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READER MESSAGES December 2001, January 2002

Tesco Metro occupies this building on Market Street. It was completely rebuilt, with only the front facade of the original building remaining. The entrance to the Market Centre was in the middle of Brown street on the left.

Name: Pete Wells
From or connections with: Victoria Park, and previously Trinity, Salford
Present Location: Victoria Park, Manchester
Subject: re: Underground Market
EWM Photo:
Reader Message: Dear Aidan
The building (Tesco + JJB Sports) and offices (Norfolk house) on the corner of Market st and Brown St occupied (and owned) by Tesco Metro were all new in 1996 completely replacing the original building. only the facade, on Market st, remains, with the Brown St side being all new, but in-keeping.The basement and ground floor are Tesco Metro sales floor, the 1st floor is entirely used by JJB Sports and the 2nd floor is used by Tesco metro as the warehouse/stores and offices/staff rooms. The offices behind (Norfolk House) are rented out, with the blood transfusion service on the ground floor. If anything remains of the underground market, no trace, or entrance remains here.
Pete Wells
>I too remember the old underground market on Market street...
>Although my recollection is somewhat vague I seem to think that it >was in
>the area where Tesco is now. If I'm right does that mean that part >of the
>underground market is now the basement of Tesco?
>What do you think ? As I say it is all a little hazy in my mind..
>The building which Tesco occupies on the ground floor and in the >basement
>was renovated in the 1990's. I think they may have rebuilt the >interior,
>leaving the facade in place. Next to this building is a new office >complex
>built, I think, around the same time. In order to lay the >foundations they
>will have completely excavated the former Market Centre tunnel, so I >expect
>that it no longer exists.

Well, that sorts that question out good and proper! The basement Market Centre is definitely no longer there. I have heard, however that there are extensive remains of 18th and 19th century buildings underneath Victoria Station. Thank you very much for your authoritative information!

Name: Rita Cowan nee Hewitson
From or connections with: Haslingden, Salford 6 & 8, Prestwich, Sale, Gorse Hill Stretford , Arnside Westmoreland.
Present Location: PERTH West Australia since 1966
Subject: delightful insights
EWM Photo: YMCA Manchester or Albert Square
Reader Message: Dear Aidan
I am delighted with the stories from Manchester folk. One from my almost neighbour here in Perth, Nadia Nadjjar. I have not seen her for so long & she lives just around the corner from me. Won't she get a surprise when I knock on the door!
Thanks for all stories, keep them coming. I would love to hear from anyone who remembers me in UK
Regards Rita.
Nadia Howarth-Najjar made a brilliant contribution on the previous Reader Messages page. By the way, she is looking for some lost family members - not in Manchester but somewhere in the Middle East. Have a look at the web page I did for her

Before and after views of the 1960's building which was 'encased' in the Arndale Centre. This relic of pre-Arndale days was finall removed in autumn 2001.

Name: John Irwin
From or connections with: Rusholme, Levenshulme, Prestwich
Present Location: Bramley, Surrey, UK
Subject: Old Building in Arndale Centre frontage
EWM Photo:
Reader Message: Dear Aidan,
After someone pointed out this Market Street curiosity earlier this year, I decided to take a look myself when I was up there a few months ago. And, like others, I couldn't believe my eyes. I lived in Manchester from 1987 to 1997 and I'd never noticed it before.
My friend, who has lived up there all his life, was also astonished at how he failed to see it before. Now I hear it's being demolished, the last vestige of that side of Market Street. Are you planning to record it's demise, photographically that is? Unfortunately, I don't have any further information regarding the origin of this post-war building, though I would still like to know the story behind it's extended life. However, I thought you and your readers may be interested to know I have found a book of old photographs, which includes some of the Market Street area taken from the air before the Arndale Centre was built. The book's called "Memories of Manchester" (True North Books, 1998) and we can clearly see this building in it's original setting. Due to copyright restrictions you probably wouldn't be able to reproduce them on your website. Bizarrely the book contains no page numbers, but if you look at the last page of Section One and also Section Six you will see what I am talking about.
Great website, Aidan, keep up the excellent work, and hello to anyone who still remembers me!

