Exactly three months to the day after his flight in Vostok I had ushered in a new age of space exploration, on 12 July 1961, the trim figure of Yuri Gagarin strode down the gangway of a British Viscount airliner and walked briskly out across the runway of Manchester airport towards a sea of expectant faces, and flashing camera bulbs.
A loose approximation of what he may have see on that day in 1961.
We were allowed out of Brownley Green school to line the road as he passed, great memories.
I stood on Chester Road with my mum, I was 4 years old, but still remember it.
At that time, I was a student, working my socks off in the Central Library, I went outside into St. Peter’s Square to watch him pass, he gave everyone a big smile.
Still tell my children, tiny at the time – you saw the first man in space, I remember his smile.
Worked in an office in Albert Square – had a grandstand view of him arriving at the Town Hall.
I can remember a police escort taking Yuri to Albert Square via Princess Parkway through Withington, Fallowfield and Moss side, there were hundreds of people lined up watching a waving at him.
When Gagarin visited Manchester he was given a bronze bust of Lenin made by the Amalgamated Union of Foundry Workers. Four were made in total and my Dad owns one of them.
My Grandad’s funeral was on the day he came, as we passed down Altrincham Rd onto the Parkway policemen who were holding back the crowds saluted, he would have loved it.
Yeah I seen him stood up in a big car with a green uniform on. It was going down Brownley Rd passing Meliden Crescent heading for the Airport in Wythenshawe, I was about 6 years old.
Working for Manchester Parks as a 20 yr old on Princess Parkway and he came past me as I was mowing the grass, in an open top Rolls or Bentley, he saluted me personally as he passed, of course I stood to attention and returned the salute – Magic Moment
St AmbroseA well-detailed, relatively modest post-war design by Reynolds & Scott, with an impressive and largely unaltered vaulted interior. The dedication relates to St Ambrose Barlow, a Catholic martyr from nearby Barlow Hall.
Barlow Moor Road
The Oaks demolished in the early 1990s following a brief life as the Sports Bar
Imperial Picture Theatre – was opened in 1914. Seating was provided in stalls level only. It had a 5 feet deep stage and two dressing rooms. There was also a café in the cinema. Around 1929 it was equipped with a Western Electric sound system.
Architect W.H. Matley
The Imperial Picture Theatre was closed on 15th January 1976 with Charlotte Rampling in Caravan to Vaccares and Jean-Claude Brialy in A Murder Is a Murder Is a Murder.
Monday 3rd August 2015 one finds oneself wide wake in the Rydeview Hotel.
Faced with a breakfast best described as indescribable.
I arose and departed, not angry but hungry.
Made my way to the corner of Southsea Common, where once we drank – Tim Rushton and I were often to be found in The Wheelbarrow together.
A boozer no longer, now named for the city’s long gone famous son.
How bad a pub is this? I walk past it to get to my local. Most nights there are six people max in the bar, all huddled around the bar itself, backs to the door. – this often includes the landlord and landlady. They have live music there once in a while and you can’t get served by the one bloke behind the bar – the landlord and landlady never help out, they don’t seem to give a toss.
Beers crap, not worth a visit.
It was never like that in our day.
Visiting our former abode on Shaftesbury Road – where I once dwelt along with Tim, Catherine, Liz and Trish.
Yet more Stymie Bold Italic.
Back to the front for a peer at the pier.
Clarence Pier is an amusement pier located next to Southsea Hoverport. Unlike most seaside piers in the UK, the pier does not extend very far out to sea and instead goes along the coast.
The pier was originally constructed and opened in 1861 by the Prince and Princess of Wales and boasted a regular ferry service to the Isle of Wight. It was damaged by air raids during World War II and was reopened in its current form on 1 June 1961 after being rebuilt by local architects AE Cogswell & Sons and R Lewis Reynish.
Low cloud grey skies and drizzle.
This sizeable two bedroom apartment situated on the seventh floor of the ever popular Fastnet House is offered with no onward chain and the option of a new 999 year lease as well as a share of the freehold. With panoramic views over The Solent towards the Isle Of Wight and Spinnaker Tower, situated in a central location and close to all amenities, this lovely apartment offers luxury living for any prospective buyer. With lift access, the apartment comprises; entrance hallway, a large lounge diner with box bay window boasting stunning sea views across the city and The Solent, master bedroom with built in wardrobes and sea views over The Solent, a spacious second bedroom, fitted kitchen with breakfast bar and a recently updated modern shower room.
