|Tasmania Cottage and its
A Davenport history feature, written by Charlie Hulme
This feature came about when we were asked on behalf of a former resident if we had any information about 'Tasmania Cottage' which once stood on Adswood Lane West, Cale Green. Our immediate answer was 'sorry, no' but we set off to see what could be discovered; this turned out to be a quest both fascinating and frustrating as we tried to put together fragments of information.
Sadly the result is something of a failure, being riddled with anomalies and loose ends.
What seemed a small project has turned into a long, and ultimately incomplete, search. We hope someone will be interested and, even better, solve some of our mysteries.
The Cale Green and Shaw Heath Areas were some of the earliest suburbs of Stockport, developed by the mid-nineteenth century, and there is still much of historic interest in the area.
In 1800 The Carrington family, the first of the great hatting families of Stockport, who had been making hats since 1710 in a workshop in Adlington Square in the town centre, decided that larger premises were needed, and purchased a five-acre plot of land bordered by Shaw Heath on the east, and Adswood Lane to the south. On this they developed a new hat factory which operated until 1955, when following mergers and reduced demand for hats, they abandoned the site and moved production to Sutton and Torkington's works in Lord Street.
Some of the buildings of the hat factory survived in other usage, and can be seen in 2017, along with a stone bearing the company name which forms part of the wall near the Shaw Heath corner.
The Cale Green factory never required all the land, and by the 1850s the remainder was being sold for development. A large plot was leased for 999 years by William Turner on his return from Tasmania, and this article tells some of the story of that land and its buildings.
This stone on Adswood Lane West (B.P. on the map) with its bench mark at 247.75 feet above sea level marks the former boundary between Stockport and Cheadle Bulkeley; today the whole area is part of Stockport Metropolitan Borough. The meaning of the letters escapes us: Trigonometric Survey,perhaps?. [top]
Charged with forgery, he 'did a runner' and was missing for some time before being recognised in Liverpool and sent for trial at Chester Assizes in 1845, and was sentenced to Transportation. After a period in the harsh conditions of Norfolk Island penal colony, he was transferred to Hobart in what was then called Van Diemen's Land where he was allowed to do paid work.
Among his employers for in 1849 and 1850 was a William Turner, owner of the Bowling Green Hotel in Hobart. Could this be 'our' William Turner? It's not possible to say from the information available online, as people were not asked their birthplace on the census form, but wouldn't it be natural for one Stockport man to take on another? It makes a good story, anyway.
Trawling Australian newspapers online, we can piece together the following:
'In the year 1844 Mr. William Turner, a well-known citizen, had a large house built on the corner of Byron-street and Filzroy-Crescent, Hobart, which was licensed as the Bowling Green Hotel. The first recorded bowling-green in
Australia was laid down behind the hotel, and in this respect the proprietor followed an old-established custom in England, where nearly every hotel in London and the Northern Counties had a bowling-green attached to it.
'Mr. Turner established the first bowling club in Australia at the Bowling Green Hotel on Oct.
28, 1846. On the occasion of a match between the military and
civilian teams in 1852, it was reported that nearly 1,000 spectators paid admission to the green. In the following year, however, the Bowling Green Hotel was converted into a private residence, and thereafter there is no record of the game being played in Tasmania until the establishment of the Launceston Club in 1883.'
As for John Kenyon Winterbottom, he stayed on in Tasmania, becoming Town Clerk of Hobart Town, but managed to disgrace himself again by being caught engaging in embezzlement. He died in Tasmania in 1872. [top]
Lot 5 in the 1857 auction sale was described as:
'All that Old-established and Well-accustomed public-house situate in Adswood Lane, within Cheadle Bulkeley, and known by the sign of the Jolly Hatters, with the stable and other outbuildings, large garden, and pleasure grounds thereto belonging, and now in the occupation of Mr. Thomas Edmund Turner, or his under tenant. The house has been recently re-modelled at great cost, and is now in the best possible condition, and replete with gas and all other necessary fixtures. This lot (the ground plot of which contains 2,818 superfcial square yards or thereabouts) is leasehold for a term of 999 years. which commenced in April 1802, and is subject only to the very moderate chief rent of £5. 10s. 3d. and to the grantee's or lessee’s covenants contained in the lease reserving the same.'
The appears at first sight to refer to the public house known more recently as the 'Adswood Inn' adjacent to Adswood Cottage, but other references to the use of the name 'Jolly Hatters' in the area are sparse and conflicting.
Peter Horrocks, in his book The Hotels and Inns of Stockport, thinks the Jolly Hatters may have been the inn later called the 'Plough' on nearby Shaw Heath as it was just opposite Carringtons hat works. That pub was first mentioned in 1838 and Horrocks suggests it may have been temporarily renamed because of its proximity to the hat works.
