Crab Lane and its buildings today
Crab Lane is an important landmark in the history of Manchester. Having once been an independent settlement it was bypassed by the Industrial revolution. This was partly due to the fact that most new developments of that time tended to gravitate towards the centre of Manchester.
Some remnants of the old settlement are still in evidence, including the high street, a few minor side streets, a public house and the Church of St. Andrew. The church was built in 1865 on the summit of a hill which commands the most distant views for miles around. A memorial window in the chancel commemorates William Langton, the banker and philanthropist. There is also a New Connexion Zion Church dating from 1867 near the south end of Crab Lane.
None of the earliest cottages are standing today. Those that do remain are of varying ages from the late 18th century to the present day. All the properties have been altered at some stage, and none more regrettably than the simple early 19th century village shop at no.120, which was a particularly rare example of its type.
The projecting bricks at the base of many of the chimney stacks, to prevent the penetration of rain, indicate that a large number of the cottages in Crab Lane were originally thatched. The slate or stone flags that are there now are later replacements. The canted bay with gable front on no.168 is a 19th century addition.
Although all the houses in the village were originally built in brick, several have since been rendered, so concealing the hand-made quality of the brickwork. Bricks in those days were fired in temporary kilns built on site.
Very few of the cottages have their original window frames, which would have been sub-divided into small panes, glass being available only in small sheets in the 18th century.