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Subject: Snow in Manchester

Hi Aidan, Happy New Year to you and all your readers. Just had to let you know how much we enjoyed the photos on January 2004/Manchester in the snow. It is so nostalgic to see everything looking like a white wonderland. I was a schoolgirl in the early fifties and I was usually the first to tread a path through the snowfalls as I delivered the newspapers before school, and before the milkman started his rounds. A cold/wet/freezing experience but wonderful to be the first imprint on the snow. It seems there was much more snow in my youth, or is that more selective memory like the sunny summer days?

We have lived in Australia for 39 years but still remember walking through the snow - it's like a completely different world in the snow isn't it? Here at the moment 4/2/2004 we are in Summer and it is anything from 29c to 38c degrees so the snow looks even more inviting!

We send you our best regards Aidan and look forward to another year of wonderful photos out and about in Manchester.

Eunice and Bob Barnwell

Thanks very much for your message ĐThe snow only lasted for a day or so - by the weekend it had turned mild and the snow seemed like a distant memory. The winters were definitely colder 40 and 50 years ago, itŐs not just selective memory! Some say it's due to global warming, but I'm not sure. Here's a snowy Angel Meadow Park, also known as St Michael's Flags or the Plague Burial Ground, taken during the second occasion of snowfall in Manchester on 27 Feb 04.

Subject: Atora suet
From: Mavis Fluerty

Hi Aidan,
My name is Mavis Fluerty, I live in New Zealand, been here since 1973, I used to live in Gorton,

Love looking at your site, its Xmas Day and I am a bit homesick, so thought I would browse through for a taste of home, I saw the letter regarding Atora Suet, I worked at Hugon's between 1955 and 1959 loved it, it was my first job at the age of 15, it was a family affair and at the time of me working there was owned by two sisters, Old mister Hugon left in his will for us all to have a picnic every year and a special train was hired once a year which took us to Blackpool, we also were given a packed lunch to eat on the train, then we went to a flash restaurant in Blackpool for tea.

I think one of the sisters was called Louise Hugon, I was an addressograph operator there, and can remember having to do the mail for the sisters and still remember one was called Louise. Why I remember is that a colleague typed a letter one day and put Lousie Hugon instead of Louise. I remember us laughing and the name sticks in my mind, I think the building is still standing, which was in Ogden Lane, I have many happy memories of that first job, I think it was taken over by a firm called Lin-Can, that did canned products, peas and other things. I hope this has been a help for your readers, there used to be a few old paintings of the members of the family on the walls of the office, I wonder what happened to those? With Regards

Mavis Fluerty

Very interesting - An addressograph operator! Great job title! Thanks very much for the information.


Date: Thursday, December 18, 2003 10:03
From: Patricia O'Driscoll

Hi Aidan
I have just read my two letters in your Letters Pages, and thanks - I received the Calendar two weeks ago. I had kept their email address in my address book and recovered it before I needed to apply for same. It arrived two days later, and your picture of the swan with its background is beautiful beyond compare.

I meant to tell you that I have a book called "Manchester 50 years ago". It is set in the early 18th century, and includes a map of the time. The writer is by the name of J. M. Slugg. Have you read it by any chance. The funniest thing is that it was printed in Shannon, Co Clare. I don't have the book with me as I am typing this at work, but during the holidays ahead I will send you more details of it.

I am still trying to trace my friend Annis Schilling - (nee Dillon). She was a very good friend of my first husbands (R.I.P.) and mine. She lived in New Moston, not very far from the Graveyard/Cemetery. She used to live in Whalley Range with her mother and sister before her marriage. If there is anyone out there who knows what happened to her or where she is - please feel free to get in touch with me.

Thank you Aidan for your help.

Patricia O'Driscoll, Shanaknock, Anacarty, Co Tipperary

I've not heard of the book "Manchester 50 years ago" I'd be interested to find out more about it. Thanks very much for your comments

Regarding the Schools mentioned in another email, there seems to have been an error on my part. What I need to know is this:

  • When did Loreto Convent, Moss Side become a Senior Years School, as when I went there, it was a Primary School.
  • When did Bishop Billsborough (Billsborrow now) Secondary Modern School become a Primary School. When I went there it was a Secondary Modern, but I now believe it is a Primary School.
  • It might be they always had those departments, I don't know, but can anyone inform me?

