100 Halls Around Manchester Part 92 : Mr Haworth’s House, Long Millgate.

Long Millgate is first mentioned in 1342 as the residence of Richard of the Mylnegate. In 1596 William Farrar, the son of Elizer drowned at Miln Bridge. Manchester Grammar School once stood on the lane, and today Millgate still winds down from opposite Hanover Street by Victoria Station, between the National Football Museum and Chetham’s School, to the Cathedral.

Mr Haworth’s house stood near the current site of Balloon Street for reasons that we shall soon see and later Howarth’s Gate led to pleasure gardens on the site of the recently named Balloon Street¹.

These gardens contained the latest flowers, and the last remnants of green field around Long Millgate. In 1782 the Manchester Military Association carried out their arms training here.

Abraham Hawarth (1683-1759) is the earliest inhabitant we know of. It is possible that he ordered the build of the house. Like many rich Mancunians he was a linen draper, also serving as a boroughreeve of Manchester in 1746. He married Sarah Howarth (1675-1719) and they had two children, John (1712-1786) and Sarah, who only lived a few months from March to July 1715.

John Haworth was of sufficient status to marry Mary Bagshaw of Wormhill (1712-1775) and Oakes Park in Derbyshire. However, the estate descending down the male line, the couple lived on at the Millgate residence. John was a business partner in Robert Peel’s cotton enterprise.

Mary was buried in the Byrom chapel at the Collegiate Church in Manchester in January 1775, and John joined her in December 1786.

At the end of his days John may have been running short of funds, or he may have just seen a good money making opportunity for he charged an entrance fee of 10s 6d and 5s (52½p and 25p) to Hawarth Gardens² on Thursday, 12 May 1785 to watch James Sadler make his fourth balloon ascent.

James Sadler (1753-1828) was born in Oxford the elder son of James Sadler (1718-1791) a cook and confectioner, and followed in his father’s business at 84 High Street in the town. On 4 October 1784 he made the first ascent by an English Aeronaut in a 170 foot hot air balloon, which he had constructed himself – even down to the manufacture of hydrogen. He rose 3,600 feet and landed six miles away half an hour later. Such was the brilliance of his advances, that Oxford University in a fit of spite,  oppressed (him), to the disgrace of the University … from pique and jealousy of his superior science.

James took off from Mr Haworth Pleasure Gardens and remained in sight for around 40 minutes, he then brought the balloon down nearby and chatted to the astonished spectators, before taking off again. This time he flew to Warrington, and reported that he could see Liverpool and the sea, the winds then blew him to Bury where he landed.

He was emboldened by the experience and repeated it from the same spot exactly a week later on the 19th. The weather was far less kind, but the crowd who came to see him numbered around 100,000. This time he reached an altitude of 2½ miles. The daring height was because the string on his gas relief valve froze, that high he suffered from extreme cold and a lack of oxygen, drinking brandy copiously to alleviate the temperature. He was above the clouds and saw the shadow of his balloon cast above them. He had left Manchester at 11:40 and landed 50 miles away in Pontefract. Attempting to land he called to the only person he could see, a man on horseback for help. This obviously frightened the rider who sped off into the distance.

His grappling iron failed to anchor the balloon, so he threw out everything he could and became wedged between trees. He got out, and a wind caught the balloon draggging it, and him, because he held on for dear life, for two miles over trees and hedges eventually being stopped by a stone cottage which he crashed into, losing him his grip on his transport.

Bruised and tired, but not defeated he hired a horse and returned to Manchester the same day to great acclaim.

Mr Sadler Ascending from Haworth Gardens © Manchester Libraries.

James returned to Manchester on 29 June 1812 to make another attempt from St George’s Fields³. Whilst his take off and journey went off without incident, he received his full share of cuts and bruises on landing, hitting a horse and cart and then bumping along rocky ground hitting them like a Warner Brothers cartoon character. This time he landed near Sheffield, having covered another 50 miles but risen to 3 miles 640 yards. James’ son, Windham (1796-1824), made an ascent from Salford on 23 April 1824, though tragically he was killed that September when his craft collided with a chimney near Accrington.

James Sadler is remembered in Manchester today in Balloon Street, which was named shortly after his first ascent, and in Sadler Square in the new NOMA complex. Oxford, who spurned him, and from which he made his first ascent, has no remembrance of him.

John Haworth had no sons who survived him, and the male line died with him. He did have at least two daughters, Mary who died in infancy in 1751, and Sara Haworth (1749-1808) who married Edward Percival, the brother of Spencer Percival who we encountered at Bank Hall. Sarah inherited his estate and on her death the Earl of Wilton purchased them.

In the 1790s the house became an inn, known as the Manchester Arms, and survived until demolition in 1980, thus did another worthy mansion disappear. Landlords of the hostelry include Samuel Lewis in 1876, Francis J Moon and Elizabeth Moon from 1881 to 1911 and Alfred Turner in 1929.

It does have another claim to fame, The Manchester Arms was the first pub in town to host strip tease shows for its clientele. Jonathan Schofield quotes from the 1975 Manchester Good Pub Guide:

There are nightly and free stripshows. Amidst bright green lights, a series of ladies perform to an attentive audience of itinerant Scotsmen, sweaty middle-aged gentlemen and British Rail porters. Those of a somewhat nervous disposition should beware of the first room on the right, where mine host appears 90 per cent topless (where does one put one’s eyes?). There’s a choice of pool and football tables, together with a fruit machine, which has been known to smoulder

Let’s see some pictures, rather nicely we have images covering over 200 years, although I don’t have any of the strippers:

¹ Curiously as the area is the headquarters of the Co-op, there is a Toad Lane nearby. A nice coincidence.

² It is also claimed that the gardens were part of Hunts Bank Hall in a Short History of Manchester & Salford By Francis Archibald Bruton.

³ I think near Cornbrook.


Bagshaw of Wormhill

Memories of Manchester Streets, Richard Wright Proctor : T Sutcliffe, 1874

King of All Balloons, The Adventurous Life of James Sadler, Mark Davies : Amberley 2015

Pubwiki, Manchester Arms

Bovril on Draft

© Allan Russell 2022.


3 thoughts on “100 Halls Around Manchester Part 92 : Mr Haworth’s House, Long Millgate.

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