Friday, 17 November 2017

Waiting for the tram at Southern Cemetery in the summer of 1915

Now, I am on another of those tram rolls.  

So here are tram cars numbers 46 and 45 on Barlow Moor Road on a summer’s afternoon in 1915 hard by the entrance to Southern Cemetery.

Just visible beyond the trams is the Oaks Hotel built sometime after 1911 and catering for the cemetery trade.

It was a huge rambling building with a fine staircase and plenty of rooms which would have suited cemetery parties.  I suppose in its heyday it must have been a crowded and boisterous place, but when ever Tommy and I dropped in it just seemed empty and a little sad.

Perhaps the fact that to get to it you had to pass a line of businesses catering in cemetery goods was not conducive to a happy night out.  In 1911 there were three of them, starting with J & H Patterson sculptures, then Hilton’s Monumental Works sculptures and finally Albert Fieldsend, monumental mason.

All of which made perfect sense given that the entrance to the cemetery was directly opposite.  And the cemetery has been here since 1879 and was only the second in the country to have a crematorium which was opened in 1892.

So on this warm summer’s afternoon in 1915 there is much to see.  The long line of parked vehicles suggests that a funeral was in progress, while another hearse waits by the gates.

It is one of those cross over points in time.  The one solitary car looks a little out of place in that long line of horse drawn carriages, but in the space of the next decade and half all that will change.  As will the fashion for top hats and formal funeral attire which custom dictated would continue to be worn for a set time after the service.

The same will be true of our trams.  In the January of 1911 the Corporation had confidently extended the service from here all the way to West Didsbury, and reserved the central section of Mauldeth Road West for another tramway, but just twenty years later the decision had been taken to abandon the tram in favour of the bus.

On April 6th 1930 the route from Cheetham Hill to Stretford Road saw its last tram.  It was the first major conversion of a busy tram route anywhere in Britain and with revenue increasing after the change it paved the way for the switch.  Only the war delayed its full implementation.  Even so the last tram clanked its way through Chorlton on the Sunday of November 22nd 1942.

I doubt that any of the people on that warm summer’s day particularly those sitting on the tram could have predicted that change, or for that matter that the Great War would last for another three years and be merely a lull before a second even greater world war.

Still all that was in the future, I for one am quite happy to leave them to their busy day on that sunny afternoon in 1915.

Pictures; from the Lloyd collection and interior of a tram, 1926, Courtesy of Manchester Libraries, Information and Archives, Manchester City Council m48358

The window

Now I  often pass through Stevenson Square but have always missed the window.

Location; Stevenson Square,

Picture; the window, 2017 from the collection of Andrew Simpson

In Southern Cemetery with Andy Robertson

On a bright sunny day in November, Andy Robertson wandered into Southern Cemetery.

Location; Southern Cemetery

Picture; Southern Cemetery, 2017, from the collection of Andy Robertson

A day in the Quays ......... celebrating Salford

There may be some who mutter this isn’t really Salford, not the one I remember, and that will be true.

But all places change and reinvent themselves and Mr Muggins in 1760 may well have reflected that the grand Victorian buildings that rose on the streets of Salford weren’t to his taste.

So here are some of Andy Robertson’s pictures of Salford taken on a bright sunny day in 2017.

Location; Salford

Pictures, Salford, 2017 from the collection of Andy Robertson

On the 161 heading for Well Hall and home

Some of the best photographs are the ones that leave you thinking.

Here as this 161 enters Well Hall Road on its way to Chislehurst, I am drawn by the two passengers that Jean has caught in the picture.

Now that journey from Woolwich on the 161 or 122 was a trip I must have made countless times.

For me by the time we had passed the old police station I was just minutes away from the stop just past 294 which was our house.

And like as not  I was like the woman on the lower deck, dog tired from a long shift at Glenville’s Food Factory by the Thames at Greenwich and pretty much ready for bed.

On the other hand sitting at the front on the top deck you were just alive to
all there was to see.

It started with that climb up from Woolwich with the common on the left and the military buildings to the right and once over Shooters Hill as the bus fell down towards the roundabout there were the woods, the Welcome Inn and of course in the distance the Odeon.

So little chance of dozing off with all of that to look at which pretty much is why I reckon that lady is wide awake.

Well it’s a thought anyway.

My memories of that 161 stretch on to a girl friend who lived in Chislehurst but that is another story and one for a long dark night when I reminisce with my kids about growing up in Well Hall.

Location; Well Hall, Eltham, London

Picture; from the collection of Jean Low

Southern Cemetery .............

Now I don’t think anyone has devoted part of a book to The Southern Cemetery.

So with that in mind we thought it should have its own chapter in our new book.
The chapter runs to 14 pages, includes an account of how it was laid out and more than a few stories of the people who rest there, along with two of Peter’s original paintings, 22 assorted photographs, and two maps.

Added to which there is a description of David Harrop’s permanent exhibition in the Remembrance Lodge.

The collection includes memorabilia from the two world wars and the history of the Post Office, many of which items have a direct connection to the cemetery.

I could say more but then Peter will tell me off for giving away the story.

But I will just say that when the Corporation bought the site, the “water stood throughout the ground at about three feet below the surface”.

How they solved that problem and much more is revealed in the book.

The Quirks of Chorlton-cum-Hardy, £14.99 is available from, or Andrew at 07808987110  and Peter at 07521557888 or Chorlton Book Shop   0161 881 6374

Painting;Southern Cemetery, © 2017 Peter Topping, Paintings from Pictures,


Thursday, 16 November 2017

Market Street in November

Now I don’t normally walk along Market Street but yesterday I did.

Location; Market Street

Picture; Shop window, Primark, Manchester, Market Street, 2017 from the collection of Andrew Simpson