Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Outside the Wellington Inn at Didsbury posing for the camera sometime after 1865

Today I am in Didsbury  outside the Wellington Inn and it is sometime after 1865.

Now I can be fairly certain about the date because 1865 was the year the Manchester Carriage Company was formed from a merger of the two bus companies serving the city and neighbouring townships.

The larger was owned by the Greenwood Company and brought over 500 horses and 33 omnibuses to the merger, while what had been McEwen’s City Omnibus Company contributed the routes to Bell Vue, Rusholme, Longsight and Didsbury.

It is one of those wonderfully staged pictures which says much about the novelty of photography at the time.

They stare back at you with that mix of curiosity and arrogance, and not a woman amongst them.  But for me it is the solitary figure inside that captures my interest.  Had he seen it all before or was just too shy or too indifferent to what was going on?

And just as I can be certain that the date is after 1865 I can be equally sure that it can be no later than 1895 when the old Wellington Inn was torn down and the present large property was built.

It stands on the corner of Wilmslow Road and Barlow Moor Road and there has been an inn here for a long time.

Earlier in the 19th century it had been known as  the Grey Horse and had a bowling green at the rear on the land which is now the library.

In the 1970s it became the Cavalcade and has undergone yet a new name change.

Now the picture and the story was originally posted last year and at the time I thought it was in Withington, but in the course of researching the new book, Didsbury Through Time last year  I realized my mistake.

This is a tad embarrassing because I had chosen to ignore the caption on the postcard which referred to Didsbury.

But when you get it wrong there is no harm in admitting it.

Location; Didsbury, Manchester

Picture; from the Lloyd collection

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