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READER MESSAGES Sept 01

Town Hall Albert Square with American flag at half mastName: Barbara Foran
E-Mail: jeangr40@aol.com
Website:
From or connections with: Salford, Unsworth, Whitefield.
Present Location: Charlotte, North Carolina, USA
Subject: The attack on America!!!
EWM Photo:
Reader Message: Dear Aidan
Today, As I sit here watching the TV, and the devastation that has taken over New York and Washington, my mind can hardly comprehend the utter horror these poor people had to endure. I know that during the bombing in Manchester years ago, while my niece who worked in downtown Manchester was trying to get out of her office building, many people were living through this kind of horror, but the amount of devastation that has taken place here in the US in almost unbelievable. I dont even know why I am writing this to you all, I just know that in no way can these very evil, COWARDLY people be allowed to get away with so many murders. How could this have happened? The security in the airports was obviously not what it should have been, but why, why, why would human beings of any culture want to destroy lives in such a disgusting way. To see people jumping from windows, because they had no choice, GOD have mercy on their souls, and the people on the airplanes who had to endure the total hatred from these lunatics who hijacked the planes, My God, the terror they lived through in the last moments of their lives, we can never begin to know what is was like for them!!! Today as New York City is still digging through rubble and dead bodies, and body parts, we are hearing from the World how much they are with this Country, and many have condemned this dispicable sensless attack. Please, please, pray for us all, that we never have to go through this kind of hell again, not in the Country I now live, or not in the Country of my birth, or in fact any country, unless they are harboring the terrorist's who did this in essence to the whole world!!!
Thanks,
Barbara Foran.

You have eloquently expressed what millions of people will have felt. I'm not going to say anything here just yet - I have my own thoughts on all this, and I intend make my contribution using my home website. All I can say is, if the people of New York are as tough and spirited as the people of Manchester, they will recover and eventually come out stronger and better than before. The picture above right shows the town hall as it looked Monday lunchtime 17 September 2001, just before I came in here to the Central Library to compile this page. The American flag flies at half mast on the left - the UK flag flies at half mast on the right (or half staff in American English). Also Barbara Cunningham (brit165@aol.com) sent me this inspiring page http://www.fatwallet.com/thankyou.htm with a compilation of photos showing the deep sympathy felt by people around the world.

 

Name: Berne Leng
E-Mail: Berneleng@AOL.com
Website:
From or connections with: Kersal Sedgeley Park
Present Location: Littlehampton West Sussex
Subject: Salford in the 50's
EWM Photo:
Reader Message: Dear Aidan
In your comments concerning the film Hobsons Choice you seemed surprised that Salford in the 50's was unchanged since the late 19th century.

Salford in those days had character. As a child and youth I looked down fron Vine Street Kersal over the Manchester Golf Course, River Irwell and Manchester Racecourse at a panorama of back to back houses (just like Coronation Street)and factory mill chimneys. From our high position we heard the factory sirens sound every morning summoning the workers to their toil. I was chucked out on each freezing New Years Eve with a piece of coal, some money and another item which I forget until those same factory chimneys sounded in unison announcing the New Year.

If you went out you could leave the back door open and the postman would come in and leave your parcels on the draining board and you gave the milkman a cup of tea whilst his horse had a carrot. Different times Aidan and happy ones. Maybe brass was short but ee lad we enjoyed ourselves. Berne Leng.

Many people today may not realise that the Salford we see today is largely a product of 60's and 70's redevelopment. Few other cities have changed so radically in the space of a couple of decades. The old Salford preserved the character of past centuries, but there was also poverty, deprivation and illness. Today's 'sanitised' Salford retains little of the city we see in Hobson's Choice, but at least the city, and particularly the River Irwell, are cleaner. I wonder if the adults of tomorrow will remember the Salford of today and say "Ah yes, I remember Salford in the old days - back in 2001 there was a great sense of community - yes there was unemployment and crime, but at least we were happy..."

