It's hard to imagine now, but in the 18th century the area of what was to become Hanky Park and is now Salford Precinct, was covered by fields, orchards and wild flowers.
By the early 19th century the wealthier classes regarded Pendleton as a nice place to live. Those who could afford it moved away from the industrial areas of Manchester and Salford. Cotton manufacturers, merchants and other professional men moved to the new houses being built near Broad Street.
On one side of Broad Street were large houses with their own grounds. On the other side a variety of houses and shops were built. Large and small gardens were laid out behind and some properties had front gardens.
What was to become Broad Street then had three names: New Richmond from Windsor to what became Pimlot Street; Paddington from there to what became Chapel Street, and then Broad Street to the Bolton Road. The Manchester and Salford Directory for 1815 lists some of the occupants of these houses.
In 1815 most of the area behind New Richmond, Paddington and Broad Street was still virtually undeveloped. 50 years later the view would be very, very different.
Industry came to the area when a steam-powered cotton spinning mill was established. Sixty or more dwellings were built between the mill and Broad Street. Hanky Park's other major employer in 1843 was Edwin Bancroft Bayley's Spring Vale Print Works on Tanners Lane.
In the space of 30 years the last of the countryside disappeared and this part of Pendleton was covered by 7 acres of terraced houses into which over 7,500 people were crammed. Most of the houses were typical 2-up/2-down type with communal toilets. The posher ones had their own outside loo. Can you imagine families with 8 or 10 children living in such tiny homes with no baths and not even any running water. The dirt and squalor must have been awful and, due to the health risks from improper sanitation, it was no wonder that infant mortality was high - half the children born in Salford died before their fifth birthday. The life expectancy for adults was approximately late forties or early fifties. Tuberculosis and bronchitis, brought on by damp housing, were the chief killers.
The first Pendleton Church, St. Thomas's, was opened in Brindleheath Road in 1776. By 1818 the population of the area had grown to 8,000 and so a new church was needed. So, St. Thomas's Church, now more popularly called Pendleton (or Pengie) Church, was consecrated and opened in October 1831.
St. Paul's Church, in the parish of Paddington, was consecrated in July, 1856. The Church stood, and still stands, on Ellor Street.
St. James Church, the Roman Catholic church on Ellor Street, was opened in 1854. In 1875 the new St. James was opened on Church Street.
The Salem Chapel on the corner of Pimblett's Buildings and Ellor Street, opened in 1910 and was built on the site of an earlier chapel.
A Methodist Church was built on Hankinson Street in 1868 and this was rebuilt on its original site on the corner of Hankinson Street and Freehold Terrace.
St. Thomas's School was built in the grounds of St. Thomas's Church on Broughton Road. It was a mixed junior school.
Hankinson Street School stood at the bottom end of Hankinson Street and opened in April 1872. It was originally called St. Thomas's, in which parish it stood.
Primrose Hill School was built in the 1890s and was intended for infants and girls only.
John Street School had its origins in the John Street Mission Hall and Ragged School, which was opened in 1867 by the Mayor of Manchester. This school was attended by over 500 children, who received mainly religious teaching, and was opened in 1895.
St. James's R.C. School stood on the corner of Ellor Street and Church Street, and was opened in May 1854. The new boys' school was opened in 1911 and the old school was used for infants and girls.
Hanky Park once boasted fifty or so pubs and many off-licences in less than one square mile. They were mostly street corner pubs and were more often known by their nicknames rather than by their original names. The Royal Oak on Hankinson Street was the Brass Handles because the vault doors had two large brass handles on it and on Florin Street, the Queen's Arms was knows as the Stumps because there were two wooden stumps in the side entry.
The area of Hanky Park was demolished in the 1960s and replaced by high-rise flats. Sadly, only a few of the old buildings were saved. The area is once again under re-development.
Most of the information above was gleaned from books published by Neil Richardson. If you want to find out more about the history of Hanky Park or any other area of Manchester and Salford, please read the books written by Tony Flynn and Neil Richardson. These authors have written many marvellous books about the history of Manchester and its environs.