Palmerston Street – Beswick Manchester

To begin at the beginning – some years ago I traced the route of the River Medlock, I chanced upon a forlorn pub called The River, all alone, desolate and boarded up, presiding over an area that I assumed, would once have supplied ample trade to a busy boozer.

I returned last week in search of some rhyme or reason, for such a seemingly sad and untimely decline.

So here we are back at in Manchester 1813, the seeds of the Industrial Revolution sewn in adjacent Ancoats, the fields of Beswick still sewn with seeds, the trace of Palmerston Street nought but a rural track.

Screen Shot 2018-08-07 at 15.25.02

Sited on land between Great Ancoats Street and Every Street was Ancoats Hall, a post-medieval country house built in 1609 by Oswald Mosley, a member of the family who were Lords of the Manor of Manchester. The old timber-framed hall, built in the early 17th century, and demolished in the 1820s was replaced replaced by a brick building in the early neo-Gothic style.

1-P1100618

This would become the Manchester Art Museum, and here the worst excesses Victorian Capitalism were moderated by philanthropy and social reform.

When the Art Museum opened, its rooms, variously dedicated to painting, sculpture, architecture and domestic arts, together attempted to provide a chronological narrative of art, with detailed notes, labels and accompanying pamphlets and, not infrequently, personal guidance, all underlining a sense of historical development.

m08910-ancoats-old-hall-manchester-archives-photo-by-anderton

Housing and industry in the area begins to expand, railways, tramways, homes and roads are clearly defined around the winds of the river.

1870

In 1918 the museum was taken over by the city, it closed in 1953 and its contents were absorbed into the collection of Manchester City Art Gallery, as the State increasingly took responsibility for the cultural well being of the common folk.

ancoatshall-1964

The building was finally demolished in the 1960’s – just as the area, by now a dense warren of back to back terraces, was to see further change.

map

Along the way was the the River Inn, seen here with a fine Groves and Whitnall’s faience tiled frontage.

webmedia-4.php

The street also offered rest, relaxation and refreshment through the Church, Pineapple and Palmerston pubs, as recored here on the Pubs of Manchester blog.

Church Palmerston

Pineapple Palmerston St

webmedia.php copy

The River seen here in the 1970’s struggled on until 2007.

webmedia-2

Further along we find the Ardwick Lads Club, further evidence of the forces of social reform, that sadly failed to survive the forces of the free market and the consequent Tory cuts in public spending and wilful Council land-banking.

The Ardwick Lads’ and Mens’ Club, now the Ardwick Youth Centre, opened in 1897 and is believed to be Britain’s oldest purpose-built youth club still in use [and was until earlier in 2012]. Designed by architects W & G Higginbottom, the club, when opened, featured a large gymnasium with viewing gallery – where the 1933 All England Amateur Gymnastics Championships were held – three fives courts, a billiard room and two skittle alleys (later converted to shooting galleries). Boxing, cycling, cricket, swimming and badminton were also organised. At its peak between the two world wars, Ardwick was the Manchester area’s largest club, with 2,000 members.

44551888

On the 10th September 2012 an application for prior notification of proposed demolition was submitted on behalf of Manchester City Council to Manchester Planning, for the demolition of Ardwick Lads’ Club  of 100 Palmerston Street , citing that there was “no use” for the building in respect to its historic place within the community as providing a refuge and sporting provision to the young of Ancoats.

At the top turn of the street stood St Mary’s – the so called Lowry church.

marys

Screen Shot 2018-08-03 at 14.43.17

Used as a location for the film adaptation of Stan Barstow’s A Kind Of Loving

st mary's

nr003658-54_1

The homes and industry attendant schools and pubs were soon to become history, all that you see here is more or less gone. Slum clearance, the post-war will to move communities away from the dense factory smoke, poor housing stock and towards a bright shiny future elsewhere.

Whole histories have subsequently been subsumed beneath the encroachment of buddleia, bramble, birch and willow.

hillkirk

Screen Shot 2018-08-03 at 14.44.39

webmedia-3.php

webmedia-1.php

webmedia-2.php

webmedia-6.php

webmedia-7.php

webmedia.php

The land now stands largely unused and overgrown, awaiting who knows what, but that’s another tale for another day.

Archive images from the Manchester Local Image Collection.

 

 

 

 

 

Castle Street – Edgeley #1

 

adswood2-generalarea.jpg

I have shuffled and shopped up and down Castle Street for some forty years or so – things have come and things have gone – and continue to do so. High streets have always been subject to so many external forces, they reshape and reform, in rhythm with the times and tides of history.

Horse drawn carriages and trams are long gone, along with the double-decker bus, people powered people rule in a pedestrianised precinct, charity begins at Barnardo’s, the Co-op has been and gone and returned, just up the way.

