Tuesday, 21 March 2017

When asking for the "Four Banks" could have become "Three Banks and a bar"

Now for a long time if you told someone here in Chorlton you would meet them by the Four Banks all you had to worry about was which of the four corners of Barlow Moor and Wilbraham Road they would be on.

Not that it was much of a problem because from the HSBC or the Nat West or for that matter the other two you had a commanding view of anyone standing there.

Of course if you are older you will know the spot outside the HSBC as Kemp’s Corner, a name it retained from the beginning of the 20th century through to the 1960s and was derived from the fact that here was Harry Kemp’s Chemists with the added advantage that he had had the foresight to attach a big clock to the front of the shop.

All of which made perfect sense in a pre mobile age when many didn’t even have a watch which meant that Hurry’s clock was the perfect spot to gauge whether your friend was late or on time.

And for those wanting an even more timeless and indeed seamless link, back before Hary Kemp our spot was known as “Bank Corner.”

The names all point to that simple observation that places acquire their names less because of an official decision but more often arise from custom and practice and arise out of peoples’ experiences..

So the junction of Barlow Moor and Wilbraham Road is officially Chorlton Cross but in the two decades and a bit since it was given that name I have heard only one person use it.

By contrast “The Four Banks” makes perfect sense given the position of a bank on each corner.

But yesterday a For Sale sign went up on one of the Four and for a brief few minutes I wondered if this was the end of an era.

Added to which given the growth industry in bars, restaurants and fast food outlets perhaps we would be asking for “Three Banks and a bar.”

That said I have been told that the For Sale sign does indeed refer to the floor above the bank, leaving the now popular name of the Four Banks intact.

Location; Chorlton

Picture; looking down Wilbraham Road, circa 1910, from the Lloyd Collection

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