Sunday, 21 May 2017

On Wilbraham Road in the spring of 1913

Now I tried standing in the road at this exact spot yesterday and failed dismally.  

It is that stretch of Wilbraham Road just past the old railway bridge at the corner of Buckingham Road, heading out of Chorlton and yes it is impossible to stand there.

Well I suppose if I had chosen to attempt the task at 4 on a Sunday morning I could have done it but I can think of better things to do at that time.

But if I had been around on a spring day sometime in 1913 I could have happily stood alongside the school boys and been quite safe.

It is another of those remarkable pictures which reminds us just how much has changed.

Apart from the tram on its way into town the only other traffic are the horse and carts.

The terrace of shops and flats that make up Egerton Arcade had only been up for a few years, while the row which now faces it had yet to be built.

And like so many of these early pictures it is the curiosity of the spectators which strikes me most.

 Here are the usual collection of familiar poses, the defiant figure with his arms folded staring resolutely into the camera almost challenging it do its worst, while a little further away a few more look on and in the far distance the workman also pause to stare.

Of course none of the shops have survived, although part of the glass and iron canopy is still in place and I am intrigued by the large lawn roller.

Now from memory there was in the parade up till the late 1980s a hard ware store with its distinctive mix of smells of paraffin and wood and the accumulated pile of odd things including nails, screws and bars of soap.

With a little research I could trace the shop back to 1913 and it is quite possible that the place had neither changed use nor owners.

After all the Lloyd family ran their shop on
Upper Chorlton Road from the beginning of the 20th century well into its final decades.

What was certainly there on that spring day just a little back from the camera and just before Buckingham Road was the old Pavilion theatre, recently renamed the Chorlton Theatre and Winter Gardens.

It was our first cinema and its billboards may well have been a ready source of entertainment for our youngsters before the novelty of the photographer.

Location, Manchester

Picture; from the Lloyd collection

1 comment:

  1. The building at the far end of the shops was Egerton House, on the corner of Egerton Road North. The Hardware shop was Lesters, originally a single shop then extended into next door. Now the Oddest Bar. I knew the Lesters, thier son was at Oakwood with my son. They closed down and all went off to Mid-Wales, I think.