Nos. 3 and 5 Eccles Old Road, known as Grange Villas, were a pair of semi-detached houses built on the plot west of Oakfield sometime before spring 1881. A ‘to let’ notice in the Manchester newspapers in 1881 gives a good description of the house: 3, Eccles Old Road, Pendleton.—Good Modern Semi-detached HOUSE: 2 sitting rooms, 5 bed rooms. bathroom. butler’s pantry, boxroom, storeroom, excellent cellars: all recent conveniences: garden: small field: rent, £50: possession half quarter. The 1911 census also confirms that both houses probably had around seven habitable rooms.

Grange Villas, Nos. 3 & 5 Eccles Old Road, opposite Woolpack Hotel and on plot west of Oakfield in 1993.

1881 The census shows that No.3 was occupied by a Flax Spinner and his family who had been living on Broad Street before Grange Villas was built and perhaps took the house in response to the newspaper advert above. Joseph Strangman, 49, born in London and his 36 year old wife Alice L. from Suffolk, had three children – Alice aged 12, Thomas J, aged 8 and Emily S, aged 3. The family employed a live-in nurse, 29 year old Maria F Fryer from Scotland. Joseph’s business must have done well, as 10 years later the has retired to Southport, ‘Living on his own means’.

1891 At the next census in 1891, No 3 is occupied by the Hilton family. John, 53, and his 40 year old wife Nancy were both born in Manchester, together with their 20 year old son William and two granddaughters, who were all born in Pendleton. John gives his occupation as a miller, and William is a flour dealer’s assistant. John’s two older sons had also followed him into the flour trade. He had built a business from being a grocer’s assistant in Ancoats in his early 20s to running his own provisions and baker’s shops on Bolton Road and Broad Street. The family business prospered and in 1901, John and Nancy had retired to Shropshire, where they had four grandchildren living with them.

1901 Another small businessman is living at No 3 in 1901. George Allen, a 56 year old Cotton Yarn Dyer, a widower, has two adult sons. One appears to be employed as his father’s assistant, whilst the other is recorded as an Analyst. They have one general domestic servant, Elizabeth Jane Roberts, 23, from Llangollen. George had previously lived on Bolton Road. He appears to have died in 1907.

1911 Florian Rochford, a 28 year old single woman, from Co. Dublin and of private means was recorded as head of household. Her 36 year old brother, John, a builder’s contractor was living with her. It is not known what became of Florian and John after they left this address, possibly they returned to Ireland.

1917 Trade directory shows William Gleeson, a pork butcher, at No 3 Eccles Old Road

1925 J Ward and F Ward, butchers. Mrs Harriet Ward, was still at No 3 in 1931 in Kelly’s Directory.

1936 For the next two years No 3 is occupied by Harle Plevin & Co. a Decorator

1939 Salford Council’s scheme to widen Eccles Old Road between Langworthy Road and Nursery Street involved purchasing Grange Villas (Nos. 3 and 5), and Thornhill (No 11). These houses were partly or completely demolished. Land in front of the Bowling Club (Belmont) and the TocH club (Oakfield, No 1) was also purchased. New boundary walls were built with trees and privets replaced.

No 3 is vacant at the time of the 1939 register. At some point in the 1940s the house is taken by Joseph Garsden who also owned No 5 and used it as a motor garage.

1950s & 60s Joseph Garsden’s wife Priscilla died in 1948. Joseph would have been over 60 (he died in 1964) and it appears he had handed the business to his two sons. Directories in the 1950s show brothers Joseph and William, Garage Proprietors. Maps and photographs from the 1950s and 60s indicate that the Garsdens lived in a house built on the site of No 3, with the expanded garage on the site of No. 5. By the 1960s the premises were known as Blue Star Garages Ltd.

1970 The last occupant traced so far at No 3 Eccles Old Road appears to have been Joseph Lansley with his daughters, June and Muriel. Their mother, Ethel, had died in 1959, before Joseph moved to Eccles Old Road. He died in 1976 aged 86.

Plans by Salford’s City Engineer show the planned road widening and compulsory purchases 1939.
View of the rear of the Blue Star garage and house originally the site of Grange Villas. Oakfield/TocH has been demolished and replaced with buildings for Booth’s Charities to the east and the site of the Woolpack is a vacant plot.