Poundswick - the hamlet
There was a poor old house
That once was full of folk
But now is sad and empty,
And to me it spoke.
It said "They all have fled,
My rooms are cold and bare
The front door's locked and bolted
And all the windows stare
No smoke comes from my chimneys
No rose grows up my wall
But only ivy shrouds me
In green and shining shawl.
No postman brings me letters
No name is on my gate,
I once was called "The Ivys"
But now I'm out of date.
The garden's poor and weedy
The trees won't leaf again,
But though I fall to ruin
The ivy will remain."
|There has undoubtedly been a
settlement called Poundswick close to the school
site for many hundreds of years. Prior to 1931 this area
of what is now Wythenshawe was a very rural part of north
Cheshire and the small settlements of Poundswick,
Brownley Green, Crossacres, Heyhead, Moss Nook, Royal
Thorn and Sharston (all of which are familiar names
today) were collectively known as Northen Etchells.
Northen Etchells was itself part of the parish of Northenden, which is recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086. At this time the land south of Sharston was heavily wooded and rather boggy and as a result, clearance for settlements did not start until the late thirteenth century. Hence Poundswick (formerly Pundesok) is first recorded as a settlement in 1280.
It is a great tribute to the original Wythenshawe town planners that they took the trouble to incorporate the names of local settlements wherever they could. Names such as Benchill, Haveley Hey, Woodhouse Park and even Wythenshawe itself can be traced back to the thirteenth century. Regrettably, the planners of today appear to see no crime in turning their backs on history by inventing unnecessary new names such as "Parklands".
At the turn of the nineteenth century, Poundswick comprised two small farms known as North (or Upper) and South (or Lower) Poundswick Farms. They could be reached by heading west from Crossacres and Brownley Green along the narrow, tree-lined Poundswick Lane. To give an idea of where the farms were situated in relation to the current geography of the place, the north farm was located in the area between the eastern end of the current school building and the Simonsway / Poundswick Lane roundabout. The south farm (also known at the time as Lower Kinsey's Farm, after its owner, William Kinsey) was situated at the eastern end of the small enclosed park between Simonsway and Longhope Road, almost directly opposite the school site.
|South Poundswick farmhouse
had the inscription "H.G. 1636" above its door
and a pen-and-ink sketch of it drawn in 1875 shows it
much as in the photograph above but with a thatched roof.
In later years, South Poundswick Farm was known as Poundswick
Hall Farm and maps drawn in the 1950s before it was
demolished often show it with this name
Having served the two farms, Poundswick Lane turned south and eventually forked, the right-hand fork becoming Bailey Lane, which still exists today. Several small un-named cottages along this road were also part of the Poundswick hamlet.
||The left-hand fork, known as Dark Lane, joined the old Woodhouse Lane approximately mid-way between Brownley Green and Heyhead at a point which roughly coincides today with the junction of Tayfield Road and Portway. Where the road forked there stood an attractive terrace of farm buildings known as Crabtree Cottages.|
|When Poundswick school was built in
the mid-1950s, Poundswick Lane was still the narrow,
tree-lined country lane of fifty years before, and the
area now covered by Wythenshawe Town Centre comprised
open fields which were known locally as Top Fields.
Immediately opposite the school, on the southern side of
Simonsway (then called Civic Centre Road), South
Poundswick farmhouse still stood, defiant and inhabited,
with its garden, yard and duck pond unchanged from a
bygone era. Hideous blocks of flats on Longhope Road (now
mercifully demolished) provided an incongruous backdrop
to this nineteenth century scene.
For readers interested in how Poundswick hamlet was progressively obliterated by the inexorable southwards spread of Wythenshawe, I have included four maps of 1910, 1936, 1954 and 1960. Click here to see the maps.
One of the North Poundswick Farm cottages was fortunate enough to find itself within the school boundary, indeed it stood within a few yards of the eastern end of the school building. Known as Kinsey's Cottage, it was renovated when the school was built and used as a store room for football nets and hurdles etc. The photograph below was taken in the mid-60s from Leybrook Road and the cottage can be seen on the left, behind the goal post.
Kinsey's Cottage, although substantial, was not the largest of the North Poundswick farm buildings. W. H. Shercliff, in his book A History of Wythenshawe, suggests that it was probably built to house yeomen farmers in the sixteenth century. If this be true, the cottage was about four hundred years old when the school was built and so the last 43 years are but a twinkling of an eye in its history. We might reasonably have hoped that the local Education Authority would have been responsible enough to recognise the historical significance and value of the place. Alas not. At some terrible moment in the relatively recent past an anonymous, unthinking and uncaring bureaucrat consigned the last precious vestige of Etchells, Poundswick to the scrapheap of history with the stroke of a pen. Not a stone remains and we are all the poorer as a result.
||I can, however, offer you a photograph of it, taken in 1904. Old Poundswickians with a sharp memory will immediately recognise its distinctive and very substantial wooden framework. This particular view is the one most of us will remember because it was taken from a point only a few yards from the northern end of the bike sheds.|
|The bike sheds are themselves now as
much a part of history as the cottage. (I wonder where
current "Parklandians" keep their bikes?)
Gary Boswell (1978-83) tells us that when he started at Poundswick, Kinsey's Cottage still had glass in its windows and its 1950s-vintage wooden doors. These were subsequently vandalised and replaced with steel doors at which point, not to be outdone, the hooligans smashed their way through the back right-hand wall. After that, the cottage was just left to go to rack and ruin. The remarkable thing is that nobody seems to have cared!
There are more photos of Kinsey's Cottage (and even one of the bike sheds!) on the Poundswick Images page.
|So who are today's
legitimate Poundswick residents? Most of old Poundswick
has been subsumed by Benchill to the north and east and
by Woodhouse Park to the south, but there is just one
small enclave that was part of Poundswick and is clearly
not part of either of these estates. This is the small
cluster of old folks houses at Frank Price Court on
Henfield and Tenterden Walks. These were built in the
late 1970s on land which was once part of North
Poundswick Farm and which was known locally in the 50s
and 60s as Back Fields. Many of Frank Price
Court's residents have lived in this part of Manchester
for most of their lives and still quote their address as Poundswick,
When the school's name changed from Poundswick to Parklands, Poundswick lost its heart. The school was the place that declared "here is Poundswick" but now that it has gone there are not many places where you can actually see the name in use.