Thank you! That building has now gone, and with it the last trace of the lost half of Market Street, as it was before the Arndale Centre. The book Memories of Manchester is excellent - it's not difficult to locate using one of the online bookstores. It's amazing how we fail to notice things that are there right in front of us. I notice them now as my vocation is to capture what's around me in photographs, but there was a time when I too was blind to what was around me. The Arndale Centre should never have been built on such as large scale and the interesting and varied facades along the north-east side of Market St should never have been demolished. The destruction and reconstruction of Manchester began many years ago, and continues today.

Name: Potato Man
From or connections with:
Present Location:
Subject: Arndale Centre
EWM Photo:
Reader Message: Dear Aidan
Reader Messages November 2001 featured an enquiry from Chris Bateman of Bolton. He (She) was interested in what is now a building site 'encased' in the Arndale centre. This is a matter I believe I can shed some light on. The United Colors of Benetton are to use the site as their Northern flagship store. The building sports a bulky glass frontage that looks a little out of place in the sea of yellow tiles and to be honest I'm not so sure it's much of an improvement on what we had already. I guess we shall have to wait and see what it looks like on completion (architects drawings rarely bear any resemblance to the finished product). I don‚t know an accurate completion date for the project but I have noticed the To Let‚ signs in the window of the existing store).
Further details and an artist‚s impression can be found by typing Manchester into the search town or city name box. This will also provide details of a number of other construction projects in the city
Potato Man

Thanks for your information - you obviously take a great interest in these things. It's very nice to have your insider view!

