Tuesday, 31 July 2018

Remembering Beech Road in the 1920s with Marjorie Holmes

Marjorie in Provis Road, 1960s
Marjorie Holmes was born in Chorlton and apart from her war service lived all her life around the old village.

She had a rich fund of memories about the people and places of her youth which she was always happy to share with me.

I must have spent hours sitting in her back room on Provis Road listening to tales of everything from the price of milk from the farm opposite to her frequent late attendance at school because she had stopped to watch Mr Clark the blacksmith carrying out his magic of “heating and hammering.”

So here in the first of a series are some of those memories of Beech Road in the 1920s.

"The wine and spirit shop at the corner of Chequers Road was Mason and Burroughs or was it Burrows?).

In that row was a bakers and provision shop where, in the 1920s I would be sent for 1d. Worth of balm (yeast) for my mother to make bread.  In those days we had a black leaded grate with a coal-fired oven.

Beech Road, 1935
On the joy of returning home from school to the aroma of homemade bread, and a specially made little cob, still warm from the oven and spread with butter.

There was also a good hardware shop, Harris’s, where one could buy anything from screws and pot hooks, donkey stone to cream our steps to brushes buckets and dolly tubs.

The end shop before, the passage was Rowley’s Butchers who always had sawdust on the floor.  This I suppose, soaked up any blood from carcasses hung up on hooks and was easy to sweep up.

Across the passage, where the Italian shop is situated, was Hyde’s outdoor license.  I think they only sold beer.  We could go there with a jug to purchase bee, hand pumped, to take home.  There is a passage at the back of this row of shops leading to the stables, where Hydes’s stables are to be seen on Acres Road.  Acres Road was commonly called the Crack.  Down the passage, against the drainpipe is a roughly chiselled out commemoration of a faithful dog.

I cannot recall the use of the shop previous to Richard and Muriel’s but the corner shop, now a restaurant, was a hairdresser’s (ladies) and prior to that – pre-war- a cycle shop Cavanaugh’s (the name maybe spelled wrongly) and cycle repair shop.

Across Acres Road was the Grange laundry where, when they became mechanised with delivery vans, old Mr Greaves was allowed to continue delivering laundry in his horse-drawn van.

Then there was Lister’s sweet shop, opposite the blacksmiths.  Mrs Lister used to frighten children in the 20s.

The rest of the block was the Co-op stores.  The first part led to the stables and delivery yard.  The rest of the block was the grocers, where several assistants were employed.  There was a lady who sat in an elevated box.

She was the cashier.  The grocers sent the money and grocery list in a metal can which was attached to a pulley and sent across a wire, where she would check the list and send back the receipt and change.

I think there were two of these, one at each end of the shop.

There had been grocers on the corner before the Co-op.

The Co-op butchers were round the corner on Stockton Road."

Pictures; from the collection of Marjorie Holmes and the Lloyd Collection

In the company of the Manchester Bees ..... no.8

I tried stopping but alas I am addicted to them.

This is one of the Albert Square Bees

Location; Manchester

Pictures; Manchester Bees, 2018 from the collection of Andrew Simpson

Summer in the City

Now for no particular reason other than I took them and they are of Manchester, here is a short series celebrating places I like.

Location; Manchester

All have appeared before and some a long time ago.

Pictures; around Manchester 2002-2015

Monday, 30 July 2018

Walking the woods above Well Hall in 1977

Sometimes it is worth remembering just how pleasant it is to live in Eltham.

When we first arrived in 1964 I had no idea that just above where we lived on Well Hall Road were a stretch of woods which gave you a sense of being somewhere far away from the High Street and those busy roads which took you down to Greenwich or Woolwich.

But there they were a dense and wonderful set of woodlands in which you could walk for miles.

And so that is all I am going to say on the matter and just close by thanking my friend Jean for another  photograph of Eltham in the 1970s.

Picture; from the collection of Jean Gammons

Walking the city ..... that other tall building

Now as the new developments at Owen Street and other places continue to rise to the sky, I came across that other one.

