Wednesday, 24 May 2017

My Manchester ........... on Tuesday May 24

We will all have our own slightly different feelings about the events of Sunday night and yesterday.

For all of us it will begin with the loss of life and the impact that those deaths will have on family, friends and the wider community.

And because so many of those who were murdered were young there is that awful sense that their futures and all they may have become and all they may have achieved has just been ended.

Others far more eloquent than me have summed up the collective feelings of the people of the City and beyond.

But the bravery and selfishness of the emergency services and bystanders on the night along with so many individual acts of generosity and kindness during yesterday deserve to be spoken of again and again.

All day yesterday like so many others, we received messages from friends and family checking on us and expressing their revulsion and sadness.

And that is all I want to say.

Picture; looking out on Manchester, 2002

Remembering the meadows in the 1940s ..... the power of oral testimony

The Meadows as they were
“I was interested to hear what you said about the way the Corporation tipped rubbish on the meadows.  

You see I was at school in the 1940s and we did our cross country runs from the Mersey at Jackson’s Boat to Hardy Farm.

It was before they began putting rubbish on the meadows, and I remember the grass as brilliant green and very lush.  What’s more the level of the land was much lower than now.  And then they began putting all sorts including bits of brick where once we ran.”

Such is the power of oral testimony, because in just a few minutes I was taken back to a time when the meadows were truly meadows and farmed as such.

I had been talking about the policy of the City Council to tip on the flood plain.  It was a practice well under way by the late 1930s and extravagant claims were made that this was new and proven to be the best method of refuse disposal which had the added advantage of building up the land to act as a defence against flooding from the Mersey.

Now the programme in the late 30s’ had been on the land further east and I was fairly sure that our bit of Chorlton did not get its infill till much later.

The meadows circa 1900
And here was the evidence, in a chance conversation at the end of an afternoon.

It was the sort of information the historian likes, for here was someone who had lived it and whose memory of events could be set against the paper trails and official records.

It also sat with the pictorial evidence which showed the meadows as an area of grassland and irrigation ditches which allowed water to be placed on the land for a set period of time to assist the growth of new grass.

Boat meadow a bridge across a ditch circa 1900
The main ditches were deep enough to warrant a plank or even a small bridge to be placed across and this is exactly what we have in our picture.

I doubt we will ever know who any of the people are and for once what has caught my attention is not the collection of Sunday trippers, but the land itself which is perfectly flat and just right for meadow farming.

Land suitable for meadowland, circa 1900
We are in Boat Meadow and the path in the distance would tale you towards Hardy Farm.  It is possibly some time at the beginning of the last century, just forty or so years before my school boy ran his run.

What is all the more remarkable is that some stretches of the meadows survived well into the 1960s and a decade before were still being farmed.

This is the Old Road, Hawthorn Lane as it heads out across Turn Moss and I guess it looks pretty much as it had done for over a century and more.

The Old Road and meadow land circa 1950
It has all gone now.  After the tipping came the years of neglect followed by the deliberate policy to plant trees and bushes on stretches of it or turn it over to football pitches.

Now I am not arguing for a return to what was that I fully accept has gone, but listening to my friend I can at least have some idea of what once was.

Location; Chorlton-cum-Hardy Manchester

Pictures; from the Lloyd Collection

Painting Well Hall and Eltham ....... nu 7 tram sheds and missing the tram

An occasional series featuring buildings and places I like and painted by Peter Topping.

The Tram sheds, 2017 painted from a photograph, 1977
Now I always took the bus shelters for granted after all they had always been there and had always been bus shelters.

But not so.

They had started off as places to wait for the trams which began coming through Eltham at the beginning of the 20th century and which in turn were only made possible by the extension of Well Hall Road.

Neither of which I found out until recently.

LCC tram 1622, 2015
Of course it made perfect sense to extend Well Hall Road up from Sherard Road making a more direct route from Woolwich to the High Street.

And it made equal sense to start a tram service.

If I travelled on the old trams I have no memory, although Dad told me we made a special trip to see the last one arrive at the New Cross depot in 1952.

Sadly I can’t remember, and nor did he take a picture.

