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Panorama of the new Piccadilly with curved concrete wall, March 2002 Piccadilly panorama 1996
'The Wall' Piccadilly
'The Wall' Piccadilly with genuine graffiti from the Berlin Wall
The Pavilion Piccadilly

Dominic Torrisi
Piccadilly graffitiHi Aidan,
Just thought I’d drop a quick note as I thought people would be interested to know that I’ve noticed today the first bits of graffiti appear on the wall of the Pavilion at Piccadilly Gardens. It’s a shame really that no attempt to stop this happening has been made, and that graffiti is appearing even before the gardens are finished and open to the public.
I generally think the design of the new Piccadilly Gardens is actually quite good, and that I can see it actually getting used a lot more than the old gardens had done in recent years. It’s just a shame it appears that none of the architects, planners and council folk put much thought into what would happen if you were to put a blank concrete wall in centre of Manchester.
Keep up the good work!!

Thanks for letting me know. I have been keeping an eye what's happening in Piccadilly - The official opening is later this year. These photographs give an indication of my impressions. The photo upper left shows the new concrete wall seen from near the Mosley St corner - the photo upper right shows the same scene in 1996 from slightly further back. In the lower left and centre pictures, I've taken some actual graffiti from the Berlin Wall and through the magic of digital imaging, pasted it onto the Piccadilly 'Wall' to see how it looks. The picture lower right shows the view of Queen Victoria's statue through opening in the pavilion near the Metrolink stop. In March 2002 people have already been writing in to the Manchester Evening News letters page complaining about the use of concrete in the new design. It appears I am not alone. To read my views on the new Piccadilly in more detail, see the March 2002 City Centre update.

St Georges Church
Church Ardwick Green
Holy Name Church
Church of St Francis Gorton

From: Gordon Simpson
E-mail: gord964
Dear Aidan have you any information on Gorton monastery, especially what it was like in its heyday prior to ruin? I would be grateful for all items received.The monastery is near my girlfriend's sister's house and we see it regularly. It is a pity such a fine building is no longer used as sacred houses and are merely a target for vandals and decay. What do you think about this? Another church is the Holy Name on Oxford Road which nearly closed and St Luke's in Cheetam Hill which has closed and many other churches besides. Do you remember St Aloysius Ardwick and the St Lawrence OldTrafford. What do you think about church closures? Do you think more money should be spent on the upkeep of these buildings or like everything else is it a sign of changing times? Thanks a lot, good luck, and by the way what do you look like please? Download a photo if you can yours truly Gordon Simpson.

Gorton Monastery, the church of St Francis, was once a thriving place at the heart of the local community. Sadly it went into decline and after the building was vacated in the mid-80's, it became neglected and vandalised. Now it is being renovated and will open again not as a church, but as a spiritual meeting place, part of a conference centre and hotel. I think this is a good use for unique building that was nearly lost. The photo upper right shows the Church of St Francis in silhouette. Next (from right to left) is the Holy Name, now serving the Roman Catholic community of Manchester University - by the way, those trees, seen from Upper Brook St, have now gone. The church at Ardwick Green looks the same as it has always done, but St Georges, near Hulme, seen here with scaffolding, is being converted into an apartment building.
Gita Bhavan Hindu Temple, Wilbraham RoadI don't mind churches being converted for office use, but I don't think it's right to use them as places to live. I don't remember the two churches you mention, I'll have to look them up in the Local Studies Unit at the Central Library.
Church closures are inevitable - churches closed and were demolished 100 years ago, e.g. St Peters Church,, but as much as possible I think they should be retained - even if it's only the shell, as in St Marks, Cheetham, and that church on Wellington Rd North, in Stockport. Let's not forget that some new churches have been built in recent years. Churches and other places of worship are among the most important features of the landscape. How about this Hindu temple on Wilbraham Road - looking up at the tower's you'd almost think you were in India!
You can see my photograph in the article 'Aidan Untangles the Web' which appeared on 15 March 2002 in the Jobs section of the Manchester Evening News. The article is part of the series 'Me & My Job'. The photo was taken by MEN freelance photographer Tony Redmond. Thanks for your message.

E-mail: terris
Hello; My name is Terri Smith and I live in Halifax, Nova Scotia Canada. I am looking into our family tree, and have tracked one of my ancestors to England, where he used to teach Ice Skating around1929-1952. He was a Silver Medallist of the National Skating Association. He was originally from P.E.I., Canada. He married an English lady by the name of Miriam Dennis of London. [My great Uncle's name by the way was Harry Lund.] They produced three daughters: Dorothy, Margaretta and Joan. We actually have an address where they used to live: 41 South Avenue, Horbury, Wakefield, Yorkshire. I came upon the article on the Manchester Ice Palace, and was also told that this was the only ice rink around at that period in time. I was wondering if you could give me anymore insight, or put me in the right direction where I could fine out more information.
Thank-you for your time. Sincerely, Terri Smith
I'm not an expert in family history, but I'm sure that someone out there will be able to help. You could also get in contact with 'In Touch' and they can print your message in the Manchester Evening News on a Saturday. I've heard that people have had very good responses from that. Hope you make progress in your search


The Hacienda Roundhouse before demolition by Crosby Homes
The Hacienda site after demolition by Crosby Homes

Sarah Boyd
Dear Aidan,
I took some photographs inside the Hacienda just before the demolition, could you put a notice on your website asking if anyone would be interested
in them?
Best Wishes,

OK - The film '24 Hour Party People' is scheduled for release during 2002. Unfortunately, people now won't find any trace of the building where it all happened, as the remaining facade of the Roundhouse on Whitworth St was demolished by Crosby Homes to make way for the apartments they are building on the site. Another piece of the mosaic of Manchester has been chipped away.