Name: Vincent Lowe
E-Mail: vince@vlec.u-net.com
Website: www.vlec.u-net.com
From or connections with: Droylsden
Present Location: Droylsden
Subject: Tib Street
EWM Photo:
Reader Message: Dear Aidan
Tib StreetYour correspondent Charlie Pottins asks about the origin of the name of Tib Street and Shude Hill. Most people don't realise that Manchester was founded on three rivers. The Irwell and the Irk most people will know but there was another one - The Tib. It once formed a town boundary around the King St/Spring Gardens area (there is a Tib Lane near here). It was already lost under new buildings by 1800 but flowed under the general line of Fountain St. and Cooper St. (and presumably passed by the Tib St. area. Info is from 'Exploring Manchester' by Nick Burton (pub. Sigma Press, Wilmslow). Oh, Shude Hill - haven't a clue!

Fascinating - After all these years, I only just found out that Tib is actually a river. 'Tib' ws also the teenage nickname of a friend of mine. Wonder what she's doing now. I've just had an idea as to the origin of Tib - perhaps it was short for the Tiber, which flows through Rome? A tiny version of the Tiber. Perhaps the Roman soldiers gave it this name.

Name: Bill Hayes
E-Mail: bil@hayesbv.freeserve.co.uk
Website:
From or connections with: Piccadilly
Present Location: Failsworth Manchester
Subject: Tib St
EWM Photo:
Reader Message: Dear Aidan
With regards to the origin of the name Tib St, it is apparently named after the river (sic) Tib that runs beneath it.Although not strictly a river it was more than likely a run off for the marsh land around New Cross, its original course ran partly down Tib St veering off at Cannon St to drain into the river Irwell via the Hanging Ditch facing the old Exchange Station.The only part of this watercourse visible is the small garden next to the cathedral, it is well worth visiting this small historical site because it is the last vestige of 15th/16th century Manchester that is on public view.
Indeed if it was not for the Three Rivers, settlement in Manchester would more than likely not happened. These rivers, the Irwell, the Irk and the Tib formed a spit of dryish land in an otherwise very marshy side of the Irwell, this spit of land enclosed by Hunts Bank (Victoria Station approach) on the north west, Cannon St on the south, the Irwell to the west and Corporation St to the east is believed to be the original Bronze Age settlement area that became the Manchester we know today. Popular history of the tourist industry type will have us believe that 'Castlefields'? is the oldest part of Manchester because of it's Roman connections, but the truth is that Manchester existed well before even the first Roman invasion of Britain, true it might only have contained a few extended families but the fact is that it was there. Most of the archeological evidence lies beneath Chethams Library and Victoria Station and hopefully in the distant future my gt gt grnd children will see the real historical origins of their city.

I had no idea that the origins of Manchester could be traced back to pre-Roman times! The new museum opening next to the Cathedral will present the early history of Manchester and will allow visitors to see the original bridge which once linked the Cathedral with the rest of the town.

Name: Rose
E-Mail: wsrw@earthlink.net
Website: http://www.rosemarywessel.com
From or connections with: Connections with Stretford
Present Location: Westfield, MA
Subject: General appreciation
EWM Photo:
Reader Message: Dear Aidan
Just dropping a note to say thank you for sharing all your fine work. This is a wonderful site and makes me want to visit Manchester again. Was last out your way in 1982 and so much looks so different.

Yes, Manchester is changing all the time and not always for the better. Thanks for your kind comments.


