Barmouth Street – Bradford Manchester

Once again I am following in the footsteps of Rita Tushinghan and the Taste of Honey film crew, this time my research has lead me to Barmouth Street, Manchester.

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To the east of the city centre, Bradford Park School was the scene of the opening scene, Jo’s netball match. The school is now long gone, now the site of a much enlarged public park, as can be seen from the map above.

Shelagh Delaney, author of the original play on which the film was based, can be seen fleetingly in this opening scene, appearing momentarily over the games teacher’s shoulder.

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I have found one archive image of the school, as the scholars prepare for the annual Whit Walks, this along with many other community traditions and conventions, have all but disappeared from the streets of the city.

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This was once a tight knit community, surrounded by industry, full employment and a short lived period of post-war growth and optimism.

A corner shop on very corner, though by the time I worked as a Mothers Pride van lad in the late sixties, many were already on their last legs. A lethal cocktail of closing factories, incipient supermarkets, and an urban renewal programme, which lead to slum clearance, would change the character of the area forever.

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I am indebted to the photographic work of T Brooks who seems to have spent much of the mid Sixties documenting the streets, his pictures are now kept here in the Manchester Image Archives. Sadly I have found no further reference to him or his images, but have nothing but admiration for all those who pass unnoticed amongst us, camera forever poised.

Central to the social and sanitary life of that that community were the Barmouth Street Baths and Washhouse, where citizens would swim, wash, dry, iron, chat convivially, and surprisingly – play bowls.

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Now long gone, along with the provision of local authority nursery care. There were similar low level pre-fabricated buildings dotted all over the city. Built quickly and cheaply, to provide for a growing population, of largely working-class families, with no shortage of work opportunities.

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This was a time of great social change, a time which the film attempts to anticipate -a more diverse, and hopefully more tolerant time, a time of possibilities and opportunities for all.

24 thoughts on “Barmouth Street – Bradford Manchester

    1. Hi my name is George my parents bought the corner shop in Barmouth street corner of Albert Street in 1963. We had the shop for 25 years until a CPO closed us down. It was an amazing part of my life growing up in Bradford,not Beswick. All the best George

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    2. My Nana ..Edna Harrison..lived on jobling street and used the launderette regular..Do u remember the dolphins that were there. Flipper and Sinbad..

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    1. Hi Gary, James Stopford at no 129 in 1911, married to Sarah Ann Allen, her sister Elizabeth Emma Allen married to George William Jones at 121. Seems James ran a shop, so interested to see all these shop fronts!

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      1. No way, i remember climbing on the roof of the out house next door to your shop way back in 1986/87! You came out and told me to get down after showing me a previous injury from when you fell through there. My Gran used to live opposite your shop on Banner walk, it was a proper old school shop that. I remember getting a bottle of Ben Shaws pineapple crush or American cream soda and having to return the bottle back for a deposit. I can only find two pictures of this shop and street on the internet, wouldn’t mind finding more as there was also another shop on this street further down towards the baths (think it went in 1982).
        With both grey mare lane market and many relatives long gone there is nothing left here now, just new tacky prefab properties. There are far better Cities and seaside resorts to visit over the pennines such as York, Leeds & Scarborough, all of which still retain their traditional markets whilst Manchester is dead.

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  1. Also used to visit the baths occasionally during the Summer holidays (25p) I remember the maroon Volvo 66 that was parked at the other side of the road which a women used to drive, i assume she was a relative who worked at your shop.

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    1. My gran Sheila mother Colette and auntie Janet, aswell as my auntie Nora Richard Tina and Micheal all loved on banner walk 4 and 6

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  2. The school was called Gresham St School formerly Johnson St School for girls. I used to live in the shop next to Barmouth St baths and featured in the film.

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  3. Pingback: A Taste Of Honey
  4. The school referred to where A Taste of Honey was filmed was actually Johnson Street Girls School which later changed its name to Gresham Street. I lived in the street by the side of the baths Bordan Street.

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    1. I remember you Janice, your Mum was Teresa and you had a brother Stanley also an older sister who I believe was Brenda. We lived in the corner shop. I had 2 sisters Gail and Kathy.

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      1. I lived in Charlesworth Street until l was 7 then moved to 112 Barmouth Street opposite the bowling green. I watched A taste of Honey being filmed from my grandma’s house opposite the park, l remember her next door neighbours being Mrs Dixon and Mrs Gilligan, she had 4 children Edith, Walter, Pat and Bobby, does anyone remember any of these people. I moved to Macclesfield when l was 16 and still remember the great times l had when growing up in Manchester.

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  5. I used to live on Key West street, we used to walk to Barmouth street baths every Friday to have a proper bath and for mum to do the washing from a pink linen basket with a pillow case over it, my sister and I was never allowed in the area where they did the pressing so we always waited in the main entrance, it was ages….!!
    I moved to Buckinghamshire in 1969 but I remember the good old days like yesterday. Didn’t have a lot but had a lot if you know what I mean, my surname was Maude (Lorraine).

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  6. I was brought up at 128 Barmouth Street. Mam & Dad Les and Ethel my 2 brothers Billy & Ronny & my Sister Lillian. Maida Name Holt does anyone remember them

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    1. I lived in the Wilsons off License in 1953…it was 143 Albert St on a corner with Barmouth St not far from the Baths, I went to Johnson St School 1954 to 1958, a long time ago now. Happy Days, my maiden name was Green.

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  7. Also, remember watching the shitty brown flats being demolished in 1986-1987 from the park at the back of the baths, they were only up for 12 years…typical as all council property is thrown up on the cheap and long past its best before its even lived in (there is a documentary on youtube about them…designed out of lego!) It taken longer to knock them all down, there was two blocks still remaining in the late 90’s!
    Remember being pushed in my pram to Grey Mare Lane Market by my Gran from Flat 1 Banner Walk. There was nothing more iconic than watching a Ford Capri or a Granada pass by whilst out playing in the street…even better when you own several variations. Bring back Phil Wood & Mike Shaft on Piccadilly Radio and you’ve cracked it.

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