Tuesday, 28 February 2017

One hundred years of one house in Chorlton part 80 ...... on a cold wet February day settling down with the wireless

The continuing story of the house Joe and Mary Ann Scott lived in for over 50 years and the families that have lived here since.*

As the snow came down, 2017
Now however the rest of the day turns out the beginning has been pretty miserable.

The first bright promise of what might have been soon deteriorated into driving sleet which became snow matched by one of those heavy leaden skies which all but touched the ground.

And with no intention of going out I got thinking about what Joe and Mary Ann would have done with their day.

Of course given that this is a Tuesday Joe will have been at work but as a builder I suspect his projects will have ground to a halt, leaving him and his employees to sit in the office behind the house and ponder on what to do.

For Mary Ann there would be plenty to engage her time, from the regular chores of keeping the place clean to planning and preparing the meals for the day.

The house, 1974
And I guess all of this would have been accompanied by the wireless which offered up the choice of the Home Service which specialised in news and discussion and the Light Programme with its mix of popular music drama and comedy.

Both of these were the background to my childhood, although there did seems a clear division between mum who preferred the Home Service and dad who spent the evening with a book and the likes of Professor Edwards, the ITMA team and “Sing Something Simple.”

The possible clash of interests was mitigated sometime in the mid 1950s when we got a television set which mother embraced with enthusiasm leaving dad to the radio.

I don’t know if there was a similar divide of interest in the Scott household who got their telly about the same time as we did.

That said during the 50s and even the early 60s the television was very much something for the evening leaving the day to the radio.

Doing things, 1947
It was there while mum dusted, cooked and got on with all the other daily chores, and in turn it was what I listened to while reading, drawing or just “doing things”.

And the magico f the wireless particularly the Home Service was its ability to fire the imagination.

After all with nothing in the way of anything to look at you slipped into creating your own picture of what the characters in the dramas looked like and the landscapes they inhabited.

In my case it also gave me a love of the spoken voice and an appreciation of how a writer constructs a story or a talk.

And the master was always Alistair Cook and his Letter from America which was a weekly set of observations on what was happening in the USA.

It was so well crafted that during its fifteen minutes despite roaming over a variety of events, topics and personalities it always ended effortlessly where it began.

The same is true of those radio shows about Lake Woebegone by Garrison Keillor “where all the women are strong, all the men are good looking, and all the children are above average."

They are perfect radio so much so that when I bought the books and read the same stories the magic was missing.

And I suppose that is the power of radio whether it is Radio 4 or one of those small community radios.

At which point I have to own up to bringing us to North Manchester FM  106.6 which broadcasts from Harpurhey out to Crumpsall, Moston and Cheetham.**

The outrageous connection is that along with Peter Topping I was in conversation Hannah Kate on her programme “about books, creative writing and publishing.”***

Each week she spends two hours talking to a guest author and this Saturday she got me and Peter discussing the books we have collaborated on, the ones I have written on my own and Peter’s paintings.

Before the snow
Modesty prevents me from saying more although the quality of our wit, thought and personality can be judged by following the link.

As you would expect the north of the city was a tad colder than what we are used to and there was more than a bit of rain but there was no snow.

And yes that is my stab at following Alistair Cook and finishing where I began, a conclusion which I accept I will have to work on.

Location; Chorlton and Harpurhey




Pictures; looking out from our house, 2017 from the collection of Andrew Simpson and radio image courtesy of Hannah Kate

*The story of house,
http://chorltonhistory.blogspot.co.uk/search/label/The%20story%20of%20a%20house

**North Manchester FM 106.6, https://northmanchester.fm/contact-us/

***Hannah’s Bookshelf, https://www.mixcloud.com/Hannahs_Bookshelf/hannahs-bookshelf-with-special-guests-andrew-simpson-and-peter-topping-25022017/

Lives revealed ...... a story from Colin ......... selling coal from Hyde Street in 1905

Now you never know where a story will go or what it will yield.

Back in October 2016 I wrote about Hyde Street after coming across an image in the Local History Collection and soon after Colin got in touch telling me his family lived there.*

And today he was back in touch with both a story and some photographs and the rest is down to Colin who writes

"We emailed at the end of November last year re my family of coal merchants on Hyde Street, Hulme.

Sorry for delay getting back but we were about to move house.

In a previous blog on Hyde St, "Life beyond the front door .. Hyde St .." (20/10/16), you listed a few residents which included a coal dealer.

The coal dealer was my great great grandfather, William Whitehurst.


It is May Day, 1905 and on this special day there happened to be a photographer travelling around the Chorlton Rd, Hulme area looking for business.

The first photograph shows the entrance to the "W Whitehurst Fuel Merchant" yard/stables which were on Hyde St at the point where it becomes Cornbrook Grove.

The photo actually shows William's son, also William, with "Polly" and a load of coal. Note the feedbag slung under the wagon and the handwheel 'handbrake' immediately behind the horse used to wind the brake blocks (also visible) down onto the iron rims of the rear wheels.

This ensured the wagon didn't 'wander' off when the driver was otherwise engaged! The large building in the background is the rear of The Luxor cinema which stood on the corner of Erskine St and Hyde St with its front on Erskine St.


As the photographer was there, a rarity in itself, Mr Whitehurst must have wanted another photo taken of the horse in its May Day finery in front of his parent's shop nearby on the corner of Bangor St and Mackworth St.

