|More of this?
|And less of this?
Hi Aidan , I hope you're well sir .
Aidan ; I 've followed your work for a couple of years now , and I must
say I 'm impressed of your love of our city . But I cannot escape the
feeling that your work is maudlin in the extreme.
Aidan ; I know that history is very important to give context to ones
life . And of course a knowledge of history helps so that one may not
repeat the mistakes of the past. I also respect the fact that you are
trying to give objective criticism of current decisions so that our city
make progress .
I 've lived away from Manchester for many years now and I 'm planning
to return to live in the near future and I 've really enjoyed your work
in photographing the city and environs ; thanks for that sir .
But for goodness sake Aidan lighten up a little ! I want to see more
people in the streets in your work, ( I get the feeling you take a lot
of these shots at 5 am on a Sunday . ) You're not being positive enough
Aidan. Manchester in the past was in so many ways bloody miserable sir
! I 'll bet you wouldn't want to go back to live in those days when you
and I were kids . I want to see more vigorous critique and also less looking
at the past , but I still love ya kiddo !
regards , Jerry
you very much for the constructive feedback. It's true, many of my pictures
are devoid of people but that's because I want to focus on the city we
see around us. I prefer to photograph people in a different context. I'm
presenting an individual view which isn't destined to go into a photo
library or on the front page of a newspaper. You might have used the word
'maudlin' to describe LS Lowry's paintings, but their great value is that
they represent an individual's point of view. However I take your point
- To counterbalance the dreary depressing scenes I love to photograph,
I will focus a bit more on the contemporary city.
just a few lines to set the record straight re 'the good old days'article
by Christian Mckie.
My Dear Christian, I do not know whereabouts in the UK you live and I
doubt whether your experiences of Manchester are valid.You moan because
the 'ex pats' from Manchester decry the changes that are taking place
today in a city that played a huge part in making the world what it is
now.Yes Manchester did have smog in the 1950s but that has all gone now
thanks to the first clean air act in the world,but take a look at Tokyo
in 2002,or Athens,or Rio de Janero,or any other major conurbation in the
world, how clean is their air 50 years on?.As far as infant mortality
rates are concerned Manchester has never figured very high on a world
scale,even in the early twentieth century the infant mortality rate in
Manchester was nothing compared to Cairo or Peking or even New York.Until
the advances in obstetrics made during the 1930s/40s all parts of the
globe suffered from this scourge and even now in the twenty first century
in some parts of the world infant mortality is higher than it ever was
in Manchester at any time.
This endless grind that you refer to is a reference that I take great
exception to,you seem to have formed the idea that the workers in this
city were mindless zombies forced to work under conditions reminiscent
of the film 'Metropolis',well I am sorry to disillusion you but the workers
in these 'dirty hazardous factories' took great pride in their work and
if conditions were bad then they were only as bad as any other industrial
city anywhere in the world,but and this is a major but,these ground down
workers are the same ones who fought tooth and nail to improve the working
conditions of all people without resorting to the terrors inflicted by
so called socialist governments in other parts of the world.
You even seem to have got the daily diet of Mancunians completely wrong,if
we did have chips (mainly on Fridays as I remember or sometimes on Saturday)
it was never with 'gravy'.Fish yes,peas yes,even pie sometimes,but gravy!.........in
the 50s..no way.Gravy,curry,rice etc came at a later (1970s) date.If you
would have said tatter hash or tripe and onions or even black pudding
you might have been nearer the mark,but to put our 50s diet down to just
chips (and gravy?) smacks of complete ignorance at worse or reading and
believing the London Evening Standard which is worse still.
conditions????.you have obviously never experienced or witnessed such
delights as the weekly trip to the council run wash houses,nor seen the
mothers donkey stoning the front steps,and as for the dolly tubs to get
those whites clean!,come on Christian read your social history again.Don't
forget these were the days before washing machines and launderettes when
the only cleaning agents were a block of fairy soap a wash board and muscles
that would put Arnold Schwarzenegger to shame.Yes it was hard work and
yes it could be grimy, but filth.........don't tell your gran that.
Kingston (Jamaica),Cape Town,Chicago,Delhi,Hong Kong all have higher annual
rainfall than Manchester as do thousands of other towns and cities across
the world,but you choose to believe the rubbish put out by the (mainly
London based) press.During the first few days of the Commonwealth Games
it was hotter and drier in Manchester than it was in Barcelona.It was
only a few years ago that we had a hosepipe ban in Manchester and this
past couple of months it has hardly rained at all,and the temperature
is still way above average.This is not unusual for Manchester.