However an 1850 directory lists (as well as the 'Plough') the 'Jolly Hatters, Cale Green' with Joseph Mount (Moult?) as landlord. The 1857 Post Office Directory has William Turner at the 'Jolly Hatters, Cale Green' and Samuel Massey at 'The Plough, Bunker's Hill, Cale Green' which is surely the modern 'Plough'. There is no mention of the 'Adswood Inn' at these dates.
A directory of 1818 lists the 'Jolly Hatters' on Lower Hillgate, run by G. & J Ramscar, and Mike Odgen writing in his History of Stockport Breweries (Richardson, 1987), lists it as a pub and brewery on Middle Hillgate, built 'around' 1824, mentioning that a William Turner (before his move to Tasmania perhaps) was the tenant in 1840, and it was later re-named the 'New Royal Victorian Vaults'.
Maps of the time show the New Royal Victorian Vaults was in Lower Hillgate. This 'Jolly Hatters' was the site of an auction sale in 1829. However, none of these locations was in the township of Cheadle Bulkeley.
We do need to be careful about making these identifications, as there are other buildings nearby that may have been public houses in the distant past, notably the white building on the other side of the road near the Adswood Inn, today numbered No. 71 Adswood Road (pictured above) which served for many years until c.2009 as a Working Mens' Club and appears to have also been owned by a John Turner. There are signs that the east end of of the building was once a separate cottage, no.69.
The deeds of no.71 include the following curious covenant dated 1889 when the property was sold by Henry Seel to Joseph Booth:
'The said Joseph Booth for himself his heirs executors administrators
and assigns hereby covenants with the said Henry Seel his executors
administrators and assigns that no sale of intoxicating liquors shall
at any time during the said term be allowed on the plot of land hereby
assigned or in any building whatsoever thereon and that no trade or business of a Butcher shall be suffered thereon or in any such
Did Henry Seel buy that building and impose the and impose the covenant when selling it to protect the business of the Adswood Inn nearby? One doubts whether the Working Mens' Club took note of the covenant, but the building has since been converted to a church, known as the 'Cale Green Life Centre'.
(To confuse matters further, the 1841 census for Adswood Lane in Cheadle Bulkeley refers only to a pub called the 'Queen Victoria' with a John Tattersall (aged 70) as publican. ) [top]
In addition to the Cale Green property, William Turner also had built a terrace of five houses nearer the town centre, in what at the time of the 1870s map above was called Marsland Street, and later became St Thomas's Place, the street leading from the main Wellington Road South to St Thomas's Church. This he named Launceston Terrace, not for the town in Cornwall, but its namesake in Tasmania. The map above from the 1870s shows the location.
The 1857 sale notices tells us that there were 'Several Messuages or Dwelling Houses, fronting the spacious street leading from the Wellington Road South to St. Thomas's Church and known as Launceston Terrace, with the gardens, vacant land, and
appurtenances thereunto belonging. now in the several occupation of
Mr. Poulteney, Miss Fletcher, Mr. Dawson, Mrs. Pope, and Mrs.
Howard' as tenants thereof. This property is freehold of inheritance, and subject to a yearly chief rent of £14. 11. 9d. The ground plot
contains 1,167 superficial square yards or thereabouts, and there
is sufficient vacant land for the erection of several good houses to the front of the Wellington Road, and in a line with the terrace. The
buildings have been recently erected, are substantially built, replete with fixtures, well finished. and respectably tenanted, and the lot presents a desirable opportunity for an advantageous investment.'
These houses lasted until the 1970s, but no longer exist; in 2017 a petrol station and an office block mark the site. [top]
It would be a Herculean task to attempt to chronicle all the people who have lived in William Turner's Hobart Terrace since 1850, but one family in particular certainly deserves a mention to complement our other features on local painters Frederick Davenport Bates and James Patchell Chettle: that of Augustus Henry Fox, a portrait painter who lived for many years in Hobart Terrace.
Boy and Girl in a Landscape (1856)
Born in St Pancras, London on 9 January 1822 to Ann Alice Fox and engineer Augustus Fox. Augustus Henry Fox studied art at the the Royal Academy, and was awarded a medal for 'drawing from the antique'. The Royal Academy exhibition in London in 1838 included two works by A.H.Fox of 18 Manor Place, Walworth: a Portrait of J.P. Burnard; and an untitled work which came with a Shakespearian quotation.
Edward Watkin, Chairman of the Manchester Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway (1891). By Augustus Henry Fox. One of just four works by him in the ArtUK database.
Augustus Henry Fox moved to Stockport with his wife Mary Ann in the 1840s. In 1851 they were living at 43 Shaw Heath with their Stockport-born children Ann Edith Fox (age 4), Samuel (2) and Walter (infant) plus Mary Ann's younger sister Amelia Turney.
Unknown lady (1859)
By 1861 they had moved to Hobart Terrace, at No.40 Adswood Lane West, by now with a much-enlarged family including Augustus Henry Fox (junior, aged 9), Edgar Fox (6), Arthur Turney Fox (4), Beatrice Fox (3), Allan Fox (1) and baby Harold Fox. Amelia was no longer in residence, and there were no live-in servants. There would have been little space in the house for them even if they could have been afforded.
