Tuesday, 28 February 2017

One hundred years of one house in Chorlton part 80 ...... on a cold wet February day settling down with the wireless

The continuing story of the house Joe and Mary Ann Scott lived in for over 50 years and the families that have lived here since.*

As the snow came down, 2017
Now however the rest of the day turns out the beginning has been pretty miserable.

The first bright promise of what might have been soon deteriorated into driving sleet which became snow matched by one of those heavy leaden skies which all but touched the ground.

And with no intention of going out I got thinking about what Joe and Mary Ann would have done with their day.

Of course given that this is a Tuesday Joe will have been at work but as a builder I suspect his projects will have ground to a halt, leaving him and his employees to sit in the office behind the house and ponder on what to do.

For Mary Ann there would be plenty to engage her time, from the regular chores of keeping the place clean to planning and preparing the meals for the day.

The house, 1974
And I guess all of this would have been accompanied by the wireless which offered up the choice of the Home Service which specialised in news and discussion and the Light Programme with its mix of popular music drama and comedy.

Both of these were the background to my childhood, although there did seems a clear division between mum who preferred the Home Service and dad who spent the evening with a book and the likes of Professor Edwards, the ITMA team and “Sing Something Simple.”

The possible clash of interests was mitigated sometime in the mid 1950s when we got a television set which mother embraced with enthusiasm leaving dad to the radio.

I don’t know if there was a similar divide of interest in the Scott household who got their telly about the same time as we did.

That said during the 50s and even the early 60s the television was very much something for the evening leaving the day to the radio.

Doing things, 1947
It was there while mum dusted, cooked and got on with all the other daily chores, and in turn it was what I listened to while reading, drawing or just “doing things”.

And the magico f the wireless particularly the Home Service was its ability to fire the imagination.

After all with nothing in the way of anything to look at you slipped into creating your own picture of what the characters in the dramas looked like and the landscapes they inhabited.

In my case it also gave me a love of the spoken voice and an appreciation of how a writer constructs a story or a talk.

And the master was always Alistair Cook and his Letter from America which was a weekly set of observations on what was happening in the USA.

It was so well crafted that during its fifteen minutes despite roaming over a variety of events, topics and personalities it always ended effortlessly where it began.

The same is true of those radio shows about Lake Woebegone by Garrison Keillor “where all the women are strong, all the men are good looking, and all the children are above average."

They are perfect radio so much so that when I bought the books and read the same stories the magic was missing.

And I suppose that is the power of radio whether it is Radio 4 or one of those small community radios.

At which point I have to own up to bringing us to North Manchester FM  106.6 which broadcasts from Harpurhey out to Crumpsall, Moston and Cheetham.**

The outrageous connection is that along with Peter Topping I was in conversation Hannah Kate on her programme “about books, creative writing and publishing.”***

Each week she spends two hours talking to a guest author and this Saturday she got me and Peter discussing the books we have collaborated on, the ones I have written on my own and Peter’s paintings.

Before the snow
Modesty prevents me from saying more although the quality of our wit, thought and personality can be judged by following the link.

As you would expect the north of the city was a tad colder than what we are used to and there was more than a bit of rain but there was no snow.

And yes that is my stab at following Alistair Cook and finishing where I began, a conclusion which I accept I will have to work on.

Location; Chorlton and Harpurhey

Pictures; looking out from our house, 2017 from the collection of Andrew Simpson and radio image courtesy of Hannah Kate

*The story of house,

**North Manchester FM 106.6, https://northmanchester.fm/contact-us/

***Hannah’s Bookshelf, https://www.mixcloud.com/Hannahs_Bookshelf/hannahs-bookshelf-with-special-guests-andrew-simpson-and-peter-topping-25022017/

Lives revealed ...... a story from Colin ......... selling coal from Hyde Street in 1905

Now you never know where a story will go or what it will yield.

Back in October 2016 I wrote about Hyde Street after coming across an image in the Local History Collection and soon after Colin got in touch telling me his family lived there.*

And today he was back in touch with both a story and some photographs and the rest is down to Colin who writes

"We emailed at the end of November last year re my family of coal merchants on Hyde Street, Hulme.

Sorry for delay getting back but we were about to move house.

In a previous blog on Hyde St, "Life beyond the front door .. Hyde St .." (20/10/16), you listed a few residents which included a coal dealer.

The coal dealer was my great great grandfather, William Whitehurst.

It is May Day, 1905 and on this special day there happened to be a photographer travelling around the Chorlton Rd, Hulme area looking for business.

The first photograph shows the entrance to the "W Whitehurst Fuel Merchant" yard/stables which were on Hyde St at the point where it becomes Cornbrook Grove.

The photo actually shows William's son, also William, with "Polly" and a load of coal. Note the feedbag slung under the wagon and the handwheel 'handbrake' immediately behind the horse used to wind the brake blocks (also visible) down onto the iron rims of the rear wheels.

This ensured the wagon didn't 'wander' off when the driver was otherwise engaged! The large building in the background is the rear of The Luxor cinema which stood on the corner of Erskine St and Hyde St with its front on Erskine St.

As the photographer was there, a rarity in itself, Mr Whitehurst must have wanted another photo taken of the horse in its May Day finery in front of his parent's shop nearby on the corner of Bangor St and Mackworth St.

