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Lark Hill Place is named after the mansion house built on this site by James Ackers in the 18th or 19th century. Look out for the side street at Lark Hill Place that is named after him.

The Lark Hill estate was purchased by public subscription for a park in 1846. The park was named after Sir Robert Peel who donated £1,000 of his own money towards the purchase. Joseph Brotherton, Salford’s first Member of Parliament and a key voice behind the Museums Act of 1845, encouraged the Mayor of Salford to establish a museum and library in Lark Hill mansion house. In 1849, Queen Victoria and Prince Albert agreed to be patrons of the Royal Museum and Library. It was founded through further donations and in 1850 it opened as England’s first unconditionally free public library.

People flocked in; visitor numbers totalled to nearly 890,000 in 1857. The building was quickly expanded, with the addition of North, South and Langworthy wings. In 1935 the original Georgian mansion was found unsafe. It was closed, demolished and replaced with the current wing.

By 1945, the City Council began to rebuild Salford, bringing housing up to modern standards and replacing the terraced houses that had characterised the area from the 1870s. In 1955, the museum re-created a small street from salvaged features from houses and shops that would have otherwise been demolished. This resulted in Lark Hill Place, a street which re-captures past living conditions in Salford by displaying products and objects from daily life.

The street is constructed with original shop fronts and objects. The glass is very fragile so please do not lean on it and take care on the low curb that runs around the whole street. We keep the light levels low to protect objects from light damage.

At Lark Hill Place, it is always tea-time on a winter’s evening, when the street gas lights have just been lit.

View the 360º Tour of Lark Hill Place:

  • Matthew Tomlinson, General Stores – The ‘Corner Shop’ became a local meeting place and centre for gossip because it sold everything needed by local people. Many of the sweets in the side window were made by Terry’s of York from their old moulds and the labels were printed from their original blocks. Many items are reminders of a time when most food was sold loose and not in standard packets and tins. Also in the window is a sugar loaf, the shop sign of the grocer.
  • Music Shop – Music played a much more important part in people’s lives before the days of television, cinema and radio. Many children learnt to play the piano, others learnt to play the harp such as this one made by Sebastian Erard in the early 19th century.  For those with no musical skills there was mechanical music provided by musical boxes and later by organettes,  polyphons and the pianola or player piano. The latter combined in one instrument the piano and the piano player (patented in 1897) like the one in the shop made by Orchestrelle Co. and sold by Hime & Addison of Manchester.
  • Henry Radclyffe, Toy Shop – In the window of Radclyffe’s toy shop  are many of the toys and games which delighted Victorian and Edwardian children. For the girls there is the doll’s house, the doll’s perambulator, tea sets and a variety of dolls. For the boys there are tin soldiers and mechanical toys. For all the children there are books and annuals and games such as the diablo, marbles, yoyo, whips and tops,  and board games such as solitaire and squails.
  • E. Morand, Tobacconist – Eugene Morand was a cigar merchant of Chapel Street, Salford in 1874 when tobacco could be bought at 4d (1p) an ounce. The Muratti mirror advertisement came from a tobacconist’s in Broad Street. A variety of items connected with tobacco are shown here including a smoker’s companion and special matches know as ‘braided lights’ with large heads attached by cotton thread to help ‘lighting up’ outdoors.
  • The Blue Lion – Corner site public houses were popular and this one is reconstructed from a number of local ones such as the Wellington Inn, Rochdale, now demolished. Inside, a notice indicates that only those under 13 will not be served.  On the mantelpiece is a skeleton clock which once belonged to the Bennett family of Buile Hill.
  • John Hamer, Chemist and Druggist – This shop recalls the name of John Hamer who, in about 1865, took  over a firm first established in 1809. Trading as Hamer & Lewis’s after 1899, the shop, opposite Pendleton church was demolished in 1966. On the bench are the pestle and mortar, pillmaking machines, apothecaries’ scales, moulds and other apparatus used in the preparation of medicines. In the window there is a tongue scraper, various inhalers, medicine spoons and babies feeding bottles. On the shelf above is a large glass carboy filled with coloured water which, by 1900, had replaced the pestle and mortar as the sign of the chemist and druggist.
  • Mrs Driver,  Bleeder with Leeches – When she retired in 1912, Amelia Driver has practised in Bury street, Salford for at least 25 years. She used to obtain the leeches from a herb shop near the Shambles  in Manchester and used them to treat black eyes and bruises.
  • Artisan’s cottage – This cottage provides a single living room on the ground floor where the family washed, cooked and ate, with a single bedroom above reached by the plank ladder against the wall. From the ceiling hangs an onion once thought to ward off disease and purify the air, while the glass walking stick was believed to attract germs which could then be removed by careful dusting.
  • William Bracegirdle, Blacksmith and Wheelwright – William Bracegirdle had his business in Ordsall Lane, Salford at the end of the nineteenth century but most of the tools came from Salford Cleansing Department where they were used to repair horse-drawn refuse carts. At the back is the hearth for heating the metal and in front of it is the quenching tank to cool the iron.
  • Louisa Greenhalgh, Dressmaker and Haberdasher – Louisa Greenhalgh’s name first appears in local directories in the 1840s as a dressmaker, milliner and haberdasher, in Bedford Street, Salford. Until the beginning  of the twentieth century most dresses were still made at home or by a dressmaker who could work from fashion plates.
  • James Critchley, Clogger – James Critchley, whose shop was in Whit Lane, Pendleton, until it was demolished in 1965 supplied many who worked in the local coal mines. Clog wearing reached its peak about the turn of the twentieth century, but went rapidly out of fashion after the First World War.

Image Gallery Icon Lark Hill Place

Photography - Nick Harrison
Photography - Nick Harrison
Photography - Nick Harrison
Photography - Nick Harrison