The History of Stamford New Road
The construction of Stamford New Road, about the year 1880, gave Railway Street direct access to the new Railway Station. To effect this improvement, several low-built cottages were demolished as well as the old Orange Tree Inn and the thatched Faulkner's Arms. Two modern hotels were built in their place on opposite sides of the new road. Faulkner's Arms retained the name by which it had been known for at least two centuries, while the Orange Tree Tavern blossomed into the Stamford Hotel. The land through which Stamford New Road was shaped, was mainly occupied by orchards and vegetable gardens, all of which are now covered with shops and offices.
Probably the first shop to be built on the road was that of Mr. Thos. J. Farrell, now occupied by Messrs. Hawker and Co. It was followed by one on the opposite corner, built by Mr. S. Okell. Lower down the road, opposite the main entrance to the station appeared the private house, the surgery and the stables of Mr. W. H. Pugh, Veterinary Surgeon. Then Mr. James Cowsill, with an enterprise, that the future character of the road fully justified, built a large pile in yellow brick, near to the Lancashire and Yorkshire Bank. Others, who quickly perceived the growing advantages of the new road for business were Mr. C. H. Skipper, Mr. Hugh Cawley, who erected several fine shops, and Mr. J. H. Brown, the builder of the Post Office and the adjoining block of handsome shops from the designs of Mr. John Macnamara, a well-known local architect. This wave of building was continued by Mr. G. W. Bonson, cabinet maker, Mr. J. Batchelor, and Mr. William Berry, and to-day there is not a single trace of the gardens which, as late as 1890, bordered both sides of the road. In 1905, Mr. J. H. Brown built an imposing block of property, adjoining Altrincham Station, which comprises a large number of shops and no fewer than eighty-four offices of a type and magnitude hitherto unfamiliar to Altrincham.
Altrincham Street Scenes
Altrincham in 1910
Altrincham is one of the pleasantest towns in Cheshire, and as a residential centre enjoys a very great popularity. That the place is admirably governed is evidenced by wide, well-kept streets, the ample provision of open spaces and means of outdoor recreation, and the encouragement given to cleanliness (at the fine Public Baths) and to education (at the Technical Schools). Thanks largely to an up-to-date system of drainage, and an unfailing supply of pure water, the town's healthfulness is well maintained. The spiritual and intellectual needs of the inhabitants are adequately met, and there are plenty of opportunities for social intercourse and amusement.
As pointed out in the following pages, the town is linked up with Manchester by a convenient electric-tram service, and is an excellent centre from which to take motor and cycle runs through a pleasant and interesting district. Splendid rail services make the town easy of access from all the principal centres of population in the kingdom, and with the hope that many potential residents may be induced to visit Altrincham in order to test the virtues of the place for themselves, this volume of the " Borough " Series of Pocket Guides has been published.
Altrincham (Cheshire) And the Surrounding District.
Population, 18,500 (Estimated). Market Day, Tuesday. Early Closing Day, Wednesday. Miles: Altrincham to London, 181; via Manchester, 192 miles. Fares from Altrincham per L. &. N.W. and G.C. joint line (Manchester South Junction and Altrincham Railway) via London Road Station : 1st Class, 25s. 6d. ; 2nd Class, 20s. 2d. ; 3rd Class 16s. O d. Return Tickets: 1st Class, 50s. 8d. ; 2nd Class, 35s. 4d. ; 3rd Class, 31s. lid. From Altrincham to London via Northwich : 1st Class, 24s, 6d. ; 2nd Class, 19s. ; 3rd Class, 15s. 4d Return : 1st Class, 49s. ; 2nd Class, 33s. 4d. ; 3rd Class 30s. 3d.
With the exception of one train daily, from Oxford Road Station, Manchester, returning from London in the evenings, passengers as a rule make the journey from Altrincham by the South Junction trains to London Road Station, Manchester, where they have the choice of the L. &. N.W. and Great Central routes. Another route is by Cheshire Line's trains to the Manchester Central Station, where they can join the Great Northern, Midland and Great Central systems if they desire. Passengers can also book from Broadheath and West Timperley Stations. The service of the South Junction trains, however, is a most excellent one, and forms a connection at London Road with the numerous trains starting from there to the Metropolis.
Altrincham has the distinction of being one of the few market towns in Cheshire, having been founded under a feudal Charter. Seventy years ago its inhabitants numbered 3,399, dwelling in 684 houses. There was at that time no semblance of a street except in the Old Market Place which was then the business centre of the town. Roads were narrow and ill-kept, in striking contrast to the well-lighted, well-paved, and spacious thoroughfares of the present day.
Its public buildings will compare favourably in their architectural features, with those of any town in the Kingdom of its size. Although the affairs of the town are efficiently and economically administered by the Altrincham Urban District Council, it will be found interesting to glance at the method of government of the past.
It still possesses an example of probably the oldest form of local government in the Kingdom, in the Court Leet. This ancient Corporation was created by a Charter of one of the Barons of Dunham, in or about the year 1290, and this interesting and time-worn relic is preserved at the Free Library in George Street.
The Court Leet still holds its meetings annually, though shorn of its former powers, the principal business transacted being the election of a Mayor, who has many opportunities for taking part in import-ant social functions of the town. A list of Mayors is preserved since 1452. A couple of centuries ago, the duties of the Court Leet were varied and important, and in the present day would constitute an interference with the liberty of the subject.
For instance, all drunkards were to be brought before the jury, and to pay " if they bee able for every time they be drunk 5s. for the use of the poor of the parish," otherwise they were doomed to six hours in the stocks.
An alehouse keeper was to lose 20s. for every pot of ale sold that was not a full quart, and 10s. for suffering any townsman to sit drinking in their houses, except he be brought thither by a stranger, " and then hee may not stay there above one houre."
There are also regulations concerning people who continually haunt taverns, and " such as sleep by day and watch by night, and eat and drink well and have nothing." The Court also directed their attention to the poachers of the period, men who were described as " sleepers by day and walkers by night to steale and purloine other men's goods, and conies (rabbits) out of warrens, fish out of men's severall ponds or waters, hennes from henrouse (henroosts), or any other thing whatsoever, for they are ill-members in a commonwealth and deserve punishment, therefore if you know any such, present them."
The Court was especially hard on persons who attended the market and sought to create what we know in these modern times as a "corner" in produce, butter, eggs, etc., to their exclusive profit.
The penalties were very severe, and for the third offence " persons were to be set upon the pillory, to lose all their goods and chattels, and to bee im-prisoned during the King's pleasure."
Bakers were bound to make good and wholesome bread " for man's bodie, of sweet corn and not corrupted," and to give proper weight; whilst brewers and tapsters were to make good and " whole-some ale and beere, and not put out their signe or ale stake until their ales had been ' asseyed ' by the ale taster, ' and then to sell and not before.' "
From time to time, alterations have been made in the administration of affairs of what is known as the Mayor's Land Charity. A former Earl of Warrington, in 1699 and 1716, made grants of certain lands, which then yielded about £5 per annum, for the better defraying of the charges and expenses which the Mayor for the time being might be at, for a term of five thousand years, at a rent of twelve pence per annum in full. Sub-sequently the land became extremely valuable, over two hundred pounds per annum, and this was placed under trustees. Out of this the Mayor now receives an allowance of £45 per annum, and other institutions in the town which benefit are the Altrincham Free Library and the Altrincham Hospital and Dispensary.
Adverts for some of the businesses in Altrincham in 1910