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Rusholme & Victoria Park Archive

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Welcome to the Rusholme Archive

'Look at the place to-day with its rushing tram cars, crowded foot-paths, cafes, billiard halls, theatres, and the people spending most of their time in the streets or in places of amusement.' William Royle, November 24th, 1912

Wilmslow Rd, between Rusholme Grove & Dickenson Rd

Postcard view above of Wilmslow Rd between Dickenson Rd & Rusholme Grove is dated Sept 1904. Most notably the tram is a single decker for this particular route, Brooks Bar to Belle Vue.
See 'A Tour of Wilmslow Rd' for a detailed description of this photograph.

This website is about a history of Rusholme & Victoria Park.
You can search the website by entering a keyword in the search box at the top of each page
The archive has been compiled by a Rusholme resident who has been collecting old postcards, photos, books and other memorabilia which illustrate the ways in which the area has changed over the past 100 years.
Unlike the books that have been written about Rusholme & Fallowfield this website will be a continuing project and will not have a cut-off date when the book has to go to press.
Any new information about Rusholme & Victoria Park will always be welcome.
I hope that visitors to the website will be prepared to loan such items and you may have family members or friends who have memories of past events in Rusholme that I can also record & publish on this website.

Contact: admin@rusholmearchive.org

Rusholme farm cart circa 1865Rusholme is now considered an 'inner-city suburb' some 2+ miles south of Manchester, a city in the North-West of the UK. Rusholme is immediately south of the Manchester Universities and straddles the Wilmslow Road, now popularly known as 'Curry Mile'
Up until the early part of the 19th century Rusholme was a village lying in the countryside to the south of Manchester & dominated by the two large estates of Birch, (owned by the Anson family), & the Platt Hall estate, (owned by the Worsley family). Click on the photo of the farm cart, this was taken circa 1865 by Helmut Petschler and clearly shows the name of Mary Broome, who according to the 1861 census was the farmer at Lower Oak Farm in Rusholme.
Thomas Lowe was a resident of Rusholme between 1836 and 1892; when he first arrived in Rusholme in 1836 the following is an account of the Rusholme that he knew as a young man.
"The Green was perhaps the most charming feature of the village. It extended from Dickenson Road to what is now Thurloe Street. A low stone bridge crossed the clear sparkling brook and "children coming home from school" leaned over the parapets to see the water rippling over its pebbly bed. This same bridge was the favourite resort of farm-labourers, hand-loom weavers, and others, who foregathered here to discuss politics, or perhaps the gossip of the village.
The chief excitement of the day was to see the stage coach pass on its way to or from Manchester; the pleasant jingle of its trappings, and the cheerful notes of its "echoing horn," drew the simple village folk, and especially the children, to watch this picturesque link uniting Manchester to the world beyond. A milder excitement was occasioned by the omnibus, which started from an old farm-house which stood a little way back from the road in what is now Victoria Park. This somewhat lumbering vehicle made several journeys to Manchester and back in the day, and carried passengers, if it could get them, at sixpence per head."
At the census of 1831 the township of Rusholme contained 179 houses and a population of 1,078. It was then emphatically a village, and depended chiefly upon its agriculture and its hand-loom weaving, which was carried on in most of its thatched cottages, the click of the shuttle being one of the most familiar sounds in the quiet rural life of those days.
Gradually as Manchester industrialized the simple village occupations of weaving, farming inevitably gave way to the earnings in the huge mills, engineering works & other chemical works which lured people away from the Village Green.
The 1873 Post Office Directory refers to the acreage of Rusholme as being 1480, (including Birch-in-Rusholme).
On page 3 of the website, 'Rusholme a century ago' there is more about the history of Rusholme.

Rusholme, Wilmslow Rd looking north.

Wilmslow Rd looking north

Rusholme, similar views from Finglands Garage 1909

Platt Lane Junction
Looking north from Finglands garage

'Iconic' views' above of how this junction looked at the beginning of the 20th century. Platt Lane to the left, Dickenson Rd to the right in the photographs above. Birch Villa Inn, (Hardy's Well) on the right hand side, is still in business, having been on this site since the 1830's. The Congregational church, on the left by Alfred Waterhouse, now demolished but in 1909 the spire & clock was a notable landmark. In the top photograph the gardens of the houses on the right have been replaced by Finglands Garage.