Most of the family lived very close to one another in these streets. For the second photograph, the photographer is stood in the Bangor St/Mackworth St junction, the horse by now unhitched, and William Whitehurst and his father, William senior, posed with the horse now dressed for May Day.

The White Lion pub is in the background which was directly opposite the Whitehurst's corner shop.


The photographer then spun his equipment around for the final photograph of William (Sr) and his wife Jane stood in the doorway of their corner shop.

All in all, quite a busy day back in May 1905 in Hulme, and for two of the individuals, these were the only photographs taken of them in their entire life!

Now that is a story, leaving me only to thank Colin and hope he will contribute more in the future once he has settled in to his new home

© Colin, 2017

Location; Manchester

Pictures; from the collection of Colin

*Manchester Libraries, Information and Archives, Manchester City Council, http://images.manchester.gov.uk/index.php?session=pass

**Colin; https://chorltonhistory.blogspot.co.uk/search/label/The%20Whitehurst%20family

***"Life beyond the front door .. Hyde Street" https://chorltonhistory.blogspot.co.uk/search?q=Hyde+Street

When you could skate on Oswald Road .................The Chorlton-cum-Hardy Ice Skating Company


Now I have a problem with this picture.

It was painted by the local artist J.Montgomery.

I say local because almost his entire collection of paintings feature Chorlton or Whalley Range. But that is all we know about him.  Despite attempts to find out more he remains an elusive character.*

And this pretty much extends to his pictures as well.  Most seem to have been painted from postcards and photographs dating to around the first half of the 19th century and many of these are no longer available.

Which brings me to this painting which is dated 1964 but is of The Chorlton Skating Ring in 1906.

And there is the first problem.  The Chorlton-cum-Hardy Ice Skating Company only came into existence sometime between 1910 and 1911.  It does not appear on either the OS map for 1907 or in Harry Kemp’s Chorlton Almanack for 1910 but is listed in the street directory for the following year.

The population of Chorlton had grown rapidly and with it a demand for more and varied leisure opportunities.  That same 1911 Almanack listed 47 different political, cultural and sporting associations and clubs across the old township.

Our skating ring was situated on Oswald Road.

The site takes in the two semidetached houses on Longford and another six running down Oswald.

These houses are of a similar design and  were built sometime after 1945 by the same builder/developer.

Now I can be fairly precise because our skating company had but a short life.  It was wound up in the summer of 1916 which may put the development a little later and by 1933 the site was again open land.

It is not easy to get the scale of the building from Montgomery’s picture but we do seem to be dealing with a big site.  And something of the size  is possible to judge by walking along Oswald Road today.  It was bounded on the south by Hartley Road extended along Longford to its junction with Oswald Road and down Oswald to a point opposite where Oswald Lane starts.

If Montgomery’s painting is anything to go by it was quite impressive with a large painted gable end, stretching back some distance and would have been ideal as a theatre or cinema.  And here is our second mystery, because the title refers to “Chorlton Skating Ring later The Picturedrome.”

This would suggest it became a picture house but the earliest recorded cinema is the Pavilion on the corner of Wilbraham and Buckingham Roads which was opened as a variety hall around 1904 and was showing films by 1910 if not a little before.

Of course there was nothing stopping the Chorlton-cum-Hardy Ice Skating Company showing films, after all many of our early picture houses remained theatres.  The Pavilion or as it became known,  the Chorlton Theatre and Winter Gardens were booking variety acts in the summer of 1910 while also showing movies.

I can at present only hazard a guess for its short life.  The Great War may have pushed it over the brink, but there may have been other reasons.  Many especially in the village might have preferred to venture for free onto the meadows when they iced over and there may equally have been stiff competition as a cinema not only from the Pavilion but after 1914 from the purpose built Palais de Luxe on Barlow Moor Road close to the tram terminus.

I might be able to find out a little more by trawling the street directories for the years after 1911, and there may somewhere be the lost photograph that Montgomery used, but I think I will leave it there, well for the time being anyway.

* J Montgomery an earlier post http://chorltonhistory.blogspot.co.uk/2011/11/who-was-j-montgomery.html

Pictures; Courtesy of Manchester Libraries, Information and Archives, Manchester City Council m80132 and detail from the 1907 OS map

One hundred and seventy years in the story of a house in Eltham

Cliefden House in 1909
Now I am back at Cliefden House.

This grand 18th century property is still there on the High Street opposite Passey Place.

It was built sometime around 1720 with an eastern addition dating from the mid 19th century.

Together this made for a large 17 roomed house which could accommodate and it has been both a private residence, and a school and now shops and offices.

I wrote about it back in July* and have decided on a second visit.  Now this is mainly because I want to feature a then and now set of pictures, although strictly speaking they are both then pictures.

The first dates from 1909 and the second from 1977.

Cliefen House in 1977
In the space of that time the front garden and wall have been sacrificed to the widening of the High Street and with scant disregard for such an elegant old property Granada and Frisbys Shoes set about adding the most appalling signage to the exterior.

And we may just have caught the place on a bad year for the front walls look in need of a coat of paint.

So I suppose today we have to be pleased that the present two occupants of the downstairs shops have been a little more subdued with their signs and a fresh coat of paint has been applied.

