It has been a while since I have corresponded with you.
The new Parrs Wood cinema is interesting to me as I went to Parrs
Wood High. Through my parents, I had heard of rebuilding of the
school in conjunction with a private leisure group. Is this part
of the "deal"?
Although I don't remember the names, there was a cinema on Kingsway,
approximately 1.5 miles North of Parrs Wood. Last I heard it was
a Bingo hall(I think). Is it still there??
I also remember going to see "Zulu" as a young boy(7 or 8) at the
Farmplace(?) cinema. It was a small one screen cinema just off Stockport
Rd in Levenshulme. It may have become a Bingo hall too.
The old cinemas, or movie theatres as they are called in the US,
are also a rare find over here. We have become a herd of cattle
in and out! The latest development, about two miles from my home,
is to include a 20 screen cinema with stadium seating and digital
sound. There are some small towns with the old cinema still functioning
The demise of the drive-in has been a sad happening in the US.
It was a unique occasion to head to the drive in to watch a couple
of films. Or to drive down a road where the screen was visible,
after midnight when they played the porn flicks.....maybe this is
why they closed!!
Rich Cook Ft. Wayne, IN
Virgin Cinema Parrs Wood is part of a new leisure complex being
built on the site next to Parrs Wood High School. The land was sold
for use by the developer on condition they build a new school -
in July 2000 this new high-tech school building is well advanced,
and the old school is being taken down. The cinema at Green End
Road was until recently a Kwik Save store until it was partially
burnt down by a fire. Right now, the entrance is still there, though
boarded up, and the rear of the building has been removed, revealing
part of the interior of the former cinema. I'll be including pictures
of these locations soon in Eyewitness in Manchester.
Hello Aidan, I enjoyed your feature on Cinemas very much.
Once again brought back a lot of memories. The Apollo has been
a venue for pop concerts since the mid 60's. I saw the Beatles there!.
The Roxy in Hollinwood used to have a restaurant upstairs which
could be hired for weddings etc. Going back further still, I vaguely
remember my mother taking me to the Empress to see an Al Jolson
film (must have been a babe-in-arms!).
Best wishes Lynda
I read in 'Magic in the Dark' that the Beatles played there in 1963.
I thought you'd like some feedback re your old
cinemas piece. Well, even if you don't, here it is:
I rather like the looks of the Ambassador. Yes, it looks like it's
a worthy building that people should try to preserve. But... Yeuch,
the Salford Cinema looks like a real old fleapit. Go on, I dare
you now after all these years to go in there and bare some flesh.
The fleas will be like mad vampires by now, and absolutely ravenous.
Talking of fleapits.. I remember the Grosvenor Cinema from 1974,
when I was a student living at Grosvenor Place, the 5-story 5-shaped
block behind it. I thought it was an eyesore then, and judging from
the picture, it's an eyesore now. Pass the sledgehammer.
In my second year I lived in a house in Stretford, and remember
the Roxy. Lovely building. It's a hit with me. It would be nice
if it stayed.
Gor blimey guv, that Empress doesn't even look like a cinema. It
looks like some tacky old train shed, only not so well built. How
could you shed even half a tear for it!
Before I found out I you were forty twoish I thought you were about
ninety, you like old buildings so so much. I rather like the new
block of flats in Didbury, and reckon it's an improvement on the
And The Playhouse Miles Platting looks much better now it's been
But best of all is the Virgin Parrs Wood. Now that's what I call
yes, a bit of confrontational feedback for a change!
didn't say I liked the Empress on Oldham Road - it's just that this
one was picked out for an article in the Evening News about the
preservation of old cinemas. You have to look beyond their present
state and imagine how they were when they were new, or if they were
restored. I don't only like old buildings - it's just that so many
of the new ones are totally mediocre and uninspiring, with a few
notable exceptions. One of the best new cinemas is the Warner Village
near Ellesmere Port - it's an amazing piece of updated high tech
art deco - I'll include a photograph of that soon.
Hi. Although they are both run down, Middleton still has two cinema
buildings. The first, The Palace is in the centre, next to the gardens.
It is now a closed-down bingo hall. The second is what used to be
the Hippodrome Nightclub before it closed down also. What this cinema
used to be called I am unsure (only 27 years old!) Middleton used
to have a third cinema I believe, but this disappeared long ago.
