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READER MESSAGES June-Aug 2002

Gayla Phillips
Early pic of Piccadilly square

Tex and Kathleen, Tulip Gardens Manchester EnglandHI, I FOUND THIS PICTURE MY DAD HAD TAKEN WHEN HE WAS IN THE U.S. AIR FORCE, AND STATIONED AT BURTONWOOD AIR BASE IN '49-50. ON THE BACK OF THIS, HE WROTE- 'TEX' & KATHLEEN - 'TULIP GARDENS' MANCHESTER, ENGLAND; MARRIED 1949.I UNDERSTAND THE WHITE BUILDING IN THE BACK IS THE OLD BBC BUILDING, AND ALSO THE STATUE IS CALLED 'ADRIFT'. I SAW ON THE PICTURES OF PICCADILLY SQUARE ON YOUR SITE, BUT NONE OF THEM SHOW THE STATUE OF 'ADRIFT'. WOULD YOU HAPPEN TO KNOW ABOUT THIS STATUE? I CAN'T FIND ANYTHING ABOUT IT. I WOULD LIKE TO GET A PICTURE OF THE SAME AREA WHERE DAD HAD THIS ONE TAKEN. PLEASE REPLY. THANK YOU FOR YOUR TIME. GAYLA (MCCAIN)0 PHILLIPS

The statue whose full name is 'Humanity Adrift' was first put up in the centre of Piccadilly after the old infirmary buildings were demolished around 1908. It remained there until 1953 when it was moved to the Portland Street end of the Gardens and replaced by the Coronation fountain. It stood in this spot - in later years vandalised and sprayed with graffiti - unil 1999 when it was removed to make way for the Manchester City Council-sponsored office block currently under construction on what used to be the Gardens. I'm not sure what has happened to the statue, I will find out. I will also include a picture of how this spot looks today in my upcoming 'requests' feature. You can see the BBC building in the photos of Piccadilly I took during the Commonwealth Games further down this page. Can you tell me a bit more about the people in the photograph?

THE COUPLE IN IT, IS MY DAD (HUGH MCCAIN -AGE 19) AND HIS FIRST WIFE (KATHLEEN TAYLOR AGE 18). DAD WAS IN THE U.S. AIR FORCE STATIONED AT BURTONWOOD FROM MARCH 1949- JANUARY '50 , HE HAD MET KATHLEEN TAYLOR (FROM DUKINFIELD), AND THEY WERE MARRIED ON NOVEMBER 05,1949; ON THEIR MARRIGE CERTIFICATE DAD KEPT, IT STATES MARRIED IN COUNTY OF CHESTER. I HAVEN'T FOUND WHICH BUILDING THEY WERE MARRIED AT BUT, I'D LIKE TO FIND A PICTURE OF IT ALSO. KATHLEENS' FATHERS' NAME WAS FRANSIS TAYLOR (ALSO FROM DUKINFIELD). DAD AND KATHLEEN HAD A BABY GIRL AFTER RETURNING HERE TO TEXAS AT HIS NEXT BASE, BORN ON APRIL 13, 1950. HER NAME WAS BEATRICE SUE MCCAIN, SHE DIED RIGHT AFTER BIRTH, AND I FOUND OUT HER GRAVE IS IN 'HONEY GROVE', TEXAS, WHICH IS ABOUT 20 MILES FROM WHERE I LIVE. WE CONTACTED THE CEMETERY , TO SEE IF THEY CAN LOOK UP WHERE SHE IS BURIED. DAD AND KATHLEEN DIVORCED AROUND NOVEMBER 1950. I WAS TOLD KATHLEEN HAD REMARRIED NOT LONG AFTER THAT. I ALWAYS WONDERED WHAT MANCHESTER LOOKED LIKE, BECAUSE DAD WAS THERE, AND THE PICTURES YOU HAVE ON YOUR SITE, HAS ALLOWED ME SEE WHAT MY DAD SAW SO MANY YEARS AGO. DAD ONCE TOLD MY MOM THAT HE AND OTHER SOLDIERS FROM THE BURTONWOOD BASE, USE TO RIDE AROUND ON A TRAIN (?) IN MANCHESTER. DAD DIED IN 1994. THANKS AGAIN, FOR THE INFO ON THE STATUE , GOD BLESS, HUGH MCCAINS' DAUGHTER, GAYLA