Pictures; Cliefden House in 1909 from The story of Royal Eltham, R.R.C. Gregory, 1909 and published on The story of Royal Eltham, by Roy Ayers, http://www.gregory.elthamhistory.org.uk/bookpages/i001.htm and in 1977, courtesy of Jean Gammons

*A military academy in the High Street and that other Eltham Lodge http://chorltonhistory.blogspot.co.uk/2013/07/a-military-academy-in-high-street-and.html

Passing the time ............... afternoon in Varese

An occasional series of pictures of people and places.












Location; Varese, Italy

Pictures; Varese, Italy, 2010, from the collection of Andrew Simpson

Pictures with no stories ........ no 5 .... two in Gale's Studios on Market Street

I like the idea that these two women have come out of the shadows, and for just a few minutes will be seen once more after perhaps a century and a bit.



I don’t know who they are or when the photograph was taken but I do know that they were in the photographic studio at 54 Market Street.

The studio belonged to Gales’ and this was one of their branches.

In time I will go looking for the company but in the meantime I can tell you that in 1911 the man taking the pictures was a Mr Wallace Allan.

Location; unknown

Picture; from the collection of Ron Stubley

Growing up in Eltham in the 1950s ......... stories by Eddy Newport no 9 .... new friends and Count Basie

Another in the series by Eddy Newport taken from his book, History of a War Baby.

My stay at the Gordon school was to last for two years.

New friends were made during which I met a boy who was to make a big influence on me David Burt. He had a freckled face and a mop of red hair. He and I became best friends and socialised outside of school.

We would cycle off into the country to explore fields and places sometimes visiting members of his family who lived in Plumstead.

David introduced me to the habit of smoking. He had an uncle who played the drums in a band called Cyril Bodkin’s and his dance orchestra.

My interest in drumming was rekindled as David’s uncle played records by Count Basie, Benny Goodman and Duke Ellington. Duke Ellington’s “Skin Deep” with Louie Bellson playing the drums was a firm favourite.

That was just the best there was in classic jazz drumming. Buddy Rich and Gene Krupa both highly acclaimed drummers in America and an inspiration to any budding drummer. These moments were to spark an interest in jazz that was going to stay with me for the rest of my life.

© Eddy Newport 2017

Picture; from the collection of Eddy Newport

Monday, 27 February 2017

Another piece in the story of Madge Addy ...... secret agent, Civil War nurse and resident of Chorlton

Madge Addy was a remarkable woman who not only went out to Spain during the Spanish Civil War but went onto serve as an agent in occupied France.*

It is a story I have been uncovering for a while and was prompted by a request from Cll Shelia Newman to research the life of Madge Addy who lived in Chorlton.**

Interest has grown in Ms Addy since Chris Hall suggested that there should be a memorial plaque to this brave woman and there may be some who also have knowledge of Madge or would like to make a contribution to the cost of the plaque and if so please contact Chris by email at christoff_hall@yahoo.com or on 0161 861 7448.

The campaign for the blue plaque is fully supported by Chorlton's three councillors.

And as part of that campaign I wrote a short article in the Chorlton edition of Open Up and here the story takes a twist.***

My old friend Ida read the story and  was in the process of reading Silk and Cyanide by Leo Markes about  the operations of the British Special Operations Executive.

In a previous conversation Ida had suggested that this was the book which might offer up a clue about MS Addy

And sure enough in a one line sentence there is a reference to an unnamed agent who carried secret documents from Denmark to Sweden on a German civilian aircraft.  It might not be Madge but we know she did travel this route during 1940.

So perhaps a little bit more has come to light.

Location; Chorlton, Spain, France


Picture; Nurse Madge Addy giving a blood transfusion; Daily Worker, November 11, 1938 and Madge Addy, 1938

*Madge Addy, https://chorltonhistory.blogspot.co.uk/search/label/Madge%20Addy

**Cllr Shelia Newman, cllr.s.newman@manchester.gov.uk  0161 234 1841 (Town Hall)

***Open Up, http://openupmagazines.co.uk/chorlton/


Looking for the story of Graeme House and that Chorlton Shopping Precinct

Graeme House and Safeway, 1971
We don’t do recent history very well.

I guess it is simply because we take it for granted and don’t even see it as history.

Added to which it is sometimes quite difficult to track down the story.

So when I washed up in Chorlton in the mid 1970s the shopping precinct, Graeme House and that car park were a done deal, but only just.

They had replaced a set of houses and cut Manchester Road in two leaving just two properties as witness to what had once been.

Shops to let, 1971
You can find a few people who remember those houses and one of my friends attended a private school on that lost stretch of Manchester Road, but the memories are fading.

And to date I have found just a handful of photographs recording the demolished houses which ran along Wilbraham Road, Manchester Road, and Barlow Moor Road.

Part of the problem is that such developments don’t warrant being recorded in history books, so Mr Lloyd’s two books skip over the building of the precinct and the book written by Cliff Hayes has just a picture.*

From the Guardian, 1973
Of course the planning applications along with the deliberations of the Planning Committee should still be available but having crawled over the documents relating to the development of Hough End Hall a little earlier this can be long tedious and sometimes unrewarding.

All of which just leaves the local newspapers which will have recorded the events.

Graeme House and car park, 1973
And that has so far thrown up an advert for the remaining offices to still to be let in 1971 and a few photographs of Graeme House and the precinct.

Sadly I am no nearer to knowing why it was called Graeme House.

Intriguingly I did come across Graeme Shankand who was a planning consultant and architect who worked on projects in the North West.

