Friday, 29 April 2016

Down on Barlow Moor Road with a bit of my past .............. Manchester Teachers Centre

Now I still think the decision of the City Council to establish a Teachers Centre on Barlow Moor Road was a bold and progressive thing to do.

It was a place where teachers could meet, advance their knowledge and skills swap ideas and study in the  library.

Originally it had been a large private residence and in the fullness of time I will go its history.

I started going there in 1973 and used it fairly regularly throughout the rest of the decade and into the next.

I have yet to track down a history of the Centre but rather think it was opened in the mid 1960s and lasted till budgetary cuts led to its closure and ultimately the sale of the buildings.

I lost touch with the place years ago and so Andy Robertson’s two pictures are a welcome reminder of one of those key moments in my life when getting married and starting work in Wythenshawe coincided with my visits to the Teacher’s Centre.

At the time I took the place for granted and gave no thought to how grand the building would have been when it was a family home.

A little of the style and detail was still there to see including the fireplaces and plaster mouldings above the picture rails and the glass windows.

Thinking about it I wonder if the staircase up to what had become the library made the same creaking noise back at the beginning of the last century, which may border on questionable speculation  but makes a link with its past.

And by one of those wonderful twists of chance I rather think that one of the people in the 1965 picture is Joan Leighton who was my first head teacher which makes the link I was looking for.

She is sitting on the right of the picture beside the lady with the hat.

Now I can't be sure what the meeting was about but around 1965 she was part of a team of Humanities teachers working towards a book on the city's recent past which drew on the interplay between geography and history.

It was a book I used less than a decade later.

And then there is one final link and it is the hall which stood beside what had been the rear of the house.

It was a functional bit of a building with no pretence to be anything other than what it was.

Beyond the glass fronted entrance was a large space which pretty much resembled any school hall built in the three decades after the last war and was the first casualty of the new development.

Pictures; Didsbury business, once Teachers Centre 2105 from the collection of Andy Robertson, and the Humanities room of Teacher’s Centre, 1965, m66479, and the hall, 1974, m21496, courtesy of Manchester Libraries, Information and Archives, Manchester City Council,

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