Sunday, 18 August 2019

Taking the Parkway …….. out of the city

Now, you will have to be of a certain age to remember that taking the bus out of the city to Wythenshawe meant travelling on the Parkway.

Writing about the new housing estate in 1937, J P Priestly commented that “a novel feature of the scheme is the provision of parkways from 250 to 300ft. in width, only 40ft. of which will be used for vehicular traffic and the remainder being laid out with trees, shrubbery and grass borders, through which footpaths will run”.*

Sadly, only one was actually built, and that now has been transformed in to a soulless and busy motorway, but for those who remember with fondness the Princess Parkway and everyone else who wonders what the attraction was, here is a reminder.

It comes in the form of a painting and while it may seem idealized, I have no doubt that back in 1937, it was as accurate as the other eleven which appeared in the book some of which have already appeared on the blog.

Location; Manchester

Picture; the Parkway from Manchester ...... heart of the Industrial North

*Manchester ...... heart of the Industrial North, Manchester Chamber of Commerce, 1937

Lunch time on the green by the lych gate in 1910

We are sometime in the summer of 1910 and judging by the collection of young people I think it must be dinner time.

A few are young enough to be at school but four at least of the central group will have been working.

And I think they will have been on their lunch break from the laundry.  This was the Pasley later renamed the Queen and Pasley on Crescent Road.*

It opened in 1893, and at one point employed 50 staff. It was along with the brick works the closest we came to being industrial.

Inside the place which survived into the 1980s, all the washing machines were belt driven by a huge steam engine and the laundry was the first to install the “float-iron system” which consisted of the multiple roller pressing machines. This was 15 feet wide and 15 feet long and “was a mass production ironing machine, with delicately poised rollers. You could put a shirt with pearl buttons on it and it wouldn’t leave a mark.”**

So with the noise, steam, and general hubbub I guess posing for the camera outside the lych gate was a welcome diversion.

Now it is impossible to know who any of them were, but I rather think the young man standing with his arms folded might just be Arthur Higginbotham who would have been 15 and was the son of one of our local farmers.

The Higginbotham’s had been here since the 1840s and lived in the farmhouse almost opposite the church yard.

Someone very similar crops up in other pictures from the time riding a horse and while it is speculation it makes sense that this was Arthur rather than another employee of the Queen and Pasley, for I doubt they would have had a lad with a horse or likewise allowed their own horse to be ridden without a saddle through the village.

So on that hot summer’s day Arthur may have taken time out from the farm and strolled across to join the crowd.   I rather expect he knew all of the others there and like them enjoyed the novelty of having a photograph taken. Just how much of a novelty can be gauged in the mix of poses.

There at the centre are the confident ones staring back at the camera with arms folded and hands on hips.

And then there are those who peer back a little unsure of the pose to strike.  The boy with his hands in his pockets the girls with the basket one of whom is craning her neck to see what is going on.

But for me it is the two on the extreme left. One looks directly into the camera, but the other seems more interested in the work of the men down by the gates to the Bowling Green Hotel.

None of the workman gives the photographer any house room.  Whatever they are doing it is far more absorbing than the effort of posing for the camera.

And I suppose that is the point.  I said having your picture taken was still a novelty but that is a little inaccurate, because there would by 1910 have been regular commercial photographers wandering the township.

In some cases they specialized in taking pictures of the new rows of houses which were going up across Chorlton and would make a living from offering the images to the local householders who more often than not bought the card to send to friends and family.  You come across these with a cross drawn above a house or a comment on the back telling the reader, “This is our house.”

Other commercial photographers were more interested in the iconic scenes like the Horse and Jockey, country lanes or the Lych Gate.

And I suppose this is how our picture came together. On that hot summers day with some good light to play with the photographer had set up on the green, and as happens in minutes he has drawn a crowd. I say he because I am fairly confident that this was still a time when most travelling photographers were men.

And given that it was midday most of his audience were children or young people on their lunch break.

You can get some sense of just how impromptu the whole thing is from what looks like a cricket bat on the ground beside Arthur.

I guess the two boys were in the middle of a game, while the two young girls caught with their basket were either on an errand or carrying their lunch.

It is a wonderful picture and one that is worth far more study.  There are the buildings of the old Bowling Green and the barn of the farm to the left of the church and just poking up over the wall of the graveyard the monument with its apparently broken pillar.  All of which is for another time.

*renamed Crossland Road
**memories from the owner of the laundry March 1985

Picture; from the Lloyd collection

Just how do you serve up a drink on Kefalonia? ……………. no. 3

A short occasional series featuring a picture and a memory.

It began as a competition to record as many different glasses at one restaurant as we could over the pace of three days.

The house wine ............ a litre bit more.

Location; Lorraine’s Magic Hill, Lourdas Beech, Kefalonia

Picture; glass jar, 2019, from the collection of Balzano

Lorraine’s Magic Hill

The lost Eltham & Woolwich pictures ...... no.10 the ferry or the tunnel?

A short series on the pictures of Eltham and Woolwich in 1976.

For four decades the pictures I took of Eltham and Woolwich in the mid ‘70’s sat undisturbed in our cellar.

