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READER MESSAGES Early May 2001 (Late May)

Stocks St CheethamName: Neil Barmann
From or connections with: Cheetham
Present Location: Bayonne, New Jersey, USA
Subject: an American with Manchester roots
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Reader Message: Dear Aidan
I have just found Manchester On Line and I have been looking at the pictures with great interest. My mother was born in the USA, but her family emigrated from Manchester in the 19th century and I have been trying to trace my Manchester roots in my spare time for over a year now.
I have a copy of my grandfather's birth certificate from the PRO, and I have learned from that document that when he was born in 1870, the family lived at 5 Stocks Street, Cheetham, Manchester. Are there any pictures available of that block? Yes, I realize that by now, that location may well have become a parking lot for some adjacent business; however, it would make me very happy to see it just the same.
I am trying to organize my life in order to have myself a holiday in Manchester in September or October of this year. By the way, my family names were Phillips and Woolf. I would enjoy hearing from anyone in the Manchester area who may be related to me.

Yes, Stocks Street is still there, as you can see. I often pass that way so I was able to quickly capture these shots. The once thriving township of Cheetham Hill is now an area of commercial buildings, warehouses and deserted streets often frequented by ladies of the night (who are often there even during the day!) The area has a rich Jewish heritage and there are the remains of two synagogues. One of them is now the Manchester Jewish Museum, and when you come to Manchester, I would advise you to go there - I am sure they will be able to provide information about your ancestors. Stocks Street is just around the corner from there.

Huddersfield Narrow Canal at DiggleName: Kath Newton
From or connections with: Stalybridge
Present Location: Stalybridge
Subject: Opening of the Huddersfield Narrow Canal
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Reader Message: Hiya Aidan,
Just thought you may like this piece of information on Stalybridge and the website address which shows more views of this wonderful town.
Bank Holiday Monday, 28th May 2001
A major festival of events to commemorate the regeneration of Stalybridge and the re-opening of Huddersfield Narrow Canal through the town. Grand Official Opening (1.00 pm), a Victorian fun fair, fantastic street entertainment to enthral and amaze, inflatable 'ice' dome rink, live music stage with named bands (from 4.00 pm), firework finale and much more.
Starts 1.00 pm - 10.00 pm

The restoration of the Huddersfield Canal is a magnificent example of how once abandoned features of the industrial landscape can be brought back into use, enhancing the urban and rural environment, and creating jobs too. Unfortunately I can't be there as I am back in the UAE, but I hope it goes well.

The Red Lion WithingtonName: Gerard Townley
From or connections with: Whitefield, Moston,
Present Location: Ajax. Ontario Canada
Subject: Would like some pictures of Manchester pubs
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Reader Message: Dear Aidan
I am looking for pictures of typical Manchester pubs, there was the Red Lion in Withington, the Shambles in Manchester and any other ones you think would be of interest as I want to show some of my Canadian
friends what they look like.
Thanking you for your time, I really look forward to receiving your weekly emails.
Yours sincerely
Ged Townley

After all the heavy stuff recently about the mistakes of post-war urban development, a spotlight on some typical Manchester pubs would be a nice change. I'll start with the Red Lion which is one of Manchester's oldest and quaintest pubs. More to follow.

Statue of Abraham Lincoln, Lincoln Square, Brazennose StName: Mike Clarke
From or connections with: Charlton-on-Medlock and Fallowfield
Present Location: Launceston,Tasmania
Subject: Your really good quiz
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Reader Message: Dear Aidan
All right our kid? Thats what people used to say in my day anyway.I just thought I'd drop you a line to see if you can answer a couple of questions that have always puzzeled me (not a difficult thing to do so my missus says). But first. thanks for another great quiz,taxing the old gray matter and the memory.
Okay,first question.Why did they have a huge statue of Abraham Lincoln in the formal garden infront of Platt Hall ? ,And the second question,is it true that Stan Laurel (of Laurel and Hardy fame) use to live in Earle St, Longsight before going to the U.S. and world wide fame ?
These were things that I knew as a kid growing up in C-on-M but now with the passage of time seem a bit dream like.So if you know,or any of your readers,I'd be grateful for the answers.
I've written before regarding change. Apart from death and taxes (and polititions who don't know their a#*s from their elbows half the time), change is something that is and always be a part of life. Of course the trick is to achieve change that enriches people's lives. A hard task that those in the position to make the changes are usually the last people who should be entrusted to to it.
I'll get on now, and wish you all the best.I hope you had a good time in the U.A.E. the one and only time I was there I was bitten by an insect and spent two weeks in hospital upon my return to England. Not the best souvenir.
All the best,
Mike Clarke.

