Above: Selwood and Rowan Cottage, shown above in orange,
1870s. Oakfield Road at that time was just an access track
to the farmland behind. The two buildings to the south
(140-144) no longer exist, replaced c. 1970 by the
'Kennerley Lodge' flats.
1910: Selwood enlarged.
To be sold by auction, by Messrs Hopwood & son, at
the Warren Bulkeley Arms Hotel, Stockport, on Friday the
16th day of December, 1904, at seven o'clock in the evening
prompt, subject to the general conditions of sale of the
Stockport Incorporated Law Society and to special conditions
to be then produced:
Lot 1. ALL that VILLA RESIDENCE, situated at Bramhall Lane,
and known by the name of Selwood. This property is an
exceptionally attractive residence. Bramhall Lane, on which
it is situated, is well timbered, and is by far the most
picturesque road out of Stockport. It is one minute from
Davenport railway station and five minutes from the
Stockport and Hazel Grove tramway route. The site contains
1,513 yards or thereabouts. It is freehold, and will be sold
subject to a yearly chief rent of £10. It contains a
dining-room, 19ft.3in by 12ft 3in., exclusive of bay;
drawing-room, 14ft.3in by 13ft. exclusive of two large bays;
morning-room 15ft.6in. by 12ft. 6in. exclusive of bay; five
good bedrooms, kitchen, scullery, bathroom and w.c., also
lavatories on the ground and first floors. The cellars are
dry and roomy, and there is a washhouse, tool-house and
summer-house outside. The garden is well-stocked with
shrubs, fruit-trees, and plants, and is one of the best and
most productive in the neighbourhood. There is a good
heating apparatus on the premises.
Lot 2. All that VILLA RESIDENCE situate at Bramhall
Lane, known by the name of Rowan Cottage, and adjoins
lot 1. The site contains 1,210 yards or thereabouts. It is
freehold, and will be sold subject to a yearly chief rent of
£5. It contains and entrance lobby, dining-room,
drawing-room, kitchen, three bedrooms, bathroom and w.c. The
cellars are dry and roomy, and their is an outhouse and
convenience, and the garden is well stocked. It is now in
the occupation of Mr. Fred Broadhurst; his tenancy commenced
in June, 1904 at a yearly rental of £26.
Both are outside the old borough of Stockport, and
consequently the advantage of the preferential rate ... for
further particulars apply to the Auctioneers, 3 Warren
Street, Stockport; to Mr Peter Peirce, St. Petersgate,
Stockport; or to OLIVER COPPOCK, solicitor, Stockport.
The Manchester Guardian, November 29, 1904, p.3
Selwood, Davenport. Hopwood and Son have been
favoured with instructions from the Exors. of the late
Alderman Harrison, J.P., to SELL BY AUCTION, on Wedbesday
15th February 1905, the Choice and Valuable HOUSEHOLD
APPOINTMENTS, comprising mahogany hat and umbrlla stand,
with marble slab; mahogany hall chair, barometer in mahogany
case, marble clock, choice ebonised drawing-room suite, in
Chippendale taste, consisting of single and occasional
chairs, upholstered in silk tapestry; very handsome display
cabinet, with bevel plates, brackets and display shelves;
overmantel, with bevel plates and brackets, occasional
table, all en suite and nearly new; excellent pianoforte, in
walnutwood case, by Kirkman, sweet tone, full compass,
nearly new; carved pollard oak dining-room suite, by Turner,
beautifully made, consisting of six single and two easy
chairs, upholstered in bite-figured plush; massive pollar
oak sideboard, with richly carved panel fronts, plate-glass
centre, and cellarette; carved pollard oak overmantel,
pollard oak telescope dining table, on massive turned
supports; pollard oak pedestal coal vase, all en suite;
massive brass and iron curb and dogs, inlaid walnut wood
chiffonnier, with plate-class mirror and marble slab;
walnutwood sofa, upholstered in rep, Walnutwood
pedestal coal vase, mahogany dining-room suite, oak chiming
timepiece, with oxidised dial; mahogany telescope dining
table, with two loose leaves; very handsome all-brass
bedstead, walnutwood dressing-table, with swing mirror;
walnutwood washstand, with marble slab; walnutwood centre
table, walnutwood whatnot, deed chest, bamboo invalid
carrying chair, commode, semi-billiard table, kitchen
dresser, hardwood top; quantity of kitchen utensils,
carpets, oilcloth, star rods, crockery, glassware, electro
plate, cutlet, &c., Victoria bath chair, by Dillon,
Bath, rubber types, mounted on steel springs, coach painted
and fitted with self-guiding front wheel, carriage
upholstered, nearly new and of the very best make. On
view Tuesday 14th February, from eleven till four. Sale to
commence at eleven o'clock.- For catalogues and further
particulars apply to the Auctioneers, 3, Warren-street,
Stockport. Telephone, 123.
