EWM READER MESSAGES UPDATE NOVEMBER 2003 PAGE ONE
Subject: ...Greetings from the Great White North
From: Gloria Goldman
Hello again, and Greetings from the Great White North - I thought I would thank you again for the photo of the "Great Northern Railway " and tell you how much I enjoyed all the new pictures and messages.
In response to the gentleman's comments about the "Americanization" of Manchester - while it is true that the current homogenization of cities world wide tends to offends one's artistic sensibilities, (hence the popularity of your excellent website) functional 'modern' architecture is ubiquitous worldwide, and can hardly be blamed exclusively on the Americans.
I see you are also getting nearer to my old home - I loved the the superbly lit photograph of Ambleside Road (I was brought up just around the corner) and of the Curzon cinema. Our childhood Sunday afternoon rambles invevitably concluded at the Irlam Locks . There was a sort of window in the wall, the soot black wall, on the Flixton side, where you could see jet black water endlessly sluicing over jet black stone. And a tunnel composed of hawthorn bushes where we used to have picnics, emerging only when we heard a train coming over the bridge, so we could wave to the driver, who always waved back.
We were frequently welcomed aboard one of the aforementioned ocean going ships
and treated like visiting royalty by the sailors - truly a kindlier age. Father
always toted his trusty Rollei on our walks and developed his photos himself
(black and white, course) Speaking of black and white, I have a photographic
challenge for you. I 'm not sure that you will countenance this particular request,
but, any road up, as they say in Rochdale, here goes:
In the City of Manchester Art Gallery there is a certain painting entitled "Death of a Viking". My sister and I (collectively known as the Post-Pre-Raphaelite Sisterhood) have admired it from infancy and it has regularly been visited by the entire family, especially by those younger members born in the far flung reaches of the Commonwealth, to whom a pilgramage to this painting is a coming of age/rite of passage similar, anthropologically speaking, to going to the foot of the stairs and touching the newel post, as it were.
Despite numerous requests, comments and hints amounting to positive pestering,
no poster or replica of any kind has been forthcoming - with the exception of
one small black and white inventory photo kindly (and probably illegally) donated
by a curator some decades ago, and now adorning the drawing table of a certain
handsome young Art Director in Western Canada, the possession of which is hotly
contested by his brothers. In short, as Mr.Micawber would say, the bench whereon
one may contemplate The Death of a Viking has assumed a mythical significance
in the colonies equivalent to any Mancunian architecture of even the most monumental
proportions, and thereby I enter my plea on its behalf.
So you'd like a print of 'Death of a Viking'. Unfortunately I can't go in to the City Art Gallery and photograph paintings in the same way I can photograph Manchester's buildings. It would probably be best to write a letter to the City Art Gallery. The address is:
Hello Aidan, Interested to see your web site, found through a link with George Nixon (son-in-law's) Levenshulme's web site. I was born on 14.01.1926 in Methuen St which is one of the streets at the back of Crowcroft Pk , shown on your photo. These houses, quite a large estate of terraced houses were built, (told by parents) by someone called Pemberton and were always rented. Small, but well built. Some had very tiny bathrooms which had just a bath tum betwen the two bedrooms.
I went in the A.T.S in 1943 and married after leaving the service in 1943. I eventually got a house on Bickerdike Ave which overlooked the Longsight cricket club. This house did not have the tiny bathroom. Crowcroft Pk was always our playground and there was a bandstand at one time. The bowling green were beautifully maintained and were well used. In a visit two years ago I was saddened to see they were overgrown.
At one time, near the public 'loos' there was something that looked like a piece of stone drain pipe. We as children would always crawl through this on our way anywhere. We had to walk through the park to get the tram to go anywhere. This pipe was there as long as I can remember, but on that last visit it had gone. I wonder why? It was certainly too heavy to be thrown around!
I left Longsight in 1955 to live in Levenshulme which we thought was going to live "up steps" where all the ladies wore hats to go shopping. "Rather posh" in fact. What a difference when I left to live in Canada in 1991. If you have any questions I may be able to answer do ask! I am Joyce Sutherland, previously Arnold, but maiden name Yarwood.
Thanks very much, fascinating information. Nearly all Manchester's parks deteriorated from the 1970's onwards, but some are now being renovated, including Heaton Park.
