Thursday, 31 August 2017

Stories of young people ............. the Children's Act 1908 ....... more from the Together Trust

I have just read the latest blog from the Together Trust on the Children’s Act of 1908 and the charity’s involvement in helping young one person.*

The Children’s Act "made it legal for children to be removed from parents if they were being mistreated or neglected and placed into the responsibility of a ‘fit person.’"*

The rest as they say is there in the story, which just leave me to direct you to the link and the article, and the equally excellent stories by the archivist of the Trust which was the Manchester and Salford Boys’ and Girls’ Refuges.

The charity began in 1870 when it set up a refuge for destitute boys and almost 150 years afterwards still works to help young people and their families.**

Location; Manchester & Salford

Pictures; from Getting Down and Dusty, courtesy of the Together Trust

*The Children's Act, 1908, Getting Down and Dusty,

**The Together Trust,

Revealing the history of Eltham High Street behind its buildings in the summer of 1977

I like this picture which was taken in 1977 of the northern side of the High Street looking down to the parish church.

And the reason why I like it is that it is a good starting point to learning a little of the history of this bit of Eltham.

Of course you have to look and be aware that some of what you see in not what it seems.

So the building which is occupied by the Market, Frisby’s and Granada was built around 1720 with a later addition on its eastern side dating from the mid 19th century.

This was Cliefden House and has been variously a home, a school and now a mix of shops and offices.

According to that wonderful guide, Discover Eltham* “The original upper floor windows remain, apart from the first floor window above the entrance which is modern.  The interior incorporates some 17th century structure, including a fine carved wooden staircase.  Next door at no 103 is the mid 19th century extension”

Until the 1920s it was set back from the High Street behind a wall and front garden, but these vanished I think when the road was widened.

As did the two fine houses which stood a little to the west where the low bungalow shops and the Nat West Bank now stand.

Here were Sherard and Merlewood Houses which in the case of Sherard House dated back to 1634.

Now I am not someone who will defend the retention of every old building which through a combination of age, neglect and size is no longer viable, but the loss of these two seems criminal.

Of the two I suspect Sherard House was the more interesting. It retained many of the original features including “the handsome mantelpieces of carved oak, oak panelling which surrounded the library and the quaint old open fire places. ** 

I would have loved to walk through its 20 rooms and sat in the garden which extended north to the footpath known as the Slip.

But its demolition and replacement by the shops and the bank says much about how Eltham was changing in the early decades of the 20th century which for me was characterized by that big building on the corner of the High Street and Well Hall Road.

Today it is a McDonalds but it was built as a Burtons, dispensing good affordable clothes for men, from readymade jackets and trousers to the “made to measure suit.”

It was opened in 1937 and was about that new style of consumerism which was beginning to make what we now take for granted affordable to a whole new group of people.

And just beyond the shop is the spire of the parish church, pointing us back to Eltham’s rural past.

Picture; Eltham High Street, courtesy of Jean Gammons, detail of Eltham High Street,  1844 from the Tithe map for Eltham courtesy of Kent History and Library Centre, Maidstone,

*Spurgeon, Darrell, Discover Eltham, 2000
** Gregory, R.R.C., The Story of Royal Eltham, 1909

“I wonder if he will ever come back” ............. thoughts from 1916

Now in the course of the last few years I have come across a lot of picture postcards from the Great War.

And as you would expect they range from gentle comedy to the  risqué and suggestive with a fair dollop of sentimental and patriotic messages mixed with simple landscapes and those beautiful embroidered cards.

But I can’t make my mind up about this one.

It was sent in 1916 and while I can see the hint of humour it is a much darker and bitter comment.

The trouble is I have nothing to compare it with so I don’t know if it was part of a series or just a one off.

Given the date it was posted it might be easy to conclude that two years in to the war a degree of weariness and cynicism might have been tapped into by the image of what my Nana would have called a floozie.

And the message on the back expresses the wish that “it was all over and peace again but we must with patience till the sun shines and the daises bloom again.”

It was sent to the Iron Duke which in 1916 was the flagship of the Grand Fleet and the lead ship at the Battle of Jutland.

It had been commissioned in March 1914 and was one the dreadnought battleships serving through out the Great War.

