It was the 'house with the red roses' - and it housed one family for 80 years (2024)

It was known as 'the house with the red roses' and Mary Jones called it home for nearly 80 years. But despite the relative luxuries it promised, at first she was reluctant to move in at all.

"I had all my friends in Kersal and I didn't want to leave them behind," said Mary. "We used to say at the time that we were moving to 'a posh part of Salford' because the houses had gardens.

"We were used to the old terraced houses, and not many council houses had gardens in those days."

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The year was 1948 and in the aftermath of the Second World War British society was undergoing huge changes. Clement Atlee was Prime Minister, the NHS had just been launched.

And in Salford the controversial 'slum clearances' were getting underway. Vast swathes of the city were cleared and thousands of terraced houses were demolished to make way for new, modern council housing.

Among the first to be built was the new Duchy estate off Duchy Road. And a then 18-year-old Mary, her mum Ellen and older siblings Eric and Agnes, were among the first families to move in.

Born on February, 3 1929, Mary was the youngest of seven children. Her father died when she was just two-years-old, leaving her mum to raise the family single-handed.

The family were from Ordsall, but had been staying with relatives in Kersal before they were given the keys to their new, three-bed, semi-detached council home on Central Avenue. Over the next eight decades, the house has provided a safe and happy home for three generations of the Jones family.

It was the 'house with the red roses' - and it housed one family for 80 years (2)

When she turned 21, Mary became a 'Wren', joining the Women’s Royal Navy Service - and was stationed in Plymouth and Portsmouth. She returned home to Duchy and had her son Michael in 1955.

With her older sister Agnes also having a son, John, the house was now home to three generations.

Mary's son Michael, now aged 69, said: "We have some very happy memories of living here – it's been a very precious family home for so many of us. Growing up, the boys would sleep in one bedroom and the girls in another.

"We all had our chores to do – my Uncle Eric was in charge of the garden. He took such pride in the garden and it was always known by people round here as 'the house with the red roses'.

It was the 'house with the red roses' - and it housed one family for 80 years (3)

"I always remember my Gran would have tea ready and warming in the oven from about 12 o'clock. Mine would be waiting for me when I got home from school, and she'd have it ready for the others when they came in from work."

Mary worked as a machinist, while her brother Eric was an engineer and sister Agnes worked as a cotton spinner. With her skills on the sewing machine, and being a keen knitter and crocheter, Mary would always make clothes for the family, and would often make crafts for the local churches, including St Lukes, St James’ and St Thomas’, to help with their fundraising efforts.

Michael moved out of the house when he got married, aged 22, to his wife Christine, but it always remained a place for the Jones family to call home. He said: "We did all have to move out in 1977 for a few months when the council was doing some renovation work– they split the large bedroom, moved the bathroom upstairs and put in central heating.

"We were moved temporarily to Pear Tree Court, living on the 12th floor of the tower block, so that was a big change for us. I never came back after that as I got married, but the others were very glad to get back home."

It was the 'house with the red roses' - and it housed one family for 80 years (4)

Mary's mum Ellen lived there until she died in 1970, as did Agnes who passed away in 1993, and Eric who died in 2020, leaving Mary living alone for the past four years.

And, after almost eight decades of calling the 'house with the red roses' home, Mary, now 95 and a great-grandmother of four, is also saying goodbye, having moved into a retirement village in Salford.

It's a move tinged with sadness, but Mary looks back on her old home with much fondness. She said: "The best thing about living here has been the friends and neighbours I've made over the years – there was always a real strong sense of community."

It was the 'house with the red roses' - and it housed one family for 80 years (5)

Michael added: "Since Covid, she's become more isolated and lonely, as her friends and neighbours have died or moved away, so the time has come to move on and say goodbye to our family home. It's a sad feeling to hand back the keys after all these years, as we all have such fond memories, but it's the best thing for mum in the time of life she's in now, and she's looking forward to making new friends."

Sue Sutton, chief executive at Salix Homes, the housing association which now owns the homes, said: "Mary's story is a powerful example of the profound difference that social housing can make in people's lives, providing stability, security, and a foundation for generations. While it is indeed the end of an era, it is also the beginning of a new journey for this house where we look forward to welcoming a new family who will have the opportunity to create their own lasting memories here.

"We'd like to thank Mary and her family for taking such pride in their home over the years and we wish Mary much happiness in her new home."

