Sunday, 25 September 2016

Lost and forgotten streets of Manchester ....... nu 49 Mayfield Cottages moved so Mr Topping could catch a train

You won’t find Mayfield Cottages, they were swept away in 1910 when Mayfield Railway Station was opened so Mr Topping could catch a train.
The Star & Garter, 2015

But then you won’t be able to catch a train from Mayfield Railway Station.

It closed to passenger traffic just 50 years after it was opened and the last trains left in 1986.

It had acted as a relief for London Road Railway Station, having five platforms and recently it was proposed to reinstate it to help ease the congestion of traffic at Piccadilly.

But the latest plans which are part of the bold and innovative Northern Hub would see it demolished and an extension to Piccadilly with two new platforms running over Fairfield Street.

The Star & Garter, 1849, on Boardman Street
And that brings me to the Star and Garter which if it is doesn’t vanish under the new scheme will be so close that with a bit of ingenuity the publican could pass pints up to railway passengers.

The Star and Garter is a magic place, part old fashioned pub but also a venue for live music and a place which many people will remember with affection.

It has stood on the corner of Travis and Fairfield Street since at least 1879 and moved from its previous site between 1876 and ’79.

That previous site was on Boardman Street which is now Baring Street and where the pub once stood is at present just a bit of open land on the corner of Fairfield Street.

Now depending on which source you read the original Star and Garter opened in 1801 or 1803 when an enterprising individual saw the potential in an area which was fast being developed with residential, industrial and commercial properties.

The Star & Garter and Mayfield Railway Station, 2014
That said the name of the pub doesn’t appear in any of the early street directories although it is clearly labelled on both the 1849 OS map and that of Adshead’s map of 1851.

Of course its absence from the street directories proves nothing given that Boardman Street doesn’t appear in any listings.

And so what is needed is a trawl of the rate books and licensing records which should offer up the answer.

Mayfield Cottages in 1849
In the meantime I shall just ponder on the name of Mayfield which is currently associated with the disused railway station and was once the site of two schools and nine properties of which five were back to back.

And go back into the 18th century and the area is shown as Mayfield.

All of which leaves me to ponder on how the name will survive into the future.

Location; Manchester

Painting; Paintings from Painting; The Star & Garter Manchester. Painting © 2015 Peter Topping, Pictures
Web: www.paintingsfrompictures.co.uk



Pictures; of the Star and Garter, 2014 from the collection of Andy Robertson and maps of the area from the 1842-44 OS for Manchester & Salford, courtesy of Digital Archives Association, http://www.digitalarchives.co.uk/

The Eltham we have lost, part 2........ The old lane by the National Schools, 1908

Another of those pictures of Eltham’s past which need no comment

This is the old lane by the National Schools as it was in 1908.  The lane is now Archery Road and 'One acre Allotments' was on the right.









Picture; the old lane,  from The story of Royal Eltham, R.R.C. Gregory, 1909 and published on The story of Royal Eltham, by Roy Ayers, http://www.gregory.elthamhistory.org.uk/bookpages/i001.htm

Who remembers N & J Walley, Provisions and Tobacco, 358 Barlow Moor Road?


One of the nice things about the blog is the way that people kindly share their photographs.

This is one that Linda sent me.  It is one of the shops on Barlow Moor Road facing the bus station.

In the last few years these two parades of shops running from St Ann’s Road up towards Sandy Lane have undergone that sort of change which reflects what has happened to Chorlton.

They were built sometime after 1911 and were the traditional type of shops you can find anywhere.  Well into the 1990s there was a bakery, newsagents, the launderette, and Kingspot known affectionately as “Kingy” where you could get everything from a washing line, a variety of plastic toys to that picture of the Golden Gate Bridge at sunset.

And despite the renovation of the cast iron veranda there was a tiredness about the place which was not helped as more and more of them became vacant.

Now of course the transformation is almost complete and stretching across the two blocks are smart new bars and eating places.  Each time I go past I make a mental note of the ratio between those offering food and drink and the rest.

So to Linda’s picture.  The renovation was finished and this bit of history has been lost again. So  here out in the light for the first time in decades is the old sign for N & J Walley who ran a “Provisions” and “Tobacco” shop on the site.