All of which adds to the card which  comes from David Harrop's collection which includes memorabilia from both world wars and the history of the postal service, some of which is on permanent display in the Remembrance Lodge at Southern Cemetery.

I will ask David if he has any other such cards and until then await the experts to pile in and offer chapter and verse but in the meantime it remains an interesting card with a theme I shall return to.

Pictures; “I wonder if he will ever come back” circa 1916 from the collection of David Harrop

That hole in the ground on the High Street

Now anyone who remembers the RACS store on the High Street will no doubt be following the new development.

Over the months it has featured quite a few times.*

And now Ryan has added another picture to the collection ....... which he has entitled, “foundations for crane at the former Co-op store on the High Street” which pretty much says it all.

If like me you left Eltham a long time ago here is one of those little updates that bring you closer to home.

So a thank you to Ryan who regularly sends me fine photographs of Eltham.

Location; Eltham

Tomorrow, Ryan's ghost sign in Lewisham.

Picture; foundations for crane at the former Co-op store on the High Street

*Pictures from an Eltham Bus,  Larissa Hamment,

Crossing Continents ............ one picture, two people, three countries

Now I like the way the blog occasionally wanders off across time and space.

Last summer I met Sandra in the Italian seaside resort of Alba Adriatica and later we swapped facebook friendships.

Yesterday she posted a series of pictures of what she said "was my lake.”

I assumed they were of Italy but it turns out that they are of Lake Constance which is in the south-west corner of Germany, bordering Switzerland.

And that made me wonder if my dad had visited the place when he was taking coach tours across Europe from the late 1930's through to the 1970's.

The coach tours were all inclusive lasted for seven to fifteen days and took in everything from lakes to cathedrals, and mountain  to cities.

It is easy to be a tad sniffy and suggest if the passengers looked away from the window they might miss a country.

But that is to be unfair on what for many was their first opportunity to see continental Europe before cheap holiday packages became the norm.

Which of course just reinforces that idea that the world is really pretty small, and without thinking it we touch so many places

Location; Germany

Pictures; Lake Constance 2016, from the collection of Sandra  Muscella

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Everything you ever wanted to know about Chorlton but never knew who to ask

Now many will be familiar with Alan who dresses well and who in his time has been mistaken for a University professor and a leading member of a 70’s rock group.

Neither of which is true, but for the real story you will have to wait for the publication of our new book on Chorlton which will be out for Christmas.

Following on the success of the other Chorlton books which we have produced individually and collectively we have now finished the “very interesting but little known bits of Chorlton’s past” which features everything from Kemp’s Corner to the story of a library and the Titanic and more than a few people who were either born here, lived here or passed through.

The title is the Quirks of Chorlton-cum-Hardy but for now I shall just fall back on Woody Allen, and say that the theme is simply “everything you ever wanted to know about Chorlton but never knew who to ask.”

So that is it.

The book will be on the shelves of Chorlton Bookshop in mid November and  in someone’s stocking on Christmas Day.

Picture; Painting; Alan © Peter Topping, 2017, Paintings from Pictures,

*The Story of Chorlton-cum-Hardy, Andrew Simpson, 2012, The Story of Hough End Hall, 2014, Peter Topping and Andrew Simpson, 2014, Manchester Pubs The Stories Behind the Doors, Chorlton-cum-Hardy, 2017.

Along with Manchester Remembering 1914-18, Andrew Simpson, 2017, Didsbury Through Time, Peter Topping and Andrew Simpson, 2013 & Manchester Pubs - The Stories Behind the Doors, City Centre, Peter Topping and Andrew Simpson, 2016.

A little bit of gentle fun at the seaside in the 1930s ............. no 7 "I'm Respectable"

A short series reflecting on a bit of gentle fun from the seaside.

Location; at the seaside in Wales

Picture; courtesy of Ron Stubley

Picture postcards, Postcards and their history, Ron Stubley

More stories from the Northern Territory in 1984

It is thirty years since June Pound and her husband travelled across the Northern Territory and that qualifies them as stories of Australia’s past.

It is a vivid account of an area which I guess has already changed, and what I particularly like are those vivid pictures which perfectly capture the landscape with its mix of arid and sun burnt ground and those pockets of fresh water.

