 

George Smith, his wife Harriet and their three adult children George, Alice and Thomas are living at Manley House from 1902. George and his sons are letterpress printers and he owns a family business. The Smith family and their stationary business are still recorded there as late as 1924.

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Elliott Street, Tyldesley, c.1910s (Manley House is on the right of the photograph, located opposite the small building with columns which was a bank). (Source: https://fineartamerica.com/featured/elliott-street-tyldesley-england-the-keasbury-gordon-photograph-archive.html)

By 1939 George and Sarah Birchall are recorded at the property. George (1898-1968) was the youngest son of Thomas Birchall and he grew up on Shakerley Road, working as a milk boy in his youth on one of the many farms which was then in the area. In 1916 he married Sarah Beeston and together they had three children: George (1920), Annie (1923) and Wilfred (1933).

A New Use

In the post-war period, Manley House (or simply 138 Elliott Street as it was more commonly known as) was no longer a desirable family home as it had been a century earlier. From 1902 tracks were laid on Elliott Street outside Manley House and trolley buses were a common feature as the building stood at the heart of Tyldesley’s main shopping street, which was also one of the main roads connecting Tyldesley with neighbouring Atherton and Astley.  Therefore the  building was used for public uses such as offices. It was later used as a dentist’s surgery, first by Derek Thompson and after by Catherine Robinson until the 1990s. Needless to say there are many people still in the locality who have less than fond memories of visiting 138 Elliott Street as children in the 1960s and 1970s.

During this time Number 138 Elliott Street was altered internally to suit its role as a dental surgery. Fortunately the building was protected from any further changes when it was listed in 1991 and subsequently incorporated into Tyldesley’s Conservation Zone. The property was the purchased by Michael Daggett, who spent the next decade or so painstakingly preserving and restoring the original features of Manley House and returning the property to its original early nineteenth century glory.

Manley House was listed for sale in 2014 for around £249,950 which shows that despite being located on Tyldesley’s main road this is still a desirable property which the previous owner had worked very hard to create. Below is a link to Zoopla which features the estate agent’s photographs of the interior, which I highly recommend checking out.

When it was first built in 1825 Manley House stood out from other buildings in Tyldesley and over 190 years later it still stands out today, fortunately for all the right reasons. Tied within the bricks and mortar of this building are the lives of some of Tyldesley’s most influential former residents and indeed the history of the town itself.

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