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READER MESSAGES Early October 01

Name: Mike Clarke
From or connections with: c-on-m, fallowfield
Present Location: Launceston , Tasmania.
EWM Photo:
Reader Message: Dear Aidan
Hello again. It's been a quier sort of a month don't you think ? The events of Sept 11th have changed the way the world turns. I'm not sure why ? Such terror has been visited upon many over the years. Oh not with such scale, and not live on tv, but to those who have suffered, the size of the devistation hardly matters.
I have stood a top the Trade towers. A quarter mile,straight up. Never thought I'd see the day they were not there.
I'll leave it to those who love to spoil the world for the rest of us, while I focus on reaching my three score years and ten without much mishap.
About the tunnel system in (under) Manchester. My first job (1970) was as a commi-chef working at the Mariners Resturant in 'Old Bank Lane' (?) which runs from St.Anns Sq along the side of the Royal Exchange building. Half way along there's a large gate with a hydrolic lift big enough to take a truck. It drops down to a roadway that runs the length of the building, and at the far end smaller tunnels run off in various directions. I was shown them once around 1971/2. I seem to remember than one ran up Market St, while another ran under the old M&S bulding ?
The skating rink (roller skates, not ice) spoken of in your last readers letters, stood on the corner of Dickenson Road and Upper Brook St. Diagonally opposit the gates into Birch Park. It closed as a rink in the 1960's and became the 'Oceans Eleven' night club, later it became a disco (my time), but I'm buggered if I can remember the name now !
Anyway I'll get this off to you now.
All the best,

Thank you for your message - It was called The International Club and now it's Venus Foods, a Turkish supermarket. Those tunnels under the centre sound fascinating. In the previous Reader Messages update, Diane Norton mentioned a cold war tunnel entrance near Grosvenor Street. The photo above right shows the westbound sliproad to the Mancunian Way from London Rd/Downing Street (A6). The entrance to the tunnel is next to the electricity substation on the left.

Name: John Duffield
From or connections with: Middleton
Present Location: Poole
Subject: Where's Grosvenor Place?!!
EWM Photo:
Reader Message: Dear Aidan,
I was born in Manchester but left aged 10 only to return to go to University. I spent my first year in "Grosvenor Place", a hall of residence circa 5 stories tall, and shaped something like this:
_ _
|_ _
_ _|

It was probably built in the sixties, of red brick. Has it gone? The swimming centre looks as if it must have wiped a part of it out at least. Happy days!

No, it is still there. The swimming pool complex was built on an empty lot - No buildings were demolished to make way for it.

Name: JOHN
From or connections with: NEWTON HEATH / CRUMPSALL / HARPURHEY
Present Location: MIDDELTON
EWM Photo:
Reader Message: Dear Aidan

This photo, taken yesterday, may help. On the Factory Lane side there are two pubs, the Golden Tavern on the left, and the Top Derby / Derby Inn on the right, now disused. On the Moston Lane side, you'll now find the rear of the Asda petrol station and a Macdonalds. The other side of Moston Lane is an empty site. As for how it looked in the early sixties, I'll have to look in the... you guessed it, the Local Studies Unit at the Central Library!

Name: james lynch
From or connections with: salford brow, waterloo rd school,cheetham
Present Location: Windsor Ontario Canada
Subject: keeping in touch
EWM Photo:
Reader Message: Dear Aidan, I lived at Salford Brow and went to Waterloo rd school and then to ST Shomas of Canterbury school. I then worked in Greengate and Irwell. My playground was the Cliff (Landslide),Red Bank, Strangeways and Peel Park. I worked on M/C buses for ten years as a conductor and really enjoyed the job, you meet lots of people. The article on Derby st was most informative I lived near Mezzappa st which was all Jewish,no problems I can recall, I enjoy Jewish food.
The area I used to live (Salford Brow) used to be a brick works years ago.Jim Lynch

Thanks for contacting - The places you mention are all there, but look very different now from when you lived there. Here's a picture of two Transport Museum buses which I hope will bring back good memories.

Name: James Lynch
From or connections with: Salford Brow, Waterloo Rd School, Cheetham
Present Location: Windsor Ontario Canada
Subject: Rialto Cinema
EWM Photo:
Reader Message: Dear Aidan, I used to go to the Rialto cienma, one would pay and then go to the washroom and then let our friends in. There was a cinema on Broughton Lane. I saw the Beast with Five Fingers there and it scared me pretty bad. There was another cinema on Broughton Lane and Great Clowes st and another one on Great Clowes st and Broughton Bridge. Jim

I believe the Broughton Bridge cinema is still there, though no longer used as a cinema. I hope to take a photograph the next time I'm down that way.