Coal Exchange– Peter and Dawn welcome you to their traditional pub in the heart of Emsworth adjacent to the public car park in South Street and close to the harbour.
Lillywhite Bros Ltd is a family run business established over 60 years ago in Emsworth, which is ideally located between Portsmouth and Chichester. It is currently run by brothers Paul and Mike who continue to keep up with modern techniques and equipment, as well as maintaining their traditional values and high standard of customer service.
Next thing you know I’m in Pagham, having become very lost somewhere between there and here, asking for directions from the newsagents and buying a bottle of Oasis.
The newsagent was mildly amused by lack of map, sense and/or sensibility.
I spent many happy hours here in my youth playing the slots with The King.
We would stay here in Tamarisk with my Aunty Alice and Uncle Arthur and Smudge the cat, an idyllic railway carriage shack two rows back from the pebbled seashore.
We would enjoy a shandy at the King’s Beach with Lydia, Wendy and David.
All gone it seems.
On to Bognor a B&B and a brew – a brief glimpse into my luxury lifestyle.
I’ll take an overcast Monday evening stroll along the prom, where I chanced to meet two landlocked Chinese lads, gazing amazed at the sea – they were on a course in Chichester learning our own particular, peculiar ways.
There was no-one else around.
Who can resit the obvious allure of the novelty item?
Or an Art Deco garage fascia.
Fitzleet House was built in the 1960s architects: Donald Harwin & Partners, it consists of seventy four flats, fifteen of them are in a three-storey block next to the main building.
PS&B are pleased to offer this sixth floor flat which is situated conveniently close to the town centre and within close proximity of the sea front. The accommodation is newly refurnbished and is offered unfurnished with south/west facing lounge with small balcony with far reaching views to the sea. Kitchen and bathroom with shower over bath and one double bedroom. Further benefiting from having modern electric heating and double glazing, telephone entry system, lift to all floors, communal sky dish and white goods. With regret no pets and no children – £685 rental is payable calendar monthly in advance.
For many years, a gentleman called Todd Sweeney collected sunshine statistics from the roof of Fitzleet House, which were then forwarded to the Met Office in London to assist with national statistics, and in 1983 one group of Cubs arranged a special tea party on the roof of the building as part of the national tea-making fortnight.
Grub up at the Lord Nelson and saints preserve us, the first sighting of fried bread – not a single hash brownie to be seen. The square plate very much in keeping with the naval nomenclature.
This ‘square plate’ theory is one of the best-known examples of folk-etymology. The phrase exists, the square plates exist, and two and two make five. To be more precise, what we have here is a back-formation. Someone hears the phrase ‘square meal’ and then invents a plausible story to fit it.
Anyway it’s Saturday 1st August 2015 and time to make tracks another sunny day in prospect, so much to see and do in Dorset!
The White Horse is a Dorset country inn located in the picturesque village of Litton Cheney in the heart of the Bride Valley. A warm welcome awaits at this traditional rural pub with a roaring log fire, with honest home cooked food using seasonal, locally sourced, produce. Popular with walkers and cyclists, families alike. A perfect place to enjoy good food, great ales, wines and even better company.
My lamb was average but the vegetables were very, very poor, some of the peas were stuck together with ice.
The Hardy Monument stands on an exposed location above the village of Portesham in Dorset. It was built in 1844 in memory of Vice-Admiral Sir Thomas Masterman Hardy, Flag Captain of HMS Victory at the Battle of Trafalgar. Amongst other things, Hardy became famous as it was in his arms that Nelson died, saying the immortal words ‘Kiss me Hardy’.
Contemporary historians argue that this explanation is a Victorian invention, since the earliest recorded use of the term ‘Kismet’ in the English language does not appear until after 1805.
Others also claimed that Nelson had said “Kiss Emma, Hardy”, referring to his mistress and lover Lady Emma Hamilton.
Thomas Hardy was unavailable for comment.
There’s a long, long trail a-winding Into the land of my dreams, Where the nightingales are singing And the white moon beams.
A song my dad would sing me to sleep with, one of my earliest and sweetest memories, his lullabies were often those songs he remembered from his army days.
Following a morning of historical and linguistic conjecture we enter a land of architectural and historical conjecture, right here in Poundbury.
Poundbury is an urban extension to the Dorset county town of Dorchester, built on the principles of architecture and urban planning as advocated by The Prince of Wales in ‘A Vision of Britain’.
Poundbury, the Prince of Wales’s traditionalist village in Dorset, has long been mocked as a feudal Disneyland. But a growing and diverse community suggests it’s getting a lot of things right.