Most of the family lived very close to one another in these streets. For the second photograph, the photographer is stood in the Bangor St/Mackworth St junction, the horse by now unhitched, and William Whitehurst and his father, William senior, posed with the horse now dressed for May Day.

The White Lion pub is in the background which was directly opposite the Whitehurst's corner shop.

The photographer then spun his equipment around for the final photograph of William (Sr) and his wife Jane stood in the doorway of their corner shop.

All in all, quite a busy day back in May 1905 in Hulme, and for two of the individuals, these were the only photographs taken of them in their entire life!

Now that is a story, leaving me only to thank Colin and hope he will contribute more in the future once he has settled in to his new home

© Colin, 2017

Location; Manchester

Pictures; from the collection of Colin

*Manchester Libraries, Information and Archives, Manchester City Council, http://images.manchester.gov.uk/index.php?session=pass

**Colin; https://chorltonhistory.blogspot.co.uk/search/label/The%20Whitehurst%20family

***"Life beyond the front door .. Hyde Street" https://chorltonhistory.blogspot.co.uk/search?q=Hyde+Street

One hundred and seventy years in the story of a house in Eltham

Cliefden House in 1909
Now I am back at Cliefden House.

This grand 18th century property is still there on the High Street opposite Passey Place.

It was built sometime around 1720 with an eastern addition dating from the mid 19th century.

Together this made for a large 17 roomed house which could accommodate and it has been both a private residence, and a school and now shops and offices.

I wrote about it back in July* and have decided on a second visit.  Now this is mainly because I want to feature a then and now set of pictures, although strictly speaking they are both then pictures.

The first dates from 1909 and the second from 1977.

Cliefen House in 1977
In the space of that time the front garden and wall have been sacrificed to the widening of the High Street and with scant disregard for such an elegant old property Granada and Frisbys Shoes set about adding the most appalling signage to the exterior.

And we may just have caught the place on a bad year for the front walls look in need of a coat of paint.

So I suppose today we have to be pleased that the present two occupants of the downstairs shops have been a little more subdued with their signs and a fresh coat of paint has been applied.

Pictures; Cliefden House in 1909 from The story of Royal Eltham, R.R.C. Gregory, 1909 and published on The story of Royal Eltham, by Roy Ayers, http://www.gregory.elthamhistory.org.uk/bookpages/i001.htm and in 1977, courtesy of Jean Gammons

*A military academy in the High Street and that other Eltham Lodge http://chorltonhistory.blogspot.co.uk/2013/07/a-military-academy-in-high-street-and.html

Growing up in Eltham in the 1950s ......... stories by Eddy Newport no 9 .... new friends and Count Basie

Another in the series by Eddy Newport taken from his book, History of a War Baby.

My stay at the Gordon school was to last for two years.

New friends were made during which I met a boy who was to make a big influence on me David Burt. He had a freckled face and a mop of red hair. He and I became best friends and socialised outside of school.

We would cycle off into the country to explore fields and places sometimes visiting members of his family who lived in Plumstead.

David introduced me to the habit of smoking. He had an uncle who played the drums in a band called Cyril Bodkin’s and his dance orchestra.

My interest in drumming was rekindled as David’s uncle played records by Count Basie, Benny Goodman and Duke Ellington. Duke Ellington’s “Skin Deep” with Louie Bellson playing the drums was a firm favourite.

That was just the best there was in classic jazz drumming. Buddy Rich and Gene Krupa both highly acclaimed drummers in America and an inspiration to any budding drummer. These moments were to spark an interest in jazz that was going to stay with me for the rest of my life.

© Eddy Newport 2017

Picture; from the collection of Eddy Newport

Monday, 27 February 2017

Another piece in the story of Madge Addy ...... secret agent, Civil War nurse and resident of Chorlton

Madge Addy was a remarkable woman who not only went out to Spain during the Spanish Civil War but went onto serve as an agent in occupied France.*

It is a story I have been uncovering for a while and was prompted by a request from Cll Shelia Newman to research the life of Madge Addy who lived in Chorlton.**

Interest has grown in Ms Addy since Chris Hall suggested that there should be a memorial plaque to this brave woman and there may be some who also have knowledge of Madge or would like to make a contribution to the cost of the plaque and if so please contact Chris by email at christoff_hall@yahoo.com or on 0161 861 7448.

The campaign for the blue plaque is fully supported by Chorlton's three councillors.

And as part of that campaign I wrote a short article in the Chorlton edition of Open Up and here the story takes a twist.***

My old friend Ida read the story and  was in the process of reading Silk and Cyanide by Leo Markes about  the operations of the British Special Operations Executive.

In a previous conversation Ida had suggested that this was the book which might offer up a clue about MS Addy

And sure enough in a one line sentence there is a reference to an unnamed agent who carried secret documents from Denmark to Sweden on a German civilian aircraft.  It might not be Madge but we know she did travel this route during 1940.

So perhaps a little bit more has come to light.

Location; Chorlton, Spain, France

Picture; Nurse Madge Addy giving a blood transfusion; Daily Worker, November 11, 1938 and Madge Addy, 1938

*Madge Addy, https://chorltonhistory.blogspot.co.uk/search/label/Madge%20Addy

**Cllr Shelia Newman, cllr.s.newman@manchester.gov.uk  0161 234 1841 (Town Hall)

***Open Up, http://openupmagazines.co.uk/chorlton/

Growing up in Eltham in the 1950s ....stories by Eddy Newport ......no 8 a bike, a paper round and King Alfred's cakes

Another in the series by Eddy Newport taken from his book, History of a War Baby.