Subject: CHEETHAM HILL, MANCHESTER
I was interested to stumble on your web site as I was brought up in Cheetham Hill in the 1950's and it has always been a vibrant cosmopolitan area. I can remember Italian ice cream parlours, a French pattiserie, German pork butcher, Jewish delicatessens, and many many more. There were also some wonderful Co-op buildings and a number of picture houses. It is heartbreaking to see the state of it today where nothing has been put back into the community - just a dirty shambles. How any of it passes food hygiene regulations!! Crumpsall Library was a magnificent building. Instead of concentrating on the city centre, Manchester City Council should be looking at some of is historic suburbs. The Victoria Baths Project is a good start.
Manchester City Council have been trying to renovate the area. Cheetham Hill Road has new street lighting and houses are being renovated. However the decline of neighbourhoods is a difficult trend for any local council to reverse. I 'm particularly sad to see the magnificent library boarded up and unused.
Subject: My dad
From: Mal Howarth
Hi please please can you try to help me, I am looking for my dad who I have never met. his name his Stanley Smith and around 1954 he worked on the buses. At the time my mum lived in Miles Platting at 18 Roebotham Street. Also wondered if you had any photos of this street where I was born.
I know very little about my mum's past and sadly she has passed away but it must have been a bit of a scandal in 1954 to be having a baby and not married. My mothers name was Enid Ribchester she had 2 sisters Helen and ann and a brother George.
Stanley made regular payments to my mother for me through the courts till I
was sixteen I believe.
Thanks very much for your message - Hope you find your dad. I will keep an eye out for Roebotham Street.
Subject: Temple School
I would like to hear from anyone that went to Temple School Cheetham Hill in the 1960's e.g Mavis Phillips, Susan Nichols, Beno Demetrisan. Then Cravenwood Road county Primary or Heath St Secondary Modern school next to Cheetham Hill baths in the late 1960's.
Hope you find them! You should also contact In Touch and have your message printed in the Manchester Evening News.
Subject: History of Ringley
From: kathleen lund
We are looking for any historical tit bits about Ringley and wondered if you have any information in current or past copies of Eyewitness In Manchester Newsletter that we could purchase.
The information is required by my mother, born and bread in Ringley and who, at 77years of age is to lead a walk of Age Concern Members, Bury Branch, around Ringley, taking in the 13 arches and over to Agecroft where there is now a Young Offenders Prison. The walk is organised for Friday 21 November 2003 and she feels that any historical bits of information would be of particula interest to those taking part. There are certain events she remembers herself such as the "ducking" of the Lord Mayor which took place each spring when the Fairground came onto land near the Lord Nelson Public House. She also remembers the barges being left to rot in the Fletcher Canal. The remains of which can still be seen today. These are the sort of historical occurances she is looking for but if possible well before her time.
Although my mother no longer lives in Ringley we, as a family, are frequent visitors. In particular to St Saviours Church Yard, where there are the remains of.family members and perhaps more frequent visitors to The Horseshoe Pub where we have enjoyed many a delicious lunch or tea.
Thankyou for reading this email. We look forward to hearing from you.
Kathleen Lund on behalf of Annie Watson nee Wray
The local history publisher Neal Richardson is based in Ringley. He may have some publications on that subject. You can write to him at this address: Or look on the Lancashire family history society website for a list of his publications, which anyone interested in the history and identity of Manchester will find fascinating.
Subject: Smithfield Market
From: Brookside Pri
I wonder if you could help me. I am looking for photos of 'Howarths of Smithfield
They were importers of fruit and veg and were my husband's grandparents - he says they were the first people to import bananas after the war!
Do you know where I might find some?
You should contact the Central Library Archives and Local Studies Unit, web address www.manchester.gov.uk/libraries/arls/
Subject: RE: Brookfield Church Site
From: Robert Siddall
Could you please include this in your reader messages. I would like to invite people to take a look at my site about Brookfield Church Memorabilia, at www.robertsiddall.btinternet.co.uk. It is a site displaying pictures of Programmes, Church Magazines, old documents and some old photographs.
I have recently extended the site to cover Brookfield in more recent times,
with a description of the school in its former years. There is also a page with
a short history written in 1903 by the minister at that time. This site has
proved interesting to people like myself that have been connected with the church
in the past.
I've looked at this website and it is very interesting. I love the scans of the original posters and booklets, they give a great insight into past times. Every church should have a website like this.
From: Michael Clarke
Just took an autumnal walk around home and places close by. Thanks for your work and skill capturing some very familiar places, Birch Park and Platt Fields in particular, Dickinson Road too.
But Alderley Edge was also a favourite place to visit in my youth. Catching
the train from that little platform at Piccadilly station that was tucked away
from the rest of the main platforms, the trains ran south through Ardwick and
sometimes took the route through Didsbury [parallel to Kingsway], and sometimes
through Stockport. I 'm not sure why they differed from Slade Lane onwards sometimes?
