Sunday, 13 March 2016


(13th March 2016) There is that much information come through on Ginnels, Alleyways and Snickets that it only be right to start up a blog so that these are recorded for the future.

Ginnel = Is a narrow roofed (covered in) passageway running through (or beneath) property connecting the front with the back

Alley or Alleyway = Is similar narrow passageway (similar to a ginnel) but having no roof and open to the sky at the top and usually running down the sides, or between properties to connect the front with the back 

Snicket =  is an open narrow passageway between houses or at the bottom of their gardens, sometimes bordered on one side or either side by a hedgerow or similar. (At sometime in history it could well have been taken from the meaning of "thicket"

Also In Manchester and Oldham, Greater Manchester, as well as Sheffield, Leeds and other parts of Yorkshire, "Jennel", which may be spelt "Gennel" or "Ginnel", is common.  In some cases, "ginnel" may be used to describe a covered or roofed passage, as distinct from an open alley. (information found by Jackie Ramsbottom)

Where are all the "Ginnels" 

Blackburn Road near Vale Street leading down to Back Beehive Terrace (Muckyback)
This is a very interesting "Ginnel" because it is of a descending type which would have been a thoroughfare to take people from Blackburn Road down into either Back Beehive Terrace (also known as Muckyback) or alternatively took them to easy access of Cross Street North. The ginnel and steps themselves also had a local nickname which was "Monkey Steps"

Looking up from the bottom of the steps at Back Beehive Terrace
Photo: Kindly contributed by Robert Wade (Wadey)


"99 Steps - Blackburn Road and down to the back yards - opp St James Lych Gate and close to Howley's Chemist (was covered and descending) but long gone demolished.  This one had similarities to the one already mentioned above.  Although the access was far more restricted and the thoroughfare went from the fronts on Blackburn Road and down to a communial alley to serve the lower cellars etc - No photograph available

On 14th March 2016 Michael Mullaney added: "The Ginnel on Blackburn Road opposite the Lych gate which was known as 99 Steps and allowed residents who lived below the upper terraces in back to earth properties to access the houses but it allowed workers to short cut their journey down to the mills in the bottom"


Ginnel from Prospect Hill and down into Charles Lane
Photo: kindly contributed by Jackie Ramsbottom 

More photos of Prospect Ginnel from the rear (Charles Lane side)  (Click over)
Photo: kindly contributed by Jackie Ramsbottom

This Ginnel is another descending type with steps and goes from Prospect Hill down and into Charles Lane.


Old Pleasant Street - half way up from Higher Deardengate with Ginnel at side of shop

This Ginnel was to give access from Pleasant Street into Back Pleasant Street.
(Photo and information kindly contributed by Michael Mullaney)

On 13th March 2016 Michael Mullaney wrote: The Photo was taken in 1968 as demolition was underway for the new Central flats.  The reason for the Ginnel, to allow easy access to Back Pleasant Street.  At first glance it seems an ornate entrance for a humble Ginnel and perhaps it is.  It would seem that the Ginnel entrance was in fact the original door to the property which is now a shop and was the gable end at one time.  As the buildings and street were extended it was necessary to construct a Ginnel. 

The rear of the Pleasant Street Old Ginnel (as shown above)

(Photo and information kindly contributed by Michael Mullaney)

On 13th March 2016 Michael Mullaney added: This photo is of the Pleasant Street Ginnel taken from Back Pleasant Street. It can be seen that the inner wall is constructed from brick helping with the theory that it is of later construction.  We can also see the new flats.

Showing Ginnel entrance midway along Wilkinson Street

On 13th March 2016 Michael Mullaney added: My first photo is of the Ginnel on the front of Wilkinson Street, it was in the top half of Wilkinson Street just below the Middle shop and allowed pedestrian access to the back of Wilkinson Street which went by the more local name of "The Irish Back".

Early urban development constructed properties in the simplest and cheapest way.  This usually took the form of long terraced rows forming a square or triangle.  In order that people could gain easy access to the backs of the properties many of which would be "back to back houses" Ginnels were constructed for this purpose.  Back Wilkinson Street (Irish Back) had three access Ginnels/Alleyways.