My paper round was going strong and I wanted a new bike, the fashion then was light weight frames narrow wheels and drop handlebars. Dad took me to a cycle shop in Woolwich and I chose a BSA Armstrong sports model colour red and black with Stymie Archer gears.

If cost about £25 and dad put a £1 down and signed the hire purchase forms and said I had to pay the monthly payments. I had by then changed my paper round employee to a man who ran a business from his garage in Ross Way,

I was on a wage of 9 shillings and sixpence a week (£0.755 pence). My new bike was to cost me six shillings (£0.30 pence) a week so I was still in profit.

The bike took me two years to be pay off with interest. Every week I would go into the shop and pay it. That bike was to take me all over the place and play an important part of my life.

Experiences at Ealdham Square:-
Also, my artistic appreciation started to be stimulated as we were subjected to various musical enlightenments from our music teacher Miss Skelton.

She was very fond of choirs and classical music, and would have the class sit down on the floor in the assembly hall and play to us 78 RPM records.

She also had a habit of keeping a handkerchief in her knickers and her hand would creep under her dress and pull out the hanky to blow her nose.

This habit to us children was fascinating and a snigger went round the class when she did this. She was very fond of the Welsh male voice choir singing “The Lamb of God” We had to learn it to sing at the Christmas parents evening. One year our class had to put on a performance to entertainer the parents.

Our form teacher Mr Evens decided to get our class to act out “King Alfred the Great” and the burnt cakes saga.

The bulk of the class were to be the chorus and various pupils were selected to play the main roles. It was based on a famous poem which told the story of Alfred losing his kingdom to the evil Danes and in retreat, he forgo his kingly robes and put on peasant's clothes and went off on his own whereby he met a peasant family.

The woman of the household instructed Alfred to look after the fire where some cakes were cooking. Unfortunately, he fell asleep and the cakes were burnt.

He incurred the wrath of the woman and she chased him out of here home. I did not understand the significances of all this and what it had to do with Alfred suddenly decided to make up with the evil Danes, but that’s how the play came to an end and we all took our bows. I was a member of the chorus until I was thrust to stardom when Richard Atkins (the lead player) went sick and could not perform it for the parents evening.

Mr Evens asked if any of the class knew the lead part I put up my hand and was to take over the role with only one rehearsal to do the main performance. So I was King Alfred and did (I thought) a flawless performance.

Stage fright and overcoming the nerves were all there. But when the applause died down and we took our bows the feeling of excitement and exhilaration was wonderful.

I was stage-struck. It was to be forty years before I was to perform on a stage again. Richard came back to perform the play in front of the school children and to my delight, he forgot his lines and had to rely on Mr Evens prompting him.

© Eddy Newport 2017

Picture; from the collection of Eddy Newport

Less a giant stride more a shuffle in the right direction

Perhaps following the vote in the House and with this BBC story things are moving a bit more in the right direction well at least on this side of the Atlantic where knowledge of BHC is still very limited.

Picture; report on our great uncle, 1914, from the collection of Andrew Simpson

*IICSA child sex abuse inquiry public hearings under way, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-39099778

**The child abuse scandal of the British children sent abroad, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-39078652

Sunday, 26 February 2017

Taking that new tram journey .......... the competition

To celebrate  the opening of the new Second City Crossing today here’s the competition.

Name the pubs you might visit along the route.

You don’t of course have to stop and visit each one  ....... which would lead to a very interesting journey.

No it will be suffice to name the pub along with the nearest metro stop.

To add to the fun you can also nominate two more pubs nearby to your choices with just a sentence on why they should be included.

Some will mutter this nothing more than another outrageous bout of self promotion and of course it is because those who want to cheat might just turn to the book Manchester Pubs The Stories Behind the Doors City Centre where all could be revealed.

But the terms and conditions of the competition include the stipulation that you must proffer a metro ticket for the journey which is clearly dated from Sunday.

And that is it.

Except to say the journey starts from the Deansgate Castlefield  stop.

You van leave your compeition entry as a comment on the blog or go to the facebook page ManchesterPubs - City Centre

Location; the Second City Crossing

Pictures; travelling the tram, 2017 from the collection of Andrew Simpson

*A new book on Manchester Pubs https://chorltonhistory.blogspot.co.uk/search/label/A%20new%20book%20on%20Manchester%20Pubs

Manchester Pubs is available fromwww.pubbooks.co.uk  or Chorlton Bookshop

Growing up in Eltham in the 1950s ......... stories by Eddy Newport no 6 a garden, some vegetables and the rabbit

Another in the series by Eddy Newport taken from his book, History of a War Baby.

Dad became a keen gardener and worked hard to establish a well laid out garden.

He built paths around the bungalow and elevated the   lawn, as the garden was about a hundred foot long he cultivated a vegetable patch at its far end.

I would try and help out, but when it came to digging I managed to drive a garden fork through my boot and luckily the prong went between my toes.

Dad grew mostly potatoes and cabbage.

He did keep some rabbits for a while in a hutch behind our shed.

This was fine until he decided to have one killed for the pot. He could not do it himself, so a friend came round in to do the dispatching. I was fascinated by this. The friend went out to get the rabbit and holding it by its ears did the rabbit chop to the back of its neck. It was not a clean kill and the rabbit made some noise.

