Monday, 29 February 2016

A moment on Barlow Moor Road in 1903 and an apology

I wonder just what the sketch was that N finished in the December of 1903.

I know that it was late and he/she apologized for not completing it on time.

That apology and the news that it was on the way was written on the back of this picture postcard and sent to an an address in east Scotland.

And such are the vagaries of history I have no idea who N was, or where he or she lived.

Which just leaves me to fall back on the picture of Barlow Moor Road on the front of the postcard.

It is one that is still fairly familiar. The shop on the extreme right is now Duffy’s but back in 1903 was the chemist shop of Mr Walter Leslie Smith.

Now everyone will have their own bit of detail from the scene that they fasten on.

Some will be intrigued by the absence of road traffic and of course the predominance of the horse and cart, while others will sit and match each property against the same building today.

For me partly because I wrote about Mr Smith’s chemist shop yesterday I am drawn to the group of men who stare back at the camera.

The two dressed in bowler hats are in full stride and may be on their way to work in an office while the lad in the flat cap seems content just to stand and pose for the photographer.

As for the boy in the apron he could have been employed by any one of the shops on the parade, although looking at the list of businesses my money is on either Mr Smith the chemist or Herbert Driver the butcher at nu 49, Mr Lithgow next door who was a provision merchant or  Vernon Vincent & Co, the grocers.**

Location: Barlow Moor Road, Chorlton-cum-Hardy, Manchester

Picture; Barlow Moor Road,, circa 1903 from the Lloyd Collection

*Down at Duffy's thinking about Audrey's and the man who sold a nit comb, http://chorltonhistory.blogspot.co.uk/2016/02/down-at-duffys-thinking-about-audreys.html

**Mr Smith's chemist shop is now 398, Herbert Driver the butcher is 408,  Mr Lithgow, 410 and Vernon Vincent & Co, the grocers. 416 Barlow Moor Road

All glass and interesting shops .............. Barton Arcade

Now I know that people have taken better pictures of Barton Arcade but this is one of mine.




Like most people who weren’t born in the city the first time you stumble across it is a revelation.

All the more so if you come at it from St Ann’s Square and catch its impressive presence down that side street.

Other cities have their own and we once had more such arcades. The one in Leeds I like, the one in Milan is spectacular but ours is just right both in its size and mix of shops.

I can even say I have been upstairs.

Location; St Ann’s Square, Manchester

Pictures; Barton Arcade, 2008, from the collection of Andrew Simpson

Down at the Throstles Nest something is stirring

Now Andy Robertson has been out again on Seymour Grove with a new picture of the Throstles Nest.

He was last there in July at which time I speculated on the future.*

The one planning application just referred to “Erection of a pitched roof to existing two storey flat roof, including an increase in the height of the eaves”**

And eight months on its the only one that I could find on the data base.

So that must be the work that is about to be undertaken.

Location; Old Trafford, Greater Manchester








Pictures; the Throstles Nest, 2015 &2016 from the collection of Andy Robertson


*What's happening with that not so historic Throstles Nest on Seymour Grove?
http://chorltonhistory.blogspot.co.uk/2015/07/whats-happening-with-that-not-so.html

**Trafford Council Planning,  82950/FULL/2014,  http://publicaccess.trafford.gov.uk/online-applications/applicationDetails.do?activeTab=externalDocuments&keyVal=ZZZW32QLTA001

Saturday, 27 February 2016

Pictures I remember taking .............. down a side street looking for the museum

It was the summer we went to Alghero and I had wandered off looking for the museum I had found the night before.



And as you do I found so much more.

Location, Alghero, Sardinia

Picture; Alghero, 2013, from the collection of Andrew Simpson

One to do today ................. “CROSSROADS - AN ART EVENT BY KEN FOSTERS CYCLES” ...... a celebration of Chorlton and its people

Now here is one to do today.

“CROSSROADS - AN ART EVENT BY KEN FOSTERS CYCLES” involves six local artists have come together to celebrate Chorlton and its people.

It opens today at 11.30.