"When we left Kununurra camping ground behind us we entered into even more arid and dusty country as we started heading south. 

At Wyndham, which is a very ugly outback town, we pull into a garage for fuel and quick look around this remote place. 

Here the houses were built mainly of asbestos cement and the gardens are dry and dusty and almost non-existent except for a few tired looking shrubs in gaudily painted old tyres. 

On the way again we were driven up a very steep little hill to a lookout the Five Rivers Lookout from which there is a view where on a clear day you could probably see forever but  there are grass fires burning making the whole area hazy. 

The Five Rivers are the Forrest, the Ord, the Durack, the King and the Chamberlain. 

Explorers had trouble here finding the right river to navigate to the better country inland. 
Wyndham probably owes its existence to the meat-works where cattle are slaughtered to be sent overseas or down to southern markets. 

Blood and offal, in those days, washed into the sea and, naturally, attracted hundred of salt-water crocodiles. 

Even the sea looked sullen and depressing beneath the hazy sky. 

We then headed away from Wyndham and the coach pulled up in what looked like a God-forsaken spot where we were to have our lunch. 

We were then directed to a track which led down a steep cliff, I could not climb it now, but I went down it then as we always needed exercise after sitting for some hours in the coach. 

Lo and behold, at the bottom of the cliff there was a delightful waterhole in the desert with crystal clear water where we all had a swim! 

Most refreshing. This was called the Grotto and it was complete with a rope swing for the adventurous! We also looked at a hill where there was a wall of stone made by nature for all the world like the 'Great Wall of China'. It runs across the hills here for some 15 or 16 kms. 

We spent the night at Hall's Creek which has had quite an interesting history. There were a great many small dark reddish stones here protruding from the ground. 

There was a great deal of ironstone around this part of the country. 

Then we arrived at 'Old' Hall's Creek, now a ghost town and now in ruins. Forrest once reported that there was a possibility of gold being found here and, in 1885 gold was discovered by Charlie Hall and his mate 
Jack Slattery. 

Their first payable load of gold, some 200oz, was carried to Derby on the coast and this started a rush to Old Hall's Creek. 

All that was left when we were there was part of the old Post Office, built of adobe and the cemetery on the hill along with an old windlass and bucket. 

There was talk of restoring this so that people could see what the town was once like. I have a feeling I have told you before about Russian Jack who pushed his dying mate in a wheelbarrow to the port, three hundred miles away!

We had our lunch at another pool, called the Caroline Pool, that day. That night we camped at Geikie Gorge National Park where the facilities were fairly basic. Our tents were right in the bush. 
Next morning we cruised along the Geikie Gorge in a barge and enjoyed the view." 

Text © June Pound

Pictures; from the collection of June Pound, 1984

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Chorltonville from the air

Chorltonville is is tucked away south of the Brook and was opened in 1911. 

This aerial picture dates from the 1920s when there were still fields close by.

 To the north are the farm buildings of Oak Bank Farm while at the bottom of the picture is the land stretching out to the Mersey.

Picture: from the Lloyd collection

A little bit of Naples in 1890 ..... part 1

A street in Naples circa 1890
I am fascinated by street scenes and especially of those taken in the late 19th century of the poorer and rundown bits of our city.

But as ever wanting to branch out I decided it was time to look at other cities in other parts of Europe and so courtesy of the publishers, Intra Moenia  are a collection of street scenes from Naples during the last part of the 19th century.*

In a city where people lived outside as much as inside their homes here are vivid pictures of life in a southern Italian city and compare with what Samuel Coulthurst was recording here in Manchester at roughly the same time.**

*Napoli coom’era, 2013

**Samuel L Coulthurst,

Monday, 28 August 2017

The Kenora Great War Project ........ Susan Hillman Brazeau

The Kenora Great War Project ............. Susan Hillman Brazeau

It started out in the late days of 2012 with three local organizations and, in particular, three women - Judy, Becky and Gloria - who were interested in both research and Great War history.

Lake of the Woods Milling Company
Over a cup of coffee, they discussed ideas about how best to commemorate those fateful years between August 4, 1914 and November 11, 1918.

