READER MESSAGES Nov and Dec 2002 Page 2

From: Eunice Ryder
Subject: Many thanks

Many thanks for your feature ‘Eyewitness in Manchester’ – I appreciate your pictures and articles very much.

Panorama of Withington villageI have lived in Prince George, British Columbia since 1964 – but reading the Local Place Names article and looking at the picture of Withington Village – transported me 6000 miles and at least 50 years – (better than a time machine !!!!) It is amazing how one can be reminded so vividly of childhood haunts. Withington Library was a great place – books, books and more books for me to choose from. I was also looking at your pictures of Victoria Baths – I knew them as a child as High Street Baths – I learned to swim there – my father used to take me for lessons – and of course we went there with school classes.

I don't know if you are aware of the impact your pictures can have…. I am of course looking at them from the point of view of an ex-pat. Mancunian, but looking at the comments on the website, you are involved in more than nostalgia – this is an archive – history.

(Regarding where I now make my home - I should mention that although there was a small trading post in Fort George in 1807 – Prince George was officially incorporated as a city only in 1915 !!! Rather different than Manchester.)

Thanks again Aidan – it is delightful and interesting to see so many aspects of Manchester.

Eunice Ryder (nee Haigh)

PS – Regarding the Local Place Names – I lived in Ladybarn – and assume that perhaps at one time there was a religious community – and there could have been a barn for tithes ?? - No real idea just my musings.

Actually, compared to places like Chester and London, Manchester is a comparatively new city. Up till the end of the 18th century it was a small town, but the Industrial Revolition changed all that. Thank you very much for your comments, I really appreciate them.



Subject: Mali Dancers

Hi Aidan! Still enjoying a great site! Something I wanted to ask, slightly off the usual topic, but part of our memories of old Manchester (and Salford) must be the street life, the games and customs. I remember at a certain time of the year it was customary for gangs of us small kids to dress up in old curtains or whatever, and go around knocking on doors, performing a little ditty "Morli" - or maybe "Mali Dancers, kicking up a row, kicking up a row, kicking up a row, Mali Dancers kicking up a row." (and so forth, can't remember if there were any other words)
I never knew what it was all about, apart from people giving us money or sweets to go away, or who decided when it was the time of year to say "we're going Mali dancing".

I don't know whether this mysterious custom was confined to our neck of the woods (I grew up on the border between Salford and Hightown), or whether kids still do it these days, when streets are less safe, and customs are more commercialised.

It's certainly not known in London. But recently I went to an event where some Somali girls danced in brightly coloured traditional flowing robes, very good fun was had by all, and afterwards, looking at snaps I took of these lasses a thought came - Somali dancers - Mali Dancers?

Of course our "dancers" were neither as graceful nor entertaining to watch, grown ups just groaned at us as a nuisance.. but.. . The way we pronounced it, it could have been "Morley" or "Mawley", but neither name gives any clue to origin that I know of, whereas Somali, or even Mali - a country in west Africa today -might make sense. After all, Morris Dancers are said to have derived from "Moorish Dancers", when sailors came back with things they'd seen and picked up, and Manchester was a seaport. Do any other old Mancunians/Salfordians remember this or similar customs, or have any idea of what it was about, and its origins? Charlie Pottins

Hmm, intriguing. Can anyone out there shed some light on this?


Empty houses on Hackle St ClaytonGeorge Greatbanks
Re. Christian McKie and Manchester in general

Hi Aidan, It's a while since I've written to you, but your latest batch of 'Readers Messages' prompted me to put that right. I am one of the many who flew the coop for what we hoped would be a better life and, like many of them I was a slum kid, living my life in Openshaw. But even though I came to Canada I never lost my love for my old life and still reminisce about it with friends who shared a similar background, or those who were just interested in how we coped in such primitive (in their eyes) conditions.

Well to be honest, it was easy. I grew up in a 2-up, 2-down terraced house that was condemned in 1914 (it was eventually demolished in 1968), with the outdoor privvy Christian mentioned. Our only source of heat was our coal fireplace, which I used to black lead quite regularly. Coal was rationed like many other things and to supplement it I used to be sent to the local gasworks to get coke. We had no hot water, no bathroom, no refrigerator, no telephone, no car and for the longest time, no TV. Did we regret not having those things? No, how could you miss something you never had. Those things only appeared in posh homes, or in the movies.

