Standing tall on one side of the courtyard is the historic Mission Hall (est: 1901), while opposite you’ll find one of the terrace houses that stood in Dyson Place prior to development, now home to Nam Song, a modern Vietnamese Caphé. But it wasn’t always like that.
We don’t know what happened to Ms Dyson but some say she was murdered by her husband and buried under the Courtyard bearing her name! We didn’t find and bones during the rebuild so that one might be fake news.
As far back as 1853 Dyson Place housed barns for horses, stables for carts, and tap rooms for the workers who would have been part of the early modern industry that shot up around the River Porter. There were also plenty of earth closets (remember there were no indoor lavatories back then!) for all of the people who would come to work in the mills every day.
We are talking about a horse drawn society in those days. Workers may have lived in workhouses in the valley but the owners of the land, the residents of the big houses up on the hill, would’ve swept down the hills on top of Sharrow (around Psalter Lane) in their fast carriages and parked up in the couch houses when they took their mates to Church.
During WWII the original farmhouse was divided into separate houses with 3 terraced houses later joined on to it which can be seen on the 1951 OS map. On our 1903 and 1953 maps, The Mission Hall was called the Mission Room… they must have been used to bigger halls! As the history books show, the original farmhouse and the terraces were demolished in the late 1940’s/early 1950’s, leaving the Mission Hall standing in front of the open space of the Dyson Place Courtyard.
We cleaned it up and added an extra bit of height (the darker bricks you can see at the top of the building) but apart from that, all of the original brick and the giant wooden King Charles Truss Posts in the roof remains.
Once it was no longer used for community meetings, the Mission Hall and much of Dyson Place began its third phase of life: a place storing supplies and materials used by the old mills in Sharrow Vale.
As the milling industry in Sharrow Vale came to an end, the Courtyard remained empty for many years, only used for car parking and storage. If you ventured up Dyson Place you would have seen small corrugated iron huts and cars parked on muddy land. More recently, you may have bought your Christmas Trees from Dyson Place in the winter.