Thursday, 18 May 2017

A tram and the Pleasant Sunday Afternoon Brotherhood



I suppose that old W.C. Fields line, “Never work with children or animals” could be adapted to include never write stories about trams because they have a habit of taking over.

I never realized just how those old bone shakers can still attract people.

The last ran in Manchester in 1949 and the last to clunk and sway its way into the township was even earlier.

But people like looking at them so here is another.

We are at the junction of Barlow Moor Road, High Lane and Sandy Lane sometime in the early 20th century.

A generation or so before and this would have been known as Lane End or by some as Brundrett’s Corner which was its popular name dating back to the grocers shop run by the Brundrett family.

I like these old unofficial names for places which spring from people’s experiences.  If you had taken the tram back down Barlow Moor Road it would have brought you up at Kemp’s Corner named after Harry Kemp who owned the chemists on the corner.

Well into the 1960s it was one of the recognized meeting places in Chorlton, all but forgotten now and superseded by its title of  Four Bank Corner or just the Four Banks, which means more I suspect than the official name of Chorlton Cross.

This picture has all that charm of early photography when people still posed in front of the camera.  But what attracted me to the picture, is the sign in the grounds of the church announcing the business of the PSA Brotherhood.

Now I had come across the Pleasant Sunday Afternoon Brotherhood back in the 1970s in Ashton Under Lyne.

They were what they said they were an organization designed to provide a pleasant afternoon with a Christian slant on a Sunday.  The first seem to have sprung up in the mid 1870s and their first national conference was in London in 1906.

Now this is another of those areas I want to dig deep into.  There was a political dimension  “The long standing relationship between political Liberalism and Nonconformity brought active Liberals into the movement. 

In the early twentieth century key Labour and Trade Union leaders became actively involved in the PSA/Brotherhood Movement. Labour MPs Arthur Henderson and Will Crooks, and the Liberal MP Theodore C. Taylor were all present at the founding of the National Association of Brotherhoods, PSAs etc in London in 1906. 

Keir Hardie, was also actively involved, he was a main speaker for a Brotherhood Crusade in Lille in 1910. Arthur Henderson MP was elected National President in 1914. The National Adult School Union’s ‘One and All’ journal reported 7 out 9 ‘adult school men’ who stood for parliament were successful in 1910.”*

And there appears to be a Temperance aspect so there is a lot to play for and find out.

I had not thought they had a presence in the south of the city but they were here.  Harry Kemp’s Chorlton Alamack for 1910 listed

“The P.S.A. (Men’s Meeting),  Macfayden Memorial Church.  Sundays, 3 p.m. William S Bradshaw, 4, Beechwood Avenue. & P.S.A. (Men’s  and Women Meeting), Wesleyan Mission Hall. Sundays, 3 p.m, Secy., E.H. Astle, 34 Reynard Road.”

And all this and a tram to.  Well worth the read.

* The Early Adult School and Brotherhood Movements in the West Midlands: Adult Education, Evangelism or Social Activism?, European Social Science History Conference, Glasgow, April 14 2012

Picture; from the Lloyd collection

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