P h o t o B l o g

Friday, 7 March 2008

Mind your step!

A well-worn doorstep in Mossley. The small town of Mossley is only about 3 miles from Ashton but is a world of stone houses rather than the brick of Ashton.


  1. Like a lot of the houses I noticed when last in England and going to Mossley, I noted that they looked very well looked after. All the pointing and painting looked consistent. What I did notice most of all because it was Spring and Summer , the lovely hanging baskets that adorned a whole road of these stone cottages. It brightened your day passing them all on the bus. The step on this house looks well worn, must have been a warm house with lots of visitors and families calling?! It also looks as though it has a cellar where the railings encircle it? I wonder, did a lot of these cottages have cellars, living area and attics? I some how remember reading a history of Mossley where they used the attics for their looms and weaving at home? That was another thing I noticed about a lot of the cottages in Mossley, they appeared to be three storey high at the back and two at the front. I noticed this in houses on Mickelhurst Road!

  2. martin ,although you say its only three miles from ashton ,i must admit ,i have never been to mossley ,the nearest i got to it was hartshead pike ,but i often look at the pics you put on before and think what i missed ,there are so many quaint old houses .i always think the old houses are much more homelier than some of the new ones ,kind of lived in rather than show houses ,i imagine mself snuggled up on the sofa at night .the wind howling around the house and not being able to touch me ,i love the old houses ,

  3. danny,

    The pointing on the photo is too rich in cement - the stone is erroding because of it.

  4. Can you explain that please Chips?

  5. Thirty8ers,

    The mortar used to point the joints should always be softer than the stone.Because they have used about twice as much cement it has made the mortar mix as hard as concrete.
    If you imagine water being sprayed onto the surface - the mortar would be still there after the stone had be erooded away. Whereas the mortar should allow the building to expand, contract and breathe by giving way before the stone does.

  6. Thanks for the explanation Chips.
    I have seen many of these stone built houses with the mortar sticking out further than the stone and thought it was done that way purposefully. I have often wondered how they managed to get it so straight. Now I know! The mortar was originally flush with the stones and the softer sandstone has eroded away. I suppose that having little 'ledges' of hard mortar will continue to make the erosion worse because they will hold water, which will then freeze and expand and break up the stone even more.
    They all need scraping out and repointing!

    PS Thanks for the info about the back to back chimneys too(on the next blog)...that's two interesting things you have taught me today!

  7. The raised or sticking-out mortar commonly seen on stone cottages in Mossley and Saddleworth is called "strap pointing". It seems to have become a traditional way of pointing these buildings, but many experts think it should not be done.

    In any case, the pointing on these stone houses should be done with lime mortar, as it allows moisture that finds its way into the stones to find an easy way out. Modern cement mortar is sometimes used, as it sets faster, but, being less breathable, prevents the moisture coming out. The moisture then comes out through the stones themselves, resulting in erosion to the face of the stones.

    I was told some of this by a local historian and read up on some of the details on the internet!

    The older stone cottages were built with the stones very slightly tilted outwards, to encourage moisture to work its way out through the lime mortar layers.

  8. I used to live around the corner from this row of houses and I knew most of the occupants too.They had a block of flats behind them do you have any more photo's of george street before it was all demolished?

  9. Sorry, I do not have any old photos of George Street. Where was the block of flats?


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