Sunday, 28 May 2017

From furniture shop to restaurant, Coupe to Croma


I remain fascinated by the way that a place you have known and taken for granted changes and almost overnight you forget just how it had been.

For me this corner of Wilbraham and Manchester Roads was M.E.Coupe the furnishers, in the same way that Quamby’s was the toy shop and H. Burt’s was the shop you went to for a pair of braces or cuff links.

For an older generation I suppose there was Stevenson’s the hair dresser whose family firm had operated from the same shop opposite the Post Office since the early years of the last century, and continued in business into the early 1980s or Joy Seal’s the Chemist on Beech Road.

And it is this which makes Tom McGrath’s photographs of Chorlton so interesting.  They are of the near past, and so things look almost as they do today but just not quite the same.  I look at his series taken in 1985 and again in 2012 and it’s a bit like watching the Sweeney.  Everything is just that little old fashioned.

So there is the furniture shop, and for those in the know Coupe’s also had a lock up on Beech Road which had once been the old Methodist Chapel. It was a nice traditional place and I wish I has used it more often.

The pictures also hint at that huge transformation in the retailing fortunes of Chorlton.  From furniture shop to restaurant, it is a development which is mirrored across the township.  Not that this is a rant against the change, just an observation in how things have gone and a timely appeal for any one with similar pictures to share them with us all.

So I would love to see pictures of that bit of Manchester Road which is now the car park and the precinct just after it was opened.

Pictures; from the collection of Tom McGrath

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