No insects here in Al-Ain UAE as I write this! Thanks for your comments and straight on to your questions. The statue of Abraham Lincoln now stands in Lincoln Square, Brazennose Street. The statue commemorates the solidarity of the cotton workers of Lancashire with the United sStates during the 1860's cotton famine. The cotton famine came about a result of the American Civil War, a central issue of which was slavery. As for Stan Laurel, I'm not aware that he lived in Longsight. Can anyone help?

Mayor of the City of Manchester, Councillor Hugh BarrattName: John Duffield
From or connections with: Langley, Middleton
Present Location: Poole, UK
Subject: Manchester local government boundaries
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Reader Message: Dear Aidan
I found myself emphathising immensely with Rory McLoughlin about the "Greater Manchester county identity". My view is that the city centre is weakened because it is politically disconnected from the bulk of its travel-to-work area, and through division the whole is less than the sum of its parts.
I think an important and realistic step to redress this is a directly elected Mayor of Manchester covering the overall city region, as per London.

Well, recently the City of Manchester local authority attempted to get the citizens all enthused about 'The Democracy Debate' one important element of which was whether or not to have an elected mayor of Manchester. Unfortunately, this elected mayor would only have been mayor of the City of Manchester local authority area, not Manchester, the conurbation. Only a tiny percentage of people bothered to participate in 'The Democracy Debate', and all plans have been put on hold. A major barrier to coming to terms with the deep crisis in the local government system in the Manchester area is voter apathy. This is even reflected in the message I've received - only a tiny handful of responses to my grand scheme for the reorganisation of local government in Manchester, but if I made a constructive suggestion about one or other of Manchester's football teams, I wonder what the response would be...? Thanks very much for your contribution. Here's the Mayor of the City of Manchester, Councillor Hugh Barratt.

Market St facade incorporated into ArndaleName: Rod Flanagan
From or connections with: Newton Heath, Ducie tech high (63-68 R class)
Present Location: Perth Western Australia
Subject: Arndale Centre
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Reader Message: Dear Aidan
Could you please tell me why halfway down Market street the Arndale centre is interrupted by an old building.
If you do not know where I mean stand with your back to Tesco's and it is facing you. Everyone I have asked up to now give me blank looks and admit to never having noticed it. Hope you can shed some light on why it was left there.
Thanks Rod.

Arndale Centre facade Market StreetNever noticed it? Just shows how people don't use their eyes to see what's in front of them. I don't know the exact reason - it may have had something to do with the fact that this is a post-war building. Perhaps they thought it was too new to knock down. Or maybe there was some issue regarding the lease or ownership which meant it couldn't be demolished. It is certainly a curious feature of the Arndale facade, and the one surviving link with the half of Market Street and its interesting and varied facades which were destroyed to make way for the inspiring piece of architecture on the left. Anyone got any other info on this?