Eventually, it was declared dead and brought it into the kitchen where he started to skin it. I was amazed as the organs that appeared from the animal also the blood being collected into a basin. I was not horrified to all this just fascinated by it all. I think it upset Mum and Dad as he soon got rid of the all the rabbits.

© Eddy Newport 2017

Picture; from the collection of Eddy Newport

Saturday, 25 February 2017

Taking that new tram journey .......... travelling the Second City Crossing

Now alas I will not get my certificate for being one of the first on the Second City Crossing after it opens tomorrow.

I shall be content with a trip later in the week.

But I am looking forward to it.

As someone who has travelled the network soon after each of the new lines opened, this one has to be a must.

I watched its construction, photographed each stage, and was fascinated when the archaeologists were called in to excavate those human remains.

So I will be on a tram bound for Victoria via St Peter’s Square and down along Princess Street, Cross Street and into Exchange Square.

I will have my camera but won’t carry any sound recording device.

Although I am reliably  informed that
Eric will be recording the metro stop announcements and interviewing fellow passengers.

You have been warned.

Location; the Second City Crossing

Pictures; travelling the tram, 2014 & 2016 from the collection of Andrew Simpson

One hundred years of one house in Chorlton part 79 ...... just what you find in your garden

The continuing story of the house Joe and Mary Ann Scott lived in for over 50 years and the families that have lived here since.*

Now I would like to think that these two broken bits of pottery once graced the china cabinet of Joe and Mary Ann and somehow made their way into the garden after they were broke.

They look to be willow pattern but I doubt if they date back to the late 18th century when they became popular in this country and are more likely to be just a cheap version turned out during the late 19th and early 20th centuries and produced in Holland.  Certainly the bigger fragment has what appears to be a Dutch figure staring back at us.

I won’t be alone in having grown up with this range although at the time they never did much for me.

Of course the intriguing question is just why Joe or Mary Ann threw them away in the garden, not that it might have been them.

Certainly the fragment of clay pipe which turned up a few years ago was possibly discarded by someone working this bit of land, or by someone passing along what was then called the Row.

But I like to think it might have belonged to Samuel Gratrix who farmed this bit of land in the 1840s and lived in Bowling Green Farm which stood directly opposite our house.**

All of which might be hung around with more than a bit of romantic speculation so I will leave the finds in the ground and reflect instead on the block of Torrone Morbido Alle Mandorle e Nocciole made by Vergani which is Soft Nougat with Almonds and Hazelnuts and was the last that had come over from Italy at Christmas.

It is a favourite of mine vying with the alternative which is covered in chocolate.

The company are based in Cremona and make a shed load of other similar products and while we will eat them all the year round I do associate them with Christmas.

I doubt that Joe and Mary Ann would have ever come across the products made by Vergani but something similar will have made its way into the house, along with candied fruits and other bits and pieces.

Sadly I have never come across the evidence for any of the things they ate and the one empty tin of Safeway’s baked beans found in one of the cellars will date from the time John, Mike and Lois occupied the house.

So that just leaves me to return to the garden which I know was where they buried many of their pets and admit we too put two of ours along with a Superman figure.

It belonged to our Saul and was a present from Greece.  The figure lasted two holidays and when his head came off we buried him the garden where he rests to this day.

Pictures; from the collection of Andrew Simpson

*The story of house,

**Mr Gratrix's clay pipe lost in our garden in 1845, https://chorltonhistory.blogspot.co.uk/2017/01/mr-gratrixs-clay-pipe-lost-in-our.html

Growing up in Eltham ......... stories by Eddy Newport ...... no 5 a new home, a baby brother and a new Queen

Another in the series by Eddy Newport taken from his book, The Newport’s 1951 at No. 58 Rochester Close Kidbrooke SE3...........

Mother was a woman that everybody wanted to have as a friend. She had an open house for anyone to visit and many did for cups of tea and chats. During that time, her work was cut out with her two boys. Shopping expeditions were to the local parade of shops about a mile away along the Rochester Way.

There was a public house there called “The Dover Patrol” So going shopping there was referred to as “Going up the Dover”.

No such things as supermarkets, these were for the future. The main grocery store was called Perks Ltd and you could get all you wanted, provided you queued up for it. Everything had to be weighed out and put into paper bags.

There was still rationing and our ration books had to have the coupons cut out so to prove that you had had your quota. There was a baker, butcher, hardware, newsagent, fish and chip shop, off-licence and a drapers shop all in a row. One thing I will never forget was the smell of the hardware shop; it was a mixture of paraffin, tar and detergents all mixed together and unforgettable."

I was settling into Ealdham Square School and David was soon to follow. It was soon realised that Rochester Close was not going to be big enough for a growing family. It was possible under the London County Council that tenants could exchange properties if all was agreeable. In the area, there were a lot of council houses being built. Dad and Mum put in for an exchange and managed to do a deal with an older couple living at 98 Birdbrook Rd. And so we moved once more the year was 1951.

The eleven plus examinations were looming the King had died we had a new Queen and her coronation was a near future event. Life was going to change.

Once we had moved into our new home at number 98 we soon settled down. The big news of the day was the coronation of Elizabeth II at Westminster Abbey on June 2nd, 1952. Dad being in the Saint John’s Ambulance Brigade had a duty to attended to.

