The successor to Sir Humphrey, Sir Humphrey Francis de Trafford, was not so opposed to the Ship Canal and its owners nor was he so protective of his lands. He had a more liberal approach to his inheritance selling various parcels of land to the Ship Canal Company and other parties. He also relaxed terms secured by his father covering the Estates wharves and relinquished control of the strip of land that ran alongside the dividing wall.
More startling developments were to come as in 1896 Sir Humphrey put Trafford Park up for sale. The auction was held on 7th May in the Grand Hotel, Manchester and the sale catalogue contained an impressive list of contents, including a 'distinguished family mansion of imposing elevation, built in the Italian style, seated in a beautifully timbered deer park'.
Before this event there had been much debate over the value of Manchester Council purchasing the Estate for the people and meetings had been held with Sir Humphrey's representatives. The arguments in favour and against this proposal continued for several years with the announcement of the formal sale of the Park forcing the issue. The Council held more meetings and debate once more raged between supporters and opponents. Unfortunately such discussions and subsequent delay were to lose the day for the Corporation. On the 23rd June Sir Humphrey's solicitors called for an urgent meeting. A good offer had been made for the Estate which needed a rapid response. The Council could not offer an immediate answer and the representatives left. The chance for a public space had been lost. Contracts with the other party were exchanged - Trafford Park had a new owner.
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