By 1871, another daughter, Amelia Fox, was present, and the older sons had gained employment as clerks, except young Augustus Henry, who was recorded as an Art Student, no doubt being groomed to carry on his father's tradition.
In 1881 there were still eight of their children (ranging in age from 14 to 30) living with Augustus and Mary Ann in Hobart Terrace at No.36 Adswood Lane West, the largest house. Young Augustus was a 'landscape painter' and Allan was a student at Manchester School of Art. By 1891 some of the offspring had left home, but young Augustus and Allan, both painters by profession, were still at home, with their parents and two sisters Ann Edith and Amelia.
Stockport Art Gallery's collection includes four portraits credited to 'Allan H. Fox' including a portrait (above) of Stockport brewer Henry Bell dated 1878. But ... Allan did not have a middle name, and was a young student in 1878. Would he have been trusted with such a prestigious commission? Perhaps it is signed A.H.Fox and is actually by Augustus Henry Fox senior (or indeed junior).
Mary Ann Fox died in 1894 and Augustus Henry senior died in 1895. By 1901 the artistic household comprised Allan Fox and young Augustus Henry Fox (both 'Artist. Sculp') with the two sisters Ann Edith and Amelia. Ten years later in 1911, the situation was exactly the same.
Allan Fox: An officer of the volunteer force (1894)
Allan died in 1916, Augustus Henry Fox (junior) in 1927.
The shoe mender (signed and dated 1895) is the type of subject favoured by the 'Manchester Group' of artists.
The three artists in the family devoted their lives to painting and presumably made a decent living, but it appears that just a handful of their works have reached public collections.
Joseph Marsland, member of an influential family of cotton-mill owners.
Perhaps this obscurity is not too surprising, since their works would have been commissioned for local families for home display. [top]
Three Children (1856)
Turners GaloreThe name of Turner has certainly made its mark on Stockport, so much so that it's hard to track down the relationships.
In the licensed trade alone we have Thomas Edmund Turner who is referred to as the licensee of the Jolly Hatters / Adswood Inn in the 1857 advert. Could be the same Thomas Turner who is listed in 1861 as the innkeeper of the Boar's Head inn in Stockport Market Place? Behind that building is Turner Street, where John E. Turner, Auctioneer, ran his business. 15 Turner Street is listed in 1850 as James E. Turner, auctioneer.
The Queen's Head on Little Underbank under the St Petersgate bridge was traditionally called 'Turner's Vaults' - its keeper in 1850 was George Turner - and like the Boar's Head it is (at the time of writing) owned by Samuel Smith's Brewery of Tadcaster. The steps leading up to the bridge were known as Turner's Steps. Turner's wine merchant has existed in the location before the bridge was built in the 1860s, and was re-modelled to fit in the supporting arch of the bridge.
Walter Hewson Turner, born in Stockport c. 1830, commercial traveller, lived in Hobart Terrace at No. 48 in 1861 and 1871 with his wife Sarah and a large family including a son called William Turner. However, Walter Hewson Turner appears to have been the son of Joseph and Mary Turner of Newbridge Lane. He may possibly be a nephew of 'our' William Turner.
In 1891 Colonel Henry Turner, J.P., owner of Kinder Printworks, was elected Mayor of Stockport. He lived in Cale Green Villa, close to Tasmania Cottage, for a time, but there is no evidence that he was a relative.
ThanksOur thanks are due to Jane Winfer whose enquiry sparked this investigation, and Stockport Library staff - especially Andrew Lucas who kindly did research on our behalf.
The 1920s aerial view above, lacking definition as it is much enlarged from part of a postcard, is the only image we have found which shows (circled) the lost house 'Tasmania Cottage'. As was often the case in the Victorian era the word 'cottage' should not be understood to mean a very small house.
To: Adswood Cottage | Adswood Inn | Tasmania Cottage | Frith | Burrows | Stewart | Williams | After Tasmania | Disgraced Mayor | Jolly Hatters | Launceston Terrace | Three Artists
William Turner's life and timesTasmania Cottage was, we believe, created in the 1860s for William Turner, born in Stockport around 1801, who had spent several years on the other side of the world in Van Diemen's Land, the Australian island which had already been informally known as Tasmania by many of its residents for some time before it was officially re-named in 1855. He returned to Britain with his assembled wealth.
We have struggled to find definite proof of his life and career in Tasmania; although there is much information available, William Turner was a very common name at the time and it is hard to be sure that records relate to the correct person. The name Van Diemen's Land brings to mind the transportation of convicts, and it is recorded that a William Turner was transported in 1835 for seven years from Manchester Barracks, but this may not be the same man. We also have a census record for the main town, Hobart, dated 1848 which lists a William Turner living there. Women and children are listed, but not named, and there are no details of anyone's place of birth, so again we cannot establish a true connection (see also 'The Disgraced Mayor' - left-hand column.)
