Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Down at Eltham Palace in the summer of 1958

Now I am back at Eltham Palace, a place that first captured my imagination back in 1964 and continues to do so.*

This is the cover to the 1958 Ministry of Works Official Guide-book price One Shilling.

It runs to just 14 pages with four photographs and a map, and of course is a little bit of history in its own right.

When I first wandered around the Hall I don’t think what I saw would have been so different from what the guidebook described.

Now fifty-six years on I am not so sure.  It has been a long time since I have been there and the Army Education Institute have long gone.

So for no particular reason other than I have the book, here are some of the pictures from that guide and the fun will be deciding if anything you see has changed.

Great Hall from the south, 1958

I can still remember standing under that great timber roof in the hall.

Since then I have come across pictures of the hall from the 18th century when it was used for cattle.

And read about the painstaking work of restoration undertaken in the 1930s.

So I know that next time I am back in Eltham I shall make every attempt to visit the Palace although even here times have moved on.

Roof of the Great Hall, 1958
Back in 1958 the Great Hall was open only on Thursdays ans Sundays from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. during May to October, and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. from November to April and admission was free.

Today it will cost you £10.20 if you an adult, £6.10 if you are under 15 but it will be open Sunday to Thursday 10 till 5 in the afternoon.

Pictures; from Eltham Palace, Kent, Ministry of Works, 1958




The Knitting years .... number 2 "Save Coupons" ........ from the Economy Series

The new series on the history of what we wore, Knitting Patterns.




Now the clue is in the word coupon when pretty much everything was rationed, which will put our Juliet Cap and Gloves to sometime during the last world war or just after.

Location; pretty much everywhere

Picture; knitting patterns, 1930-1970 from the collection of Jillian Goldsmith

West Point the place largely forgotten


Now I don’t often feature West Point which is a shame really but there is quite a lot here, ranging from the murder of a policeman, a grand old pub, and a small housing estate which was a prototype for Chorltonville.

So here is the first of an occasional series on West Point which is where Manchester Road, Seymour Grove and Upper Chorlton Road meet.  Until recently the eastern corner was dominated by the Seymour Hotel which had once been a private residence.

It was a barn of a place and past its best by the time I sometimes went in there.  Like so many of these big pubs it no longer attracted enough people and was demolished for a block of flats.

Opposite then as now are the shops.

Picture; from the Lloyd collection

Sapper J Houghton ...... who fought in South Africa and the Great War and was awarded medals by the old Queen and two Kings

Now I don’t know much about Sapper J Houghton, other than he served in the Royal Engineers and participated in both the South African War and the Great War.

I came across him yesterday when my old friend, David Harrop sent me this picture of Sapper Houghton’s medals, which include the 1914-15 Star, the British War Medal, Victory Medal and two from the earlier conflict.

David tells me they will be in his special exhibition to be held next year in Central Ref to amrk the end of the Great War.

And for those with an interest in that earlier war, Sapper Houghton’s Queen’s South Africa Medal carries three clasps, for the Transvaal, Orange Free State and the Cape Colony.

I know that during that conflict he was with the Telegraph Battalion of the Royal Engineers and reached the rank of sergeant during the Great War.

There is a hint that he might have been from Bury but so far that is it.

In time there will be more.

Location; South Africa and the Western Front

Picture; the medals of Sapper J Houghton from the collection of David Harrop

Lost and forgotten streets of Salford ........ nu 53 Chapel Street

Now I know Chapel Street is nether lost nor forgotten but over the next few days here are a few photographs that were taken on a June day this year.


And like all good pictures and stories I leave the rest to you.

Location; Salford

Picture; Chapel Street, 2016 from the collection of Andrew Simpson

Monday, 23 October 2017

The Knitting years .... number 1 balaclavas and other hats

Now I bet not everyone will claim that a collection of knitting patterns is a bit of a history book.




But if you have enough of them, then I rather think you have some of the story of the middle decades of the 20th century.

I say middle decades because our Jillian who collects the knitting patterns has them from the 1930’s through to the ‘70’s and she roams the charity shop chains with a mission not only to save these knitting patterns but press them back into use.

I should know I will soon be the proud owner of a jumper with a zip and collar and dancing reindeers in brown and red.  She made the original for me in 1970 and I am looking forward to the new one.

But back to the patterns, for here contained on the front covers are how we dressed during the age before online shopping and cheap supermarket clothes.

They include balaclava, and other hats, woollen toys and of course the cable jumper.

So over the next few days I shall be rummaging through our Jillian’s collection and wait for the gasps of “I had that”  “Mine was green” or “Oh God did I really wear that?”and when the series is over there is always my stories about wool shops.*

And there is just one more delight in these old knitting patterns, and that is the game of hunt the famous British actor when they were waiting for the big break and instead had their picture taken with a nice “cardy”.

Our Jillian has one of Roger Moore which is looking for as I type, and he might well find one of my old mate Joe when in between classes at Art school he too wore a selection of woollen jumpers.

Location; pretty much everywhere

Picture; knitting patterns, 1930-1970 from the collection of Jillian Goldsmith

*The Wool Shop, https://chorltonhistory.blogspot.co.uk/search?q=The+Wool+Shop

A history of Chorlton in 20 objects, number 20, a painting from a lost artist and scenes of Chorlton’s past

Lime Bank, in 1968, from a photograph dating back to 1942
J. Montgomery was a local artist who has been lost to us.

For twenty years Montgomery painted pictures of the township almost always from old photographs and postcards and many of these can be seen in the digital archive.*

What is all the more remarkable is that this artist has left nothing in the way of a personal life, and despite appeals for help, no one has come forward with any information.

The body of work is quite extensive and captures scenes of Chorlton that have now vanished as in some cases have the photographs and postcards he used.

Lime Bank still exists behind the MacDonald’s on Barlow Moore Road. It was painted in 1968 from a photograph dated 1942.

Since then the house has undergone substantial internal renovation, but the footprint of the building is as it was when it was built sometime in the late 18th century.

Lime Bank today
So despite various maps and a lot of official records this is the only image of the place from the past.  All of which is a shame.  It was once a fine property occupied by families who were comfortably off and some of whom played an important part in the township’s history.

Once it commanded good views east towards Hough End Hall and south to the Brook.  All of which is a little hard to envisage today given the surrounding buildings.

And that is the value of Montgomery, for here we have a vanished Chorlton, and perhaps all that I want now is a little more on this lost artist.

Picture; Lime Bank from a photograph, 1942, J. Montgomery, 1968, m80040, courtesy of Manchester Libraries, Information and Archives, Manchester City Council, and Lime Bank today from the collection of Andrew Simpson 2011

* Manchester Local Image Collection http://images.manchester.gov.uk/index.php?session=pass