It is a very naive and somewhat dangerous view to take when thinking that
people who prefer to emigrate are likened to rats deserting a sinking
ship.This country and this city especially is a diverse and multi cultural
one that has been brought about by the migration of different peoples
from across the world.So to say that Mancunians who have nothing to offer
the world other than an escape from poverty is to belittle those who have
the same spirit of adventure that has made Manchester one of the most
respected cities in the world.
When people talk of the good old days they are talking about respect and
security,those good old days are the days when women could walk the streets
at night without some teenage junkie beating them up for a few pennies
or when a quiet pint in the pub didn't mean a glass smashed in your face
just for the fun of it.It also meant going to the local shop when there
was no fear that it would be forced to close down because some giant supermarket
chain willed it so.The good old days meant that farm animals ate what
they should eat and not other dead animals just so the supermarkets can
make more profit.More people are dying in road accidents nowadays than
were killed by the smogs of the fifties,the good old days were when you
knew you could rely on your neighbours and they could rely on you,nowadays
you are lucky indeed if you know the names let alone trust the neighbours
in your area.So next time you mock the idea of the good old days just
look at the world of the twenty first century and ask yourself is it really
that much better than the world of our days.
Manchester is not and never will be Shangri-La and yes all Mancunians
will readily admit that serious mistakes have been made over the years,it
is for this very reason that the people who care about our city (including
ex pats) are right to bemoan changes that they see taking place if those
changes benefit only the few at the expense of the many.
Christian, put that in your pipe and smoke it! Thanks to Christian for
raising some important issues and to Bill for responding to them- I'll
stay quiet for now!
Steph The Old Jewish Hospital
Hi Aidan, I am hoping either yourself or other readers can tell me more
about the old Jewish hospital which was on Elizabeth Street in Cheetham
Hill. The reason for my interest is that I own a flat in St Davids Court
which was built on the site in 1995. All I can find on the internet is
a photograph of an interior waiting room - early 1900s judging by the
nurses' uniforms - and a pencil drawing of the exterior. I know the hospital
was opened in 1904 but nothing more. I would love to see some more old
photographs or a plan of the site so that I can match the layout to the
current development. Another reason for my curiosity is that the site
is said to be haunted and despite no experience of this myself I have
heard several stories about strange happenings in the new flats.... Keep
up the good work and I hope to hear from you soon. Steph
place that's haunted - in addition to St Luke's churchyard and the Stockport
Crossley in the Transport Museum that's a lot of ghosts on a short stretch
of Cheetham Hill Road! Can anyone out there shed more light on the Jewish
Dear╩ Aidan╩ a╩ reader queries╩ the╩ origins╩ of╩ the╩ name╩ besses o╩
the╩ barn╩ an╩ area╩ of╩ Whitefield╩ I used╩ to╩ live╩ near╩ this╩ locality╩
and╩ although╩ I am╩ not╩ 100%╩ certain╩╩╩ I have╩ heard╩ on╩ more╩ thane╩
one╩ occaision╩ that╩ on╩ route╩ to╩ york╩ the╩ Highwayman╩ Dick╩ Turpin╩╩╩
stabled╩ his╩ horse╩ black╩ bess╩ in a╩ nearby╩ barn╩ hence╩ the╩ derivation╩
of╩ the╩ name. best╩ wishes╩ Gordon╩ Simpson
Dear╩ Aidan╩ first╩ let╩ me╩ congratulate╩ you╩ on╩ your╩ edition╩ of╩
eyewitness╩ as╩ ever╩ it╩ was╩ first╩ class╩ and╩ most╩ interesting this╩
