1815 Pendleton Township map shows no building on plot 265 marked as ‘Strawberry Field’. Within around six years this would be the site of a pair of substantial semi-detached villas known as Belmont.
1821 We do not know exactly when the houses were built. The Manchester Guardian of 15 December 1821 announced the marriage of Mary Smith of Belmont to Henry Withington, merchant of Eccles, so we can deduce that building occurred between 1815 and 1821.
The first map showing the Belmont houses is the 1848 Ordnance Survey map. What we now know as Eccles Old Road was then Sandy Lane, from its junction with Broad Street to its southward branch (the current Sandy Lane). Langworthy Road had not then been laid.
1828 Pendleton Land Tax records confirm that in 1828 there were two dwellings on the Belmont site. James Withington (Henry’s uncle) owned both properties. James was a merchant who lived in Ashfield on Seedley Road, just south of Belmont. The Belmont houses were occupied by Samuel Smith (Mary’s father) and Nathaniel Tidmarsh, a calico printer. The Belmont houses were assessed for land tax at 3s 11d each.
December 4th 1828 – The Manchester Gazette refers to a Samuel Nichols of Belmont being appointed at sidesman at the church. Around this time, the firm of Tidmarsh and Nichols, manufacturers and printers of dimity, fustian and calico, had business premises in Cannon Street in Manchester. Sam Nichols may have been living with the Tidmarsh household in Belmont 1, waiting for the neighbouring house to become available.
In November and December , advertisements in Manchester newspapers offered Belmont for let:
TO BE LET, with immediate possession, and for such a term of years as may be agreed upon, BELMONT, a delightful and extremely convenient residence on the Eccles Road, about a quarter of a mile beyond Pendleton Toll Bar. The house, which is in excellent order, contains seven apartments, besides kitchen, pantry, attics and cellarage, and adjoining are coach-house, hay loft, and a two-stalled stable. There are two gardens which, with pleasure grounds and a paddock, are well and abundantly stocked.
To be viewed by ticket; and further particulars known on application to Mr CUMMING, 3, Lower Cannon Street.
1829 In May, James Withington, owner of the Belmont houses died. His widow, Sarah continued to live at Ashfield for many years.
On 29 August Manchester Courier announced another death:
‘On the 21st Inst. in the 80th year of his age, Samuel Smith Esq. of Belmont, Pendleton.‘
Within a fortnight the contents of Samuel Smith’s Belmont home were being sold by Manchester auctioneer Mr Capes:
‘The whole of the Valuable HOUSEHOLD FURNITURE, &c., consisting of lobby lamp, barometer, mahogany hat-stand, dining, card, loo, Pembroke and snap tables, sofas, sideboard, guarduvines, wine cooler, excellent mahogany and lounging chairs in purple morocco, beautiful pier and swing glasses, in gilt frames, Brussels and Kidderminster carpets, fenders, fire-irons, moreen and printed window curtains, handsome plate tea urn, cake basket, candle sticks, branches, snuffers and trays, a variety of plate, a selection of modern books, four-post and other bedsteads, with mahogany poles, in moreen and printed hangings, prime live goose feather beds, hair mattresses, bedding, chamber carpets, night chairs and commodes, mahogany wardrobes and chests of drawers, wash stands, dressing tables, chairs, swing and other glasses, Dolland’s microscope, in mahogany frame and case, invalid bed chair, capital eight days’ clock, an excellent mangle, a small quantity of fine old Port Wine. The kitchen is completely furnished, and everything in good condition and well deserving attention.‘
1830 Pendleton Land tax assessments showed James Withington still listed as the owner of the Belmont houses, although he had died in 1829. The houses were shown as let to Nathaniel Tidmarsh and Samuel Nichols, assessed for Land Tax at 3s 9d each.
In November of that year Catherine Nichols advertised for a cook, with references required:
‘Wanted COOK and HOUSEMAID. None need apply but who can bring a good character from her last place. Apply to Mrs Nicholls, Belmont, Pendleton.‘ Manchester Guardian 13th November 1830
1837 11 March the trustees of James Withington’s estate granted a new lease to Samuel Nichols for the house and land at ‘Bell Mount’ in Pendleton. The lease was for 11 years at an annual rent of £143, payable quarterly (Manchester Archives GB127.MISC.522)
1841 Census return lists Catherine Nichols at Belmont with five children and three female servants. Samuel was absent on census night. He died in 1843 and was buried in the crypt of St Thomas’s church. A fine stone plaque within the church commemorates the man who had such long-standing links, and a further plaque in the vault marks his burial.
