Henshaw's Blind Asylum

Henshaw's Blind Asylum occupied a site beside Boyer Street in Old Trafford.  Today the site is home to Greater Manchester Police Headquarters and dominated by its multi-storey office block called Chester House (seen on the far left beyond the Old Trafford Football Ground).

In 1837 it was home to Henshaws' Blind Asylum, named after Thomas Henshaw, an Oldham hatmaker, whose bequest had made the institution possible. Beside it a Deaf and Dumb School was added also in 1837.  At that time the school and asylum sat next door to the Botanic Garden.

Twenty years later, in 1857, the serene Botanic Gardens became the site of the Art Treasures Exhibition, which attracted 1.3 million visitors over 142 days.  After the Exhibition closed, the site was transformed into the White City Amusement Park.

Below you can see the buildings in 1953 by which time the White City Amusement Park had long since gone and the only remnant of the site was the stadium, seen at the bottom of the image.  If you compare the map with the aerial photograph you will note that by 1953 additional buildings had been added to Henshaws.

In the image below Henshaws is indicated by the red dot.

Henshaw's are still prominent in the education of the blind but the asylum and deaf and dumb school in Old Trafford closed long ago.  The buildings were demolished in 1972.  In 1979 Greater Manchester Police moved into the site establishing it as their Headquarters.  Ironically they are due to move out in 2011 to take up residence in a new building in Newton Heath.