The primary exhibit is a 6.6m by 2.6m blow up of a panoramic painting of Chorlton Cross by Peter Topping and displaying their work in support of this project are Christine Evans, Gwyn Jones, Graham Nicholson Susan Parry and Steve Raw along with of course Peter Topping.”*

Now I should have been there yesterday when Peter set the exhibition up but he sent me a set of pictures of the finished display of art work.

And accompanying them is an instant record of the installation of the painting Crossroads which went up last week.

You can see that installation  by just following the link although I have to say it is no substitute for the real thing.**

And because there are always  lots of people who want to ask about the history of Chorlton I shall be there as well, ready to talk about the origins of Kemp's Corner and Lane End and the story of how we came to lose the name Martledge.

But the two days are really about the artists and how they have recorded Chorlton.

On this you have been told.

The exhibition will be on today from 11.30am - 5.00 pm and tomorrow at 11.00am - 4.00pm.


Location, Fosters Cycle Shop, Barlow Moor Road, Chorlton

Pictures;The exhibition, from the camera of Peter Topping







Painting; Crossroads © Peter Topping, 2016

Web: www.paintingsfrompictures.co.uk

Facebook: Paintings from Pictures https://www.facebook.com/paintingsfrompictures

*Press release

**Crossroads Mural Installation at Ken Fosters Cycles, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ruMi8HwbBw&feature=youtu.be

Friday, 26 February 2016

Pictures I remember taking .............. along the Rochdale Canal

Now this one has featured before and will do so again.

We are on that stretch of the Rochdale Canal by the Deansgate Tunnel.

There will be plenty of people who like me will remember when the canal was a neglected and almost forgotten waterway with half sunken boats testifying to that neglect.

I have walked up and down it, seen its restoration along with the coming of those bars under the railway arches and can remember the steam that escaped from the lagged pipes a little further back at Oxford Road.

Location; the Rochdale Canal, Manchester

Picture; the Rochdale Canal, 2014, from the collection of Andrew Simpson

Thursday, 25 February 2016

Tales from the Manchester tram and a look back to the 19th century

Now the Metro link is a pretty sophisticated transport system but yesterday in the heart of the city on the bit of the network that runs from Deansgate Castlefield to Mosley Street the tram was operating that age old practice of handing the driver a wooden token at one fixed point which had to be handed back in later down the track.

It is and always was a safety measure when railway trains and now trams have to pass on a piece of single track.

And as most people who use this stretch of the network know this is because of the Second City Crossing which is in construction and will see new sets of track sitting beside each other allowing trams to pass through St Peter’s Square before heading off down Princess Street to Exchange Square and others to run up Mosley Street.

All of which has reduced the service to just one line of track from just below Deansgate Castlefield to a point opposite the Art Gallery.

It makes perfect sense and is reminder of a  simpler bit of technology.

Location; Market Street Manchester

Picture; Market Street Manchester, 2016, from the collection of Andrew Simpson

Telling the story of that house in Sale ............ part 3

How do you tell the story of a house?

Vernon Lodge, circa 1880s
You could start with the simple facts of when it was built, the additions over the years and its change of use from perhaps family home to multi occupancy to care home and somewhere along the way its conversion into a block of offices.

Or do you focus on the people who lived there trying to weave a set of stories out of the historic record and pitching their lives against the big events of the last few centuries.

Which ever approach you adopt it is as true for the council house, or semi as it is for the palaces of the people of plenty.

And that brings me to the final story of Vernon Lodge which has stood on Marsland Road since 1851.

It was built for Peter and Mariana Royle who made it their home with a brief interruption for the next forty years.

Peter and Mariana remembered in glass, circa 1851
So completely had they made it their own that they had their initials placed high up on the outside wall and again in a beautiful stained glass window above the entrance door.

He was a surgeon with a practice in the centre of Manchester on Lever Street where they had first set home after their marriage in 1843.

But it would be Vernon Lodge which would be where their children grew up and no doubt would continue to think of as home long after they had all moved on.

And moved on they eventually did.

