Sunday, 21 February 2016

Catching the 81X from Barlow Moor Road in the summer of 1961

At the bus terminus, July 1961
We are at the bus station on Barlow Moor Road in the summer of 1961, and in front of us is the 81X which ran from Southern Cemetery to Hightown via Albert Square.

Now I can be fairly certain of that because beside me I have the Corporation Maps of Manchester and District for 1963.

With the 81X
Of course there is just the outside possibility that the route of the 81 had changed during the time the picture was taken and the map with its bus routes was published.

And I have no doubt that someone will point out that the 81X had a slightly different route to the 81 but until then I shall continue to assume that our bus followed the 1963 route travelling along Barlow Moor Road, Manchester Road and Upper Chorlton Road into town.

At which point I might just be accused of being a little obsessed by a Manchester bus in the 1960s.

But not so for the picture and the bus map offer up a rich source of history.

It starts with the bus livery which is the red of Manchester Corporation and is a reminder that back then both the cities of Manchester and Salford and the surrounding local authorities ran their own public transport services.

Bus routes through Chorlton in 1963
So on reaching town our passengers could be confronted with the blue and cream buses of Ashton-under-Lyne, the green of Salford, and the green of the Stalybridge, Hyde, Mossley and Dukinfield Joint Transport and Electricity Board along with the maroon and cream colours of Oldham.

What is more these different Corporation buses ran along the same roads and for some way at least shared similar routes.

And like that bus timetable there is much history in the picture.

A lost scene
Those telephone kiosks may have lingered on into the end of the century but most have now gone as have the old style bus sign with its Manchester logo.

That said the small police station has yet to be built and there is a clear view across to the houses on Beech Road which in turn points to the absence of those first two houses on the even side of Beech Road.

So not perhaps a story that encompasses the great dramatic sweep of history but one that lots of people will relate to, and that is good enough for me.

And within a few hours of posting the story, Steven commented

" Lovely! The X usually suggests a shorter route than normal.

 In 1960 the 81 only ran to Albert Square so the extension beyond must have been quite recent. I suspect the bus terminating at Hightown is the reason for the X as the whole route went to Crumpsall Green."

And a late correction to the story Annette Roberts has written in that "the police station was there when I lived in Claude Road from the 1950s. 

My dad was a police constable based for a while at the station and the first few houses on Beech Road behind the station were police houses. 

I used to play with the children who lived there. The station had an air raid siren on the roof which they used to test once in a while. 

Think the picture is N awkward angle as the station would definitely be there in 1961 as I used to go there."

So another piece of collective history.  I just love it.

Location; Chorlton-cum-Hardy, Manchester

Pictures; Chorlton-cum-Hardy bus terminus, 1961 from the collection of Sally Dervan  and Maps of Manchester and District, Manchester Corporation, 1963, courtesy of David O’Reilly 

*Manchester Buses,

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