Today's photo is of Water Street Hat Works.
Pardon? Many people who are familiar with Ashton will look and the photo and say "But that's Hurst Laundry in Holden Street!" And they would be right, for this is indeed the building that for many years has been home to Hurst Linen Services, now Tibard Laundry Services.
However, a closer look at the building will reveal a clue to its past. High on the wall, above the taking-in doors, is this stone plaque bearing the words "Water Street Hat Works".
This may seem rather mysterious but the section of what is now called Holden Street between Union Road and Hillgate Street was at one time called Water Street, while the part between Hillgate Street and Whiteacre Road was called Church Street. They were re-named to avoid confusion with the streets of the same name in central Ashton.
The hat making part is still a bit of a mystery as hat making was generally carried out in Denton and Stockport. I can't find any mention in any of the local history book that I have of a hatting industry in Ashton, but clearly hats were made here! Also, you may recall in a post here a couple of weeks ago that the son of the landlord of the Napoleon Inn, around the corner in Botany Lane, worked as a hatter before taking over the job of landlord.
The funny thing is that I have walked past here hundreds of times and had never noticed this plaque before!
See Birds Eye View of this location.
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