One suggestion was to research the names of those local servicemen and women who died serving Canada.  This thought gradually led to the inclusion of all who had some connection to the Kenora area and who had served in World War 1. Thus began a project, the enormity of which none of them could have imagined.

Kenora sits on the western edge of the vast province of Ontario in Canada. Only a 40- minute drive from the Manitoba border. Its nearest neighbours are the villages of Keewatin, just across the bridge; Redditt, located on the Canadian National Railway line about 40 miles to the north; and the summer village of Minaki only a few miles west of Redditt.

The overall population of this area when war broke out was no more than 10,000.  Yet, these communities, in this remote area of north-western Ontario, saw an enlistment of almost 1800 individuals, mostly young men.  Despite this sizeable number and resulting sizeable undertaking, the group, which now called themselves, The Kenora Great War Project, decided to learn all their names, research each person, and write individual tributes. These tributes would then be placed on the group’s own site and that of a larger, national website called The Canadian Great War Project.  

It was not an easy task, but it was one full of enthusiasm and required dedication and commitment.  It was demanding, time consuming, frustrating and challenging. It required careful research to ensure factual detail.
Others who had an interest in researching and writing tributes were invited to participate, but, as time passed, the original three have completed the bulk of the work.

The Keewatin Honour Roll
The project required scrutiny of the Personnel Data Base, War Diaries and other relevant databases on the Library and Archives Canada. Contacts were made with Royal Canadian Legion branches; local cemeteries; families, when they could be located; the Lake of the Woods Museum; and, local historians or people who might be able to share stories or information.

Each cross and headstone in the military section of the Lake of the Woods Cemetery was photographed and cemetery records gone through. The names on memorial plaques and the cenotaphs were recorded and also photographed.  Local newspaper archives were read page by page to find every war related article from this period.  Almost immediately, the research extended beyond the Kenora area, right across Canada and to other countries.

It is now the end of year five, since the project first began to take shape. Over 1400 individuals have their tributes placed on the two websites.  The goal is to have most of the tributes, onsite by November 11, 2018, even if only partially completed.

For my part, I will have contributed about 60 tributes, upon completion of the project. Each person’s story is of value and deserved to be written and remembered.  Yet, there were those who were a bit more interesting or exciting than others, such as my great uncles and friends of my family.
 A particular challenge was the American who enlisted with the Canadian Expeditionary Forces and changed his name three times.

The Ice Candles, Lake of the Woods Cemetery
An emotional search was for the veteran who died alone, in a cabin in the woods many years after the war and who was buried under a military cross with the wrong name. I eventually uncovered his history, his name and found his family, who had always wondered what happened to him.
Then, there was the young soldier, who later became a prominent figure in Kenora, and whose very first medical entry in his file, before he even left for England, was his treatment for gonorrhea.

Telling details of the individual, yet collective experiences of the war are found in almost every personnel record: death; hospitalization; shell shock; lifelong respiratory conditions from mustard gas. Shrapnel and gun shot wounds; being covered with mud for days in collapsed trenches; the loss of limbs; or, the loss of the use of one or more limbs, are all found, somewhere, amongst the tributes to the men and women whose names are being etched in the Kenora Great War Project.

I came to the project in August of 2014 and began to learn so much more about the Great War and Canada’s role than I thought I would. Overall, my participation has been one of the most satisfying and meaningful experiences in 30 years of research.

In honour of those who served…

Susan Hillman Brazeau BA, MA-IS
August 27, 2017

Photos courtesy of the Kenora Miner & News; and, the author’s own collection.

Sunday, 27 August 2017

In the trenches with My Dug Out Dream and other pictures and stories

Now I wonder if my great uncle Roger read the book Oh Canada which was “a medley of stories, verse, pictures and music contributed by members of the Canadian Expeditionary Force.”

The Byng Boys, 1916-
He served with the C.E.F., from 1915 untill the duration.

On balance I think not, partly because of what I know about him and mainly I suspect because the book was meant for an audience living in Canada.

I can’t be sure until I have done some more research but I think it will be one of those patriotic productions aimed at keeping an interest in the war by featuring stories from men of C.E.F. who were on active service on the battle fronts.