He was to stand outside Westminster Abbey. He had a fantastic view of the all that went on. We had befriended our new next door neighbours Mr and Mrs Parsons who had a television set and on the day, we were invited in to see the unfolding events.

Mrs P had set up benches in two rows for the children to sit on. I found the whole thing very boring, the only time it became exciting was when in the distance a black uniformed man with a white bag over his shoulder came into view. He said later that the only causalities he had that day were trying to sober up drunken Lords sipping their hip flasks during the service.

Note:- this photo was taken in the garden of 58 RC. in the background is the main road Rochester Way, that house is still the. taken 1952

Geoffrey born 27th Oct 1951.  Now we are five.

Life carried on in this way until 1951 when another addition was added to our family. On Oct 27th, our brother Geoffrey Alan was born. That night David and I were woken by a lot of activity and told to stay in our beds.

Geoffrey aged 8 months
The midwife was sent for and later a baby was heard crying. We were summoned to our parent’s bedroom and introduced to Geoff. Weighing in at 6 lbs. Mum looked pleased and dad was so proud to have witnessed the birth.

The prefab we lived in was Geoff’s birthplace and is now an open space area (Kidbrooke Green).

I went back some time ago to try and judge the spot where we had our bungalow. I came to the conclusion that if Geoff ever became famous and the country wanted to put up a blue plaque where he was born, they would have to nail it to a park bench.

Mum used to ask Dave and me to do the shopping and take Geoff in the pram to carry it in. I hated this chore.

The embarrassment of pushing the pram was horrendous to me, so I would push it out in front of and let it freewheel for about 10 yards and when I caught up with it I pushed it out again. This was fine until the pram hit an obstruction and it tipped over and Geoff did a somersault on his rains and all the shopping went over the pavement.  It worried me at the time as was relieved that Geoff was strapped into the pram and did not sustain any injury. However, I did not do that again.

I was settling into Ealdham Square School and David was soon to follow.

It was soon realised that Rochester Close was not going to be big enough for a growing family. It was possible under the London County Council that tenants could exchange properties if all was agreeable. In the area, there were a lot of council houses being built. Dad and Mum put in for an exchange and managed to do a deal with an older couple living at 98 Birdbrook Rd.

And so we moved once more.  The year was 1951. The eleven plus examinations were looming the King had died we had a new Queen and her coronation was a near future event. Life was going to change.

© Eddy Newport 2017

Picture; from the collection of Eddy Newport

Remembering Madge Addy at the Town Hall this Sunday

Now Miss Madge Addy was a remarkable women.

She went off to Spain at the beginning of the Spanish Civil War, served as a nurse on the side of democratically elected Government who were fighting a Nationalist insurrection and was the last British nurse to leave the country the war zone.

She then went on to work as an agent in occupied France during the Second World War, assisted escaping allied prisoners of war and smuggled secret documents on German civilian aircraft.

But despite these achievements few people have heard of her.

And so this Sunday there be is an event to raise money for a plaque to commemorate her work, which it is hoped will go up on the wall of the house she lived in on Manchester Road in Chorlton.

The campaign to bring Miss Addy out of the shadows has been led by Christoper Hall who writes, that Madge is to be honoured as part of the "annual Jarama  commemoration and this year we are concentrating the on the lives of two local Spanish Civil War volunteers Madge Addy and George Brown. 

I am doing the talk on Madge. The Clarion choir will be singing song from the period and wreaths will be laid at the memorial in the Town Hall to those Greater Manchester men who died fighting Fascism in the Spanish Civil War. There will be a bucket collection at the event to raise money towards Madge's blue plaque.

I have also on our website setup a fund raising page for Madge Addy see http://www.international-brigades.org.uk/catalog/conferencestalks

So it would be good to see you all at Manchester Town Hall on Sunday February 26.

The event will last from 10.30 through to 11.30.

Location; Manchester

Picture; Madge Addy, 1938

Updates from Andy ...... “the flats are getting taller and the pub has lost one of its side boardings”

 We are back with another three from Andy recording the changing landscape.

This time we are back with two of his favourites ...... the flats by the canal and the slow demise of the Railway Inn at Cornbrook.

Always economical with words Andy just reported that “the flats are getting taller and the pub has lost one of its side boardings”.

And that is all there is to say.  If you search for the Railway Inn on the blog the full sad story of the pub is there to see.

Location; Cornbrook

Pictures; from the collection of Andy Robertson, 2017

Coming soon ........ the book on Chorlton’s pubs, beer houses and bars

Well it had to be the next big project.

.With copies of Manchester Pubs - The Stories Behind The Doors,City Centre  whizzing off the book shelves the next project just had to be the pubs, beer houses and bars of Chorlton.*

We are sticking to the popular formulae.  Peter will paint a picture of the outside of each drinking place, I will tell the stories behind the doors and the book will be designed as a series of walks which will throw in a bit of history along the way.

What we need are memories and pictures of the insides of each establishment. They can be from the very first time you entered the place back in 1963 to when the Bar became Chorlton Tap.

And if you have anything on what any of the bars were like when they were shops so much the better.

You can leave a comment on the blog or get in touch with us through our new facebook page.

The book is planned for later in the year so there is no time waste.

A little bit of gentle fun at the seaside in the 1930s ............. no 8 "Reminded of you"

A short series reflecting on a bit of gentle fun from the seaside.