It is a tenuous link but in the process did introduce me to a very interesting architect, who played an important part in founding the William Morris Society.

The precinct, 1973
But that as they say is for another time.

So for now I shall close with the memory of shopping in Safeway not long after it had opened in the precinct.

It was bright, busy and at the time the biggest supermarket in Chorlton, and for a while continued to operate after its bigger store had opened by the old railway station.

Now that should have been the end but to reaffirm that simple observation that history is messy, only hours after I posted the story Ste Passant suggested that the office block may have been named after Henry John Greame Lloyd who cropped up on a legal document.

Now I rather think that he was part of the Lloyd family that owned a large part of Chorlton coming from the same area and leaving £151,021 10s on his death in 1919.

All of which just leaves me to go off and search the records.

Pictures; the Shopping Precinct and Graeme House, H.Milligan, 1971, m17408, m19763, m17832, m17405 and Graeme House, The Guardian, October 22, 1973, courtesy of Manchester Libraries, Information and Archives, Manchester City Council, http://images.manchester.gov.uk/index.php?session=pass

*The Township of Chorlton-cum-Hardy, 1972,  Looking Back at Chorlton-cum-Hardy, John M Lloyd, 1985, CHORLTON-CUM-HARDY, Cliff Hayes, 1999

** Graeme Shankand, John Kay, http://www.morrissociety.org/publications/JWMS/W84-85.6.2.Kay.pdf

*** Buldoze and be damned, Terence Bendixson, the Guardian January 8 1969



The River Thames in 11 colour paintings .... no 2 Old Battersea Bridge

Now I suppose we all have our favourite bridge over the Thames.

Nocturne in Black & Gold the Falling Rocket, 1872-75
Most tourists will go for Tower Bridge while many commuters will opt for London Bridge while for me it will always be the Hungerford Bridge just because it is the one I cross when I am on the train for Eltham.

Even now over 40 years after I left London I only ever feel I have really come home when the train pulls over the River into Waterloo Station, which I suppose just goes to prove that old corny comment that you “can take the boy out of South east London but you never take south east London our of the boy.”

Which I might add is pretty much uttered by everyone I know about where they come from.

That said I also have fond memories of the old London Bridge which I used a lot in the 1950s and 60s.

And that by degree brings me to another old bridge which is the subject of the painting.

It is the Old Battersea Bridge, opened in 1771 and demolished in 1885.  The full title of the painting is Nocturne in Black and Gold – The Falling Rocket and it was painted by Whistler between 1872-5 and led to a court case at which the judge according to one source asked Whister “Which part of the picture is the bridge?.”

It went long before I was born and if I am honest I don’t think I have ever been on its successor.

But no matter there are plenty still for me  to cross although this is the last bridge that I will feature from my new book..

It is not that I have tired of either the Thames or its bridges, but more I want to post the book on  to my friend Tricia.

The book is River Thames which came out sometime in the late 1930s.

There is no publication date, although inside there is a sentiment “to Edith with best wishes from Edna Christmas 1940” and one of the illustrations is dated 1934 so I think we almost have a date.

The book was sent to me by Kath who has also supplied me with many pictures of Eltham and who suggested that when I had finished with it I should send it back south to Tricia who is also a keen historian of Eltham’s past.

And that is what I intend to do.

Location; River Thames

Picture; Nocturne in Black and Gold – The Falling Rocket,  James McNeill Whistler   1872-75


Growing up in Eltham in the 1950s ....stories by Eddy Newport ......no 8 a bike, a paper round and King Alfred's cakes

Another in the series by Eddy Newport taken from his book, History of a War Baby.

My paper round was going strong and I wanted a new bike, the fashion then was light weight frames narrow wheels and drop handlebars. Dad took me to a cycle shop in Woolwich and I chose a BSA Armstrong sports model colour red and black with Stymie Archer gears.

If cost about £25 and dad put a £1 down and signed the hire purchase forms and said I had to pay the monthly payments. I had by then changed my paper round employee to a man who ran a business from his garage in Ross Way,

I was on a wage of 9 shillings and sixpence a week (£0.755 pence). My new bike was to cost me six shillings (£0.30 pence) a week so I was still in profit.

The bike took me two years to be pay off with interest. Every week I would go into the shop and pay it. That bike was to take me all over the place and play an important part of my life.

Experiences at Ealdham Square:-
Also, my artistic appreciation started to be stimulated as we were subjected to various musical enlightenments from our music teacher Miss Skelton.

She was very fond of choirs and classical music, and would have the class sit down on the floor in the assembly hall and play to us 78 RPM records.

She also had a habit of keeping a handkerchief in her knickers and her hand would creep under her dress and pull out the hanky to blow her nose.

This habit to us children was fascinating and a snigger went round the class when she did this. She was very fond of the Welsh male voice choir singing “The Lamb of God” We had to learn it to sing at the Christmas parents evening. One year our class had to put on a performance to entertainer the parents.

Our form teacher Mr Evens decided to get our class to act out “King Alfred the Great” and the burnt cakes saga.

The bulk of the class were to be the chorus and various pupils were selected to play the main roles. It was based on a famous poem which told the story of Alfred losing his kingdom to the evil Danes and in retreat, he forgo his kingly robes and put on peasant's clothes and went off on his own whereby he met a peasant family.

