The miniature houses of Levenshulme
An abandoned village with a difference – that being it’s at the bottom of a garden in a suburb of Manchester.
Levenshulme and its immediate borders with neighbouring suburbs such as Burnage and Longsight is rich with treasures. Slade Hall; Cringle Park; The Street With No Name; the church that looks like Liverpool Cathedral; the former Martin’s Bank; the house from Hell Is a City; the strangely alluring and colourful yard where doors go to die; the abundance of cats; my only sightings of Jay birds; the antiques village and former town hall where I bought a handsome South American blanket complete with pockets for optimum storage and comfort whilst riding a donkey (it’s in use as a rug right now, I don’t have room in the car park for a donkey)…you get the idea – Levenshulme and its surrounds are loved.
Let us introduce you to the wonderland that is the miniature houses of Levenshulme. Or Burnage. Let’s not quibble over geography.
These tiny houses were created by Alan Teague, who built the village in the garden of his house. Once the head gardener at Fletcher Moss Park and now living in Ilfracombe, Alan had always had an interest in architecture and miniature models of any sort.
The houses were started in 1978 and complete ten years later in 1988. They run along a small pathway from one side of the garden to the driveway at the front of the house and in their prime they were lit up at night time by a switch inside the main house. The garden was open to the public at all times, people invited in by a sign that read “You May Walk Around if You Wish”, and played a huge part in the childhood of the local children. One house, a tudor style detached is engraved in the names of Joyce and Sylvia, dated 1988 and spilt into two businesses – one a toy shop and the second a post office and general groceries.
As well as the post office there’s a church building and a row of terraced houses named York Terrace – in these houses, where the rooftops have long since crumbled to nothingness, ivy grows inside each room poised like a frozen tidal wave sweeping through the building. In some rooms, when the breeze blows, a sliver of lace curtain in a window flutters in the frame, and some windows still hold onto shattered fragments of glass.
The houses have been quick to demise since the owners left, the current owners are ambivalent about them and had tried to remove one in the driveway but the foundations are so well rooted they thankfully gave up.
The magic might be diluted a little now the village is abandoned and in a state of ill repair but it’s still very much there.
Alan and his family created a wonderland that made a huge impression on many children of Manchester over the decades, and he did so for no other reason than the joy of it all.