Wednesday, 14 June 2017

On Blackfriars Street in 1894

We are on Blackfriars Street sometime at the beginning of April 1894.

Now I can be pretty certain of that because our old friend Samuel L Coulthurst wrote the location on the picture and the dates on the adverts place it just before April 7.

It is that classic image most of have of a northern city.

One of the women wears a shawl; another is in one of those long dresses with a white apron while the men all wear the distinctive hats of the period or the equally characteristic flat cap.

It is a period when the young still dressed like their elders and so in the centre is a youngster who looks just like a cut down version of the men around him.

And it is all in the detail, from the enamel jug held by one woman to the slightly dirty hands of one the men.

I would love to know what is going on, for while the woman in the shawl looks directly at Mr Coulthurst, the attention of the rest has been caught by something we cannot see.

The clue may be the half obscured man facing us who at pinch might be singing or addressing the crowd.

It may be a fancy on my part but there is just a hint that the woman with the shawl and jug looks a tad apprehensive, but I might be wrong.

The original notes accompanying the photograph may help but sadly I don’t have access to them.

They appear to have been quite detailed including a description, catalogue number and the photographer’s name.

And the image formed part of a wider collection which had been commissioned by the Manchester Amateur Photographic Society which under took the first photographic survey of Manchester and Salford between 1892-1901.

So our Blackfriars picture is one of these.

But even given the absence of those notes there is much that the photograph offers up.

On the wall there are countless adverts which take us back into Manchester and Salford of the 1890s.

Alderman Dickins who features on the Sale of Works ad for April 6 & 7 was a prominent Conservative politician on the city council who in 1894 was in his mid 50s and described himself as a cotton merchant.

Croxton Park Races was an annual event which drew large crowds.

They were held near the village of Waltham of the Wolds which is in Leicestershire and is another example of the degree to which Victorian past times had long since extended beyond local boundaries.

It appears to have begun in 1821 and lasted till 1914.*

That said I doubt that any of our crowd would have made that journey.
And for now I will leave them watching the event captured by Mr Coulthurst.

There is more here, like the location of the grand house at OLD TRAFFORD,   SOLD FOR AUCTION and what looks to be the announcement of an election.

But they will wait for another time.

Picture; Blackfriars Street, 1894, Samuel L Coulthurst, m 80496, courtesy of Manchester Libraries, Information and Archives, Manchester City Council,

*Croxton Races: pre 1881, Waltham on the Wold,

1 comment:

  1. I recognise the location, just before the bridge on Blackfriars Street​.