The woman of the household instructed Alfred to look after the fire where some cakes were cooking. Unfortunately, he fell asleep and the cakes were burnt.

He incurred the wrath of the woman and she chased him out of here home. I did not understand the significances of all this and what it had to do with Alfred suddenly decided to make up with the evil Danes, but that’s how the play came to an end and we all took our bows. I was a member of the chorus until I was thrust to stardom when Richard Atkins (the lead player) went sick and could not perform it for the parents evening.

Mr Evens asked if any of the class knew the lead part I put up my hand and was to take over the role with only one rehearsal to do the main performance. So I was King Alfred and did (I thought) a flawless performance.

Stage fright and overcoming the nerves were all there. But when the applause died down and we took our bows the feeling of excitement and exhilaration was wonderful.

I was stage-struck. It was to be forty years before I was to perform on a stage again. Richard came back to perform the play in front of the school children and to my delight, he forgot his lines and had to rely on Mr Evens prompting him.

© Eddy Newport 2017



Picture; from the collection of Eddy Newport

Less a giant stride more a shuffle in the right direction

Perhaps following the vote in the House and with this BBC story things are moving a bit more in the right direction well at least on this side of the Atlantic where knowledge of BHC is still very limited.


Picture; report on our great uncle, 1914, from the collection of Andrew Simpson

*IICSA child sex abuse inquiry public hearings under way, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-39099778

**The child abuse scandal of the British children sent abroad, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-39078652

A little bit of gentle fun at the seaside in the 1930s ............. no 9 "the lady next door"

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


Location; at the seaside in Wales

Picture; courtesy of Ron Stubley

Sunday, 26 February 2017

The River Thames in 11 colour paintings .... no 1 a poster

Now there are very few original ideas and so I was well aware that launching the project Painting Eltham and telling its stories was bound to have been covered before.*

And almost as soon as the idea had been launched, the first story written and the “special” facebook page set up my friend Kath gave me a book of paintings about the River Thames.

Almost all of the paintings come from well known artists of the late 18th and 19th centuries and will be familiar to everyone.

There is an interesting accompanying text and the added bit is that the book dates from 1940.
It was produced by Collins in their Peacock Colour Books series and in the fullness of time it will head back south when I passed it onto to Tricia.

And that is about it.

I have chosen Westminster From the Thames by E. Mc Mcknight Kauffer because it reminds of many similar posters from the 1950s which I grew up with.

It was made in 1934 and I just like it.

Location; London


Picture; Westminster From the Thames 1934, by E. Mc Mcknight Kauffer from The River Thames


*Painting Eltham and telling its stories, https://chorltonhistory.blogspot.co.uk/search/label/Painting%20Eltham%20and%20telling%20stories




Walking along Gun Street in the spring of 1851

Gun Street in 1844
Now this is another one of the walks I would like to have taken in the spring of 1851.

It would have started just past New Cross, where Great Ancoats Street joined Oldham Road and Swan Street and running from Bond Street, crossed George Street, Blossom Street and finished at Jersey Street.

It is still there today, a narrow street, dominated by tall modern buildings a few workshops which long ago lost any entrances onto the road and some open spaces.

In total I don’t suppose it would have taken more than five minutes to walk its length in the 1850s, but in that short time there would have been all that the curious spectator might have wanted to observe.

For here were small terraced properties, the dark and secretive courts hidden from view and plenty of pubs and beer shops.

Gun Street in 1901
Here too was a cross section of the city’s working population from skilled journeyman to shop keeper, textile worker and a heap of unskilled labour.  And reminding us that Manchester still moved courtesy of the horse Gun Street had a blacksmith.  Perhaps even more surprising was that in that year of 1851 there was still a handloom weaver and an agricultural labourer.

In total there were 384 people living in just 63 houses with some crammed into the cellars.  The rents ranged from 1 shilling 6d to 4 shillings and 6d when a factory girl might earn between 7 and 9 shillings, a week a labourer 18 shillings and a police constable 20 shillings.

And along that short street you could have heard the accents of the rural north as well as London, and the Midlands but dominating all would have been that of the Irish, for here amongst our 384 inhabitants were 235 from Ireland and only 125 from Manchester.**

And as you would expect there is much more than we could uncover, from poor sanitation, adulterated food, the large numbers of pubs and beer shops and those dark and secretive courts hidden from view.

But all that is for later.  Instead I shall leave you with the thought that had you tired of Gun Street and returned to New Cross you chanced at best a rowdy noisy meeting place and at worst a venue for popular discontent.

For most of the last half century, there had been protests and like that of April 1812 in Oldham Road at New Cross when a food cart carrying food for sale at the markets in Shudehill was stopped and its load carried off.

Nearby shops were also attacked and looted.  The mob was eventually dispersed by soldiers but only as far as Middleton.  There they met with an assembly of handloom weavers, miners and out of work factory operatives gathered to protest against the introduction of power loom machinery at Barton and Sons weaving mill.

The mob which had grown to 2000, was dispersed by “A party of soldiers , horse and foot, from Manchester arriving, pursued those misguided people, some of whom made a feeble stand; but here again death was the consequence, five of them being shot and many severely wounded.”    

While after the events at Peterloo in 1819 the military and the local police patrolled the streets like some occupying force, and in the early evening with tensions still high a large crowd gathered at New Cross.