Trafford CentreName: Ron Taylor
E-Mail: salfordron@canada.com
Website:
From or connections with: Salford, Worsley, Bolton
Present Location: Calgary Canada
Subject: What a diffrence
EWM Photo:
Reader Message: Dear Aidan
I have lived in Calgary Canada 19 years now, been back 4 times the last time in May 2001.
Tell ya City of Manchester has done a great job of re-building Manchester after it was bombed by the IRA, very "up-market" and clean.
I was disappointed to see Granada Studios had closed the doors for visitors, every time we go back we would always take the kids to Coronation Street and the studios, now my son is old enough to drink he was looking forward to having a pint in the Rovers.
We had a walk around the quays just behind the studios, and had a drink in one of the pubs there, really nice. Had a walk around the new shopping mall "Trafford Center" its massive, we were really impressed.
It's been approx. 5 years since we were last back, but it really opened our eyes how things had changed, in our opinion for the better.
Looking forward to going back again real soon, possibly Christmas.
Anyways as always, I really enjoy reading your page Aidan, and you do a fantastic Job.
Keep up the good Work
Cheers
Ron

Thank you very much for your positive comments. Yes, the changes are generally for the better, but Manchester is losing its character in the process. If too much of the original city is lost, then Manchester will become more and more indistinguishable from other UK cities.

Name: Wyn Cummings
E-Mail: wyn123@dgweb.com
Website:
From or connections with: Beswick, Ancoats and Bradford.
Present Location: Sacramento. Ca.lifornia. USA
Subject: Trolley cars.
EWM Photo:
Reader Message: Dear Aidan, Hi! Hope you and your wife are well. Still doing a fantastic job. Very much appreciated!
My Mother, nee Rose Whittaker, who resided in Harding St; Ancoats, behind St. Anne's Church in Junction St, was one of the first "Trolley girls" on the trams
Now they would be called "Conductresses" She told me they wore hobble skirts, and wore their hair in a bun. Her Mother, my Grandmother was known as "The Crumpet lady" as she "hawked both those and pikelets {Potato cakes} in a big "Skip" on wheels. Every night she scrubbed the skip out and boiled the teacloths in a big pan on the stove and was on her rounds bright and early. My Grandfather owned the bakery in Harding St. Does any one remember?

Thanks as ever for your comments - very interesting. You can still buy pikelets!


Name: Tommy Broadley
E-Mail: broadleySSS@aol.com
Website:
From or connections with: Originally from the Anson Estate, Longsight
Present Location: Lymm, Chehsire
Subject: The pubs of Ancoats
EWM Photo:
Reader Message: Dear Aidan
Express Networks Building Great Ancoats StreetJust a few reminiscences. I worked for 32 years, on nights at the Daily Express as a compositor, the latter half of my working life as Head Printer on the Daily Star.
Most supper breaks - and sometimes after finishing work, if invited by the proprietors - were spent in the Pubs around the office, The Green Dragon (my local (??))The Edinburgh Castle, The Dan O`connell (never a night went by without a bit of a rumpus there)some Saturday nights spending a half hour or so in the "Band in the Wall" if they had some Jazz band in, the occassional visits to Yates Wine Lodge across the road from the office for the inevitable couple of "White`s All In" (for the unitiated amongst you, a glass of Australian (rough) White Wine, hot water and Sugar) 3 of them and you floated, plus a hot beef sandwich cut off the joint before your eyes before getting down to serious drinking (dont get me wrong I was not and am not an alcoholic) but it was a break to get out of the office for an hour at supper time.
Its a long time since I visited these famous and infamous haunts, I am not sure if they are now all there, since I took early retirement about 12 years ago I have only once driven through Manchester on my way to Failsworth, and I must admit, I struggled to find my way through the place - so many changes - at one time I could have "lost" anybody in the streets of Manchester I knew it like the back of my hand, looking at the Pet Shops in Tib Street to see what exotic annimals they had in, visits to the old "Iron Market" on a Saturday night at Shudehill.
Some streets and places I used to frequent are not there any more, new streets have appeared in their place, I am ashamed to say that I had to follow the road signs to find my way through the City, at one time I could have driven through blindfolded ...... no doubt some times on my way home in the early hours of the morning after finishing a rough night at the office I did!!!
Maybe one of these days I shall visit Manchester again, park my car and visit all the Streets, Pubs and Places that at one time were part of my daily roun\tine trips to the office, that is of course if they are still there.
Hope this brings to mind some of the "PLACES" of Ancoats & Manchester, I could go on but I think I have written enough, maybe I shall follow it up some time in the future.
If you think of interest, publish it, if not then do as you wish. Tommy

Oh yes, your message is certainly of interest! I have recently been visiting the renovated Daily Express Building, now known as the Express Networks building - very impressive it is too. There is still a pet shop on the corner of Tib St and Swan St!


