Thursday, 4 May 2017

On a warm sunny afternoon on Barlow Moor Road, sometime before 1939

I like the way that old postcards can reveal our past in many different ways.

It’s every much as good as a detective story.

You start with the picture, move on to the postmark and the message and if you are very lucky may learn something from the manufacturer.

So here we are on Barlow Moor Road, sometime before May 1939, and judging from the trees perhaps on a sunny afternoon during the summer of the year before.  The trouble with these postcards is that the image may date back even earlier and will have been reissued over the years.

This one was taken by Harold Clarke of 83 Clarence Road Chorlton, and may have been part of a series issued by Lilywhite Ltd, of Brighouse, in Yorkshire.

There are 21 of his photographs in the Greater Manchester County Records collection dating from 1926 through to 1934 and some from 1926 carry a serial number close to the one in the picture.

Any way enough of the clever stuff and back to Barlow Moor Road on that sunny summer afternoon.  There is as ever a remarkable lack of traffic, with just a few cyclists a stationary hand cart, a couple of trams and what might be either a lorry or a coach away in the distance.

It looks to be afternoon judging from the shadows and the presence of the two school girls and it is scene which has pretty much vanished.

True the right hand side of the road looks familiar enough but the corresponding wall, railings and trees on the other side have long gone.

But having said that they were only demolished some thirty years ago when the road was widened and eventually the slip road onto the Parkway was constructed.

I will remember standing here waiting for a bus into town.  In the summer with the trees and the open land beyond that stone wall this was a pretty pleasant place to wait.

Nor am I alone in thinking so, because Lily writing on the back commented on how they had all enjoyed walking “under the shade of these trees.”

She lived on Withington Road and posted the card with its “Loving birthday greetings” on May 2nd, catching the 6.o’clock collection confident that it would arrive at 39 St Luke Street, Barrow in Furness for the following morning.

And it is still there today.

As is 83 Clarence Road, Chorlton where Harold A Clarke lived.

Although in the case of Clarence Road it is now Claridge which is the one that runs from Manchester Road over Oswald Road and into Peveril Crescent thereby offering up one last intriguing fact.

For here is another of our lost roads, or more accurately one of our renamed roads.

In 1911 there were three Clarence Roads.  There was our own as well as one in Longsight and another in Withington.

So not bad for one postcard.

Picture; from the Lloyd collection

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