For some reason it seemed to make sense to deal with these three streets together (Heald Close is the unmarked cul de sac on the map). I am indebted to Ian Bryce of Heald Drive for the information that Heald Road was built in the 1850s, whereas Heald Drive & Heald Close did not follow until a century later.
Highly ornate bargeboards over two windows above a pair of garages.
A pair of substantial properties - probably apartments - close to the junction with Stamford Road. Note the small dormers next to the prominent ones at each end.
"The Beeches", now an apartment block (of questionable taste in my opinion) near the junction with Langham Road (see below). This was formerly a Victorian villa that was used as the Bowdon vicarage in the 1960s/70s. It was converted and extended into its current configuration in the mid-1980s.
A view of "Larkhill" on Heald Road, taken from Heald Drive. Larkhill was once the Cheshire headquarters of British Red Cross. It was purchased by a local couple and converted back into a family residence in 1974. They remained there for over 40 years and when selling up were keen that it remained a family home rather than go the same way as The Beeches (see above). The new owners from 2016 have s
Heald Drive: a shot taken from the junction with Heald Close looking back down the hill to Heald Road.
You can't miss it! It's probably Bowdon's main thoroughfare nowadays (classified as the B5161), and the easterly extension of Park Road. It runs from Bow Green Road to the crossroads with Ashley Road, Stamford Road and Marlborough Road.
Most of this area of Bowdon was initially developed between 1838 and 1910.
As far as I can tell, the only non-residential property along the road is the Mercure Hotel (see photo below). The hotel has been closed since October 2020 and is allegedly now in administration owing to the difficulties arising from the lockdown.
OS grid ref.: SJ 7615 8651
what3words ref.: ///groom.scenes.play
Date of photography: Feb/March 2021
We're starting at the Hale end of Langham Road. This is now the Mercure Hotel. As a hotel, it's changed hands a few times over the years, but is now closed. The original part of the much expanded site was built as a hydropathic establishment, and as such was frequented by Bowdon's wealthier residents. For more information, refer to this article by David Miller in the Bowdon Sheaf no. 50 (pp. 6-12).
Two small developments on either side of Langham Road. Dropping steeply down the side of the Bowdon ridge, and with only 4 properties at the bottom, Woodvale feels more secluded. The Holly Grange development is probably the later of the two (correct me if I'm mistaken).
Date of photography: March 2021
...is one of the few streets in Bowdon that is NOT entirely residential. Most of its eastern side is given over to Altrincham Grammar School for Boys, with another school - the Altrincham Preparatory School for Boys - on the opposite side of the road.
OS grid ref.: SJ 7669 8666
what3words ref.: ///cage.ledge.empire
This is the 5-way crossroads at the northern end of the road. Going anti-clockwise from the right are Stamford Road, Langham Road (the blue car), Marlborough Road, Ashley Road (into Hale) and, finally, the continuation of Ashley Road towards Altrincham.
Date of photography: November 2020 (this photo) and February 2021 (all the others).
This is the rear entrance to the Mercure Hotel, which is located on Langham Road. The car park is empty because these photos were taken during the lockdown in early 2021. See Langham Road for more information about the hotel and its history (it was formerly a hydropathic establishment).
A substantial detached property close to the crossroads. It may look as if there's smoke coming out of the chimney, but it really is a cloud!
Another view of the crossroads, this time from Marlborough Road itself. The road heading off into the distance towards Altrincham is Ashley Road.
Part of Altrincham Grammar School for Boys, a grammar school with Academy status. The current headmaster is G A Wright.
According to Wikipedia, "The school was founded as Altrincham County High School for Boys (ACHS) in 1912 as a result of the Balfour Education Act, to provide secondary education (partly fee-paying) for an area which stretched from Sale to Knutsford. It opened with 57 pupils and 3
The main entrance to the school. With two schools in such close proximity to each other, I imagine driving up and down the road at 15:30 of an afternoon in term time might be a frustrating experience...
