Wednesday, 17 May 2017

On Chorlton Green with Derrick A Lea in 1957

We are on the green sometime between 1955 and ’58 outside the Horse and Jockey.

Now I know this because the artist who drew the scene completed a series of pictures of Chorlton during this period.

He was Derrick A Lea and he is one of those local artist who has slipped out of our history.

He lived here during the 1950s through to the ‘70s, and that is about it.  So for now it is his pictures that will have to speak for him.

And today it is this one of the pub on the green.

It is a picture which I like partly because the style reminds me of so many that I grew up with in the 1950s and early 1960s.

Often they were the sort which appeared as adverts in magazines or in prints that were displayed in railway carriages on the trains of the Southern Region.

Most were of the countryside and most showed southern England in full summer.

So this one is somewhat different and what draws me in is not just the wintry scene but the way Mr Lea captures the brisk movement of the couple on the right.  It’s partly their stride as they follow the dog but also the way the woman’s coat spills out covering as it would an equally expansive dress underneath.

This was that period when in direct contrast to the fashions of the war everything was bigger and more showy, as if to say “we are done with rationing and making do.”

And the historian in me is fascinated by the picture of the pub itself which is almost the one we know today but not quite.

In the 1950s it had not extended into the building to right of the entrance below the sign.

This was still a private residence and so had not yet been given the wooden beam effect.  Nor had the top floor of what had once been Miss Wilton’s home been taken down.

But not all in the picture is completely accurate for what looks like a pond in front of the trees is  an invention of Mr Lea’s imagination.

There were village ponds but sadly not here.  There was one further to the south by the Bowling Green Hotel and another on Beech Road stretching from Acres Road up to Chequers Road but not outside the Horse and Jockey.

Not that I am over bothered by the deliberate error.

It remains a pretty neat picture of a moment in the mid 1950s which will be one most of us never knew, and I do like his depiction of the pub and the green on a wintery snowy night.

So it just remains to close by repeating  the image he drew.

Location; Chorlton-cum-Hardy, Manchester

Picture; the Horse and Jockey, Chorlton Green, by Derrick A Lea taken from a greetings card in the possession of my old Margaret.

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