I was never unhappy with my lot, nor was my wife who grew up in the same neighbourhood but with the lack of adequate replacement housing and little chance of being able to buy a house, our only hope of lifting our standard of living was to move out. Even then, it was a very hard decision to make and we did it with much regret.

Compared to the city I left, Manchester is now a beautiful place. Yes many so-called institutions have bit the dust. Yes, buildings that deserved to be saved have been demolished in the name of progress and yes, many areas of the city are just as derelict as some of the ones I remember. Manchester City Council and those of surrounding towns and cities have made some dreadful mistakes in their urban planning, but that isn't just a Manchester phenomenon.

I live close to Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada which is recognized as one of the most beautiful cities in the world and among the top places in the world to live. How does their track record compare with Manchester in the futility of planning sweepstakes? Well it might surprise you to know that they too are often under the gun for demolishing buildings that deserved to be saved, and for allowing certain areas of the city to become equally as derelict as some of those in Manchester.

For example there was a beautiful old building downtown that was a medical centre, it was a stone building with many gargoyles adorning its roofline and sculptures in the stonework, yet despite all the protests it was demolished. Empire Stadium, where Roger Bannister ran his sub 4 minute mile has gone and the hole in the ground it left behind is used for parking, yet the city doesn't have another outdoor facility to take its place. We have the first domed football stadium to be built in Canada, but playing indoors isn't what most people want. The Vancouver Whitecaps (a resurrection of the old NASL team) plays its games in a 6000 seat stadium and is crying out for better facilities.

The area where Empire Stadium was, is the Pacific National Exhibition Fairgrounds, our equivalent of Belle Vue, but movement is afoot to move the fair out to the suburbs, but the hue and cry surrounding that decision may cause council to revisit the idea. But it is too late for many of the old buildings that adorned the site, they have gone under the axe already.

Stanley Park, the jewel in Vancouver's crown has been a constant struggle between the people and the City Council, its zoo is all but gone, as is the aquarium. New approaches to the Lions Gate Bridge, which run through the park have been upgraded, much to the chagrin of the local populace.

But like Manchester, Vancouver has managed to save some of its old buildings as heritage sites (old in Vancouver is still only 90 to 100 years), but not until a lot of them were flattened. Like Manchester, Vancouver has allowed some monstrosities to grace our skyline. Not far from downtown we have Main and Hastings, a crossroads in what is called the Downtown Eastside. It is a haven for prostitutes, drug addicts, pushers and the like. People shooting up in alleys is common, yet the main Vancouver City Police Headquarters is on that self same corner, go figure.

Just blocks away is Gastown, a revitalized tourist trap and a must on every visitors list of things to see, the Queen is staying in that area on her Canadian Visit tomorrow but she obviously won't see Main and Hastings. Just a block away from Main and Hastings is Chinatown that is in the throes of its own revitalization.

To refer to my life in Manchester as the "Good Old Days" may not be accurate, but to say they were happy times IS. George Greatbanks

Thanks very much for your contribution - fascinating as usual. I've put a picture of a row of houses not dissimilar to, and not far from the place you grew up in Openshaw.


Photo by Berne Leng: The Odeon Cinema PrestwichAlec Adcock
Many Thanks for a Wonderful website
Aidan, thank you so much for so many wonderful photographs, of remarkably high quality and triggers of so many memories.

I have lived in Ireland for just under 7 years but I was born in Withington Hospital, grew up in Greenheys , where I lived for 26 years, then moved to Prestwich, where I lived until I was 56 when we came over here.

I have not seen any website with such a consistently high standard of photography and the text is so well-researched, too. It is so obvious that this is a labour of love.

We usually visit our daughter in Prestwich each year but it`s marvellous to be able to spend time in the evenings here taking virtual walks through the old home city.

I am sure I am just one of thousands who really appreciate what you are doing with this site.

Best wishes.

Alec Adcock

Thank you very much for your words of encouragement. I should point out however that Eyewitness in Manchester is not really a labour of love - it's something I really enjoy doing - A lot of people seem to think I do it for free, but I have a paid contract with Manchester Online to produce it.