The Manchester Guardian,
February 11, 1905, p.16
The works buildings were built on a small part of a 119-acre
area on the east due of Wellington Road owned in 1850 by Sir
Ralph Pendlebury, one of Stockport's wealthy self-made
mill-owners, best known for the orphanage 'Pendlebury Hall'
built with money from his bequest, which overlooks the town
from Heaton Norris. He died in 1861.
The Land Registy records that In 1883, William Harrison
bought the land on which the works extension alongside
Marriott Street stands (and possible the buildings as well?)
from Charles Carr, probably the Stockport-born son of a
Cotton and Silk manufacturer, John Carr, whose family home
was Higher Bank House (now called Hillbrook) in Bramhall.
Around that time the Carr family retired and re-located to
Adjacent to the works, and long demolished, were long
single-storey sheds known as the 'wet-end' where the animal
skins (badger, later mostly rabbit) were processed to
produce the felt material.
In 1920 the works, renamed Marriott Street Mills, was
occupied by Robert Bailey & Son Ltd, manufacturers of
surgical dressings. Later, Baileys opened an additional site
in Dysart Street, Great Moor, which eventually became their
main base. They still operate from there in 2020.
More recently the Manchester Antique Company operated from
the Marriott Street buildings as a warehouse and auction
room, dubbed 'Mac Court'. In the twenty-first century,
from about 2009, the two main blocks have been converted to
apartments, with addition of new buildings added on
the original factory site. The M.A.C. relocated
to a new building in Sale.
The old sign omits the 'apostrophe-s'.
Newspaper Archive; Guardian online (courtesy of
Manchester Libraries); Cheshire
Tithe Maps; Ancestry.co.uk;
Old-maps.co.uk; National Library of Scotland
UK Land Registry; Stockport
Library image archive; also Street directories available
on our site.
Special thanks to Allan Russell for the History
of Stockport in 100 Halls website.
'Selwood', 138 Bramhall Lane, which is under renovation as
this is written (May 2020), is on the right of the
Google image above, viewed from the rear to avoid trees. It
dates back to the days when Davenport was little more than a
hamlet, clustered around (and named after) the little-used
railway station that Colonel Davenport of Bramall Hall had
insisted on being provided in return for the sale of
land. The map in the left column shows the entire
settlement, apart from the large house 'Bramall Mount' to
the north on the other side of the railway.
It has a somewhat unusual feature: another house, no.
136 (the white-rendered part in the image), at one time
called 'Rowan Cottage' in a completely different
architectural style, is intimately attached to it, making it
a 'semi-detached' to the estate agent. The pair stands
at on the south-west corner of Oakfield Road, which in the
1860s was no more than an track leading to the fields of Yew
Tree Farm behind; the cedar tree in the garden of no. 136 is
an iconic feature of present-day Davenport.
According to the Land Registry, the two houses were built on
a plot of land (part of a field known as Simms Croft
Pasture) leased by William Davenport Davenport to a Sarah
Glossop in 1863. For some reason, the land allocated to Mile
End Farm, the farmhouse of which stood by the main Stockport
- Buxton road near the present entrance to the Davenport
Park estate, extended across Bramhall Lane. To the west of
the plot was a field of Yew Tree Farm, and that boundary
determined the shape of the building plots. When built, the
two houses 136 and 138 were much the same size in a standard
semi-detached style; both have been much-altered over time.
Exploring the early years of the two houses is difficult
because in 1871 and 1881 the census-taker did not
identify individual houses, which at that time were not
numbered, just writing 'Davenport' against all of
them. However, the Land Registry record implies that
the land was purchased as an investment by, or for, Sarah
Glossop, and that the first resident of no. 136 was Charles
Chorlton, a retired salesman born around 1800 in
Ardwick, Manchester, who appears in the 1871 census with
55-year-old Anne Sidebotham, born in Stockport, as
housekeeper. No. 138 (future 'Selwood') seems to have been
'unoccupied' in 1871; it was probably also owned by Charles
Renovation in progress at no.138, 2020.
William Harrison, Hatter
The name 'Selwood' was attached to the house sometime
around 1883 when William Harrison moved in to
the house (later numbered 138) with his family. He was
born in 1835, and gave his birthplace as Frome, Somerset.