Dukinfield Town Hall (Cheshire / Borough of Tameside)Thanks for this photo, it's a remarkable snapshot of the early post-war era - uniforms, big hats, demob, Yanks in town, austerity, emigration... The poses and facial expressions of the couple tell us a story too! This is a classic photograph and deserves to be in an exhibition or in print. Your dad and Kathleen probably got married in the bride's home of Dukinfield, 8 miles east of Manchester. The town of Dukinfield is just east of the river Tame and historically lies within the County of Cheshire. In 1974, the thousand year old county boundaries were obscured by local government changes, and Dukinfield became part of the newly-created Borough of Tameside. Here's a photo of Dukinfield Town Hall, now used for the administration of Tameside borough. Maybe they got married here, or at least signed the certificates here.

Aidan, please let me know when you put the picture in the reader messages update, I'd like to see it, and make a copy of it, for my family scrapbook. I'm searching my family history & I'm in the process in trying to find Kathleen Taylor (Dad's first wife in the picture) . You have great pictures on Manchester, I really enjoyed looking at them. Thanks for all your help. God Bless, Gayla

Hope you find Kathleen Taylor, originally from Dukinfield - Does anyone out there know her? You could also contact 'In Touch' and they can include your letter in the Saturday edition of the Manchester Evening News. Many people have made contact with friends and relatives through 'In Touch'. By the way, did you see my Piccadilly feature on Eyewitness in Manchester?

Yes, I saw it, you take amazing pictures! Manchester is a beautiful city. Would love to see it all in person some day. The history of it, is awesome, and reading your article helps me to learn more about it. I pulled out my family Bible, and found that my Grandmother (Dads' Mom) was born in Nottingham!! Cool, huh? I have roots there in England, and didn't even know it!!! Thanks again, Take care. Gayla

Thanks to you too and keep in touch!


Spring blossoms and flower beds, Piccadilly Gardens April 1999 Subject: Piccadilly before and after

I have visited Piccadilly Gardens for the first time today since the 're vamp' I wasn't surprised to see it so modern and minimalist. I quite enjoyed sitting and watching the children running through the water jets as water can be an excellent feature to get people to sit and relax. I still have fond memories of the original Piccadilly Gardens from the 70's when I had first dates and meeting them on the steps of Queen Victoria from the 211 bus stop and nights waiting for taxis with the drunken lads in the smelly water of the original fountain. (My now husband lost a watch in that fountain in 1979) This leads me to the reason for e-mailing you, I have heard the fountain was removed from Piccadilly Gardens and taken to a Manchester Park and used as a feature. Would you happen to know which park as fellow 'fountain revellers' would like to know for old time sake. Hope to hear from you soon Jules

I've been trying to track down that information but haven't been able to find it yet. The original fountain dates from 1953 and was put up to celebrate the Coronation. The statue 'Adrift' was moved to the Portland Street end of the gardens. Does anyone out there know what has happened to the Piccadilly Coronation fountain?


W. Eric Johnson
Subject: Piccadilly Gardens 2002

Just a line from here in Canada. I have looked at all the views of the "new" Piccadilly Gardens and must agree it is no longer the place I remember from my childhood and teenage years during the depression and 2nd world war. Gardens should have flowers, lots of them not concrete and fountains. If one thinks of London and all the parks. Then the centre of Manchester will last a long time and save the Council money from low maintenance costs.If the fountains should overflow the water will wash the concrete and without flowers you don't need a gardener to plant them. Maybe that was the real reason for all that cement. Eric Johnson Westmeath, Ont. Canada

You could be right. In the previous message, our American friends dubbed them 'Tulip Gardens' which I think is quite a nice name and very descriptive of what they were like. 'Concrete Gardens' might be a more apt description of what we see today. Manchester City Council are well capable of providing and maintaining some very attractive flower beds - just take a look at Ardwick Green for instance - But the design for Piccadilly Gardens is contemporary and minimalist, so flowers are definitely out of fashion this year. Thanks for your message.