But all good things eventually come to light.

They were colour slides which have been transferred electronically.

The quality of the original lighting and the sharpness is sometimes iffy, but they are a record of a lost Eltham and Woolwich.

Location; Woolwich

Picture; Woolwich circa 1976, from the collection of Andrew Simpson

Painting Salford ................. nu 3

Here is a painting which needs little in the way of words.

When Peter told me he was planning a series of paintings on Salford Quays I was quite excited and here is one he did earlier back in 2011.

I didn’t know the old docks area.

As a student in the late 1960s they were a bit off the beaten track and then as we progressed across east Manchester and on to Ashton-Under-Lyne Salford was  a long way from home.

But there is no denying the way the place has been transformed with the Lowry, the War Museum and Media City.

Painting; Painting Salford, © 2011 Peter Topping, Paintings from Pictures,

Saturday, 17 August 2019

What did you do at Peterloo?

Now anyone who is interested in the events of Peterloo, and can track their family back to Greater Manchester in the early 19th century will have wondered if one of their’s was at Peterloo.

Remembering Peterloo, 2019
The names of many of those who were have long been in the public records, trawled over by historians, students and the curious.

But now findmypast has made it easier, by an online database, which allows you to glance down the 1,180 people contained in a list of witnesses and casualties.

“Each record includes a transcript of the vital information about the individual and their involvement at Peterloo. The amount of information you can find can vary, but most transcripts will include, a name, gender, an occupation, residency, which can include a street address, and whether they were wounded or died”.*

I remain hopeful that amongst the thousands who congregated in St Peters Fields, I will come across one from Chorlton-cum-Hardy, and I have come, close, with one from Fallowfield, another from Withington, and four from Stretford, all of whom appear on the list.

Sadly the database has not provided me with such a name.  But I know that a Mary War of Fallowfield was there and needed “White dress used for bandages…….. [and] Suffered psychologically and was committed to an asylum” and that William Batson/Bateson from Rusholme was wounded, sustaining bruising of the chest from “the pressure of the crowd”.

While from Stretford there was Parker Risinghill who was a butcher, and George Derbyshire who was a shop keeper.

Remembering ......... 2019
Most intriguing was Robert Feilden/Fielden, from Withington, an individual who I suspect most of us will have less time for, given that he was one of the magistrates, and lived in Withington Lodge.

For me the real attraction of the lists are that they hold out the potential for further research, with the possibility that many can be tracked through directories, census returns and other records.

I know for instance that Mary Pritchard who was “beaten by constables, when escaping from the hustings” was a member of the Manchester Female Reform Society and lived at 3 Comet Street, Beswick Square, and that Edward Lancaster who received a  “sabre cut on the back of his head, had his throat trodden on by a horse, had to be carried insensible to the Infirmary”, lived at 9 Potter’s Building, on Oxford Road.

Each will have a story, and in the absence of a Chorlton name I shall cast my net wide, beginning with  Mary Ashcroft who lived at 10 Griffith’s Court off Chapel Street in Salford.

Location; Manchester 1819

Pictures; remembering Peterloo, Manchester, August 16th, 2019, from the collection of David Harrop

*Manchester, Peterloo Witnesses And Casualties, 1819, findmypast

So just who owned Chorlton’s Conservative Club in 1891?

Now this is not an arcane question but gets to the very heart of who lived in Chorlton, and what their political affiliations were in the February of 1891 and by extension what our township was like at the end of the 19th century.

The Con Club, 2013
And of course, at the outset I have to say that the history of political clubs over the years, is that many members join because of the social attractions rather than the political outlook of the club.

It is true of Labour clubs as it is of Conservative ones, and no doubt also of the old Liberal clubs.

That said I am intrigued by those who took a risk and subscribed in the new Conservative Club which opened in Chorlton in 1892.

The share book opened on February 20th, 1891 and between that date and November 7th of the same year, 118 signed on the dotted line handing over a minimum of £1, with some putting down a lot more.

So far, I have only analyzed the first 50 and they are an interesting cross section.

As you would expect there were a few individuals who bought between £100 and £250 in one purchase, while sliding down the scale there were quite a few buying just one share.  Of those that splashed out, one was the MP, John William McLaren of Whalley Range, another was a merchant and another two described themselves as engineers.

The first 50 subscribers, 1891
At the other end over a third bought shares worth between £10 down to £1, and as you would expect their occupations were also more modest, with a collection of clerks, shop keepers and craftsmen.

The most interesting was Miss Mary Jane Weeks who bought two shares in the February and made her living from working as a domestic servant for a family living on Chequers Road.

I suspect some saw it as a solid enough investment, but it was one which Miss Weeks and a few others tired of very quickly, with a handful ceasing to be members within a year.  In the case of Mary Jane, she lasted just seven years.

The Con Club, 1908
Others stayed the course, bought into more shares,  and continued as members long after they had left the area, and were only parted from their membership by death.

So the task will be to finish collecting the data on all 118, with a side look at those who joined in the following decade, and then matching them against the other official records of Chorlton, from census returns, to directories and electoral rolls.

All of which lead to a better understanding of who our residents were and why so many chose to take a punt with a a share in the Conservative Club and Public hall.