Name: Phil Blinkhorn
From or connections with: Ashton -u - Lyne, Heaton Moor, Helmshore
Present Location: Lixnaw, Co Kerry, Eire
Subject: Various
EWM Photo:
Reader Message: Dear Aidan
After a very busy 2001, I realised that I was at least 8 months out of date with Eyewitness.
Having spent an interesting Saturday afternoon browsing the site I think I can help with a number of ongoing queries and add a few points.
Re the facade incorporated into the Arndale, now being demolished, this was Henry's Store. Henry's was a low price department store chain and the building was rebuilt in the very early 1960s. When first rebuilt it had pale blue plastic bannister rail cappings throughout the building and at the time, with the early 1960s fad for nylon shirts and trousers, gave rise to a number of shocking experiences for those who lightly slid their fingers or palms along the plastic surfaces whilst climbing or descending the stairs.
Why the facade was maintained is as much a mystery to me as anyone else.
Re The Golden Lion, Withington. On the 1, later 161/2 then 45 bus route to Gatley there were three stops in the Withington area, all based on the three pubs named after colourful lions.
The White and Red Lions you obviously know, but the Golden Lion was on the left hand side of Wilmslow Road heading out of town, about half a mile closer to Didsbury than the Red Lion. The pub was brick built, set back from the road with its own car park. I think it had been renamed by the late 1970s and may well now be gone.
Re buses. I'm sorry you changed the route number on the bus you photographed in Heaviley as you created a historic inaccuracy.
The vehicle is one of a batch which spent its whole life at Queens Road depot and never operated on the 92 - that being an almost exclusively Birchfields depot turn. In your lifetime Birchfields would turn out MCW bodied and Burlingham "tin front" Daimlers.
During rush periods you would see older Crossleys on the route as extras and these had a similar body style to the Leyland you show.
You mention the trolleybuses with flat hub caps with a "cut off tube" which attracted your - very young - eye. What probably attracted your eye was that these were three axle double deckers of the Crossley Dominion type of which only 16 were built, all for Manchester. They were built in 1951 and lasted to late 1963.
The reason for the flat hub cap is that almost all buses built in the UK since the 1930s have had twin wheels on each side of the rear axle (two tyres butted together back to back). This gives a well into which the axle end protrudes.
The Dominions only had one wheel on each end of the axle, so this was flat, as the wheel on the front axle.
The IVECO double decker you show in Stevenson's Sq is, I think, unique.
IVECO is the truck and bus company owned by FIAT and Ford. In the early 1990s they tried unsuccesfully to break into the double deck market in the UK. I seem to remember the vehicle shown was the demonstrator which I once saw on the M25 in an all over beige livery on its way to an exhibition. I pretty confident it was the only example built.
I've been reading the Manchester cinema memories with interest as my family were involved in both cinema operation and the supply of cinema screens up to WW2. My grandfather, Fred Blinkhorn, was President of the Cinema Old Boys Association for two periods immediately following WW2.
As an old Xav, you may like to know that Mancunian Films was owned by John Blakeley, whose son attended the school in the 1930s and whose grandson (later a senior Granada documentary cameraman) was my contemporary in the sixth form in the 1960s. The school was used by the company as the backdrop for many films.
The studios on Dickenson Rd were the venue for the first Top of the Pops and many of the lads used to attend the early recordings - taking ordinary clothes to school and changing for what were early afternoon recording sessions which co-incided with 5th and 6th form Wednesday afternoon sports - until someone tipped off Br Cyril that watching the show "might be educative" and he, after identifying a number of his star pupils in the audience, concurred!
The mention of Seven Miles Out in Stockport brought back memories of 31 years ago when I rented my first unfurnished flat in Heaton Moor. My then fiancee and I bought rush mats, wicker furniture and a pine dining table and benches at Seven Miles Out and we thought ourselves very "with it". The wicker and rush items have long gone but the pine table and benches still serve as our kitchen table, though the brown and autumn leaves design covering on the bench seats has been replaced at least twice with more modern designs.
The Kendals tunnel saga can easily be resolved. I used to supply Kendals with labelling and ticket systems in the early 1970s and knew their buildings well. There was a tunnel, open to the public, under Deansgate which linked the main store with what was then the furniture department. Another, private tunnel linked the store to the warehouse at the rear and this was supplemented by a bridge at, I remember, 2nd or 3rd floor level.
Finally in these ramblings, I would return to Stockport - Mersey Sq.
I can't for the life of me agree with you about the trees. Maybe they could do with a pruning but, if you had been around in the 1950s with the concrete "bear pit, the fire station, bus shed, bus stands and Merseyway a grey road down the bald brick backs of the stores on Princes St, you would have given your eye teeth for any greenery.
Even the 1960s precinct end looked tatty compared to the trees.
Misery Sq we used to call it and, no doubt, George Brown would have given a lot for a tree to hide behind when, during an election address in 1964, he was "bombed" with raw eggs by cetain Mile End schoolboys, from the 92 bus stop above the bear pit.
Keep up the good work,
Best wishes,
Phil Blinkhorn

I think the Golden Lion is still there - I drive past it several times a week, but I can't verify if it's still called that! Oh dear, I stand corrected on the matter of changing the number of the Museum of Transport bus in Heaviley, Stockport. At the next opportunity I will revert to the original! I am not an expert in any of the things I portray in my photographs, whether architecture, public transport, industrial or natural history. I rely on people like you to 'fill in the gaps'. I had no idea that the Iveco bus operated, I think, by Bluebird is unique. Wow, my school Xaverian was used as a backdrop in films? And Xaverian lads went to the early broadcasts of Top of the Pops? Amazing! I had no idea. I wonder what's happened to all those Mancunian films. I have very vivid memories of Seven Miles Out - it was synonymous with the age of the Beatles and Flower Power. I loved the orange psychedelic colour scheme. Several other people have contacted re the tunnel under Deansgate. I spent many childhood days waiting for the 30 bus in Mersey Square. Yes, Stockport town centre was rather grim and grimy in those days, but I still think they've overdone it with the trees. A more open square would in my opinion be much better. Thanks for your great contribution. If I gave prizes, you would receive one.

The BT building on London Road is curved at the north end, following the line of London Road. The building dates from the mid-1970's. Its exterior hasn't weathered well, but with renovation, this would make a superb apartment building. This photograph is taken from underneath the Mancunian Way flyover.