Gun Street in 2011
Some of the crowd began throwing stones at the police and soldiers opened fire.  Before the crowd had dispersed, Joseph Ashworthy had been killed and several others lay injured.  Not surprisingly many of those injured in this event came from that close network of streets around Gun Street.

Next; those dark and secretive courts hidden from view.

*Rate Books
**1851 census

Location; Manchester




Pictures; part of Gun Street from the OS map of Manchester, 1842-44, courtesy of Digital Archives, http://www.digitalarchives.co.uk/ Gun Street from Blossom Street, A Bradburn, 1901  M11341, courtesy of Manchester Libraries, Information and Archives, Manchester City Council,http://images.manchester.gov.uk/index.php?session=pass  and Gun Street from Blossom Street 2011, from the collection of Andrew Simpson

A new history of Chorlton in 20 objects, number 8, an amusement arcade and the future of Beech Road circa 1983

I can’t be exactly sure of the date of the picture but it was during the early 1980s when Beech Road was about to enter its troubled period.

The old patterns of shopping were beginning to change and one by one many of the traditional shops closed.

It had begun a decade earlier with the closure of the TV shop, moved on apace with the disappearance of the grocers shops  and sweet shops followed by the hardware place with its familiar smell of paraffin and waxed string and then one by one the butchers went until only Muriel’s was left.

So this was an uncertain period with plenty of closed shops and the hint that Beech Road was past its best.  Into this came the amusement arcade at 113.  It sparked a bit of controversy and lasted but a short time.

And after its closure there was another quiet time till Patrick opened Primavera followed by the Lead Station and the rest as they say is history.

Picture; from the Lloyd collection

Taking that new tram journey .......... the competition

To celebrate  the opening of the new Second City Crossing today here’s the competition.

Name the pubs you might visit along the route.

You don’t of course have to stop and visit each one  ....... which would lead to a very interesting journey.

No it will be suffice to name the pub along with the nearest metro stop.

To add to the fun you can also nominate two more pubs nearby to your choices with just a sentence on why they should be included.

Some will mutter this nothing more than another outrageous bout of self promotion and of course it is because those who want to cheat might just turn to the book Manchester Pubs The Stories Behind the Doors City Centre where all could be revealed.

But the terms and conditions of the competition include the stipulation that you must proffer a metro ticket for the journey which is clearly dated from Sunday.

And that is it.

Except to say the journey starts from the Deansgate Castlefield  stop.

You van leave your compeition entry as a comment on the blog or go to the facebook page ManchesterPubs - City Centre

Location; the Second City Crossing

Pictures; travelling the tram, 2017 from the collection of Andrew Simpson

*A new book on Manchester Pubs https://chorltonhistory.blogspot.co.uk/search/label/A%20new%20book%20on%20Manchester%20Pubs

Manchester Pubs is available fromwww.pubbooks.co.uk  or Chorlton Bookshop

Growing up in Eltham in the 1950s ......... stories by Eddy Newport no 6 a garden, some vegetables and the rabbit

Another in the series by Eddy Newport taken from his book, History of a War Baby.

Dad became a keen gardener and worked hard to establish a well laid out garden.

He built paths around the bungalow and elevated the   lawn, as the garden was about a hundred foot long he cultivated a vegetable patch at its far end.

I would try and help out, but when it came to digging I managed to drive a garden fork through my boot and luckily the prong went between my toes.

Dad grew mostly potatoes and cabbage.

He did keep some rabbits for a while in a hutch behind our shed.

This was fine until he decided to have one killed for the pot. He could not do it himself, so a friend came round in to do the dispatching. I was fascinated by this. The friend went out to get the rabbit and holding it by its ears did the rabbit chop to the back of its neck. It was not a clean kill and the rabbit made some noise.

Eventually, it was declared dead and brought it into the kitchen where he started to skin it. I was amazed as the organs that appeared from the animal also the blood being collected into a basin. I was not horrified to all this just fascinated by it all. I think it upset Mum and Dad as he soon got rid of the all the rabbits.

© Eddy Newport 2017

Picture; from the collection of Eddy Newport

Pictures with no stories ........ no 4 at the seaside

Now we may well be at Blackpool and the woman smiling back at us could just be in between a walk on the pier and fish and chip supper.



But it is equally likely that we are in a photographer’s  studio on Greengate or Market Street  and the Tower and all those buildings nothing more than a painted backcloth.

There is sadly no way of knowing.

There is no name, date or location on the back and that pretty much is that leaving me with that very unhistorical suggestion that you let your imagination go and play with the image.

Location; unknown















Picture; from the collection of Ron Stubley

Revisiting favourite places with a twist of history ............... nu 1 Rome

An occasional series which just aims to reflect old places and places with a story.


We were not far from the Colosseum wandering the back streets of Rome.

Picture; Rome, 2013, from the collection of Andrew Simpson

Saturday, 25 February 2017

Taking that new tram journey .......... travelling the Second City Crossing

Now alas I will not get my certificate for being one of the first on the Second City Crossing after it opens tomorrow.

I shall be content with a trip later in the week.

But I am looking forward to it.

As someone who has travelled the network soon after each of the new lines opened, this one has to be a must.

I watched its construction, photographed each stage, and was fascinated when the archaeologists were called in to excavate those human remains.

So I will be on a tram bound for Victoria via St Peter’s Square and down along Princess Street, Cross Street and into Exchange Square.

I will have my camera but won’t carry any sound recording device.

