London Vale print work: part 2 – 1844

The London Vale advert in the Manchester Mercury gives a snapshot of the range of equipment required in a calico print works. From the inventory it is clear that the company is still reliant on large scale block printing, a labour intensive system which precedes engraved roller printing. There are also four roller printing machines for sale with their attendant 230 engraved rollers. Read on:-

By T. M. FISHER, on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday the 28th and days of February, and Ist March, 1844 at the London Vale Print Works, Agecroft, late in the occupation of Messrs. I.ycette and Coston. Sale to commence each day punctually at eleven o’clock the forenoon: ONE 7-8ths Single-colour, ditto, one 7-8ths Three-colour, and one 9-8ths Three-colour PRINTING MACHINES, by McFarlane and Briggs; forcing machine; 9-8ths lever mangle,-with two wood and one copper bowls; two 9-8ths calenders, each with wood two and one iron bowls; Cylinder drying machine by Mathers, eleven cylinders, each 7ft. 6in. by 1ft. 6in.; two winding-on frames, clearing beck, five dye becks, dung, and chymic cisterns; ten drum dash wheels, two pairs of lever squeezers, fly wince, two brick cisterns lined lead, steaming apparatus, forty-six printing tables, padding machine with two copper bowls, three cradle indigo mills, fourteen stone blue vats, dipping and skying frames, copper pump; three largo and six small copper pans, with doors, bars, and brickwork; lever weighing machine, drying rails, machine and table pattern books, new blocks, stoves and pipes, wheelbarrows, wrought iron bowking kier, cast iron do., singeing stove; capital hydraulic press, 3-inch ram; 10 inch lathe, mechanics’ tools, wrought and cast iron, copper, brass, stores; 8 steam engine, cylinder 22 inches diameter, 4fr. stroke; four steam boilers (two nearly new); steam and water pipes, valves, and taps; mill gearing; six hundred and fifty 7-8ths, and eighty-one 9-8ths copper rollers, all through tabs, and engraved with useful modern patterns; and a large quantity of drugs, also Three stacks well-got Hay, potatoes, heap manure, five broad-wheeled carts with iron arms, two useful draught horses, cart gears, stable utensils, and one hundred yards of wrought iron hurdles.  May be viewed on Monday and Tuesday, the 26th and 27th, and catalogues had on the premises; or from the Auctioneer, Princess-street, Manchester.

London Vale Print Works: part 1

Many local people will be aware of the Cussons Soap works and its location at Agecroft. However, long before the soap company occupied the site on Kersal Vale Road, it was preceded by a very large and periodically successful textile company, known as the London Vale Print works.

London Vale print works surveyed in 1891. The two large reservoirs, range of buildings and factory chimney show the extensive site. The map shows the location of Agecroft Bridge, Kersal Hall and the site west of the River Irwell which would become the Northern Cemetery 1903.

To the west of Ageroft cemetery, the London Vale factory was also known as the Kersal Vale and Agecroft Bridge print works. London Vale appears to have changed hands many times throughout the nineteenth century. Initially owned by James Bayley, the business is listed under his name in Pigot’s Directory of 1818 and 1828. Bayley continued in ownership until around 1838 when his parnership with his sons was dissolved. The next owners, James Lycette and Thomas Coston dissolved their partnership in 1843, putting the building up for rent. The advert in the Manchester Mercury notes  WORKS—TO BE LET, ready for immediate working, all those Excellent and Compact London Vale Print works’. situate Agecroft Bridge, in the parish of Prestwich. The supply of water is unfailing, and coals abound in the immediate neighbourhood. The machinery is in capital working order, and in first-rate condition, a large portion of it having been recently put in; it must be taken with the copper rollers at a valuation. A more desirable opportunity for commencing printing without trouble, or works better adapted for the purpose is rarely to be met with. The premises will be let for the remainder of a lease of fourteen years, which eleven years and half are unexpired.—For further particulars and to treat apply to Mr. BROOME, Accountant, No. 3, St. James’s square, Manchester.

Later Thomas Coston went into partnership with Joseph Jackson promoting themselves as ‘printers of calicoes, muslins and other goods’ at Agecroft. However, they also ran into trouble in 1854 at which point John and Cable Brennand took over. In 1868 a fire totally destroyed the building putting 200 employees out of work. The fire damage was estimated at between £8,000 to £10,000 resulting in the Brennands being declared bankrupt. The buildings were later used as a bleach works but by 1891 the site was disused. However, in 1909 the buildings were bought by the Cussons family who established their soap works in the factory buildings.

Aerial photograph of the Cussons Soap Works, previously the London Vale print works. Kersal Hall,  in the bottom right hand side of the image, was later demolished for council housing. The Cussons site is now also housing.

Agecroft Grange, the Ward family and Conscription 1916

From the Aberdeen Press April 1916 FARMERS’ ARITHMETIC INCLUDED PART OF CEMETERY IN HIS ACREAGE. The Salford tribunal cancelled certificates of exemption to three of the sons of Agecroft farmer named James Ward, the certificates given to two other sons remaining untouched. The case was reheard at the request of the military representative, who stated that serious doubt had arisen of the accuracy of evidence given at the last hearing, when it was stated that the sons were working on two farms of 144 acres. Mr Ward stated that in the acreage he had included about thirty-eight acres of the Salford cemetery, the grass of which they had to cut twice. There were about thirty-eight acres on the farm, which, having to be cut twice, made it into seventy-six. The Chairman said the Tribunal thought it perfect nonsense to say that Mr Ward farmed seventy -six  acres when thirty-eight were cemetery land, which he did not farm, simply cutting the grass. They could only think the statement made for a purpose.