Name: Paul Stonehouse
E-Mail: LSLowry@LSLowry.Com
Website: http://www.LSLowry.Com
From or connections with: Droylsden
Present Location: Naperville, ILLINOIS, USA
Subject: Piccadilly Gardens
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Reader Message: Dear Aidan
Hopefully you remember me Aiden, you did a small article on me earlier last year about my web site www.LSLowry.Com and said some very nice words. After reading the numerous articles about the changes taking place to Piccadilly Gardens, I am very saddened to see the plans for the future. The character seems to have been ripped out of the Town Centre. I can often remember taking bus rides into the Town Centre and walking from Stevenson's Square to take up my seat on a park bench and enjoy a corned beef sandwich, my mother would make me.
Then off to Lewis's for a Knickerbocker Glory, upstairs. Awesome!
I can still reflect back, to falling in one of the fountains with my Sunday bests on.
The strange irony is, having a business selling Lowry prints around the world. The number one print I sell is ŒPiccadilly Gardens‚ by Lowry.
Why, well people say they love the way Lowry depicted Manchester's heart.
In fact, up until very recently it looked the exact same as the painting he did many, many years back.
With much written in the press about the gardens being torn up, business has been brisk with people remembering their favourite place. Why change, for the worse. Why not just improve on what is already great.
Maybe they should have pooled the population and asked them.
Great job as usual Aiden.
Hi to all my customers...!!!

The current redevelopment of Piccadilly Gardens is one of the worst disasters to befall Manchester since the destructive development of the 1960's and 70's. Lowry's painting does of course depict something that's as quintessentially Manchester as Piccadilly Circus is quintessentially London. Piccadilly Circus is still there and will remain so, but Manchester City Council have destroyed the Piccadilly Gardens we knew. The finished development will be a third rate solution and will help drag Manchester down to the status of a third rate provincial city. The only one to benefit will be your good self, as more and more people will want to recapture the original Manchester, as depicted by LS Lowry by buying your prints. Thanks for your message.

Station Rd Swinton former home of LS LowryName: John Flynn
From or connections with: Middleton
Present Location: Cottingham, 4 miles from Hull in E Yorkshire.
Subject: House of the famous
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Reader Message: Dear Aidan
As a topic of interest, I wonder whether you might present a series of photos of the houses of the famous when they lived in Manchester? Things like George Best's landlady's house in Chorlton, Sir Matt's house, any leading political, musical or theatre people.......etc.
I realise that this might involve you, or somebody, in a large amount of fruitless research and it could be difficult. Sorry I cannot help, I live too far away.
Nostalgia is a funny old thing-last week I saw my childhood home again, 5 Greenson Drive, Middleton and although there have been changes to the decor it is still the same old house.
Any thoughts??
Best wishes, and as many have already said, you have given us all a great and contemporary resource through your work.
John Flynn

A good idea - I have already featured one or two former residences of famous people. The only problem with photographing the less well-known addresses is that people wonder why you're pointing your camera up their front drive! I prefer to take the location 'in context', including the street. Here's the former home of LS Lowry on Station Road Swinton. It's the house just to the left of the lamp post in the upper picture.

Name: Deanna Welch Beyer
From or connections with: Clifton, Swinton
Present Location: Buffalo, New York, USA
Subject: Looking for an old friend
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Reader Message: Dear Aidan -
What a fantastic site! I found it while searching for information about an old friend, Lisa Caley, whose family hails from Manchester. I'm not sure if this is appropriate, or if you would consider putting it on your site, but I am desperately trying to find her. We lost touch several years ago. She married a man named Paul about four years ago and since I do not know his last name, I have been unable to locate her. I believe her mother and two brothers are still living in Manchester, as well. The street number and name at which her mother resides are lost to me, although I do remember that the address included "Clifton, Swinton, Manchester." To the best of my knowledge, Lisa and her husband reside in Manchester and I would love to find her. Aidan, if you have any advice or know of any resources I might use to locate her I would greatly appreciate the help. I won't presume that you might consider to post this note, but if it is a possibility, I would be greatful. Thank you very much.
Deanna Welch Beyer

Since contacting me, Deanna has told me she has found her old friend Lisa, so congratulations. If you're looking for an address or phone number anywhere in the UK, the British Telecom site has a phone directory search. You'll find the BT site at

Saddleworth looking towards Dove Stones ReservoirName: Judy
From or connections with: Mossley/AUL, ancestors Saddleworth and Glossop area
Present Location: Rio Grande Valley, Texas Mexico border
Subject: Stones and Parsonage
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Reader Message: Dear Aidan
Would anyone know the exact location of the following places in the Saddleworth area. The areas are connected with the name Wrigley, in both my maternal and paternal family history:
Stones (paternal folklore said "we came from Stones, Saddleworth"
Parsonage (maternal place of residence on 1810 Wrigley baptism, illegitimate, St. Chads)
Suggestions are that Parsonage refers to the Parsonage, but I think there was a small area called Parsonage. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Many thanks.