And I expect there was a fund raising element, but all that will have to wait for more research.  At present the title “Oh Canada” has only thrown up references to Canada’s national anthem.

My Dug Out Dream
The book has just been acquired by my old friend David Harrop, and in time I hope to see the original.

It is a first edition and was published in 1916.

But for now I shall just leave you with some of the images he has taken from the book which looks to be a fascinating insight into Canada at war.

My favourites are My “Dug Out” Dream, from an original drawing by Captain R.G. Matthews, C.E.F., and  “The Byng Boys are here.”

“The Bing Boys Are Here, styled ‘A Picture of London Life, in a Prologue and Six Panels,’ is the first of a series of revues which played at the Alhambra Theatre, London during the last two years of World War I. 

The series included The Bing Boys on Broadway and The Bing Girls are There. 

The music for them was written by Nat D. Ayer with lyrics by Clifford Grey, who also contributed to Yes, Uncle!, and the text was by George Grossmith, Jr. and Fred Thompson based on Rip and Bousquet's Le Fils Touffe. 

Other material was contributed by Eustace Ponsonby, Philip Braham and Ivor Novello.

The Bing Boys Are Here opened in 1916 in the West End and ran for 378 performances. 

It was one of the three most important musical hits of the London stage during World War I”*

Location; Canada

Pictures; from Oh Canada, 1916, courtesy of David Harrop.

* The Bing Boys Are Here,

Badge of the week no.3 .......... celebrating Manchester Airport

The third in the series featuring badges from the collection with a bit of a story.*

Now I have to be honest these two are not from the collection but were recently posted by Stephen Marland who like me revels in all things odd, interesting and different.

So here are two badges celebrating Manchester Airport which Stephen thinks date from the late 1960s.

And they offer up a host of supplementary questions from who made them to why were they created.

Of course there will be someone who recognises them and will have their detailed history ready to be told.

I hope so.

Location; Manchester

Picture; Manchester Airport, courtesy of Stephen Marland

*Badges of the week,

Hidden and forgotten .......... bits of our not so distant past ............. road signs I like nu 3

Now actually there is nothing hidden or forgotten about the road sign announcing Dunvegan Road.

It is there where I remember it and was recorded by Ryan yesterday.  But it is showing its age a little but it remains a fine example and enters the Hall of Fame of road signs and street furniture.

Thanks Ryan.  There are plenty more I know, Karen from Peckham found one, “just off Camberwell New Road, not too far from Camberwell Green. The same side as the Greek church” and Adam also in Peckham has wandered over to New Cross to find some.

And Neil and Bill ferreted out ones from Warrington and Macclesfield.

And in the interests of recording more for the series Road Signs and Street Furniture lost and found, ......... bring them on down.

Location, Well Hall, Eltham, London

Picture; Dunvegan Road, 2016, from the collection of Ryan Ginn

Saturday, 26 August 2017

The picture of Rusholme that washed up in London and came back to Chorlton

Now I grant you it’s not the zippiest of titles but it does the business.

Wilmslow Road, date unknown
We are on Wilmslow Road although I don’t exactly have a date.

But I know that in 1911 the Clarence Pub was run by Mr James Oldham and his neighbour at number 83 which is just visible in the picture belonged to George C. Pinchien, tobacconist and more about both gentlemen at a later date.

The has gone but more recently has been a restaurant.

Mr Oldham of the Clarence Inn and his neighbours, 1911
The picture was sent up to me by my friend Tricia who still lives close to where I grew up in Eltham in South East London, which pretty much explains the title.

Tricia saw a picture I have in the collection of London Transport Tram 1622, on route 40 to the Embankment via the Old Kent Road and Westminster and prompted her to share this one of a Manchester Corporation tram on Wilmslow Road.

The Clarence Inn, date unknown
And as you do I went looking for a date, which I have yet to find, but in the process I did discover that along with the Clarence Inn and Mr Pinchien there was Mr Albert Barber, the butcher, Herbert Mee, the saddler, and Mrs Ann Maria Willcocks, shopkeeper all of whom were neighbours of the Maypole Diary Company and John Armstead, milliner.