Poundbury should be completed by 2025, by which time it will be home to an estimated 4,500 people, increasing Dorchester’s population by a quarter. Then the Duchy will leave it to run itself. Krier, who is writing a book on Le Corbusier, says he and Prince Charles will then embark on their ultimate project: “We are going to build a small modernist town and show them how to do it.”
I myself cycled through in stunned silence, there was nobody about and the overall feel was one of a living filmset, opinion is deeply divided, I remain impartial – ride on.
Tiny vernacular bus shelter awaits bus and the sheltered.
Woodsford Castle is the surviving range of a 14th-century fortified manor house. King Edward III granted William de Whitefield a licence to crenellate in 1335. The house has the largest thatched roof in the county and has been restored by the Landmark Trust.
One of our favourite Landmarks, love the table-tennis, the new decor and carpet, spacious but warm.
An impressive 1960s church design, responding thoughtfully to the needs of the post-Vatican II liturgy. The function clearly dictates the form, resulting in a building that is visually memorable as well as fit for purpose. Little has been changed since 1971. The Triodetic spaceframe roof structure is not generally associated with churches but enables a large uninterrupted space for the celebration of the Mass. The interior furnishings and fittings are essential to the totality of the design.
The Roman Catholic Church of St Joseph of 1969-71 designed by Anthony Jaggard of John Stark & Partners is listed at Grade II – a bold exterior employing exposed brickwork, a mineral render, vertical glazing and sparse ornamentation.
I fell in love the very moment what I saw it, having climbed over a fence by the railway, as I remember.
Next ting you know I’m in an area of outstanding natural beauty.
Cycling down yet another leafy lane.
Catching the ferry with several other cyclists on our way to Poole.
Walked the bike along the crowded promenade into Bournemouth.
Passed the Grand Cinema.
Located in the Westbourne district of Bournemouth, the Grand Cinema Theatre opened on 18th December 1922 with a production of Anthony and Cleopatra performed on the stage. The following day it screened its first film A Prince of Lovers plus a Harold Lloyd short comedy.
It had a facade coverted with Carter’s Architectural Tiles, manufactured at the Carter pottery in Poole. There was a central bay over the entrance which was topped by a revolving globe, which was illuminated at night. The auditorium had a sliding roof which could be opened in hot summer weather. There was a lift which could be taken instead of the stairs to the balcony level and the cafe. The front of the orchestra pit barrier was also covered in Carter’s tiles.
It was taken over by an independent Snape Entertainments from 21st December 1953 and they operated it as a full time cinema until 8th October 1975 when the film They Love Sex was the last regular film shown. It went over to become a full time bingo club, until a mix of part week bingo and films were introduced from 27th March 1976.
Finally found, following another find a room farrago – a less that grand tiny room in a big hotel, full of stag and hen parties – as was the whole town.
Seeking solace in the Goat and Tricycle – a beer house that boasts a huge range of hand pulled cask ales including Wadworth classics: Horizon, 6X, Swordfish and Wadworth IPA. The pub also has up to six Guest ales which change every few days, so there is always plenty of variety to choose from.
I would have chosen to keep the original names, the recent trend for the comic rebranding is quite literally ridiculous.
It was originally two separate pubs The Pembroke Arms to the left, it’s old Marston’s Dolphin Brewery tiles intact. The Pembroke Shades where the bar is now, was on the right. The Shades ran a boxing club where Freddie Mills, who lived opposite, is said to have trained, he went on to win the World Light Heavyweight belt.
I worked in the Shades on and off for 8 years. I still see a lot of the old crew, I am about to set up a Shades Re-union – we had one some years ago it was fab!
Do you remember John Bell, he was part time glass collector, full time alcoholic. Mary the Irish Landlady – she ‘s still going strong, unfortunately John Bell passed away.
As with all things material and corporeal there was time when you simply didn’t exist.
1860 adjacent to Woodward Street and the Rochdale Canal, a simple agglomeration of loose limbed industrial buildings and such – yet to be christened Blank.
Unrelieved by decorative or other features; bare, empty, or plain a blank wall.
Showing a lack of comprehension or reaction – we were met by blank looks – synonyms: expressionless, empty, vacant, deadpan, wooden, stony, impassive, inanimate, vacuous, glazed, fixed, lifeless, uninterested, emotionless, unresponsive, inscrutable.
A space left to be filled in a document – leave blanks to type in the appropriate names – synonyms: space, gap, blank space, empty space.
