Friday, 28 July 2017

So no more will I meet you at Kemps’ Corner

One of Chorlton best known landmarks .... rebuilt to form an extension to a bank
Kemp’s Corner is no more and lives only in the memories of  older residents.  

And yet for more than half a century it was one of the places in Chorlton which was a recognised meeting place.

It was located on the corner of Wilbraham and Barlow Moor Roads and was the site of Harry Kemp’s Chemist shop.

Now it is a story I have told before but is worth bringing out of the shadows again underling that simple observation that despite planners efforts to designate a place with an official name if it doesn’t catch the popular imagination it will not be used.

So it is with the junction of the two roads.  The official name which appeared just before the end of the last century is Chorlton Cross, but older people still think of it as Kemp’s Corner and most people today refer to it simply as the Four Banks.

Detail from the story in the Stretford and Urmston Journal, 1978
Both names arose out of popular usage, for not only was Kemp’s Chemist a prominent shop and he was a local politician but above the shop door was a big clock which I guess made meeting there that bit easy while today the presence of  a bank on each corner continues to make it a landmark.

All of which is a long way round to this newspaper report which captured the moment when Kemps’ Corner disappeared.

The Chemist had been run by the Coop for a while and then became a fast food out let but eventually the Midland Bank bought the building and set to converting it.

And the rest is almost history, for as someone said to me the idea that the place could have been known as Kentucky Fried Chicken Corner was just not going to happen.

Once the Midland had taken the corner we were on the way to the “Four Banks” which is itself an echo of an earlier name.  For back at the end of the 19th century someone had told a friend on a postcard to meet her at Bank Corner.

Picture; the Chorlton edition of the Stretford and Urmston Journal, April 13, 1978

1 comment:

  1. On otherwise quiet sunday mornings in the 60's Kemp's corner took on new life as an alfresco pop-up newsagents, with the sunday papers stacked up on the broad shop steps.