Which just leaves me to wonder whether anyone will be able to come up with a date.

And in answer to that question my old mate Andy Robertson has gone one better and sent over a picture of the Clarence Inn from 2015.

It was back then the Pharaoh  but I am not quite sure if it was a night club or a place to eat.

But someone will come back with chapter and verse, adding their own stories of nights in the place and perhaps even of nights when it was the Clarence Inn.

We shall just have to see.

Location; Wilmlsow Road

Picture; Wilmslow Road, date unknown from the collection of Tricia Lesley and the Clarence Inn in 2015 courtesy of Andy Robertson.

Revisiting the Great War nu 4 ............ "there shall be NO STRIKE OR LOCKOUT"

Munitions workers, Openshaw, 1918
The right of ordinary men and women to go on strike during a war came in for a lot of comment in the newspapers during 1915.

And a century or so later there might still be those who think it was wrong, unpatriotic and more than a little cynical given the sacrifice being played out on the Western Front.

Of course then and now the reasons for that industrial conflict have for some been neatly swept to the corners, and words like greed, unprincipled and even cowardly could be used to explain what went on.

Certainly at the time the papers were quick to print letters from men at the Front questioning the strikes while the Government forced through compulsory arbitration for wage disputes and suspended trade union rights in munitions factories making strikes in factories engaged in war work illegal.*

Bullet Factory, Woolwich Arsenal, 1918
“One of the most emphatic provisions of the Act is that, during the war, whatever differences may arise there shall be NO STRIKE OR LOCKOUT ........ Under the Act the meaning of the terms “strike” and “lockout” are broader than their generally accepted meaning in normal times.  

Workmen need not necessarily walk out, to be on strike, nor need the doors be closed against the men to constitute a lock out.  

Any concerted action by workmen, which involves any stoppage of work, with the purpose of compelling an employer, to accept, or to aid workmen to compel an employer, to accept any “terms or conditions of or affecting employment” is, in the sense of the Act, a strike**

For which the penalty for any workmen involved in a strike was £5 a day or part of a day

Added to which in factories engaged in the manufacture of armaments workers were forbidden to leave their current job for another without obtaining the consent of the employer were prevented from refusing to take on a new job regardless of the rate of pay and could not refuse to do overtime whether this was paid or not.

And while the act made it clear that these provisions only covered demands for pay or conditions of work sitting behind this piece of legislation was the far more draconian Defence of the Realm Act*** which could be used against “any person who, inter alia, “attempts to impede, delay, or restrict the production, repair, or transport of war material or any other work necessary for the successful prosecution of the war.”**

Cost of living demonstration, 1915
The year had seen large numbers of strikes, some over issues directly related to the regulations prohibiting workers leaving without the consent of the employer.

In Openshaw in August this had led to confrontation between the firm Armstrong, Whitworth and the workforce over the dismissal of 121 men from the armour plate department without the relevant certificates allowing them to get work elsewhere.

Elsewhere the issue was simply the rising cost of living which was not being matched by a similar rise in pay in some industries.

As early as February 1915 the Manchester Guardian had reported that wages were “much as they were before the war.”****

At a time when the cost of food, fuel and rents were on the increase.

Speaking in Manchester at a large public meeting in February Henry Hyndman the leading socialist pointed out “since the war had begun prices had gone up 22%, so that now the purchasing power of a sovereign was from 13s. 6d to 13s.9d.”*****

At the Front, 1916
That said not all industrial disputes centred around pay, in Oldham the employees of the Co-op were in dispute over the Society’s refusal to pay women the same rate as men, while at Sandbach the issue was over the refusal of Foden’s the truck builders  to recognise a trade union.

All of which brings us back to that simple observation that here there is much more to find out, including trawling the full records of strikes in 1915 and bringing to the fore the words of those involved.

Pictures;courtesy of the Labour History Archives & Study Centre,  at the People’s History Museum, Manchester, Women Munitions workers Belsize works, Openshaw, 1918 m08093, courtesy of Manchester Libraries, Information and Archives, Manchester City Council, the Bullet Factory, Arsenal, Woolwich, 1918,  from the collection of Mark Flynn, Daily Mail War Postcards, 1916, courtesy of David Harrop

*Munitions of War Act 1915

**1915 Act, s.2(1), p61, 1915 Act s. 19(b), p81 from Employers and Workmen Under the Muntions of War Act 1915 & 1916, 2nd edition 1917, page 31-31

***Defence of the Real Act, August 1914, It gave the government wide-ranging powers during the war period, such as the power to requisition buildings or land needed for the war effort, or to make regulations
creating criminal offences.