I can’t be sure when they finally gave up Vernon Lodge but while they were there in 1891 they had gone a decade later when the place was home to Mr and Mrs Cunnigham their three young children and two servants.

By 1911 they too had moved on and the Lodge was the residence of Mr Heath who described himself as an employer and whole sale druggist his wife of 21 years and their children.

Vernon Lodge, 2016
After which at present I know only that a C.G. Spence lived there because in the December of 1944 he was elected as a member of the Historical Society of Lancashire and Cheshire.

It is not much so far but there are other forms of records which will help tell the story of those that lived there, and in time I will chart the changes to the area and the Lodges’ transformation into a the guest house it has now become. Today it is Brooklands Lodge.

Pictures; Vernon Lodge, circa 1880 and stained glass window courtesy of Mr and Mrs Vernon owners of the Lodge

Painting; Vernon Lodge  © 2016 Peter Topping 

Web: www.paintingsfrompictures.co.uk

Facebook: Paintings from Pictures https://www.facebook.com/paintingsfrompictures

*Transactions of the Historical Society of Lancashire and Cheshire, 1944, Vol 96.

**Brooklands Lodge, http://www.brooklandslodge.co.uk/ 208 Marsland Rd, Sale, Manchester M33 3NE
0161 973 3283

Our little village .......... stories from the West country by Lois Elsden

Uphill is a very small village just south of Weston-super-Mare on the coast of the Bristol Channel where the Axe flows into the sea.

This area has been inhabited since Neolithic times; there were caves containing 40,000 year-old flint tools and worked and butchered bones of animals including the woolly mammoth and cave lion, there is a Bronze Age field system on nearby Walborough, the Romans are likely to have used the Axe to ship out minerals mined on the nearby Mendip Hills, and the area has been home to fishing and farming families over the millennia.

So… there is a lot of history in Uphill, but I want to explore the little village’s industrial past. If you visit Uphill you'll think it a delightful and peaceful little village with nothing to hear but birdsong and the tide coming in. There are a few businesses here, two pubs, a restaurant, a sign-writers shop, an osteopath, the village shop... there's the boatyard and marina and camp-site and a little tea-room. The only through traffic is going down to the beach... so really we are a quiet little place.

It wasn't always so; there’s a wharf in Uphill which was busy for boats bringing coal and sheep from Wales, for example, and boats departing loaded with limestone and lime. There was also a quarry; Uphill is on the last of the Mendip Hills, a limestone range of undulating uplands, and limestone in past times was a valuable commodity.

Limestone was used extensively for building, and with the arrival of railways it was used for ballast (railways came to Weston in 1841); it was also made into lime by being burned in a kiln. Lime was used to 'sweeten' acidic arable land; it was used as a whitewash, in the steel industry and as mortar for building. It was particularly used from the mid 1700's and limestone was quarried here in Uphill from the beginning of the nineteenth century. Not only was the limestone quarried, but lime was made in a lime-kiln here at the quarry. The kiln was fed with Welsh coal, brought into Uphill from across the Bristol Channel, and no doubt the same ships took the product away.

You can't imagine that a kiln would make much more than a roaring noise, but getting the limestone to put in the kiln was very noisy... the quarrymen weren't just there with pick axes and chisels, they had gunpowder and later dynamite. For safety reasons the explosives were kept in a special store, set into the rock face, built of limestone and with a special metal door, known as “a sacrificial wall’ which acted as a safety valve if there was an accident, the door would blow out, rather than the powder house itself blowing up.

The powder-house probably went out of use by 1930 and now there is little left to see, just some tumbled walls and stone shelves against the cliff face, overgrown with ivy, brambles and nettles... and we can only imagine the noise of the industry, the explosions, the crashing rocks, the wagons rolling backwards and forwards, now all is peaceful in Uphill!

Location Uphill, Somerset

Pictures; Uphill, 2016, from the collection of Lois Elsden

*Lois Elsdenhttp://loiselden.com/2016/01/31/student-days-take-2/

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Another picture of Castlefield

I discovered Castlefield nearly forty years ago and always find it a fascinating place.



