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British Industrial History

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Mary Bakewell

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of Manchester

Mary Bakewell listed as Size and Glue manufacturer, and dealer in bone dust, Finch Street, Gaythorn. House, 14 Great Bridgewater Street.[1]

1849 'THE GAYTHORN BONE-CRUSHING AND SIZE-BOILING NUISANCE. For some time past, letters have been inserted in this and other local papers, directing the attention of the authorities to the establishment in Finch-street, Gaythorn, the owner of which is Mrs. M. Bakewell, where bones are ground and sizing is manufactured, and from which, during the process of boiling various kinds of offal, a disagreeable effluvium is complained of by the residents in that neighbourhood......Amongst the various complaints from persons residing in the locality, was a memorial, numerously signed, addressed to the nuisance committee, stating that their attention had often been called through the medium of the newspapers to the insufferable stench which arose from the premises. Mr. Heron then read a letter to the nuisance committee, signed by Messrs. Wood, Penny, and Co., Medlock Bridge Mills, stating that the boiling of the bones commenced about seven o'clock in the evening, and was continued until about six o'clock in the morning, and that they attributed to it the illness of several persons in their establishment. ....... Mr. Pollock said there was some doubt whether the nuisance proceeded from Mrs. Bakewell's establishment or from the corporation's own gasworks, which were within twenty yards of it.- Mr. Heron: There is a difference between that and the smell of rotten bones.'[2]

Note that this nuisance was long standing, as Mrs Bakewell was mentioned in 1847, in the context of complaints against John Bebbington: '..... It was true there was another similar establishment in the same neighbourhood, belonging to Mrs. Bakewell, but he would be able to show, by highly respectable evidence, that the nuisance arose from the establishment of Mr. Bebbington, and not from that of Mrs. Bakewell, although a summons had been issued against her.'[3]


Adshead's 1851 map does M. Bakewell the honour of naming the premises 'Chemical Works', located on the inside of a sharp bend in the River Medlock. The 1849 O.S. map shows several small buildings on the site, with plenty of room for bones, and the premises are labelled 'Finch Street Size Works'. Competing odours would have emanated from the neighbouring premises, Gaythorn Tannery (shown on Adshead's 1851 map as J. Webster's Skin Yard). Both were served by Finch Street. To the east of this street were Gaythorn Chemical Works and a 'Bone, Size and Chemical Works'. The site is marked on the 1851 map as Coppock's Chemical Works. Surprisingly, or perhaps not, the area between the tannery and bone boilers and the railway viaduct also contained small houses. The area south of the river was dominated by the large No. 5 Station of Manchester Gas Works.

Mrs Bakewell's house was at the west end of Great Bridgewater Street, close to Deansgate. Further east, the street was given over largely to factories. Two old premises have survived intact, the pubs 'The Briton's Protection and Peveril of the Peak.

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. Slater's Directory of Manchester & Salford, 1850
  2. Manchester Times, 12th December 1849
  3. Manchester Times, Saturday 18th December 1847