I don't know any of those places off hand, but local historians in the Saddleworth area would be able to help, I'm sure. I've seen some very good Saddleworth websites, try doing a search for 'Saddleworth' in And hopefully someone out there can help. Best wishes and good luck with your research.

Name: Darren Niman
From or connections with: Prestwich
Present Location: Prestwich
Subject: Comments about Prestwich
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Reader Message: Dear Aidan
Thank you for a very interesting Website. For most of my life I have lived, and still, live in Prestwich. I wonder if there is anybody with photo's of the Area, which is only now starting to come back from neglect after many years, especially the Bury New Road / Longfield Centre area.
Best Wishes,
Darren Niman

I intend to include more photographs of Prestwich soon. Thanks for your message.

Trains at Gorton StationName: Manfred Herbst
From or connections with:
Present Location: Corrientes - Argentina
Subject: Trains from Manchester to Norfolk - schedules etc
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Reader Message: Dear Aidan
We are planing to visit Manchester in the next future ; regarding train combinations from there to Norfolk we need the schedules and ticket prices. We have already booked the hotel in Norfolk.
Please send your answer to my private e-mail as follows :
Thank you in advance, best regards,
Manfred Herbst
Corrientes - Argentina

I hope you have a good time on your upcoming trip to Manchester. The main UK site for train information is Unfortunately I've found this site less than satifactory. The best and most comprehensive source of information on train times in the UK (and in the rest of Europe) is on the German Railways website, yes, Enter the times for the most obscure local stations (e.g. from Hyde North to Godley) and within seconds it will return a detailed schedule with diagram and other info. There are shades of Lord Haw Haw in the uncanny way the German website seems to know the finest details of our local timetables, but this is because German Railways, now privatised but still one big national company, have put huge amounts of resources into new technology and the timetables across Europe are on one database. Here in the UK we have a confusing medley of private operators presided over by the even more confused Railtrack. Thanks and have a great time in the UK.

Sunset Stalybridge StationName: Vera Bradburn
From or connections with: Stalybridge and Millbrook
Present Location: Torquay Devon England
Subject: Thanks
EWM Photo: Stalybridge Railway station.
Reader Message: Dear Aidan , Thanks for the photograph of Stalybridge Railway station . I only found by accident when I was looking through the previous messages. I used to live in Millbrook and went to St James Primary School and then to the Grammar School on Clarendon Rd Hyde. Used to work at Clayton Aniline and then at ICI Newton before going to Walls at Godley . My family had business connections in Stalybridge for many years and I get up there as often as possible to see the few remaining relatives .
Thanks again for a photo which brought back a few memories. If you are able to take any of the area of Millbrook and the area known as the Brushes including the dams etc , that would be marvellous .Keep up the good work ,
Regards Vera

I'll try and include those places when I return to Manchester. Thanks for your message and hope you find someone you know out there.

Tram entering Piccadilly Station at duskName: David Bleicher
From or connections with: I lived in a flat in the city center for one year.
Present Location: Carrboro, North Carolina (near Raleigh)
Subject: Marketing Manchester
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Reader Message: Dear Aidan
First, a small correction. London is located to the south-east of Manchester, not the south-west, as stated in your website! Second,
I was a little pertubed to hear that some people don't like Manchester trying to attract gay visitors. Manchester is a very marketable
phenomenon. Boddington's is growing in popularity in the USA, and I occasionally see people wearing Manchester United shirts. The
band Oasis are very popular over here (or at least they were five years ago), and the Halle orchestra are world-renowned.
If the gay community is another facet of Manchester that will attract visitors then that's great too. I don't think San Francisco or
Sydney have suffered from their reputation, and if in the process of marketing Manchester to gay people.we put off visitors who fear or dislike people who are a little different from themselves, I think that is a good thing. It takes every kind of people!
On another note, I lived about a block away from the Old Fire Station on London Road. This is a superb piece of architecture which has enormous potential to be redeveloped as apartments, shops, restaurants and leisure facilities