Well that's the plan.

Location; Chorlton-cum-Hardy

Pictures; The Conservative Club, 1908, from the Lloyd Collection,  and in 2013 from the collection of Andrew Simpson

*Register of Members Chorlton-cum-Hardy Conservative Club Limited 1892-96

In praise of a great city ........ Manchester in 1937

Now, you can just look at these wonderful paintings of a lost Manchester, admiring the colour and verve of what you see, followed by charting how different the individual scenes are today.

The Royal Exchange, 1937
But, that would be to ignore the accompanying text by J. B. Priestly which is not only a powerful homage to the City but is a fascinating piece of historic writing.

The paintings and text are taken from Manchester ...... heart of the Industrial North, published by the Manchester Chamber of Commerce, in 1937,* when Britain was emerging from the Great Depression which for many, was “that low dishonest decade”** of mass unemployment dire poverty and the Means Test.

And while the south was prospering, great chunks of the North, were still struggling, and so hence this book which shouts the energy, drive and civic pride of Manchester and by extension Salford and the surrounding towns.

“I believe in Manchester because what really matters in the end is character, and Manchester has the right sort of character.  Its history proves that in two very different ways.

First Manchester has not only always faced adversity with courage, but has always contrived to assert itself triumphantly at what would appear to be the worst possible moment.  It is a mistake to imagine that the cotton trade, of which Manchester is the centre, has flourished without interruption until the recent slump. 

King Street, 1937
During the American Civil War when the Southern States were blockaded, there was a cotton famine, and there have been periodic slumps since then.  Manchester’s answer to them has been to build its Ship Canal, triumphantly to organise its Jubilee Exhibition, to complete its impressive Royal Exchange during the difficult years of the Great War, and during the present slump to build a fine new Reference Library and to extend its Town Hall.  

No defeatism there.  

In the second place, the character of Manchester is shown in the influence that it has had on English public life, social, educational and artistic affairs.

I should estimate this influence as being equal to that of any other three English provincial cities put together.

When I was a boy living in Bradford, a city that shares some of the characteristics of Manchester, we thought of Manchester as we did of London.  And why not?  Manchester has the best newspaper, the best symphony orchestra and the best theatre in England.  

The Ship Canal
We know that the geographical position of this city is a magnificent one for it lies in the centre of a vast spider’s web of roads and railways, and canals, and has an outlet to the sea and really lies at the very hub and heart of a colossal straggling city that includes all the densely populated regions of South Lancashire and West Riding, and it has ample supplies of good water and coal and iron and power.

This is good, but character is better.  

Perhaps the secret of the Manchester character is that it is nine- tenths hard northern grit, solid Lancashire bone and muscle and brain, plus a remaining tenth, acting as a leaven, of liberal-minded and enterprising foreign influence, a contribution from Europe.  

You are not compelled to accept my analysis, but the smallest research will convince you that I am not wrong, in my estimate of the character of these people.  

Go and talk to them, and you, too, will believe in Manchester”.

Location; Manchester

Pictures; the Royal Exchange, King Street, and the Ship Canal, 1937 from Manchester ...... heart of the Industrial North

*Manchester ...... heart of the Industrial North, Manchester Chamber of Commerce, 1937

**September 1st 1939, W.H. Auden

Just how do you serve up a drink on Kefalonia? ..... no. 2

A short occasional series featuring a picture and a memory.

It began as a competition to record as many different glasses at one restaurant as we could over the pace of three days.

We had arrived early, and so choose to have an aperitif in the bar, and both went for an apple spritz.

Location; Lorraine’s Magic Hill, Lourdas Beech, Kefalonia

Picture; glass jar, 2019, from the collection of Balzano

Lorraine’s Magic Hill

The lost Eltham & Woolwich pictures ...... no.6 working the river

A short series on the pictures of Eltham and Woolwich in 1978.

For four decades the pictures I took of Eltham and Woolwich in the mid ‘70’s sat undisturbed in our cellar.

But all good things eventually come to light.

They were colour slides which have been transferred electronically.

The quality of the original lighting and the sharpness is sometimes iffy, but they are a record of a lost Eltham and Woolwich.

Now the series is entitled Eltham and Woolwich but I did stray into Greenwich, and someone has pointed out that the image is Greenwich.  I can not remember, so I guess there will be a lively debate as to exactly where I was.  I hope so.

Location; Woolwich or Greenwich

Picture; Woolwich or Greenwich circa 1978, from the collection of Andrew Simpson

Chorlton-cum-Hardy’s first cricketer ............. a story from Tony Goulding

There are some reports of cricket matches taking place in Chorlton-cum-Hardy during 1869 and 1870. 

SCORECARD Manchester Evening News  April 24 1871
The earliest one I have so far discovered is from a meeting of the home team and the curiously named Bristol Perseverance, which incidentally the visitors won handsomely, on Saturday 20th May, 1869.