Pretty soon this one will seem tame and run of the mill.

Location; Manchester

Picture; that other tower, 2018, from the collection of Andrew Simpson

Walking in the sun and sharing Chorlton’s history

Now given that the sun has been cracking the paving stones for weeks, I rather assumed that the Quirks Walk 3 would be a stroll under a cloudless and blue sky with suntan and shorts the order of the day.

But as we know Sunday dawned wet, grey and miserable, and the prospect of the history walk from Southern Cemetery down to Ken Foster’s Cycle shop must have appeared daunting to those who had signed up.

Nevertheless 16 braved the elements, and began the walk with more catching us up along the way.

And within minutes of starting, the rain had moved off towards Stockport, the sun had come out and by the time we finished, I wished I had opted for those shorts and flip flops.

For those that missed the trawl of our quirky past, we took in stories about Southern Cemetery, George Best, our lost open air theatre and large swimming pool in Chorlton Park and the case of Mr Mr Brundrett’s sparrows.

So, a typical Quirks Walk which everyone enjoyed.

Leaving me to thank Ken Foster, Sean, and all the  staff at the Cycle shop who provided that much needed refreshments at the end of the walk.

And of course a thank you also to the "Hardy 16 + 2" who took a gamble and walked the walk, and were rewarded with some fine anecdotes, a shed load of history and a bit of sunshine

The Quirks Walks will take their summer break, but will be back in the autumn, with more quirky historical rambles around Chorlton-cum-Hardy.

But for those who can't wait, there is always the book, which is a companion to the walks.

It is a celebration of all things quirky and interesting about Chorlton.

Inside its covers, there are 140 paintings, pictures and maps, with stories about the buildings and the people who live here, or have lived here and more than a few bizarre tales.

You can obtain your copy  from us at http://www.pubbooks.co.uk/ or Chorlton Book shop, 506 Wilbraham Road, Chorlton-cum-Hardy, Manchester M21 9AW 0161 881 6374

The walks are in association with Chorlton Voice/Chorlton Civic Society.

Location; Chorlton

Pictures; Quirks Walk 3, 2018, courtesy of Peter Topping

In the company of the Salford Bees ..... no. 1 the collection

With a special thank you to Gary Sykes who came across his in Media City and Angiebabe Moore who I think was in Salford.

Apoloies Angie if that is wrong

Location; Salford

Pictures; Manchester Bees, 2018 from Gary Styles and Angiebabe Moore

Sunday, 29 July 2018

Net curtains, venetian blinds and that horseman on Brookburn Road .......... Chorlton in the 1920s and 30s

More than anything it’s the detail that draws you in to this photograph of Annie  and Nelly  outside 67 Hawthorn Road in the spring of 1930.

It starts with those net curtains which had been a badge of respectable living from the early years of the last century and would only be swept away by the new look of the 1950s.

I remember them well but more than the curtains it’s those blinds, made of slated wood which made a distinctive clunk when you raised or lowered them.

They filled the windows along with the nets and of course those heavy plush curtains which between them were required features of any surbuban home no matter however modest.

And each in their way made perfect sense.

In an age before central heating the heavier the curtains the better to keep the place warm in winter, while the blinds were essential for houses modifying the full strength of the sun in summer.

Today we might find the nets a tad over fancy but this was still a more private time when displaying the contents of your front room was regarded as more than a bit ostentatious.

The only concession to the seasons was that in some homes at least the heavy curtains came down in summer for lighter ones around the time the sweep would be called in to do the chimneys.

It is a way of life which has pretty much gone, along with the iron railings that topped the small front walls and could be as elaborate as these at number 67 and with that care for detail the gate’s design mirrored perfectly the railings.

And back when Annie and Nelly posed for the camera their home was less than thirty years old and had been part of that housing explosion which had turned Chorlton from a rural community to a suburb of Manchester.

But this was still a period of transition when the sight of a man on a horse was unlikely to turn a head.