Location; Castlefield, Manchester

Picture, Castlefield, 2006,  from the collection of Andrew Simpson

A little bit of romance and the continuing story of Vernon Lodge on Marsland Road ........ part 2

Now I wonder why Peter and Mariana Royle would leave Vernon Lodge in semi rural Sale and return to live in Manchester.

Vernon Lodge, 2016
They had built Vernon Lodge in 1851 and as a statement had their initials placed high up in the side wall and again in a beautiful piece of stained glass above the front door.*

Mr Royle was a surgeon who had a practice on Lever Street which was where the couple settled in 1845 soon after they had got married in London.

Their new home was close to the railway which offered a quick service into the city which allowed him to commute from home to Lever Street with ease.

The stained glass, circa 1851
So I can’t quite workout why the family would relocate to 58 Greenheys Lane which was a six roomed property close to the city centre.

I know they were there from 1878 but had moved by 1883 and later were back in Vernon Lodge.

And while I was pondering on these moves I shared the story with Peter Topping who decided he would paint the lodge as it looks today and I rather think he has made a magnificent job.

All the more so when you compare it to how it looked in the 1880s when the Royle’s moved back from Manchester  and again took up residence in the lodge.

Vernon Lodge, circa 1880
The mystery is still a puzzle given that Mr Royle had maintained his presence in Lever Street.

He pops up there in a directory of 1863 and while he is missing in 1876 is back there in 1878.

Of course for reasons I don't understand he may somehow have been missed off the lists at one point, although he does move from nu 21 where he had been for 20 years to nu 25 in the late 1870s.

And later in the week Peter and I will take up the invitation of the present owners who run the lodge as a guest house.**

Not that I will leave it there because there are still plenty of directories along with other sources to trawl through which may add to my knowledge of Mr and Mrs Royle and perhaps offer up the explanation for their brief stay in Greenheys Lane.

Painting; Vernon Lodge  © 2016 Peter Topping 

Web: www.paintingsfrompictures.co.uk

Facebook: Paintings from Pictures https://www.facebook.com/paintingsfrompictures

Pictures; Vernon Lodge, circa 1880 and stained glass window courtesy of Mr and Mrs Vernon owners of the Lodge and Greenheys Lane, 1893 from the OS map of Lancashire, 1893, courtesy of Digital Archives Association, http://digitalarchives.co.uk/

*On discovering Vernon Lodge on Marsland Road and a bit of romance from 1851 .... part 1, http://chorltonhistory.blogspot.co.uk/2016/02/on-discovering-vernon-lodge-on-marsland.html

**Brooklands Lodge, http://www.brooklandslodge.co.uk/ 208 Marsland Rd, Sale, Manchester M33 3NE
0161 973 3283

Monday, 22 February 2016

On discovering Vernon Lodge on Marsland Road and a bit of romance from 1851 .... part 1

I have no idea whether Peter and Mariana had a happy marriage but I like the idea that when their new home was finished in 1851, they added their initials on the wall, where it still proudly looks down on Marsland Road today

Vernon Lodge, 2016
They had been married in London in 1843 and by 1845 were renting number 21 Lever Street in the city centre.

Mr Royle was a surgeon and back then Lever Street was a mix or people.  On the same side and within a few yards of their home the Royle’s could count four boarding houses,  rub shoulders with a fellow surgeon two doors down and count as their neighbours, a tailor, a plumber, a  linen draper, carpenter and a gilder.

Lever Street, 1849
To the north and east were the working class districts of Ancoats whose humble dwellings stood in the shadow of large textile mills, busy timber yards and much else in what passed for industry in a city which one historian called “the shock city of the industrial revolution.”

I do wonder what Mariana made of all this.  She had been born in the village of Withycombe Raleigh in Devon which was 2 miles from Exmouth with a population of just 1054 people.*

But with all such assumptions you do have to be careful.  Mariana had married Robert in London so I guess she would have been familiar with the noise and buzz of a major city.

R & M, 1851
That said their new home would have been in a more pleasant location with the added attraction that since 1849 the railway line ran close by which could have taken Mr Roberts into the heart of the city in next to no time.