month╩ I liked╩ your╩ Hulme╩ feature╩ and╩ your╩ Salford╩ feature╩ having╩
connections╩ with╩ both╩ places. It╩ was╩ also╩ a╩ nice portrait╩ of╩
yourself╩ it╩ was╩ nice╩ to╩ put a╩ face╩ to╩ the╩ name.╩
I read╩ of╩ things╩ now╩ which I find disturbing╩ in╩ the╩ news╩ such
atrocities╩ as╩ the╩ USA╩╩ sniper╩ the╩ kidnap╩ and╩ murders╩ of╩ young╩
girls and╩ the biggest╩ and╩ although in╩ comparison╩ to╩ murder╩ insignificant╩
a╩ social crime╩ most╩ are╩ guilty╩ of╩ ---ignoring╩ our╩ heritage.╩ Do
you╩ think that╩ we╩ are╩ guilty╩ of ignoring the╩ country╩╩ and╩ Manchester's╩
heritage╩ in╩ the╩ name╩ of╩ commercialism and╩ progress╩ et╩ al?╩
for╩ instance╩ a╩ lot╩ of╩ churches╩ including╩ Salford cathedral remain
closed╩ for the╩ bulk of╩ the╩ day╩ as hey╩ don't get╩ money╩ to fund╩
as they╩ have to╩ close via╩ threats╩ of╩ vandalism╩ and theft╩ another╩
21╩ century╩ curse╩╩ and╩ this╩ in the╩ long╩ run╩ may like╩ Gorton╩ monastery╩
enforce╩ closures leading╩ to╩ loss╩ of rich╩ local╩ heritage also╩ St╩
George's Hulme╩ in╩ the╩ name of╩ progress╩ lost╩ to╩ an housing╩ developer
all╩ traces╩ of╩ god╩ long gone╩ along╩ with╩ rich local╩ heritage╩ the╩
history of╩ the╩ building╩ quickly reeling╩ into╩ oblivion╩ as the╩ new╩
Hulme╩ takes shape.╩
Similar╩ effects╩ take place in╩ the╩ so╩ called slum╩ areas╩ rich╩ architectural╩
Victorian╩ masterpieces╩ in╩ the╩ Ancoats╩ and╩ similar╩ areas╩ left╩
to╩ decay╩ as╩ no╩ use can╩ be╩ found╩ no╩ money╩ found╩ or╩ no╩ interest╩
exists anymore╩ as╩ people╩ live╩ superficially╩ and╩ see╩ history╩ as╩
hampering╩ progress this╩ is╩ more╩ common╩ than╩ murder╩╩ and╩ although╩
no╩ human╩ life is╩ lost╩ we╩ stand╩ in my╩ opinion╩ a╩ rapid╩ slide╩
into╩ murdering╩ our╩ proud╩ heritage╩ and╩ our╩ pride and╩ joy╩ of old╩
buildings╩ and╩ culture╩ donated╩ by╩ our forefathers╩ what╩ we╩ we╩ leave╩
our╩ children╩ the╩ urban╩ decay╩ of╩ Ancoats╩ or╩ modern╩ faceless╩ plate
glass╩ structures╩ which I don't╩ hope╩ are╩ earthquake╩ friendly.╩
The╩ Urbis╩ centre╩ for╩ instance.╩ Or╩ the╩ new╩ look╩ Arndale╩ centre╩
/ .╩ What╩ are╩ your╩ views of╩ this╩ and╩ are╩ you of╩ the╩ opinion progress╩
is╩ necessary╩╩ or╩ are╩ you╩ prepared to╩ see╩ old╩ buildings╩ rejuvenated╩
and reused╩ instead╩ of╩ the╩ 21╩╩ century╩ plate glass .╩ what╩ do╩ you╩
you've touched on many issues here. I have two opposing views! On the
one hand I think people don't appreciate the value and potential of older
buildings. Ideally no older building should be demolished without a very
good reason. On the other hand it can be incredibly difficult and costly
to refurbish older buildings - and many of them are unsuitable for new
uses. Often demolition is the only options. There are often innovative
solutions however. Take St George's Church in Hulme for instance - I find
the idea of living in what was intended to be a place of worship a bit
strange and somehow disrespectful, but the building has been wonderfully
restored and is guaranteed a bright future. There is no easy answer to
this question - In upcoming Eyewitness in Manchester features I'll be
looking at good examples of refurbishment, as well as a selection of the
interesting and inspiring new buildings which have recently appeared -
Your letter on Eyewitness Manchester
I just read your letter and saw the picture you sent in. I am originally
from Manchester. I married an American service man stationed at Burtonwood,
this month will be our 53rd wedding anniversary. What I wanted to let
you know, is that we belong to a group called 'The Burtonwood Association'.
Our members consist of men and women , American & British who served
at Burtonwood AFB throughout the years until it closed recently. We wives
and families are 'associate members'. We also have many family members
of deceased service men.