We still had farmers who used horses to cart their produce from the fields while plenty of tradesmen transported their good across the township by horse drawn vans.

All of which is a lead in to Jim Mcloughlin sitting astride a horse by Brookburn Road.

Behind him is Brook Dairy which long before it  specialized in milk had been a farm dating back into the 18th century.
I am not sure when the farmhouse was demolished but it should be easy enough to find out by trawling the directories although I doubt that any one will remember its passing.

It will I suspect date from the when the dairy was taken over by Express Dairies which have now also gone leaving the site to be redeveloped into a row of modern houses,

That said there will be plenty who remember the yard, and on reflection I wish I had asked for that big sign which reminded drivers to be mindful of the neighbours.

After all the residents of the houses next door would still have been asleep when the crates of milk were being loaded onto the floats.

And that is now as much a part of our past as horses on Brookburn Road and net curtains up by Hawthorn Road.

Pictures; from the collection of Peter McLoughlin.

Summer in the City

Now for no particular reason other than I took them and they are of Manchester, here is a short series celebrating places I like.

All have appeared before and some a long time ago.

Pictures; around Manchester 2002-2015

In the company of the Manchester Bees ..... no. 6 the Hacienda Bee

Now I thought it was time for a rest, having shedloads more in the collection.

But I couldn't resist Cathy Robertson's Hacienda bee.

Location; Manchester

Picture; the Hacienda Bee, 2018, courtesy of Cathy Robertson

Pictures that tell their own story ........ no. 1 ...... Charlton just a century and a bit ago

Now I have neglected Charlton and so here to make amends is a fine picture of the village in 1904.

Any one of our pedestrians staring back at us would I think recognise the view today, although the last time I was there the George public house was the Viceroy serving up curry instead of Pale Ale.

Location; Charlton

Picture; Charlton, 1904 from, Woolwich Through Time, 2014, courtesy of Kristina Bedford

Today ........ walk our Quirky past

We are back with that every popular stroll through our quirky past.

And there is the companion book, The Quirks of Chorlton-cum-Hardy, published in 2017, available from Chorlton Bookshop or direct from us at www.pubbooks.co.uk.

Saturday, 28 July 2018

Denbigh Villas ....... and the mystery of the missing coach house

Now, I like the way that not all of our history comes from a book or even from the memories of individuals.

The coach house, 2018
Sometimes you have go ferreting around, pulling up old council documents and equally old maps and matching them against street directories and adverts, and only then do those little bits of the past come together.

So it is with 1a Stockton Road which for as long as I can remember has been a lock up garage only shutting up shop around 2013.

But look closely at Peter’s picture and its origins as a coach house are clear.  To the left there are the large doors which would have given access for the carriage while above was the hayloft, with space to the right for the horse or horses.

It is a basic and familiar design, which was once replicated across Chorlton, and beyond.  They turn up in the grounds of even the most modest family homes and survive as flat conversions or workshops.

Ours stood in the garden of Denbigh Villas which were two semi detached properties, fronting High Lane.

If we want to be more precise, the coach house was in the garden of 59 so I guess it is reasonable to suppose the occupier of that house used or had the opportunity to use the building.

That said it might have been shared with 57, whose garden was dominated by two large green houses.

The mystery is just when the coach house ceased to be part of Denbigh Villas, because at present it is owned by a family who live opposite.

I could go and ask and I may do that but where is the fun in that?

The gardens of Denbigh Villas, 1894
Instead I shall ponder, using the OS map for 1933, which offers up the following clue, which is that by then the green houses have gone and what was left of the garden east of the coach house is marked as part of the Convent which had once been a school and is now the Islamic School for Girls.

So it would be reasonable to suppose that when the land was sold and the green houses demolished, our coach house also left Denbigh Villas.

By then its days as two grand homes may have also come to an end, but here the official documents are of no use, because both the record of who lived in both has been redacted because they might still be alive.*

And that means at present we have no idea whether the residents were posh enough to have owned or a horse and carriage or even if they had succumbed to the age of the motor car.

