Emmeline Pankhurst’s Birthplace: Alexandra Park Estate

In 1863, Slater’s Directory of Manchester and Salford listed Emmeline’s father, Robert Goulden, as head of the household at 8 Alpha Terrace on Sloane Street in Moss Side:

Slater's Directory of Manchester and Salford 1863 (Image 891)

The family’s address was also given as Sloane Street in the 1861 Census; Emmeline was born in 1858.

Sloane Street lay along the length of what is now Sedgeborough Road on the Alexandra Park Estate, close to Withington Road, on the border of Whalley Range and Moss Side (see maps below).

Slater’s Directory 1863 listed four properties on the “left” side of Sloane Street, including The Talbot Hotel and Willie Terrace, while on the “right” side there were:

8 properties (2,4,6,8,10,12,14,16)
White Row (10 properties)
Withington Terrace (15 properties)
Mona Terrace (9 properties)
Alpha Terrace (8 properties)
Evelyn Terrace (6 properties)

The Ordnance Survey map of 1893 (which is the earliest I have) shows The Talbot Hotel on the east side of Sloane Street; this would locate Alpha Terrace on the west side, further south.

The Slater’s Directory of 1895 tallies with the 1893 map exactly and locates Mona Terrace on the north-west corner of the junction between Sloane Street and Great Western Street, suggesting that Alpha Terrace lay on the south-west corner of the junction (marked by the black box):

Google Map 2012 & Ordnance Survey Map 1893

However, from 1876 onwards, Slater’s Directory states that “Cardiff Terrace” lay to the south of Mona Terrace and the Sloane Street/Great Western Street junction; Alpha Terrace is no longer listed (nor Evelyn Terrace):

Slater's Directory of Manchester & Salford 1876 (Image 443)

So between 1863 and 1876, Alpha Terrace must have been either renamed, demolished or partially demolished and renamed. Perhaps the houses were sub-standard; perhaps the Wesleyan Church* was built on land which was cleared.

Whatever the case, it seems likely that Emmeline Pankhurst’s birthplace was a house in a block (marked by the black box) adjacent to land which is now occupied by Whalley Range Methodist Church:

Google Map 2012

On the opposite side of Sedgeborough Road, there still stands a building which may be the remains of Plymouth Terrace, built some time between 1863 and 1876, appearing in the Slater’s Directory of that year:

Slater's Directory of Manchester & Salford 1876 (Image 442)

Location of Plymouth Terrace, Sedgeborough Road, August 2012

Many thanks to The University of Leicester for digitising the Slater’s Directories and making them available and free to use on the internet.

Also thanks to Alan Godfrey Maps for reprinting historical Ordnance Survey maps (containing additional information on the reverse) at very affordable prices (£2.50 each) and posting them out extremely quickly.

And hurray for Google Maps!

*Comparison of Slater’s Directories of 1863 and 1876 reveals that the Wesleyan Chapel shown in the 1893 Ordnance Survey Map (on Withington Road and Great Western Street, adjacent to Sloane Street) was built during the same period in which Alpha Terrace disappeared.

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1 Comment

  1. Vincent Bailey

    Dear Mancky.

    I read with interest your research on the location of Emily Goulding and the exact location of her birthplace.
    Can I draw your attention to two interesting photographs I found in the Images. Manchester collection web site.
    Image ID 80898 taken before demolition of old Portman Street shows a stone plaque with the word “ALPHA” this is west side Portman Street numbers 2-6 junction of Graeme Street.
    On your 1889 O/S map it shows eight properties in this block. Image ID80897 shows the same houses but it can be seen that the first bay window on Portman Street is actually belonging to number 2 Graeme Street.
    Is it possible that in 1885 at the birth of Emmeline, Portman Street was part of Sloan Street…..we perhaps need an earlier map?

    Regards

    Vin Bailey.

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