I have tried to get information from various places/sites, but was unable to do so. I look forward to hearing from someone who knows about these things - you maybe, even a direction to the correct website would do. Thanks for all your help. Oh yes, I found my friend Annis Schilling, through the 'In Touch' Section of Manchesteronline, great work indeed. I had not spoken to her since 1974.

Patricia O'Driscoll

Glad you found your friend Annis and hope someone will be able to help with these questions.

Subject: Salford Royal Hospital. 1975 to 1978
From: Helen Silvers


I was fascinated to find your features about the Salford area. I did my nursing training at Salford Royal Hospital in 1975. I was a cadet Nurse first then went on to do my enrolled nurse training until 1978 when I left to go to Sheffield. I am now living near Bristol and am still in the NHS

I would love to hear from anyone who was at the hospital during that time, if it is possible to put this messages on your site.

Thank you

Helen Silvers (Nee Dunks)

Thanks for your comments!

Date: Tuesday, February 24, 2004 2:45 pm
From: Blackman, Bev

Hi Aidan, Hi Aidan, Just read your site and savoured the old photos of Manchester and Salford area, having been born in Pendleton in 1956 and moving away at the age of 5 to Little Hulton, Worsley. I married and moved across town to live in Heaton Chapel, then Heaton Moor before moving for job reasons to Oxford. I remember very well nights spent eating at the wonderful restaurant in the Old Cock Inn at Didsbury, shopping on Cross Lane in Salford, visiting relatives in Kersal flats overlooking the old race circuit, trips with my grandad around the Crescent and Salford Art Gallery and Museum.

On a sadder note, visiting my mum before she died in Salford Royal Hospital where many years before her sister had been recovering from an injury sustained during the blitz later sheltering from the continuing blitz with the nurses. She lived to tell the tale complete with shrapnel remaining in both feet. Like you I vividly remember old Manchester and Salford, the cobbled streets with corner shops, the bombed out areas at the ends of some streets, the old foundries, the parks and the transport. We returned most weekends to visit my grandparents until they too moved so witnessed a lot of the initial changes firsthand. I worked for 8 years in the centre of Manchester on Deansgate and gasp now when I return occasionally at all the many changes. The area where I was born has long since gone and with it a complete slice of history. All the toil and hardship of the terraced houses and the warmth and feeling of belonging to a community never to be found again in the high rise monstrosities that replaced them.

I would dearly love to get hold of a street map to be able to show my kids what it used to be like - so far I haven't been able to determine the right area as many of the old maps are very specific in small areas, however I will persevere. Strange, that even after living out of the Manchester area for some 22 years now I still regard it as home despite the fact that nothing of my first home remains. The council house where I was brought up still stands but the area is much changed (and not for the better!).

Both parents have since died, too soon and left me with a thirst for certain nostalgia for a time gone by. Hard to express to others. now living in a very rural area in Oxfordshire, without sounding as though I had just come out of a Monty Python sketch. Thanks for transporting back even for a short time and reminding me of the music of the era.


Bev Blackman

My photographs are not old, they are of the contemporary city, but it's amazing how some people view them as a window back in time. Despite all the changes, much of what we see around is a product of the Victorian era. I enjoy photographing everything from ancient monuments to futuristic developments and everything in between, including Salford Museum (above right)! Thanks for your comments which are very interesting.

Subject: Corpus Christi, Manchester
From: Tracy Schofield

Hi Aidan

Our family has been given a piece of furniture, inscribed with a brass plaque. It is a wedding present to William Marsden, who was married in Corpus Christi church in September 1907. Where can I get hold of a photo of that church?

Many thanks

Tracy Schofield

Search online for Manchester City Council images of Manchester.