Name: Graham Henson
From or connections with: Silkin Court Ardwick
Present Location: as above
Subject: Cold War Tunnels
EWM Photo:
Reader Message: Dear Aidan
I was fascinated by the mention of Cold War Tunnels recently particularly as I pass the Ardwick entrance every day on my way to
work. I found the following URL, have you visited ?
I work in the BT building on London Road, do you have any knowledge of it's history ?

The BT building on London Rd - Not exactly one of Manchester's architectural highpoints. It resembles Gateway House on Piccadilly Station Approach in that it has a curved bit at one end. Its use of exterior concrete and plastic materials wasn't successful in my opinion, though the building could be given a new lease of life through renovation. I have heard there are plans to turn it into apartments. I think this would be an excellent use - there would be a great view across the Mancunian Way from the end windows. What I do remember about that area is the shop Mazels, which stood on the opposite side of London Rd from the BT building. It was housed in a run down semi-derelict shack of a building. I once bought a second hand guitar amplifier there.

Name: Robert Casey
From or connections with: Fallowfield
Present Location: Fallowfield - about to depart to Maastrich, NL
Subject: The old magic shop
EWM Photo:
Reader Message: Dear Aidan
Does anyone remember the magic shop which used to be on Bridge Street. Its the black and white half timbered building which is now a sandwich shop I think. As a child I was fascinated with magic tricks and remember looking in the window which was full of strange and colourful magic props. I remember my mum taking me in and although my memory is rather hazy, it had lots of dark wood panelling, heavy red velvet drapes and large old fashioned glass topped counters full of jokes and tricks. The old lady who ran it was a real character too. She must have been in her 60s or 70s and appeared to be a rather sinister person to a young child. I dont remember her smiling at all, and she was always plastered in heavy make-up with lots of mascara and jet black hair scraped back into a bun.
I recall that a newspaper article said that she had eventually died peacefully in bed (I think she lived above the shop) and although some other people tried to run it, it eventually closed as a magic shop. This must have been in the 70s or early 80s.
I would be very interested to know if anyone has any detailed info about this. I ofter think about it when I pass - it really was a wonderfully atmospheric place, something that Manchester shops seems to lack nowadays (i.e. endless Starbucks, MacDonalds, Costa Coffees etc).

I don't remember this shop - your description is quite vivid. There's a fancy dress shop on Oldham Street which has some of the character the magic shop must have had. Does anyone out there remember it?

The Major Street area was heavily bombed during World War Two and has been redeveloped with - some would say faceless office buildings. Chorlton Street Bus Station, currently under renovation - is visible further down the street.

Name: mary newsome
From or connections with: Alderley Edge and Manchester
Present Location: Nelson, New Zealand
Subject: Newsomes of Alderley Edge and 52 Major St Manches
EWM Photo:
Reader Message: Dear Aidan
I am researching my husbands family history, John and Emily-nee THORNTON - NEWSOME
They lived at "Highfield" which is now Trafford House in Trafford Rd Alderley Edge. John NEWSOME died in 1905 and Emily in 1902, they were living at Highfield when they died. They were Hop Merchants and the address we have for that is 52 Major St Manchester. Their sons Arthur and Ellis carried on with the business. Their was a daughter Ellen living at home when the Father died, she would have been 47 then.There was also a daughter Annie and another son Thornton who came to New Zealand about 1900, he was my husbands grandfather.
I would be interested in hearing any information about the NEWSOMES,
their Hop Merchant Business or what is at 52 Major St now.
Hope someone can help me Many thanks
Mary Newsome.

Sounds interesting - I know both Major Street, next to Chorlton Street bus station, and Trafford Road Alderley Edge. The Major Street area was heavily bombed during World War two. There was a uniquely designed warehouse on Major Street built in 1911 which despite petitions to Manchester City Council from architects all over Europe, was demolished in 1975 to make way for a shopping development which was never built. The photograph shows Major Street as it looked late this afternoon.

