Sports, leisure and the Arts Ballbrook Conservation area


The 1848 tithe map shows the whole of the Ballbrook conservation area as open fields. Ball Brook, which provides the area's name, was a small watercourse crossing the area from south east to north west, and this in part formed the boundary between Didsbury and Withington.

Withington House and Brook House, later named Ballbrook House, were situated on Wilmslow Road, which was then a turnpike road which crossed Ball Brook via Ball Bridge. Lapwing Hall was on the south side of Lapwing Lane and directly on the line of Palatine Road, which was opened in 1862 and was also, for a short time, a turnpike road.

Large houses were then built along Palatine Road. Two of these properties, Sandileigh on the north side of the brook and Moorfield on the south side, had grounds covering all the Didsbury side of the conservation area and some in Withington, including a lodge on Palatine Road.

From 1897 to 1902, the frontages to Wilmslow Road and Lapwing Lane were developed with mostly three-storey Victorian villas, the majority of which can still be seen today.

Withington and Didsbury were two of five townships to be annexed by Manchester in 1904, consequently Ball Brook lost its significance as a boundary. The brook was then culverted prior to the next phase of development.

The core of the area, comprising Sandileigh Avenue, Danesmoor Road, Holmwood Road, Lyndhurst Road, St. Aldwyn's Road and Redclyffe Road, consists of Edwardian housing built between 1910 and 1914, mostly by developers Booth & Britten, who employed the architect George Westcott. The same team also created the terrace of shops with a cast-iron and glass canopy on Lapwing Lane in 1913.

The bank, post office and telephone exchange group of buildings fronting Lapwing Lane, Palatine Road and Ballbrook Avenue are post-war developments. The flats named Balholm Court and Holmwood Court are later developments built on the site of No. 640 Wilmslow Road and in the garden of No. 8 Ballbrook Avenue respectively. Danesmoor Court, now used as a Job Centre, occupies the site of a former garage and petrol filling station on Palatine Road.

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