Manchester Mardi Gras Parade 1999Yes, I agree about the Old Fire Station, and sorry about the stupid error - there are many in Eyewitness in Manchester, and I rely on you people to be my proofreaders. And as far as the gay element to Manchester is concerned, there is no doubt that their presence attracts huge amounts of people of all persuasions. My only reservation from a photographic point of view is the sometimes controversial and adult nature of the imagery connected with them. One day I was flipping through some photographs of typical images of contemporary Manchester - Manchester Cathedral, a pint of Boddingtons, the Albert Memorial, the town crier, a leather bound moustachioed Village People clone with tattoos and nipple rings, Piccadilly train station, etc... As an ex-overseas teacher, I think I'd omit the nipple rings photo for teaching purposes, otherwise, let's welcome everyone to Manchester!

Name: John McCurrie
From or connections with: Openshaw, Clayton and Beswick
Present Location: Douglas, Isle of Man
Subject: Manchester.
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Reader Message: Dear Aidan
This is the first time in 10 years that I have seen Manchester since moving away. I find it very strange to see that various locations in and around Manchester have changed so much in such a short time. I amongst many do fondly remember Lewis's store and Piccadilly Gardens as they were 25 years ago. I suppose it is progression and we have to move with the times to try and keep this one step ahead city, one step ahead.
I really look forward to seeing my place of birth (which I still love very much) in June sometime this year.

I think it's two steps back in the case of the redevelopment of Piccadilly Gardens. In many ways, the most effective form of progression is to restore and cherish what you've already got. Thanks for your message.

Newly redeveloped Corporation Street Manchester by nightName: Paul Bainbridge
From or connections with: Higher Blackley
Present Location: Charlotte, North Carolina, USA
Subject: Time for a truly Greater Manchester
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Reader Message: Dear Aidan
I have stated this opinion many times before but one more time won't hurt. If Manchester is to become a name known worldwide it has to be able to able to grow and develop. Heritage is fine, and I agree there are areas that should be kept as they are, or renovated to their former glory but aren't we in danger of becoming a living museum?. Areas such as Heaton Park could be truly great but they need to be cleaned up and buildings renovated.
However in order to devolp a city needs room to grow. In my opinion Manchester should be allowed to expand to cover what was formerly Greater Manchester. The areas taken in by this expansion can keep their heritage, all that will happen is that they become suburbs of an expanded Manchester. After all places like Blackley used to be villages outside Manchester but are now within the city of Manchester. I don't see any difference between that and what I have heard several people propose, the expansion of Manchester. The petty differences are encouraged by the national gorvernment as a means of 'divide and conquer' strategy, of course London has no desire to see Manchester grow, why would it? I say it's time to organise the whole area of the former Greater Manchester and put it truly on the world map once and for all !

Rochdale? suburb of an expanded Manchester? Tameside? an extension of east Manchester? Salford another name for west Manchester? I can just imagine the reaction in the council chambers of those boroughs at your suggestion, and out on the streets as well. And its the strong sense of civic independence among the outer boroughs and a certain denigration of Manchester - the dirty inner city industrial bit - that has led to the 'hemming in' of the City of Manchester on three sides, and the determination of the boroughs outside the boundary to attempt to go their own way. It would be absurd if Kensington and Chelsea insisted that they weren't part of London, or if the City of Southwark tried to put itself on a par with London, as Salford does in relation to Manchester. The problem is that whether 100 years ago or today, London has the prestigious air of a capital city, and Manchester hasn't. Either the non-MCC areas of Manchester must decide that they want to be part of Manchester or national legislation must be introduced to force them! Thanks for your very stimulating contribution!

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