Subject: EWM - Request
From: Noel Hennessy
have you ever done a feature on Hulme and how it has changed over the last 10-20 years? The reason I ask is that I have been looking for pictures and maps of the area (particulalry the concrete buildings) but have only been able to find a few pictures. My interests in the area we're sparked off again last night after watching the second episode of Cracker. I remember the area vaguely but I was only young as I was driven through the area and I can't relate anything to as it is now.

Would be grateful if you can run something like this, or perhaps point me in the direction of where I could find the information. Any pictures of Coverdale Crescent, Ardwick would be great as well.



I am planning a feature on present-day Hulme. At the Central Library there are some excellent archive photos of the Crescents and of the old streets from the 1950's. Go to the This is how Hulme looks today, as ween from the Mancunian Way. That's the spire of St Mary's Church, now no longer used as a church..

Subject: Castlefield Rd
From: leslie JACKSON

Hello, I was very interested in the photo feature about Ardwick. My interest is with the area around Fairfield St, Hoyle st, and Castlefield Rd around 1898-1906 as I am researching my family tree and believe my father's parents lived there. I have been unable to locate any pictures or information up to now.

My grandmother was a dress maker etc, and grandfather a coach blacksmith and I need some help in trying to second guess where they may have worked in the area. I would be grateful if you could forward any info pictures of this period which would be most helpful in giving me some idea of there lifestyle and hardships, or if you can point me in the right direction.

Thank you for a most interesting site and keep up the good work.
Kind regards Les Jackson

You'll find a fantastic collection of local photographs from Ardwick at the Archives and Local Studies Unit at Manchester Central Library. The photos can be selected and viewed on computer screens. I have spent many hours transfixed by the photos there. The staff there are extremely helpful and knowledgeable, so I'd definitely recommend you contact them.

Subject: Correction
From: lowefoto

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!



Thanks for pointing that out - I always get them mixed up!

From: Kevin Williams
Subject: Eyewitness in Manchester

Hi Aidan, I have just come across your website and I am greatful to find someone else who is passionate about this great city's past.

I am currently researching and compiling photos and info for a web site about the gargoyles in Manchester, most of whom people never see, keeping their noses to the ground as they go about their business !

If you would like to show any of them on your website I would be happy to send them along as I create them. What I have in mind is a little bit of a double take on each building showing how it appears at ground level then shooting to the upper floors just to show people what they miss. I may create a sort of competition for fun 'Find the gargoyle' etc. I know it sounds a little nerdy , but I enjoy the research.

Let me know anyway if you are interested.


Kevin Williams

That sounds great, but I think it's best if you publish the photos on your own website, and I can link to it if you link back to this one. I'm sure many people would be interested in the 'gargoyles' project, I certainly am. Here's a gargoyle from the Victoria Fountain Albert Square.


Subject: Wilton st Denton
From: Christopher Iles

Dear Mr O'Rourke.

Hello. My name is Christopher Iles. And like yourself I have an interest in Manchester and its History. Living in Denton I take a great interest in Denton itself and Tameside area. Just lately i have been reading up on Eyewitness which is on the Manchesteronline website with alot of interest. And was glad to see a article on Denton recently.

In my free time i spend reading on local history.And i take photo's of the local area.With the development of the new shopping complex almost complete. I took it upon myself to keep a photographic record of now since gone. Wilton st and the neighbouring streets close to it.the houses, hat factory, cinema, church, etc...Just prior to their demolition.

These photographs I keep in the hope that they could be used as historical reference some time. So I wondered whether or not these photographs would be any use to you to use on your website.

Yours sincerly.

Christopher Iles

As Eyewitness in Manchester is a showcase for my own photographs, I can't publish photo collections by others. I would advise you very strongly to set up your own website with your photos of the Wilton St redevelopment. This way, you will retain control of your copyright material and develop the site in your own way. In fact I would be interested in facilitating a network of Manchester-related websites by people like you, all linked to each other. Good luck with the project and please keep in touch.


