The Manor Buildings and The Grove

When William Allen, who had bought land in the area in 1765, became bankrupt in 1790, a portion of his land on the east side of Humphrey Lane, opposite Gorse Hill Farm, and extending to the Stretford Border, was sold to James Heywood of little Lever.

On this land, measuring approximately 16 acres, Manor House was probably built in the early 1800's. Some terraced dwellings, known as Manor Cottages and Manor Farm, were built nearby for labourers of the family living at Manor House. The buildings stood adjacent to Humphrey Lane at a point where Clevedon Avenue is today, and faced south. A small lane ran in front of the buildings which became known as Manor Avenue. Manor Cottages came first along the lane, followed by Manor Farm and then Manor House itself.

Manor Cottages from Humphrey Lane

Manor Farm across Manor Avenue

The eastern part of this estate, covering around 9 acres and reaching to the border with Stretford, was sold in 1868 to Thomas Chadwick who built a large mansion called The Grove, together with a coachman's cottage, keeper's house and a summerhouse.

The Grove was built on a mound and had three floors as well as a large cellar and steps up to the front entrance. Inside was a large staircase, numerous chandeliers and a minstrels gallery in the dining room where music was played during special celebrations. The ceilings were described by local people as being the most beautiful they had ever seen, and were patterned in gold depicting the four seasons of the year.

The grounds were surrounded on one side by a high wall covered with Ivy and had two vineyards encapsulated with many trees and shrubs. The Grove was one of the few homes to have a large pond within its grounds.

The Fish Pond at The Grove

The Grove was unique in that it was only ever occupied by the Chadwick family from when it was built around 1868 until 1903 when Sarah Chadwick, one of eight children to Thomas and Ruth Chadwick and the last remaining family member, moved to Southport. The house was never sold and remained empty for many years, becoming known as The Haunted House, as was the case with other empty properties in the area. When the first world war broke out in 1914, it was hoped to use this large house as a hospital, but on inspection it was found that dry rot had set in after 11 years of being empty and unattended. The house remained empty for another 12 years and was eventually demolished in 1926.

The coachman's cottage and keeper's house, known as Grove Cottage, remained occupied until 1933.

The land was sold to Messrs. Longworth and Taylor for building purposes in 1934, and any remaining buildings were demolished in 1937. The land now incorporates Berwick, Clevedon, Durnford and Hartland Avenues, most of Firwood Avenue, a portion of the curved section of Humphrey Lane, the nearby portion of Bradfield Road and, due to the re-routing of the modern day Humphrey Lane, a portion of Humphrey Crescent.

The location of the fish ponds at The Grove can still be traced in nearby Durnford Avenue. Where the larger pond had been, a space large enough for four houses was not built on. At the site of the smaller pond, at the junction of Clevedon Avenue, foundations were laid twice, but sank, so another space was left. In more recent years, with extra drainage, it has been possible to build bungalows on both these sites.