All I can tell is that neither property had started their long association with multi occupancy.  The record shows that both houses were occupied by one family each.
There is a suggestion that in the 1950s our coach house became the offices of a local builder, before it became that garage.  We shall see.

So that pretty much is that, except to say my grandparents had bought a big rambling old house on the edge of Derby, which had a coach house, and on a hot summer’s day there was still that distinctive smell of hay mixed with the lathe and plaster of the walls, along with the faint buzzing of trapped insects.

Location; Chorlton

Picture; the old coach house; 2018 from the collection of Peter Topping and the gardens of Denbigh Villas, 1894 from the OS map of South Lancashire, 1894 courtesy of Digital Archives Association, http://digitalarchives.co.uk/

*1939 Register

Walking in the City

Now for no particular reason other than I took them and they are of Manchester, here is a short series celebrating places I like.

All have appeared before and some a long time ago.

Location; Manchester

Pictures; around Manchester 2002-2015

Hailing a cab in Chorlton in the 1920s

Charles Croton was one of our taxi drivers and successful enough to have moved from horse and cab to motor vehicle by the 1920s and was listed in the telephone book by 1911.

All of which makes him a suitable candidate for a story.

He was another of those new people who moved in to Chorlton just as the place was expanding.  He had been born in London in 1867 and his father was also a hackney coach driver.

His earlier years are a little murky but I know he married Ann in 1887 and their first child was born two years later.  These were the years when they seemed to move about the country. Some of the children were born in Hulme but others in Littlemore in Oxfordshire, but by 1901 they were settled here in Chorlton on Sandy Lane.

So this makes them a perfect example of the families who moved here to take advantage of the new housing development which was going up mainly along Barlow Moor, Wilbraham and Manchester Roads and the areas off in each direction.

These were the middling people who mostly earned a living by working as office workers and professionals in the city taking advantage of the new railway which could whisk commuters into Manchester in under fifteen minutes.  But there were also more wealthy families who owned businesses as well as skilled semi skilled and manual workers who lived in the six shilling a week houses.

The Croton’s however occupied what had been a farm house and here the attraction may well have been the yard where the taxi could be kept as well as the close proximity to Shaw’s motor garage and petrol pump on Barlow Moor Road.

And in other ways they reflect this new Chorlton with all four of the children entering the new trades.  So while Reg the eldest followed his father into the cab trade, was an engineer in the Corporation electrical works and both daughter worked as shop assistants, one in confectionary and the other in drapery.

Charles died in the summer of 1926 but the business continued into the 1930s still on Sandy Lane.  Which takes me back to Reg.  The picture was taken in 1922 which would have made him thirty years old.  He is parked up in the station I guess waiting for the arrival of a train and a potential fare.

So there you have it, a little bit about one of our families.

Picture; from the Llyod collection

Discovering the names of those who served in the Red Cross in Eltham during the Great War

I have moved just a little closer to some of the men and women who served during the Great War.

And it comes from an exciting new project by the Red Cross which is putting on line its records from the Great War.

Even before the war started the Red Cross had made preparations for coping with the large numbers of wounded who would be returning from the battlefields.

So when the conflict did begin voluntary hospitals were estchalished across the country.
Some were in school halls, and others in private houses and relied on the voluntary support of the local community.

Until recently I knew little of the men and women who served in the hospitals.

I had one list for the first year of the war of those who worked at one hospital, a few names from newspaper correspondence and the odd record of some of the administrators.

But the Red Cross records will bring them out of the shadows, for along with their names and addresses there are brief details of what they did.

Some are more detailed than others so those for Eltham in south east London describe particular duties. So I know that Miss Ada Fanny Boultbee, assisted the “sick & wounded, did  convoy duty. Well Hall Station any time day and night at 1. 1/2 hours notice. tea. Coffee, milk, ready.”