****War Effects on Wages and Conditions, Manchester Guardian February 20 1915

*******LABOUR AND FOOD PRICES. A FREE TRADE HALL PROTEST, Manchester Guardian Feb 15 1915

Friday, 25 August 2017

Reach Out to the Community ...........

Now the history of the charity shop in Chorlton has yet to be written.

And before someone passes a sniffy comment about such a project I would just remind them of how important such shops are, from the work they do, and the people they help to that simple observation that without them a lot of Chorlton’s retail units would be empty.

The trouble is we tend to take them for granted and I doubt many of us could say which charity opened up first and how each of their stories have panned out.

So that is the challenge should anyone care to take up the project.

Peter has made a start with this painting  for Reach Out to the Community which supports “people struggling with the most basic of needs: food and shelter.”

It focuses on two groups: rough sleepers in and around the Chorlton area of Greater Manchester, and local individuals and families who are in food poverty, especially those who are particularly vulnerable, for example the elderly.”*

He will be donating the painting to the charity and for those who want to know just what the charity does and what you can do for the charity just follow the link at the bottom.*


Painting; Reach out to the Community,© Peter Topping 2017.


Facebook: Paintings from Pictures,

* Reach Out to the Community, A new website is on its way. In the meantime please connect with the initiative through social media:

The Missing 1953 Coronation photograph ............. can anyone help?

Now I recently made friends with Frank Tomlin who lived on Dagnall Avenue in the 1950s and who has kindly shared some of his photographs from the period featuring his family and his friends.

The pictures perfectly recreate that time when the summer holidays stretched on forever and everyday was an adventure.

Leaving all of us just to decide whether to head out onto the meadows or catch the Corporation bus and ask to be put off at the end of the line, just to see what was there.

And Frank has now asked if anyone can track a missing photograph.

He writes, "Andrew one of my mates who passed away a few years ago, had a photograph of a Dagnall Ave 1953 street party for the Coronation.  The photograph has since been lost and I wonder if anybody on your site still has a copy?"

Well let’s hope so.  You can leave a message on the blog or via the facebook and twitter sites

Location; Dagnall Avenue, 1953

Picture; Frank and family in the garden of number 2 Dagnal Avenue, circa 1953, from the collection of Frank Tomlin

Some of the men who went to fight from Oldham .......... pictures of the Great War

Now I am at the limits of what I know about this picture.

It is a group of soldiers outside the Oldham Colloseum and comes from the collection of David Harrop.

I don’t have a date and am not sure what they were doing there.

If you look closely some of the men are wearing spurs, one is holding what looks like a harness and most are wearing those leather belts which I always associate with the cavalry.

The posters behind them advertise the Oldham Colloseum but the name of the big star of the week is obscured so it is difficult to get a date from the billing and likewise the announcement of BOXING gives up no other clues.

So there you have it, but I am confident there will be someone who has far more military knowledge than me and will be able to tell us more.

And I would like that if only to provide us with a little more on these men.

Some smile back at the camera, one strikes a defiant pose and a few and they are the older men in the picture look back with sombre expressions which I guess pretty much sums up the range of feelings of men swept up by that conflict.

Picture; from the collection of David Harrop

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

1916 ......... leaving behind the migration of children

Now I may be wrong but I think the Manchester and Salford Boys’ and Girls’ Refuges were the first children’s charity to stop migrating children to Canada.

The Children's Garden Village, date unknown
They had started a little later than most and never sent as many as some of the migrating societies.

And in 1916 as part of the cut backs forced on the charity by the war it closed the emigration department indefinitely, having decided that, “for years to come the young men of the nation will all be needed at home.”*

Even more significant was the decision three years later to leave the city and relocate to the countryside.