Name: Glenn
From or connections with: Didsbury
Present Location: London
Subject: Piccadilly Gardens
EWM Photo:
Reader Message: Dear Aidan
Two things. Firstly, many thanks for putting together such a wonderful web site. I lived in Manchester until 1984, and looking at the site brings back many good memories.
Secondly, I was interested to see the comment about part of Piccadilly Gardens having been donated for what would seem to have been a charitable purpose in around 1910. When such a bequest is made, it usually prevents the land subsequently being disposed of for a commercial benefit without certain Court ordered provisions to apply the funds which have been realised for a similar charitable purpose. Does anyone know whether this point might arise here?

Hmmm, I'm not a legal expert, so I can't comment! However, Philip Atkins in his 'Guide Across Manchester' wrote the following in reference to Piccadilly, i.e. the land around the flower gardens:
"Until the 18th century this land was on the outskirts of the town and known as the Daub Holes, since the clay for house building was dug here, leaving holes that filled with rain to form ponds. In 1755 the Lord of the Manor, Sir Oswald Mosley, gave the land for the building of a new Infirmary on the condition that it was always kept for public use."
The Manchester City Council-sponsored office block (above right) currently under construction on the Portland St end of Piccadilly Gardens occupies part of the land donated by Sir Oswald Mosley, so it would appear, correct me if I'm wrong, that the current council have gone against his wishes. I wonder where he is buried, and if he is turning in his grave.

Name: Peter Ridgway
From or connections with: Wythenshawe/Ancoats
Present Location: Cheshire
Subject: St Thomas Church/Ancoats
EWM Photo:
Reader Message: Dear Aidan
Regarding the St Thomas Church at Ardwick, this has now been taken over by the Council for Voluntary Service.
I was born in Lawton Moor, Wythenshawe and worked in the family busines in Clarion Street Ancoats for 35 years, and I was wondering if any of your readers remember some of the shops and places on and around Oldham Road Ancoats;
Harold and Betty Lyons Hardware and fancy goods shop
Denis's the sweets and tobaconnists
The Tripe works of Poland street
Oldham Road Goods yard where the Royal Mail and Wing Yip are now
Cuffwrights that sold all tipes of rope and string
The cobblers shop that was in the Victoria Dwellings
The Wet Fish shop
Yetz the dentist, The Manchester & Salford Trustee Savings Bank on the corner of Livesey street, The Apollo Inn on Livesey street
( the landlady was a Mrs Canon), then there was the Catholic Repository shop on Livesey street that was owned by two spinster ladies
Those were the days when Ancoats was quite a thriving community.
Always good to read the letters
Keep up the good work

Some interesting documentary material there, helping to piece together that district before it disintegrated. Ancoats is set to become, hopefully, a thriving community again.

Name: Ian Rhodes
From or connections with: Centre
Present Location: Stockport
Subject: Shudehill
EWM Photo:
Reader Message: Dear Aidan,
Great stuff, as ever. I notice there is some debate about place/street names and uncertainty about where 'Shudehill' comes from. I don't wish to teach anyone to suck eggs, but 'Origins od Street Names in the City Centre of Manchester' by L D Bradshaw is a good investment.
It isn't definitive about Shudehill, except to say that the name has existed since 1554 and that 'shude' refers to the husk of oats. The implication is that there was a conection with grain, although it isn't clear in what way. Possibly with brewing?
The book was published in 1985 by a small local history publisher (that is the company, not the locality, history or publisher!) and is available at HMSO and other good book shops locally at £3.75 or by mail order. I should point out that I have absolutely no financial or personal interest in promoting the book!
But on a personal note, I would be interested in any photos you have/will have of Jersey Street in Ancoats. My ggg-grandad and gg-grandad gave number 97 as their residence when they married at the Cathedral, the first in 1837 and the other in 1850. As far as I can tell, it wasn't actually where they lived. The address today is the Cross Keys pub, although I'm not sure if it was in the same place then. I believe it moved 50 yards or so to make way for a brass foundry some time after.
Sorry to have rattled on so, but you know my interest in family history!
Ian Rhodes

Jersey Street - Well the only photo I have of that street is this one, showing St Peters Church in the back ground and a pair of semi-detached houses. Interesting about the origin of Shude Hill. The local book publisher is the same as the one mentioned above, Neil Richardson of 88 Ringley Rd. Stoneclough, Radcliffe, Manchester, M26 9ET.

Name: john white
From or connections with: Blackley
Present Location: Toronto
Subject: monument
EWM Photo: statues
Reader Message: Dear Aidan,
First of all, thank you for keeping us all ex-pats in touch with the place of our birth.
On one of my trips back to the place of my birth, I came across a statue of President Lincoln...neddless to say, I was stunned. After reading what I could decipher of the reason for it being there, I asked a few of my pals about must be the best well kept secret in the City. I went to the Central Library to see if I could procure a post-card to show my American friends, none available.
Aiden, in light of recent developments, could you please enlighten me, and many others who view your most interesting site.
Thank You.
P.S. If you have already covered this subject, I apologise for missing it.

The statue is in Brazennose Square, not far from Albert Square, and used to stand in Platt Fields. It commemorates the support of the Lancashire cotton workers during the Cotton Famine, around the time of the American Civil War. The side of the statue displays the text of a letter from Abraham Lincoln. Unfortunately the text is almost illegible due to the effect of the elements. There are many examples 'America in Manchester' - I ought to put together an update on this topic some time.

