Thursday, 29 December 2016

Looking for lost forgotten local Chorlton artists ................ Mr Bert Woodcock and J Montgomery

It's what you don't know about people that makes for fascinating history.

Beaumont Road, 1958
I knew Bert and Doris Woodcock but only to nod to and pass the odd comment.

They lived on Beaumont Road directly behind us.

Bert was a tall man who was always very polite and gave you a smile while Doris was equally tall but rarely let on and in later years often looked through you.

I must confess to my shame I made little effort to get to know them and I cannot quite remember when they died.

I think Bert went first but these were the years when the children were growing up and with a busy day job lots rather passed me by.

And so it was a chance conversation with Alan which made me think of them again and the revelation that Bert was an artist who exhibited locally.

I have gone looking for a reference to his work but so far have drawn a blank, but given that he was also a commercial artist I suspect in time I will find at least one picture.

Added to which there may be someone out there who bought or was given one of Bert’s paintings.

If so I would like to see it and perhaps show it on the blog.

All of which reminds me of J M Montgomery who also painted Chorlton and Whalley Range.

His work spans the first half of the 20th century and embraced everything from buildings to farm scenes and the meadows in full flood.

Chorlton Skating Ring, Oswald Road, 1906 from a painting 1964
Despite there being hundreds of his paintings in the local image collection, Central Ref they have no record of Mr Montgomery or how they paintings came into their possession.*

Most seem to have been painted from photographs or picture postcards which make them remarkable given that the originals have now been lost and so offer scenes that have now long since vanished.

He was active from the late 1940s through to the mid 60s and that should mean that someone will remember him, but sadly not so far.

If he was a member of a local church group or propped up the bar of one of our pubs no one has come
forward with memories of the man.

That said there was one tantalizing conversation back in 2011 with someone who thought the paintings were familiar and half remembered being told about an artist who had been recovering from wounds sustained during the last world war.

But she never got back to me and as these things often work I never took it any further.

Location; Chorlton

Pictures; Beaumont Road with Mrs and Mrs Woodcock’s house behind Joe Scott’s workshop, 1958, R E Stanley, m17662, and Chorlton Skating Ring later the Picturedrome from a postcard dated, 1906, J Montgomery, 1964, m 80132, courtesy of Manchester Libraries, Information and Archives, Manchester City Council, *

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