1851 Census shows Belmont occupied by Henry Leigh Trafford, a 41 year old barrister and magistrate, along with his 30 year old wife Jane and two female servants – a cook and a housemaid .
1861 The Traffords were away from home on census night, leaving the two servants at Belmont. Also present was Jane Witmore, an unrelated girl, who appears to be beginning her working life as a servant aged 11 years.
1871 Henry Leigh Trafford had died in 1869, and on the following census night Jane Leigh Trafford, Gentlewoman, was recorded as head of household. The cook is still with her, as is Jane Witmore, now listed as a waitress age 21.
1881 Belmont was occupied by Samuel Weston, a Yarn Agent from Bolton, aged 65 years. He had two female servants.
1891 Samuel Weston and his servants were still in residence. Samuel’s workplace was at Albert Chambers in Albert Square, Manchester.
1894 It was at his office in Albert Chambers where Samuel Weston died on 17 February 1894. He left almost £180,000 in his will. Less than a month after his death, an advertisement appeared announcing a sale by auction at Belmont by the Executors of the of the late Samuel Weston:
‘..the whole of the valuable HOUSEHOLD APPOINTMENTS and EFFECTS, comprising handsome black and gold ebonised drawing room suite, consisting of the usual pieces; occasional chairs, pair of gilt footstools, two inlaid card tables, sideboard en suite, with pollard oak panelled and plate glass back; sweet toned cottage pianoforte by John Broadwood and Sons; music stool, lustres, gilt cornices, and ranges of window drapery, sets of single mahogany chairs, upholstered in hair and covered with morocco leather, mahogany sideboards, two mahogany telescope dining tables, mahogany secretaries and bookcases, mantel mirrors, copper and jappanned coal vases, large skin mats, Brussels carpets, hearthrugs, fenders and fire appliances, light oak hatstand, with marble slab; ditto two hall chairs, mahogany hat and umbrella stand, and ditto hall chairs, about 350 volumes of books, maple painted chest of drawers, washstands and tables, mahogany wardrobe, mahogany four post and other bedsteads, toilet mirrors, toilet ware, cane seated chairs, feather beds, hair mattresses, glass and chinaironstone dinnerware, microscope by J.B.Dancer; bed and table linen, eight days clock in oak case, furniture and utensils for domestic offices, small cellar of choice wines, greenhouse plants, garden tools and outside effects…‘ Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser 13 March 1894
1901 Louis Gustave Schwabe, a Cotton Yarn Merchant was living at Belmont with his wife Evelyn Mathilda, a German subject, his small daughter and three female servants. His father was Louis Schwabe who lived at Hart Hill on the Buile estate for over 30 years. Louis Gustave’s family moved to London before 1911. He died in 1950, leaving just over £24,000.
1902 Manchester Evening News reported:
‘The first turf of the new Pendleton private bowling green in the old Eccles Road is announced to be turned over on Saturday (this afternoon) at Belmont by Mr J Marson, formerly President of the Pendleton Bowling Club, attached to the Woolpack Hotel at the junction of the Swinton and the Eccles Old Roads.’ Manchester Evening News 1 November 1902
The new Pendleton Bowling Club was officially opened on 25 July 1903. The invitation to the opening showed a charge of 6d to enter the prize Handicap and 2s 6d for the evening dinner.
1937/8 Salford Council’s scheme to widen Eccles Old Road between Langworthy Road and Nursery Street involved purchasing 314 sq. yds. of the land in front of the Bowling Club. Land at the front of the TocH club (Oakfield, No.1) was also purchased. New boundary walls were built with trees and privets replaced. Grange Villas (Nos. 3 and 5), and Thornhill (No. 11), were purchased and partly or completely demolished.
2019 Pendleton Bowling Club’s website acknowledges the long history of the building, stating that the club is “also known locally as The Belmont”. Its function room is named the Belmont Bowl.