Name: Gene Codd
From or connections with: Prestwich,Withington,Didsbury,Wythenshawe Bury.
Present Location: Hamilton Ontario CANADA
Subject: EWM and Readers Messages.
EWM Photo:
Reader Message: Dear Aidan
As explained in my other e-mail I'm still computer novice!
I was so excited this afternoon when I got into the Readers Messages
this afternoon and found your Quiz, and the mention of the "Hippodrome in Ardwick. I recalled finding mention some time ago in the Manchester Evening News, of the Aquatic Musicals . I still have vivid memories of going to a theatre on Oxford Street some time between 1935 -1938 with my parents to see people singing,dancing and sliding off the roof of a house? into a large pool of water in the orchestra stall area of the theatre.The theatre eventually became better known to me as the Gaumont Cinema. I remember seeing the film South Pacific there in later years. How can I find out the name of that Aquatic Musical and who the actors were?
I have only found my way in to your website twice, via the Manchester
News site but fully intend to be a regular reader from now on.
I used to live on Bury New Road in Prestwich before WW2 and went to a Kindergarten School situated between St Annes Road and Park Road South. I'm wondering whether I may make contact with any long past friends in the area.I last visited Prestwich in 1997, but did not have enough time to search my old haunts such as the "Clough" or St Mary's Church.
I'll look for the photos of the house in which I was born and the one in which I lived on Bury New Road and send them to you later.
Gene Codd

Thank you - Manchester is certainly a fascinating place - at least it is once you've departed from it and realise what you've left behind! Here's a photograph of St Mary's Church, Prestwich.

Name: N.A Zakaria
From or connections with: Salford
Present Location: Shah Alam, Malaysia
Subject: Piccadilly Garden
EWM Photo:
Reader Message: Dear Aidan,
I lived in Salford for about 2 years (97-99) because I was pursuing my studies at that time. Having read several messages in this site, appreciate if you could please tell me what is happening to Piccadilly Gardens? I loved to sit and watch people at the garden, last time. It was so nice..especially when spring time where the big tree just full of flowers...I plan to come again next year to study may be by that time Manchester have a lot of new changes.Hope it will still preserve most of the unique places/buildings. Actually, I really enjoyed my days in Manchester and good job Aidan for all these...That's really good...!!!!

Thank you very much indeed for your message - wow Shah Alam Malaysia - that's a first. Piccadilly is currently being redeveloped - ruined is a more appropriate word in my opinion - and will look very different from the place you remember from before. Interesting that you have such positive memories of Piccadilly Gardens and glad you enjoyed your time in Manchester. We look forward to seeing you again very soon, you are always very very welcome in Manchester!

Name: Les Jones
From or connections with: Blackley.
Present Location: Oakville, Ontario, Canada.
Subject: Harpurhey Baths Manchester.
EWM Photo:
Reader Message: Dear Aidan,
I have fond memories of Harpurhey baths. As a child I first learned to swim there,and received my 25yards swimming certificate of which I was very proud. I have heard recently that there are plans to demolish the building due to escalating maintenance costs. Because of the unique architecture of this building, especialy the facia, it would be a real shame if this stucture were to disappear in a cloud of dust, with no photographic evidence of the existence of a place of enjoyment for many people. Thank you for your wonderful photography and dedication in helping to preserve a lifetime of memories of Manchester, past and present. Les Jones.

Thanks for your comments. Harpurhey Baths have already been closed down, and are in a sorry state of repair. What has happened to our cities when historic public amenities like this are allowed to deteriorate to such a degree. In an ideal world, this building should be looking new, its interior well maintained, full of people from the local community, echoing with the sound of children splashing about in the water and enjoying themselves. Instead it stands empty, weeds growing in the roof, windows boarded up. Why?

Name: Dorothy Messer
From or connections with: Cheetham Hill
Present Location: Prestwich, Manchester
Subject: The Iron Bridge at Miller Street
EWM Photo:
Reader Message: Dear Aidan
The picture of the iron bridge near Miller Street brought back memories of a thick fog in or about 1942 (I was about 12 at the time). I was coming home from school and the No.41 bus from Fallowfield had tipped me off at Corporation Street - the buses had then stopped running because of the fog. Somehow I found my way along Corporation Street and onto the bridge - the only reason I knew where I was, was because of the design of the ironwork and can remember quite clearly how relieved I was to feel that familiar outline! The fog in those days was really something - you literally couldn't see a hand in front of your face. I obviously survived and got myself back to Squire Street in Cheetham Hill - a long way for a 12 year old.

We occasionally have fog, but nothing like the fog, or smog, of the days before the Clean Air Act. The picture above is a grey and murky view looking from Rochdale Road towards Manchester city centre - That's Sunley Tower, Piccadilly Gardens rising up. The tall chimney belongs to the former police station off Oldham Road.


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