February's Theme Day is "Paths and Passages". Ashton has many streets of terraced houses, many of which were built in the 19th century to house the growing population of workers in the cotton mills. Behind these houses are alleyways like the one in today's photo.
I know that some of the overseas visitors to this blog are fascinated by our terraced houses. One of the problems of building rows of houses is how to get access to the rear. The streets were therefore built with alleyways, giving access to the back yards of the houses. In some of the longer streets there were "ginnels" or passageways through to the back with part of a bedroom above.
When many of the terraced houses were built, there were no inside toilets, but they had their toilets or "privvies" in the back yard or courtyard, sometimes shared with neighbours! These toilets fed into containers that had to be emptied every week or two by the so-called "night soil man", who arrived with his horse and cart. The night soil man would definitely need to use the back alley, as nobody would want the stuff brought through the house! The coalman, too, would come around the back delivering sacks of coal to people's back yards.
Nowadays many of the back alleys are "gated" for improved security. This alley runs along the back of Henrietta Street and leads to a wide courtyard between Ramsden Street and Halifax Street. Many back alleys have now been paved with concrete flag stones but I chose this alley for today's photo because it is paved with traditional cobbles or setts.
More back alleys can be seen here and here.
Click here to view thumbnails for all the participants in today's Paths and Passages theme day.
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