Eunice Barnwell
Prestwich

Prestwich 2002I was born at my grandmother's house, 52 Clifton Road Prestwich, just off the village on Bury New Road. I came into the world during the war in 1940 we lived at 36.I spent my first few months, I believe, under the dining table, for safe keeping!

I remember the ration books and the lack of eggs, sugar, butter etc. Today we have too many choices of food, and an abundance of it, even choosing a loaf of bread is not always easy. We (one brother, Roy and 2 sisters, Jean and Lynn) went to the National Infant/Junior school on Bury New Road. This was Prestwich Parish Church School which belonged to St Mary's Church on Church Lane. Rector, Rev. Paton-Williams was always visiting the school and knew us all. The infants section was across Rectory Lane. I remember headmasters, Mr Blackburn and Mr Harding.

We spent school holidays exploring in the clough, which seemed never ending then, and playing in the swing park. Sundays we would spend sometimes listen to a band in the flower park,visiting relatives or walking through Philips Park or Heaton Park. We couldn't play on Sundays because we always wore our "best" clothes and could not chance spoiling them. I loved the Prestwich Band with the leader throwing up the baton, they would head up the Whit walks (Sunday was Prestwich /Friday was Whitefield) and the Prestwich Carnival. In hindsight it seems all the Summer days were sunny and it snowed every Christmas, I think that is selective memory. We would go up to the village and enjoy the carols under the tree outside the school on Christmas Eve.

In the Summer I remember Mr Brindles' shop between the Barclays Bank, corner of Clifton road and The Grapes Inn, corner of Warwick Street had the best ice cream. It was his own, home made and creamy yellow - yummy, delicious! We used to play on the street, we only had small gardens, there were enough of us to have teams to play french cricket and rounders.

The No. 22 bus used to turn round at Prestwich to return to Victoria bus station and it would come down Clifton Road and up Chester Street. We used to hear it coming and jump off the road in time for it to pass. Also the "simi flyer" No.4 would turn around here - this was the little bus that ran from Simister to Prestwich and back. There were never any accidents, I think we were very lucky - and fleet of foot!

The best chip shop was Smith's in Longfield. We used to cut up Longfield to the railway station. In the winter in the 40's we would buy coalbricks for the fire from the coalyards adjacent to the station. The Post Office was on the corner of Longfield. I remember the pedestrian crossing at the top of Clifton Road and always a policeman on duty before and after school, to take our hand to see us across the crossing. Of course this is all changed now, and more changes to come I believe, hopefully what everyone wants.

How interesting to read (from your readers messages) that the original Wurlitzer organ from the Gaumont Cinema is to be placed in the Longfield Suite. I remember first seeing "South Pacific" in cinemascope which was the latest thing, at the Gaumont and being brave enough to go to see"Psycho".

I went to Hope Park School for Girls, on the corner of Hilton Lane. I believe both the National and Hope Park have been demolished.I remember my junior schooling seemed happier than the high school days. I couldn't wait to leave school, although I was a reasonable student. I was able to leave after my 15th birthday because I passed the Post Office exam to become a telephonist at the GPO in Manchester.

From 12 years old up to leaving school at 15 I delivered newspapers 7 days a week for Carr's newsagency in the village. I won't say it was fun getting up before the milkman, especially when the snow was deep, but it provided good pocket money, especially to go to the cinema, usually the Plaza on the village, or the Mayfair at Besses. I was able to go on a school trip to London due to my paper round. I also think some of the things we do in our formative years are very good for our self discipline. I remember when I was at Hope Park, I thought the school discipline was hard, but I have appreciated these lessons throughout my adult life as it taught me self discipline and a pride in myself. My first dance lessons were at the 279 club at Bury Old Road, Heaton Park. I loved ballroom dancing and took the medal classes, my name was still on the board there, 20 years later. The teacher was Len Levinson and my partner was Ian Metcalfe.

We also went to the Saturday night dances at the Co-op hall, then discovered rock and roll and moved on, to the Plaza dance hall in Oxford Road. The DJ running the dancehall was JIMMY SAVILLE (who would have thought he would become so famous?) and he made the Plaza a fun place. When he was to be transferred we signed a petition to keep him. It didn't work!! We used to go dancing at the Plaza in our lunch hour for 6d.

