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READER MESSAGES Early October 01

Name: J. Michael May
Website:
From or connections with: Saint Mary's Hospital, Oxford Road
Present Location: Woking, Surrey
Subject: My birth place
EWM Photo:
Reader Message: Dear Aidan
Have you any details or photos of Saint Mary's, Oxford Road where I was born on 15th February 1932. My first 10 years were spent in Todmorden before moving to the South of England (Slough).
I had an aunt who lived in Gatley where I spent many a school holiday before the war.
I hope that you or your readers may be able to provide me with information of this part of Manchester before the hospital moved to its current site.
J.Michael May

I currently am unable to bring you old photographs of Manchester - Eyewitness in Manchester is primarily a vehicle for my photographs of the contemporary city. The best place to see old photographs of Manchester is in the Central Library at the Local Studies Unit (left). I can tell you that I have connections with the present St Mary's Hospital, where our daughter Adele Mari was born on 4 October. I'd just like to take this opportunity to to thank the doctors, midwives and all other staff who did such a fantastic job. 365 days every year they help to bring hundreds and hundreds of babies into the world. The NHS has many cash shortages, but in St Mary's, Manchester can be proud to have one of the best maternity hospitals in the world.

Name: Sue Shuker
Website:
From or connections with: Sale, Heywood, city centre
Present Location: Ottawa, Ont, Canada
Subject: Adele Mari
EWM Photo:
Reader Message: Dear Aidan,
Congratulations to the two of you on the safe arrival of Adele Mari. You're a dedicated newsman Aidan but I assume you're 'chuffed to bits' and I don't blame you for getting the news out to as many as possible, as soon as possible.
Thank you for being so open to us expats, it sometimes feels like I have an extra (4th cousin-type) relative sending me news of home, for which I thank you.
Best wishes to all of you, Sue

I like to maintain the personal touch! Thanks for your good wishes and the wonderful messages we've received from many other people all over the world. You've probably guessed that that's Adele Mari in the photograph top right!


Name: Lawrence West
Website:
From or connections with: Hightown, Cheetham Hill, West Gorton.
Present Location: Narre Warren Melbourne Australia
Subject: Looking For Schoolfriends
EWM Photo:
Reader Message: Dear Aidan
I am looking for people I went to school with, I used to go to Old Trafford with my mates from school.
Cheetham Hill Secondary School was near Halliwell Lane and the Cheetham Hill public baths on Cheetham Hill rd. near the junction of Waterloo Rd. I'm afraid time has destroyed many street names, so this is about all I can come up with. Thank you Aidan in anticipation of your efforts.
Maybe I can do better with some questions?

Hope you find some of your schoolfriends. I've found a few of mine from Xaverian College through Eyewitness in Manchester


Name: Mark
E-Mail:
Website:
From or connections with: Manchester
Present Location:
Subject: See the bigger picture!
EWM Photo:
Reader Message: Dear Aidan,
Why is it that people tend to lament the loss of history and character of Manchester when they only refer to buildings or places that they have known within their own lifetime. Cities are constantly evolving places... Why is it that no-one laments the history and character that disappeared underneath the monolithic and (now) cherished Great Northern Warehouse - or countless other large buildings in Manchester - What it boils down to is people's natural aversion to change, and also it seems, the fact that 60s and 70s architecture left something of a bad impression of "modern" architecture.
Good design will always stand the test of time which is why the Urbis Centre will most certainly be standing in 100 years time whereas I'm not so sure about the new building on Piccadilly (even though it paid for the very impressive redevelopment in front of it).

One of the things I've discovered through doing Eyewitness in Manchester is how much of Manchester was lost even before current and recent waves of redevelopment. It's a Manchester I never knew, and I wish I could go back in time and photograph it. The Victoria Buildings, next to Manchester Cathedral, were lost as a result of firebombing in 1940. But even in the 19th century, the vigorous Victorians consigned many examples of medieval Manchester to history through redevelopment and demolition. In central Europe, many cities preserved their 'stare miasto' (polski) or 'Altstadt' (deutsch) , but here they've been mostly lost, to our great loss. Thanks for your contribution.