All of which just leaves the shelters as a testament to what had once been.

Location; Eltham, London

Painting; the tram sheds Well Hall Road © 2017 Peter Topping from a photograph by Jean Gammons circa 1977


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Picture;  LCC tram 1622, 2015, Crich Tramway Village courtesy of Andy Robertson

St Ann's Square, Snaps of Manchester nu 6

I have to say that there often seems to be building work on the corner where Old Bank Street runs into St Ann’s Square.

And so it as when this snap was taken sometime I think in the 1930s.

Back then the Royal Exchange was an exchange trading in cotton and after the completion of its extension between 1914 and ’31 was the largest trading hall in the country.

Now I might be slightly out with the date, the cars suggest the 1920s and it all hangs on whether what we see is the finished exchange.

Happily someone will have an opinion and provide an answer.

Either way it is another of those wonderful snaps from the collection of Sandra Hapgood, and as I have said before they are a valuable record of what the city looked like.

For unlike the carefully posed professional images these were instant pictures, taken by someone who just liked what they saw.

And so often are ones that no one else has taken.

Picture; St Ann’s Square, date unknown courtesy of Sandra Hapgood

Lost images of Whalley Range part 3 the Whalley Hotel

I only ever once visited the Whalley Hotel which I think was sometime around the summer of 1975.

There was never any particular reason for this other than it was always somewhere I passed on the bus from town home to Chorlton, and once on the bus it always seemed a faff to get off.

That said the place has dominated the corner since the 1890s.

From the outside it doesn’t seem to have changed much.

The hedges have gone as has the large building which is now the rear car park.

And the houses along Withington Road have also been demolished.

Like some of the other Whalley Range pictures I have been featuring I am hoping that these of the Whalley will stir a few memories which might appear as a post.

Of course it has now closed.

Picture; The Whalley Hotel, Whalley Range, Upper Chorlton Road, 1960, A.H.Downes, m40816, m40813, m40814, courtesy of Manchester Libraries, Information and Archives, Manchester City Council

The bridges of Salford and Manchester ........... nu 3 how things change

I recently included much the same view along the river in the 1850s by the artist C W Clennell.

And now I am back in 2016.

Location Salford

Picture; the river and the bridge, 2016 from the collection of Andrew Simpson

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

A little bit of continuity on Chorlton Green

Now I like the way that some buildings almost return to what they once were.

floral affair, 2017
So this is number 15 Chorlton Green which has been floral affair from 2015 and a century and a bit ago was a greengrocer.

Of course I have no idea if Mr Johnson Clark sold flowers back in 1903 but I bet the odd bunch of daffodils sneaked their way in to the shop with the apples, pears and potatoes bought from the markets in Manchester.

Had he been trading half a century earlier when Chorlton was full of market gardens I doubt that he would have travelled into the city, but by 1903 where we lived had pretty much lost its rural character.

Chorlton Green Supper Bar, circa 1975
And as if to underline that transformation within a few years number 15 and the adjoining property had become a fish and chip shop, and that will be how many people remember the building.

Only recently a friend shared a picture of the place when “Chippy Madge” was there and I bet there will be plenty of others with the odd snap of the steamy shop on a cold January night.

And more who will call the mix of gossip and banter exchanged by those waiting for their crispy chips and crunching battered cod.

I can’t be sure yet when the property was built but it is there on the OS for 1893 and with a bit of detective work using the census returns, street directories and rate books we will get close to knowing the date.

For those with a pressing need to know I think it might well have been 1893, because a first trawl of the rate books shows no property for that year or before which might suggest it was built in that year but unoccupied till later.

We shall see.

Location; Chorlton

Picture; Chorlton Green Supper Bar, circa 1975 from the collection of Tony Walker

Painting; floral affair © 2017 Peter Topping


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My Manchester

My Manchester, pictures without the words, ............ Looking out onto Exchange Square, 2013

Picture; Looking out on Exchange Square,2013  from the collection of Andrew Simpson

When Harold married Alma in the April of 1928 at Dartford

I am looking at two images which are now 88 years old.

This was the wedding celebrations of Harold Morris and Alma Minnie Shove in April 1928.