I met my husband Bob at the Plaza, he comes from Salford. I loved dancing. I didn't stay at the GPO very long, but worked in various offices on switchboard and reception. I always worked in the city, I loved the buzz of being part of the city. In January 1965, we emigrated to Australia with two daughters. In 1966 we had our 'Aussie' daughter. It was hard at first in a new land so far away from all the family and not knowing anyone, but Adelaide is a lovely city and a great place to raise a family. We live close to the beach, half an hour from the city or the hills, and 10 minutes from the National Park. I have very fond memories of Prestwich and Manchester, love reading your website and can't wait for the updates to appear. I've told my relatives to look out for you taking photos, and look forward to seeing something on Prestwich in the future.
**Please feel free to edit this long tome Aidan.
Eunice

I'll leave it as it is, as on web pages there are no space restrictions and I'm sure many people will pore over every word! Thanks very much for a superb insight into life in Prestwich.


Cllr Andrew Gwynne 1999Andrew Gwynne
Denton/Dane Bank/Gorton/Reddish
Aiden

Andrew Gwynne here - sitll a Tameside Councillor and still an avid reader of EWM... I noticed the email from Olga Quinn who wanted to shed light on the names Denton, Dane Bank and Gorton..... Hope I can help!

Denton - is a Saxon name DEN - Valley and TON - Settlement (reference to the then village's close proximity to the Tame valley no doubt). Similarly, Haughton, which amalgamated with Denton in 1894 means 'a village on pieces of low lying land near a river' (also Saxon).

The name Dane Bank and Gorton (and Reddish for that matter) are however surrounded in folklore linked to the story of Nico Ditch....

Nico ditch is an anglo-saxon earthwork which is still visible in three locations (Platt Fields, Melland Road Playing Fields and Denton Golf Course)... you can also trace the line of the ditch along Old Hall Lane in Rusholme, through to Laburnum Road in Thornley Park, Denton (on the border with Manchester)... Legend has it that all the local Saxons were instructed to dig a section of the ditch each up to their own height, to protect the town of Manchester from invading Danes. Apparently the ditch was constructed in a single night.

When Manchester was ransacked, a very bloody battle raged near the Nico Ditch.... The Chief of the Danes was slain in battle... local settlements were established with names that commemorated the battle.

Reddish = Red Ditch (from the blood in the Nico ditch), Gorton = Gore Town and Dane Bank (or Danes Head Bank) refers to where the Chief was slain.... There is also an area (behind Brookdale Church on Hyde Road, Gorton) referred to as 'Winning Hill'. I am told that this also refers to the said battle site.

All local legend.... so please take with a large pinch of salt, but that is the story behind the areas names!

Keep up the good work

Andrew

Thanks for the information - Place names really do tell us a lot about previous residents of our area - The mystery and uncertainty adds to the fun!


Chapel St Salford - Matrix HouseLeslie Jones
Chapel Street Photographs, Salford.Hello Aidan,

Thank you for your recent photographs of the Chapel Street area.

One Photograph in particular brought back special memories. "Matrix House". This was originaly a bank Building, unfortunately I cannot recall the name of the bank.

I was the Branch Manager for a Security Alarm Company, located in that building. I was there from 1976 until 1980 before moving to Ontario, Canada.

It's a shame to see that the building is no longer occupied. The sign on the building covers the name of the Bank which normally can be clearly seen.

It would be nice to see the building as it was, with that ugly dark paint and the equaly ugly sign removed, which would then reveal the true appearance of the facade as it was meant to be. I don't know what type of stone was used in the construction, but it was a light coloured stone block, which looked really good, especially when the sun was on the building.

I do hope that this building can be saved and put to good use, keeping its rightful place as a building of character on Chapel Street.
Les Jones.

I'm not certain what is going to happen to this building. It is an interesting and important feature of Chapel St, which is currently undergoing regeneration. Let's hope this building has a future.