The first definite evidence we have of William Turner back in Stockport is to be found in the Land Registry: 'A Conveyance dated 17 March 1855 made between (1) Samuel Ratcliffe
Carrington and Thomas Carrington (2) William Turner and (3) John Turner.' This led to a small advert in the Manchester Guardian of 22 December 1855:
These houses named after the capital of Tasmania, and other Turner properties, were offered for auction in the Manchester Guardian of 3 October 1857, with the following text:
All those eight capital messuages or dwelling-houses fronting Adswood Lane. and known as Hobart Terrace, with the gardens and appurtenances thereunto belonging, four of which are now in the several occupations of R. B. Wylde. Esq, Mr. Thomas lvears, Mr. Walter Turner. and Mr. John Dale, and the other four are untenanted. This property (the ground plot of which contains 1.988 superficial square yards or thereabouts) has been recently erected regardless of expense, is most delightfully situate within 10 minutes’ walk of the Stockport Station on the London and Northwestern Railway, has a southern aspect, is replete with gas and other fixtures, and will be sold free from the payment of chief or other rent. Each house contains hall (painted in oil), dining-room. breakfast-room and kitchen on the ground floor. three excellent bedrooms, and spacious cellarage, and is replete with all requisite conveniences. If not sold as a whole, each house with the garden and appurtenences will be offered as a separate lot.
Hobart Terrace has survived intact into the twenty-first century as 36 to 50 (evens) Adswood Lane West: the picture above is from 2017. The nearest house, No.36, has a non-rectangular plan to fit the land available, wider at the front than the back. The estate agent's sign reveals that this one, at least, has been divided into two flats.
The terrace still carries its original name and date plaque, and has also acquired an 'Ivy Place' sign, which was originally the name of three cottages set back from the road, also leased by William Turner. Why and when the 'Ivy Place' plate was attached here on Hobart Terrace we cannot say; probably when the old Ivy Place cottages were demolished.
We have marked this map (from an 1892-3 survey) to show the Turners' properties in the Cale Green area: (1) Tasmania Cottage; (2) Hobart Terrace; (3) Adswood Cottage; (4) Ivy Place; (5) Adswood Inn. The bowling green behind the Inn was not shown in older maps.
Wood Street had been re-named Lytham Street, to avoid confusion with another Wood Street elsewhere in the town. The boundary between the townships of Stockport and Cheadle Bulkeley at that time ran north to south across this area, shown by the line of dots. Ivy Place and the nearby Adswood Inn, which pre-date William Turner's arrival on the scene, were in Cheadle Bulkeley; the 'Und' on the map tells us that part of the boundary was 'Undefined.'
Above is a view taken in 2007 of the passage leading from Adswood Lane West to the site of Tasmania Cottage, which now serves modern houses as well as the rear of Hobart Terrace. The modern building, which comprises four flats (52-58 evens, Adswood Lane West) stands somewhat closer to the main road than the original Ivy Place. [top]
In Cheadle Bulkeley: All that Capital Gothic Family residence situated near to Hobart Terrace. and known as Adswood Cottage. with the stables, coach-house, gardens, pleasure grounds, and appurtenances, now in the occupation of Mr. Turner containing spacious hall, dining, drawing and breakfast rooms, butler’s pantry, suitable bedrooms, large kitchen, and extensive cellarages: and also all these Three Messuages or Dwelllng-houses known as Ivy Place, with the gardens and appurtenances, now in the occupations of James Torkington, Edward Charlton.'Adswood Cottage' is not named on any maps we have seen, but it is the (now-vanished) building seen on the map (and bottom left of the photograph) abutting the east end of the Adswood Inn. It was occupied in 1861 by Cotton Manufacturer Edward Barnes Fernley, His wife Margaret Gardiner Fernley (nee Hetherington), their yet-unnamed baby son, nurse Jane Jennings, housemaid Jane Carruthers and cook Susan Bate. The Fernley family cotton-spinning firm, founded by Edward's father Thomas, operated at Wear Mill, below the railway viaduct in Stockport. (Thomas Fernley retired to Southport in 1895 where he achieved fame by engaging in charitable activities, including funding a lifeboat, and founding a Methodist newspaper.)
Edward Barnes Fernley died in 1866 aged just 30, and his widow moved with their three young children, to 2 Alexandra Place, Heaton Norris where she employed a governess, a nurse. a housemaid, a cook and a laundress. Margaret's brother was Thomas Ridley Hetherington, partner in his father's Manchester-based machine-tool and cotton-spinning machine manufacturing company; no doubt he and her father-in-law augmented her income as needed.
In 1871 the tenant was George Barnes, a Drysalter, born in Presteigne, Herefordshire, with his wide Elizabeth and a servant, Jane Barber, . A 1878 directory lists Walter Hyde, Solicitor and Stockport Town Clerk, as householder, although he didn't stay long. By 1881 it was known as 'Adswood House' - the 'cottage' idea being out of fashion perhaps - although in that year's census it was listed as unoccupied. By 1890 it was the home of Thomas Bell, a solicitor, and his family, who by 1901 had taken on 'Alma Lodge', the mansion on the main Stockport - Buxton Road which became a well-known hotel.
