EYEWITNESS IN MANCHESTER FLASHBACK
HEADLINES FROM MANCHESTER UK ON THIS DAY...TUESDAY FEBRUARY 16TH 1965

The Manchester headlines for Tuesday February 16th 1965 were firmly focused on the future: Following the Beeching Report on Britain's railways, first published two years earlier, a giant new rail expressway was announced: By 1984 hundreds of giant trains hurtling at 70mph would link London and Manchester. The Great Central route, via Leicester, Nottingham and Sheffield and the Great Midland Route via Leicester, Derby and the Peak Forest were to be scrapped. The West Coast line, which had been electrified in 1960, was to be the kingpin route.

Four years later, two of Manchester's stations - Central and Exchange were closed. Central was twenty years later to become the GMEX centre.

City centre development was also in the news that day: One headline proclaimed an extra 3m to be spent on a "newer gayer city", including new developments in the King Street area and in the blocks bounded by Mosley St - Oxford St - Portland St and Piccadilly. Next to King Street, a new shopping and office complex was to be planned - the Reform Club - one of King Street's most magnificent 19th century buildings - was to be dismantled and rebuilt elsewhere.

As for the adjacent area on the other side of Mosley Street, which in the 1970's was to develop into Manchester's Chinatown, the Town Planning Committee were preparing to declare it a development area. Existing warehouses were to be demolished - they were considered unsuitable for city centre use - and a new cultural zone was planned, with a possible extension to the Art Gallery, and high level pedestrian walkways.

These ambitious plans were never carried out: only the Piccadilly Plaza, which was nearing completion in early February 1965, stands as a legacy of the ideas of those times. The 6m Piccadilly Plaza was Manchester's first post-war development, and featured a shopping piazza on the first floor. But it was never a success - two years later only 11 of the 40 shops were let and the piazza was eventually closed to the public.

Russian scientists, on a visit to Manchester that week, watched the huge Atlas computer at the University's Department of Electrical Engineering. The Russians, led by Mr M V Keysh - President of the Soviet Academy of Sciences, met by Sir Bernard Lovell, director of the Jodrell Bank Radio Telescope.

National news on Tuesday Feb 16 1965 included allegations by Labour MP Patrick Duffy (Colne Valley) that Conservatives were "half drunk" during a censure debate.

The latest episode in a grim series of murders was the discovery in Acton, west London of the body of a woman. It was the sixth to have been found nude - and five of them had been strangled - police suspected the same killer.


ENTERTAINMENT
The OPERA HOUSE (phone Blackfriars BLA 1787), had the Dora Bryan show, with David Nixon and the Kay Sisters (tickets 12/6, 10/- and 6/-). Anna Neagle starred in Person Unknown at the REX WILMSLOW, and at the THEATRE ROYAL CINERAMA, the movie "La Fayette" (U), starring Jack Hawkins and Orson Wells was the main feature. At the ODEON (phone CEN 5411) it was "A Shot in the Dark" starring Peter Sellers, and at STUDIO 1 OXFORD RD, the raunchy "Carpetbaggers" (X) was drawing large audiences.

Night clubs included the Belle Vue New Elizabethan, Oasis, Heaven & Hell, featuring Earl Royce Olympics, Tiffany Dimensions and Dance the Skip.

TV entertainment for Tuesday the 16th of Feb included, on BBC, "Vision On", the regional magazine "Look North" and the Danny Kaye Show. On ITV, childrens tv got off to a start with Ollie & Fred's 5 O'Clock Club. The regional magazine Scene followed at 6.30, and later there was Emergency Ward 10, Danger Man and World in Action. And if you were thinking of renting a tv, White & Swales were advertising 19 inch 405/625 line sets for only eight shillings and elevenpence a week.

On the radio, the Light Programme had The Archers, Radio Newsreel and Sports Review, with Night Beat till 2am. Radio Luxembourg (208 m), had Alan Freeman, Brian Matthews and David Jacobs.


The forecast was for dry weather, with a few light showers, temperatures at 10am 6 degrees C and 2pm 8 degrees.


Words by Aidan O'Rourke based on reports in the Manchester Evening News.
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