We all have pictures like this but many of them will be undated and long ago the identities of those staring back at us will have been forgotten as have the events surrounding the image.

Now even if I didn’t know some of the people and couldn’t place them in the first half of the last century they do have a fascination and an importance.

Part of this is because photographs like this so rarely see the light of day and if they do it is limited to a close set of family and friends.

What of course strikes you first off are the clothes including those above the knee dresses, soon to fall a few inches as the 1930s came along.

And then there is the half hidden garden and house a reminder that most weddings for people like Harold and Alma ended back at the house.

But even here there are questions that we might never know or have an answer to, like the name and age of the elderly woman in the corner of the second picture. I rather think she will be in her 70s or perhaps older, and so her presence takes us back to the late 1850s.

A time almost as remote from Harold and Alma’s experiences as 1928 is to us.

It is just possible that this lady may have walked to her wedding, that amongst the guests would have been those who could remember reading the stories of the old Queen’s wedding in 1840, and more than a few whose parents had talked of the rejoicing of the news of the allied victory at Waterloo and the shock they felt at hearing of the death of Lord Nelson.

And in the same way looking back at that April of 1928 is to see a totally different landscape. Alma might have been 23 years old but it would be another four months before Parliament voted to extend the franchise to her and a full year before she vote in a general election.

That general election in the May of 1929  was dubbed the flapper election marking as it did the first time that women of Alma’s age and class could help determine the next government of this country.

Nor is that all for if the newlyweds had wanted to dance to record music it would have been via a wind up gramophone, many of the films they might have watched would still have been silent ones and many such couples could only hope to aspire to one of those new and clean electric cooker.

So bring on these old family photographs.

Location; Eltham, London

Picture’s from the collection of Jean Gammons

Snaps of Manchester number 4 Piccadilly in the late 1920s

Now I can’t be sure but I think we are looking at Piccadilly sometime before 1932.

It is difficult to be sure but I don’t think that the Ryland’s Building which is now Debenhams’s is there near the centre of our picture and if that is the case then this can be no later than 1932 and possibly sometime in the 1920s.

Like all the images in this collection owned by Sandra Hapgood there is much in the clothes and the vehicles to suggest this is the time frame.

Of course I might have missed some vital clue which can pin point the date and prove me wrong.

Either way it is one of those snaps of Manchester that I have been featuring.  Each of them is not by a professional and all of them were I think taken quickly while on the move and as with so  many snaps they are very personal, meant as a reminder of a day out or to share with family and friends.

And that is both their charm and their value because all of them are not the usual scenes of the city.  Instead they are shot from odd angles or concentrate on places seldom visited by the professional.

Picture; from the collection of Sandra Hapgood.

Lost images of Whalley Range part 2 the petrol pumps

I wonder when these petrol pumps on Upper Chorlton Road were taken away.

They were recorded by A.H.Downes in the summer of 1960 and were on the site of the furniture store.

In an age of big computer operated petrol pumps which do all most everything but make a coffee I like these three.

Simple design, and simple machinery but they did the business and take me back to my childhood.

They come from that time when someone would come out of the garage and work the pump,offering to wipe the windscreen and was available for motoring advice.

You still find this service in places like Greece and rural Italy and no doubt even here in remote communities.

They have long since vanished but the telephone kiosk was still on the same spot just a few years ago.

Picture; Petrol-Pump, Whalley Range, Upper Chorlton Road, north east side, 1960, A.H.Downes, m40781 and again in 1973, photographer unknown, m40728, courtesy of Manchester Libraries, Information and Archives, Manchester City Council

The bridges of Salford and Manchester ......... nu 2 Victoria Bridge, sometime in the 1850s

Now there is not much more to say.

 It is the work of C W Clennel sometime in the 1850s.
But there is more.
And for that I am indebted to Alan who quick as a flash, added that

"Haha, I beg to differ Andrew, there is much to say, for instance the first mention of the bridge over the river Irwell was in the Lancashire Inquisitions of 1226. 