Subject: Ardwick
Date: Friday, December 12, 2003 15:01
From: jan and chris

Dear Sir,

Enjoyed looking at the pictures of Ardwick as I was brought up in the 50's in West Gorton and know the area well. A bit suprised you didn't mention the "red reck" on Bennet street, site of many football matches and scraped knees! My father spent the first few years of his married life in Mathews St.(No.11 & No.1) I haven't been down there recently so I don't know if that street is still standing.

Ardwick was at one time a very select area to live in, and the people didn't wish to be confused with those from Gorton or Chorlton on Med.
Many people don't realise also that Ardwick was the birth place of Mother Annie Lee who emigrated to the U.S.a and started the Shaker movement, now enjoying much publicity for its simple furniture design. In fact the Lee's house was only recently demolished with no one knowing the importance of it's existence.

Thankyou. Regards.
Mr C Holmes.
Tyldesley M/Cr.29

Wow, you have educated me on a couple of things. It's amazing how in Manchester we fail to recognise the importance of local heritage - Elizabeth Gaskell's hosue on Plymouth Grove is standing unused and in need of repair, the pub on Hyde Rd where Manchester City Football Club originated was demolished in 2001 and now you tell me that Mother Annie Lee, the founder of the Shaker movement was born in Ardwick and the house has been demolished! Our city won't be truly regenerated until we open our eyes to the wealth of hidden history that's around us. Here's St Benedict's Church, another building at risk.

Subject: Re: Eyewitness - Ardwick
From: Hana

Hi, Aidan,
Just wanted to say what a beautiful article. Took me totally "back" to the times when I grew up in Chorlton on Medlock and at school -- Ardwick - Nicholls High School, great times indeed. One mention regarding the name of Ardwick - its origins. My best friend lives in Northern Holland in a little town - 30 minutes from Amsterdam and her hometown is called Hardevyk ...... I'd say translated into Old English "Ardwick".... . What do you say?
Great article.

Lorraine N. Cohen (nee Graham)
Tel-Aviv, Israel.

Very probably - there are many similarities between English and Dutch - There's a town not far from Amsterdam called 'Broek in Waterland'. Different pronunciation, but the words are very similar to English. Here's Nicholl's School, now part of Mancat (Manchester college of Arts and Technology).

Dear Aidan

Thanks for your reply.

I grew up in C on M until the area was demolished in the late 60s..... till then I lived in a street called Bremner Street , no. 3 (my lucky number) which was on the corner almost of Stockport Road and Devonshire street. On the corner of our street was a fresh fish and poultry shop -- my best friend's grandad and the other corner was a butcher shop. Maybe you can recall it. All the kids from out of town going to Ardwick Tech used to catch the bus on the corner ... dont remember the number of the bus though.

I am in the process of bringing out a book of my own poetry. Its pretty powerful work and am at present downloading pics of terror attacks and life in the Palestinian authority -- esp vis a vis the plight of children in both States. I have to get approvals for the pics from families connected. I'll let you know when its out and its name too....(haven't decided on the name yet) I'm pretty sure its gonna be popular .... I'm taking a middle of the road view .... not pro Israel and not pro Palestinian ... in fact, its probably pro-Christian, the plight of the Christians in the Holy Land caught in the middle of this ongoing war.

Lorraine N. Cohen (nee Graham)

That's very interesting - Best of luck with the book.

Subject: Salford
From: David Sharples
After all these years I still miss the place I grew up on Meadowgate road by Hope Hospital I was there last August what a change. Believe or not I was the first Barman at Salford rugby club. In 1966 I found a job in Bermuda then to Canada I spent often many times in Buille Hill park with my parents dog but they are long gone now I can picture the park there was a Hot house with plants and fish and the museum with a big elephant one the top floor there used to be a small zoo on the left off the main gate never saw it last year as my dad would say never forget your roots regards John Sharples email

Subject: Kiama NSW Australia

The palm house is still there, though not in the condition it used to be. The nearby Lancashire Mining Museum has sadly closed.