 


Barbie
Dear Aidan,

Here are four photos which may be of interest. They are all connected with St Chad’s Church, Mauldeth Road, Fallowfield. The two Whit Walks were taken in the vicinity of the church I imagine.

(1) Whit Walks taken about 1950-51. I am one of the little girls carrying the flower basket which is on my right. I have a sash around my waist. I remember three of the girls names on this photo, two of them attended the same school as me and I also recognise the faces but forget the names of a couple more from Moseley Road School. (Anyone remember me? Babs McLaughlin, lived in Filey Road, off Ladybarn Lane).
Whit Walks Fallowfield 1950-51
(2) Whit Walks about 1946. My brother Bill (called Billy then) is partially hidden by the boy in the centre front and another boy. Bill has his head turned looking to his left.
Whit Walks Fallowfield 1946
(3) The third photo is the Rosebud Queen Parade circa 1951. My sister Maureen is at the back of the group, second from the left. The girl on her right next to the Rosebud Queen was our neighbour Dorothy. Aren’t the boys cute in their sailor suits?
Rosebud Queen Parade c 1951

(4) Brownies Group circa 1950, taken in St Chad’s church grounds.. My sister Maureen is 6th from the left on the front row (or 2nd from the right - there’s a gap between her and the girl on the end).
Brownie's Group c1950, St Chad's church grounds


If anyone recognises themselves on these photos, or remembers us, we would love to hear from you. If anyone attended Moseley Road School, you may be interested in a free online message board for all ages. http://groups.yahoo.com/group/MRBB/

Love your site Aidan. I have lived in Australia since 1968 and your photographs are very special. Regards, Babs Groves (nee McLaughlin)

Thanks very much for the photos and for your comments. The photos are a fantastic record of times that seem long gone, though it's important to remember, Whit Walksdo still take place in Manchester - hope to photograph them next time.


Eileen Anthony
Subject: To Manchester Memories

Hello Aidan, Just want to let you know how much I enjoy browsing through your website on Manchester and vicinity. I have been gone from England a long time now, but with a daughter in the airlines I have been back a lot until both my parents died and the vital link was gone. Someday I hope to return, but from the many recent pictures you have taken of the city and surrounding area I doubt I would know where I was now!!

My home before coming abroad was in Flixton, near Manchester. Though I was born about three miles outside the city of Manchester, near Slade Lane in Attwood St. In those days it was so different than in later years. I had a friend who lived close by in Sullivan St. I wonder if this street is still there? I kmow that Attwood St. is having traced it on that area map. I would like to know what happened to the family friend who lived on Sullivan St. His name was John Howard. I believe he emigrated to Canada. Hope he has led a happy life.

I emigrated to Canada with my husband and lived there for a number of years, and then moved to So. California. Am here in Rock Hill, South Carolina on a temporary basis with family. Have travelled extensively all over this country and beyond, but home in my heart will always be the Manchester area and England.

You are a blessing to those of us who have wandered far afield. I hope that you continue to take the marvellous pictures that give so much pleasure....and bring areas closer to us that know and love the Manchester area. I have wonderful memories of my early days on Attwood street though only little at the time. I dearly love Flixton, near Urmston, and enjoy a warm, and close friendship of years standing there. This enables me to keep up with the latest news.

If anyone would care to write to me and let me know if Sullivan St.is still there near Slade Lane. Or if by some chance, John Howard reads this e-mail to your website, do reply with an Hello.

Best wishes to you Aidan. I share your interest in photography, and like to indulge in it during my time off work, etc. To all out there from Manchester lots of good wishes. Eileen.

Thank you very much for your comments. I will be including Attwood St and Sullivan St in my upcoming requests feature. Slade Lane is very familiar to me, though it's changed a great deal over the years.


