Ancoats Convalescent Home

Anocats Convalescent Home was built in Warford in 1903 as an extension of the care given to patients at Ancoats Hospital in Manchester, which ran from 1873 to 1967.

This started out as Ardwick and Ancoats Dispensary which opened in 1828.  At this time the Dispensary contained no beds for treating patients; people were either treated as out-patients or visited at home.

Beds were later installed and the organisation upgraded to a hospital when it moved to larger premises on Mill Street.

Unlike many infirmaries, Ancoats was funded by benefactors and regular subscriptions and this was coordinated by a Workpeoples Fund Committee.

One benefactor, Mrs Crossley donated a significant amount which paid for the convalescent home in Warford to be built on land donated by the David Lewis Trust.

It was thought that the fresh air and green surroundings of the Cheshire village would be an ideal place for those recuperating from serious illnesses such as tuberculosis and polio, away from the pollution and disease of the city.

In later years the building also housed injured soldiers from the front , but closed in 1967.  A series of short term healthcare uses followed but the building is now private appartments.



Ancoats Convalescent Home, Great Warford


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The Convalescent Home today, showing how little it has changed.



Convalescent Home showing possible staff members or patients


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The main gable, showing the datestone


The main building above was accessed through a lodge, shown below:



The Lodge Building at Ancoats


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The Lodge as it is today, a private house.


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The recently restored name plaque


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  1. Dear Claire,
    I was delighted to find this post about Ancoats Convalescent Home. What a coincidence! Just a month ago I was looking for information about it in order to take my mother back to see it and rekindle fond memories. Margit Burrell very kindly met us at the gates of ‘Highgrove’ as it is now called and told us a bit about its recent past. My mother and I would love to hear some personal stories, so I do hope your post will spur people on to recount what they recall of the home.
    My mother worked as a nurse at the home around 1948-50 before starting nurse training at Oldham Royal Infirmary. She used to travel to Nether Alderley by bus and then pick up a bicycle at a nearby house to cycle to the home. The bicycle was left at the lodge to be used by the next nurse going off duty who would cycle to Nether Alderley and so on.
    The two main ground floor rooms were sitting rooms for patients to rest and get maximum light (the building was clearly designed for this). Upstairs were the wards, with men on the right (as one faces the building) and women on the left as can be seen in the photo you have above. I found this article in the Wednesbury press which confirms that the people in the photo are patients as the writer has a copy of it with a message written on the back by a patient recovering from TB in 1911.
    My mother remembers that the buildings to the rear were kitchens and laundry rooms, whilst the grounds to the rear were used to grow fruit and vegetables.
    There were not many nurses on duty at any one time, perhaps 4-5, plus sister who was someone to be feared. The room above the main entrance was her sitting-room, approached by a private stair and my mother says she was grateful never to have any reason to go up there! We tried to locate the rooms where the nurses slept at night: my mother doesn’t remember precisely but says she had a large room, and didn’t share. We suspect that it was the 2 floor attic rooms that we could see from the gate towards the rear of Highgrove.
    That’s about it. I do hope you hear from other people. I will keep an eye on your website in future months.
    Kind regards,
    Susan Maitland, York

  2. My mother and aunt were also nurses at this TB sanatorium. I wonder if your Mum know them. Catherine Sullivan and Nuala Sullivan from Ireland. My mum trained at Ancotes during the war and her last job in the Uk was our at this small sanatorium. So nice to see the place is still there and not in disrepair like the Ancotes buildings are .

  3. While researching Mobberley for a Great War booklet I came across a reference in the Knutsford Guardian to fundraising for the Ancoats Hospital Convalescent Home for wounded soldiers. I also see from your article a reference to Lady Crossley. Sir Kenneth and Lady Crossley lived in Mobberley during the war and were involved in many fundraising events. My website has a lenghty article about the family and I have provided a link to yours.

  4. Hi , thank you all for sharing really interesting information about my home . I have lived in Highgrove the Belltower for 11 years now with my husband and 4 children it has been an amazing comforting , safe feeling home for me any way , i have always wondered its true history . We have 4 bedrooms 2 of which are attic room s . The room which has the little open fire place in it is very interesting ,due to my self and my son the only people who will sleep in it as it is haunted and uou can hear sounds constantly around it , it most defiantly has spirit s living here along sides my family , I believe the attic bedroom was was once slept in by to a man who had claptimania ? I love my house but other people say its too haunted my cleaner would not go onto the top floor , she and my family have seen nurses walking around it across my balcony above the lounge . And sometimes children through the windows . Any further information would be amazing to hear about .