Name: Rita Cowan nee Hewitson
E-Mail: rita_cowan@yahoo.com
Website: www.geocities.com/goldquest64
From or connections with: Pendleton, Irlam oth height. Sale , Stretford.
Present Location: Perth Wset Australia
Subject: Love to contact old pals
EWM Photo:
Reader Message: Dear Aidan
I want to thank you for a chance to look up old work pals. I miss UK but I have chosen Perth to bring up my family. I am now able to have time to myself & would love to hear from old pals. Where is Arthur Casey , his sister Barbara, Barbara layton & any Wellington St school kids of
1949 to 1952?. Does anyone from YMCA canteen remember me from 1966? regards Rita.

Hope you find them. You should also use the Manchester Evening News / Manchester Online In Touch section, and they can publish your message in the newspaper.


Berlin and Piccadilly concrete wallsName: tom murphy
E-Mail: orantes@optusnet.com.au
Website:
From or connections with: Hulme and Wythenshawe
Present Location: Bayswater Victoria Australia
Subject: ghastly
EWM Photo: 001ewm/md/DSCN244A.jpg
Reader Message: Dear Aidan
Found your photos most entertaining and have added them to my collection that is if you dont mind...However the reason for this note is to say how very unhappy I am with the Manchester councillors' complete and utter disdain for their reckless slaughter of the Gardens. I would hope that the citizens of Manchester get a petition going of each and everyones signature to have it removed. To have a foreigner do this terrible thing makes me sick and many of my KIN must now be turning in their grave to think that 5 years of war failed only to find some one walk in and do it. Regards Tommy

According to Manchester City Council's publicity office, the regenerated Piccadilly Gardens will be 'one of the most exciting public spaces in Europe'. We will wait and see. Thank you for your message.


Name: Peter Kay
E-Mail: peterfkay@hotmail.com
Website:
From or connections with: Ancoats, Blackley, Middleton, Langley & Rochdale
Present Location: Lagos, Nigeria
Subject: Memories
EWM Photo:
Reader Message: Hi Aiden,
Excellent walk through Cheetham Hill, took me nearly half an hour.
I remember, with fondness Derby Street Ice Rink and the ten pin bowling alley but never knew Marks & Spencers originated there. Astounded all my expat mates here with that revelation.
Some of the items mentioned have similar memories for me but bring back others such as :
Whit Walks, going round to neighbours and family to show off your new clothes.
Red Rec. picking out the stones from my knees.
Boggart Hole Clough, walks with my granddad.
Oldham Road, the air was heavy with the sweet aroma from Wilson's Brewery, my gran lived opposite the Royal Oak.
Tib Street, spent many hours in the pet shops and army surplus stores.
Belle Vue, the Zoo and rides and Jimmy Saville as a DJ in a monks outfit.
CIS, great venue for groups and Dave Lee Travis as the DJ and it had a fantastic, sprung, dancefloor.
Free Trade Hall, James Taylor and Carol King.
Hard Rock, Stretford, before the Hard Rock Cafes of today, for its great bands and acoustics. Is it still there?
Middleton, Hollang FC, St Dominics, Warwick Mill and the gardens, one is a roundabout now. Is the mill coming down and what are they doing with the remaining garden now?
You do help bring back long forgotten memories with your work to all those who are near and far away and I thank you.
I also get a lot of local knowledge and history from visiting the following site but yours has the personal touch.
http://www.manchester2002-uk.com/a-z.shtml
Cheers,
Peter

The former Hardrock concert venue is now a branch of B&Q! I'm not sure what's happening with the mills in Middleton. Can anyone help? Thanks for your comments!