“An estate of 22 acre has been bought at Cheadle in Cheshire, and it is proposed to adapt the buildings already on the estate to the needs of the children.  Part of the estate will be put under cultivation and give employment to some of the elder boys.  

The development in Cheadle
The scheme also entails the erection of cottage homes for the use of young children at present compelled to live at orphan homes of the city, and would allow for the establishment of central offices and a central receiving home.”**

This marked a huge shift from an organisation which started as a response to the desperate plight of destitute and needy children into something which sought to integrate young people into the community by sending them to local schools and fostering the links with the area.

But more than this it was a recognition that “the day of great buildings had gone, and collectivism had given place to individualism.  

The method now in practice in the Children’s Garden Village was to divide the mass into small families.  

In pursuance of this plan two more homes would be ready for occupation in a few months, one giving accommodation for 20 boys and the other for 20 girls.”***

This was to be the Children’s Garden Village and it anticipated both the Curtis Report of 1946, and the Children’s Act  of 1948 which put great emphasis on the idea of homes not institutions.

The charity retained a presence in the twin cities of Manchester and Salford but in time it would move completely into what was then still countryside, and underwent a series of name changes culminating with its present title of the Together Trust.

For anyone interested in the history of child care the story of the Trust pretty much charts the changes in how we have cared for young people over the last century and a bit.

The move to Cheadle forms part two of the history of the charity which I am writing with their archivist.****

Now I know this is not strictly British Home Children but it will I suspect prove interesting.

Location; the twin cities and Cheadle.

Pictures; courtesy of the Together Trust,

*Manchester and Salford Boys’ and Girls’ Refuges and Homes Special Christmas Appeal, Manchester Guardian, December 20 1916

** The Children’s Refuge, A Fifty Years’ Record in Manchester, An Appeal for the Future, Manchester Guardian, March 10, 1920

*** The Children’s Refuges A Manchester Charity’s Year, Manchester Guardian, April 9, 1925

**** A new book on the Together Trust

Remembering those from New Zealand and Australia who rest in Southern Cemetery

Now here is a book from the end of the conflict.

Final Campaign Number
It belongs to Allan Dodson who lives in New Zealand and there is something poignant in that banner headline announcing “Final Campaign Number July 24 1919.”

And I am guessing many of those who read the edition were preparing for that long journey back home.

Sadly not all of them for some like Lance Corporal Alleyne Gordon Webber of the Otago Mounted Rifles.*

He was born in New Zealand, died at Gallipoli and he is remembered on a monument in Southern Cemetery.

It is quite humbling to uncover the life of lance Corporal Webber and more so because it has brought together a number of people who have contributed to the story of this young man and his brother and friend.

I first came across Lance Corporal Alleyne Gordon Webber on a photograph of his monument taken by David Harrop.

The memorial
David has a long association with the cemetery and his permanent exhibition commemorating those who participated in both world wars can be seen in the Remembrance Lodge at Southern.

The memorial also records the names of Private Gerard K Webber and Private Allan Hamilton Ross.

Private Ross was killed at the beginning of the Battle of the Somme just fourteen days after it started.

Private Webber was wounded at the last engagement during the Battle of the Somme and died here in Manchester of his wounds just seven months after his brother Alleyne

And it is fitting as we move towards the centenary of the Somme and the special exhibition that David has mounted in the Remembrance Lodge, that Alan also has “a number of stories of men with Porirua & Nelson connections who were at the Somme including a young 2nd Lt who was one of the first ‘Over the Top’ on July 15.”

I hoping that he will share these with me and they can be included in the stories on the ANZAC soldiers who fought in the campaigns at Gallipoli and on the Western Front and are buried here in Southern Cemetery.

Lance Corporal Alleyne G Webber, circa 1914
Nor is that all for Paul Wright has also sent me some fascinating books produced for ANZAC units including “New Zealand at the Front Written and Illustrated in France by Men of the New Zealand Division.”

All of which widens the scope of the commemorations being held in Southern Cemetery on July 1st.

Location; Southern Cemetery

Pictures; cover of Chronicles of the NZEF, courtesy of Allan Dodson, and other pictures from the collection of David Harrop

*New Zealand,

Lance Corporal Alleyne G Webber, circa 1914