And in Rochdale in the centre, you have the old cinema that might
be a Bingo hall now (I don't visit Rochdale much nowadays). I remember
this from my childhood - garish orange seats I think! Anyhow, keep
up the excellent work on the site - I work for a multi-national
company and often refer work colleagues from Asia and America to
your site to show them "true Manchester"
Regards Derek Bates
- I'll try and photograph those cinemas - there are scores I could
capture all round Greater Manchester! Thanks for your comments!
Have been keeping a watchful eye on your site for quite sometime
Really enjoyed all your photographs of Manchester and surrounds.
It is quite a nostalgic trip for me each time. Have been in Australia
for 38 years now, but I always enjoy coming home via your site.
Today I received the book of Manchester Memories for my library,
sent to me by my brother who I recently met in U.S.A at my sister's
home after 22 years. Now I've had a taste of adventure I'd like
a trip back home. Hope they don't change Manchester too much before
I get there.!!
Really upset at what they may do to our old Piccadilly Gardens,
and they will call it progress !!
Cheers & Keep up the great work. Your keeping a whole lot of Mancunuans
Sincerely Brenda & John Bright. 03/07/00.
you very much for your message - You'd better get here as soon as
possible, otherwise you won't recognise Manchester as the same city
It's been a while since I've written, but I regularly tune in to
still excellent missives on the 'Eyewitness in Manchester' page.
Cinemas certainly did play a major role in the lives of countless
thousand Mancunians in their heyday. 'Going to the pictures' was
regular highlight of the late WW2 years of my youth, especially
Saturdays. My Grandma and Granddad Greatbanks lived on Spire Street,
Ardwick, I may have mentioned this in a previous letter I wrote
they never had electricity installed. My Grandma used to bake bread
Saturdays in the side oven of her highly polished fireplace, stoking
fire under the cast iron oven and using her hand as a thermometer,
created the most mouthwatering aromas on fresh baked bread and I
managed to grab the first crust, still piping hot and smother it
dairy butter. I should point out that my Grandfather worked for,
believe it was Markendales, a wholesale food supplier, so we managed
get some of the things that others couldn't during the war, butter
He also used to bring me a 1lb bar of Palm toffee and treated me
pictures at the Queens, which was on Ashton Old Road, opposite the
goods yard alongside the viaducts. There were a lot of movie theatres
on the Old Road, going along the Old Road towards Openshaw you had
Roy, behind which a land mine destroyed many homes in the latter
of the war, later replaced by prefabs. Then you had the Metropole,
which held a particular significance for me. I had just broken up
my girlfriend of 3 years and was walking down the Old Road to go
Queens. Outside the Met, where her father worked part-time was my
to be, June Robinson. We had been childhood sweethearts from age
had gone our separate ways, only to meet again outside the Met.
walked up and said, 'Are you going to the pictures?' she replied
was thinking of going in here.' I retorted, 'I'm going to the Queens,
want to come?' She said yes and rest, as they say is history.
I also used to frequent the Saturday Matinees at the 'Met' on an
irregular basis. They were fun. Packed with kids who came to watch
their heroes fight the bad guys. They were noisy affairs, and it
that every time the bad guy was creeping up on the goodie, the kids
would all cry out ' Look out behind you!' and the Good Guy always
to turn around just at that point.
Further up the Old Road was the Rex just below the canal bridge,
flea hut that showed mainly 'B' grade movies, then last but not
was the Alhambra where Ogden Lane met the Old Road. It had a dance
above it called Chick Hibberts, that always had a rumble as the
turned out and the immediate area was regularly patrolled by police
expecting trouble. The main battles came in the era of the Teddy
a group I never emulated in dress style, but did have a lot of friends
The Met and the Alhambra were both old Music Halls, with an Upper
we always called the 'Gods,' an area we used to love and sit in
could lob all kinds of debris on the audience below. The usherettes
never seemed to catch us doing it, but we often got turfed out for
Regarding the book, 'Magic in the Dark.' you're right, it is a
read. My sister sent me a copy and boy, did it bring back memories.
I've told you before, I attended Manchester Central Grammar when
were on Whitworth Street and was lucky enough to be able to grasp
was being taught on the first presentation. I would take many days
to travel on a 'Platform Ticket' to various railway stations to
engine numbers, or to attend soccer games played on weekday afternoons
before the advent of floodlights, as well as to go to the movies,
financed by my little racket of buying and selling toffee coupons
outside our school Tuck Shop. The book shows many I have visited
'at school,' such as the Gaumont, the Odeon and the Regal on Oxford
the Tatler on the Oxford Road station approach, and the Continental
Market St., which I sometimes managed to get into, but was often
away as it only showed naughty movies.