Peter & Valerie Slater
The Blue Note Club

Hi there, Aidan, I wondered whether any of the readers who were teenagers in the swingin' sixties can remember The Blue Note Club, we found it by accident one night in the mid sixties, it was off to the right down a small dark side street, on the way down to the Railway Station off Piccadilly ? It was the coolest place we had ever been in up to that point, and was mainly frequented by West Indian people who danced in a very distinctive style. They wore beautiful immaculate suits and ties, and shiny shoes and their feet "swivelled" to the music, moving at the same time across the polished floor. We loved going there, even tho' we were not exactly "accepted" by the crowd. They mainly ignored us, and all seemed to know each other. They were definitely some of the coolest people I have ever seen. Occasionally one of them would speak to us as we stood drinking our drinks, and they sometimes watched us dance, but our main entertainment was watching them !!! Did anyone else out there go to this club, and if so, what experience did you have ? Thanks Aidan, still enjoying your site very much ! Val (Perth)

Thank you - I'd love to know the exact location of this club, so I can check what's there now. Can anyone help? Once I found myself in the basement of the Gallery club on Peter Street - It was full of Afro-Caribbean people - Great music but we didn't exactly fit in. With my short hair, one of the punters thought I was a policeman and asked to see my ID! The row of buildings at the bottom of Peter Street near Deansgate has now been replaced by Bar 38 and the Great Northern Piazza - a vast improvement on what used to be there.


larry.ward
Chorlton on Medlock / Eyewitness in Manchester

Doing some family research and have located my Great Grandfather born at 87 Chester Street, Chorlton on Medlock.

As the area has been redeveloped I'm trying to locate a map of the area that might give me an idea where Chester St would be now.

Any ideas where I might start?

Larry

Yes, you should contact the Local Studies Unit at Manchester Central Library. Their website is http://www.manchester.gov.uk/libraries/arls/



Daniel Bliss

Piccadilly Gardens redevelopment -- appalling

I'm a graduate student at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) and was originally raised in Lancaster, and I remember Piccadilly Gardens from my visits to Manchester in the late 1980s and early 1990s both when I was in grammar school and then on my trips home from university in the States. I was just poking around the site looking for information on the debate over the redevelopment of the Free Trade Hall (on the assumption that councilors made their decision for entirely parochial reasons rather than any broad vision for the city, I was wondering whether I was right or not) when I saw this.

Piccadilly Gardens 22 December 2002It IS a planning disaster. It totally destroys what had been a well balanced space and I fear it will be a blight on that portion of Manchester, quite possibly making the long-term regeneration of the Sunley complex more difficult. I was absolutely appalled by what they had done -- they have taken a very English looking square and made it look like the photographs American papers print of towns in the former Soviet Union when they write features on "the new Russia" and they want to emphasize how ugly those Stalinist developments are and how they're a blight on Russia regenerating itself.

I contrast it with what Mayor Richard Daley is doing here in Chicago with Grant Park. (I say Mayor Daley, because the city council is so weak and so controlled by him that it would be ridiculous to say "what Chicago City Council is doing"). Chicago, like Manchester, had a problem with a city center park, Grant Park. In this case an old rail yard at the north end of the park had been partially built over through office tower "air rights" as far as Randolph Street and then left vacant to the south. The park stretches for a mile between Michigan Avenue and the lakefront, but the north end, where the railway tracks were, was overgrown and a mess (there are still railway tracks going in a trench through the middle of the park taking commuters to Randolph Street station, but fortunately the line is electrified so there isn't any noise and smoke).

So, instead of selling it off for more office towers, as if the other side of Randolph Street isn't overdeveloped enough as it is, the mayor got the downtown businesses and city taxpayers as well as the state government to cough up a total of $400 million (!!) to complete Grant Park through the old rail yard.

Portland Street end of Piccadilly Gardens - now the site of an office blockThe new extension to the park is called Millennium Park and it is almost half complete and already looking stunning in the part that's finished. The new parking that is also a key part of the development is being safely hidden away in an underground garage, and the centerpiece, a new "music shell" for summer classical and blues music concerts to replace a temporary one in the old part of the park that has somehow lasted 25 years, is well under construction.

Somehow they managed to find craftspeople who can still carve stonework exactly the way the Victorians did -- there are balustrades and other decorative features that are exactly like those in the rest of the park that date from 110 years ago when it first opened. Besides being popular with local residents, the finished part of the new park is already drawing tourists like meat draws flies.