Although I am reliably  informed that
Eric will be recording the metro stop announcements and interviewing fellow passengers.

You have been warned.

Location; the Second City Crossing

Pictures; travelling the tram, 2014 & 2016 from the collection of Andrew Simpson

One hundred years of one house in Chorlton part 79 ...... just what you find in your garden

The continuing story of the house Joe and Mary Ann Scott lived in for over 50 years and the families that have lived here since.*

Now I would like to think that these two broken bits of pottery once graced the china cabinet of Joe and Mary Ann and somehow made their way into the garden after they were broke.

They look to be willow pattern but I doubt if they date back to the late 18th century when they became popular in this country and are more likely to be just a cheap version turned out during the late 19th and early 20th centuries and produced in Holland.  Certainly the bigger fragment has what appears to be a Dutch figure staring back at us.

I won’t be alone in having grown up with this range although at the time they never did much for me.

Of course the intriguing question is just why Joe or Mary Ann threw them away in the garden, not that it might have been them.

Certainly the fragment of clay pipe which turned up a few years ago was possibly discarded by someone working this bit of land, or by someone passing along what was then called the Row.

But I like to think it might have belonged to Samuel Gratrix who farmed this bit of land in the 1840s and lived in Bowling Green Farm which stood directly opposite our house.**

All of which might be hung around with more than a bit of romantic speculation so I will leave the finds in the ground and reflect instead on the block of Torrone Morbido Alle Mandorle e Nocciole made by Vergani which is Soft Nougat with Almonds and Hazelnuts and was the last that had come over from Italy at Christmas.

It is a favourite of mine vying with the alternative which is covered in chocolate.

The company are based in Cremona and make a shed load of other similar products and while we will eat them all the year round I do associate them with Christmas.

I doubt that Joe and Mary Ann would have ever come across the products made by Vergani but something similar will have made its way into the house, along with candied fruits and other bits and pieces.

Sadly I have never come across the evidence for any of the things they ate and the one empty tin of Safeway’s baked beans found in one of the cellars will date from the time John, Mike and Lois occupied the house.

So that just leaves me to return to the garden which I know was where they buried many of their pets and admit we too put two of ours along with a Superman figure.

It belonged to our Saul and was a present from Greece.  The figure lasted two holidays and when his head came off we buried him the garden where he rests to this day.

Pictures; from the collection of Andrew Simpson

*The story of house,
http://chorltonhistory.blogspot.co.uk/search/label/The%20story%20of%20a%20house

**Mr Gratrix's clay pipe lost in our garden in 1845, https://chorltonhistory.blogspot.co.uk/2017/01/mr-gratrixs-clay-pipe-lost-in-our.html

A new history of Chorlton in just 20 objects number 7, the king William IV clay pipe

The King William IV clay pipe

It was found during the archaeological dig of the church in the 1980s.  It can be dated to between 1830 and 1832, and may have been bought to commemorate the coronation of William IV.  It bears the inscription “William IV and Church” around the rim and is highly decorated with the royal coat of arms flanked by a lion on one side and a unicorn on the other.  It is also unusual because it was found in one of the graves inside the church.  The final burial in the grave was that of Thomas Watson aged 54 in 1832.  There are those who might well imagine the pipe being placed alongside the coffin of Thomas Watson in imitation of the ancient practice of placing grave goods alongside the departed.  The less romantic will counter with the obvious observation that it was the casual act of one of the grave diggers.  Either way it is unusual for the bowl to survive.   More commonly it is the stem which is turned up and even these are found as fragments.*

Picture; detail from the report on the Archaeological dig conducted by Dr Angus Bateman during 1980-81

* From THE STORY OF CHORLTON-CUM-HARDY,  http://chorltonhistory.blogspot.co.uk/2011/11/the-story-of-chorlton-cum-hardy.html

Growing up in Eltham ......... stories by Eddy Newport ...... no 5 a new home, a baby brother and a new Queen

Another in the series by Eddy Newport taken from his book, The Newport’s 1951 at No. 58 Rochester Close Kidbrooke SE3...........

Mum
Mother was a woman that everybody wanted to have as a friend. She had an open house for anyone to visit and many did for cups of tea and chats. During that time, her work was cut out with her two boys. Shopping expeditions were to the local parade of shops about a mile away along the Rochester Way.

There was a public house there called “The Dover Patrol” So going shopping there was referred to as “Going up the Dover”.

No such things as supermarkets, these were for the future. The main grocery store was called Perks Ltd and you could get all you wanted, provided you queued up for it. Everything had to be weighed out and put into paper bags.

There was still rationing and our ration books had to have the coupons cut out so to prove that you had had your quota. There was a baker, butcher, hardware, newsagent, fish and chip shop, off-licence and a drapers shop all in a row. One thing I will never forget was the smell of the hardware shop; it was a mixture of paraffin, tar and detergents all mixed together and unforgettable."

I was settling into Ealdham Square School and David was soon to follow. It was soon realised that Rochester Close was not going to be big enough for a growing family. It was possible under the London County Council that tenants could exchange properties if all was agreeable. In the area, there were a lot of council houses being built. Dad and Mum put in for an exchange and managed to do a deal with an older couple living at 98 Birdbrook Rd. And so we moved once more the year was 1951.

The eleven plus examinations were looming the King had died we had a new Queen and her coronation was a near future event. Life was going to change.