I don’t remember them but I know there will be someone who does and who may have bought their butter, tea and biscuits from them.  By the early 70s they may have gone, because Linda thinks “it was the Spar shop when I first came to Chorlton 41 years ago.  I remember Seals the green grocers, Doyle's the key cutters, a chemist, a TV rental shop, the bakers the newsagents, and my children's favourite - King spot, as well as my favourite Smiths bread shop and there was also just one Chinese chip shop, and the launderette.”

Now that is pretty much as I remember it too and in the way of things I also used most of those shops from time to time.  But in the space of the time between Linda taking the picture and sending it, “they have covered up a section of the old sign and put decking down” which means that there will be an almost complete strip of bars restaurants and takeaway outlets.  So I shall close with these pictures from 1958 of the same spot.

And no sooner has this been posted than Ann wrote to me that "in the fifties, the shop at the side of the alley was a sweet shop, and as sweets had just come off rationing, was a shop I frequently visited. I remember my first Bounty Bar, which was my favourite for years.

On the other side of the alley, in the 70's was the Mandarin Chinese Take away, run by Lily and her family. At the time Howard was going to a class in Mandarin, and Lily used to give him chinese newspapers.

There was also a shoe repairers at the beginning of the arcade, run by two brothers. I think that was the second shop. The first was I think a grocers.."

And by  now the sign for N & J Walley has vanished again.
Pictures; from the collection of Linda Rigby, and numbers 360-350 Barlow Moor Road, m17609, and 366-360, m 17607, taken by A H Downs in May 1958, courtesy of Manchester Libraries, Information and Archives, Manchester City Council

Working a Salford Corporation Tram in 1917 ............ Salford women in uniform

I like the way that stories have a habit of reappearing and so it is with Miss Rebecca Chapman of Hodson Street who in 1918 began work with Salford Corporation as a “clippie” on the trams.

My old friend David Harrop acquired her contract, license and handbook and they featured on the blog back in May.*

And because it was such a good story she made her way into my new book on Manchester and the Great War due out in February 2017.**

Now yes I know the title is Manchester and the Great War, but by the very nature of things people didn’t adhere to strict geographical boundaries.  

They moved from area to area, lived in Manchester but worked in Salford and Trafford and swapped homes and work places.

So a little bit of Salford has got into the book, and quite right too.

All of which is an introduction to a new short series featuring photographs of Salford women in uniform and given Miss Chapman’s contribution I have started with a picture of a clippie from 1917.

And I rather think she is holding her handbook which gave detailed instructions on how to work the tram, what to do in emergencies and the pay scales awarded to clippies.

There was even a few pages dedicated to making notes.

Miss Chapman had written soon after joining the Corporation that "she had fallen off the tram"

it was the only entry so I guess she never fell off again.

Location; Salford

Picture; Instructions to Female Conductors from the collection of David Harrop, and "uniformed woman worker with Salford Tramways," 1917, m08109,, courtesy of Manchester Libraries, Information and Archives, Manchester City Council, http://images.manchester.gov.uk/index.php?session=pass

* Miss Rebecca Chapman gets a job on a Salford Tram in 1918 .......... stories behind the book nu 23, https://chorltonhistory.blogspot.co.uk/2016/05/miss-rebecca-chapman-gets-job-on.html

**Manchester and the Great War, Andrew Simpson, the History Press, to be published in February 2017, ISBN -33: 9780750 978965


Saturday, 24 September 2016

Lost and forgotten streets of Salford .............. nu 21 Gravel Lane the car park

Now whatever you might have thought of Gavel Lane I doubt that it deserved to become just one big car park.

But that is pretty much all it offers from the moment you reappear from under the railway viaduct and head north past King Street, Norton Street and Queen Street to Greengate.

In all I counted five big cark parks where once there were houses, shops two pubs a beer shop, a chapel and even a school.

Today, while there are some tall flats on the corner with Viaduct Street and that glass office bock that straddles Gravel Lane and Greengate the rest of the street is an open landscape which is a home for cars.

All of which presents me with a puzzle, because sometime in 1900 that veteran photographer Samuel L Coulthurst took the picture of the Jolly Carter on Gravel Lane.

Of course I cannot believe he got the pubs name wrong but according to the directories for the period from 1895 through to 1903 there is no Jolly Carter on Gravel Lane.