On 3rd September, 1870 these same two sides met again and Chorlton-cum-Hardy got their revenge scoring 97 (thanks to a contribution of 30 runs from R. Fowler of whom more shortly) and then dismissing their opponents for 73.
This scorecard of the match between Chorlton-cum-Hardy and Broughton College which took place on Saturday 22nd April, 1871 is the earliest instance I have found of the full details of a cricket match in Chorlton-cum-Hardy being reported in the press.

The date being so early in the cricketing year together with the fact that Chorlton-cum-Hardy’s Brass Band was in attendance would strongly suggest that this was indeed in some manner an inaugural match of an organized cricket club in the area.

 Cricket, and other sports, fixtures were not in an organized format at this time being mostly arranged in an ad hoc manner. However as the 1870’s and 1880’s progressed  societal changes led to a great increase in sporting activity and the origins of many present day clubs  can be found in this era.

Scorecards from games played by Chorlton- cum-Hardy continued to feature in the local press throughout the late Victorian era and an analysis of the various names included is of some interest to social historians / sociologists.

Many members of the Chorlton-cum-Hardy teams were residents of the large houses along Edge Lane which were occupied by wealthy Manchester Merchants and their families. Interestingly,(1) though other team members appear to have been clerks or working men residing in Acre Lane, Church Road and the like. Among the former were:-
1) Robert David Fowler the “star batsman”, a provisions merchant who lived in Waltham House.
2) Alexander H. Gilbody who was a zinc merchant and a captain in the local rifle volunteers and lived in Barway Villa.

Barway Villas
“Barway Villa”
3) Edward Overall Bleackley, an exceptionally wealthy (2) cotton merchant of “The Oaks”, Edge Lane.

In 1871 he had moved into newspaper publishing with Manchester Evening Chronicle and The Manchester Sunday Chronicle. His most lucrative title though was The (Manchester) Sporting Chronicle, which filled a gap in the market when the three main Manchester newspapers opted to suppress betting and racing news.

His partner in this latter venture was a former printer on the Manchester Guardian Edward Hulton of Clarence Villa, Alexandra Road, Withington, Manchester. Edward Hulton’s youngest son also Edward expanded the business to such an extent that on his death in 1923 it was sold to the Daily Mail Group for £6,000.000.

He also owned racehorses and was briefly the chairman of Manchester City F.C.
4) John Roscoe Falconer, a paper merchant lived at “Richmond House” also played Lacrosse and founded the Chorlton-cum-Hardy Lacrosse Club in 1877.  Many cricketers are also listed among the Lacrosse players
5) Nicholai Christian Schou, a shipping merchant of Norwegian origin and his sons who were later residents of “The Oaks” Nicholai Christian Jun one of the sons, helped found the Lacrosse Club in 1877.
6) Edwin Woolaston an oil merchant of “Westbrook” Edge Lane and Thomas Roland Woolaston, his son.
7) Arthur and Alfred Hough sons of John Hough J.P. a woollen merchant and prominent official of local branches of the Conservative Party, residing in “Meadow Bank” Edge Lane.
8) Sidney Macbeth of “The Hollies” son of George Macbeth a clothing merchant – mostly noted for his Lacrosse playing, in which he represented Lancashire.

The Hollies
“The Hollies”
     Unsurprisingly, given its proximity to the residences of the leading members of the team these early matches were played on a ground at “Cow Lane” shaded red on this map which also shows some of the named houses as stated in Andrew’s post on this subject, dated almost exactly 6 years ago,

The precise location of the ground is unknown but the prime location would have been the plot of land adjacent to “Meadow Bank” and to the rear of “The Hollies” and Barway Villa”. Somewhat appropriately this site is now the approximate location of the Longford Athletics Stadium.

Cow Lane as it is today - Hampton Road
The Chorlton- cum-Hardy club continued to develop and grow during the 1870’s and some subtle changes began to occur. Teams became less dominated by “gentlemen” and more formal committees began to appear.
 ”Cow Lane” as it is today – Hampton Road

An indication of this change is that by the end of the decade the clubs first XI began to play matches against 13 or even on one occasion 16 “Gentlemen of the District”
One of the first Treasurers of Chorlton-cum-Hardy Cricket Club was Robert Hall Ford a member of the firm of Batty & Ford Solicitors of Mosely Street, Manchester. Robert was also a keen lacrosse player for the Owens College Club. He was the son of Everard Haydon Ford a silk merchant living at “Riversdale”, Edge Lane when he died on 28th May, 1888 at the tragically young age of 26.
Edge Lane from the O.S. Map of 1905
The strongest indicator of how the cricket club had now become a seriously competitive enterprise was the appointment of a club Professional. In 1888 this was Nottinghamshire born Amos Towle.

 Tony Goulding © 2019

Location; Chorlton

Pictures; sourced by Tony Goulding


1) The integration of social classes was a limited one, extraordinary lengths were taken to maintain social distinctions between “Gentlemen” (Amateurs –mostly of the Upper/ Middle classes)  and “Players” (Professional cricketers regarded as workers)
Scorecards would normally only show the surname of a “Player” whilst a “Gentleman's” name would be prefixed by a “Mr.” and his initials. A distinction echoed still today on racecards to indicate that a horse is to be ridden by an amateur rider. Some grounds had separate changing rooms and even entrance gates to both the ground and the playing area. Team captains would always be a Gentleman/amateur, Change was slow to come to cricket England did not appoint a Professional Captain until (Sir) Len Hutton in 1952 and the bi-annual fixture “Gentlemen Vs Players” continued until the last was won by the players at Scarborough on 8/10/11th September, 1962.

