Now I had been crawling over the Manchester Guardian looking for references to the opening months of the Great War and amongst other things there was a series of articles about the Corporation’s intention to buy the Barlow Hall estate and turn it into a park.
Lord Egerton had signalled his wish in the April of 1914 to sell the land for £50,00, which the Manchester Guardian reported “works out at more than a £150 an acre [and which] at present brings in an income of about £900 a year.
The Parks Committee, in addition to inspecting the property, have had it valued at £30,800, or about £95 an acre.
Their advisor in arriving at this figure took into consideration the fact that nearly 300 acres of the land is low lying, which raises difficulties in the matter of drainage and limits its usefulness, except of course, for such purposes as farming, recreation, and sewage treatment.”*
Added to which the Egerton estate reserved “the rights of drainage for the adjoin high land at present draining into the lower levels; provision for a quarter of the cost of maintain the river banks and certain restrictions affecting the use of the land for building, advertising and sewage purposes. On the other hand,
Lord Egerton would provide an entrance road, 80ft wide from Barlow Moor Road to Barlow Hall; a right of way, 50ft wide from Hardy Lane, Chorlton and an entrance to the land from Darley Avenue, in West Didsbury.”
Despite the cost the Parks Committee decided to recommend the purchase to the Council in the September with Alderman Harrop arguing that this was a good deal particularly as it meant the acquisition of Barlow Hall for £25,000.
And that is as far as I have got although thee are also some fascinating glimpses into the life of the Hall when it was still the residence of Cunliffe Brooks which came from a high profile court case in 1900-01 which centred around the attempt of his widow and daughter to prove that his main domicile was Scotland, but that is for another time.
Pictures; Bluebell Wood, Barlow Ley, circa 1900, and west front of Barlow Hall, circa 1900 from the Lloyd Collection
*The Proposed South Manchester Park, Manchester Guardian, April 30, 1914