There is instead the British Queen on the corner of Queen Street, a beer shop at nu 63 and finally the Legs of Man at 67 Gravel Lane.

So it does seem he mistook the name, which I think was the Legs of Man which stood on the corner of  Gravel Lane and Greengate and is now under that glass office box.

Of course there will be someone who knows and I hope will come up with a solution to the problem.

As it was judging by the closed shutters and empty streets Mr Coulthurst had no one to ask.

In the meantime it just leaves me to point out that the wall to wall advertising of household products is not new and nor is the amount of litter that was strewn across the street.

And that is not all because before I made the second coffee of the morning Alan had written in with, "yes this is the Jolly Carter, it stood on the corner of Cable Street and Gravel Lane, it was used as a beer house for 60 years or so prior to its demolition in 1893 for 'Railway use.'"  

So a thank you to Alan, apologies to Mr Coulthurst and a reminder to dig deeper into the directories.

Location; Salford

Addition research Alan Jennings

Picture;  the Jolly Carter, Gravel Lane, 1900, Samuel L Coulhurst, m08787, courtesy of Manchester Libraries, Information and Archives, Manchester City Council, http://images.manchester.gov.uk/index.php?session=pass

Lost and forgotten streets of Manchester nu 48 ........... Byrom Street just half a century ago

It is easy to over romanticise life in the narrow streets of places like Castlefield, Hulme and Ancoats in the middle decades of the last century.

Byrom Street, 1944
There was certainly a sense of community and a willingness to stand by each other, but that can’t really compensate for homes which long ago had passed the test of decent places to live, areas dominated by noisy factories and the smell of all sorts of industrial workshops and where there was very little in the way of open spaces, grass and flowers.

Many of us are aware of the awful conditions of parts of Manchester in the 19th century but pass over those middle decades of the following century.

Byrom Street, 1965
Not only were many of the worst properties still standing but the war had put on hold the slum clearance plans as well as actually creating a housing shortage.

So today I want to concentrate on the memories of Lisa’s mum who was born in 1946 and grew up in Byrom Street just behind Deansgate.

Today it is a mix of new inner city living, and swish office blocks.

Some of the first new residential properties were built at the southern end of Byrom Street in the 1970s soon after the courts and alleys filled with houses from the late 18th and early 19th centuries had been cleared away.

The more elegant town houses of John Street and part of Byrom Street have now all become offices and exist beside new commercial properties which have gone up at the beginning of this century.

But back in the 1940s and into the 60s this was still a residential area and even after the families moved out little really changed till the developments of a decade ago.

Location; Manchester


Byrom Street, 1944







Pictures; Byrom Street in 1944, City Engineers Department, m78877, Byrom Street, left hand side, 1965 J Ryder, m00691, and Byrom Street, early Victorian shops, 1947 T Baddeley, m00659, courtesy of Manchester Libraries, Information and Archives, Manchester City Council, http://images.manchester.gov.uk/index.php?session=pass 

A late day in summer on Barlow Moor Road sometime after 1911


It is one of those pictures which are easily recognisable.

We are on Barlow Moor Road and just by the tram is the junction with High Land and Sandy Lane.

Now I can’t be sure of the date but it will be after 1911 when the parade of shops on the left had been built.

Just at the edge of our picture is Christopher Wilson who in 1911 was dealing in furniture.

That’s him I think standing in his shirts sleeves underneath the awning displaying his name.

Next to him was Mrs Winifred Blake the tobacconist with William Armstead confectioner at number 90 and on the corner with High Lane was John Gordon, the fruitier.

Judging by the shadows and trees we must be in the late afternoon of a summers’ day and given the number of people about perhaps close to the end of the working day.

In the middle of the road staring back at the camera are the crew of car number 150 who along with a few other bystanders seem to have little else to do.

Not that everyone is over bothered by the presence f the photographer, so much so that the two men by the lamp post seem oblivious to what is going on while in the distance on the benches in front of the church sit a group of people taking in the sunshine.

And what I like is the little details which fix it in another age.

To our left is the ladder and handcart while beside the tram is another cart and just coming out of Holland Road is a waggon.

There will be lots more I could say about the picture but I rather think I will just leave it at that.

Picture; from the Lloyd collection