The other part of this is that it preserves the classical, Edwardian/First World War-era facade along Michigan Avenue. For almost a mile, there are buildings of between 10 and 20 stories in height (as opposed to the much greater height found elsewhere in downtown Chicago), all of them (except for Borg-Warner's dismal-looking 1960s corporate headquarters) built between 1900 and 1925 in a very attractive classical or baroque style not unlike the buildings at what was the southeast end of Piccadilly Gardens. Building in front of those buildings or demolishing any of them, even to Chicago's trigger-happy planning department, would be unthinkable. Blocking off those buildings with a new tower destroys the sense of space in Piccadilly just as much as removing the gardens destroys the ambience.

It's so sad to think this had to happen because the city of Manchester was looking for a few million pounds to redevelop the Gardens. Surely they could have found the money elsewhere -- or at least left them roughly as they were. Now I realize Manchester at 400,000 people doesn't equal Chicago at 3 million, but Piccadilly Gardens wasn't 200 acres either, even before they destroyed a third of it, nor was it an overgrown rail yard 30 feet below street level requiring millions of tons of earth and fill just to start fixing it. It couldn't have cost that much to do it properly. Actually, all they really had to do was maintain what they had.

I think you're being very kind to the city council with your writing when you say it will take time for people's reactions to the development to determine whether or not it was a planning disaster. But your photographs vividly tell a sad story.

Thanks for the excellent web site. It brings back a lot of memories -- good ones, mostly.

regards

Daniel Bliss

Recently I read an article about the new Piccadilly Gardens, in which it was stated that the people of Manchester had given "an overwhelming thumbs up" to the development. I'd love to know what people really think. Maybe some organisation should commission an opinion survey to find out. Thanks for your contribution.



Eyewitness in Manchester.

Aidan, I was born in Manchester in 1946 and lived in Abbotsford St. Harpurhey.

My abiding memories are Mrs Wykes at Alfred St Primary, she also ran a music shop with her sister in Moston Lane. I was terrified of her before I joined her class but she instilled the basics which have served me for the rest of my life. Another teacher Mr. Weeks taught us a few things but we mainly wanted to hear his war stories. In our street, was Mike Parkes, The McGuinesses, Stephanie Lake, Ronnie Pickles , Malcolm Frost and round the corner, Christopher Procter. My Aunty Evenlyn lived in Leyland St. Play areas were on the steps of Charlie Heaps building shop, where I also seem to remember we had our coronation party. Sometimes we'd pop down to the Red Rec and it was a great day when they installed swings and a roundabout there.

Best of all though was Boggart Hole Clough. I'd can't imagine children nowadays having the freedom we had then. It seemed we would spend the whole day up there, playing war, hiding and generally having a good time. Sometimes the parky would chase us. Can't remember why other than that was our respective roles. The trolley buses ran down Conran St and at the corner of Conran St and Church Lane there was a cinema. Can't remember the name but there was also the Cintra on Rochdale Road and an Essoldo, is that the right name, up near the junction of Moston Lane and Rochdale Road. Also in Harpurhey was the Liquafruta factory. My mother worked as a machinist at the Barathea factory in Ancoats. My goodness, it was slave labour and I still cringe when I sometimes see their products. Back in those days there was no sense of the world as it is today. We left doors open and had zero fear of crime and no awareness of such a thing at all. It did seem that if we were daft enough to be in neighbouring streets at the wrong time we could be chased by the youths of that street. At the end of our street, by Church Lane, were two blank walls. We chalked up goal posts and cricket wickets and had many great games.

On November 5th we had a great bonfire between these two walls. For weeks before we would store the wood on the air raid shelter roofs in our back yards. Every night we had to mount a guard in case anybody came down our entry trying to pinch stuff. Despite having spent only 13 years in Manchester it is still the root of my formative years. I still muse over what happened to various people. In the late nineties I lived in Frankfurt and often compared it with Manchester. I think Frankfurt somehow managed the success that Manchester struggled after but never quite achieved following the war. Abbotsford St and most of the streets between Church Lane and Moston Lane seem to have disappeared under an ASDA supermarket and its car park. Now I live in Luxembourg.