Yes, 'going to the pictures' was always a highlight of my teenage
where you would go with your girl and sit on the back row. Some
movie theatres had double seats which really helped with your kissing
and cuddling, not that I ever did such things. Tsk. Tsk!!
Talk to you again soon rather than later.
great reminiscences - Cinemas hold a lot of memories for people!
Cross Lane Salford. It was the winter of 1940. We as teenagers
used to parade up and down the lane bumping into the girls, who
usually walked in pairs. We never heard or used drugs, life was
simple ,but happy. We never said we were bored, worked hard and
played hard. Yes we even looked forward to eventually getting into
uniform which a lot of us finished up doing. Salford in many ways
has changed for the better, trees now abound the area, but somehow
the spirit and comradeship which we knew then, I fear is no longer
I feel your doing a fine job Aidan , and I wish you well for the
Lane has changed completely, but nearby Langworthy Road (below)
is still recognisable - Further down this road on either side are
some of the most blighted and crime ridden areas in the UK, but
in Salford Quays, the former Docks, visible in the distance, you'll
find prosperity and the latest in contemporary houses - There's
good and bad everywhere today as in the past.
I share your view re building on part of Piccadilly gardens to
pay for a refurb of the remaining green area.
It's wrong. In five years time will they want to repeat the process?
I also greatly share your sentiments about the city council boundary.
Manchester City council is poor because it occupies only a small
portion of the Manchester area.
Keep up your protestations, and carry on urging others to make
a noise about this.
Do you know if the surrounding authorities are paying the City
anything towards the Commonwealth Games? Isn't there a bit of needle
Maybe the Piccadilly development is to raise some contingency funds
for the games?
Re making money, I think one answer is skyscrapers. There have
been no new significant tall buildings in Manchester since 1974
when the Arndale Tower was built. If you go back to the time of
the CIS and the Sunley building, it's almost 40 years.
Skyscrapers are seen the world over as a sign of a City's importance
and vigour. People sniff at them, but they always end up on the
postcards. If the council are in the business of granting planning
permission for money there must be some way they can make some dosh
out of residential condo type blocks, say 40 stories high, big enough
for a manned lobby, sports facilities, pool, and views. The City
must own some worthwhile land to sell with planning permission,
or they could allow a developer to straddle a road
is a residential skyscraper planned for the site next to the Great
Northern Warehouse complex, behind the Free Trade Hall. Skyscrapers
would be a good idea, but I think it would have been a good idea
to locate them outside the immediate city centre, as in Paris and
Dubai. The Arndale office block should be pulled down to free up
the skyline again.
far as I know, The City of Manchester is paying for the Games, with
some support from central government. As for the machinations of
Manchester City Council's finance department, I'm definitely not
privy to any inside information - in fact, I think I'd rather not
know what they do with my £63 per month council tax!
Here's another idea for you. The City of Manchester should suggest
that Man U should change its name to Stretford United. Or that Manchester
might as well be called Miles Platting because of all the divide-and-rule
gerrymandering keeps the wider city diminished, underepresented,
and poor, without a mayor and without a GMA. I imagine some rumblings
of home rule and the Lothian question would help, along with a mention
of the Oxbridge elite and the Daresbury lab and Rolls Royce going
south. Alternatively the City could say its going to sell Heaton
Park for a private walled development.
your question about Edenfield Road Crumpsall is easy! You caught
my old house right in the middle of the picture. We used to live
at 14 Edenfield Road until the height of the property boom in 1989,
when we moved around the corner to Park Road, Prestwich. Before
that I lived for six weeks in Moston on Egbert Street, but since
I was only six weeks old at the time I don't remember that too well!
If you'd have done your cycling trip on bin day you would have seen
that the houses in the picture of Edenfield Road are in Manchester.
The houses on the left are in Bury. It used to be obvious to us
because Bury houses had the new weehly bins for about ten years
before Manchester houses got them. I think that the geographical
boundary is an underground stream, which is probably why it seemed
to run a nonsensical path! I have seen it on a map from 1850. It
runs underneath Danesway, and then continues as what we used to
call "The Sewer" (because it was pretty rank) which runs
between Cavendish Road and Kings Road on the Salford side of Bury
Old Road. My school used to back onto it and I remember getting
in trouble for helping to dam it up with some of my school-pals!
