Many people have a real urge to write and yet when they have the opportunity they feel bereft of what they could possibly write about… nothing seems to come to mind,and anything that does seems too trivial, or “not good enough”.

We are passionate about writing, and really want to support everyone to unleash their hidden writer! There is the famous quote from Lao Tzu, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” and any piece of writing starts with one word… or maybe one thought!

There is another saying, ‘write what you know’ and for anyone just beginning to write maybe they should look to the blog of the well-known and well-respected Manchester historian and writer, Andrew Simpson. He has written the biography of the house which he has lived in for over forty years.

Writing the story of a house or building one knows is straight forward; it’s the place all around you, or it’s the place of your childhood, or the first place you lived in independently, or the house of your grandparents, or a place your family used to live… You don’ have to be a historian to write what you know of a place… however, in Andrew’s case, he is… but into the ancestry of the house, Andrew weaves the story of his own family and friends.

100 years of one house in Chorlton … Part One

Why is it that only the rich and more especially the old landed rich can talk of holding a great house or estate for posterity?

They tell us as if we should be grateful that they are custodians, not owners and it is their duty to maintain it and hand it on to the next generation. All of which is fine, but theirs is always the family that holds onto it and raises the question of what about the rest of us? Do we not also do the same?

Some might argue that there is no comparison between Blenheim Palace, and a 1930 semi built on the outer reaches of Manchester. Or that a post war council house has anything in common with one of the country’s national treasures. Such a grand place with its Adam furniture, Capability Brown landscaped gardens, priceless paintings, steeped in history is unique and therefore ranks well beyond the mass-produced, often ugly and in some cases poorly maintained social housing.

But both have histories, both were built for someone to live in and both were cherished by their inhabitants.

This is a roundabout way of writing about our house. It was built a hundred years ago, has had only four custodians, of which we are the only ones to have had children here. More than that this is the only home our eldest three have known and it was where one of them was born. It is also a place where countless friends have come and stayed before moving on, seen Christmas parties, a boat turning event in the back garden, and a succession of decorating fashions.

So over the next few months I want to tell the story of this one house set against the bigger picture of what was going on here in Chorlton and the national backdrop.

a Beech Road 4 51 M17663 Nov 1958 R E Stanley

Picture: The house built by Joe Scot in 1911, from R.E. Stanley’s photograph taken in November 1958, Courtesy of Manchester Libraries, Information and Archives, Manchester City Council m17662 The complete archive is available to see at

Copywrite © Andrew Simpson

To find Andrew’s complete history of Chorlton, ‘The Story of Chorlton Cum Hardy’ ::


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