We have a reunion every year here in the States. We just returned from
this year's which was held in Biloxi, Miss. There were approx. 260 members
present this time. There is also a reunion held in England every other
year, this is usually in or around Warrington where Burtonwood was located.
We have a news paper which we receive 4 times a year. If you were to contact
the founder of our group you may find someone who knew your father. Many
letters appear in "The Burtonwood Times" from people looking
for old friends
etc. I believe that anyone who has an interest in keeping the memory of
Burtonwood alive is being invited to join our association here in the
United States or in England.
Anyone who may be interested can let me know and I will fwd. a contact
All the Best
Mike &Joan Georgulis
great - always glad to see people make contact.
Toast Rack and other topics
The structure on the eastern boundary of Cringle Fields in your photo
in the Burnage feature is a tower erected by Fairey Engineering in the
1960s. Fairey Aviation built aircraft on the site during and after WW2
and test flew them from Ringway - their last remaining hangar, demolished
to make way for the Cargo Village, being not too far from the Aviation
After various amalgamations in the UK aviation industry in the late 1950s
and 1960s, Fairey ceased building aircraft and their last major aviation
venture was the assembly and testing of Australian designed and fabricated
Jindivik target drones in the aforementioned hangar before they were flown
from Llanbedr in Wales.
Back to the structure. Fairey Aviation transformed itself into Fairey
Engineering building parts aircraft sub assemblies for Hawker Siddeley,
Woodford and also developed a nuclear division.
It was that division which built the structure to assemble reactor sub
assemblies for accuracy testing prior to shipment to various nuclear power
stations for final assembly. If I recall correctly, the tower is 90 feet
high. I am not aware of its current use,
very much for the information, very well-researched and informed as usual.
I have just got round to looking at your Levenshulme - Both my wife and
myself have not been well, and have been forced to move, to get rid of
our mortgage. I was so grateful when you took the photos of St Mark's
Church, and St. Mark's Street for me. Although my School has gone, I can
still see the house were my auntie and uncle lived. The picture od Nelstrop
Rd / Barlow Rd, is just off where I lived. It was the 2nd house on the
left, just passed the allotments. My Auntie and Uncle lived in the 1st.;
and auntie just opposite, and another uncle and auntie. It was known as
Tally Ran. As the block was originally called Tally Rand Row. I wish I
had been with you on your outing. We often played on the bridge Nelstrop
Rd. Also taking that route to my Gran's in Reddish. 2 of my Schools where
on Mount Rd; and I would walk along the Nico Ditch to another auntie's.
If you have any other pictures I would love to see them.
you were with me when I went on my walk round Levenshulme - Every picture
I take for Eyewitness in Manchester, I know a lot of people are going
to look at it, so I don't really feel alone when I go out on a shoot.
Very glad the photos brought back childhood memories.
Re: Reader Messages Requests & Sept 11th
HI just got back from a three weeks holiday(?) with the family in Miles
╩Platting , all very nice and clean almost , but one thing did get me
as strange , the old mill ( which I believe prince Charles thought was
worth saving) has been turn into a "condo complex" for out of town workers
complete with cameras and high wire fence, while round about the people
who actually worked there and have for the most part stayed in the area
(mostly because the have no choice ) cannot afford to pay anywhere near
the amounts ask for in rent.
From╩quite a lot of the old people I spoke to (and believe me that's
quite a few ) they see this as an insult to there years of hard labour
and deprivation during the 30s 40s and 50s , I just wondered what you
Keep up the good work James PS have you read "Have your say" (a free
newsletter for the central Manchester area )
look out for 'Have your say'. You're talking about the Victoria Mill,
next to the canal in Miles Platting. Yes, it's true, there is a great
disparity between the professional people who can afford to live in these
converted apartments and the local residents many of whom have suffered
through economic decline and lack of opportunity. It's not an easy question
to find a solution for. Sadly, Manchester has many social and economic
problems - caused by decline in earlier decades and other factors. Progress
is being made, but in many parts of Man-hater it seems like there are
more haves cots than haves.
Dear Sir I came across you picture which illustrates Sudell Street as
it is today. While looking at the old maps for the area in 1855 on www.old-maps.co.uk
I notice that a Jewish Cemetery is shown at the end of Sudell Street.
Have you found any material on this Cemetery during your researches, I
would appreciate any information that you could let me have. Regards
aware that there was a Jewish cemetery near there, but it doesn't surprise
me as there is a very strong Jewish presence in north Manchester. Can
anyone out there help?