Finglands History
Charles Fingland worked for Rolls Royce as a test driver until 1907 when he started Finglands Hire Cars and Bookings. Originally running luxury limousines demand gave him the opportunity to expand into coach hire.
Scheduled coach services followed and Finglands became the first coach company to run a scheduled service between Manchester and London with a coach having an on board toilet and radio. Bookings were taken at the head office in Manchester and also at an office in Southampton Row in London.
Always a company with an eye on the future Finglands Airways took to the air in 1949 operating two Avro Ansons. The main use for these was an operation called "Combined Ops" where passengers were collected from their homes in Manchester taken to the airfield and transported by plane to Newquay. There a Finglands coach waited and would convey passengers to their hotel and provide outings during their stay. It also gave the opportunity to make excursions to see Blackpool Illuminations from the air! One of the pilots was Robert Fingland who had gained his experience with the Royal Air Force.
However, the cost of operating airplanes was substantial and Finglands Airways ceased operation in 1952. The Fingland's family decided to sell the business following this and a sale took place to Mr Robert Bunning, the General Manager in 1954.
The coach business was expanded and a number of local companies were acquired. C Holt Coaches, South Manchester Coachways, Corkhills Coaches and Fieldsends Coaches. Eventually the Finglands Group of companies comprised of Finglands Coachways Ltd, Finglands Travel Agency Ltd and Finglands Garage Ltd.
In 1992 Finglands was acquired by East Yorkshire Motor Services, but now in 2013 the bus operation has become part of the First Group and Finglands Coach company has been sold.

The photograph below is of a Finglands Hearse circa 1910

Finglands Funeral Car circa 1910
Clogging

The photograph below was found by Joop Campfens, who lives in Holland. He found it amongst some family papers and searching the web for the photographer’s name, (on the back of the cdv) he came across rusholmearchive and has now kindly given it rusholmearchive.org. The inevitable question is how did that photograph, taken 150 years ago find its way to some family papers in Holland?
The photograph was taken circa 1860-65 by William Roberts, who William Royle described as the village photographer. Although the sitters are not identified the man centre right with the top hat may be William Ulph, a member of the Rusholme Board of Health. There will be more information on the page about Rusholme Photographers.

Rusholme group circa 1860-65

Tel. 123 Rusholme

John Jones, builder, Greenheys.In the photograph below the builders standing by their cart are looking a little surprised at the camera taking the photograph. They are certainly dressed for work - note the clogs they are wearing. Although Greenheys is just on the border of Rusholme the telephone number painted on the cart must be one of the earliest Rusholme Exchange numbers, 'Rusholme123'

Builders Cart

George William Price photographed below at the 'Birch Studio', 124 Dickenson Road circa 1910. Baptised at St James, Birch-in-Rusholme 16 Dec 1906 his father, Thomas Henry Price was an upholsterer living in Kathleen Grove with his wife Sarah Annie.
There was a prolific output of Rusholme family photographs by Frank Wyles at his Dickenson Road studio; see the page on Rusholme photographers.

George William Price

Rusholme Toothpaste!

Rusholme Toothpaste!

Old Rusholme! Boys playing in an unknown street 1906

Old Rusholme

To emphasis the past rural nature of Rusholme the postcard below is dated 1904, the view is of Birch Hall Farm.
It was situated approximately at the north-east corner of the grounds of Manchester Grammar School and the farmhouse was demolished in 1926. Below the card I have reproduced the message on the back of the card - presumably the reference is to Birch School, further down the lane(?).

Birch Hall Farm, demolished 1926
Birch Hall Farm, message on rear of card
Laundry advert 1905

Dedicated to the memory of William Royle of Rusholme (1854-1923).

His love of Rusholme, foresight and energy over 100 years ago has ensured that Platt Fields continues to be an 'Important contribution to the beauty and health of the city'

William Royle