Thursday, 9 June 2016

The story of one family in Chorlton ........... part 3 down on Hawthorn Lane in 1925

Yesterday I stood on exactly the same spot where young Nellie Spencer posed for this picture in the summer of 1925 and as you do I looked for the changes brought about by the last ninety years.

And that corner had not faired so well.

To be fair it was bin day which always makes the road look untidy and back in 1925 these houses were no more than twenty years old.

That said it’s not so different today.  There are more trees in the distance and the back wall to the right of Nellie has undergone some change but remarkably the telegraph post is still there although it seems to have shifted a little in the space of nearly a century.

And to confound all those who whinge on about how our streets are far more untidy today I have to say that generally there is a lot less litter than on the streets in 2015 which is an unscientific observation based purely  on comparing pictures of Chorlton in the first decades of the last century with now.

And that is the value of pictures like this which challenge some of our preconceptions of the past.

But to really get to understand the photograph you have to be able to talk to someone who was there.

Now that is next to impossible given the date but it can be possible to do the next best thing and have the image explained by a member of the family who knew Nellie and who remembers being told about the picture.

And here I have been lucky because Nellie was the aunt of Peter McLoughlin who has begun sharing his collection of family photographs.
In the course of the conversation he pointed to the young lad staring across at Nellie and the photographer.

He was a “Nipper” working for Brooks Dairy down on Brookburn Road.  The term was unfamiliar but of course it perfectly describes our young man who will have been his mid teens possibly engaged on his first job.

And of course as was the time he is delivering the milk in small tin jars and wears those leather leggings.

And by one of those odd turns of coincidence her future brother in law also worked for Brooks Dairy.

All of which is part of the value of the collection for not only do we have the images but the names, dates and stories behind each one.

So I know that this family shot was taken in 1925 in back of 67 Hawthorn Lane and staring back at are Mr and Mrs Spencer, Annie who was fifteen and Agnes and Nellie.

On one level there may appear nothing remarkable about it but I know something about each of the five people, and how their lives were lived out in Chorlton.

On the death of her first husband Peter’s grandmother married Mr Spencer who was a regimental sergeant major and in 1913 they moved to India where Adele was born.Annie married Jim McLoughlin in 1945 and the family moved to Stockport where Peter was born.

All of which makes this such a unique Chorlton collection.

Pictures; from the collection of Peter McLoughlin

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