Map evidence shows that the house was demolished in the late 1960s. [top]
This extract from the Tithe Map, circa 1844, shows the Adswood Lane area before the days of William Turner. Plot 362 is the Carrington land, with the works buildings sketched in around the boundary. Plot 466 contains 'pubic house, outbuildings and garden'; the tithe details give John Moult as occupier and James Ford as owner of the land. The building shown is on the site of the 'Adswood Inn'. Unfortunately, details of several of the nearby plots are missing.
It's possible that there was more than one inn in Adswood Lane West from 1830 or so, but was the 'Jolly Hatters' described in 1857 the same place as the 'Adswood Inn'? We don't know (see the left column) - but we are fairly sure that the following history relates to the inn in plot 466. We have found no document in which the Jolly Hatters and the Adswood Inn are described as two separate businesses.
Nobody in the 1851 census of Adswood Lane admits to being a publican, but there is an entry for Julius Lawrence - described like many other local residents as a hatter - with his wife Elizabeth Lawrence and their children. In 1861 the Lawrence family are still there, Julius is a 'silk hatter', but this time the house is identified as the 'Adswood Inn'. Presumably Elizabeth was running the pub, and indeed by 1871, by which time she was a widow, she is able to state 'publican' as her occupation. Julius was born in London.
A fixed point when comparing all these census records from 1841 to 1871 for the Adswood Inn is James Torkington, also a hatter, who lived in one of nearby 'Ivy Place' cottages with his wife Prothesha and family throughout the period, and indeed Prothesha stayed there after his death, appearing in the 1881 and (aged 83) in 1891 records. The Torkington family appears to have also made use of the strip of land behind Hobart Terrace as a smallholding.
The 'Adswood Inn', in the location of Plot 466 and of the well-known pub of that name, is clearly named as such on the c.1870 map, and retained that name (with later variations 'Adswood Hotel' and 'The Adswood') until 2014. In 1881 the Publican was John Turner (born 1828 in Stockport) with his wife Elizabeth Turner (born 1828 in Dukinfield) and their daughter Sarah Lydia Turner (age 13) born in Hobart Town, Tasmania. This interesting information appears to show that if this is the same John Turner - son of William? - who shared in the 1855 land purchase, he was in Hobart Town in the 1860s. In 1889 Sarah Lydia Turner married John Rainford, Professor of Music, 18 years her senior, and went to live with him on the seaside in Lytham, Lancashire. After John Turner's death her mother joined them in Lytham. Sarah died in London in 1958.
A curious entry in an Australian newspaper records another Tasmania connection: the death in 1878 at the Adswood Inn, Stockport of Walter Sims Wilkins, aged 63, builder, late of Richmond, Tasmania. He was without doubt a convict, having been sentenced to seven years transportation in 1833 for what seem to have been petty thefts, and shipped to Van Diemen's Lane aboard the 'Arab' in February 1834. Was he the innkeeper at the Adswood Inn, or just living there? Another mystery.By 1889 the 'Licensed Victualler' of the Adswood Inn was Henry Seel, aged 46, born in Radcliffe, Lancashire, assisted by his wife and son. He was a career publican, having previously run a pub in Churchgate, Stockport and before that the 'Kings Arms' in Whitefield. He made an impression on the development area: he served on Cheadle and Gatley Council as member for Adswood, and was connected in some way with the Working Men's Club building mentioned above, and Seel Street nearby is named for him.
He died in 1896; widow Maria Seel carried on the pub for a while, until Harry Arnold Pearson, formerly a brewer's assistant, and his wife Mary Ann Pearson, a couple who had previously lived nearby at 158 Adswood Road, took over. When Harry died leave Mary Ann continued to run the pub, recorded as 'Inn-Keeper' in 1911 helped by Mary Jane Seel. Mrs Pearson had a long innings: according to Kelly's Directory she was still in charge of the Adswood Hotel in 1934, aged 74. She died in 1949.
Above, a sketch of the rebuilding of the the Adswood Inn in progress in the 1920s, based on an image in Stockport Heritage Library's collection. The original inn in the centre follows the pattern of very many Cheshire inns. The left-hand gable seems to have had its front wall removed and replaced by wooden boards, whilst part of the building abutting Adswood Cottage has been demolished.
The twentieth century saw the inn taken on as a 'tied house' by Bell's brewery of Hempshaw lane, Stockport; Henry Bell and his son Henry were prominent figures in the Cale Green area, especially after they bought from the Carrington's the large villa 'Heathfield' a short walk from the Adswood Inn. In the 1920s, Bell's rebuilt the inn in the typical suburban style of the time. Bell's company, and its pubs, were sold for £65,000 to Stockport-based Robinson's brewery in 1949. Robinson's pub-sign artist depicted an adder in a wood, the supposed origin of the place name.