The journey to Sale Railway station was a relatively short one but with the opening of Brooklands in 1859 he would have even closer being able to mix the semi rural tranquillity of this bit of Cheshire with the big city.

And the Royle’s remained at the house through the 1860s into the 1890s.

In time I think I will go looking for more on these two and on their family delve deeper into both his professional activity Mariana's early life and something of the lives of their children.

But for now I will just thank Andy Robertson who out on his travels took the pictures of they home just a few days ago and include a link to the work which was being done a few years ago to renovate the lodge.

Vernon Lodge, 1875
And today as the Brooklands Lodge it is a "winning 4 star" guest house.***



Pictures; Vernon Lodge, 2016 from the collection of Any Robertson, Lever Street in 1851, from Slater's Street Directory, 1851 and in 1849 from the OS map of Manchester & Salford, 1844-49, and Venon Lodge in 1910 from the OS map of Cheshire, 1870-75 ,courtesy of Digital Archives Association, http://digitalarchives.co.uk/


*A Topographical Dictionary of England in four volumes, Samuel Lewis, Vol 4 1840, page 529

**Historic Sale lodge is being renovated, Messenger, August 29 2013
http://www.messengernewspapers.co.uk/news/whereyoulive/sale/10642017.Historic_Sale_lodge_is_being_renovated/

***Brooklands Lodge, http://www.brooklandslodge.co.uk/ 208 Marsland Rd, Sale, Manchester M33 3NE
0161 973 3283

Sunday, 21 February 2016

If you fancy walking the churchyard in Haworth ............. plan your trip carefully

Now if you have to do a bit of research there is a bonus in it being in the parish church yard at Howarth.*

Throw in the fact that this was a trip out for our Jill and Geoff up from London and all set well for a promising jolly.

I reckoned that we could do the Bronte museum take in all the touristy shops and grab something to eat with me wandering off to look for the gravestones of the Sunderland family.

The research was linked with the ever growing story of Mr Henry Hurdus who brewed ginger beer and other such drinks from his brewery in Hollinwood, with one of his lost glass bottles discarded in Alexandra Park in the 1890s.

The story has taken some nice twists including making contact with Annette a family historian in Australia and talking to her relative Olive who during the 1950s visited the very brewery.

Olive is directly related to Mr Hurdus and in the course of a conversation yesterday with Olive she mentioned that another branch of the family was buried in Haworth.

That just set the seal on the day.

But even the best laid plans can go awry.

Last time we had been there it had been in spring, on a sunny  day.  The tourists were out in droves and the Bronte house along with the grave yard, the parish church and shops were all at their best.

Yesterday was different.  The rain came down like stair rods and worse when the wind got up the church yard was no place to be.

Added to which by 3 pm many of the shops were closing.

Still there was the pub and Geoff and I were given instructions by Tina to go find a pub with food, which we did.

The sign outside the place advertised food, but having bought the beer settled down to ask for the menu we were told “food was off till tomorrow.

Such are the problems faced by the would be researcher.

That said there was another which offered up a good meal some pleasant beer all of which retrieved the day.

And that just leaves me to fix a date in spring for a return.

Pictures; Haworth, 2014, from the collection of Andrew Simpson

*Haworth, http://chorltonhistory.blogspot.co.uk/search/label/Haworth





Gateposts I wish I had known .......... back in Whalley Range with one I like

Now I like this gatepost.

There are quite a few of them still left in Whalley Range, and back in 1911 I rather think Mr John Hurbert Cook would have been quite pleased with this one which he would have passed each day going in and coming out of his house.

I have to say I rather like it too.

And that is all I have to say, well until Andy Robertson wanders back in to Whalley Range to record more of these impressive street objects.

Location; Whalley Range, Manchester








Pictures; Whalley Road, 2016, from the collection of Andy Robertson

Saturday, 20 February 2016

What did you find in the cellar of Hough End Hall in the summer of 1965?

If you are of a certain age you will probably remember playing in Hough End Hall.