Location; at the seaside in Wales

Picture postcards, Postcards and their history, Ron Stubley

Friday, 24 February 2017

When in Rome Part 4

Now we had gone looking for that floating dance floor, the one Gregory Peck took Audrey Hepburn to in Roman Holiday.

I was determined to find it having just seen another Italian movie with an equally implausible plot which featured the same floating dance floor.

And I guess it appeared in plenty more light comedy films made about life in Rome in the 50s.

I was convinced it was near the Ponte Sant’Angelo and was all for walking back and forth beside the Tiber till I located its remains.  But it was a hot day and we had already done the Vatican so we settled for a meal in a small restaurant close to the river.

I have tried finding it again but with no luck but it was just what we wanted situated by a small park.  I had mushrooms and pasta and Tina I think had seafood after which we gave up on the dance floor.

I didn’t mind. The following day we stumbled in to the Campo de’ Fiori, a wonderful mix of market stalls young men and women posing next to motor bikes and policemen.

We were assured that the evening was the best time to see the place when it became a lively meeting place for young Romans.

But we had a date with another restaurant on the Via Castelfidardo and so we left the square to the young.

I rather think we had the better night,

Location; Rome

Pictures; Ponte Sant’Angelo and the Campo de’ Fiori, 2010, from the collection of Andrew Simpson

Growing up in Eltham in the 1950s ......... stories by Eddy Newport no 4 at the bottom of our garden

The Government Training Centre is now the Nelson Mandela housing estate. 

You can see in in the background of my family photo. That was taken in the garden of the bungalow

.At the bottom of our garden was a large fence, the other side of it was a Government Training Centre.

An establishment set up by the government to help men after the war to get some qualifications to acquire skilled jobs like plumbing carpenters, electricians, gas fitters and hairdressing.

The later being the most popular with the local establishment. Volunteers were asked to be victims to the trainees for practicing their hair cutting skills. On Saturdays, the children were allowed in to have their haircuts.

We would queue up at the gate and then taken through to the large room with all the prospective barbers would be waiting. Depending on who you got, and how much experience he had, you either had a good or bad hair cut.

All this was for free so our parents did not worry, too much, as to how us kids looked like when they came home".

© Eddy Newport 2017

Picture; from the collection of Eddy Newport

Thursday, 23 February 2017

Growing up in Eltham in the 1950s ......... stories by Eddy Newport no 3 Lassie and 58 Rochester Close

Another in the series by Eddy Newport taken from his book, History of a War Baby.

This photo shows the garden of 58 Rochester Close. My brother David and next door neighbours daughter Olive Stark, who was the same age as David.

The dog was our pet Lassie and her pups. How she came to join our family is related below.

Dad was still working in Greenwich and cycled to work every day. One day on his way home he was followed by a stray dog. It turned out to be a wire-haired terrier bitch.

Dad brought her into the house and fed her. It was a mystery as to where she came from. He took her to the police station in Eltham and reported her as a stray. She was not claimed by anyone and so she became an addition to our family.

We named her Lassie. She went with us everywhere. We loved her she had a lovely nature, but she also had the roaming instinct and a couple of time we lost her, but because she had a name tag on her collar we got her back.  She had three lots of puppies at various times from different dogs. Dad had to find homes for all of the pups which he did.

Dad about this time enrolled me in the Cub Scouts. The scout hall was adjacent to the church of St James’s in Kidbrooke Park Road. St James’s church had a very tall spire but was bombed during the war and was just a shell of a building.

Next door was a prefabricated building which was used for the services. Mum had Geoffrey christened there and once we reached a suitable age David and I were sent off to the Sunday school.

What I remember of my time in the cubs was good. I enjoyed the games and I was taught a lot of necessary things to get a badge to sew onto my green jersey.

I managed to become a sixer which meant I had two silver stars on my cap. I felt confident and important and good about myself. That was until I went up into the scouts proper and I could not handle the bullying and complexity of what I had to learn there so I left and that was the end of my scouting days.

© Eddy Newport 2017

Picture; from the collection of Eddy Newport

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

The mystery of the pub with two names and what the archaeologists found on Great Ancoats Street

Now I have to say the stretch of Great Ancoats Street up from Port Street to Dean Street hasn’t had much going for it for years.

The Paganinie, 1851
For as long as I can remember this part of Great Ancoats Street has been a car park which recently was extended with the demolition of the last building in the block.

And now the plot is being redeveloped and will eventually become a mix of residential and commercial properties.

But the foundations of modern buildings go deep and in the process of digging the work uncovered the  site of the Astley Arms which in 1821 was home to Mr Thomas Evans who dispensed beer and cheer to all who fell into his pub.

Currently the site ia an archaeological dig and a fine set of objects have been recovered including a stoneware bottle from J Moorhouse & Co, Hulme; a crockery set bearing the name of the Astley Arms and its first landlord, Thomas Evans and a glass bottle with the logo of a workman's arm.

The full story appeared in the MEN recently and not wanting to steal their thunder I suggest you follow the link where there are details of the finds along with some pictures.*

And that just leave me to puzzle over the name of the pub which as the Astley Arms was selling beer throughout the 19th century and appears so in the street directories, but on the maps of 1849 and 1851 it is recorded as the Paganinie Tavern.

Now there may be a connection with the Italian violinist Nicola Paganini who died in 1840 but the only name for a landlord in the late 1840s and early 50s is a F Webster who to confuse matters doesn’t show up on the rates, still it will all be revealed.