The school buildings look much older than is typical for an establishment founded in 1912, so please get in touch if you have any information that might solve this conundrum for me.
A small residential development opposite AGSB and adjacent to the prep school on the west side of Marlborough Road. No trouble with the school run here then.
OS grid ref.: SJ 7665 8668
what3words ref.: ///switch.clues.straw
Date of photography: February 2021
The houses were built in the mid-1970s.
Another cul de sac conveniently located for AGSB and the prep school, this time on the east side of Marlborough Road. A development of detached homes (with one pair of semis close to the junction with Marlborough Road).
OS grid ref.: SJ 7677 8651
what3words ref.: ///swift.puns.slam
Date of photography: February 2021
One of the older streets of Bowdon, running from the junction with Langham Road and across the Motley Brook into Hale. It's also the B5162. I hope you enjoy the site; take a moment to drop me a line if you'd like to add something. Your contribution will be acknowledged!
"Moss Cottage", at the junction with Marlborough Road and one of the few thatched cottages in the area. It is undoubtedly one of the oldest properties in the entire area. The date on the dormer is 1666, the year of the Great Fire of London! The initials "RL" and "HL" record that the cottage was built by Robert and Helen Lewis of Moss Farm.
OS grid ref.: SJ 7663 8641
what3words ref.: ///risky.hidden
Tricia, the current owner, in front of Moss Cottage. She told me that the thatch only needs replacing every 30 years or so, but the moss you can clearly see in the photos has to be removed much more frequently.
She has lived here for more than 40 years.
Nearly all the properties on South Downs Road are substantial detached homes or imposing apartment blocks. This is "Woodside", which appears to be of late C20 construction.
"Forrest Hill", one of the aforementioned apartment blocks (at least, I think it's an apartment block - correct me if I'm mistaken!)
"Sowlers Wood", or 23 South Downs Road. It was originally a family home, and still appears to be so.
The awkward S-bend as the road approaches the boundary with Hale. There have been several collisions along here over the years.
Another Bowdon cul de sac, this time on the north side of South Downs Road. I haven't met many residents yet on my journey around Bowdon, but the ones I met here (thanks in particular to Alan, who built the houses, Sheila & Ken) were the friendliest so far!
OS grid ref.: SJ 7686 8634
what3words ref.: ///skills.pose.frame
February 2021: Sheila outside her home of 40+ years.
These two contiguous streets are on the south side of South downs Road (see above) and form a single cul de sac. Adjacent to the Bowdon Cricket Ground, they boast large, detached houses on comparatively small plots.
OS grid ref.: SJ 7655 8632
what3words ref.: ///bits.foam.woods
Date of photography: February 2021
Looking across the cricket ground towards South Downs Road and Nield's Brow. The large building on the hill is "High Lawn", designed by Richard Lane for William Nield, a calico printer. According to Pevsner5, it has been "insensitively redeveloped".
The view towards South Downs Road (see previous section) from the entrance to the Bowdon Cricket, Hockey and Squash Club.
Another of the properties closer to the junction with South Downs Road.
Autumn 2021: "Orchard Cottage"
"Owl Pen" lies on the SE side of the road.
A substantial 20C property close to South Downs Road on the NW side of the road.
A newbuild, in fact a demolition and rebuild, nearing completion on the west side of the road.
A row of grand houses facing west.
Some more impressive properties on the east side of the road. As you can see, today was bin day!
Apart from some gated developments, all the streets of Bowdon have now been photographed at least once.
If you live on one of the gated developments, please get in touch!
The latest addition to the site features links to pdf files of all the 60 (and counting) "Bowdon Sheaf" publications as published by the Bowdon History Society. If local history is your thing, this is for you!
I've now started the second round of photography, so keep your eyes peeled for a charming geezer in a yellow high-vis vest.
Click on the button below to start your exploration!