2)     Mr Bleackley’s personal wealth was             
revealed by his will in which he bequeathed £184,824-13s-8d.

Friday, 16 August 2019

An almost familiar scene of Mount Street in the heart of the city ........ just 82 years ago

Now here is a picture of the city which is at once both familiar but not familiar.

Mount Street, 1937
We are on Mount Street with Central Ref and the Town Hall Extension to our right and Central Street on the left.

So far so good, but the tram and the much darkened walls of the old Town Hall places us at a time long before now.

Given that the Town Hall extension was started in 1934, completed in 1938 and opened a year later, the date for our scene must be the mid to late 1930s.

But I can get closer because the painting comes from the book Manchester Heart of the Industrial North which I know was published in 1937.

And that will places us on Mount Street no later than 1937 and I suspect no earlier than 1936.

I first came across the book on the recommendation of my friend Angela and having looked through the book decided I had to go looking for it.

Fortunately I came across a copy at a reasonable price and that is that.

Location; Manchester

Picture; Mount Street, circa 1937, from Manchester Heart of the Industrial North, 1937

The lost Eltham & Woolwich pictures ...... no.5 shopping in Woolwich

A short series on the pictures of Eltham and Woolwich in 1979.

For four decades the pictures I took of Eltham and Woolwich in the mid ‘70’s sat undisturbed in our cellar.
But all good things eventually come to light.

They were colour slides which have been transferred electronically.

The quality of the original lighting and the sharpness is sometimes iffy, but they are a record of a lost Eltham and Woolwich.

Location; Woolwich

Picture; Woolwich circa 1976, from the collection of Andrew Simpson

Stories behind a Salford postcard ...... from Sue Tydd

It began as a story about a Salford postcard and a question about Gertie and Delia who were mentioned on the back which became the inspiration for Sue to research the family and write the story.

The Salford postcard, circa 1900
John McCabe was baptised at St. Nicholas, Dublin in 1854, he moved to England as a young man firstly to an aunt in Macclesfield and later to Manchester where he married Margaret Maloney a Galway girl in 1875 at St. Wilfred’s in Hulme.

Numerous children came along in the following years the eldest Julia in 1876 followed by John, Margaret,
Frederick, William, Florence, Theresa, Bridget (Delia), Matilda (Tilly), Joseph and Gertrude (Gertie) in 1891.

Quite possibly there were more children (I haven’t found out about ‘Geff’ mentioned by Delia on the postcard to Gertie) born to this Irish catholic family before Margaret’s life was cut short in 1897.
John having been left widowed with children ranging from infants to children of a working age with presumably no family locally had little choice but to admit at least two of his young children into the care of Holly Mount.

Holly Mount, 1894
The orphanage/ school of Holly Mount in Tottington on the outskirts of Bury admitted children from poor catholic families who else-wise were destined for life in the Workhouse.  The establishment was run efficiently by the Sisters of Charity of Jesus Christ a Belgian order of nuns.

A board of guardians administered financial matters.

It would have been a formidable place for the young girls to enter sharing living space with over 200 other young girls.  It was normal for girls to remain here until reaching 13 years of age an acceptable age at the time to begin a working life.

As with other similar institutions the girls were taught numerous domestic duties to equip them for married life and often a life in domestic service.

Not unsurprisingly John still of a reasonable age remarried in 1899 to Emily Roberts and sired at least two children with her and raised her son William alongside them. 1901 the new family  are living in Hulme with only Theresa from his first marriage living amongst them, Tilly and Gertie are to be found on the census for Holly Mount.  John passed away aged 73 years old in South Manchester.

Bridget, fondly called Delia from the postcard married Charles Dunderdale in 1928; a widower 20 years her senior with an already adult family. Passing away in 1941 Charles left a reasonable sum of money to Delia, she herself died in 1963 her probate details her beneficiaries as Matilda Evans and Mary Gertrude Grant widows.

Manchester Royal Infirmary 1950, where John Wilcox was a patient
From searching through local records it is confirmed the ladies are her sisters Tilly and Gertie.
Matilda, (Tilly) had been born in 1887 and as we know from earlier spent some time after her mother’s death at Holly Mount.

She married John Wilcox a Rubber Heel Moulder in 1909, a daughter Lilian was born soon after and as often happened died in infancy.  A son Harold was born in the early part of 1911, by the time the child is one month old John Wilcox is a patient in Manchester Royal Infirmary.

The cause or illness I do not know or in fact if he ever returned home, it is documented  though he passed away in 1913.  One hopes Tilly found happiness again in 1916 when she married James Evans having at least four children with her second husband she passed away in 1975.

Of Gertie as yet I haven’t located her marriage although we do know she married a man with the surname of Grant, perhaps this was also a second marriage and so proving problematic to locate.
Florence married Giovanni Geri and passed away in 1966.

