Friday, 6 July 2018

Historians of Chorlton ................. Cliff Hayes

I wish I met Cliff Hayes, unlike all of the historians I have posted he was around Chorlton during all the time I have lived here. 

True I once met John Lloyd and there are many who remember John, including my old friends Marjorie, Holmes, Philip Lloyd, and Allan Brown while Joe Callaghan who I worked with and still see for trips out tells a wonderful story about him.

But Cliff just keeps popping up. I have his book, Chorlton-Cum-Hardy, Sutton Publishing Ltd, 1999, one of my sons bought a DVD of his on the history of Manchester and Brian the Book often talked about him.

Rereading his book I am struck by his deep knowledge of the township and his modesty, particularly his concluding words where he acknowledges his debt to both John Lloyd and Thomas Ellwood.

His book has many pictures which are not in other published collections and this alone makes his Chorlton-Cum-Hardy so interesting. Its other great strength is that Cliff includes more recent photographs. So we have scenes of the shopping precinct, the Royal Oaks at the point of demolition along with the Princess Club which I remember variously as Valentines and Ra Ra’s and its replacement MacDonald’s. There is even one of the Mersey Hotel that great barn of a place soon after it was renamed the Mersey Lights.

None of these places existed in the dim and distant past and many will remember them. I know I have spent evenings in the Royal Oak, afternoons in the Mersey Hotel and nights I would rather forget in Valentine’s. Val reminded me recently of her memories of “Chorlton Palais and later Valentines, I loved Chorlton Palais but it was two buses and difficult to get to.”

Gone also are the Southern and the Feathers and of course all the cinemas.

Picture; the parish church yard and over the meadows, 1979  from the collection of Andrew Simpson

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