Name: Keith & Margaret Collier
Website: In body of text. Does not fit here.
From or connections with: Chorlton pon Medlock
Present Location: Wyee Bay, Central Coast, N.S.W. Australia.
Subject: Thanks for your efforts.
EWM Photo:
Reader Message: Dear Aidan
We would like to thank you for the work you are putting into this project, especially the recent pages on Chorlton pon Medlock. The first time we heard about Chorlton pon Medlock was about twenty years ago when we started to do genealogy for my wife's and my families. In 1879 my Great Grandfather, Joseph Collier, lived with his family at 1 Elizabeth Lane Chorlton pon Medlock.
Joseph worked ,we believe, for his uncle Thomas Collier, who began the business which had roots in Manchester and spread all over England, Thomas Collier & Co Ltd. Joseph was selected to come to Australia to begin branches of the business in both Melbourne and in Sydney.
When we first heard of Chorlton pon Medlock my mind played funny tricks on me and imagined the place to be out in the country with rolling hills, a mass of sheep and a few persons to look after them. It must be admitted that we got quite a shock to find out that it was simply a southern industrial suburb of Manchester.
We have spent many hours poring over your handiwork in Eyewitness and have to thank you for helping us to find out a little about where my ancestors came from. We do hope that some of the true Mancunians who keep watch on your site may like to look at our site and may be able to provide some information to help me put the whole thing together. Unfortunately Aidan, we cannot say anything about the area from first hand experience but we again thank you for your efforts which have proved to be very interesting reading. Keith & Margaret Collier.

Thank you very much indeed for your comments. Actually, the name is Chorlton on Medlock, or possibly Chorlton upon Medlock. I wonder if the business has anything to do with the tailors John Collier. I remember their advert from the 1960's 'John Collier John Collier the window to watch'. There was a shop at the top of Market Street and a neon sign with their logo at the top of the building - It's clearly visible in the film 'Hell is a City' made in 1959.


Name: tom murphy
Website:
From or connections with: Hulme and Wythenshawe
Present Location: Bayswater Victoria Australia
Subject: Fantastic
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Reader Message: Dear Aidan once again I am in awe at your untiring work, just spent a happy few hours reading all the emails,and enjoyed them all, trying to recall the location of Grosvenor St. can recall Pauldens and the R.A.Depot across the road from Pauldens ,was that Grosvenor St at the corner of Stretford Rd think it was All.Saints.also canremember that they found the earliest rail line down somewhere in Deansgate behind the City Hall.heard tell that it was the first rail line in Manchester and ran to Liverpool would be interesting if any reader knows any thing about it.best regards as always Tommy

Your memory is serving you quite well - Grosvenor Street is just on the other side of Oxford Road from Stretford Road. And you'll find the first railway station in the world on Liverpool Road, not far from Deansgate. It's now part of the Museum of Science and Industry, which I'm sure has information on the Manchster and Liverpool Railway.

Name: Irene Mooes
Website:
From or connections with: All over Chorlton on Medlock and Ardwick, Chorlton cum Hardy, Harpurhey, Withington.
Present Location: Bethesda, North Wales.
Subject: St. Thomas's Ardwick
EWM Photo:
Reader Message: Dear Aidan, I hope I'm not repeating a previous story, but the school rooms of St. Thomas's in Ardwick still stand behind the church. They are very dilapidated and run down. The church is being used as a community centre. My mother's family lived on Back Downing Street when they came over from South Wales, all the kids went to St. Thomas's school until they went to work aged 14. My uncle Jo reputedly sang like an angel in the school choir. I have a picture of the school rooms if you would like to use it.

