Wednesday, 11 November 2015

The Phoenix Deli and a little bit of history

I went looking for Mr James Lawton today but sadly so far I have only found the one reference to him at 127 Oswald Road in 1911.

Today it is the Phoenix Deli but back then it was Mr Lawton's bakery and I rather think he would have been its first resident because the south side of Oswald Road dates from no earlier than 1909 and just a few doors down there is a stone plaque with the date 1907.

Had Mr Lawton stood on the site of his house just a year earlier he would have had an almost clear view across the fields as far as Longford Hall while just beyond Longford Brook there was the slightly less attractive brick works.

But within just a short time the developers had covered this side of the road with houses which would have offered up lots of new customers for his bread and cakes..

I don't yet know how long it remained a bakery but by 1969 it was listed as Jayvee Ltd, hairdressers' sundries and more recently Eat in 2008 and Craft Delicious four years later.

So the Phoenix Deli comes with a bit of history and a walk down Oswald Road will reveal a mix of the purpose built shops like the Market on the corner of Nicholas Road and other corner retail outlets which may once have been residential but were converted into shops by enterprising individuals.

Now given that Oswald and the long roads of Nicholas, Newport and Longford are just a bit of a walk away from the main shopping parades a convenience store on the next corner makes perfect sense especially if all you want is a pint of milk or a packet of biscuits.

Of course what we nip out for has changed so instead of a tin of corned beef and packet of instant mash it might well be fresh pasta, virgin olive oil and a loaf of ciabatta bread.

But I like the idea that what was once a bakery in 1911 is now a deli which just leaves me to find out all of the businesses that flourished at 127 which according to Shirley who ran it as a hairdressers for 14 years, "there was a dog parlour, arty trinket shop, sandwich shop and then an Asian Craft shop that sold tea."

Most have pretty much gone on unrecorded which is why I am pleased Peter has painted the Phoenix Deli for his series “A Moment in Time” which sets out to record how Chorlton is changing and is unique in that he has chosen to paint pictures rather than take photographs.

Since he began the project in 2010 some of the places have been redecorated, others have changed hands or no longer exist.

And that just leaves me to wish he had been outside 127 back in 1969.

Additional research Andy Robertson

The Phoenix Deli, 127 Oswald Road, Manchester M21 9GE, 0161 22 4990
Opening times Monday-Friday 7.30 - 3 pm Saturday 8.30 - 2.30 pm

Painting; the Phoenix Deli © 2015 Peter Topping


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