And provided a wealth of detail
“August 5th 1914. Struck Divisional Camp at Chichester. 7. 1914. Organizing Hos: cores: Soldiers & Sailors Institute Woolwich. 30th. 1914- Accepted responsibility of sick & wounded Convoy Duty Well Hall. Col: Stephenson with request for same from Col. Simpson. Herbert Hos:- Sept. 7th. 1914 First Convoy. 3/4 hour notice. All ready. 16 -1914 Mobilized by Col. Stephenson at "Cathay" Eltham. S.E. B.R.X.S. Brassard No.7. A.M.S. July - 1917 Demolized. Col: Simpson' of opinion that that Sick & Wounded Convoy Duty at Well Hall Station was no longer rec. under altered conditions of transport. Ada St.John. Boultbee. Hon. Comdt L /26.”

In time it will be possible to find out much more about their backgrounds and what happened to them after the war which in turn will throw light on the degree to which Eltham did its bit

Pictures; doctors and nurses and men from the Red Cross Hospital of Wood Lawn in Didsbury circa 1915, courtesy of Rob Mellor

*British Red Cross,  http://www.redcross.org.uk/About-us/Who-we-are/History-and-origin/First-World-War

In the company of the Manchester Bees ..... no. 5 down in Didsbury

Now, I have to thank the loads of people who in the last few days have shared their pictures of Manchester Bees.

Lisa Cunliffe, 2018

Lisa Cunliffe, 2018
Last week I had wandered from Exchange Square down to Deansgate and come across quite a few.

And in the course of the first blog story  I asked for contributions and they came in thick and fast.

From United and City bees courtesy of Angiebabe Moore, to my old friend Ron who captured a fair few in the Ref and Kay who not only shared hers from near the Cathedral but also has promised to send me some of Polly, the Clayton Hall Bee.

All and more will appear over the next few weeks.

But for now here is that Didsbury one, from the cameras of Lisa Cunliffe and Sarah Freeman

Location; Didsbury

Sarah Freeman, 2018

Pictures; the Didsbury Bee, 2018 courtesy of Lisa Cunliffe and Sarah Freeman

Friday, 27 July 2018

Denbigh Villas ..... the house that lost its name

This is the story of two houses in Chorlton and how they seem to have lost their name.

Denbigh Villas, 2018, on the cusp of an exciting future
They were built in 1877 and were called Denbigh Villas and they began as fine residential homes, became a school in the early 20th century and finally ended their days as flats.

Now they are in the process of being developed into a series of apartments by Armistead Properties.*

And here comes the surprise because having started off as Denbigh Villas, the Council does not recognise the name and will not grant permission for it to be recognised as the official address.

It would appear that they have no record of such a name, falling back on the Post Office who does not list it as Denbigh Villas.

Added to which the Council does not accept the word Villa as an appropriate name, suggesting instead the word “House”.

Denbigh Villas, circa 1910, Mr Dadley's school
All of which is a little odd, given that in 1877 the Council’s own rate books record it as Denbigh Villas when it assessed the new houses on High Lane as having a rateable value of £46.

True by 1900 they had dropped the title on the Rate Books, but the name appears on the stone post outside the houses, and no doubt the postman would have delivered his letters to “Denbigh Villas”.

But perhaps that has something to do with its change of use into a school, run by Miss Booth who occupied just one of the two properties and a little later Mr Dadley who expanded the school into the other house.

And it may also be Miss Booth who confuses things by  listing the house as Springfield in 1904 in a local directory.

While Mr Dadley dropped all pretence at a name, preferring to advertise the place as Mr Dadley’s Grammar School specialising in training for “Law, Medical Accounts, Prelims, University, and Civil Services Exams” and listing it in the census record for 1911 as Chorlton, High Lane, School.

Denbigh Villas, 2016, waiting for change
I have to say, Mr Dadlely may be accurate with the address, but it suggests a slightly unromantic side to his nature.

I prefer Denbigh Villas, because that was its name, and it was where Josiah Thomas Slugg lived in the 1880s.

