Martin Henderson

By maxstrammer

2 Hurst Dale

The entrance to an apartment in one of the converted "Cottentot" mansions in the Bowdon area of Altrincham. I am not certain, but this may even have been the hugely unimpressive front door to what is otherwise still an imposing, 3-storey pile. The 7th Earl of Stamford started selling off parcels of his Dunham estate in the 1860s on the condition that any subsequent development was for single family homes. This luckily coincided with the extension of the railway to Altrincham/Bowdon and the unsurprising decision of many nouveau riche mill owners and industrialists to relocate their homes to the more salubrious climate of what was then north Cheshire.

Hurst Dale was originally built in around 1875 for Henry Dickinson, a "merchant". He didn't remain long, as according to the 1881 census it was at that time occupied by one John Mitchell, a "foreign and home merchant", together with his wife, four children and six servants.

The unfortunate aspect of all this and similar purchases was the short-lived nature of their enjoyment of such properties, as the first world war effectively put an end to the ability of their wealthy owners to find or afford the staff necessary to maintain them. Many of the mansions consequently fell into disrepair and were demolished, others have been refurbished and converted into apartments. The area is nevertheless still a pleasant one in which to live.

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