Thanks for the offer of the picture - My normal policy is to use readers old photographs rather than recent ones- These are photographs I could not have taken myself. I've decided to use an old photograph sent by Irene previously, taken out the window of her bedroom in Chorlton on Medlock. It's a far cry from her present home in Bethesda, North Wales. Here are Irene's comments on the picture:

This shot is taken from the backyard of 7 Avon Street, Chorlton on Medlock, looking towards Old Elm Street and on to Brunswick Street. This is where I was born and grew up. The view is the houses around begining to be demolished for slum clearance. Up until then, we never saw a black jack or a cockroach, once the other houses began to disappear, we were festooned with the things. Yuck. This was in the late 1960s. Geoffrey Street used to be directly infront of the back gate, but the houses shown here that are just about standing, may have been Ismay Street.

I took the photo a very long time ago, with an instamatic camera that I saved up to buy with my spends every week. I bought the camera from Denis the Chemist at the top of Avon Street, on the way towards Shakespeare Street.

 

Name: Geoff Air
Website:
From or connections with: Prestwich, bury
Present Location: Bury, Lancashire
Subject: fascinating insights
EWM Photo:
Reader Message: Dear Aidan
I too came across your site via a friend. Having read some, no all, of the comments I am very pleased that some one has the time and the obvious dedication to collate the information and imput it onto the net.
I lived in Prestwich for about 16 years [1984-2000] and in that time it has changed out of almost all recognition. The longfield shopping center, off Bury new Road, is almost derelict. At one time it was a pleasure going around the numerous stores , both large and small. Now all that remains is a small group of 'seconds' shops and one supermarket.
Prestwich hospital [Psychiatric] is still going , though very much downsized. Salford Mental Health services who own the site, sold a number of acres off to Tesco's. A huge store was built on the old site, and the car park sits on site of the rose beds and some of the Victorian wards. Also built was a T.G.I.friday's and a hotel.
In my own personal opinion, a lot of the old shops that aline Bury New Road leading up to, and into Prestwich have been forced to close down. I am assuming it is because Tesco's is such a success [ though some of the businesses were perhaps due to close anyway ???]
Most of the Public houses along Bury New Road in Prestwich, that have been running for many years are still going , apart from the 'Wilton hotel' that is. This closed late last year and is now called the 'Priest's Retreat' It is still a pub but with a very different atmosphere, it attracts a young crowd, or perhaps I'm just getting older!!!!
Tower Buildings is long gone, this used to house various shops but the one I remember is the CO-OP. Tower Buildings was actually listed as one of the drop off points for the local bus service and had stood on the same ite since the early part of the last century. Since it's been demolished, a new set of shops/offices/business that are all housed in one block sit on the same site .

I now live up in Bury [ about 6 miles north, for those that don't know the area] I can see the hills and appreciate the quietness of the countryside.
If anyone has got memories of Prestwich, both good and not so.
I would love to read them on here.
Many thanks
Geoff

Interesting stuff about Prestwich, which seems to have lost much of its former character. It's a shame that this tends to happen so often. The reasons for the deterioration of so many formerly vibrant suburbs are complex. It's a pity we can't organise the development of our towns and cities so that things get better, not worse. Talking of decay, I've included a picture of a pub - the Crumpsall, on Waterloo Street, Lower Crumpsall, next to the River Irk. It looks as if it is about to be demolished. Does anyone have any information?