Piccadilly Gardens during the gamesJoseph Rick
Subject: The new Manchester
I was in Manchester recently and was amazed at the changes ,at one time I was concerned when I heard that they were pulling a lot of the old places down.I was taken on a tour of some of the streets in Manchester. Piccadilly Gardens looks great ! And what they have done with some of the streets with places putting tables and chairs outside seems to have added some life to a dying city. I even went into a former bank that was now a pub (for lack of a better word) they had kept it all the original fittings, marble walls and pillars, even the little niches in the wall where people used to fill out their documents. I could go on for ever talking about it but you get the idea I liked it. I lived in the Manchester area until 1960 you have to leave a place to really appreciate it. Cheers , Aidan, Joe Rick

There are two bars in former bank buildings I can think of - I'm all for putting old buildings to new uses and retaining all the fittings. I'm not so keen on many of the newer buildings, which in my opinion show very little innovation or creativity, though there are a few exceptions, including the striking Urbis Centre in Manchester, designed by Ian Simpson, the Lowry in Salford, architect Michael Wilford and the Imperial War Museum North, the work of Daniel Libeskind.


Downpour Piccadilly Station Approach during the 2002 GamesLinda Dempsey

Hi Aidan
Your pictures Manchester during the games are great. I was a volunteer and they are great to look at and remember the sun, the people, the friendliness and the rain!

I was based in different zones in the centre and sometimes on the station and on the walking route to the stadium.

I am so impressed with the changes and the way the squares and the buildings have changed. I shall be visiting Manchester again during August to show my partner the changes - he went to college in Manchester in the early 70s. Look forward to more pictures. Did you get any of the volunteers?
Cheers
Linda Dempsey

Yes, this is one of my strongest memories of the games - the downpour on the Tuesday - I got soaking wet! I didn't get any of the volunteers, because I wanted to concentrate on my usual subject, the city, but one of my readers did! See below.


Rory.Oakes

As a life long resident of East Manchester, I am so proud of the effort made by 'ordinary people' whose voluntary contribution has made the games such a success.

I enclose an image taken in St Annes Square today (Sunday 4th August 2002) of two such people enthusiastic ambassadors for Manchester, and the North of England,
Commonwealth Games volunteers taken by Rory Oakes
I also enclose an image of two women who had come to the games from Tasmania via Brighton, again they summed up the party atmosphere on Sunday (the last day) beautifully. I do not know their names.
Commonwealth Games Manchester: two women from Tasmania with faces painted

Keep up the good work

Rory Lees-Oakes

Nice photos, excellent quality, well composed and capturing the spirit of the event. Yes, the people of east Manchester did a great job. They are definitely going to benefit as a result of the Commonwealth Games.



Piccadilly banner on Sunley Building during the 2002 gamesianandxtine

Hi there I was in Manchester a couple of weeks ago and was lying on a bench looking up and saw what we thought for about 10 minutes was a building, was actually like a poster hanging from the tram lines! Also there was a gentleman standing on the fountain shouting, I was told by a friend, that the man comes from the local uni and does this everyday.

I was just wondering whether there are any pictures of the poster, building thing, that explains it and also why the gentleman goes to the fauntain?

thanyou very much

Ellie

Most peculiar - the only poster I can think of is the one that was on the side of the Sunley Tower. I'm also not aware of the shouting gentleman in the fountains - Can anyone shed any light on this?


H.A.Hinson

Sir,
You are my eyes and ears of my beloved City I am an Octogenarian living alone and mostly remain in my wheelchair all day.
I look forward to your journalism, your remarkable pictures, and all aspects of reporting the good and bad without prejudice. If anyone tempts you away from Manchester I and thousands will be at loss for the likes of your reporting only comes once in a life time. Thank you again
Harry A Hinson.

I am very touched by your message. I'm very glad that my view of Manchester enables you to see the city, and overcome the limitations of being confined to a wheelchair. I'm trying to capture what I and thousands of other people see when out and about, so that people in other parts of the world, or in the future, can experience Manchester as it is now.


Peter & Valerie Slater
Genius at work

Hello Aidan, I left Stretford for Australia 30 years ago, and have just been sent to your website and wanted to tell you how wonderful it is. You are a genius !!! Bringing all our old familiar sites to the screen, and giving us a full rundown on progress etc, its fantastic! My dad was born in Ancoats, so I really loved your special feature on the area, I had never seen Ancoats before, so it was all new to me. I like the fact that you concern yourself with the history, not just with the future. So, keep up the good work, you obviously love doing it. Bye for now, Val

Photographing and writing about Manchester is my hobby. It's a form of relaxation and therapy - but I also get paid for it as well, so I'm very lucky. I've had a very good response from the Ancoats feature, and hope to do more work from there and the east side of Manchester.


