Sunday, 22 April 2018

One hundred years of one house in Chorlton part 101 ......... all the news

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.*

Man thinks of buying an evening paper, 1978
Now, I have no idea what newspaper Joe and Mary Ann read, or if they took both a daily and evening paper, and of course they may have not bothered with either.

But that I find a little hard to accept given that for most people during the last century the newspaper through the letter box and the milk on the step was part of the routine of everyday life.

I think I can be fairly sure that Mr and Mrs Scott would have embraced the wireless as they did the telephone and the television.

Joe had a landline by the mid 1920s and their TV aerial was on the roof in a photograph three decades on.

And so they may well have got their news from the BBC as they sat in their front room which could have included Neville Chamberlain announcing that we were at war with Germany, watching  the Coronation and the horrors of wars from Vietnam, to Biafra and plenty of places in between.

la Repubblica, 2018
It is easy today to become casual at the wonders of that media revolution.  When Joe and Mary Ann moved in to the house in 1915, knowledge of home and international events was limited and relatively slow to arrive, but by Mary Ann’s death in 1973 the account of an earthquake in India or a nasty military coup in Latin America would be the stuff of “breaking news”.

Of course that term is itself very recent, but when Telstar broadcast live pictures from Paris and New York into homes here in Britain in 1962 it had arrived in all but name.

And now I have the pick of the world’s media at the click of a button allowing me to follow the online editions of the Guardian, the Telegraph and Jewish Chronicle along with Corriere della Sera from Milan and la Repubblica from Rome. Or if I so choose, edits from papers and news agencies pretty much everywhere.

Man not interested in the band, 1979
As a result we have joined that band who have forsaken newsprint for a flickering image on a screen.

If I am honest I do at times feel guilty, and given that we may soon be using a milkman again, perhaps the return of the heavy thud on the mat first thing in the morning is not so far away.

But a little bit of me grows weary at the 24 hour news coverage, which often means that the early evening and late night TV broadcasts have little more to offer from what I heard at midday and in some instances are the same reporter, with the same commentary with just the addition of a face at six and ten pm.

Fears for ice cream sales in a Manchester summer, 1980
None of which I suspect Joe and Mary Ann had to worry about.

Picture; newspaper seller, Man and a band, and woman with an ice cream Manchester 1978-80  from the collection of Andrew Simpson and the front page of la Repubblica

*The story of a house,

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