It was the 'house with the red roses' - and it housed one family for 80 years (2024)


Do the Spencers still own Spencer House? ›

Spencer House remains in the ownership of the Earls Spencer, the current freeholder being Charles Spencer, 9th Earl Spencer, brother of Diana, Princess of Wales.

Who lives at Althorp House now? ›

The 500-year-old home, which was built in 1508, has housed 19 generations of the Spencer family. Currently, Althorp is run by Princess Diana's brother, the historian and author Earl Charles Spencer. He often shares images of Althorp on Instagram to give admirers a glimpse of the idyllic property.

Does the Plantagenet line still exist? ›

The legitimate male issue of the Plantagenet line became extinct with the execution in 1499 of Edward, earl of Warwick, grandson of Richard, duke of York.

How much is Althorp House worth today? ›

Diana's ancestor, Sir John Spencer who grazed sheep in the village, bought the land in 1508 and built Althorp House using funds from his sheep-farming business. The sale was estimated to be worth around £800 at the time, which is around £922,000 in today's money. The 90-room house covers 550 acres.

Who will inherit the Spencer estate? ›

This grand estate, which covers over 13,000 acres, has been the ancestral home of the Spencer family for more than five centuries. The estate will be passed on to their cousin Louis, the son of Earl Spencer, Diana's brother.

What happened to the old Spencer House? ›

Then began a period of decline during which the house suffered damage from enemy bombs and numerous adaptations to fit it for commercial use. Nonetheless, Spencer House survived and today is one of the last remaining examples of the grand eighteenth-century aristocratic townhouse.

Why is Princess Diana buried at Althorp? ›

Her brother, Charles, chose to bury Diana at their childhood home, Althorp Estate, due to concerns about public safety. Diana's brother also wanted her sons, Prince William and Prince Harry, to be able to visit their mother in privacy.

Why was Diana's House abandoned? ›

In Spencer, Princess Diana escapes Sandringham to revisit her childhood home, which is just nearby. The house is run-down and abandoned, but there's no evidence that that was the case in real life. In fact, The Independent reported her home was actually turned into a hospital after Diana's family moved out.

How rich is Charles Spencer? ›

The 2009 Sunday Times List estimated his net worth at $149 million. Brother of Princess Diana, Lady Jane Fellowes and Sarah McCorquodale; uncle of Prince William of Wales and Prince Harry.

Who is the Plantagenet heir today? ›

The current descendant of this line is Simon Abney-Hastings, 15th Earl of Loudoun. The line of succession is as follows: George Plantagenet, 1st Duke of Clarence, third son (second "legitimate" son) of Richard, 3rd Duke of York. Edward Plantagenet, 17th Earl of Warwick, first son of George.

Does the Tudor family still exist? ›

Henry the VIII does not have any living descendants. None of his children had any children of their own. The Tudor dynasty ended with his daughter Elizabeth I.

What language did the Plantagenets speak? ›

Yes, in fact, French was the native language of the Plantagenet kings. The Plantagenet dynasty originated in France, as did the dynasty that preceded them. During the reign of the Norman and Plantagenet dynasties, the French language came to have an enormous impact on the development of the English language.

What were Diana's last words? ›

In 2015, firefighter Xavier Gourmelon revealed Princess Diana's last words in an interview with The Independent. Gourmelon said that Diana momentarily gained consciousness and asked, "My God, what has happened?"

Who owns Princess Diana's estate? ›

Following the devastating car crash in Paris that took Princess Diana's life in 1997, her sons, Princes William and Harry, inherited her personal fortune. (£13million fortune and loads of jewellery and wealth.)

Where is prices Diana buried? ›

Who owns the Spencer mansion? ›

The Spencer Mansion was a manor built in the Arklay Mountains, which served as both a secretive testing facility for Umbrella Corporation personnel, as well as the primary estate of the companies founder Oswald Spencer until his presumed death.

What happened to the Spencer Park house? ›

Today, Park House is used for charity work, as Queen Elizabeth left the property to Leonard Cheshire Disability in 1983, after it was left to decay following the Spencers' move to Althorp House in 1975.

Does the Spencer family still live at Althorp? ›

Appointed custodian of Althorp in 1992, Charles continues to live at the property with his third wife, Karen, Countess Spencer and their daughter, Lady Charlotte Diana Spencer.

Who is the heir to the Spencer family? ›

British aristocrat Louis Spencer, the eldest son and heir of Charles Spencer, 9th Earl Spencer, is the cousin of Prince William and Harry through their maternal lineage.

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