Sadly for its regulars, the once-busy 'Adswood' closed its doors for the last time in 2014, to be sold off to a developer as sold as part of a plan by Robinson's to close some pubs and improve others which could support a restaurant.
Just one of many traditional pubs which have been lost in recent years. This building, like Hobart Terrace, is 'locally listed' as of historic interest within the Cale Green Conservation Area, created in 2008; at the time of writing (2017) the new owners have yet to apply for planning permission for any future use.
This is a map from the Land Registry showing by a red outline the Adswood Hotel (60 Adswood Lane West) and its land as purchased in 2014 (for just £320,000) by Adswood Investments Ltd, a specially-formed subsidiary of a group which builds and operates care homes for the elderly. The title deeds record that this land was owned in 1800 by William Bamford. The western part was leased for 999 years from 1800 by Joshua Worsley and the eastern (on which was built Adswood Cottage) from 1802, with other land, by James Worsley. The Worsleys were a very early Stockport hatting family, before selling their firm to the more famous Christy dynasty.
This map shows well the 'crazy' layout of the streets in this area, still reflecting the sale at different times to different owners of the ancient fields. [top]
Tasmania CottageAn advertisement of 1866 after Fernley's death, offered Adswood Cottage for sale with instructions to 'apply to Mr Turner, the owner, at Tasmania Cottage, close by. This is the first reference we have found to Tasmania Cottage. Unfortunately we don't have an sale agent's description of the house, but we do know from the 1911 census that it had nine rooms (not counting bathroom or lobby); no doubt it had the same 'appurtenances' as Adswood Cottage. The photograph suggests that its architectural style was much the same, although on a different plan to fit the space available. The map shows that it's garden was quite extensive.
The 1861 census appears to show that William Turner, with his wife Sarah, and grandson William John Turner was living in one of the Hobart Terrace houses, but he later built and occupied a larger home
The name 'Tasmania Cottage' appears in the census for the first time in 1871, listing the occupants as William Turner (aged 70), 'Retired Merchant', his wife Sarah Turner (70) and grandson William John Turner (16) Solicitor's Articled Clerk, born 'On the Sea.' This 1871 entry is also the latest definite sighting we can currently find for William Turner, or indeed Sarah Turner, except for a short - possibly garbled - piece which appears in a some newspapers in 1899 (possibly a space-filler some time after the supposed event) stating that a William Turner:
Went to New Zealand in early life, and made money, returning to Stockport eighteen years ago. Although he had built a row of houses, he himself resided in a mere shanty called Tasmania Cottage.The report says that he bequeathed £500 to Stockport Infirmary trustees on condition that they maintain his grave in Manchester Southern Cemetery. The report says that the offer was accepted, but there is no William Turner of appropriate date in the Southern Cemetery on-line records, and we have not been able to pin down his will, or even his year of death. Just one of the 'loose ends' in our story.
In a newspaper advertisement in the Manchester Courier of 29 April 1882 Mr Christopher Atkinson, a Stockport auctioneer offered for auction some of the Turner property: 'substantially-built dwelling-house Tasmania Cottage' with its rental income of £25 per annum, Hobart Terrace with £180 per annum and Launceston Terrace with with £90 per annum, the prospect of building more houses on the land. Perhaps this sale was a result of William's death.
William's grandson, William John Turner, can be traced in the 1881 census, living at 161 Higher Brinksway, Stockport, and qualified as a Solicitor. This time the census enumerator has expanded the 'born on the sea' of earlier listings to a much fuller 'Born on board the British Ship Kent on voyage from Melbourne to London.' The Kent was a 998-ton ship of the type known as a Blackwall Frigate', built for Money Wigram and Sons in 1853, to work on a regular service between Liverpool and Melbourne. Designed for speed, although smaller that the famous 'clipper' ships, she could make the journey in less than four months. After an eventful career on the perilous journey 'round the Horn', she was wrecked off Bareson Head, Australia in 1871.
The date of his birth, c. 1855, suggests that William John Turner's parents returned to England from Australia on the same journey as their father William and other family members. It was common that passengers from Tasmania travelled first to Melbourne for connect with ships to England.
Curiously, a county court judgement record for 1876 over a sum of £36 describes William J. Turner of Tasmania Cottage as an architect, although other records clearly show he was a lawyer.