Selwood is a village close to that town, which over time has
become a suburb. In 1851, still in the Frome area, he was
working as a boot and shoe maker, By 1861, he had
moved to Stockport, and was describing himself as a 'hatter,
master employing 7 men and 2 boys' and already had a
Stockport-born wife, Harriet Harrison, aged 25, who
worked as hat trimmer. They lived at 21 (later 23)
Union Street, Stockport, and William had formed a
partnership with another hatter, James Stafford of 49
Union Street. Stafford was born in 1825, and in 1851
he is listed living with his father James, a milk seller, at
19 Union Street.
A workshop in a Union Street back yard by 1851 grew over the
years into a large purposed-built factory complex, named St
Thomas's Works. Harrison had arrived in Stockport at an
auspicious time. Historian Peter Arrowsmith in his book Stockport:
a History writes:
In 1860 the number of people living in the town
who worked in the [hat] industry is said to have been 473.
Thirty years later there were estimated to be ten times
that number. The growth was a consequence of a revival in
the popularity of felt hats, after a slump in the 1840s
when silk hats became the fashion, and of changing methods
of production which enabled manufacturers to meet this
Harrison and Stafford rode the wave of the demand; one
has to be impressed that Harrison was able to learn a new
trade in such a short period and eventually join the hatting
elite of the town, to become a Justice of the Peace and an
The St Thomas's Works in 2020, now apartments.
As the firm grew, the Harrisons moved to other houses within
easy reach of the factory. They were at 56 Wellington Road
South by 1871, and by 1881, 'Fernleigh', 13 Marsland Street,
by which time they had sons Joseph Bancroft Harrison
(17), Albert Edward Harrison (15) and William
Isaac Harrison (14) at home, and a servant.
(This was not Marsland Street in Portwood, but the street
which soon afterwards was renamed St Thomas's Place, leading
from Wellington Road to the Church.) The house, which would
have been very close to the factory, has proved difficult to
identify, as maps show houses ending at no.9. The 1891
census lists two houses 'off St Thomas's Place', named as
'Grundy Place' in 1901 although not named on any map. It is
likely they were eventually demolished during a factory
By 1891 Stafford had retired and the firm had become William
Harrison & Sons. The family were settled in 'Selwood':
William, hat manufacturer, with his sons Albert Edward (25)
and William (24), both born in Stockport and also hat
manufacturers, partners in the firm. (Joseph had left home,
but was also a partner.) On hand were two servants:
housekeeper Lydia Harrison and general servant
Sarah Marsland. Harriet was not present, but
William is not listed as widowed; we can't establish
definitely what happened to her.
It's not surprising that the Harrisons decided to move
to Davenport, as by 1891, other hat manufacturers,
including the the Christys and members of the Lees, Ward and
Battersby families, had set up home there. We believe
that it was the Harrisons who commissioned the house
extensions; they also owned 'Rowan Cottage' and seemingly
altered that too, although not so drastically.
Advert from 1902. The artist has
exaggerated the perspective.
William Harrison & Sons manufactured felt hats for the
wholesale market, and did not become famous names like
Battersby and Christy whose hats were sold under their own
name. Penny McKnight, in her book Stockport Hatting, quotes
the Hatters' Gazette: 'the name of Harrison's
[is] accepted as a guarantee of substantial quality, with
their products finding their way in large consignments to
many parts of the globe.'
The 1901 census found William and William Isaac Harrison the
only family members present at Selwood, along with four
servants: housekeeper Lydia Harrison, two general servants Margaret
Oswald and Mary Hill, and a nurse, Anna
William Harrison (senior) died in 1904, by which date he was
President of the Hat Manufacturers Association for Stockport
and District. The items in the house inventory (left)
including a batch chair and an invalid carring chair,
suggest he had not been well for some time.
In his will he left an estate worth £24,404 net. He
bequeathed £100 to the Stockport Sick Poor Nursing
Association, and £250 to housekeeper Lydia Harrison.
He directed that £13,500, including his interest in the
firm, should be held in trust for his son Albert Edward, and
the residue to his two sons and partners Joseph Bancroft and
William Isaac. It would seem that Albert may have
suffered some kind of disability.
William Isaac Harrison, who had married Bertha Ainscow in
1904, died in 1908, aged 41. He had cycled from Stockport to
Whaley Bridge, and left his bike in the village and set off
on foot, to to see a friend who worked on the estate of
Colonel Jodrell of Taxal Lodge, or attend a funeral,
depending on which newspaper you read. He never arrived, and
his body was later found in Toddbrook reservoir. It was
suggested that he slipped and fell in the water, and was
unable to get out. His widow Bertha, and young
daughter Annie Harrison, are recorded in the 1911 Census
'living on own means' with a live-in servant at 166 Bramhall
Lane, not far from her brother-in-law Joseph.