Other siblings I have yet to find in their adult life, I’m sure a bit more digging will unearth more information and I will update accordingly.

What we can learn from this family is life wasn’t always easy or kind in the 19th century or indeed the 20th century and many families were separated due to the death of one or both of their parents at a tender age; including my grandmother who was suddenly orphaned at eight years old, but that’s a story for another day.

© Sue Tydd 2017

Pictures; Peel Park, circa 1900, marketed by Tuck & sons,  from the collection of David Harrop, Holly Mount School, 1894 from the OS map of South Manchester, 1894 courtesy of Digital Archives Association, Manchester Royal Infirmary, 1950 , m52916, courtesy of Manchester Libraries, Information and Archives, Manchester City Council,

Just how do you serve up a drink on Kefalonia?………. no. 1

A short occasional series featuring a picture and a memory.

It began as a competition to record as many different glasses at one restaurant as we could over the pace of three days.

But today it was the jam jar which took pride of place.

Tina liked the jam jar and it reminded me of a similar jar, in a taverna at the foot of the Acropolis in Athens.

It was a full thirty-eight years ago, and while I have long ago forgotten what we ate, I can remember the ice cold Retsina which was served up in the glass jug.

Location; Lorraine’s Magic Hill, Lourdas Beech, Kefalonia

Picture; glass jar, 2019, from the collection of Balzano

Stories behind a picture, ........... Chorlton Green circa 1904-12

This is one of those pictures which you look at, think about how it has changed and pass on.

But that really doesn’t do it justice. The more I look at it the more I seem to see. It is a warm summer’s day in the afternoon and the green seems quiet enough. There are no children about so either school hasn’t finished or the holidays have yet to arrive.

Now I know it must date from sometime between 1904 and 1912. It can’t be any later than 1912 because this was the year the postcard was sent. Nor can it be any earlier than 1904 which was when the Pavilion theatre on the corner of Wilbraham and Buckingham Roads was opened. It would have been an extra bonus to be able to use the bill board beside the Horse and Jockey to fix the date even more accurately but it is impossible to decipher the print advertising the forthcoming acts.

So it is all down to when Mrs Gertude Green moved in to number 5 Chorlton Green and opened her sweet shop. She was definitely open for business by 1909 and it is her name that appears on the sign in front of the house which also carries the advert for Rowntrees chocolates.

The delivery cart for Camwal may have been unloading mineral water and soft drinks to her shop. The firm had begun in 1878 as the Chemists' Aerated and Mineral Waters Association Limited and by 1895 had factories in London, Bristol, Harrogate and Mitcham. It can’t be sure but it is likely that around 1901 they changed their name to Camwal or were taken over. Those wooden heavy crates would still be used well into the middle of the century for transporting various soft drinks and beers.

Now number 5 looks small and in 1911 it consisted of just three rooms. Fine for Mrs Green who was a widow and lived alone but two decades earlier it had been the home of the plumber James Moloy his wife and four children.

Today the house is bigger but looking again at our picture back then some of number 7 appears to run behind it but just how the internal geography of the two works has yet to be revealed.

Having said that our picture has not yet given up all there is to learn.

Until late in the 19th century the pub was just the space either side of the entrance at number 9 and as late as the 1891 census there were families in numbers 11, and 13. And you might think that when the picture was taken this was still the case. The fence extends along the rest of the row and separates these properties from the pub.

But by 1901 all three were described as the Horse and Jockey which may have happened soon after the death of Miss Wilton who had lived at number 13 and died in 1896.

I would still like to know who owned the horse and cart in front of the Camel delivery vehicle, and whether the woman pushing the pram was the child’s mother or one of the many servants who were employed here in the years before the Great War.

Picture; from the Lloyd collection, circa 1904-1912

All that glitters and moves .......... the roundabout

I have to confess that I have never been a fan of any roundabouts.

They make me feel ill.  They did when I was a youngster and they still do, which has precluded me from going on those ones in the playground of old parks and the shinny, glittering ones you get at fairgrounds.

I haven’t seen those simple roundabouts of my youth for a long time.  They had a platform, with a circle iron bar and you worked them by pushing them and then when there was sufficient momentum you jumped on, and if you were me jumped straight off again feeling distinctly queasy and very giddy.

Along with the hobby horse, swings and see saw they were to found in almost all Corporation playgrounds when I was growing yp, but not so now.

That said, I welcome any pictures and descriptions of locations of where they have survived.

A variation of the municipal roundabout, are those we have across in Greece and rural Italy, where you stand on a platform, hold on to a set of rails and the contraption is operated manually by an adult.

All small beer when compared to the big Merry-go-rounds or Carousels which are a mainstay of Fairs and big amusement parks.

Apparently they have their origin in medieval warfare, were developed in the 18th century into what we know today.

The first modern one was built by Thomas Bradshaw and appeared at the Alysham Fair in 1861.

The design was developed during the next two decades and evolved into what we know today, powered first by steam, then petrol and finally electricity.

They are best seen at night when all that gold and glitter stands out against the night sky, but on a hot May day with the sun shining down, all the sparkly stuff worked equally well.

This one has a permanent home in Trafford Centre where I photographed it during a Bank Holiday Monday.