Mayne bus Stevenson SqName: Noel Baxendale
E-Mail: noel@baxendale.u-net.com
Website:
From or connections with:
Present Location: Monton, Eccles
Subject: Mayne's bus
EWM Photo: http://www.aidan.co.uk/eyewitness-in-manchester/001ewm/lg/DSCN2457.jpg
Reader Message: Dear Aidan,
The bus you asked about in the Northern Quarter article is a Leyland Fleetline bodied by Northern Counties of Wigan. The original registration was MNC 487W and it was new to Greater Manchester Transport in 1980.
Mayne's have run a number of former GMT Fleetlines since deregulation, and this is one of the last surviving pair which came from GM Buses South or Stagecoach Manchester (I'm not sure if the sale was before or after the takeover). They are also probably the last Fleetlines in normal service (i.e. not school contracts) in Greater Manchester, although I think they have recently been withdrawn bringing an end to Fleetline operation in Manchester that started around 1962.

First Manchester bus UrmstonThe bodywork design is the SELNEC 'Standard' style that was built on 1,825 production Atlantean and Fleetline chassis in Greater Manchester between 1972 and 1984. After GM Buses were split into two, Stagecoach Manchester quickly disposed of theirs and replaced them with newer vehicles. First Manchester have 50 Atlanteans remaining which are mostly allocated to Bolton Depot, but these are due for withdrawal within the next 3 months. While once the Atlanteans were a regular sight in almost every town, Bolton is now believed to have the highest number of them anywhere in the UK.
Regards,
Noel.

I think the bus on the right, which I photographed subsequently in Urmston, is one of the last remaining Atlanteans which you mention. So if they are soon due for withdrawal, you are looking what is soon to be a piece of bus history! Thanks for your detailed and expert knowledge of the subject!


Name: Peter Livesley
E-Mail: fairygodmother@xtra.co.nz
Website:
From or connections with: Salford....Liverpool St/ Cross Lane (old Barbury Coast)
Present Location: Christchurch.. Canterbury.. NEW ZEALAND
Subject: OLD SCHOOL PALS a
EWM Photo:
Reader Message: Dear Aidan,
Although I was born in Manchester, I lived in Salford, near the Reck, which is referred to in Coronation Street as the Red Reck.
I was educated at West Liverpool Street School which was a boy's school and West Liverpool Street Girl's was on the opposite side of the Reck in Bridgewater Avenue. The only time that we officially came together was for a school production, "The Magic Key". That was a very special thing for me because I am still involved with the theatre, mainly, because I enjoyed that production so much. I was Patrick Flanagan, the Irishman.
My old classmate, Ken Snelson, was the Barber in "The Magic Key". We literally bumped into each other here in Christchurch after 37 years separation. How is that for coincedence? We keep in touch constantly and we have been trying to think of a way to contact old classmates and people from the show, "The Magic Key".
It seemed to us that your informative site would be an ideal way to seek out these people.
In 1965 we decided to emigrate to New Zealand and finally left Salford. I have returned twice to the UK, and each time find unbelievable changes.
Ken & I enjoy your site very much and would really appreciate any old photographs you may have of the Salford area.
Thanking you
PETER LIVESLEY.

That's an amazing co-incidence. Glad you find Eyewitness in Manchester enjoyable. Yes, the changes in Salford are certainly unbelievable - both in a good and in a bad sense!


