Sunday, 11 March 2012

A view of a new Chorlton

Now local artist Peter Topping and I have been collaborating successfully for some time. He as you know paints pictures of Chorlton and I think of something to say about them.

Of all his pictures this one best captures how the township has changed during the last 50 years. There will be plenty of people who remember this stretch of Wilbraham Road as a collection of late Victorian shops and houses, and the buildings to the right of the painting are all that is left of them.

Here were a collection of the usual shops that can be found on any high street. In 1959 when A E Landers walked this way he caught on camera a tobacconist, a wallpaper and paint shop, The Stocking Shop and the Flower Shop along with the Wilbraham Garage.

It was still possible to see the concrete stumps which were all that was left of the petrol pumps outside what was in the 90s the pottery co-operative and is now a pizza takeaway.

Step back just another forty years and this stretch would have all been private houses one of which was the home of Mr Moorhouse who bought the Pavilion on Wilbraham Road turned it into a cinema and created the Moorhouse chain of cinemas across Greater Manchester in the 1920s and 30s and then went on to be a founder member of the Manchester Studios on Dickenson Road.

What is now the Co-operative store was until recently Somerfield’s and a closer look at the building reveals that it is older than the block which includes Oddbins down to the Red Cross. It was built sometime around 1959 or 1960 while the remaining seven shop fronts and flats date from the ‘70s.

But in another way Peter’s picture records a typical row of Chorlton shops. Here is a fashionable off license, a restaurant, and cafe and of course the collection of charity shops and takeaways. There are plenty more of Peter's paintings which can be seen in venues across the township and at

Picture; © Peter Topping 2011

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