Two whole chapels, pubs and cinemas seem to have just disappeared.

So let’s take a short trip through time and space along a short strip of Stockport’s past.

Get your boots on.

Pictures from Stockport Image Archive

1908

28729

1902

24436

1917a

1950

36876

1890

1917

1962.jpg

1958

1958a

1951

1 6 69

07b

69

69a

69b

74

93c

1969

1981

93

1983

07 a

93a

84

34929235_10216853242823182_2882427370675896320_n

07 copy

C_71_article_1073950_image_list_image_list_item_0_image

Screen Shot 2018-06-13 at 19.59.23

07

Taylor Street Gorton – The Pineapple

Screen Shot 2018-06-11 at 17.33.47

To begin at the beginning or thereabouts, Taylor Street was at the heart of Gorton to the east of Manchester city centre.

webmedia-1.php

webmedia-2.php

webmedia-3.php

webmedia-6.php

webmedia-7.php

webmedia-8.php

webmedia-9.php

webmedia-10.php

webmedia.php

A typical street of tightly packed brick terraces, dotted with shops, pubs, people and industry. I worked there as van lad for Mother’s Pride bread back in the 70s and saw those shops, pubs, people and industry slowly disappear.

Beyer Peacock whose immense shed dominated the northern end of the street, simply ceased to be, as steam gave way to diesel.

As full employment gave way to a date with the dole.

Adsega opening on nearby Cross Street heralded the arrival of the super fast, self-service supermarket, and sounded the death knell of the cosy corner cupboard.

398912_3820026268527_1203084936_n

The local pub was The Bessemer – its name forging an unbreakable link with the surrounding steel industry, that eventually broke.

webmedia-5.php

To the left of the pub is the Bishop Greer High School construction site  – the first of the new build that would later dominate the area, along with wide open spaces where shops, pubs, people and industry once were.

12932970_10154152981641600_8757469207112330278_n

webmedia.php copy

webmedia-1.php copy

When the school eventually shut its doors, it became an annex of Openshaw Technical College, and I found myself working there in the 80s at the East Manchester Centre, until its eventual closure.

It’s now sheltered accommodation for the lost and lonely:

Located in a quiet suburb of Manchester with excellent links to the city centre, Gorton Parks has an exceptional range of facilities spread out across five separate houses, each offering a different care option. Melland House offers dementia residential care, Abbey Hey provides nursing dementia care, Debdale is the house for intermediate nursing care and Sunny Brow offers general nursing care.

We sought solace in The Pineapple.

Screen Shot 2018-06-11 at 17.33.25

The streets were trimmed and slimmed, much of the past a mere ghostly presence, almost imprinted on the present.

A brave new world of brand new modern housing, with an Estate Pub to match.

The_Pineapple,_Gorton

A busy bustling boozer – lots of live and local action for the lively locals, latterly seeing out time as a house of House – a real bangin’ Bashment, bass-man bargain basement.

Until time is finally called – no more four to the floor, last one out shut the door.

1512347_516327525148853_492482006_n

Nothing lasts forever and a sign of the times is an upended pub sign, lying dormant in the dust.

The Chunky no longer a great big hunk o’funk.

10 Gorton pineapple pub

The big screen TV forever failing to deliver all the action, live or otherwise.

P1050836

p1050838.jpg

Latterly transformed into Dribble Drabble.

DSC_0074

And so the beat goes on as successive waves of success and recession, boom and bust free-market economics, wash over the nation and its long suffering folk.

Its enough to drive you to drink.

Long Lane Post Office – Heald Green

Screen Shot 2018-05-30 at 14.09.16

190 Wilmslow Rd, Heald Green, Cheadle SK8 3BH

The original Long Lane Post Office is still there but not here:

40249

However – I digress.

One fine day, some time ago there popped into my consciousness a Sixties retail mosaic in the Heald Green area – I tracked down its precise whereabouts online, in the modern manner.

Thinks – one fine day, just you wait and see I’ll pay a visit to the Heald Green area.

So today I did, it started off fine and finished up less so.

Jumped the 368 from Stockport Bus Station alighted at The Griffin.

Walked aways up the road and there it was, almost intact – it’s original name obliterated with lilac exterior emulsion – did it once read healds?

Why of course it did – the local dairy and retailers were the shop’s original owners.

il_570xN.1484313889_n91e

A few tesserae are missing otherwise the piece is as was – a wobbly jumble of text, shape and colour.

Self service – at your service.

