Tuesday, 8 March 2016

That familiar row of shops on Wilbraham Road

I don’t have a date for this picture but I am guessing we are sometime in the 1920 or 30s.

Of course I am well aware that someone out there will recognise the make and manufacturer of the the single-decker bus and will be able to offer up a date.

In the meanwhile I am content to suggest that we are on Wilbraham Road on a bright and sunny morning in early spring.

If pushed I might say it was a Sunday given the absence of people and the fact that the shops are closed.

But that said  most of the shopkeepers have their canvas awnings in place so we may just have caught this bit of Wilbraham Road before anyone has opened for business.

Now all of this is a bit of speculation so instead I shall focus on what I do know.

The block stretching down from Albany Road was once a set of desirable residential properties which date from the 1880s.

They may have lacked large gardens but there was still plenty of open land within easy reach and each had a small “green" plot at the front.

But sometime at the turn of the last century the enterprising owner converted the lot into shops which mirrored a similar development opposite and another further down beyond the junction with Barlow Moor Road.

Look closely and all the clues are there, starting with the shops themselves which are clearly additions to the original design, and to the arrangement inside where in some of them there is a set of stairs which were once the steps leading up to the front door.

By the time this picture was taken Mr Burt and Mr Stevenson could proudly point to having been two of the first to set up there and  would continue to trade for decades to come.

And that just leaves me to thank Mark Fynn and point you to his excellent site of picture postcards.*

Location; Chorlton-cum-Hardy, Manchester

Pictures; Wilbraham Road circa 1920s-30s, courtesy of Mark Fynn

*Manchester Postcards, http://www.manchesterpostcards.com/index.html

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