* The forgotten 200-year-old pub discovered under a Northern Quarter building site, September 26, 2016, Katie Butler,  http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/greater-manchester-news/port-street-pub-building-site-11221280

Location; Manchester

Picture; the Paganinie Tavern, 1851 from Adshead map of Manchester, courtesy of Digital Archives, Association, http://digitalarchives.co.uk/

Pictures from an Eltham bus ........ nu 9....... looking at that hole in the ground

The top deck of a London bus has to be a pretty neat way of seeing the world below.

And when it is the same bus at about the same time every day then you have got yourself a project.

All you need is a camera and the patience each week to record the same spot.

It helps if there is a major new development underway like the one in the High Street and the rest as they say is Larissa Hamment’s “Pictures from an Eltham bus.*

There will be many who remember the RACS building in the High Street, which is now just a hole in the ground. Larissa was passing today and took these images commenting "this is the old coop building which will be a cinema....and Greggs."

Location, Eltham High Street, Eltham, London

Picture; February 2017 the old Co-op/Pound Shop site, from the collection of Larissa Hamment

*Pictures from an Eltham bus, https://chorltonhistory.blogspot.co.uk/search/label/Pictures%20from%20an%20Eltham%20Bus

Growing up in Eltham in the 1950s ......... stories by Eddy Newport No 2 School and things

Another  in the series by Eddy Newport taken from his book, History of a War Baby.

After my spell in the infants I moved onto the primary school. At this school my reading improves and things started to make sense. I received my first caning from the headmaster. He was a formidable man very tall and had a bald head. He took the morning assembly and we all had to stand and listen to him making his announcements.

During this time, a boy in the row in front broke wind and I and two others thought this to be very funny and started to giggle.

Mr Froom stopped speaking and pointing to us three and were told to get out and wait outside his office. Off we went, very embarrassed, and waited with a sense of fear, as to what was going to happen to us.

Soon he came along and called us into his office and proceeded to tell us off for making a disruption in assembly. He then took out of a cupboard a long thin cane. He asks us to hold out our right hand and with a quick swish and a pain I shall never forget, got a full strike on the palm. Then he did the same to the left hand.

When we got back to our class we started to cry. I went home that night and told my mum and she sent me to bed as a further punishment. I learnt then, that if at any time I got into trouble, I did not tell Mum or Dad about it.

I was punished a few more times whilst I was at that school. One teacher was very fond of the slipper across the backside, and that was really painful. I made some very good friends at Ealdham Square.  My reading was improving and my education started to gel."

© Eddy Newport 2017

Location; Eltham

Picture; from the collection of Eddy Newport

The Newport’s 1951 at No. 58 Rochester Close Kidbrooke SE3.................

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Standing on the new metro stop at St Peter’s Square

Now I know everyone does the big glass wall windows reflection picture, but it’s been ages since I did one.

So here is the reflection of Central Ref and the Town Hall Extension taken yesterday while waiting for the tram.

And of course pretty soon it will all be very different ...... less a photograph more a moment in time

Location; Manchester

Picture; at the metro stop, 2106 from the collection of Andrew Simpson

Pictures from a book launch ......... Manchester Remembering 1914-18

This may be regarded as a piece of outrageous self promotion or a valid exercise in introducing the new book on Manchester and the Great War.

Two from the day, ....... the Lord Mayor meets Andrew Simpson ...... and Jo and Andrew of Chorlton Bookshop helping the launch by selling Manchester Remembering 1914-18*

Over the last few days I have  thanked many of the people who helped make the book possible and yesterday I talked about all those who turned up on the day.

And today I want to extend a thank you to the Lord Mayor Cll Austen-Behan who who took time out from a very busy round of official visits to cal in at Central Ref for the book launch.

Given that his itinerary for the day was pretty packed the Lord Mayor's Office told me his visit would be a short one.

But he stayed longer than planned, and showed great interest in the book, the exhibition and met some of those whose family members appear in the book.

Leaving me just to also thank Jo of Choelron Bookshop and her husband Andrew who sold copies of the book.

Pictures; from the launch of Manchester Remembering 1914-18 by ALTOSOUNDS

*Manchester Remembering 1914-18 by Andrew Simpson was published by the History Press in February 2017

Order now from the author, or the History Press, http://www.thehistorypress.co.uk/publication/great-war-britain-manchester-remembering-1914-18/9780750978965/and Chorlton Book Shop, info@chorltonbookshop.co.uk 0161 881 6374

*A new book on Manchester and the Great War, http://chorltonhistory.blogspot.co.uk/search/label/A%20new%20book%20on%20Manchester%20and%20the%20Great%20War

Growing up in Eltham in the 1950s ......... stories by Eddy Newport no 1 .... school and things

The first in a series by Eddy Newport taken from his book, History of a War Baby.

Schooling for me was at first at Henwick Road School, which was the other side of the main A2 Rochester Way, a very busy road.

Mother was not happy for me to go there as it was dangerous crossing the road. I went there for a few weeks but mum managed to get me into Ealdham Square infants School in Eltham.

It was about a twenty minutes’ walk from home, but I did not have to cross any major roads on the way. Ealdham Square was built in the middle of a council housing estate and at a guess was constructed around 1930.

I started in the nursery and thought it strange that we had to have a sleep in the afternoon. Fold up beds were put out and with a blanket, we were supposed to nod off for an hour.