A cartridge containing gunpowder but no bullet, used for training or as a signal.
Make (something) blank or empty – electronic countermeasures blanked out the radar signals.
Informal North American defeat (a sports team) without allowing them to score – Baltimore blanked Toronto in a 7–0 victory.
Though contradictorily I have found reference to a bankrupt foundry in the London Gazette 1857.
You appear again during the Manchester Blitz.
By 1960 you are on the map and the area is on the up and up.
Though I have to ask the question of the namers of streets – why so Blank, an off day at the office – we have whole blocks named for poets, painters, and far flung places, so why so Blank?
Hadn’t they heard of nominative determinism – born to be Blank.
This Municipal Modernist development seems to have been short-lived and subject to yet more demolition in the area, to be replaced by late 70’s terraced housing.
Blank Street inexplicably became Fulmer Drive.
Which in turn had been tinned up and demolished around 2008.
How did that happen – seemingly viable homes previously changing hands for £100,000 deemed surplus to requirements – land banking, ahead of an as yet unseen masterplan?
Your life was short and sharp – shaped by economic shifts, world war and the local authorities ephemeral housing policies. There is little evidence of your existence, photographic or otherwise, so I want to set the record straight – draw a blank.
Here you are as of July 2019 – tarmac intact, drains fully functioning, pavements paved, awaiting orders. A circuitous run of grassy ridges resembling the remains of some Roman or Iron Age fortification.
Why is there just one remaining tower block dancing unclad around Ancoats?
Let’s go back in time and see if we can find out – it seems that back in 1807 there wasn’t a Woodward Street to be found, the ever expanding industrial might of Manchester had not yet reached these particular green fields of Ancoats.
By 1824 it shows a fresh face to the world christened Woodworth Street, sparsely dotted with new development.
Almost fully formed in 1836 and renamed as Woodward Street, the area begins to accumulate the familiar domestic and industrial clutter of a burgeoning Victorian City.
By 1860 the street is fully formed and open for business.
Workers finding homes in austere and functional brick back to backs, typical of the period’s housing.
Fast forward to the early Sixties and the street is showing signs of age – the century old industries are already in decline, steady jobs, mills and factories gone west and east, well-worn housing looking terminally tired and in need of a little care and attention.
But wait what’s this coming around the bend?
The first wave of urban regeneration, post war optimism incarnate, a bright new shiny future – out with the old and in with the new, as Municipal Modernism stamps its big broad architectural feet all over Woodward Street.
Our story is far from over, this optimism is short-lived the homes, houses and industry are swept away yet again, replaced with two story modern terraced housing and an all too obvious absence of regular employment – yet the tower blocks prevailed.
Former streets were over written and remain as poignant vestigial marks in the landscape.
Though their future was built on more than somewhat shifting and uncertain sands.
A tower block has been left lying empty for a whopping 18 years. The 13-storey building at Saltford Court in Ancoats has been unoccupied since Manchester council closed it in the 1990s. It was bought by top developers Urban Splash six years ago but residents have now hit out about it still being empty. Neighbours of Saltford Court say it has become an ‘eyesore’ and magnet for vermin since the firm bought it.
A large group of blocks stood tinned up and unloved, yet owned, for a number of years, victims one supposes of land-bankers, developers speculating on an even better return, as the warm waves of gentrification washed slowly over them, from nearby New Islington.
All but one was refurbished, clad and re-let.
Woodward Court was spared – set aside for the homeless.
A period piece surrounded by Post Modern and Revivalist pretenders.
Exeter Close/Warmington Drive Manchester Longsight M12 4AT
Once there was this.
Once there was that.
Then there wasn’t.
That’s just the way of it.
A dense web of streets awash with back to backs, jobs for all – in conditions perceived to be unfit for purpose.
Of a total of 201,627 present dwellings in Manchester, some 54,700, or 27.1 per cent., are estimated to be unfit. A comparison of slum clearance action taken by six major local authorities, Manchester, Leeds, Birmingham, Liverpool, Sheffield and Bristol, shows that for the five years ending 30th June, 1965, Manchester was top of the league, both in compulsory purchase orders confirmed and the number of houses demolished or closed.
Manchester’s figures -13,151 houses demolished or closed .
Whenever mass slum clearance was carried out, the pubs tended to remain, often for just a short time because – the story goes – demolition workers refused to touch them, as they wanted somewhere to drink during and after their shift.
A city once awash with industry and ale – a myriad of pubs slaking the thirst of the thirsty steel workers.