Of course we are talking about the 1960s when the place had long been abandoned as a family home and was yet to become a restaurant.

Back then it was an adventure playground for many of the children roundabout and bit by bit their memories are surfacing of what the Hall was like and what they did there.

Now everyone has their own stories and Ian who would have been about 11 remembered the cellar and what seemed “to be a gigantic set of leather and wooden bellows along with two stone fire places one of which was propped up against the wall and the other resting on the floor.

We tried to get the bellows to work and when that failed wrapped a rope around the tall fireplace and swung from side to side.

There were also big bags of what looked like salt.

And when we tired of the cellar we went on to play in the valleys of the roof.”

Ian is the first to admit that given that it was a long time ago, “my take on what I remember may be different to others, and perhaps the bellows could have been smaller or even larger.”

Either way it is a fascinating glimpse into a period in the Hall’s history which has sat in the shadows for too long.

But more of those memories are now coming to the surface and in time I hope for more.

Location, Hough End Hall, Chorlton, Manchester

Pictures; the Hall in the mid 1960s from the collection of Roger Shelley, https://www.flickr.com/photos/photoroger/



Looking for Mrs Fraser on Seymour Grove in November 1914 .............. stories behind the book nu 6

An occasional series on the stories behind the new book on Manchester and the Great War.*

The Elms, Seymour Grove, 1893
Now there are times when you can feel totally frustrated when a line of research stubbornly refuses to go anywhere.

And that pretty much is where I am with Mrs W A Fraser of the Elms, Seymour Grove, Old Trafford.

In the November of 1914 she appeared in the Manchester Guardian as the contact for sending “gifts of woollen mittens” for men of the 3rd City Battalion of the Manchester Regiment who were based at White City and later also settled in Heaton Park.

They were one of the eight battalions of Pals who were raised between August and November 1914 in response to Lord Derby’s appeal for recruits.

The appeal had made in Liverpool and pretty much immediately across the country there was an overwhelming response.

Here in Manchester the first three City Battalions were each recruited in days.  The first two battalions and the 4th were based in Heaton Park while the 3rd went to White City after what I think may have been a temporary stay in Alexandra Park.

And on November 20 1914 the commanding officer of the 3rd City Battalions made it known that he would be glad to receive those gifts.

The war was characterised by a huge surge in voluntary and charity work with flag days, “comfort drives” for the troops and much more.

So I would like to know more about Mrs Fraser but so far nothing has come to light.

The Elms was there on Seymour Grove by 1891 but I think has now been demolished.

It would have stood somewhere close to Lime Avenue.

Now it may be that it is still there and I have missed it and there may be someone who can offer up information ofnMrs Fraser.

So there is the appeal.

Picture; Seymour Grove showing the Elms, 1893, from the OS map for South Lancashire, 1893 courtesy of Digital Archives Association, http://digitalarchives.co.uk/

*Manchester and the Great War, Andrew Simpson, due out at the end of 2016, http://chorltonhistory.blogspot.co.uk/search/label/A%20new%20book%20on%20Manchester%20and%20the%20Great%20War

Just what has been going on down at Warwick Road South? ......... now that’s another zippy title

I am ever ready for more pictures from Warwick Road South and Andy Robertson in the interests of archaeological history obliged with this one he sent yesterday.

It is another from his ongoing project to record what is quickly vanishing.

Like many I guess the passing of this building will not rank a footnote in the industrial heritage books of Trafford.

But it was a place where people went everyday, earned a living and for that it shouldn’t go without a comment.

The history of the building was researched by Andy when he first stumbled over the place back in 2014.

He was back a year later after the site had been cleared and a big sign announced “Quality Homes for rent” which the developers added would be “60 Apartments for affordable rent.”

And as Andy’s new picture shows, progress is well under way.

The land was long ago broken, the foundations are in and the walls are going up.

So watch this space because in the next few months Any will return to document the transformation of another bit of where we live.