Back Wilkinson Street (Irish Back)
(Photo: kindly contributed by Michael Mullaney

On 13th March 2016 Michael Mullaney added: The Ginnel exits along the side wall of the small two storey out building which brings a further reason for the Ginnel.  In viewing the picture above (eg: Wilkinson Street), its clear that the third level of houses in Wilkinson Street are being used as possibly some of the first factories with hand loom weaving taking place on an industrial scale.  The two storey out building housed a stairway to allow rorkers to get to the top floor without disturbing the residents with their coming and going.  The Ginnel in King Street accessed the back from its lower end whilst a third Ginnel accessed it from the top end and Rake Foot.  Properties on Rake Foot were constructed in the Back to Back style, again easy access was required from the surrounding streets.  Two storey Back to Back properties usually had the upper floors constructed from stone flags.  This was not a cheap way of making a bedroom floor but an early attempt at making a building fire proof from accidents with open fires and compact building methods.  Note the larger properties at the lower end of the back, these are the grander houses on the corner of Wilkinson Street and King Street.


Showing the ginnel on King Street
Photo: Kindly contributed by Michael Mullaney

On 13th March 2016 Michael Mullaney added: This ginnel was in the top half of King Street which shared a corner with Wilkinson Street. Note the grand architecture around the second door.  The property just out of sight but forming the corner of Wilkinson Street I think was known as Marsden House and had a grand entrance hall with sweeping staircase.  The picture was taken just prior to being demolished to make way for the new flats on Marsden Square.


This Ginnel is at the top of Bell Street and goes through to a joint back to houses on Regent Street
Photo: Thanks to Robert Wade (Wadey)

Showing ginnel between old Legion Club and Shop and leads to Deardengate Croft
Photo: Kindly contributed by Robert Wade (Wadey)

Ginnel which goes from Blackburn Rd (side of Black Bull Pub) and then leads
through to Ratcliffe Street
(Photo: Thanks to Robert Wade (Wadey)


"Where are all the Alleys (Alleyways)"

Burgess Nook Alleyway - Deardengate to Car Park
This one that goes up the left hand side of the library was once the access to Burgess Nook (properties now gone).  Today the alley takes you through to the rear of the Library and the Central Flats Car Park.

Alleyway between Pickering St and King Street(Photo: kindly contributed by Barbara Greenwood)

A fabulous photo which shows the alleyway which went between Pickering Street to King Street, note the very special rare "curvature" to the flags, setts and floor guttering. 

17th March 2016 - Marie Ives commented:  You are now in Pickering Street and looking straight through the Alleyway into King Street. At the bottom on the left was a yard with a single house, and further in were the back doors to the houses in Hargreaves Street adjacent to No. 19 which was the Old Police Station.  Further up again was another yard with one or two back doors and the back entrance to the Craven Heifer Pub. 

Old Map showing the "Pickering Street Alleyway"
(Map: kindly supplied by Jackie Ramsbottom)


The following (below) will soon be integrated within the above descriptions desperate for photos of any of the undermentioned if anyone can help:

King Street and just before the Craven Heifer and led to Pickering Street (now gone)
from George St to Church Street coming out facing Frank Heaps Chemist, it went behind the shops in Market Place and the Swan pub - Gone demolished in the 70s (uncovered) 

Holcombe Road down to Station Road (alleyway or snicket)

Around 32 Bury Road a ginnel leading to a shared Courtyard (Ginnel)

Top of Townsend Street next to chinese takeaway on corner (Ginnel with wood door)

Top of Grane Road - Goes through to Charles Lane (alleyway)

Alleyway between top of Grane Road and leading down to Charles Lane
Photo: Kindly shared to us by Derek Woodall

Peel Street leading through to Sunnybank Street

More yet to be added

Where are all the "Snickets"
Holly Avenue

Northcote Street to Back Lane

Thanks to all the following persons for their kind support: Jeni Coates, Ann Dewhurst,
Marie Ives, Heather Holden, Myra Frohnapfel, Sharon Gallagher,  Sandra Hayhurst Trainor, Raymond Halstead, Margaret Clegg, Derek Whittaker, Ann Noone, Tracey Mawdsley, Lorraine Brumpton, Ann Podge, Chris Howarth, Robert Wade, Donald Hendry, Karen Ratty Marsh, Joyce Thorne, Sheila Ryan Lucking, Francesca Grimshaw, Dot Birtwistle, Milly Morgan, Ann Belshaw, Andy Fletcher, Tom Place, David Edwards, Judith Knight, James Stroud, Pauline Emmett Dagg, Janet Eddisford, Chris Reid, Georgina Dunn, Michael Mullaney, Ralph Clark, Ron Baron, Jackie Ramsbottom, Barbara Greenwood,  Robert Wade for many of the ginnel photos.  Derek Woodall.