I think the source would have been a spring. We used to have one
at the bottom of our garden in Edenfield Road, but that was probably
just the stream surfacing.
The houses in the area are all of a fairly similar design. I heard
a tale that the designer or planner was remembered in some of the
road names - principally Edilom Road, but I've found nothing to
back that up but here-say. There obviously used to be a brook in
the area - the big old house next to "The Woodthorpe"
pub was called "Brooklands" - the playing fields near
where the house stood are similarly named and there is a "Brooklands"
I'm told that before development into housing took place the area
was a golf course and there are still a couple of overgrown bunkers
on Brooklands playing fields which are owned by Bury MBC. The Woodthorpe
was originally the home of the Holt family who founded the Manchester
brewery bearing their name.
The Metrolink Station at Bowker Vale isn't really in Bowker Vale
at all. Its on Meade Hill. Bowker Vale is a little down the road
- properly a valley where the river Irk runs. Its much cleaner now,
but suffered because of the dye works in the area and towards Middleton.
More recently detergent spillages have caused the roads around here
to be overflowing with foam. The MEN archives might have some pictures
of cars driving through walls of soap bubbles in the early 90s.
There is a new Sainsburys supermarket on the site of what used to
be Heaton Mills at the Three Arrows M60 junction. If we hadn't moved
to Park Road, we would have moved to Boothroyden Terrace which is
being torn apart by the new motorway. If you can find it behind
new housing developments its probably worth a visit as it has good
panoramic views over the new motorway site, Heaton Park, Higher
Blackley and Middleton.
Terrace - yes, I'll be passing there on the next leg of my tour
around the City of Manchester boundary. Your contribution is very
interesting - it's great to have the insight of a true Crumpsalian!
The River Irk photo above is taken a little lower down the river,
not far from Herristone Park.
In your article about Dovestones, you say that there are two reservoirs
- there are actually three reservoirs in a row., going down in size
the further back you walk. I know this as I walk round them every
Saturday or Sunday afternoon with my dog. Thanks.
looked at the map and yes, you're right - we didn't get as far as
the highest of the three reservoirs. Thanks for putting me right
on that one!
I enjoyed the pictures taken along the Manchester boundary so far,
especially the ones of North Manchester.
am originally from Higher Blackley, actually I lived almost literally
right behind the Sainsbury's, off Heaton Park Road (Branksome Drive),
opposite the Three Arrows Pub.
The Three Arrows Pub has to be one of the best, if not the best
pub in North Manchester. I remember walking along the brindle road
(Old Hall Lane) alongside Heaton Park many many times as a child.
I used to walk through the woods in Heaton Park through the gate,
or rather the old gate before they moved it due to the recent construction
of the M66. I suppose it was as close to a walk in the countryside
as I could get in those days.
I also used to love to sit on the lions in Heaton Park as a child.
Then we'd go and get an ice cream in the cafeteria of Heaton Hall
(since demolished due to fire damage). In the winter when there
was snow we'd take the sledge into Heaton Park and sled down the
big hill of the 1st tee of the golf course. Your pictures brought
back some good memories although I miss being able to walk in Heaton
Park almost daily as a way to 'lose yourself'.
I hope to soon be able to take my wife to show her all my childhood
Paul Bainbridge Charlotte, NC USA
very glad to have recaptured locations from your childhood, even
if they aren't part of mine! One day I'll do a feature on my own
From: Marilyn Littler (nee Jones)
When I saw the Lions it reminded me of when I was a child.My sister
and I used to sit on them whenever my Mum and Dad took us to the
park (circa 1955). In later years (1966) I worked at the Orangery,
next to the cafeteria, as a waitress on Saturdays where they used
to hold wedding receptions.
Last year we moved from the Manchester area and emigrated to Perth
in Western Australia, so it was very nostalgic to see your photos.
PS - if anyone remembers the "Jones Twins" - Marilyn and Jacqueline,
born 1950 of Crumpsall (Sedgley Road, off Oak Road - now Ash Tree
Road), would love to hear from you. Thanks.