Name: RAY O'NEILL
Website:
From or connections with: CHEETHAM, BIRCHFIELDS, CHEADLE
Present Location: PORTLAND OREGON, USA.
Subject: POLICE STATIONS
EWM Photo:
Reader Message: Dear Aidan
IN RESPONSE TO THE QUESTION BY MY OLD COLLEAGUE PETER FOY. I WAS ALSO AT THE NEWTON ST POLICE STATION IN JULY, WHY DIDN'T YOU SAY ANY THING PETER? ANYWAY ANOTHER POLICE STATION THAT NO ONE EVER MENTIONS IS AT THE FIRE STATION ON WHITWORTH ST, I PATROLLED THE 29 BEAT UNDER LONDON ROAD STATION AND THE SURROUNDING AREAS ON MANY A COLD DARK AND WET NIGHT AND WAS SO HAPPY AND RELEIEVED TO GET BACK INTO THE WARM EMBRACES OF THE STATION. ACTUALLY THIS WAS WHERE ALL THE FEMALES WERE LOCKED UP IN THE CITY CENTER, NOT BOOTLE ST OR NEWTON ST OR TO A LARGER EXTENT JACKSON ST POLICE STATION, IS IT STILL STANDING?
TALKING ABOUT BIRCHFIELDS ROLLER SKATING RINK. I ATTENDED BIRCHFIELDS SEC MOD AND ONE OF MY CLASSMATES FATHER OWNED THE RINK AND WE USED TO GET IN FOR FREE, ONE FRIDAY WE ALL WENT THERE ON A NEW YEARS EVE AND WE ALL SKATED HOME TO CHEETHAM HILL, AH MEMORIES. RAY O'NEILL

The old Fire Station - opened 1905 - is one of Manchester's most magnificent buildings. It was in use until 1982 when the fire service moved out. Sadly the building is still mostly empty and in a run-down state. Is it really beyond the ability of today's developers and architects to give this building a new lease of life, say, as a hotel or shopping centre? As for Jackson St police station, I'm not sure if it's still standing. Can anyone help?


Name: Wyn Cummings
Website:
From or connections with: Ancoats, Beswick and Bradford, M/CR
Present Location: Sacramento. California.
Subject: Birchfields skating rink
EWM Photo:
Reader Message: Dear Aidan,
So many memories via your column. Thank you so much.
Birchfields skating rink...I had met my husband during the interval at the Ritz. He made a date to go skating at the above rink. I had never even worn a pair of skates, let alone knew how to skate. On the night of the date, which I had promptly forgotten, somebody tapped me on the shoulder and reminded me that we had a date for that very night. When I met him, I had hair past my waist. I had had my hair cut in the "Italian" look and had on a knit dress that had a V in the back all the way down to my waist. He said "You don't look like you are dressed for skating" Anyway , arriving at the rink I thought" Anyone can stand up on them. They have all those wheels...oeice of cake. I had to be assisted out to the rink by two girls, one on each arm. When my husband saw me he couldn't stop laughing and I wouldn't look at him for the rest of the Evening, but spent all my time with the Instructor, holding onto that poor guy like grim death and wouldn't let go. On the way home, I rode in the back seat of the bus, while he sat up front. Don't know how we came to get married. He couldn't even dance.

A great story there - by the way, you'll find Venus foods - a Turkish supermarket - where the Birchfields skating rink used to be.

Name: Wyn CUMMINGS
Website:
From or connections with: Ancoats, Beswick and Bradford.
Present Location: Sacramento. California
Subject: 99 Ice cream
EWM Photo:
Reader Message: Dear Aidan.
Thank you for the 99 Ice cream cone. It was Yummy!


Name: Wyn CUMMINGS
Website:
From or connections with: Ancoats, Beswick and Bradford.
Present Location: Sacramento. California
Subject: 99 Ice cream
EWM Photo:
Reader Message: Dear Aidan.
Thank you for the 99 Ice cream cone. It was Yummy!

By now that ice cream would be well past its sell by date, but thanks to the power of photography it is permanently preserved! Maybe in the future we'll have multi-sensual capture, so you'll actually be able to taste it - though the power of the imagination, stimulated by sight, allows us to do that now.