In 1368 Thomas Bothe a wealthy Yeoman of Barton on Irwell bequeathed £30 in his will to the Bridge on which he had previously built a chapel.where prayers were to be said for the soul of the founder.In 1505, the Chapel was converted to a prison.

On September 25th 1642 was the Battle of Salford Bridge between the Parliamentary forces and the Royalists. 

On July 1776 the bridge was widened by taking down the Dungeon and extending its piers and arches. 

On July 2nd 1838 the first stone on the Salford side of Victoria Bridge was laid by Mr Elkanah Armitage, the Borough Reeve of Salford and on July the 2nd the first stone on the Salford side was laid by Mr J Brown, Borough Reeve of Manchester.

On October 16th, the central arches were washed away.

On January 7th 1839 the arches of Victoria bridge were once again destroyed in a Gale. There were to be many more great floods, but the bridge appears to have escaped further damage, here ends my little hisory of Victoria Bridge...... "

And I think pretty much does justice to the old bridge.  Thank you Alan

Location; Salford

Picture, Victoria Bridge, C W Clennell, m77145 courtesy of Manchester Libraries, Information and Archives, Manchester City Council,

Monday, 22 May 2017

Snaps of Manchester number 7 ....... the Town Hall and the Cathedral in the 1920s

Now if you live in Manchester or like me claim it as your adopted city the chances are that you will have taken a picture of the Town Hall.

It was designed by Alfred Waterhouse and finished in 1877, and it remains a splendid building.

 I spent many years from the 1970s in the various state rooms and when meetings ground to tedious repetition and sloganising there was always the paintings, the wallpaper and the ceilings to marvel at.

The outside is no less impressive, but I have never found a good angle at which the to take a picture, and the result is that you  end up somewhere on Cross Street or South Mill Street trying to get all of the building in the frame.

Now I know it is possible to stand directly opposite on Brazenose Street but all too ofteh you have to wait for a clear moment when a bus a taxi or a lorry aren’t passing.

So I am always pleased when someone pulls it off.  In this case the picture comes from the collection of Sandra Hapgood and dates from the early decades of the last century.

It is another of those Snaps of Manchester which are often just as valuable as the carefully composed images taken by a professional.  And although they are often undated and their significance is lost they can be just as interesting.

More so because they are often of places which are unrecorded by the professional or commercial photographer.

Having said that I would like a £ for every image I have seen of the Cathedral.  This one comes from the same collection and will date from the same time.

It was taken from Exchange Station, now long gone, although bits of its railway past are still littered around what is now a car park.

Today the stretch of Victoria Street is closed to traffic which seemed a good idea but I rather think the temporary building in front of the Cathedral however worthy its use detracts from the Cathedral.

Pictures; from the collection of Sandra Hapgood

On Whitworth Street in May 2007

One from the archive.

It is a scene you won’t see for much longer.

And as I haven’t been down this way with a camera for a while it my already have changed.

It was May 2007 and I was on Whitworth Street, standing on a partially demolished bit of wall.

Location; Whitworth Street, Manchester

Picture; from the collection of Andrew Simpson

Lost images of Whalley Range part 1 the cinema

I am on Upper Chorlton Road in 1960 with A.H. Downes who took a lot of pictures of the area.

In the distance you can just make out the Whalley Hotel and the junction with Brooks Bar beyond.

But what interests me is the Ferodo building which I must have passed countless times over the years and not given much thought to.

It vanished before I realized it was under threat and I wish I knew more about it.

That said I know there will be someone who does and kick myself for not taking more careful note of Derek Southall’s wonderful account of Manchester picture houses because I am pretty sure that he mentions this building.*

It is similar to many which were built in the early decades of the 20th century, and was one step up on the simple wooden huts and old vareity halls which were converted into picture houses as the novelty of cinema caught on.

But then I could be wrong we shall have to wait and see.

It certainly looks similar and  a little grander than the one further up Upper Chorlton Road which has survived as a furniture store.

So I shall just leave it there on Upper Chorlton Road in 1960 and wait for the memories, stories and details of the place to flood in.