  5. My mother was a sister at Ancoats Convalescent Home in 1948 her name was Beatrice Barnhill.In School Holidays and at weekends when Mum was working we were allowed to go to work with her and play in the beautiful grounds gathering acorns and conkers from the beautiful tall trees all the children of staff who were local were given a Xmas party and present and allowed to talk to the patients I always remember that there was always a Jig Saw set out to be put together by anyone in the sitting room My Dad Ben worked at Goostreys and he delivered the fresh bread daily. My Mum made friends with two people I remember well Nurse Joyce Satterthwaite from Cumbria who later married a Mr White from Town Lane and Myra the Cook who was a jolly lady who came from Dublin I spent so many happy hours there and met some lovely people it is lovely to be able to reminisce on days of your childhood.

  6. Hi Lin, my mum was in charge of high grove when it was a care home in the early 90s I spent many a night there as my mum was a single parent and if she was doing nights I would sleep in a spare room. I came across this as I was telling my wife about the place and wondered if it was still a home but I now see it’s been divided up into separate houses I can imagine these are very nice especially as the grounds of the home were lovely.

  7. Mum’s (Marjorie Pauline Butterworth) history of Convalescent Home – Great Warford
    My mum made some notes as part of a history group she belonged to. She passed away in May 2019, aged 89.. I wanted to share these with you on this site and hope some of the residents will be interested in reading this. I took her back to see the home about 7 years ago. She was so happy to see the building had not changed. She was able to point out her room close above the entrance. She shed happy tears. She remembered the same trees were there from when she used to look out of her window.
    Mum’s account
    “I left school and started a pre-nursing course at Atherton Street Continuation College studying nursing subjects ; during the rest of the week I worked in a nursery – first at St James in Gorton and then Lower Ormond Street, All Saints.
    I was too young to start nurse training. Anyway, having passed my Lancashire and Cheshire Institute exams, I left the College and I was still too young to start my training as a student nurse. So it was suggested by Matron I gained some experience at Ancoats Convalescent Home at Great Warford, Alderley Edge until I was 17. This I did and experienced living away from home.
    The first day on duty, from what I remember, commenced at 7 am: breakfast (7.30 on duty). As patients were convalescing, they were able to do things for themselves and didn’t require much nursing care except medicines and dressings which sister would attend to in the surgery.
    I would assist the other nurses to make beds while the patients had breakfast and I would then observe and help where I could.
    We would have time off in the afternoon and then I would remember cutting and buttering the bread for tea (no sliced bread then) and in the day room, I would look out of the windows and see two German prisoners of war working in the grounds – and wondering if they would get a cup of tea!
    In the evening we had to take stone hot water bottles and put them in every patients bed. This was quite a job as you could only carry 2 at a time. On the upstairs landing it was not unusual to see small bats flying about. Then we would make bedtime drinks: ovaltine, cocoa and horlicks for the patients. I remember sleeping very well at night despite aching feet.
    The gardener called Tommy Holland lived in the Lodge at the entrance gates. He looked after the grounds with the help of the two German prisoners of war (c.1946). They tended the kitchen garden where fruit and veg were grown for the home and any surplus was sent back to Ancoats Hospital in Manchester. This was on a Monday morning by ambulance on its return journey from dropping of new patients.
    I was shown many procedures such as taking temperatures, dressings, injections and my first colostomy. The dressings were carried out in the surgery situated on the right hand side of the main front door, where the steriliser would be bubbling away boiling up syringes, needles and instruments.
    One evening, when I was at home on a day off, it was snowing and was bitterly cold. I caught the bus on Kingsway to Alderley Edge, as usual but once there, I waited and waited. I was conscious of a young man waiting in a door way of a shop. He approached me and told me there were no buses that night due to bad conditions. Horror of horrors I was stranded. This was really scary at 16. He asked me where I was going, and when I explained, he said he was a fishmonger who delivered to the Home and knew the Matron. He kindly phoned up and explained to the Matron and she arrived in a taxi and escorted me back to the Home. It was very embarrassing but memorable.
    Matron used to act like your mother and felt responsibility for you.
    On a Monday Matron would wait in the large entrance hall, dressed in her navy uniform dress, white starched collar and cuffs. Over her hair she wore a triangular starched muslin type covering.
    The ambulance would arrive and Matron would greet these pale and thin patients, who weakly managed a brave smile, following recent surgery. The local GP would examine them individually.
    They received rest, good food, fresh air, gentle exercise and nursing care. How different they looked after a fortnight convalescence. The sanatorium was at the back of the building in a large conservatory where TB patients convalesced and were wheeled out into the fresh air.
    For some patients it was the first taste of country life. There was an interesting cafe within walking distance called the “Brown Owl” with lots of statues and owl carvings. It was a converted barn and very quaint. Patients getting stronger would venture there for coffee and cakes. Walking back from the cafe there were fields and streams, primroses and the sound of cuckoos in the Spring. Nearby was Mobberly Boys Remand Home.
    I worked here for 12 months as a student nurse and returned as a patient for three months due to catching pneumonia during my training at Ancoats in Manchester.
    I was treated very well as a patient and I took matrons dog out for its daily walk around the grounds, a faun cocker spaniel called Rex”.

    MP Butterworth

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