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GREETINGS FROM MANCHESTER in 1950, illustrated with photographs taken in black and white mostly 50 years later. The source material can be found on microfilm copies of the Manchester Evening News, held at the Central Library. As I was standing on Princess St taking the black and white pictures to accompany the reports on this page, this old Austin Seven suddenly appeared in the midst of the traffic. The past is ever-present, if you look for it...

Picture: Old Austin on Princess-street, Manchester

MANCHESTER CORPORATION'S PLANS for a network of dual carriageways and ring and radial roads are to be revised and brought 'down to earth' in a new development plan currently being drawn up. The City Surveyor, Mr Rowland Nicholas, has made an interim report on the matter to the Town Planning Committee.

Short term proposals are aimed at maintaing the existing highways, recarpeting cobbled roads and building roadworks essential to new housing schemes. The city's inner 'boulevard', circling the heart of the city, is likely to be abandoned - at least for the next 20 years. The extension of Princess Parkway into the city, and its extension to Ringway Airport is expected to be modified radically at the city end.

Picture: Cobbles on Hunt's Bank, looking towards Victoria Station railway bridge, Manchester

MANCHESTER'S SMOKELESS ZONE plan has been approved by the Ministry of Health. It will go into operation on May 1 1951. The area affected is in the heart of the city, bounded by St Mary's Gate, Market-street, Piccadilly, Portland-street, Oxford-street, Peter-street and Deansgate. It consists mainly of office, shops warehouses and business premises. Any occupier who permits smoke to be emitted will be liable to a £10 fine and a recurring £5 penalty as long as the offence continues. In this area there are at present 2228 open grates, boilers, kitchen ranges and heating stoves which give out smoke.

Picture: Chimney stacks, Princess Street, Manchester

FIVE HUNDRED WORKMEN of a task force to reach 1000 strong are working on the £4M dock at Eastham, Cheshire, where the Manchester Ship Canal joins the River Mersey. Shell Oil Company has launched a fleet of super tankers which will bring oil to the expanding oil refineries at Stanlow. Since the scheme began in October of last year, 600,000 cubic yards of rock have been cleared.

Picture: Warburton Bridge over the Manchester Ship Canal, near Warrington

HOLMES CHAPEL, the Cheshire village 24 miles from Manchester, may become a site for an overspill town to accommodate 40,000 families. The Holmes Chapel plan is an alternative to the now-dead 'Mobberley plan', and has been kept a closely-guarded secret. The local authority has not been informed that the area may be developed for overspill housing.

British Railways, running 12 services a day to Holmes Chapel, said the service could be stepped up for workers travelling to Manchester. The present travelling time averages just under one hour.

Picture: Victoria Station, Manchester

HOME OFFICE PRISON COMMISSIONERS are negotiating with Rochdale Corporation for the sale of the old Rochdale Remand Home for conversion into a detention centre for people under 21. Currently Strangeways Gaol is very overcrowded.

Picture: Strangeways Prison tower, with steam from Boddington's Brewery

MANCHESTER HAS 28,300 on its 'phone waiting list. More than 12,000 people have been waiting for two years or more to be connected. 1,120 have been waiting for more than five years. Last year, 16,000 people were connected to the telephone system in the Manchester area. 12,000 people are sharing their lines on the party line system.

And 8000 telephone subscribers on the Blackfriars exchange can expect 'intermittent interference' with their service during the next few days. Small blocks of numbers will be cut off for short periods during the day while rewiring is carried out at the Blackfriars exchange in Telephone House, Salford.

Picture: Telephone House, Salford

MR J ARTHUR RANK met 170 local independent cinema proprietors and managers today, and discussed the problems of film exhibition and distribution. Mr Rank is reported to have answered questions on the following topics:

Production. - He and his colleagues have a plan to make the position safe - a root trouble is the high level of entertainment tax.

Television. - He did not believe that television was a threat to the cinema. On the contrary, it should definitely encourage it. His organisation was ready to introduce big screen TV in cinemas as soon as the government permitted him to televise on a private channel. Of exhibitors, he said they were not selling British films as well as they might.

Picture: Odeon Cinema, Oxford-street, Manchester

SUCH A WAVE OF THEFTS from gas meters is taking place that unlucky householders are paying out £3000 to make good the losses. There are 20 cases of gas meter theft in Manchester per week. Black spots are Chorlton-on-Medlock, Hulme, Longsight and Cheetham.

A favourite method of the meter thief is to remove the street grating and climb into the cellar. 'The approach of Christmas usually means a glut of thefts' said an official. 'Recently we installed an automatic meter in a shop and within three hours it had been robbed.

Picture: Pound note in circulation during 1950

WHEN MANCHESTER CITY COUNCIL meets on December 6 it will discuss the promotion of a bill to close part of the Rochdale Canal in the city.

Picture: Canal, next to Whitworth-street Manchester

STOCKS OF COKE in the North-West Gas Board's holdings have dropped by 100,000 tons in two months. Supplies in Birmingham and the West Midlands have run so low that it has been necessary to 'export' coke to other parts of the country.

The North-West Board has 4.7 weeks' stocks of coal for gas production. An official said as long as the National Coal Board continues with coal production as it has done, there should be no undue fears of a gas shortage.

Picture: Astley Colliery, near Boothstown, Lancashire

STOCKPORT's 'swimming cow', which escaped from Adswood abattoir and was seen in the River Mersey on Saturday, escaped again and this time appeared in the river Mersey at Cheadle. Crowds watched from Cheadle Bridge, as police patrolled the river banks. Finally it waded out into a field at Northenden.

Picture: Sykes Reservoir, Edgeley, Stockport

THE WEATHER FORECAST for the week ending November 23rd, 1950, is for rain, temperatures slightly lower than normal. Lighting up time is 4.30pm.

Picture: Manchester Cathedral at dusk

MY '50 YEARS AGO reports are in memory of my father Bertie O'Rourke (1908-1979), who 50 years ago was the same age as I am now.


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