I could almost smell the air, thanks.
Right now I 'm busy promoting my new karate book. An autobiographical account covering the past twenty years of travel and training. It was only published last week and orders have come in from the U.K., U.S.A., Europe and even Hong Kong. 135 sold already 'Yippee!'
My dad has just sent me my new Manchester Calendar for 2004 with your great photo of the Urbis centre on the cover. It's a lovely way to walk through the months each year.
All the best,
Thank you for plugging the Manchester Calendar.
Name: Ian / Barb Knight
Hi Aidan, do you have any photo's of Bardsley parish church. My relatives are buried there, Harry Knight, died 1935, Also is there any photo's of a place called Riversvale Hall, home of the Bradbury family, near Daisy Nook? Have you heard of a Kate Bradbury, she was a well known Egyptologist in the late 1800s of that address. Your site is very good, I recognize quite a few places, having been born in Dukinfield in 1952, now in Australia.
Thanks, Ian / Barb Knight, Australia.
Bardsley is to the south of Oldham just north of the Medlock. I was there recently and saw the church but hadn't received your message. Not familiar with Riversvale Hall or Kate Bradbury. Can anyone help?
Subject: Queen's Road funfair
Aidan, Do you know who owned or ran the fun fair at Queens Road Harpurhey in the early1900's.
Unfortunately my knowledge of Manchester isn't that encyclopaedic! Otherwise I would be able to do a stage act 'The Answer Man' like they used to have at cinemas in the 30's and 40's (see the film 'The 39 Steps').
From: Vincent Lowe
Hi Aidan How's it going? Just been reading your latest EWM articles - very
interesting as always. Noticed just one error though, on the very first paragraph
- the Stadium is on Ashton New road, not the Old one!
Vincent Lowe www.lowefoto.com
Oops, I always get them mixed up. Ashton Old Road is the more southerly one. Ashton New Road is the one that goes past the new stadium. I think I've got it now! Thanks for alerting me to this!
Just found your site. Most interesting. I am 71 years old and lived in Hillcrest Drive Levenshulme from the age of 3 'til I got married in 1954 and moved to Stockport, but my parents continued living there until 1973. I went to a small private school 'Dymsdale.' near Albert Road. Then after the 11 plus went to Levenshulme High. I used to walk through Cringle fields every day to go to school. I passed through Levenshulme a few years ago and was sad to see it looking so run down.
Have lived in Norfolk for 46 years but have many happy memories of Levenshulme.
PS would be interesting to have some memories of the trams. The terminus was at the bottom of Crossley Road, we used to put pennies on the line to see how crushed they would get, also we would wait until the drivers clocked off and they would stamp our hands with their keys which had inked numbers on them.
Thanks for your message. That's Norfolk in the UK! Actually Levenshulme is improving. Lots of money has been spent improving the appearance of shops, buildings and pavements along the A6. Sorry to inform you but the site of the former tram and bus terminus at Albert Rd, near Crossley Rd, on the border with Stockport, is now a McDonalds and a KFC! You can get a flattened penny souvenir at the excellent Botany Bay - It's a restored warehouse with craft shops, nostalgic exhibits and a penny arcade that accepts real old fashioned pennies you exchange using a machine. Botany Bay is on the M61 in Chorley half an hour's drive north of Manchester.
Based on that research, I have characters in both those time periods walking
on Kersal Moor. I 'm picturing it as a sort of park. I 'd like to know whether
that's accurate. I find a lot of info on the net about events that took place
on Kersal Moor in the 19th century, but not much about what it would look like
in 1936--how large, what it's bordered by, what the terrain is like, to what
extent it is treed. I have learned that it's 21 acres in size, and that a Roman
road runs through it, and that's about it. I'd really appreciate any thing you
can tell me.
Kersal Moor is in the City of Salford local authority area. Go to their website salford.gov.uk they may be able to help. I had a quick search for pictures on the internet and found some etchings of Kersal Moor which might suit your purpose. Your time period is the same as in the excellent 'On Looking Back' by WKJones. For more info please e-mail me.
Subject: Place names - Gorton
From: R Cassidy
Hi Aidan, like all your correspondents I 'm blown away by the quality of the photographs, and the stories you include. I trawl all over the site, it really is enthralling reading.