Pictures; Warwick Road South, 2014, 2016, from the collection of Andy Robertson

*Gone and soon to be forgotten ......... on Warwick Road South, http://chorltonhistory.blogspot.co.uk/2015/10/gone-and-soon-to-be-forgotten-on.html




Friday, 19 February 2016

Those British Home Children who joined the Canadian Expeditionary Force .............. stories behind the book nu 5

I am beginning to think the story of those young men migrated to Canada who enlisted to fight in the Great War deserves greater attention on this side of the Atlantic.

James Wright; date unknown
Now I am well aware of the prominence given to them within the study of British Home Children in Canada but suspect their contribution has yet to be fully explored in Britain.

To be fair the Together Trust who as the Manchester and Salford Boys’ and Girls’ Refuges has done some excellent work in detailing the contribution of the young men who passed through their care to the war effort. **

And I suspect some of the other charities have done the same.

But I have yet to come across a book which looks at the big picture, exploring why a group of young men who had not always been treated well by their mother country should opt to fight for King and Country.

After all some at least had been migrated because they had been failed by the very society and prevailing ideology they sought to defend.

The Britain of the late 19th century may well have been an improvement on what it had been like in the early and middle decades when the Industrial Revolution was at full tilt, but there was still a huge disparity in wealth and for many a sudden bout of ill health or unemployment could pitch a family into destitution and the workhouse.

My own great uncle had crossed to Canada after years in care and there will many whose own BHC had similar experiences which all goes to ask the simple question why did they then enlist.

For some like my great uncle it was the promise of adventure mixed with a desire to escape the farms he had been placed on.

Thomas Wright, date unknown
For others it will have been a sense of loyalty and duty to their newly adopted country which sat beside that powerful belief that the Allied cause was just and the Central Powers were the aggressors.

I have been reminded of all this while I research the new book on Manchester and the Great War. **
In the course of which I have started to read not only the military records of my own family but also those young men who having crossed the Atlantic to start a new life after Britain had failed them went onto enlist in the C.E.F., and by degree found themselves back in the home country.

In the case of my own great uncle this was in a training camp close to the home of his father who had apparently shown no interest in him and his siblings.

Now I have no way of knowing whether Private William Phillips of Manchester ever made his way back to his home city.  He had been migrated in 1906 aged just nine, enlisted in 1916 and fought on the Western Front.

And as yet I know very little about James and Thomas Wright who arrived at Fairknowe Home, Brockville, in Ontario in 1910 and joined up six years later.  Their story belongs to Margaret Roper who kindly shared her photographs of James and Thomas.

Location Ontario, Canada

Pictures; James and Thomas Wright, date unknown courtesy of Margaret Roper

*Getting down and dusty,  http://togethertrustarchive.blogspot.co.uk/

***Manchester and the Great War, Andrew Simpson, due out at the end of 2016 http://chorltonhistory.blogspot.co.uk/search/label/A%20new%20book%20on%20Manchester%20and%20the%20Great%20War

You can never get enough of canals ............ walking the Duke’s Canal one Sunday in February nu 3

This is the last of the set of three stories featuring the pictures of Andy Robertson’s stroll down the Duke’s Canal one Sunday in February.

Now I have pretty much said all I wanted to say about Andy’s trips so I shall just leave you with the pictures.

The history of the Duke’s Canal can be found elsewhere on the blog, and no doubt will be added to in good time.

What I really like about walking the canal from Stretford is the way that you can still get a sense of the history of the area and the promise of what is to some.

A little of of the old industrial activity still exists but much has gone, leaving for a while acres of empty land.

But nature and the developer abhor a vacuum and in the last decade or so tall residential properties have begun to fill the spaces.

So I guess next time Andy walks the walk these bits of land with the  city sky line beyond will be full of new busy activity.

Location; The Duke’s Canal




Pictures; along the Duke’s Canal, 2016, from the collection of Andy Robertson

*The Duke’s Canal, http://chorltonhistory.blogspot.co.uk/search/label/The%20Duke%27s%20Canal

Thursday, 18 February 2016

Looking at what we often miss, nu 3 .......... Winter's Building 1909

Now I don’t often look up enough at the buildings I pass and so here are a few pictures of some of our more iconic and interesting buildings.