Name: Michelle Erikson
E-Mail: greyhound@mindless.com
Website:
From or connections with: Bolton, Prestwich, Cheetham Hill
Present Location: USA
Subject: A sincere thanks
EWM Photo:
Reader Message: Dear Aidan
I wanted to express my delight and gratitude for your amazing site. My connections with Greater Manchester are second-hand through friends: net friends and real-life friends who come from those places, but I'm no less fond of Manchester for all that! I so appreciate being able to read about the area and see photos, both of what it is like now and what it was like decades ago. It helps me understand my British friends better, augments what I already know of the history of your island home and does a lot to assuage the ache I feel when I realise I probably never will get to visit your part of the world, much as I would like to.
Manchester is a lot like one of my favorite American cities, Pittsburgh, which was founded on coal and steel and, like Manchester, had to re-invent itself in the late 70's and early 80's when those industries died in America. Pittsburgh is also a visually stunning place, what with all the great, hulkingVictorian/Edwardian buildings built by Carnegie and Frick and their co-horts in competition with one another when the place was swimming in profits from the steel mills. Happily, the city seems aware of what they've got and are more likely than many American cities to preserve and celebrate rather than to discard and tear down.
Personally I'd like to see more on your sites about Prestwich's history and modern-day. I'm sure you'll get around to it eventually. Don't worry though, it's all delightful to me. Just keep on with the excellent work you're doing and know you've got at least one avid Yank fan over here hanging on your every word and poring over the pictures. Thank you again.--Michelle

Warehouse building near Canal St ManchesterWow, thank you very much for your comments. What a pity you aren't planning to visit Manchester. Shame on me, I didn't visit Pittsburgh - the closest I got was Lancaster PA. Now that you've mentioned it, I must drop in there - I am sure there are many interesting parallels with Manchester which I could investigate photographically. Certain parts of Manchester remind me very much of American cities - the one I know best is New York. This building off Princess St and Canal St could almost be on or near New York's Canal Street.



Grim building in Cheetham HillName: Mike Cordingley
E-Mail: michael_cor@lineone.net
Website:
From or connections with:
Present Location:
Subject: Cheetham Hill
EWM Photo: http://www.aidan.co.uk/eyewitness-in-manchester/001ewm/lg/DSCN2589.jpg
Reader Message: Dear Aidan
I too went on the heritage trail yesterday 26 August. Just to let you know that the grim building used for filming has been levelled. Much to the suprise of the guide Bill? Williams.

After I read your message I drove past there to find a pile of bricks. Ah well, one less place to film a historical drama!


Shay Lane Hale BarnsName: J Robinson
E-Mail: juer@tinyworld.co.uk
Website:
From or connections with: Hale, Bowdon,
Present Location: St Helens, Lancs (Merseyside!!)
Subject: Millionaire lay-line (Bowdon to Prestbury)
EWM Photo:
Reader Message: Dear Aidan
When are we going to see the Bowdon to Prestbury lay-line (millionaire belt as they say - eagerly awaited.
Julie

Aha! At last - a Hale/Bowdon expatriate speaks! I am thinking of doing an autumnal feature on this leafy area, where every second house seems to have a Mercedes parked in the drive!

Name: gordon simpson
E-Mail: hotpost200012000@yahoo.co.uk
Website:
From or connections with: hulme
Present Location: middlton
Subject: hulme crescents
EWM Photo:
Reader Message: Dear Aidan
I am interested in any infermation on the former Hulme crescents and would welcome any material or photos thank you gordon simpson

There is a lot of interest in the Hulme crescents - I hope to bring more pictures and info on this important location soon.


Davyhulme CircleName: stan mc tighe
E-Mail: dsc@alphalink.com.au
Website:
From or connections with: stretford
Present Location: melbourne, australia
Subject: davyhulme circle
EWM Photo: any of the above pictures
Reader Message: Dear Aidan,
Davyhulme circle has a painful place in my memory!. Back in around 1956 I was on my way to play in a soccer match in Davyhulme. As usual I was running late and together with a playing mate we were racing to the ground on our bikes and to save time we were both in our full soccer regalia. As we were taking the round-about at high speed my front wheel clipped the back wheel of my mate's bike and I went sailing over the handle bars. A few minutes later when I came round I looked up to see the radiator of a 23 bus a few feet from my head.I must have passed out again because the next thing I remember was being wheeled up the drive of Davyhulme Park hospital in a wheelchair. It turned out that a doctor had driven me to the hospital.
When I arrived in casualty there were a number of ribald comments to the effect that it 'must have been a hell-of -a-match'
Fortunately, I only tore some ligaments in my shoulder and lost skin on various body parts
The next minor drama was when I rolled up back home in an ambulance and my dad nearly had kittens.
Stan Mc Tighe

It's amazing how we associate a place with a certain event in our lives. A friend of mine always associates the spot where Upper Brook St turns into Anson Rd with an accident he had there as a schoolboy - he was knocked down by a car. Luckily the injuries were minor, but every time he passes there, he thinks of that incident, which happened around 30 years ago!