Shops, All SaintsStephen Pickering
Pickering Communications
Tel: 01666 861110 Hi Once again, Eyewitness comes to the aid of a expat Mancunian. I've been troubled for some time about the Grosvenor Picture House - for all sorts of reasons I've always had great fondness for the building, and every time I go back to Manchester I look it up to see if it has fallen down! Your website has put my mind at ease - I'm so pleased to see it actually being used for some purpose. The last time I entered the building as a cinema was 1966 - I think it closed down very shortly after, although the basement was a snooker hall for many years.
By the way, Scruffy Murphy's is, in fact, the former admin. offices of Duncan and Foster's Bakery, which I'm sure no longer exists. The actual bakery was on the street immediately after what is now Scruffy Murphy's, and Duncan and Foster's shop was on Oxford Road, just after Barclays Bank around the corner.
I was also interested to see that all the shops on Oxford Road, facing All Saints Park, have now been demolished. I don't know how long you've been in Manchester, but you might remember two of the shops; Johhny Roadhouse was a second hand junk shop which bought and sold everything (he had a sign in the window which said 'From a Pin to a Rolls Royce') and next door was Carrol Arden's. Carrol was a very fey ladies' hairdresser/greengrocer with a pouting lisp and a great line in pink cord trousers. He was a sort of downmarket Austin Powers (though much older) and his main claim to fame was that the lady who played Ena Sharples in Coronation Street came to him for hairstyling (and, possibly, brussel sprouts - there was no dividing line between his two enterprises - you could reach down and select a cabbage whilst having your split ends done). This may be childhood imagination, but I'm pretty sure the actress - I've just remembered her name, Violet Carson - used to turn up for her appointment in a chauffeur driven Bentley. Carrol would greet her at the car with a low bow, and then close the shop in her honour whilst working on the great lady's barnet.
Thanks once again for the website - invaluable.
Best wishes
Stephen Pickering

Thank you very much for your appreciative comments. A great story there about another Manchester character. It's great to have this on record. It helps to preserve the kaleidoscope of Manchester, which is being constantly chipped away. One or two points, not all the shops facing All Saints Park have been demolished. The former post office was renovated and is now a pizza takeaway. With the passing of the Irish pub fad, Scruffy Murphy's has now been renamed 'The Pub'. And 'On The Eighth Day' vegetarian restaurant has moved into a portakabin round the corner, and since I took this photo, scaffolding has appeared around the building and it is about to be demolished.

Julie GOSS
your gr8 photos and messages of early Manchester
Delamere Park, Higher Openshaw
I got so excited when I saw the attached photo. Its the street where My Family used to rent a house circa 1965-1990 approx We lived at #7 Oxton Street Higher Openshaw, just facing the tennis courts in Delamere Park. Many happy hours were spent frolicking in that park, after we moved from further down the Ashton Old Rd in Erin (aka Ellen) Street, just opp the Alhambra Cinema.
The the year your photo was taken Feb 1999, was just 3mths before I was able to take a trip back to the UK after 24 yrs in Australia/NZ. I felt like a tourist, although I did do the 218/219 bus run from Piccadilly to Ashton-u-Lyne, stopping off on the way at Oxton St, and taking a look at the 2 pubs next door to each other on the main Rd, The Crown and The Grove (The large & the small).
So much has changed. Thanks for the memories Aidan
Julie Goss (nee Brophy)
I'm glad you like that photo - I didn't grow up there, but the scene captures the mood of childhood years. If you're interested in seeing any old photos of that area, it's always worth visiting the Local Studies Unit at the Central Library. They have a fantastic collection of old photographs. Go to Thanks for your kind comments.

I enjoy seeing the photos and stories of Manchester that appear on your website. I was born an grew up in Manchester, but have not been back since I left England in 1966 to live in the USA. I have been trying, unsuccessfully, to locate some old school friends who attended Manchester Central High School for Girls (Whitworth Street) who were there between 1945 to 1952. Apparently the school is no longer in existence. Do you, or any of your readers, have any information regarding when the school was closed, and is the building in Whitworth Street still there? I would love to know.
Joan Harvey (Bratby), New Jersey, USA
The building is there - it is Shena Simon College, now part of MANCAT - Manchester College of Arts and Technology. The part close to Canal St has been converted into apartments, I believe. Hope you find your friends - can anyone out there help. You could also contact 'In Touch' via the main Manchester Online website.

Marie-Louise Claxton
Good morning Aidan I emailed you a while back re longsight/ moss side/ rusholme I have now seen the Ancoats feature. My great grandad had a
business there His name was Simon Robino, sometimes spelled Rubino He came from Italy originally and I believe his buisiness was in Jersey St
He was my Nana's dad He made barrel organs and wrote music I know I have some Robino Cousins in Salford somewhere and would love to contact them Anyway, your pictures are so cool They make me laugh and cry Keep up the good work
Thank you very much for your comments! Hope you find your cousins! I keep thinking about your comment about my photographs and how they 'make me laugh and cry' - It encourages me to go out and take lots lots more!

I must be destined to see your photographs, I asked Google for details on Denton, and up pops Crown Point looking towards Manchester, have you taken any of Gorton?

Cheers Win Grimshaw Lewis

I must confess I don't have many of Gorton, but here's one of Gorton Monastery, currently being renovated. Google seems to index my photographs and features very well. When I'm doing research, I often find my own pages coming up, which isn't very helpful when I'm looking for new information!

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