Simon’s Way

Steve’s off down the back roads of industrial estates on his bike this week, getting up close and personal with bug zappers, amongst other things…

Bird Hall Lane, Cheadle Heath Stockport was once home to the mighty industrial giants Simon and Simon Carves Engineering. Research, manufacturing and administrative buildings lined both sides of the road for almost its entire length. A mix of brick moderne, with light deco detailing and more functionalist mid century industrial constructions. Once bustling with a work force of thousands, the site is now home to mixed use businesses, local authority services and an influx of anonymous office barns covered in coloured glass and steel. Sitting in their manicured landscapes like half sucked boiled sweets.

What remains of the past is still worth a look, down the backs around the corners, up close and personal.

The Simon family has been central to the development of modern Manchester. Shena Simon was active as a feminist, in local politics, the women’s suffrage movement and education. Her grandfather Henry Simon emigrated from Germany in1860 and began his business installing the country’s first roller flour mill in McDougalls, Manchester in 1878. He established two successful companies, Henry Simon, which specialised in flour mill construction, and Simon Carves Limited which made ovens and blast furnaces. His son Ernest Darwin continued the success of the company through most of the twentieth century, with its two factories in Bird Hall Lane – he is also remembered as social reformer and politician. Their gift of 250acres of land after purchasing Wythenshawe Hall allowed the development of the Wythenshawe Estate. A contribution to the cost of building Jodrell Bank was made by Simon Engineering and the Simon family.

They also made insect-o-cutors.

Further information:

Simon Carves Company

Lady Simon