From: John

Hi Aidan.
I have just saw your photo feature about the changes in Manchester. I have written to you previously and sent you a photo of me taken in 1934 in Sudell St off Rochdale Rd. I was then 4 years old and "driving" a pedal motor car. You asked me if you could use it in a book about early Manchester. I have not been to Manchester for many years and now I would be a stranger in a strange city.

I used to know every street around Manchester and Cheetham and helped out (in a small way) when the Jewish Hospital in Elizabeth St was bombed. Like every city in the world, and I have travelled to many there will always be changes, some good some bad. But change they will. My wife and I look in your messages for people who went to Whitworth Street Girls High School in the 1940s. My wife Iris met a schoolfriend in New York last September. It was due to your Readers Messages. We all thank you and keep up the good work

Regards John Hines.

Maybe another name for this page should be 'Mancunians Together'! I'm always amazed when people meet via my reader messages! Thanks for your messages.

Subject: Another expat
From: John Chesworth

My family migrated to Australia from Manchester in 1950 when I was about 10 and we fairly promptly brushed its dust (wiped the slush?) off our shoes. Lost touch with the rellies left behind an' all. I have happy childhood memories, though set amongst grey skies and black buildings.

We lived in Lytham Avenue, Chorlton. I was lucky to have grandmothers who lived on trolleybus lines, in Ardwick (Viaduct St, bet that's no more!) and Moston (Amos St), while my mother's brother was in Oldham with the no.23 tram direct. (Indecently soon after the war they substituted buses so the creaking but beautiful trams were no more.) Esoteric travel, probably explaining my lifelong interest in public transport.

My memories of Manchester are of a cold, dank, rainy and run-down place which I never wanted to see again but recently I have found a renewed interest. A friend tells me this is a natural trend and points out I'm getting older. Surely not.

The New Revitalised Manchester that I see and read about in your excellent EWM with its photos and individualistic captions, seems an entirely different place. I think I shall visit soon. Meanwhile, keep up the good work!

Thanks very much for your message, which is beautifully written.

Well your report about the Irk Valley train crash in August 1953 brings back a lot of memories. My friends and I were playing on Barneys field when we saw the trains crash, I will never forget the sight of a carriage dangling from the viaduct and people jumping from it before it crashed down probably killing some of those that jumped. Then of course the police and ambulances and fire service racing along Queens Rd to go down the vale. A terrible sight.

Great work again Aidan Ray

That crash has been lost from the Manchester collective memory, unlike the Munich air disaster, which involved famous and well-loved footballers. But the victims of the Irk Valley crash also deserve to be remembered. Amazing that there are plenty of people about who remember seeing it, including yourself, Here's another view of the line. The steam train from Victoria Station should have turned onto this viaduct from the junction ahead and to the left, but it never made it.

Subject: Longsight & Lev. history. from J. Suth. Canada.
Date: Sunday, January 11, 2004 19:43
From: Joyce

Hi Aidan,
Pleased you added my letter to your site. Incidently I left the A.T.S in 1947 not 1943 as I seemed to have typed in my letter.

Read one of your letters and saw the comment about the bus terminus. Albert Rd near Crossley Road??? Surely the small terminus was on Stockport Road opposite to the Monarch Laundry, at the end of the small row of shops and not far from "Isherwoods" garage and on the same side as the garage and the laundry and just on the Stockport border.

My husband Tom Arnold, was a bus driver in M/C from 1947 to 1986. Worked at Parrs Wood depot then Birchfields which I believe is now gone. Interested to hear from a friend that the Express Dairy building is also gone and flats built there now.

Going back a little further. When I was very much younger and living in Methuen St, before the war, I remember a housing estate being built on a field opposite Norton Ave. Norton Ave and Wiltshire Ave formed a right angle and the field was in front. When the houses were built they filled the whole area. Hemmons Rd. Ringwood (or was it Ringway) Ave. The interesting bit is that the sunshine semis as they were called were two hundred and fifty pounds and the ones with two rooms were three hundred pounds. I can remember playing among the houses as they were being built. My parents thought they were expensive. Seems odd to-day but then of course wages may have been about two pounds a week, if the 'man of the house' had a job. My Mum's next door neighbour was considered well off because her husband earned three pounds a week. How things change.