Picture, Whalley Range, Upper Chorlton Road, north east side, 1960, A.H.Downes, m40806 and again in 1973, photographer unknown, m40728, courtesy of Manchester Libraries, Information and Archives, Manchester City Council

*The Golden Years of Manchester Picture Houses: Memories of the Silver Screen 1900-1970 Derek J. Southall

So what is the story behind the tram on Well Hall Road, one sunny spring day?

Now there is a fine line between nostalgia and remembering the past.

The first pretty much takes you nowhere and often distorts the past by making it seem somehow better than it was.

On the other hand remembering the past can trigger not only a series of memories but leads to wanting to find out more.

It often starts with that simplest of questions was this really how it was? And then takes you off into serious history which involves talking to others, cross checking their memories against research and beginning to record it for others to read.

And that often leads to community projects where memories and memorabilia come out of the cupboards, are dusted down and shared which not only adds to what we know but brings an area together, allowing the not so young to recreate the past for those too young to know what it had been like.

So here we are with one of those classic old pictures of Well Hall from a book on trams.*

There is no date on the picture, and the caption just says “early days on Well Hall Road [showing] that the local children had plenty of space to play.  All they had to do was get out of the way of the trams which plied the route every ten minutes. The ride from Woolwich to Eltham would have cost two pence.”

All of which draws you in and makes the picture worth investigating.

Judging by the trees and the children’s clothes I think we must be somewhere in the 1920s or 30s and taking into account the shadows it will be early afternoon.

Now it could be a Sunday which would explain the lack of traffic or we really are at a point in time when Well Hall Road was far less busy.

What I also find interesting is that the children by and large are ignoring the photographer.

Earlier in the century and certainly in the last decade of the 19th century the appearance of a man with a camera would have attracted the curious, the vain and those with nothing better to do.

You see them on the old pictures staring back at the camera, intrigued, mystified and just nosey.  But not here, which means we are either dealing with some very sophisticated young people or the world has moved on and street photographers were taken for granted.

And that just leaves me that little personal observation that however fascinating this picture is it just leaves off our house for the photographer has positioned himself just a tad further north, missing out 294 by a couple of blocks.

That said if I have got this right I have to satisfy myself with knowing that the corner house with its ever so fashionable lace curtains was the home of Mr and Mrs Burton in 1925.

The Burton’s were there by 1919 which means that Mr Christopher Dove Burton may have been an Arsenal worker, and just as an aside, I know that they were married in 1920 in Lambeth, and that Beatrice’s maiden name was Briant and it was as Miss Beatrice Briant that she shows up on the electoral roll in 1919 sharing the house with Mr Burton.

Now there is a story to follow up.

Pictures; Well Hall Road, date unknown, from the collection of G.L. Gundy, reproduced from Eltham and Woolwich Tramways

*Eltham and Woolwich Tramways, Robert J Harley, Middleton Press, 1996,

A deli called Buonissimo, Cafe on the Green and the story of what Beech Road became

Now I wish I had a picture of Cafe on the Green.

Out on Beech Road, circa 2007
It was the first of the wave of restaurants that set Beech Road off on what it is today.

But I never bothered at the time to take a picture of the place which replaced the old piano shop and which had once been a hair dressers and before that the  iron mongers.

And I was reminded of the Cafe on the Green on Saturday when we were out with Bob Amarto who along with his partner Del was also part of the transformation of the road I have lived on since 1976.

Buonissimo, circa 2006
We were in Bar San Juan which had been Buonissimo which  Bob and Del had opened in 1994.

The conversation turned to how Beech Road had changed and in particular that sticky patch it went through in the 1980s when some of the shops began to close in the face of the growing use of supermarkets.

It is a story I often come back to, and is about the loss of those small traditional food shops which were still there on Beech Road and the surrounding roads at the beginning of the 1970s.

There will be plenty who remember the range of butcher’s shops, and grocery shops which nestled between Muriel’s fruit and veg shop and wool shop.

Go back just another decade and you can add to that the electrical shop which sold and repaired TVs.

Beech Road, circa 1975
I miss them but fully accept that they are a way of life that has all but gone as most of us shop on line or rely on supermarkets.

So Cafe on the Green marked a change and Bob was quick to tell us how Adrian who ran the Cafe and later Patrick at Primavera was quick to use the deli for many of their raw ingredients.