I had far too much energy to do that and I hated it. No way could I fall asleep so I just had to stay there and wait until the hour to end. My concentration on lessons was poor and reading and writing was a mystery to me.

I and a friend went on our bikes for a ride to Woolwich one day. Going there, we had to pass the parade ground of the Royal Artillery with its huge expanse of green and a funny named road called Ha Ha Road.

I found that this it is what a sunken ditch is called to act as a barrier but it did not disturb the view as a fence would. Going past the RA parade ground, we saw the Garrison theatre famous for variety shows during the war.

Following the road into the town centre, we arrived at the ferry terminal. We paid our toll and pushing our bikes we went on board. The ferry was a steam driven paddle boat and it was a big thrill to see the big pistons pushing the paddles wheels round.

The river was very polluted then and when the wheels started to churn up the water the smell was bad. Getting to the other side, we headed east along the river until we reached the northern entrance of the Blackwall tunnel.

The tunnel at that time was a single carriageway with traffic passing each other and very dangerous for a cyclist to ride through. However, we went through and when a London bus passed you there was not a lot of room between its wheels and the kerb. Then it was riding back to Kidbrooke via Blackheath. When dad found out we did this trip I got a severe telling off not to do it again."

Back In 1951, when I was 10, mum and dad took David and I to London to see the Festival of Britain along the South Bank. The space age exhibits were very impressive. They had the Dome of Discovery and the Skylon, this was a cigar shape tube pointing towards the sky and supported on cables. It looked to me like a space ship about to be blasted off.

The Shot tower was used to make the lead shot for muskets and shotguns. This was done by pouring molten lead from the top of the tower and letting to fall into a water tank at the base to produce lead pellets.

The Festival Hall was an impressive building and had been built to be used by the performing arts, and it was to become the newest venue for classical and pop concerts. This is the only building left from that exhibition still in use today.

© Eddy Newport 2017

Location; Eltham

Pictures; from the collection of Eddy Newport

*The Newport’s 1951 at No. 58 Rochester Close Kidbrooke SE3.................

Monday, 20 February 2017

Manchester Remembering 1914-18 .......... just who does turn up at a book launch?

Now as many know Saturday was the official book launch of Manchester Remembering 1914-18 at Central Ref.*

Pat and Dorothy
It was a great success and for that I have to thank David Harrop who supplied much of the memorabilia that went into the book, Dorothea and Helen from the City Council who helped with the event and Chorlton Bookshop who sold copies of the book.

And then there were the people who turned up including old friends like Keith and Rhona, and Tom, Val and Joe who I have known for years and even older friends like Greevz and John Evans who I first met in the early 1970s.

A moment in the powerpoint presentation
Added to these were some newer facebook friends like Bill Sumner and Martin and Tony who write for the blog.

There was even a nice sense of continuity in that Oliver Bailey who supplied some of the original source material for my first book, the Story of Chorlton-cum-Hardy which was published five years ago and now lives in the south pooped in to support the launch.

But what made the event very special was the presence of Pat, Dorothy and Nicola who I invited because members of their family are mentioned in the book.

Pat and Dorothy had travelled down from the Lake District.  Their father was Harold Wild a conscience objector who kept a diary during the Great War which described in detail his opposition to the war, the meetings he attended and his own experiences in front of military tribunals.

"To the Brownhill family"
It remains a powerful insight into how one man viewed the war and the hardships he endured as a result.

And I was equally pleased that Nicola could be there.  She had handed over a whole suitcase of material from her family who lived through the conflict and from that suitcase I used a replica of the Cenotaph which appeared in the book.

I know there will be someone who I have missed out and for that I apologise in advance leaving me just to mention my old friend Lois who is also a writer and was on hand to follow each research hiccup.

And then finally there is my family, who have lived through the endless progress reports and given lots of encouragement and never once said “enough Dad”.

The book, 2017
So to Ben Josh and Saul who listened and to Luca who came along as the “official photographer” a big thank you and an even bigger one to my partner Tina who not only saw the project through with great patience but was there on the day running the event while I sat and signed books.

But I cannot close without mentioning the very people who the book was all about.

Very early on I had decided I wanted to remember them by writing about their lives and in the course of doing so present them to a modern readership, exploring the sacrifices they made, their differing opinions about the war and the many ways they faced the struggle, from brave stoicism, to humour and much more.

George Bradford Simpson, circa 1918
And near the end I chose to include a photograph of my own uncle along with the telegram he received from the Queen on his 100th birthday.

It was a decision based less on the fact that he was my uncle but more because between the picture of this young nineteen year old soldier and the centenarian was a man who had a productive and happy life, lived out over three centuries of which the Great War was just a small part.

Location; Manchester

Picture; George Bradford Simpson, circa 1918 from the collection of Andrew Simpson and pictures from the book launch, 2017 by ALTOSOUNDS

*Manchester Remembering 1914-18 by Andrew Simpson was published by the History Press in February 2017

Order now from the author, or the History Press, http://www.thehistorypress.co.uk/publication/great-war-britain-manchester-remembering-1914-18/9780750978965/ and Chorlton Book Shop, info@chorltonbookshop.co.uk 0161 881 6374

*A new book on Manchester and the Great War, http://chorltonhistory.blogspot.co.uk/search/label/A%20new%20book%20on%20Manchester%20and%20the%20Great%20War