My contact is Robert Prendergast - Programme Management Group - IMT ext 2669 BG05

It's a long way from 50's Manchester to contemporary Luxembourg! We often forget that Manchester has been through many traumas in the post-war years - economic and social - from which it has only recently started to recover. Now Manchester is on the up and up, but there are still many problems to face up to. Thanks for your recollections of growing up in north Manchester - Every detail helps to provide a record of life in Manchester for future generations - In fact, that's one of the main reasons for Eyewitness in Manchester.


Iamelli, Frank
Subject: Number 7 Kitchen Bank Collyhurst

Hello, My name is Frank Iamelli and I live in the U.S. just outside Washington, DC. I came across your very interesting website, the Reader's Request pages in the Eyewitness In Manchester site, and was wondering if you might be able to help me.

I have been doing some geneological research and came across documentation that my grandmother was born in Manchester back in 1886. I am planning a trip to Manchester in late spring, 2003, and would love to visit two specific places while I'm there if, indeed, they both still exist.

Specifically, I am in possession of my grandmother's original baptismal record which shows that she was baptised in the Albert Memorial Church and that her family lived at #7 Kitchen Bank. Based on what little I've been able to find, I believe the Albert Memorial Church was (is?) located in Collyhurst so I assume that the #7 Kitchen Bank address must be somewhere in that area as well.

Would you be able to let me know whether or not this church is still in existence and if so, where exactly it's located? If not, could you kindly direct me to a resource where I might be able to find the answer?

I would also love to find the #7 Kitchen Bank address to see if the house is still standing but I dont hold out high hopes that it's still around after nearly 100 years. Perhaps you have access to a simple way of determining where this street may be located that I don't have access too from here. I sincerely and deeply appreciate any help you can give me with this.

Kind regards and happy holidays to you and yours. Frank Iamelli

The place to find information like this is at the Archives and Local Studies Unit at Manchester Central Library. When you come to Manchester I would advise you to go there in person and ask to see the old maps of the Collyhurst area. I'm sure you will be able to locate it, but I would doubt very much if these houses and streets are still there. Thanks for your enquiry.


The Old Fire Station - in 2003 Still mostly disused From: t.clark10
Subject: Stott Street Clayton, Old Fire Station

l was born in Derby in 1936. My grandfather lived at No.6 Stott Street, Clayton, in Manchester.

Will you bear with me while l explain. My grandfather was born in Manchester and worked with Henry Royce at Cooke St. His name was James Clark, and l think he was a storekeeper. When Henry Royce moved to Derby my grandfather went with him and worked for what became Rolls Royce until he retired.

My Dad worked at "Royce's" for 42 years and is now 90 years of age and living in a residential home in Derby. l myself was an apprentice at R.R. During my Army service (Royal Army Service Corps) l was in the Army Fire Service and we did our training at the old London Road Fire Station in Manchester. l still have the old "Passing out photograph" of all the squaddies in front of an old "Merryweather" fire engine.

Would you know whether No 6 Stott St. still exists, and is the fire station at London Rd still there? If l tell you that l now live in St. lves in Cornwall you will realise why l'm not driving up to Manchester every week, looking up my old haunts.Without putting yourself to any trouble l would be very, very grateful if you could help me regarding Stott Street and the Fire Station, l would be forever in your debt.

During the 50's/ 60's l drove buses for what was then the "Trent Motor Traction" in Derby, and regularly did the Derby to Manchester run to Moseley St. Bus Station.lt's not there now is it! I love Manchester and Mancunians to bit's and l could live there, but it is no longer as safe as it was in earlier times, or so l'm told. I thoroughly enjoyed your photograph's and your very explanatory text.

With grateful thanks for plowing through it, Terry Clark

PS I put all web-sites regarding "old manchester" in my "favourites" file and if you can recommend any l'd be grateful. Thanks again.

Not sure about Stott St. You can find present day streets using one of the mapping services available on the internet. The Old Fire Station is still there, but lying mostly unused. It's now over 20 years since the fire service moved to more modern premises. Lower Mosley St Bus Station was decommissioned in the late 60's. If you go there now you'll find the Bridgewater Hall! Thank you very much for your message. PS I am just sitting on a train to Derby as I write this!