I left Gorton in 1960 and have been in New Zealand ever since, and was intrigued
by the recent question of how Gorton got its name. Doubtless there are any number
of expert answers, but here's one from a
book called "A History of Gorton and Openshaw" by Ernest France, he says: "The name 'Gorton' is probably derived from the Anglo-Saxon word 'gor' meaning mud or damp ground, and 'ton' meaning a settlement. If this is so, it is likely that Gorton was first settled by the Anglo-Saxons. The earliest appearance of the place name is in a list of townships which between 1237 and 1238 paid a tax known as the '30th' presumably because they paid 1/30 of the annual value of their produce. Gorton paid 14s 8d."
Not definitive I guess, but grist for the mill.
Thanks for your opening comments, just the kind that put me in a good mood! Interesting about the origin of Gorton. Didsbury-based retired head teacher Ernest France has also written a fascinating book about Didsbury. For more info please e-mail me.
From: jack Holt
I can't think of a site I've enjoyed as much as yours (and I 've been on the
internet for years). I'm not normally a fan of local history but have got interested
since I bought my home here in Levenshulme (just off Errwood Rd) so thank you.
I'm going to show the site to my friend next door who has lived and worked here
and Longsight all his life. I love to listen to him tell me tales of the old
area and its history. I think he'll love the site.
Aha! Another opening comment that's likely to put me in a good mood for the day. Thanks for your message.
Subject: EWM - A fine site, from a man on a mission
From: Tom Bowman
I came across your website while on 'a mission'. Although a Scouser, it brought a lot of nostalgia back for me, particularly the references to soul music. As the youngest of a large family, I grew up with Chuck Berry, The Temptations, Otis Redding, The Four Tops et al, almost 24/7.
The mission I refer to, goes back to 1972. By then in my mid-teens, and by that time had developed my own tastes in music, namely Blues along with Soul and 'new' Country Music.
A group of four friends and myself travelled to Manchester to see a band called Manassas, headed by Stephen Stills, (he of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young fame). To this day those that were fortunate enough to see the show, swear it was the greatest live music that we had ever seen and heard - and we saw some bands growing up in the north west and beyond, Zeppelin, The Doors at Chalk Farm Roundhouse and Hendrix at IoW, The Stones, Steve Miller, Traffic, The Grateful Dead in Wigan - a whole anche of luminaries and contemporaries of that time.
Sadly, none us retained any memorabilia from the show, I .e. tickets or programmes. (This was before the days of marketing campaigns where you can buy anything from Sweatshirts to Mugs etc.) I kept the ticket but it disappeared following several house moves as you can imagine.
THE MISSION? I was reminiscing with a couple of other friends who attended the show a couple of weeks ago and we came to the venue. One said it was at The Free Trade Hall, another said it was Lancashire Cricket Club, but I am still convinced that it was held at a venue named 'The Hard Rock'. It wasn't a cafe and I recall it was a small, compact and intimate venue, but alas, I think it only stayed open for only about a year or so, about 16 months I think. It opened shortly after the THR in Green Park in London, but I am unable to get any details of it from the current enterprise, which opened about 3 years ago at the Printworks.
This was later Spring 1972. The world tour of Manassas opened in February in Amsterdam, they toured Europe and then headed back to the States.
Aidan, I hope you don't mind me penning this request to you, but obviously with an historical eye for Manchester, I was wondering if this struck any chord with you at all? Your website, by the way, came up on a search of Music in Manchester+1972
Thanks in anticipation.
The Hardrock was on Great Stone Road in Stretford, close to the Lancashire County Cricket Ground. It has been a B&Q warehouse for many years - I mean the former Hardrock, not the LCC ground, also used for occasional outdoor rock concerts, and whose future is currently under review. The Hardrock wasn't open for long, but David Bowie played there on his groundbreaking 1972 tour. Regrettably I didn't go. 'Manassas' is another evocative name from the early 1970's whose associations for me bring together America and Manchester of that time. I have found an excellent source of information about the Manchester music scene in the 1960's. If anyone would like more info please e-mail me.
Subject: Eyewitness in Manchester
Hi Aidan. My name is Stan Howard I live in Melbourne Australia. Just found your site checking my favourite newspaper ,, Manchester Evening News,, anyone out there went to Saint Phillips School that was in Ridgeway Street Miles Platting, close to Cobden Street, Bradford Road. I attended the school from 1939 to 1949. The headmaster was Mr Hankey, headmistress was Miss Burton. I would like to hear from anyone who lived in that area. Also if you have any information or photographs Aidan I would be delighted to hear from you
I haven't any info or photos of St Phillips School - I only take photographs of what's there today! Maybe someone out there can help.
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