Location; Trafford Centre

Pictures. The Merry-go-round, 2018, from the collection of Andrew Simpson

Thursday, 15 August 2019

At Central Ref on a sunny day in 1969

Now I remember I was going to publish a picture a month of Central Ref from when it reopened.

Sadly I didn’t but to mark an equally momentous occasion in its history, here is a picture from my friend Sally of the library in 1969.

Judging by the trees in the picture and the overcoats I am guessing that this will have been one of those crisp sunny days at the beginning of spring, just after the daffodils had started to flower.

Of course I might be hopelessly wrong but it will have been only a few months before I arrived as a student and began my own love affair with the building.

I walked through those impressive metal doors sometime in early September 1969 and for great chunks of the next three years it was where I would spend my Saturday’s.

And like others I had my own special seat in the huge Social Sciences library and there I would sit from when the doors opened till tea time.

On occasions I explored the rest of the building and discovered the basement cafe which was all to the good because for the first few weeks I had camped out on the steps at dinner time with a sandwich and what passed for coffee back in 1969.

All of which reminds me just how different the city has become, which is reflected in the transformation of the Ref itself.

And that’s all you are getting, except to thank Sally for finding and posting the picture.

Location; Manchester

Picture; Central Ref in 1969, courtesy of Sally Dervan

So no more the second hand shops of Chorlton ......

If you can remember a time before the Chorlton bar culture, you will be able to name at least one of our second hand shops.

Back in the 1970s there was Ken’s on Beech Road, the Green House on Stockton and later Doc’s Second Hand Emporium on Barlow Moor Road.

The idea of recycling clothes, furniture and pretty much anything is not new, and a century ago in the Flat Iron Market in Salford and similar ones in Ancoats, you could pick up a pair of clogs, or a used pair of men’s trousers for a song.

Today you still can, but the objects tend to be in charity shops and depending on the shop they can be quite “up market things”.

So here for those who remember those shops with their musty smell and heap of surprises is Doc’s.

I can’t remember when I took the picture, but it will be the mid 1980s and perhaps even later.

And no sooner was this posted than Marion commented,"how about Jack a Lilie's on Beech Road?" which I confess I had forgotten and more of an admission as I regularly pass the time of day with Lilly at the bus stop.

Location; Chorlton

Picture; Doc’s Second Hand Emporium on Barlow Moor Road, circa 1986, from the collection of Andrew Simpson

Tales from a Greek island part three …… the restaurant on the hill with a story

It was our third day on the island, and we had already tired of the sea front restaurants, which offered much the same food and pretty much the same views.

And so, I suppose it was that combination of boredom and curiosity which took us across a field and up a steep flight of steps to “Lorraine’s Magic Hill”, which offered fresh and organic food, collected in the morning from their own fields and cooked that evening.

A measure of the popularity of the place was that on each of our three visits the restaurant was fully booked, with more than a few of the customers  returning again, and in some cases were loyal regular visitors who had been coming for years.

And we could see why, because while there was plenty of traditional Greek food on the menu, many of the dishes had been imaginatively enhanced by Lorraine’s style of cooking.

At which point I could reel off what we had eaten and what we wish we could have eaten, but that can be easily remedied by anyone who follows the link to their site.

Instead I shall focus on the restaurant, its location and above all Lorraine, her three daughters and the remaining seventeen staff who make the place special.

Which brings me to the story, because Lorraine is part Austrian, part German and part American, and comes from Montana.

She fell in love with “the love of her life” when she was just seventeen, and the pair decided to open a restaurant.

And the rest as they say, was a lot of hard work, steel determination, and a love of food, especially Greek food.

They open at 7.30 in the evening, but Lorraine will have been there since the morning, having taken a swim in the sea, while thinking of what mix of fresh food could be combined for the evening meals.

It is an approach which does sometimes lead to surprises with the meals that had been decided upon the night before undergoing slight changes as Lorraine tweaks a dish with a variation of herbs or a combination of different vegetables.

So it was, that on one of our nights there, a new aubergine starter was added, because the crop lifted from the field that morning was so perfect it required to be given its own special place on the menu.

And there were plenty more dishes which you could see were the product of that imaginative approach.

In turn, they were set off by the views from the restaurant out across the bay, which as the sun set were spectacular, to which can be added the friendliness of the staff their attentiveness and a few added little touches which I think I will leave you to discover.

Location; Lourdas Beech, Kefalonia

Pictures; Lorraine’s Magic Hill, 2019, from the collection of Balzano

* Lorraine’s Magic Hill,

The lost Eltham & Woolwich pictures ...... no.4 building the Thames Barrier

A short series on the pictures of Eltham and Woolwich in the 1970's.

For four decades the pictures I took of Eltham and Woolwich in the mid ‘70’s sat undisturbed in our cellar.
But all good things eventually come to light.

They were colour slides which have been transferred electronically.

The quality of the original lighting and the sharpness is sometimes iffy, but they are a record of a lost Eltham and Woolwich.

Location; Eltham

Picture; Woolwich, mid 1970s, from the collection of Andrew Simpson

On Chapel Street with a pub question ................ another Salford pub story

Now I don’t do pub quizzes.