Eileen Anthony
Subject: Manchester

Dear Aidan. Thank you so much for the pleasure I derive from the many wonderful pictures you take of the Manchester area. I left many years ago but still keep in touch with friends in Flixton where we went to live as a child from the Longsight area.

I must confess I would not know the area around the heart of the city now upon returning, but the pictures you take put me in touch with its reality today. I thoroughly enjoy the letter section. Even though I do not so far recognize any of the writers of same I feel a kinship with them just by way of being Mancunians. What is there about Manchester... somehow one never forgets it or ones roots. Wonderful memories of places and people will stay forever green in my heart. You are giving pleasure to so many people with your pictures. Keep up the good work. Smiles, Eileen C. Anthony

Manchester has a special magic - despite all the changes. Thanks for your message.


From: John Richardson
Subject: Manchester newspaper?

Hello, Reading your fascinating pages, in the course of researching my grandfathers stay in Manchester throughout the fifties. I wondered if someone could help me. I have a newspaper cutting of my grandfather H Hughes Richardson, a watercolour artist, being interviewed about his work,whilst living in a rented room at the top of a large house in Withington in about 1958. For the life of me I cannot get anywhere in finding out which newspaper it was. I have written, phoned and used the internet to no avail. I cannot travel as my wife needs constant attention. I thought that perhaps one of your contributors familiar with that area could give me a clue as to what paper it could have been. John Richardson Colchester

The newspaper could well be the Evening Chronicle, which merged with the Manchester Evening News in the 1960's. At the Central Library they have old copies on microfilm, so if you have the date, it should be possible to find the newspaper from which it was taken.


From: Melanie McCluskey
Subject: Besses

Aidan, on your website you ponder over the origins of the name Besses O' th 'Barn. There are 2 theories, the most likely being that there was an inn with an adjoining barn, the landlady was named Bess. The other more romantic story is that Dick Turpin stabled his horse, Black Bess, in the barn there. Best regards, Melanie

Interesting. I'll have to take a look at that area on an old map to see if the name has changed.


From: Mary Howarth
Subject: Old Photos

Dear Aidan,

I was born & brought up in Lower Openshaw. I wondered if you have any photographs of Ashton Old Rd, Lower Openshaw. As it was in the 1950's. When all the shops, & cinemas were still there. Roy, Queens, Metropole etc. I loved Lower Openshaw.Times were hard, but we were a very tighktnit community, and you felt very safe and secure, because you knew everyone. Hope you have some photos Aidan.

Keep up the good work.

Manchester is the best city in the world.

Mary Howarth.

I don't have any photos earlier than 1997 when I first started doing Eyewitness in Manchester - apart from one or two from the 80's. The best place to find old photos of Manchester is the Archives and Local Studies Unit of Manchester Central Library. Their website is at http://www.manchester.gov.uk/libraries/arls/ The staff there are very helpful, and you can buy prints of the photos too.


Salford Tramways DepotFrom: "zubov"
Subject: Enquiry

I'll be heading to the city for my first Manchester Derby next month. This will be my third visit to Manchester and it is a great place to visit. Of course, my primary attraction was the chance to finally attend matches at Old Trafford but I've been struck with the beauty of the city, particularly the older buildings I've seen on my walks.

There is one building in particular that has been in my mind since I first saw it two years ago. My club was headed to the Cliff for a match with MUFC's groundstaff team and I believe we were in Salford somewhere. On one corner of an intersection, there was a reddish or brown building which I believe was once the Salford Tram Depot (or barn as we call it here).

It was derelict but the architecture was quite striking. I was wondering if you have a photo of it as well as a bit more information regarding the structure. It would be a waste of an aesthetic edifice if it were to be destroyed. Is it a candidate for renovation and repurposing? I'd appreciate any information and I'll try to find it when I'm in town.

Thanks for taking the time to read this from a Yank MUFC supporter and, I hope for many years, returnee to your great city.

Alan Wexler Brooklyn, New York USA

Very nice to hear from you - I can confirm that the building you saw, the Salford Tramways Depot, has been demolished. Sorry about that. Thank you for your kind comments about Manchester - You are most welcome here any time!


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