The firm carried on for a while under Joseph Bancroft
Harrison who had his own Davenport villa -
'Glenariff' , no. 295 Bramhall Lane, semi-detached
partner of no. 297 'Rothberg'. (The building was demolished
to create the 'Southlands' apartments completed in
2006.) In 1891 Joseph had married schoolmistress Emma
Marshall, a daughter of Stockport-based master builder John
Marshall. They had five children, but the 1911 census, where
he lists himself as 'hat manufacturer', reveals that two of
them had died, leaving twins Margaret and Alice and their
sister Constance. Like his father he served as a
magistrate, He sold Selwood and Rowan Cottage at
auction soon after his father's death, and also auctioned
the 'household appointments' of Selwood (see left
After 1908, the hatting business seems to have faltered, and
by 1914 it was no longer listed in directories.
'Selwood' had a number of short-term residents in the years
immediately after the sale. The house name was not changed,
which makes one wonder whether some were simply tenants. The
1911 census lists John Smith, aged 47, commercial traveller
(chocolate), born in Pontefract, Yorkshire, their five
Children and a 'mother's help.' A 1914 directory mentions a
'Mrs Fletcher'. A 1918 newspaper notice marks the birth of a
baby to Ethel Mary Ferns, the wife of John
Astley Killer Ferns (1879-1960) of 'Selwood'. He
was a Stockport-born solicitor, son of Alfred Ernest
Ferns, also a solicitor and coroner.
By 1923 Harry Holt (born 1873) a cotton goods merchant, had
appeared on the Selwood scene, and stayed for much longer.
The 1939 register lists him with his wife Ada Holt (also
born 1873) and son Alan L. Holt, born 1918, a cotton goods
salesman who served in World War II as an A.R.P. ambulance
driver. Ada died, aged 86, in 1960; Harry remained at
Selwood, joined by Alice Drabble, his daughter, whose
husband George Drabble had died in 1957. Harry Holt
died in 1966, aged 92.
The residents immediately before the sale in 2020 had been
there since 1976.
No. 136 'Rowan Cottage'
No.136 in 2002.
'Rowan Cottage' has had a varied career, not all of which we
can disentangle. Charles Chorlton, recorded in 1871,
moved on by 1881. In 1901 it was empty. Fred
Broadhurst, mentioned as tenant in the auction
advertisment, was a carpenter and joiner, who later
lived with his wife Maud Platt Broadhurst at 50
Charles Edwin Chamberlain, born in 1878 in Shepton
Mallet, Somerset, is recorded on the Land Registry as
purchasing the house from Joseph Bancroft Harrison in 1914,
ten years after the auction. He is listed in the 1939
register as resident at No. 136 with his wife Alice
Chamberlain, born 1878. Earlier records
list him as the owner of a house painting and decorating
business, living at an address at 223 Bramhall Lane with
Alice and their son Albert Charles Chamberlain. It's
likely that they moved to No.136 when no.223, like its
neighbours, was turned into a shop, which at the time of
writing is the northern part of 'Bargain Booze'.
The next record we have is from 1965, when a Leonard W.
Whalley was sole resident listed on the Electoral
Register. Later, the house was converted to the 'Happy
Days' nursery, which according to its current website at the
time of writing has been established for over 40 years.
Around 2000 the nursery relocated to a purpose-built
building in Heath Road on the site of the former 'Davenport
Club' , and in 2020 it is part of the 'Kids' Planet'
chain. In 2004 no. 136 was purchased by the Equity
Housing Group for £185,000, and converted to social
accommodation for five residents. Two new small
houses, 1 and 3 Oakfield Road, were built on
what had been the garden, despite comments by locals that
residents would suffer noise and disruption from the
businesses opposite, which has proved to be the case.
At some time, ground at the far end of the garden was sold,
and an entry gate installed in Oakfield Road. In 2020 there
are remains of a structure, possibly a garage. In 2015
planning permission was granted for a 'single-storey
dwelling' on part of the garden of no.138, using this
gateway as access, but as of May 2020 no work had been done.
Th1s image dated 1937 was taken during the widening of
Bramhall Lane. The pavement is about to be moved back to
match the line of the shops opposite the station, seen in
the distance. Strips of the front gardens of 'Selwood'
and the other houses of the original settlement were bought
by the Council for the purpose.
Penny McKnight, Stockport Hatting. Stockport:
Stockport Borough Council, 2000.
Peter Arrowsmith: Stockport, a History. Stockport:
Stockport Borough Council, 1997.
Written by Charlie Hulme, May 2020.
Comments always welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org