Name: Geoff Stafford
E-Mail:
Website:
From or connections with:
Present Location:
Subject:
EWM Photo:
Reader Message:

Dear Aidan
Very interesting feature on Chorlton On Medlock.
Your readers may be interested to know that the
Local History section of the Central Library has
a large number of black and white photos of this
area, many of which can be viewed using the
recent computer system.
A number of these date from the slum clearance
in the 1960's and show before, during and after,
from the air. As you mention, it is incredible
to see how little was left standing during this
work.
Alan Godrey Maps have published a map of the
area, dating from 1848 (available in Waterstones
Bookshop) and this includes quite a bit of
historical information. Some of the statistics
spell out just how grim life must have been in
the area. For instance, between 1821 when it
opened, and 1839, there were 29,000 burials in
Rusholme Road cemetery -- which is now the park
which lies close to Grosvenor Street.
This is quite mind boggling, as the land is only
about the size of ten tennis courts.
Anyway, keep up the good work. I was actually
crossing the road to go to the RSColour labs, as
you took the shot of UMIST. I didn't realise it
was you or I would have said hello!

Is Geoff in the picture? Have a look! Interesting info about the Grosvenor St area as it was in the past. Yes, the Local Studies Unit at the Central Library is definitely worth a visit - I'm beginning to sound like an advert for them now!


Name: Sid Lloyd
Website:
From or connections with: Cheetham Cheetham Hill Hightown Crumpsall Blackley
Present Location: Paraparaumu NZ
Subject: Historical M/c
EWM Photo: Sorry, too late.Lack the expertise.
Reader Message: Dear Aidan
I hope I am sending this message to the correct address.
I have written before but I don't know if it has been
received.Not to worry, I am pretty new at this game and
I make plenty of mistakes. But as they say "practice makes
perfect".
The reason for this particular missive is that I notice
that a lot of people, including myself, are interested
in M/c from an historical point of view. I remember,
as a child growing up in Cheetham Hill during the 1930s
the area was full of these huge derelict old buildings,
some having huge grounds which made excellent adventure
playgrounds for the local kids.
I never thought past the fact that they were there for
us to play in.However on my return to Cheetham Hill in
1989 after an absence of 34yrs I found that all these
onetime grand old houses had disapeared,together with a
lot of the terraced houses and families. Even the streets
had gone. It was quite sad really, here I was,expecting
everything to be much the same as when I left,and as it
turned out,I was a complete stranger.
It was then I realised that every city/town/area
needs/gets a makeover every 100yrs or so, and it was then
that I started to wonder what had Cheetham Hill,or for
that matter M/c, looked like at the turn of the century.
I didn't have much time to spare, but in the tourist
section of the Town Hall (I think) I was lucky enough
to find two publications, one by a Marty Dobkin, titled '
"Broughton and Cheetham Hill in Regency Times" and one
by Jacqueline Roberts titled "Working Class Housing in
Nineteenth Century Manchester". Both were published by a
Neil Richardson of 88 Ringley Rd. Stoneclough, Radcliffe,
Manchester, M26,9ET around 1984.
The books, each of which consisted of about 30 pages of A4
size double sided script, contain a wealth of information
pertaining to the early development of Manchester and its
suburbs and the way old family names were incorporated
into street names and localities, with many old maps and
photos. One map of 1848 showed the houses and streets
where I lived as a young child ( I knew the houses were
old, but not that old).
One photo, taken not a hundred yards from where I lived in
1934 shows a grand old house on the corner of Halliwell
Lane and Waterloo Rd,where I used to play when it was
derelict,with the information thatit was built for a
Mr.James Halliwell in 1788.What a shame,all that history
down the gurgler.

Anyway, I am sure that if anybody is interested in the
history of Manchester and particularly of Broughton,
Hightown, Cheetham, Red Bank, Kersal, Cheetham Hill and
Crumpsall,they will get a lot of pleasure out of
reading these publications. When I bought my copies they
were priced at 2 pounds 50p each, and worth every penny.
That was in 1989.
I love reading your column, I feel that I am getting in
touch with my roots again.
Best Wishes Sid Lloyd
SID LLOYD

Thank you very much for that fascinating contribution - Cheetham Hill is certainly full of history and character. That address again is Neil Richardson of 88 Ringley Rd. Stoneclough, Radcliffe, Manchester, M26 9ET
.

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