Wednesday, 25 May 2016

"Dear Miss J".............. a message from the 8th Manchester’s at Garstang Camp to the City Hotel on Cooper Street ...... June 1911

Now there is a lot going on in this picture.

Church parade with the 8th Manchester's circa 1911
We are at Garstang camp with the 8th Battalion of the Manchester’s which was a Territorial unit based at Ardwick and so I am guessing this must be their annual camp.

According to the notes that a collector has added on the back some of the cap badges belong to the 5th Ardwick Volunteer Battalion of the Manchester Regiment which became the 8th Manchester’s in 1908.

At Garstang
All of which may or may not help with dating the photograph, I know that it was sent as a picture postcard in June 1911 but the picture may have been taken much earlier.

So for now I am more intrigued by the message on the back which was sent to a Miss Johnson at the City Hotel on Cooper Street.

I will never know what she made of it, but the sender wrote, “You will be surprised to receive this.  Hearing you say your Yeomanry friend had disappointed you, I thought I would endeavour to rectify it.”

The romantic in me wonders whether this was the start of a bid for Miss Johnston’s interest.
Sadly I couldn’t find her in the 1911 census and so far the landlord of the City Hotel who was a Bertie Holroyd and has also proved elusive.

Not so the hotel which occupied a fine stone building almost on the corner of Cooper Street where it runs into Princess Street.

The City Hotel, Cooper Street, circa 1900
It is still there and the City Hotel was at number 9 sharing the block with the Free Masons Club and Hall.

Back in 1909 the landlord was a Mr Millard who was there six years earlier but beyond that date I have yet to go.

All of which just leaves me to reflect on the picture postcard and the fascination they offer up for visiting their lives of those from the past.

The messages and the choice of card were a very personal thing and were not meant for anyone other than the person who received it.

I doubt that the postman would have bothered lingering over each one.  On any one round he would have had plenty to deliver.

But of course a century or so later there is a privilege in sharing the sentiments offered up partly because they can reveal so much but also because so many have survived.

Cooper Street, 1911
In most cases we only have the one, but just occasionally there will be a full collection like that of the set of picture postcards sent by the young May Winifred Wareham to her family which include cards sent from across Britain and as far away as Monte Carlo and some which were originally taken as family snaps.

But that as they is for another time.

Picture; picture postcard of the 8th Manchester’s at Garstang camp, circa 1911, from the collection of David Harrop and detail of Cooper Street from Goad's Fire Insurance amps circa 1900, courtesy of Digital Archives Association,

*The Wareham Women, a church in Oldham and a unique set of picture postcards sent home to Heaton Mersey,

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