And as anyone who shopped at the deli will remember it brightened up the day on Beech Road.

Marmalade 2007, the site of Cafe on the Green
For me between Buonissimo and Muriel’s next door I could buy pretty much all I needed to feed me and my three sons.

I didn’t at the time see how things would develop and with hindsight wish I had taken more pictures of the transformation.

So if there is anyone out there with a picture on Cafe on the Green I would like to know.

Location; Chorlton

Pictures; Cafe society on Beech Road, possibly when Primavera had become Beggars Bush circa 2007, Buonissimo, circa 2002 and Marmalade, 2007 from the collection of Andrew Simpson and Beech Road circa 1975 from the collection of Tony Walker

The bridges of Salford and Manchester ....... nu 1 Blackfriars Bridge sometime in the 1850s

Now of course it does really depend on which way you cross the bridge.

But I am not a pedant.

And I am not inclined to add anything more, save to say it is another by the artist Mr C W Clennell who strolled into Salford from Manchester sometime in the 1850s and this was the result.

So far I have come across four of paintings featuring Salford.

And that is al I am going to say.

Location; Salford

Picture, Blackfriars Bridge, C W Clennell, , m77146 courtesy of Manchester Libraries, Information and Archives, Manchester City Council,

Sunday, 21 May 2017

On Wilbraham Road in the spring of 1913

Now I tried standing in the road at this exact spot yesterday and failed dismally.  

It is that stretch of Wilbraham Road just past the old railway bridge at the corner of Buckingham Road, heading out of Chorlton and yes it is impossible to stand there.

Well I suppose if I had chosen to attempt the task at 4 on a Sunday morning I could have done it but I can think of better things to do at that time.

But if I had been around on a spring day sometime in 1913 I could have happily stood alongside the school boys and been quite safe.

It is another of those remarkable pictures which reminds us just how much has changed.

Apart from the tram on its way into town the only other traffic are the horse and carts.

The terrace of shops and flats that make up Egerton Arcade had only been up for a few years, while the row which now faces it had yet to be built.

And like so many of these early pictures it is the curiosity of the spectators which strikes me most.

 Here are the usual collection of familiar poses, the defiant figure with his arms folded staring resolutely into the camera almost challenging it do its worst, while a little further away a few more look on and in the far distance the workman also pause to stare.

Of course none of the shops have survived, although part of the glass and iron canopy is still in place and I am intrigued by the large lawn roller.

Now from memory there was in the parade up till the late 1980s a hard ware store with its distinctive mix of smells of paraffin and wood and the accumulated pile of odd things including nails, screws and bars of soap.

With a little research I could trace the shop back to 1913 and it is quite possible that the place had neither changed use nor owners.

After all the Lloyd family ran their shop on
Upper Chorlton Road from the beginning of the 20th century well into its final decades.

What was certainly there on that spring day just a little back from the camera and just before Buckingham Road was the old Pavilion theatre, recently renamed the Chorlton Theatre and Winter Gardens.

It was our first cinema and its billboards may well have been a ready source of entertainment for our youngsters before the novelty of the photographer.

Location, Manchester

Picture; from the Lloyd collection

Snaps of Manchester number 5 ... in Albert Square with trams and horses

Of all of the snaps of Manchester I have featured this is one of my favourites.

We are in Albert Square sometime between the late 1920s and early 30s and we are at that cross over moment when horse drawn vehicles were about to become just that little less common.

In another decade they would be confined to milk floats and the rag and bone man.

But here they are still in use pulling a cart and a covered wagon.

In other respects it is a scene which I recognise from when I first arrived in the September of 1969.  In fact apart from the trams and their overhead cables and rails it is pretty much as I remember it.

Picture; courtesy of Sandra Hapgood

Salford buildings that tell a story ........ part 3 Mrs Burke's beer shop on the corner of Bank and Encombe Place

It is amazing what little bits of history you come across when you just set off wandering across the twin cities.

Bank Place, 2014
This is the corner of Bank and Encombe Place and it is somewhere you could easily miss.