P1250715

P1250711

P1250712

P1250713

P1250714

 

P1250717

P1250718

P1250719

P1250720

P1250721

P1250722

P1250723

P1250724

P1250725

 

52 Wellington Road North – Stockport

Screen Shot 2018-05-07 at 07.25.27

Commercial premises or showroom. Dated 1889. Red brick with stone dressings and terracotta decorative details, tiled roof. Rectangular building of 4 x 3 bays with canted corner entrance. Jacobean style. Single storey articulated by pilasters supporting a sculptured frieze. Doorway with arched head and fanlight. One, two and three-light mullion and transom windows to the Parsonage Street front. The Wellington Road front has two large plateglass windows divided by paired pilasters. The windows have removed two pilasters. Cornice, panelled parapet, aedicule with console supporters, swan – neck pediment and date over the doorway. Tall hipped roof. Very prominently sited and under restoration at the time of inspection.

Grade: II listed: 23rd March 1987 – Historic England

20384

 

35147

35148

Stockport Image Archive

This is a building of some substance, decorated with terracotta work of the highest order, a striking yet diminutive landmark to the north of the town. Situated on a once busy commercial site, where it would have been surrounded by a plethora of retail, industrial and residential property.

My research has shown that its earliest recorded use was under the ownership of JE Jones manufacturing agent for ropes and cords, allied to the local hatting and cotton trades in 1907. Subsequently the base of John Roberts in 1910 – leather merchant, manufacturing  belts, strapping and laces – the company also had premises nearby at 138 Heaton Lane.

It has latterly been in use as Topp’s Tiles, Gordon Ford and Little Amigos Discount Nursery Store – it is currently empty, shuttered and unloved on off at a rent of £1,833 per calendar month from Rightmove.

Screen Shot 2018-05-07 at 08.03.22

As Stockport continues to invest in and develop its town centre, it remains a more than somewhat sorry beacon of decline, an indicator that all to often architecture of local and historic importance, seems to have little or no use in this thrusting modern milieu.

If passing, pause and reflect on the sense of permanence that imbues this building, in an all too impermanent world.

P1210198

P1210199

P1210200

P1210201

P1210202

P1210203

P1210204

P1210205

P1210206

P1210208

P1210209

P1210210

P1210211

P1210212

P1210215

P1210216

P1210217

P1210218

P1210220

P1210221

Hyde Road – Manchester

From Ardwick Green in the west to Abbey Hey in the east – runs Hyde Road Manchester.

Screen Shot 2018-01-23 at 14.35.48

It’s a a road I have travelled from my early teens onwards, visiting friends, family, speedway, school sports days, fun and frolics at Belle Vue, tea and toast in Sivori’s, bike parts from Cowans. Working at the former Bishop Greer School, drinking in it’s many pubs, going to the flicks at the Apollo.

It was an area thick with the hustle and bustle of folks going about their business – working, shopping, boozing, waltzing in the Elizabethan, or the waltzers, bobbing up and down on the Bobs. A self contained community, just about prosperous enough in times of full employment –  take just one more walk with me.

webmedia-1.php

ss55

80

82

85

107

110

404 410

471 477

479 483

baths

swim

bobby

bobs

cowans

harry hall

meth

ns 26

NS5

NS6

NS10ns29

olympia

post

seymour

ss10

ss45

ss47

ss51

 

ss56

ss58

ss59

station

webmedia.php

woolworths

All photographs from the Manchester Local Image Collection

R.E & J. Parker Bakers – Leigh

I do have a particular penchant for pâtisserie – though close in spirit to their Euro equivalents, the vernacular bakers of the North are by comparison, sadly now a seldom seen, rare and precious breed.

My dad’s three sisters Alice, Jenny and Lydia all trained as confectioners, and he himself was a van man for Mother’s Pride. In my turn I worked as a van lad at their Old Trafford base.

Screen Shot 2018-01-16 at 11.21.08

 

Flour, eggs, sugar and fat are in my blood.

In their way the growth of the mass-market bakers, along with the motor car and supermarket hegemony sealed the fate of the local bread, cake and pie shop, along with the demise of the associated skills and attendant early morning work patterns. When I visited Cochrane’s in Audenshaw, it was clear that their youngsters no longer wished to take on the family baking business. So the once unremarkable sight of remarkable rows of fancies, growlers and tarts, is now a thing of familiar folk memory, rather than a sweet and savoury reality.

On both of my visits to Leigh I have passed Parker’s – the windows warm from the freshly baked confectionery – including the almost unique Singing Lily – sweet double crust pies, a large circle of shortcrust pastry folded over dried fruit and rolled until the fruit is visible, sugared and baked.

Next time I’ll go in and try one or two treats – get it while you can.

P1120865 copy

P1120868 copy

P1120869 copy

P1120870 copy

P1120871 copy

P1220700

P1220701

P1220702

P1220703

P1220704

P1220705

P1220706