Name: bill hayes
E-Mail: bil@hayesbv.freeserve.co.uk
Website:
From or connections with: piccadilly
Present Location:
Subject: angel meadow st michaels flags
EWM Photo:
Reader Message: Dear Aidan
Dear Aidan

St Michael's Flags after removal of the flags

Above: site of St Michael's Flags Feb 2001 Below: the same area viewed from the opposite side during 1998.

St Michael's Flags in 1998 - Thank goodness EWM took the photograph!

In the words of Victor Meldrew 'I don't believe it'.How can a so called socialist council allow or even instigate the destruction of a monument dedicated to the memory of the workers and their families who suffered so badly in order to make Manchester the city it is today.
Beneath those 'Flags' are laid to rest the not the remains of wealthy mill owners or land owners nor politicians (not even LOCAL ones),they are the remains of the poor souls who suffered every kind of deprivation and disease that the above mentioned could and DID inflict upon them unceasingly at the birth of the industrial revolution.Are our politicians so blind and uncaring that they prefer to erase from our sight the physical evidence of this suffering of so many of our and their forebears.It is obvious that these small minded people with power beyond their capabilities no nothing of the true history of the city they are privileged to govern.
Towards the end of the 18th century it became obvious that the collegiate church (Manchester Cathederal) could not and did not want the responsibility of burying the large numbers of migrant workers.These migrants from the surrounding countryside flocked to the city for the abundance of factory jobs that were available.Unfortunately the conditions were so bad both at home and at work and the pay so poor that many died.Disease played a large part in the number of deaths especially cholera.
Bearing this in mind the city fathers decided that a large Parochial Graveyard was needed and the meadow (Angel Meadow) next to St Michael's church was chosen.This area around the church would today be classed as pleasant and desirable but at the turn of the 18th century was on the very edge of the city.As with all parochial graveyards burials were quick and without too much ceremony, headstones or grave markers were not usually allowed.
In the 1820s-30s conditions around the eastern side of Manchester were so bad that some citizens had to resort to digging up the soil in the graveyard and selling it to local farmers as fertiliser just to buy food or pay rent.The graveyard at that time had become one mass communal grave.Then in the 1830s Manchester had a serious cholera epidemic, the practise of communal burial made the epidemic worse and the decision to bury the bodies in quick lime to put a stop to the fertiliser trade was taken. However when the epidemic had passed the trade was quickly resumed.The situation became so bad that in 1855 an act of Parliament was passed which closed the graveyard and had the area flagged over thus preventing the digging up of the graveyard. From that day till Febuary 2001 St Michaels Flags has served as a reminder to all of the suffering that existed in the area in the name of capitalism.
All the important social commentators of the 19th century visited the area and wrote essays deploring the conditions, how would the world react if the graves of these famous people were desecrated in the same manner?

Anyone who is in any doubt as to whether Manchester is losing its heritage due to official neglect and ignorance needs only take a look at the above scene. A friend of mine who is also interested in these things phoned the Town Hall and was told the flagstones had been removed for renovation. I checked the site again today to see if they had been put back, but one of Manchester's most significant plots of land, a site of special historical, social and religious interest, is still bereft of its flagstones. Because it's old and rather gloomy, slightly off the beaten track and not part of Manchester City Council's bold futuristic vision for Manchester, the powers that be have allowed this site to go to rack and ruin but few people seem to care.

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