Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Down at Parrs Wood Court with some bombs, a few stories and an electric lift

Now as landmarks go Parrs Wood Court is a pretty bold statement of design and until recently dominated the junction of Wilmslow Road and Kingsway.

Back in 1939 when it was built it offered all that you could want, with central heating, electric lifts and apartments spread over five floors.

Here, as the Manchester Guardian's advert said was a block of “modern apartments with one or two entertaining rooms [and] one to four bedrooms if required, [which was] conveniently situated on the Wilmslow Road end of the Kingsway with  bus and tram routes and adjoining East Didsbury Station.”*

The flats went on the market in the May of 1940 and I can see the attraction.

Those buses, trams and trains could whisk the residents of Parrs Wood Court in to the heart of the city while the newly built Kingsway offered the car owner a more direct route than the old congested and busy Wilmlsow Road.

Added to which the block looked out on to the 50 acre Parrs Wood Estate which offered more than a hint of a rural landscape.

And I suspect a location which for some might have seemed a safer place to live as German bombs began to fall from the skies.

But perhaps not that safe, given that during the December of 1940 four fire bombs landed just a little to the north and a high explosive bomb fell almost directly opposite in the grounds of Parrs Wood House.

Still the Court survived and Peter’s painting captures the grandeur of its design which has been lost in many of the photographs of the building.

This one taken from a picture postcard sent in 1951 does little to convey the full presence of the block but its value is the detail it offers up of the surrounding area.

There in the distance is the old bus depot which has long since gone while outside the flats is one of with those iconic concrete bus shelters some of which were still around in the 1970s.

Now it is a full seventy-five years since those flats went on sale and it would be an interesting project to track down some of the first and then subsequent residents who made Parrs Wood Court their home.

Painting; Parrs Wood Court, East Didsbury, © 2013 Peter Topping, Paintings from Pictures,
Facebook:  Paintings from Pictures

Picture; Parrs Wood Court circa 1950, from the collection of Paul O’Sullivan, Manchester Guardian advert,courtesy of Manchester Libraries, Information and Archives, Manchester City Council, 

*Flats at Parrs Wood Court, Parrs Wood.  East Didsbury, Manchester, Manchester Guardian, May 11 1940

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