He is fascinating chap, who is best remembered for his book, Reminiscences of Manchester, published in 1881 which is a wonderful description of the city in the 1830s which includes vivid accounts of the stage coach inns, the shops and personalities that occupied the main streets, along with a detailed description of a journey Mr Slugg took on the Liverpool to Manchester Railway soon after it opened in 1830.

So Denbigh Villas has history, and has Chorlton history, so for that I think it should be allowed to continue to retain its historic name.

Next; Denbigh Villas ....... and the mystery of the missing coach house

Location Chorlton

Pictures; 57-59 High Lane, 2016 from the collection of Tony Goulding, in 1910 from the Lloyd Collection and in 2018 from the collection of Andrew Simpson

*Armistead Properties, http://www.armisteadproperty.co.uk/

A military academy in the High Street and that other Eltham Lodge

Cliefden House, 1909
Mr Thomas Hopkirk ran his military academy from Cliefden House in the High Street during the middle decades of the 19th century.

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.

Now I can’t be exactly sure when Mr Hopkirk opened his doors but it will have been around 1849 for that was the year he and his wife Charlotte baptized their daughter in the parish Church and it may well have been Mr Hopkirk who added the extension.

Together this made for a large 17 roomed house which could accommodate “The Preparatory Military Academy” with its 32 students.

They were aged between 11 and 18 and were from all over England as well as Ireland with a significant group from the empire.  Along with Mr Hopkirk there was another teacher, a cook, a nurse and three house maids.

Originally the house was fronted with a tall wall behind which was a small garden, all of which was swept away when the High Street was widened.

Behind those walls Mr Hopkirk set about the serious business of running “a school for young gentlemen.”*

His reputation may well have been made in the school he ran in Woolwich on Frances Street and with an eye to a good location this first “Preparatory Military Academy” was sited close to the barracks.

There were 500 of these academies in Kent in 1851 with 15,411 students and in the half century before the numbers had waxed and waned, a situation which pretty much carried on during the decade before Mr Hopkirk had established himself in Eltham.**

Now this period is still a little murky but the establishment was listed in Baggot’s History, Gazetteer and Directory for Woolwich in 1847 and it will just be a matter of trawling the directories for the years before that date to determine when it was opened.

What I do know is that six years earlier Thomas had been employed as “the mathematical master” along with a classics teacher and a writing master in a school in Totteridge which was once a village in Hertfordshire and is now part of the borough of Barnet.

Like his own academy this was designed for young gentlemen of whom there were 69 aged between 9 and 17 and all born somewhere else.  Nor were they alone for during the mid 19th century there were two other private schools in the area.

Both Thomas and his colleagues were aged just 20, and there is no indication of who the owner was, nor have I come across any details on his background which makes it difficult to work out how he raised the capital to start his academies.

The west end of the High Street,in 1844,  nu 305 is Cliefden House
As ever the answers will turn up as will the date when he closed the school and moved on.

It was still there in 1861 but had gone by 1871 and it may just be that we can narrow it to sometime between 1865 when he was registered to vote in Eltham and three years later when his address is given on the register as London.

But like all research this has to be qualified with the observation that he is still listed in the Post Office Directory in 1868 on the High Street.

What makes it more difficult is that he and Charlotte are missing from the 1871 census and don’t reappear until a decade later, by which time they are in Dulwich at the appropriately named Eltham Lodge.

Such must have been impact Eltham had on the couple.  It is of course just possible that the house had already acquired the name but I doubt it.

And it was here that Thomas died in March 1881 leaving a personal estate effects valued at under £30,000 and Charlotte in 1912.

All that is left is to record that he in 1865 he voted Tory and that he was a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

Pictures; Cliefden House Eltham 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 detail of Eltham High Street, 1844 from the Tithe map for Eltham courtesy of Kent History and Library Centre, Maidstone, http://www.kent.gov.uk/leisure_and_culture/kent_history/kent_history__library_centre.aspx

*R.R.C. Gregory, The Story of Royal Eltham, 1909

**  Census of Great Britain, 1851 Education.  Along with a similar census in religious worship this was undertaken in the April of 1851 with the general census

In the company of the Manchester Bees ..... no. 4 inside the Ref with a thank you to Ron

Now as you would expect, the Bees have proved very popular so here are some taken by my old friend Ron in Central Ref.

