Edith Johnson stayed on at West Bank until her death, looked after by her maid Francis Bateman, who was just four months younger than her, being born in 1874, and had been in the family’s service when they moved to West Bank forty years earlier.
In 1955 John Norman Baxter Chadwick and his wife Alice Cartwright were living at the house. John was born in July 1908. He married Alice in 1937, and they moved to Tatton Road in Stockport where he describes himself as a Director and Works Manager. They moved from West Bank in the early 1960s. John died in 1985 at Leegate House on Leegate Road in Heaton Moor, Stockport.
The couple had three children, who are still alive. John and Alice were keen golfers, Alice was twice ladies’ captain at Heaton Moor Golf club. Two of the children went on to be directors of Kenyon’s Containers in Stalybridge.
West Bank House next door had by then been purchased by the Catholic Church and was used as a convent serving the nearby church and of course, St Winifred’s School.
Therefore in 1964 West Bank was certified as an approved school for boys, run by the Salford Church Rescue Society. Six years later at the end of 1970 it was redesignated an approved school for girls. As children, living on Lodge Court, the building was deemed off limits because of its status, and we did fear the rather stern nuns who would chase us off if we encroached on the grounds.
The gatehouse served as a sweetshop for the school, and I presume any sweet toothed nuns.
In 1973 the school became a Community Home with Education, run in conjunction with Stockport MBC. It only managed to struggle on until 1979, when the running costs of £100,000 pa became too much, and the school was closed down on 31 December 1979, ending 150 years of history.
At the time of closure, there were 34 staff, caring for 12 girls, the Headmaster at the time, Terence Barnwell had worked there almost since the inception of the girl’s home in 1970. He was concerned at the lack of alternate accommodation for future, as he called them, wayward girls in the region, but at least satisfied that the current residents had been rehoused, although he feared for the staff finding new employment. Just before the closure there had been a major refurbishment which would have allowed them to care for seven more girls.
Mr Barnwell lived in tied accomodation with his family next door to the home, so he could be considered the house’s last resident.
At the end Stockport lost a valuable resource. The house was demolished and is now housing, Cannock Drive, off Lodge Court. The only evidence that a grand house ever once stood there is remnants of a small border wall at the edge of the car park in Catherine House next door, and of course the gatehouse. The trees along that border once served as the dividing line between Heaton Lodge and West Bank.
Next time inspired by the connection between Charles Henry Scott and Daniel Clifton we will leave the borders of the Heatons and visit Mile End Hall,
Copyright 2019 Allan Russell