Jean Buckley
Hi Aidan, not mailed you for a long time but, the pictures of Manchester and the "games" are just fabulous, thanks for doing them, gives us a touch of home, we also enjoyed watching the games, and happy that England did so well. Hope the weather has cheered up for you, very warm here. Thanks again, JB.

The weather has generally been very good indeed - rainy yes, but lots of sunny days too.


Alexandra Place, Sudell St Rochdale Road corner
re Alexandra Place
Dear Aidan,while browsing Eyewitness m/cr I found your photo of Alexandra Place situated on Sudell st. corner of Rochdale Rd the view is the only part left of Alexandra Place dwellings, I was born at No 17 in 195 ,I have fond memories of my early childhood in the dwellings, If you want any information about the building or surrounding area please do not hesitate to
contact me, regards Terence Skachill.

Thank you - I may well get back to you on that. It's a shame that the dwellings weren't fully retained. If they were renovated now they would make a very attractive feature on Rochdale Road now.


Alan Bates

I took pictures during the games from the new war museum, it depicts the Key 103 Balloon Flying over.

Both the war museum and the balloon together make an amazing sight. The balloon will perhaps remind a few readers of the airships of the 20's and 30's, though in this balloon is closer in size to the barrage balloons of WW2.

Key 103 balloon over the War Museum, taken by Alan Bates

Shane Strong
As a Melbourne Aust person I hope we can do as good a job as you guys did. The only sad point is my parents came from Radcliffe and were very proud when Manchester won the 2002 games. It upsets me that they did not live to see the great work done. Mum especially would have been so proud.

Well, at least by including your message here, we and future generations can share in your parents' sentiments. As for Melbourne doing as good a job as Manchester - hmmm, I'd doubt it, no city will be able to repeat Manchester's excellence in putting on the games. In fact, here's an idea - why not let Manchester run the games a second time! I'm told they do that with the Fleadh Ceoil or Irish traditional music festival - Each town gets to hold the event two years running, so second time round, they can put on an even better event! So why not the Manchester Commonwealth Games Mark II?


Store St and Ashton Canal Bridge  by night
Store St and Ashton Canal Bridge  by day during the 2002 games

Eunice Barnwell
Subject: Games photo gallery
Hi Aidan,
We thoroughly enjoyed the photos of Games City. Thank you.
Many years ago, in 1956 I worked in Store Street and walked under the London Rd bridge every day. I also worked in Albert Square - opposite the Town Hall clock so I have really enjoyed the photos and look forward to the next episode. How the old place has changed!! I wish they would plant some trees and flowers in Piccadilly. The Games were a great achievement for Manchester and all should be extremely proud of the outcome. I'm sure it has been a great boost to the morale and pride in our City. We were very proud, being Mancunians here in Adelaide since 1965, where the Games were very keenly followed. Thanks again for your great website.
Eunice and Bob Barnwell
Adelaide, South Australia

Thank you very much indeed for your comments. Both Store Street and Albert Square have changed a great deal since you worked in those places. There are some trees in Piccadilly, but the grassy area has deliberately been left treeless to make it more suited to outdoor events. The original Piccadilly was famous for its colourful flower beds, as we can see in another photograph on this page. The redesigned Piccadilly has very few flowers. It would appear flowers are out of fashion with the planners at the moment! Glad you enjoyed the games and keep in touch!


RAY O'NEILL
Subject: Manchester
With pride I write to you, I was not able to see any of the games but read the MOL every day and formed in my mind what the people of Manchester were thinking of the games as they unfolded. It would be nice to hear what the athletes and officials from the other countries all thought about how the games went.

Once again Aidan I am so impressed with what you do and do so well, just keep it up. I will still be a Mancunian and take pride in that fact and these games have made me more so.