Dad
Once we had moved into our new home at number 98 we soon settled down. The big news of the day was the coronation of Elizabeth II at Westminster Abbey on June 2nd, 1952. Dad being in the Saint John’s Ambulance Brigade had a duty to attended to.

He was to stand outside Westminster Abbey. He had a fantastic view of the all that went on. We had befriended our new next door neighbours Mr and Mrs Parsons who had a television set and on the day, we were invited in to see the unfolding events.

Mrs P had set up benches in two rows for the children to sit on. I found the whole thing very boring, the only time it became exciting was when in the distance a black uniformed man with a white bag over his shoulder came into view. He said later that the only causalities he had that day were trying to sober up drunken Lords sipping their hip flasks during the service.

Note:- this photo was taken in the garden of 58 RC. in the background is the main road Rochester Way, that house is still the. taken 1952

Geoffrey born 27th Oct 1951.  Now we are five.

Life carried on in this way until 1951 when another addition was added to our family. On Oct 27th, our brother Geoffrey Alan was born. That night David and I were woken by a lot of activity and told to stay in our beds.

Geoffrey aged 8 months
The midwife was sent for and later a baby was heard crying. We were summoned to our parent’s bedroom and introduced to Geoff. Weighing in at 6 lbs. Mum looked pleased and dad was so proud to have witnessed the birth.

The prefab we lived in was Geoff’s birthplace and is now an open space area (Kidbrooke Green).

I went back some time ago to try and judge the spot where we had our bungalow. I came to the conclusion that if Geoff ever became famous and the country wanted to put up a blue plaque where he was born, they would have to nail it to a park bench.


Mum used to ask Dave and me to do the shopping and take Geoff in the pram to carry it in. I hated this chore.

The embarrassment of pushing the pram was horrendous to me, so I would push it out in front of and let it freewheel for about 10 yards and when I caught up with it I pushed it out again. This was fine until the pram hit an obstruction and it tipped over and Geoff did a somersault on his rains and all the shopping went over the pavement.  It worried me at the time as was relieved that Geoff was strapped into the pram and did not sustain any injury. However, I did not do that again.

I was settling into Ealdham Square School and David was soon to follow.

It was soon realised that Rochester Close was not going to be big enough for a growing family. It was possible under the London County Council that tenants could exchange properties if all was agreeable. In the area, there were a lot of council houses being built. Dad and Mum put in for an exchange and managed to do a deal with an older couple living at 98 Birdbrook Rd.

And so we moved once more.  The year was 1951. The eleven plus examinations were looming the King had died we had a new Queen and her coronation was a near future event. Life was going to change.

© Eddy Newport 2017

Picture; from the collection of Eddy Newport

Lost in Rome


Now don’t you just hate it when on a cold grey wet day here in Manchester someone parades holiday pictures.

Worse still if they are of place where the sun is currently cracking the paving stones and it is currently 32̀⁰ with an option of getting hotter.

But if there is a consolation we are still here watching the rain come down like stair rods and the photo is a few years old.

It is another of those ones of Rome but a part of the city tourist don’t often see.  Well we do which is more to do with our ability to get lost and miss the big things like the Colosseum, Circus Maximus, and Vatican.

But then there are the rewards which consist of empty little streets and little shops like this one, which specialized in anything and everything to do with birthdays.  And had we wanted a novelty gift here was where we could have got it.

Location; Rome

Picture; Rome 2010, from the collection of Andrew Simpson

Remembering Madge Addy at the Town Hall this Sunday

Now Miss Madge Addy was a remarkable women.

She went off to Spain at the beginning of the Spanish Civil War, served as a nurse on the side of democratically elected Government who were fighting a Nationalist insurrection and was the last British nurse to leave the country the war zone.

She then went on to work as an agent in occupied France during the Second World War, assisted escaping allied prisoners of war and smuggled secret documents on German civilian aircraft.

But despite these achievements few people have heard of her.

And so this Sunday there be is an event to raise money for a plaque to commemorate her work, which it is hoped will go up on the wall of the house she lived in on Manchester Road in Chorlton.

The campaign to bring Miss Addy out of the shadows has been led by Christoper Hall who writes, that Madge is to be honoured as part of the "annual Jarama  commemoration and this year we are concentrating the on the lives of two local Spanish Civil War volunteers Madge Addy and George Brown. 

I am doing the talk on Madge. The Clarion choir will be singing song from the period and wreaths will be laid at the memorial in the Town Hall to those Greater Manchester men who died fighting Fascism in the Spanish Civil War. There will be a bucket collection at the event to raise money towards Madge's blue plaque.

I have also on our website setup a fund raising page for Madge Addy see http://www.international-brigades.org.uk/catalog/conferencestalks

So it would be good to see you all at Manchester Town Hall on Sunday February 26.

The event will last from 10.30 through to 11.30.

Location; Manchester

Picture; Madge Addy, 1938


Updates from Andy ...... “the flats are getting taller and the pub has lost one of its side boardings”

 We are back with another three from Andy recording the changing landscape.

This time we are back with two of his favourites ...... the flats by the canal and the slow demise of the Railway Inn at Cornbrook.

Always economical with words Andy just reported that “the flats are getting taller and the pub has lost one of its side boardings”.

And that is all there is to say.  If you search for the Railway Inn on the blog the full sad story of the pub is there to see.

Location; Cornbrook









Pictures; from the collection of Andy Robertson, 2017