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Reddish Vale Country Park

Strines Cottages 

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Strines Cottages were located on the Brinnington side of the river Tame on the rise by the old weir and sluice gate.

 

Strines is derived from the old English word 'Strynd or Strind' meaning watercourse. The cottages belonged to the Sandbach's and were a farm before being converted into three cottages.

In 1880's there was a landslide above the cottages. It took men with horses four days to clear the footpath of sand and stones

Sandbach's tea rooms did a roaring trade, a jug of hot water could be had for 2d (bring your own tea and sugar) or afternoon tea, bread and butter, boiled eggs and home made cakes could be bought for one shilling and eaten in the wooden sheds or dining rooms. When many people lived in the Vale, the men of the house would go to Reddish for a drink in the evening and if they were worse for wear on their return they would stay with friends for the night and their family wouldn't worry about them.

However, one cold winter night one man of the house in Strines Cottages did not return. No one worried about his, no one searched. The following morning the son went off to school. Walking towards the footbridge he saw his father, as if he was sleeping on the river bank, but he was dead. He had returned a little worse for wear and fallen down the bank where he had stayed, only to die of exposure.

 

Strines was built by a family called Oldham who had already lived in Brinnington for many years before the first mention of the house. They are known from the records of baptism and funerals that were kept by the parish church in Stockport. The Oldhams were what we call 'yeoman farmers' - people who owned enough land to make a living but who were not members of the gentry. They were wealthy enough to give 13 old pence as their Easter offering to the parish church. The wills of several members of the Oldham family of Strines have survived.

Another official document that mentions the Oldhams of Strines relates to the Hearth Tax they had to pay. Your tax bill was assessed depending on how many hearths you had in your home and at Strines there were only two, suggesting a moderate sized farmhouse.

Grace Oldham, the last member of the family to live at Strines, was there until 1721. Perhaps after that they let out the house or it belonged to another branch of the family with a different name.

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By the end of the century the Reddish Vale Printworks was set up where the Reddish Vale Visitor Centre now stands. The owners of the printworks bought Strines farmhouse.

A millrace to provide the printworks with a supply of water from the River Tame was in use by 1805. This was brought from the river above the new weir that was constructed just below Strines farmhouse.

In the 19th century, censuses of the poulation were taken every 10 years and from these we can find out the names of the people who lived at Strines. 

In 1851 it is described as 'uninhabited houses'. However, in 1861 there were four families living at Strines Houses consisting of 23 individuals. Perhaps between the two censuses the house was divided into a number of cottages for Printworks workers; it must have been considerably altered.

In 1914 Strines is described as 'four brick built cottages'. It is unlikely that the original Strines farm of 1604 would have been built of brick. It is more likely to have been timber framed or half-timbered and so it looks as if the original house was re-built in brick between the end of the 18th century and the middle of the 19th.

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What did the original Strines farmhouse look like? The central part of the house is described as the 'dwelling house' in Thomas Oldham's will of 1664. It would have been a large open hall, perhaps reaching up to the roof. There would probably not have been any bedrooms above the hall.

There was a parlour, a room for the family to sit in, next to the hall at the end of the house nearest the river. This would have backed on to the chimney breast of the hall for warmth. At the other end was the buttery, where food was stored and prepared. We hear of chambers, or bedrooms, above the buttery and parlour suggesting that these parts of the house at least were two storeys high.

Because Strines was a farm there will have been outbuildings for storing crops and for the animals but only a barn is mentioned in the 1664 will.

It seems that Strines was a typical yeoman's farmhouse of its time, based on a central hall with living accommodation at one end for the family and storage and food preparation rooms at the other.

The Cottages were demolished sometime between 1939-41 when the Civil Defence put up a bomb decoy on the Denton side of the river.

Below, some earlier occupants of Strines Cottages, the sign in the background says hot water and teas provided.

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Below, the last residents of Strines Cottages, Bill and Lena Rainford.