I do hope the city keep up with the renovation of the town and the surrounding areas, plant more trees. Cheers,
Ray O'Neill

There's a widespread feeling that more trees should be planted but I have to say I think there are too many! Trees have been planted along the Piccadilly Gateway route of Piccadilly, London Road and down along Ardwick Green. Perhaps they're trying to turn Manchester into a kind of 'Aix-en-Provence of the North'! Looking on many old photographs many street scenes are refreshingly clear of trees, too many of which block views, attract pigeons and turn urban spaces into an urban jungle! Thanks as ever for your comments!


Christian McKie
I read with dismay in the MEN recently the proposals for a new 'SUPER' MRI to replace the existing Edwardian hospital buildings on Oxford Rd.
Although not wanting to knock the city authorities in wanting updated 21st centuury health facilities,d oes the slate have to be swept clean for mediocre shed like structures. Why can the existing structures, particularly the one's fronting Oxford Rd. not be retained and remodelled, if not to house new theatres and medical facilities then at least to house hospital offices and nurses accomodation.
This country does not seem to be able to see a viable future for historic structures when abroad you find first class, medical, educational and government facilities in historic buildings.

I cannot imagine that the marvellous hospital facades along Oxford Rd will be demolished as I understand they are listed buildings. Putting a new building behind an old facade, as they've done with the old Stockport Infirmary building, can work very well, but I think it's preferable to keep the building in its entirety where possible. People often think that now it's the 21st century we need to have buildings to match, but if you go to Prague, you'll see wonderful completely original buildings from the Middle Ages with state of the art offices and computer equipment inside. That's what I call truly 21st century thinking - retaining the best of the past and making it part of our future.


Piccadilly Gardens during the 2002 gamesCiaran Astin
I've been an interested, if silent reader of your pages for some time. It brought a smile to my face to see your latest EWM pages glowing with apprarent praise for the rejuvenated Piccadilly Gardens. Good to see you might have changed your opinion on the new gardens. Whilst I fully appreciate the nostalgia and history associated with many aspects of the City Centre, I do feel that some parties (esp the Civic Society) are all too quick to call for the preservation of everything. We have to move on...and the risk taken with the Gardens by the Council seems to be paying off. Though there is, however, still plenty of time for me to be proved wrong on this one!
Ciaran
London

I haven't changed my opinion, I still dislike tne new Piccadilly Gardens. But I noticed people were using and enjoying them, and if that's the case, then my opinion is irrelevant! I had already changed my mind about the fountains and mentioned that in the Piccadilly 2002 article. I'm not afraid to change my mind, I am completely independent, I don't represent any organisation or company, and my loyalty is ultimately to our fascinating but flawed city and conurbation. I try to stimulate debate by expressing my opinions. Someone wrote on another website that Eyewitness in Manchester was 'good but very opinionated' - I think that without my opinions, and those of the contributors to this page, there would be less reason to look at this website! As for the Civic Society, I think if you look at their newspaper Forum, accessible from their website www.manchestercivic.org.uk you'll find they hava a very constructive attitude to development, and they don't just want to preserve everything. Thanks for your message and please don't be so silent in future!


banda.maddocks
Dear Aidan
What a great show it was, loved every minute of it. We particularly enjoyed the marathons and the 50 km walk, showed us a lot of Manchester that did not exist when we lived there, The Quays, the Lowry and the Imperial War Museum, the tri-athlon swim in the canal, amazing that it has cleaned up so well.

The sports venues are terrific, bet Manchester City cannot wait to get their hands on the stadium, or should that be feet. The velodrome and the pool are a brilliant too, they should get a lot of use in the future and maybe nurture more medal winners.
There are a couple of very proud ex Mancunians living in Wanganui, proud of how our home town looks and proud that Manchester put on such a great show but we knew you could do it, never doubted for a second.
Best wishes from Brenda and Alan Maddocks

Yes, congratulations to the organisers of the Manchester Commonwealth Games who worked extremely hard and pulled out all the stops to make sure the event was the success it was. If they had got it wrong, it would have been a disaster for Manchester and the north west, but in the event, they got it right, and we will be reaping the benefits for years to come.

 

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