Robert Dauntesey obit Manchester Courier 30 April 1904

The late Captain Dauntesey, Agecroft Hall, whose death occurred on the 14th inst. at Torquay, was born in 1859 Bakewell, was educated Cheltenham College and France. He joined the 5th Fusiliers in 1858, was always in the Ist Battalion, and went to India almost immediately after joining. He spent two years in India, and after seven years’ service left the Army. He was the eldest son of the Rev. Robert Pennyman Hull, who predeceased him. About 26 years ago Mr Dauntesey succeeded to the family estates, taking the name of Dauntesey. He married in 1882, Alice Mary, daughter of Mr. Charles Marsh Schomberg. There was one daughter, Mary, who died in infancy in 1885. He is succeeded by his brother, Captain Hull, late of the Cheshire Regiment, who will in due course take the name of Dauntesev. The funeral, which took place Kersal on the 19th inst., was attended by a large number of relatives and friends. A large number of beautiful wreaths were sent.

AHF announcement: May 2017


Campaigners hoping to rescue and restore an historic cemetery chapel in Salford have received good news from the Architectural Heritage Fund. A successful grant application has been awarded of £4,850. This represents 30% of the funds needed to study whether the building could have a commercially viable future.

The Agecroft Cemetery Chapel Restoration Group became a constituted group in 2016. Having been successful in securing funds from the Heritage Lottery Fund and Salford community committees can now move forward with their commercial viability study and consultation work. They want to make the building available for a wide range of uses including a flower shop, café and meeting space.

The chapel has been vacant since 1985. It is one of a range of buildings located within the 45 acre Agecroft cemetery on Langley Road in Salford and was opened in 1903 to designs by the Manchester architects, Sharp and Foster.  The chapel features a mixture of arts and crafts, gothic revival and art nouveau elements.

Beryl Patten, a spokesman for the group, said that achieving the AHF grant was a crucial element in this first phase of the campaign. She said, ‘Our long-term aim is to achieve a fully-restored and sustainable building with community access for generations to enjoy.’

Ian Morrison, Chief Executive of the Architectural Heritage Fund said: ‘We’re pleased to support groups like this one in Agecroft who have the vision and passion to turn historic cemetery chapels into useful community spaces. The grant has been made possible with support from Historic England and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport who also fund a team of regional support officers who provide advice for communities who want to rescue and restore much loved historic buildings.’

Walter, Ada and Fanny

Agecroft’s architect Walter Sharp married Ada Simpole in 1883 and took up residence with Ada’s widowed mother in Broughton, Salford. Ada was born in 1860 into the Simpole family, a successful firm of cabinetmakers with premises at Cathedral Steps, Manchester. The Sharp’s continued to live in the Lower Broughton Road area throughout much of their married life but by 1911 they had moved to St Anne’s-on-Sea on the Lancashire coast. Here Sharp was in practice with Gerald Cowburn. Ada died in 1928 and in September 1929 Sharp married Fanny Rounds at the Wesleyan Church, St Anne’s where he held office. Sharp lived in two houses in St Anne’s, both identical in design and both named Paxford in memory of his birthplace. Further research is necessary to establish whether Walter Sharp designed these houses which still exist. Sharp’s obituary mentions that he designed ‘the handsome shop property on the north side of St Anne’s Road West’, possibly those at the junction with Clifton Drive North and applauded his efforts in ‘beautifying the town’. Sharp died in August 1931, his probate of £3968 was left to his widow, Fanny and his niece Ada Pemberton. He is interred in St Anne’s Church, St Anne’s-on-Sea.

Frederick Foster: co-architect of Agecroft

The architect Frederick Foster was in partnership with Walter Sharp and together they were responsible for the design of the buildings at Agecroft. Very little is known about Fred Foster at the present time but what we do know is that Foster was born in Manchester in 1850/51. In the 1891 census he was living with his family at 59 Withington Road, Chorlton where his occupation is recorded as architect’s assistant and lay reader in the Church of England. Foster’s wife Amelia Geake was also born in Manchester around 1848. Frederick and Amelia married in 1873 and had 8 children. During the early years of their marriage they live in Sale but later moved back to Manchester. Son Fred jnr, born in 1889, became a draughtsman and mill architect. Frederick Foster snr died in 1904 aged 53 very soon after the opening of the Northern Cemetery at Agecroft.

The Salford Trail: Agecroft Walk

The Salford Trail is a new, long distance walk of about 50 miles/80 kilometres and entirely within the boundaries of the City of Salford. The route is varied, going through rural areas and green spaces, with some road walking in between. Starting from the cityscape of Salford Quays, the Trail passes beside rivers and canals, through country parks, fields, woods and moss lands. It uses footpaths, tracks and disused railway lines known as ‘loop lines’. The Trail circles around to pass through Kersal, Agecroft, Walkden, Boothstown and Worsley before heading off to Chat Moss.
After crossing this vast landscape, the Trail returns to Salford Quays from the historic Barton swing bridge and aqueduct. Trail Number 3 takes in Agecroft Cemetery.


Heritage Trust Network

The group has become a full member of the Heritage Trust Network, a national organisation which shares advice and information relating to the restoration of historic buildings. Through the Trust we will be able to draw on the experience of heritage experts and enthusiasts and learn from similar community campaigns. The Trust is a key conduit for information on bringing historic buildings back into use whilst managing and sustaining these heritage assets so that they have a certain future. For further information go to: