Name: Joanna Day
From or connections with: City Centre / Withington
Present Location: Liverpool
Subject: Piccadilly Gardens
Reader Message: Dear Aidan
is less of a comment than a request for any relevant information. I am
an architectural student researching a dissertation on public space. I
am very interested in the many responses to the Piccadilly Gardens scheme,
which I am focusing on as a case study.
I wonder if anyone knows when the council gained full ownership of the
land following the sale of the Infirmary in 1910. I understand a portion
of the land had been donated for public use by the Mosley family when
the Infirmary was first built?
Obviously there is a strong feeling that there is a real need for green
space in the city centre. I wonder whether people will not welcome the
idea of a 24 hour, usable open space in the city. Perhaps people see this
predominantly as a marketing exercise for the city and more evidence that
our cities are becoming increasingly privatised?
Will this be a successful public space if it clears the tramps out and
attracts investment to the area encouraging property values to rise?
I welcome any comments.
points raised there. If you'd like to help Joanna with her dissertation,
by addressing these questions specifically, then please e-mail her directly
at the address above. As for ownership of the land, I am not sure of the
exact date when it was transferred to Manchester Corporation, but the
Mosley family designated that the land in front of the old infirmary,
roughly the north east side of Piccadilly Gardens, was always to be usedfor
public purposes. A new block to be used for private offices will shortly
begin to arise at the Portland St end of what was Piccadilly Gardens,
so the current council would appear to have gone against the spirit of
of land at the Portland St end was sold off by Manchester City Council
as they didn't have enough cash to pay for the expensive make-over on
the remaining part of the Gardens. Now that the structure is about to
be erected on our Gardens we have finally been given the opportunity to
see what it will look like. I wonder if crowds of tourists will be flocking
to Piccadilly Gardens to admire this building? I wonder if in New York
they would consider covering the lower end of Central Park with a building
of similar design only ten times bigger? The gardens should have been
renovated maintaining and enhancing their existing character, which was
a quintessential aspect of Manchester.
Name: Peter Foy
From or connections with: Oldham but Policed the North side of Manchester
Present Location: London Ontario Canada
Subject: North Quarter of Manchester
Reader Message: Dear Aidan,You seem to have missed out one the most important
Older Building in the North Quarter of Manchester.That being the Old Newton
Street Police which is now the Greater Manchester Police Museum.The GMP
Museum is at present being operated by retired members of GMP mostly those
who served in the Old Manchester City Police.
I personally visited the museum during July 2000 and learned lots of things
about the Old Police Forces in the Greater Manchester Area
than I ever knew or thought I knew before,and I was a Manchester City
Bobby prior to emigrating to Canada.
What is the possibility of doing the Old Greater Manchester Area Police
Stations and what they are being used for now.I know that many of them
maybe reduced to nothing but there have got to be several still around.One
I know of for sure in the old Oldham Borough Police behind and below the
disused Oldham Town Hall.There is also another old Lancashire County Police
Station on Butler Green Chaddertonfacing Fields New Rd Chadderton.
police museum is an important place in the Northern Quarter, though the
exterior of the building isn't very noticeable. For many years the headquarters
of Greater Manchester Police has been in a most unremarkable but functional
1970's office slab situated close to Old Trafford.
Name: June Shepley
From or connections with: Ashton-under-Lyne
Present Location: Ashton-under-Lyne
Subject: Your wonderful website!
Reader Message: Hi Aiden,
have been a fan of your website for ages now, I love the pictures and
the history and info that you add.
I only live 'up the road' from Central Manchester here in Ashton, but
I have learned a great deal from your site.
I have family scattered all over the world, and we keep in touch through
a family web-site that I host, needless to say, the link to your Eye-Witness
Manchester site is one of the more popular features!!
One of your readers recently said that he didn't like the pictures of
the 'crappy old buildings' - shame on him, they are the history that we
are rapidly losing, you are doing a brilliant job of keeping that history
( and peoples memories) alive.
Keep up the wonderful work Aiden,
It is very much appreciated,
you very much. The 'crappy old buildings' contributor is however making
a valid point that we perhaps tend to focus too much on the past and not
enough on the future development of the city. The conclusion I'm coming
to however is that although the city as it was a couple of generations
ago was smoky and decrepit, there was a lot of character and 'magic' which
didn't survive redevelopment from the sixties onwards. Even today, the
mosaic of Manchester is being chipped away
piece by piecel. A good example is this
pub, formely the Hyde Rd Hotel, birthplace of what later became Manchester
City Football Club. When I took this photograph I had no idea of what
it was or if it had any significance. A week later I was driving down
Hyde Rd and found it was surrounded by scaffolding. By the following month
it was a vacant piece of ground. Something has gone wrong in the development
of our city when things like this happen.
Name: Norman Stewart
From or connections with:
Reader Message: Dear Aidan. As a newcomer to your website I have to say
thank you for the great pictures of Manchester and surrounding districts.
Also thank you for your updates. It feels good to be able to come home
through the internet. Keep up the good work.Norman & Hilda Stewart.Sarnia
you very much indeed - I enjoy it!
Name: Harold Barbour
From or connections with: Harpurhey, Blackley, Moston, Collyhurst, Bury
Present Location: Llandrindod Wells
Reader Message: Dear Aidan.
Came across your web site by chance yesterday looking up Willert Street
Police Station where I one time served.
I have been spending much time on my PC of late, having been house-bound
after the removal of a section of bone from my left foot (Nothing to do
with Christy Brown!). I have already sent e-mails to Mr. Foy in Canada
and to Terry Minshull in Oz. Relations on my mother's side of the family
were all Minshulls.
through the letters from your many followers I note the Collyhurst "flat
iron" building which was of course The Balmoral public house on Rochdale
Road at the corner of Collyhurst Road as it was then before Collyhurst
Road was re-routed.
Before moving here over two years ago my wife and myself lived in Bury
for 27 years. There was a photograph of the Balmoral on the wall of the
Rose & Crown on Ainsworth Road, Bury. I don't know it the photo is
still there. Also The Alliance pub on Rochdale Road opposite the library,
that is the old Alliance and not the new monstrosity. I have imbibed in
both these pubs. In those days Boddingtons beer was something else. Now
its left to Holts to carry the flag! Incidentally Holts publish a history
of their pubs and this should be available from the brewery in Knowsley
When I was born my parents lived at 42, Lathbury Road, Harpurhey. They
moved to Cobden Street, Blackley and this was where I lived until I married.
My relations on my fathers side of the family lived at 12 Ashville Terrace,
Moston, and I moved between the two addresses where I made many friends.
One of the friends from my early years was Peter Jones whose family lived
in Bute Street, Moston. Peter's mum had an off licence on Rochdale Road
opposite the Palladium cinema (take note Berne Leng) and his father worked
for the CWS.
Peter is now one of the richest men in Britain and has a fortune greater
than Branson's. Peter Emerson Jones-Emerson the builder that is. And no,
I have not been in touch with him since 1947-ish.
Passing my eleven plus intervened as did National Service.. What else?
I recall riding on the trams down Market Street with an aunt; the barrage
balloons which were positioned on the David Lewis Recreation Ground in
Blackley; being carried to an air raid shelter on the shoulders of an
ARP warden and seeing the German bombers passing overhead; a huge crater
left in Boggart Hole Clough as a result of German bombing; the following
cinemas in North Manchester- The Fourways demolished to make way for high
rise flats, the Avenue cinema now a supermarket, the Adelphi on Kenyon
Lane which now serves as a market, the M. I. P. Moston Imperial Palace
also a market as is the Princess on Conran Street. The Empire which stood
on Factory Lane and The Palladium on Rochdale Road which I think is a
club. The Essoldo cinema on Rochdale Road, Collyhurst, now demolished
as is the Playhouse on Oldham Road.
I have some photographs of The Playhouse and a Wilson's pub which stood
up from the cinema near to Cary Springs. Also of some back to backs at
the bottom of Gould Street and Collyhurst Road, which have long since
been taken down. Also several of the Salvation Army Hostel at 2, Francis
Street, Strangeways, before it too was demolished.
How many of your readers remember Mary Turner who was a historian and
worked as a typist for the City Crime Squad of Manchester and Salford
Police? Oh, lest I forget also have some photos of The Roundhouse in Ancoats
before it too was pulled down. I recall the novelist Patricia Cornwell
telling me that "you have some wonderful buildings in Manchester".
Let's heed her words and not pull down our heritage and our history.
Could go on and on but enough of me. Look forward to logging on again
to your most fascinating site. My wife and myself come up to Manchester
approximately every six/eight weeks to see our son and do some shopping.
If there is anything I can do for anyone whilst up in Manchester let me
know and I will do my best.
With your contributions and those of others, we can rebuild a hidden Manchester
that still exists - in peoples minds! It's amazing just how many cinemas
there were, and yet today new cinemas are being built frequented mostly
by younger people, as in the past. I wonder if in the year 2151 people
will be sending messages saying "Ah, do you remember the old UCG
cinema at Parrs Wood?"
Name: Gary Morris
From or connections with: Bury, Walshaw & Tottington
Present Location: Toronto, Ont. Canada
Subject: Awesome stuff
Reader Message: Dear Aidan
I've said it to you before and I will say it again, I love the stuff you
do! Sounds like you do not have too much local recognition over there,
well don't worry you obviously have tons of appreciative fans outside
of M/C and of UK. I left UK in 1986, and finally thru' your lens I have
been able see how much Manchester has changed. Personally, as I now live
in a large modern city like Toronto, I welcome all the new buildings.
It is refreshing and makes Manchester more attractive to visitors from
outside of UK.
Anyway I noticed a lot of your readers are asking the "if anyone
out there knows me" question. For all those people looking to contact
old friends and school pals, you should put a link to the FriendsReunited
I went to Bury Grammar School from 1968 to 1981 and thru' this site, I
have been in contact with over a dozen old pals that I have not heard
from in 25 years. Its amazing - Just an FYI.
If you are ever in Bury, Walshaw or Tottington, would love some photo's.
Keep up the good stuff !!!
ps. If you would like to see some shots of Toronto, go to my ClubPhotowebsite
and visit album #11 at
Once you get past my kid shots, there are some nice cityscape shots of
this city of 4 million people
you very much for your appreciative words. It's true I have very little
recognition here, but that is shortly going to change! Keep visiting Eyewitness
in Manchester and my home page www.aidan.co.uk to find out more about
Name: J.J. GUERIN
From or connections with: Unsworth, Bury
Present Location: Phoenix, Arizona
Reader Message: Dear Aidan
Coming to Unsworth, Bury. Sept 18. Belong to Phoenix Country Club (Arizona).
Is there a reciprocal tennis club
in the Unsworth area.? Originally from Cheetham Hill. Really enjoy your
website. Thank you for all
J. J. Guerin
know - if anyone out there knows, please contact the e-mail address above.
Glad you enjoy my website!
Name: Di Norton
From or connections with: Grosvenor Street
Present Location: Manchester
Subject: Great Article on Grosvenor Street
EWM Photo: http://www.aidan.co.uk/eyewitness-in-manchester/ic14/00.jpg
Reader Message: Dear Aidan
Nice article on Grosvenor Street!
This area also has a secret - http://www.cybertrn.demon.co.uk/guardian/
shows access to a cold war tunnel just off Grosvenor Street!!
know that spot very well - there is an electricity substation there, just
next to the Mancunian Way. 'Tunnels under Manchester' - now there's an
idea for an Eyewitness in Manchester special. I'd have to bring my flashgun
with me, and my anorak. And I'm not sure how many postcard piccies I'd
bring back from underground but who knows! The air raid shelters in Stockport
are now a popular tourist attraction. And just while I remember, whatever
happened to that underground market which used to run from the street
off Market St down to the street behind Boots, the Market Centre?
Name: Gerard Townley
From or connections with: Cholton-on Medlock
Present Location: Ajax. Ontario Canada
Subject: Grosvenor area is where I was born October 1930
EWM Photo: Upper Brook Street
Reader Message: Dear Aidan
Looking at your latest creation it took me back many years, in fact I
was born in a Street called Stockton Street (long gone) in October 1930
and grew up in the Grosvenor area so I have lots of memories.
Looking at your pictures and the many names of streets made it feel like
yesterday when I lived there rather than 60-70 years ago.
In my teens (again a long time ago) I used to go to a dance hall called
"The Astoria" which was on Plymouth Grove not far from Upper
Brook Street. They had some wonderful bands in those days and the drummers
were my favorites, boy could they drum, maybe some of your readers could
remember those days and the dance hall?
But now things have changed and places have gone to be replaced by more
modern buildings, but we can only remember the good old days.
Is there a swimming pool being built near where the Grosvenor picture
house used to be, I thought I saw it many years ago when I was over on
vacation in Manchester.
Thanks once again for your email look forward to your next selection.
Commonwealth Games pool is next door to the Grosvenor Picture Palace and
was opened in 2000. That dance hall on Plymouth Grove may later have become
the Carousel, an important music venue for the Irish community. They also
had pop music concerts there and in the 1980's I saw a performance by
Nico - an artist you probably won't have heard of, but was legendary in
her time and milieu. Blonde, young and attractive she came to New York
from Germany and sang with Lou Reed in the Velvet Underground during the
late 80's, with her health and appearance degraded due to hard drug use
and cigarettes, she made Manchester her home. Sadly she died a few years
later, probably as a result of her lifestyle. I witnessed this unique
and mesmerising artist in what I think was the dance hall you mention
- the Astoria. Can anyone confirm that the Astoria did indeed become the
Carousel which, incidentally, was demolished some years ago.
Name: Florence Grady
From or connections with: West Disbury, Hulme, Fallowfield/Rusholme
Present Location: Feilding New Zealand,
Subject: Cinemas. Pub
Reader Message: Dear Aidan
Hello again Aidan as usual your work is inspiring.Re talk of cinemas in
Withington. I have never seen a mention of our Sunday night out cinema,
The Palatine cinema on Palatine road, it was a great meeting place, as
there was a coffee bar just by the side where we all went after the pictures
had finished. There was a Golden Lion pub too in Withington as well as
the Red lion and white Lion. Whilst I am on about nights out how many
of your readers spent Saturday at the skating rink at Birchfields (sadly
long gone) what fun we used to have racing around. Well just wanted to
say hello again and to let you now I am still an avid reader of your web
site. Hello to all ex Ducie Central girls school or as it used to be called
or Miss Healeys school for young ladies. Bye keep clicking and we'll keep
cinema? Golden Lion? Skating rink at Birchfields? Sometimes I wonder if
I'm living in the same city as the one which many people write to me about.
Today we have the Red Lion and the White Lion, but where was the Golden
Lion? There's a skating rink in Altrincham - the only one in Greater Manchester
as far as I'm aware. There is a Ducie High School not far from the old
one, but it's no longer a girls school. How times change, but thanks to
you and all the other contributors on these pages, we can help ensure
that the Manchester that was is kept alive in our mind's eye, and in the
eyes of future generations.