The Rovers Return, 2014
I get stumped at even the easiest of challenges like “what connects Chapel Street in Salford, with an English Admiral and a long running and much loved soap?"

The answer of course is the Rovers Return on Chapel Street, once known as the Lord Nelson and now named after that famous pub in Coronation Street.

And that is my point.

Unless you know the pub, or have an intimate knowledge of  all the drinking places in Salford combined with a love of that said soap, it’s a question best left to others.

Chapel Street in 1849
But once started I was off to dig deeper into the story behind the pub that Peter painted back in 2014.

It was offering up pints under its name of the Lord Nelson as early as 1824 and in time I will discover when it first opened and track something of the lives of those who ran it.

By the 1860s this was Mr James Mitchell and he was competing with twenty-nine other pubs and beer shops stretching from the start of Chapel Street at Greengate to the Whitecross bank.*

For those who want to give that figure some perspective, there were 131 properties on the same side as The Lord Nelson of which fourteen were drinking establishments while facing our pub there were another fifteen out of 111 buildings.

A bit more of Chapel Street again, 1849
And for anyone with a keen interest in pub names, Chapel Street in 1863 offered the lot, from those which fell back on animals to  a few wanting to cash in on royalty and  the odd one with a link to the industries of Salford.

As for the Lord Nelson our naval hero gave way to the Rover’s Return it is said in deference to that pub on that famous street.

And someone out three will have the date for that, which I suspect would flummox the quiz organiser.

And just after I posted the story P J Thompson who regularly  contributes to the blog added that "1988 was the name change year for the Lord Nelson. It was a Wilsons house, I liked the mild back then."  Thanks P J.

Location; Salford

Painting; the Rovers Return, Salford © 2014 Peter Topping 


Facebook: Paintings from Pictures

Map; Chapel Street, 1949 from the OS Manchester & Salford, 1849, courtesy of Digital Archives Association,

Where we began on Chapel Street in 2014
*1. The Red Lion,37. a beer shop, 47. The Printer’s Arms, 59. The Black Lion, 73. The Punch Bowl, 83, The Lord Nelson, 89. The Barley Sheaf, 125. The Wheatsheaf, 139. The Old Queen Ann, 153, The Dyer’s Arms, 159, Albert Vaults, 177.The Brown Bull, 195. The Griffin, 221. a beer shop, 223. The Red Lion

**2. The Canterbury Hall, 14. The Spread Eagle, 22. The Old King’s Head, 32. The Dog and Partridge, 38.the Rose & Crown, 66 The Unicorn, 76. The Royal Archer, 78. A beer shop, 88. The Dog, 94. The Custom House, 100. The Queen’s Arms, 110. The Moulder’s Arms, 116 The Coach & Horses, 138. The New Market, 142, The Salford Arms

Walking through the church yard of St Mary Prestwich ……. with Alan Jennings

I am a great fan of Alan Jennings’s blog which chronicles his almost daily activity helping maintain the church of St Mary.

Yesterday he gave me permission to repost one of his blog posts.

“This morning I thought that I would not gather any information for my blogs today, because the weather was so poor, but I then thought, how can I disappoint my loyal readers, so I put on my coat and went to the churchyard, it poured down and I got soaked, there was nobody else there and I had the churchyard to myself. 

The grave I had decided to investigate was that of the Slagg family, not so much because of those who lie under this Tombstone but more because of the Architect who designed it.

The Venetian Gothic style of the Slagg family chest tomb with its polished pink granite colonettes dates from the early work of the eminent architect, indeed the most successful Victorian architect Alfred Waterhouse RA, born 19th July 1830 and died 22nd August 1905, he was particularly associated with the Victorian Gothic Revival and is best known for his design of Manchester Town Hall and the Natural History Museum in London, he also designed the Assize courts at Strangeways which were bombed during the Second World War and had to be demolished but we must not stray too far from whose tomb this is, John Slagg who died on February 25th, 1875, was a neighbor of Waterhouse when he lived at Barcombe Cottage Fallowfield and commissioned this Monument in 1863. 

John was a businessman and Justice of the Peace at Manchester and his friend Anti-corn law campaigner Richard Cobden was his sons Godfather. John Slagg Junior followed his father into business, 

He became President of the Manchester chamber of commerce. in 1885 he was appointed as a director of the Suez canal company, he made his home at Hopefield Pendleton, he was elected M.P. for Manchester in 1880, lost his seat in 1885 and then won a by-election in Burnley, he was a Liberal Politician, he was only 47 when he died at his Mayfair London home in 1889. 

Now those of you who are admirers of Alfred Waterhouse do not have to travel to Manchester to see his work, you only have to visit our very own churchyard. 

If you look at the photo of the tomb that I have posted from Ian Pringle's book St Mary Prestwich... A Description of the Churchyard, you will see that it was once surrounded by iron railings like many other of the graves, these were removed during the Second World War".

Alan Jennings ©2019

Location; Prestwich

Pictures; from the collection of Alan Jennings, and Pringle, Ian, St Mary Prestwich... A Description of the Churchyard