William John Turner went travelling again, this time across the Atlantic, returning with a wife, Sarah Ann Turner, and a two-year-old son, William, both born in America - unfortunately with no details of the state or other location. The household in 161 Higher Brinksway, Stockport in 1881 also included William John Turner's uncle, Thomas Turner, aged 60, born in Stockport, occupation 'Retired Australian Squatter' - that is, someone who had been in Australia without, or sometimes with, the permission of the authorities. This Thomas Turner must have been the son of 'our' William Turner, but frustratingly all these people vanish from later records. Did they leave the country again? [top]
We have traced records of some of the people who lived Tasmania Cottage after William Turner. The 1881 census lists the occupants as Hannah Frith, aged 42, born in Onecote, Staffordshire, her baby daughter Frances Mary Frith, and a visitor Hannah's sister Elizabeth Brittlebank, age 30, born in Ipstones, Staffordshire. Their father Thomas Brittlebank, born in Eyam, Derbyshire was a farmer of 100 acres, Hay House Farm, in the Manilfold Valley area of Staffordshire; in 1861 Hannah was working on the farm as a dairy maid. (The historic farmhouse today is a Grade II listed building, used as a family home.) How did she meet Francis, one wonders - perhaps she moved to the Manchester area looking for work in a factory or as a domestic servant. Francis travelled to Ipstones for their wedding in 1866.
Her husband, Francis Bywater Frith was not present on census day; he was a Manchester-born Warehouseman. Hannah was his second wife; his first was Lydia Thorniley of Heaton Norris, whom he married in 1858 and they had one son, also Francis Bywater Frith, and one daughter, Elizabeth Frith, who died in 1863 aged only 25.
The Friths did not stay long at Tasmania Cottage, as it had another tenant by 1884 (see below). In 1891 they were at 2 Parsonage Road, Heaton Norris where Francis described himself as a Salesman of cotton goods. Hannah died later that year, and Francis married Harriet Knott. In 1901, then living in Bowdon, Cheshire, his occupation Calico Printer - having inherited his father's firm. He eventually outlived all three of his wives, dying in 1916 at his widowed daughter Elizabeth Grange's home 'Sunny Brae', Rush Green, Lymm, Cheshire, where he had been living for some years. [top]
In a register of admissions to the Middle Temple ('called to the Bar') as a lawyer, in 1884 we find:
Norcross Burrows. B.A. (Victoria University) student of the London University, of Tasmania Cottage, Adswood Lane West, Stockport, (21), eldest son of Gilbert Burrows., of the said Tasmania Cottage, Stockport, Cheshire, registration agent.Gilbert Burrows lived in Tasmania Cottage with his wife Elizabeth, sons Norcross Burrows, Edward Burrows, Richard Burrows, Gilbert Burrows (junior) and daughter Sarah Burrows. Norcross left home to live in Hertfordshire, seemingly leaving the legal profession to become a commercial clerk. By 1891 the family (Edward, Sarah and young Gilbert) had moved on again, to 61 Beech Road, Cale Green. Gilbert's wife was absent, and his sister Emma had joined them.
Gilbert Burrows was the election agent for the Conservative Party in Stockport, and a member of Stockport Council representing Portwood Ward; he died in 1902. Previous to Tasmania Cottage, the Burrows family had resided in nearby Heathland Terrace, a rather unusual row of three-storey houses, then recently built (and in 2017 still flourishing) in a secluded area away from the main road in Shaw Heath, where their next-door neighbour was John Herbert Evelyn Partington, a prominent member of the 'Manchester School' of artists, founder of an art school in Stockport, who later emigrated with his family to California. [top]
The 1891 census lists a new family at Tasmania Cottage. Robert Stewart, aged 59, colliery agent, born in Stockport, his wife Emma Stewart aged 46, born in Bermondsey, London, with daughters Agnes Stewart (23) Lillian Stewart (18) and Emma Stewart (7), son Herbert Stewart (22), plus Emma senior's brother Joseph Bell (65) born Camberwell, London, a furrier. Agnes and Lillian gave their occupation as 'dealer in jewelry and fancy goods.'
According to an 1896 directory Robert Stewart, coal merchant, was based at 2 John Street, Stockport, and his name was also attached to a charmingly-named 'fancy repository' at 89 St Petersgate, no doubt the workplace of Agnes and Lillian. This establishment appears to be been in one of a number of buildings demolished for the building of Stockport Central Library
By 1901, Robert had died, and Emma senior and Joseph had taken on the running of the coal business, which by 1902 was called Stewart & Shaw, still based at the coal yard in John Street, off Middle Hillgate.
This family seems to have been more settled in Tasmania Cottage than the earlier residents, which they appear to have purchased rather than rented, as they were still there in 1911, by which time Emma and Joseph had retired and were 'living on own means.' By that time they had employed a live-in servant, Mary Jane Humphreys, and had a lodger, Hugo Schott, a German-born commercial traveller. The Stewarts had their share of troubles: the 1911 census records that of ten children born to Robert and Emma, five had died.
In 1920, after Emma's death, the Stewart family sold the Tasmania Cottage and its grounds surrounding land to Stockport Corporation. [top]
The final residents of Tasmania Cottage, as far as we can tell, were the Williams Family. Edward Roland Williams and his brother Hugh Williams were self-employed plasterers in the building trade, who moved from Caernarfonshire to the Manchester area in the 1890s. Edward married Winifred Lloyd in Manchester in 1899, and they settled in Stockport with Hugh as a boarder. Winifred was born in Derwenlas, Montgomeryshire in 1873, and at the time of the marriage gave her address as 'Fairfield', Bramhall Lane, Davenport, the home of wealthy hat manufacturer William Lees; it's likely that she was a domestic servant, one of many young women who left rural homes to seek employment in towns in that period.