Location; Central Ref

Picture; Manchester Bee, Central Ref, 2018, from the collection of Ron Stubley

Walking in the City

Now for no particular reason other than I took them and they are of Manchester, here is a short series celebrating places I like.

All have appeared before and some a long time ago.

Location; Manchester

Pictures; around Manchester 2002-2015

Queuing for the new history of Urmston, Flixton and Davyhulme

Now, the audience was large and expectant.

The large and expectant audience anticipating a good night
After all it is a long time since there has been a new book on the history of Urmston.*

And not just Urmston, because Michael Billington’s book, also covers Flixton and Davyhulme, and is very much a history for today, because as well as all the usual things you might expect, there are some detailed case studies of people and places, like Simpsons the Ready Made Food business.

As an Urmston lad, Michael was keen to tell the story of the people of the three townships, celebrating their common past and uncovering the bits that other historians missed out.

Michael talking about the book
It involved a lot of research, plenty of conversations with the locals, and a trawl of his own extensive picture collection.

So I was not surprised that over 140 people turned out last night to share the book launch.

We were treated to an introduction from the Reverend Karen Marshall, and an extensive talk by Michael on the book and his own connection with Urmston finishing with a question and answer session.

Michael and Ildikó
And along with the presentation Michael, and his Hungarian friend, Ildikó Csige performed a selection of tunes from Hungary.

One lone voice questioned the connection between a book launch and the music, which most in the room thought churlish, and was nicely explained away by the chap who pointed out that after the
Uprising in 1956, Urmston became home to Hungarian refugees.

The pensive author
Not that there really had to be a justification for an entertaining fifteen minutes.

Book launches are meant to be fun and so why not have music?

Especially given that we were not in a familiar venue for such an event, but instead had been invited in to St Clements’ Church, which was built in 1867, just as Urmston, Flixton and Davyhulme were on the cusp of change.

And there is a nice sense of continuity in being in the church as some of those referred to in the book will have had their own connection with St Clement’s as did many of the audience.

So it was a good night.

The book sales went well and the selection of wines and nibbles were excellent.

The book
My only regret was that I didn’t have time to talk to the staff from Urmston Bookshop who helped organise the event, but I have their address and web site and as I collect book shops like other people collect souvenirs, I will catch the 25 from Chorlton and pay them a visit.

All of which just leaves me to commend the excellent book by Michael, extend a thank you to Ildikó Csige for the music, and to Paul Sherlock who took the pictures and kindly let me use a selection.

But that is not quite the end, because Jenny, Michaels’ partner told me she already has his Christmas present, which he had already signed and which will be instantly recognizablable from its blue and black cover, with photographs of Urmston, Flixton and Davyhulme.

Now that I like.

For the rest of us the book can be bought from Urmston Bookshop, online from the History Press or direct from Michael.

Location; Urmston

Pictures; the book launch, 2018, from the collection of Paul Sherlock

*A new book for Urmston; https://chorltonhistory.blogspot.com/search/label/A%20new%20book%20for%20Urmston

**Urmston Bookshop, http://www.urmston-bookshop.co.uk/

Thursday, 26 July 2018

The Rec in 1933

Long before it was Beech Road Park it was the “Rec” and depending on which name you use marks you out as a newcomer or a local.

 Now we have always called it the Rec and so do all my children which I guess says something about us.

Of all the pictures of the Rec in the collection this is my favourite and I have to own up it’s because it features our house.

The date on the postcard is 1933 and the path running along the inside parallel to Beech Road has long gone.
Otherwise apart from the size of the trees it is a scene not so different from today.

Picture; from the Lloyd collection

Walking the the City

Now for no particular reason other than I took them and they are of Manchester, here is a short series celebrating places I like.

All have appeared before and some a long time ago.


Pictures; around Manchester 2002-2015