Saturday, 21 July 2018

Summer days in south Manchester No 1 the paddling pool in Chorlton Park

We are at the paddling pool in Chorlton Park and the year is sometime in the 1930s.

The park was opened in the mid 1920s and the pool is still fondly remembered by many people in Chorlton.

Location; Chorlton Park, Chorlton-cum-Hardy, Manchester

Picture; from the Lloyd collection

Summer in the city ..... July 2018 no. 9 .... more Airport shapes

Location; Manchester

Picture; Manchester Airport, 2018, from the collection of Andrew Simpson

Lost and forgotten streets of Salford ... nu 47 less a street and more a pub

Now on the surface who could lose the junction of Chapel Street and New Bailey Street?

On Chapel Street in 2016
I bet it will have been just as busy back when the New Bailey Prison stood dark and foreboding and the Joule family were brewing beer from their New Bailey Bridge Brewery.

So if the street is still there what about the buildings?

For those with  rusty memories you can compare my picture taken this week with that taken in 1980.

Of course the space on the left occupied by the hoarding was back then still filled with a big building and the sky line beyond the railway bridge has undergone a transformation.

On Chapel Street in 1980
And so of course has the building to our right which many will remember as the Brown Bull.

In the last decade it has gone through a series of changes from Copperheads in 2008, to the Moti Mahal Tandoori in 2012, Jae’s two years later and most recently as an Italian restaurant.

And things may be about to go through another change because when I passed a few days ago there was a big to let sign above the door.

Location; Salford

Pictures; Chapel Street and New Bailey Street, 2016 from the collection of Andrew Simpson and in 1980, m66741, courtesy of Manchester Libraries, Information and Archives, Manchester City Council,

What can you do for Chorlton Voice?

Now it was Mabel Ackroyd of Martledge who said “Every place needs a Civic Society”.

We have had one since 1989, and over the years it has done the lot, from guarding the heritage of Chorlton, alerting us to new building developments and just celebrating the township.

And unlike the image of Civic Societies which tend to suffer from being seen as stuffy, but quaint, with a membership made of tweed suited “chaps”, and ladies who do knitting, and Victoria sponge cakes, ours is different.

Last year it stepped into the 21st century with a new name, a revamped web site and a facebook and twitter account. And now they need a new Editor for Chorlton Voice Newsletter.

“After many years of doing a great job of editing the newsletter, the current editor is stepping down, so we need a new editor.

You will receiving copy from various people and every 2 months this needs turning into a newsletter.

So if you have word processing and formatting skills, would like to contribute to your community, and are able to commit to a regular time every two months to prepare the newsletter, we would love to hear from you. 

No attendance at meetings or other involvement necessary (though of course would be welcome). Contact if you are interested”.

When Ron went to Greenwich ........

Now, as you do I rather think of Eltham, Woolwich and Greenwich as my own.

And the passage of almost half a century here in the far north has made that sense of possession all the more fixed in my mind.

Yet all three are now tourist centres, and will be visited and photographed by travellers from pretty much everywhere.

So I was not too surprised when my friend Ron sent me some of his collection of pictures which included a few from Woolwich where they stayed and Greenwich which caught their interest.

Thinking about it I can’t ever remember going to Greenwich market and back in the 1960s and ‘70s I doubt that the Cutty Sark had these neat little vans, or that Clive the Clamper Man had yet set himself off on his career path of clamping vehicles.

Location; Greenwich

Pictures; Greenwich, 2012, from the collection of Ron Stubley, 

Friday, 20 July 2018

A park for new Chorlton, May 1892

It’s not much of a story really but it does point to the changes that had been taking place in Chorlton over the last two decades of the 19th century.

Before the rapid development of housing in and around the railway station and along the Wilbraham and Barlow Moor Roads there had been plenty of open spaces with fields to walk around and woods to explore in and ponds and water courses to play beside.

All of that changed as more and more of Chorlton was given over to rows of houses which prompted one resident to write to the Manchester Guardian, “being so near town, there is a demand for houses and they rise like mushrooms.  Rows, avenues, and semi detached in abundance, each with a small garden, where flowers can be grown if the smoke from the chimneys will allow; but very few have a grass plot large enough for the children to play on.”*

Apparently there had been hopes that a good site on Wilbraham Road might have been turned into a park but it was sold for building, “then the residue of an estate in Barlow Moor Road was for sale which is nicely wooded; that has now been sold to the Roman Catholics.”  All of which led the writer to fear that “Chorlton will soon be as crowded as Alexandra Park but without the park.”

But there was one field left which “in the general opinion of the residents is the right spot for the much talked of park.  The plot extends from Wilbraham Road to a new road about to be cut – Holland Road, I think it is to be called.  It is flanked on one side by Cavendish Road [Corkland] and on the other by the railway.”

It says much for the period that the writer expected the land and the maintenance of the park would be achieved by public subscription.

In the event it never happened and the plot was built on.  It would be a few more years before the Recreational Ground on Beech Road was laid out and well into the 1920s before Chorlton Park was established.

But next time I take the short cut down Zetland Road  [Holland] to Corkland Road [Cavendish] and onto Morrisons I’ll reflect on what might have been.

Locarion; Chorlton-cum-Hardy, Manchester

Picture’s, detail from the OS map of Lancashire, Manchester and South East, 1888-93, courtesy of Digital Archives,, and Holland Road from the Lloyd collection

* Manchester Guardian May 24 1892

Walking the streets of Naples with a comic genius ........ Totò

Now there is no escaping Totò in Naples.

He was born in one of the poorest parts of the city in 1898 and was the illegitimate son of Anna Clemente from Sicily and a Neapolitan nobleman who did not legally recognise him until 1937.

By which time Totò had become a popular entertainer who in that year made the first of 96 films, many of which we still regularly watch on Italian TV.

And he was one of those all round entertainers, performing variously as a comedian, film and stage actor as well as a poet and song writer.

But above all it was his comic genius which delighted generations of Italians and earned him the nickname of the Prince of Laughter.

Yesterday we sat and re watched Totòtruffa 62 in which a poor man supports his daughter’s stay at an expensive boarding school by a series of outrageous money schemes including the sale of the Trevi Fountain to a foolish businessman.

And such was his popularity that at his death there were three funeral services.

So I am not surprised at how a full half century after he died he is to be found everywhere in Naples.

We sat beside him at a small cafe where his life sized model advertised Caprese, which is a salad made from tomatoes, mozzarella and basil.

There was an exhibition devoted to him; the shops were full of Totò souvenirs, from key rings to painted plates and masks.

And in that small street devoted to all manner of nativity figures more than a few were of the man himself.

Location; Naples

Pictures; Totò in Naples, 2017 from the collection of Andrew Simpson