Before moving in to Tasmania Cottage, Edward and Winifred had lived with their growing family in small terraced houses in the area, on Lowfield Road and later Ladysmith Street. They must have relished the extra space available when Tasmania Cottage became available for rent, as they had four children by 1915: Hugh Lloyd Williams (b.1900), Iorwerth Williams (b.1903), Margaret Catherine Williams (b.1908) and Catherine Lloyd Williams (b.1915). Another daughter, Winifred, died in infancy.
The family are recorded at Tasmania Cottage in the Electoral Register for 1919, and were still there in 1937. By 1939, with their only un-married daughter Catherine, they had moved to a smaller house at 112 Bramhall Lane, Davenport which became the business address of E & H. Williams and Son, builders.
The house at 112 Bramhall Lane, built in 1884 by William Winbolt, is historically interesting in that it was where in 1887 Miss Effie Shaw established Orlel Bank private 'ladies school' which later moved to larger premises across the road and flourished for many years until financial problems forced its closure in 2005 - but that's another story which is on our to-do list.Edward Roland Williams died in 1941; his widow died in Bramhall in 1955.
Catherine Lloyd Williams worked at the Fairey Aviation factory in Stockport during World War II, where she met her future husband Harold Eric William Foster. Her fascinating life story is related in an article in the Oxford Mail newspaper in December 2015 celebrating her hundredth birthday. She married in 1943 and later moved to Oxfordshire. [top]
As far as we can establish, nobody lived in Tasmania Cottage after the Williams family left, and some time around the beginning of World War II it was pulled down; it is not shown on a map dated 1942. In its place appeared the T-shaped single-storey structure shown in the 1960-dated map above, which appears to have been a temporary single-storey building, perhaps used by the Primary School. Does anyone know what it was? The grounds between Tasmania Cottage and Hobart Terrace, which had been used for horticultural purposes, and were still un-built-upon in 1960, eventually succumbed to housing development in the shape of a very secluded row of houses called 'Glynis Close', and since then, the site of the T-shaped building and up to the end of Meyer Street has been occupied by School Court, a 'retirement housing scheme in Stockport [offering] 13 one bedroom and 1 two bedroom purpose-built properties for rent for people over the age of 55.'
The building to the north of the T-shaped structure was an infants' school added to Cale Green school in Edwardian era, only to be demolished in the 1990s due to falling numbers. The small cottages around the Lytham Street corner have been replaced by modern housing, and the Carrington's works buildings have either found new uses or been demolished, but Hobart Terrace remains standing to remind us of William Turner's return from the Antipodes back in the 1850s. [top]
Footnote: Benjamin DunkerleyWhile researching this piece we stumbled upon another link between the area and Tasmania. Benjamin Dunkerley, born in Stockport in 1939 or 1840, is recorded in the 1871 census living with his wife Harriet and four young sons in a very small cottage in Billinge Street, Shaw Heath, an 'unemployed hatter'. After a daughter was born in 1872, he decided to seek a new life, and migrated to Tasmania in 1874 where with a local man as partner he set up in business in Hobart as a hat manufacturer, and his family travelled to join him. In the 1890s he invented a machine for dressing fur, and the business flourished, moving to the Australian mainland. It is still in business in 2017 as Akubra, producing a type of hat considered an Australian icon. Full information can be found in a PDF paper by Christopher Boon in the Australian National Archive.
Billinge Street, which was 'stopped up' by a 1969 order of Stockport Corporation under
section 108 of the Highways Act, was a short street off Holmes Street, adjacent to a group of mean dwellings called Holmes Court. Along with those in the Court, the houses were demolished and Walthew House built on the site. In this area, poverty and wealth were to be found at close quarters: a middle-class development of the same era called 'The Grove' still exists adjacent to the site. [top]
SourcesThe information and guesswork in this feature comes from many sources, including the Manchester Guardian on-line archive, The British Newspaper Archive, The Tasmania Name Index, Old-maps.co.uk, the files of Stockport Local Heritage Library and the microfilmed electoral registers available there, Cheshire tithe maps online, Ancestry.co.uk, The 1939 Register, and the Land Registry as well as postcards and historic street directories in our own collection.
Books consulted in Stockport Heritage Library:
J. Hooley, Old Taverns, Inns and Public Houses in Stockport. Stockport Historical Society, 1978.
Peter Horrocks, Public Houses in Stockport. Typescript, privately published [?1980]
Peter Horrocks, The Hotels and Inns of Stockport. With illustrations by P.D. Hancock. Privately published 
Written by Charlie Hulme, March 2017. Comments welcome at email@example.com