But if you did turn off Chapel Street and wander along the route that comes out at Upper Cleminson Street I doubt that you would be aware of its former history.

The road twists and turns and as it does actually changes its name five times, starting as St Paul’s Place, then turning left to become Bank Street then Wilton Place before briefly assuming the name Bank Place and finishing off as Encombe Place.

Bank Place, 1894
All of which is a clue to what we have lost because until relatively recently Bank Place continued from Wilton Place round the side of the church to join up with Bank Street with the church in the centre.

Today all of the ten houses which ran from Bank Street round to Encombe Place have gone.

Back in 1911 these were seven and roomed properties and home a mix of people from Joshua Ross who was a foreman and Daniel Roberts a printer to an office cleaner, clerk and carrier.

But it is the building in Andy’s picture that draws me in.  I don’t know when it stopped selling beer but I do know that in 1911 it was the beer shop of Mrs Josephine Burke who shared the six roomed house with her five children and one niece.

Mrs Burke and her neighbours, 1911
Mrs Burke was a widow and she had taken over the business from her husband on his death in 1907.

In time I will go looking for Mr Burke but for now I shall content myself with Josephine who had been married in 1882.  She had been just 21 gave her occupation as a sewing machinist and came from a comfortably off family.  Her father was a plumber employing four men.

Three of her own children were clerks and two helped behind the bar.

Hers was the only house on the west side of the street but her neighbours included the Rev Arthur Lyle who was the curate of St Philips, a Miss Hood who ran a “Free Kindergarten” along with a clerk plumber and caretaker.

Bank Place, 1849
Today there is little sense of what was once here, the buildings have gone and with them the small community that lived around the church.

Go back another fifty years and that life around St Philips is even more apparent.

All of which makes me think there is even more to find out about the people of Bank Place and its neighbouring streets

And just minutes after the story was re-posted Rick has written in to say that "the Borough Tavern,when I worked at Farmer Norton.On the corner of Upper Cleminson St and Adelphi St was the Brewery Tavern,so named after the Adelphi brewery Co.

Later the buildings were used by Wire drawing dies and Anglardia Ltd.".

Picture; Bank Place, 2014 from the collection of Andy Robertson, the same place in 1844 from the 1842-49 OS Manchester & Salford, and in  1894, from the OS for South Lancashire, 188-94 courtesy of Digital Archives Association,

Remembering those on our war memorial

The second in a series where I revisit stories about Eltham and the Great War

© Rod Allday
I have been thinking about the contribution Eltham made to the Great War.*

And a little later in the day I received the latest newsletter from the Eltham Society** which highlighted the efforts to track the 227 names which appear on the war memorial.

This is not an easy task not least because a large number of the service records of those who fought were destroyed during the Second World War.

And until relatively recently many of the other sources which might give clues to their lives were not available on line and might be deposited in a number of different locations.

But despite these obstacles it has been possible to uncover something about all but four of the men who “marched away”

The bulk of this research was undertaken by Tony Robins from 1991 till his death in 2004, and since then by Mr Nigel Bennett.

© Stephen Craven
The four remaining “Unknowns” are J.Mather, R.S.Thomas, R. Ward and H or I Young.

 But that isn’t quite the end of the quest, “Mr Bennett has discovered others whom he feels should be on the list, having been Servicemen of Eltham in WW1 but who died in England, perhaps after the Armistice on 11 November 1918, as a result of their injuries or illness.

At this late stage the names cannot be added to the stone. 

That was done only at the specific request of the families of those commemorated, in the mid 1920s.  

But we could add them to the digital and paper listings, at the IWM and locally for posterity. 

Some have standard-type Commonwealth War Commission gravestones in the churchyard.  

Others were buried with family members.”***

So there is the challenge.

Anyone wishing to help can contact the Eltham Society.****

Pictures; the war memorial © Rod Allday, & © Stephen Craven, and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

**1914-1918 Eltham’s Commemoration 2014-2018 Part One: FOUR TO FIND and FOUR TO EXPAND ON, Margaret E. Taylor,  The Eltham Society Newsletter No 196 May 2014

***ibid 1914-1918 Eltham’s Commemoration

****The Eltham Society,