HISTORY OF CROW LANE
WHERE DID THE NAME CROW LANE COME FROM ?
Rev. Hume Elliot in his book “The Church and Country of the Cheeryble brothers, published in 1893 describes Crowtrees farm which was situated where St Paul’s Church now stands. He states that both the farm and the lane took their names from “the crow trees” a rookery, which extended nearly half way down the lane. When these trees were cut down, presumably to make way for housing, the rooks then moved first to trees near the cricket ground and then later nearer to the Square
An extract from Hume Elliot’s book has been published by the Ramsbottom Heritage Society as “Nineteenth Century Ramsbottom”.
HOW OLD IS CROW LANE ?
Long before Ramsbottom became more than a handful of houses, Crow lane was an important thoroughfare. Maps (see the Maps section) showed that in the Late 18th century the lane formed part of the main road from Bury to Edenfield. At this time the current road from Holcombe Brook did not exist and the original thoroughfare turned up to Holcombe village and down Rawson’s Rake and what are now Tanners St, Carr St and part of Bridge Street before turning left into Crow Lane. Unlike the present lane, it then continued on straight on to cross the River Irwell at Stubbins.
WHY DOES CROW LANE NO LONGER GO THROUGH TO STUBBINS ?
Since Crow Lane once continued all the way to the bridge at Stubbins, why is it only a few hundred yards long today? Ramsbottom Mill, which was built by the Ashton’s around 1802, needed a reservoir that was so large that it cut off the old road. Crow Lane was then terminated at the mill yard. The Local Board minutes indicate that in 1873 there was a notice that Crow Lane be opened to the public for traffic, although it is unclear what was the status of the road before that date.
HOW OLD ARE THE HOUSES AND OTHER BUILDINGS ?
Crowtrees Farm owned by Richard Schofield was the earliest building in the lane, however this was demolished during the first part of the 19th century and St Paul’s Church was built on the site in 1850. The cottages which back on to the old mill yard (nos. 40, 42, 44) are almost certainly the oldest and are dated around 1805. The exact age of the two detached houses in the street are not yet known, however no. 27 appears on a map of 1842 and no 11 may have been built soon after. The school, the first part of which was built in 1841 and the church were the next buildings to be opened.
There was then a gap of around twenty years before the cottages nos.33 to 43/45 built in 1861. These were very small, having no outkitchens, unlike nos. 2 –18 which were built just two years later. It was not for another decade that the remaining houses (nos. 20 – 38 and 15-25) were completed. The only other Victorian buildings were the very imposing Vicarage built in 1887 which became a Police Station between 1937 and 1971 before being demolished, and the Drill Hall which according to it’s date stone was opened in 1896.
The only 20th century building in the lane is the Undertakers , which is comparatively modern and is built on the site of the old vicarage / police station
WHERE COULD YOU DO YOUR SHOPPING IN CROW LANE ?
Whilst it is not obvious from Crow Lane today, there have in fact been several shops in the street. Near the school was a purpose-built grocers and off-licence, with another, which later became a pet shop, situated at the far end of the street. For some time during the 20th century, there was another grocer on the opposite side of the lane, which at some point, also cooked hot dinners for the workers at the iron foundry. The little terrace of the houses next to the school also included a milliners shop at no 25 (since demolished) and for a short time there was also a green grocer. Whilst the exact dates of these shops is not known, a trade directory shows that all five of them were open in 1924 and all but the greengrocer are still remembered by older residents of Ramsbottom
SUMMARY OF THE SHOPS IN CROW LANE
Shops on the school side of the street (odd numbers)
17 / 19 Grocer and off-licence
21 Greengrocer (around 1924)
43/45 Grocers & off-licence.
This later became a pet shop & then workshop or slipper factory
Shops on the church side of the street (even numbers)
20 Grocer and at one time this shop also sold hot diners to take out
DO WE KNOW WHAT THE HOUSES WERE ORIGINALLY LIKE ?
Many of these houses had fascinating histories and detailed descriptions of them appear on this web site.
Information about the houses has been gained from the following sources
Maps, some of which show the shape of the houses,
Building Plans and Valuation Surveys
The buildings themselves
The memories of residents and ex-residents of the street.
The street plan shows the position and dates of build of all the houses
The story of the lane does not end here, as unfortunately the school is due to close in 2003.