My heart leapt when I saw your feature on "Bike ride around" Manchester
and found my old stamping ground. I lived in Hightown until 1967,when
I came to Melbourne, and began my school life at Marlborough Road
I was there until age 7, when I went to Manchester Jews School,
since demolished, which was in Strangeways at the bottom of Waterloo
I knew the prison well,as I used to walk past it daily on my way
to school. I used to wonder who was in there and I have to say my
imagination ran riot! We used to shop on the Village on Bury old
As for Heaton Park, we spent much time there, cups of tea at the
kiosk, feeding the ducks and swans on the lake, and riding on the
ferry which used to be there. You've brought back many memories
I loved your description of 65 degrees as hot.We're in winter here
and having that temperature today. I must admit, I wish we did have
that in summer rather than the 30s/40s we do have.
Thanks Aidan, you've made a former Mancunian very happy! Sonia
I am a late visitor to your site (I only discovered it about a
week ago!) but think it's wonderful. My special interest is in the
archive pages - this is something of a hobby of mine and I spend
literally hours at the Local Studies Unit in Central Library looking
at the photos they now have on computer.
I have approximately 40 prints on my wall at home of old Harpurhey,
Moston and Blackley (my stomping ground) but still have room for
many more! I lived in Wythenshawe between the ages of 4 and 27 so
it was interesting to read the archive news about the building of
the 'new' Civic Centre and the Woodhouse Park estate.
I have noticed that there doesn't seem to be many photos of the
North Manchester area (apart from the ducks in Boggart Hole Clough
and the odd church) but perhaps it's because there's not too much
that's of architectural interest now - certainly since Bellway Homes
and the like got hold of the area!
The Clough itself is a beautiful area though - have you seen the
'angel' (actually a war memorial) on the top fields - might make
an interesting photo. I look forward to keeping in touch with your
pages now I've discovered them. Sue
Keep up the good work.
you liked the 1947 and 48 reports - I haven't had very much feedback
about them. I'll be posting more pictures from north Manchester,
including Boggart Hole Clough, very soon.
Aiden, Looking at the photo of OXFORD RD dated may10th00 I am reminded
of when I was a kid back in 1941, age 11,the traffic was just the
same then, and crossing the road was, even then, a nightmare, so
time has not changed a thing, nor me-thinks will it.
I was born & bred in LONGSIGHT ,lived & worked in LEVENSHULME till
I joined the navy in 1948. then I met & married my wife of 47yrs
[ this coming August 1st] & lived again in LEVENSHULME & later FALLOWFIELD
till 1964 when with my wife & family of three emigrated to Australia
where we've been for the past 36yrs.
Now my family is four children who have produced for us 12 grandkids
& 4great grandkids. But!!! Home is still home & I read your news
quite frequently. You have some great photos to help us to remember.
Thank you. Regards. Bud [my wife] & Ken
very much indeed for your message - Recently I was looking in the
1950 edition of the Manchester Evening News, and it mentioned the
vexed issue of bollards, which were just then being installed -
there was a picture of the junction of Grosvenor Street and Oxford
Road, All Saints. Drivers were complaining as their road space was
being reduced, to the benefit of pedestrians. Nowadays, it's bus
lanes and speed bumps and drivers are equally as annoyed!
nice to hear from you and congratulations on your big family!
went to Mcr. Central High School from 1939 to 1943. My office wall
has the front page of the Evening Chronicle dated Dec. 23rd.1940,
properly framed, with the headline "HISTORIC BUILDINGS HIT IN BLITZ
ON MANCHESTER'. This occured when we returned from our evacuation
to Blackpool !!!
I have some memorabilia of the period including my ARP messenger
button, Halle orchestra programmes, etc. etc. Is there some historical
society who would be interested in this ? I articled for the surveying
firm of Cross & sons, Ashworth & Morris in Century House.
I am blessed with an almost photogenic memory and can recall many
facts about places and people. I left England in 1948 for Montreal,
lived there for 30 years and have lived in Florida for the past
22 years. My address 555 Oaks Lane #211, Pompano Bch. FL 33069 email@example.com.
(I am an immigration attorney !!)
think you ought to send your message to In Touch
- they can publish it in the Manchester Evening News on a Saturday
- you may make contact with people you know, and hopfully find someone
who would be ineterested in your memorabilia. I've worked in Century
House myself - doing freelance work for CLB, the firm of chartered
The City Engineers have a great photograph of Century House taken
during the war, in snow, with an ARP or some military vehicle in
the picture. The Central Library have this photo now, I think. The
picture above is taken from CLB'S offices, on the top floor of Century
House, and shows the Central Library.
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