Name: JohnMclaughlan
From or connections with: Harpurhey,Blackley,Moston,Middleton
Present Location: Milwaukee,Wisconsin,USA.
Subject: Rochdale Rd pubs;Blackley Convent
EWM Photo:
Reader Message: Hi Aidan...a couple of November emails to EWM caught my eye,first the one from Harry Barbour about the pubs at the Rochdale Road/Moston Lane intersection - he mentioned the Derby Arms,the "top" Derby(now the pub's official name I believe,which must confuse people who don't know that there was a "bottom" Derby as well),and the Golden Tavern,don't know if that's still there or not.The third pub,which he couldn't recall the name of,was the New Inn,a Chester's house which to me anyway,despite its name,looked to be very much the oldest of the three.
The second email,from Mr John Pierce Jones asked if there was a private convent school in Blackley in the early years of last century,and of course there was,on the corner of Lewis Avenue and Rochdale Road,across Lewis Avenue from Blackley Library and Institute.I cannot say positively of my own experience,that it was there at that period of time but it was certainly there in the early 1950's and had been there many years then so it is probably the place of which Mr Jones is enquiring.It was a sort of private primary school run by the nuns of the Roman Catholic order of The Daughters of the Cross,and seemed to be for girls only,and although the board facing Rochdale Road identifying the place alleged that they took boys,I never knew any boy who admitted to having gone there and I cannot recall ever seeing any boys entering or leaving the place.One reason for that might be that the nuns accepted girls from the ages of 4 to 11,while they only accepted boys from 4 to 7.The girls wore a brown-and-gold uniform similar to that of the girls' high school of Notre Dame,Hightown,whose uniform was dark green-and-gold.Theconvent seemed to be a sort of preparatory school for Notre Dame,although that school was run by the SSND,the School Sisters of Notre Dame,and not the Daughters of the Cross.
I have taken note,Aidan,of your comment that the longer these emails are he better,so I'll continue here because I'd like to say that the thing about Manchester that I miss most when I go back there these days,are the shops that always used to line the main streets and roads of the city,and now no longer do.From about eight o'clock in the morning until about six or even later,in the evening,these streets would be hives of activity,thronged with people for most of their length,and giving the entire city an air of vitality and vigour and energy that it no longer seems to have.This is true of all British cities of course,not just Manchester,but I do feel that it is a very great pity that it had to go,in the interests I suppose,of getting parked cars and other vehicles,away from the side of the street and impeding the traffic flow.They are gone without a doubt,but the traffic doesn't seem to flow any faster for all that,and the streets and roads seem strangely empty and uninviting.Well - that's progress I suppose!
Thanks for the pictures Aidan,keep them coming!
Thank you very much for that information. You are right about the way streets have lost their sense of activity as a result of measures to aid traffic flow. That's not the only reason - Where in the past, in suburbs such as Openshaw, Levenshulme, Cheetham and Pendlebury, there were many specialist shops selling for example clothes, shoes and musical instruments, now these locally based shops have mostly gone. But there are still some places in the suburbs with a lively atmosphere - during the day at least: Go to Cheetham Hill Road and you'll see lots of life, also Longsight Market, Didsbury village or Beech Road Chorlton.

Name: Marjorie Gibson
From or connections with: Pendleton Salford 6 Seedly Salford 6 Peel Green, Patricroft
Present Location: Warana Beach Sunshine Coast Queensland Australia
Subject: Looking at salford Quays and Eccles Bridge.
EWM Photo: Hope Hospital St James Church Hope.
Reader Message: Dear Aidan
Looking ar Eccles Bridge is this what we used to call Barton Bridge, I see many changes are made looking at multimaps, Eccles Old Road does`nt seem to go straight to Eccles anymore but diverts down to Eccles Old Road. I went to Langworthy Road School in the thirties, then we moved to Orme Ave Pendleton Salford 6. Is the dance halls the Plaza and the Ritz still there I used to dance there in the 40`s.before I went in the army. Yours faithfully Marjorie Gibson
The area you're talking about is one of the districts which has seen the most change. To my knowledge, those dance halls, along with many other places familiar to you, will have disappeared years ago. At the former junction of Eccles Old Road and Cross Lane, the only landmark which remains is the church steeple. They have kept it as monument to the Salford that once was. You can rediscover that lost world in the local history library at Salford Art Gallery, also the Local Studies Unit at Mancehster Central Library. Thanks for your message.

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