I don’t pretend that they are great photographs but just taken at an angle I usually ignore.

Picture; Winter's Building, 1901, September 2014

The continuing story of an unloved 19th century warehouse on Hulme Hall Road ......... "now totally JCB clear."

I keep thinking we will soon come to an end of the story of that warehouse on Hulme Hall Road.

It was partially damaged by fire last year, was the subject of an article  in the Manchester Evening News and regularly appears here on the blog.

It was a pretty unremarkable building not particularly liked by some who worked there and I doubt will ever be even a foot note in our industrial history.

But that has not stopped Andy Robertson charting its story from the day after the fire through the various stages of its demolition.

And yesterday his daughter Cathy added this picture to the story to which Andy added, “this was taken by Cathy today. The land is now totally JCB clear.”

All of which promises a new set of pictures from the both of them as the builders get to work, breaking the ground and creating something new.

I haven’t had time to search the Corporation’s online planning applications to see what that might be but from memory there is already an application in for a new residential development of 164 apartments at Pomona Wharf/Pomona Island.

So we shall see.

Location Hulme, Manchester

Picture; the site of the warehouse, 2016 from the collection of Cathy Robertson




The LP, the board game and a set of signatures ............. remembering the first Dad’s Army

You can’t escape the new film of Dad’s Army which is going the rounds right now.

The trailers along with the cast have been on a shed load of radio and TV programmes and it has featured in the newspapers and magazines.

I never saw the first series which came out in 1968, missed a big chunk after that because as a student I didn’t have a telly and by the time we got our one in 1973 I had missed too many to make it essential viewing.

But I was well aware of the merchandise which sat beside the series which ranged from games and books to LPs of Second World War songs by some of the leading members of the show.

And so because they are now as much a bit of our collective history as the Home Guard, Barrage Balloons and the Blitz here is a selection from the collection of David Harrop.

They include a signed first edition envelope, some board games and LPs which for those unfamiliar with vinyl are long playing records.

Once a long time ago these would sit beside heaps of “singles” and EPs and were played on that cheap and cheerful Dansette player or if you were up market a Hi Fi system.

And if you were really up market that stereo system had to be made up of a Pioneer deck, a Sony receiver and Wharfdale speakers with a bewildering mess of cables that cascaded out from the back in a confusing stream.

More time would then be wasted in discussing the finer points of each bit of the system than listening to the music.

That said I suspect anyone who had spent hours agonising over which bits to buy would not have put Clive Dunn or Captain Mainwaring on their turntable.

I long ago saw each f these state of the art bits break on me but the Dad’s Army LPs along with the games have stayed the course.

I am not sure what that says about the stereo or the merchandise, so I shall just thank David Harrop who photographed the items from his collection and affirm that they have become history.

Which is also an invitation to post their own bit of Dad's Army memorabilia, suggest alternative bits of stereo components or take me to task for my choice of deck, receiver and speakers.

Reviews of the new film I will leave people to most elsewhere on social network.

Location; Walmington-on-Sea, on the south coast of England








Pictures; Dads’ Army merchandise 1970s, from the collection of David Harrop

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

You can never get enough of canals ............ walking the Duke’s Canal one Sunday in February nu 2


Yesterday I was down on the Duke’s Canal featuring pictures from my old friend Andy Robertson.

The place is in constant change.  As industry retreats from the side of the canal developers have been quick to move in with residential property, but there is still plenty of open land with more than a bit of opportunity for any one with a spray can and a bit of daring to leave their mark alongside the remnants of warehouse, factories, dye works and timber yards

The history of the Duke’s Canal can be found elsewhere on the blog, and no doubt will be added to in good time.

So for now I shall leave you with Andy's Sunday stroll along the waterway. with the promise of more to come.

Location; The Duke’s Canal

Pictures; along the Duke’s Canal, 2016, from the collection of Andy Robertson

*The Duke’s Canal, http://chorltonhistory.blogspot.co.uk/search/label/The%20Duke%27s%20Canal