Glad to read that Levenshulme is being improved. The last time I saw it nearly three years ago I thought it looked awful.

Before the war the children in our area went to Gorton Mount school and then probably to Spurley Hey if they didn't pass the 11plus or their parents couldn't afford the fees to send them to Lev. High or Burnage High.

Scholarships available if parents 'hard up' but a little stigma attached. As I remember fees for Lev. High were six guineas a term.
Anyway Aidan, keep up the good work. The site is excellent. All the best from Canada.
Joyce Sutherland.

Thanks for your comments - Levenshulme has improved considerably since I did the feature. I was driving through it last night. The former church and cinema is covered in scaffolding. There are new shop signs and some buildings under renovation and construction. Thanks for your information about Levenshulme.

Subject: Longsight
From: Barbara Malpass Edwards
Hello Aidan, hello site.

While researching the old 1920s Longsight in the last few weeks I have dug up a lot of memories from the data bank at the back of the mind.

One thing that surprised me when visiting with my father in 1987 was how close everything was. I used to think that Plymouth Grove School was hours away from Morton Street, that Platt Fields was an afternoon hike, and that ConM was practically in the south.

Does anyone else remember Pownalls when the Army was billeted there - the Pay Corps I understand. There was one officer of the Black Watch who seemed to be marching down the road every day when I was going to school.


I live very close to the areas you mention, in fact I was in the play area next to Mrs Gaskell's House with Adele this week. What's there today is very different to what was there fifty years ago. It's amazing how your sense of scale changes with time. The 'data bank' idea is a good way of describing it - It's sort of what the messages on this page are, a data or memory bank about Manchester past and present.

Subject: Criticism of innovative architecture

I've noticed that you are always the first to insult many of the more innovative architectural schemes/public spaces in the city of Manchester, and yet seem quite happy to compliment the banal and tasteless. Take for example your constant slateing of the Hacienda development, (which replaced a building that people only seem to have cared about looking back in retrospect), which is an intersting and well detailed design, unlike the shoddy, cheaply built, and quite frankly bland Ropeworks development next to it, which is a perfect example of what Manchester suffers far too much of, yet which you praised, and said Hacienda could learn many a lesson from.....

Do you actually have an architectural qualification?? And if so, how much did it cost you?? Perhaps you should leave the critical comments to someone else, who understands what it is that a city such as Manchester does and does not need.

Well, I certainly didn't 'insult' modern and innovative buildings like the Urbis Centre, the Expressnetworks development, No1 Deansgate, the Green Quarter, the Beetham Tower, Urban Splash Boxworks and Timber Wharf developments, the Imperial War Museum North, the Lowry, the Lowry Hotel, the new Piccadilly Station, the new Royal Bank of Scotland, all of which I think are very good indeed. Like many other people, I have criticised the Hacienda, the Piccadilly Gardens development and a few others.

You don't need an architectural qualification to express your opinion about the city around you, any more than you need a musical qualification to express your likes and dislikes in music. And to use the word 'insult' in this context would suggest a high level of intolerance towards dissenting views, something we are seeing more and more of nowadays.

You have failed to take in the entire scope of the photo feature and have merely picked out two items and jumped to conclusions. And by the way I didn't say I like the Ropeworks, I merely said it showed a "more design-conscious approach to its upper sections".

You have also completely missed the point of what I am doing, which is to encourage people to express their opinion and share in the debate about the way our city is being altered and renewed. The fact that you took the trouble to contact shows that I must be doing something right!

The attitude of 'leave the development of Manchester to the professionals and don't consult the general public because they're ignorant an unqualified' is prevalent in some quarters, and part of the problem. In any case, my opinion is of no special value, I just enjoy documenting and commenting on the city and encouraging others to do likewise.

You obviously feel passionate about this issue, which is great, but you've allowed your passion to cloud your reading of what I wrote. I will continue to express my opinions and give people like you the opportunity to express theirs and one way or another we will all help to bring about a better Manchester.


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