A liquid equilibrium flowing and flowering for over a century.
The Lower Don Valley once home to a wealth of boozers, tells a different tale today.
A fall in production produced a proportionate reduction in consumption.
The clatter of clogs on cobbles, metal on metal is but a distant memory, along with the sound of pints pulled and hastily glugged.
The architecture of ale still prevails – now purveying pleasures and delights of a different stripe, whatever takes your fancy, as long as it’s not too fancy.
And doesn’t involve taking a drink.
The Gower Arms – 47 Gower Street Burngreave Sheffield S4 7JW
I drink down there – top pubs methinks. They are old fashioned pubs with some real characters. Will be there Friday night in the Staff first, Royal Oak, Gower, Grapes and back to the Staff till I drop.
Blade Bloke 2007
From top pub to closed corner supermarket in two shakes of a monkey’s tale.
The Norfolk Arms Hotel – 195/199 Carlisle Street Sheffield S4 7LJ
Club Xes is a nightclub in Sheffield described as a vibrant and thrilling, and full of Sheffield’s young and trendy crowd. The DJs are renowned for providing the newest funkiest records.
Premises Type – This place does not serve real ale.
Premises Description – Gay nightclub.
The Corner Pin – 231-233 Carlisle Street East Sheffield S4 7QN
First licensed to sell beer in 1840. One of 26 public houses serving the steel industry along a three- quarter mile stretch of Carlisle Street. It is said to have a ghost who likes to turn the lights on in the middle of the night and footfalls can be heard.
The Corner Pin was the last of the Steelmakers pubs in Sheffield and was one of my favourite places to visit for a real good pint! I would come over from Melbourne once or twice a year, still do, and meet up with Chris Payling and many others still left over from the days of Sheffield Steel, but now all gone.
They even took away your window frames, along with your dignity once a pale green shadow of yourself, stripped back to brick.
Stop dreaming of a foaming pint right now – you’re an office.
Standing stately on the corner of Carruthers and Pollard Street, safe as houses.
As safe as the houses that are no longer there, along with the other public houses, along with the jobs, along with the punters – all long gone, it’s a long story.
Mind that tram, full of the boys and girls in blue, off to shriek at a Sheikh’s shrine.
The Bank of England was one of Ancoats’ first beerhouses, licensed from 1830 and ten years later it was fully licensed with attached brewhouse. The brewery did well, in fact it had another tied house, the Kings Arms near Miles Platting station nearby. The brewery was sold off in the 1860s but continued as a separate business for a few years.
Having traced a lengthy history of the shortish Palmerston Street – I returned to take a snapshot of the current state of affairs.
So much has gone an Art Museum, Lads Club, churches, homes, schools, industry and pubs – much of this now indistinct scrubland, fenced and walled, neither use nor ornament, save as an unofficial wildlife garden for feather, fowl and flower.
There are small groups of more recent housing developments with the promise of more on the way, though this as ever is contentious – the story of conflicted interests betwixt and between developer, local authority and the would be affordable homes and their occupants.
The council says – Manchester’s Affordable Housing Programme will ensure more than 2,200 homes by March 2021 through a £250m programme funded through a variety of sources including Homes England grant funding, Council borrowing and land or property sales and Registered Providers. The Council is also backing the programme through the release of suitable council-owned land.
Which seems barely adequate to meet the needs of those on lower incomes.
The Guardian says – Of the 61 big residential developments granted planning permission by Manchester city council’s planning committee in 2016 and 2017, not one of the 14,667 planned flats or houses met the government’s definition of affordable, being neither for social rent nor offered at 80% of the market rate.
Manchester has changed, constantly changed – often overlooking the needs of its citizens to the north and east of the city. The areas crippled by recession, deindustrialisation and demolition have yet to see the benefits of the city’s recent regeneration.
What was once a community overflowing with rough and tumble, hustle and bustle, now seems to have become a contested area for match day parking and non-existent urban renewal.
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.
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.
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.
Housing and industry in the area begins to expand, railways, tramways, homes and roads are clearly defined around the winds of the river.
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.
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.
The street also offered rest, relaxation and refreshment through the Church, Pineapple and Palmerston pubs, as recored here on the Pubs of Manchester blog.
The River seen here in the 1970’s struggled on until 2007.
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.
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.
Used as a location for the film adaptation of Stan Barstow’s A Kind Of Loving
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.
The land now stands largely unused and overgrown, awaiting who knows what, but that’s another tale for another day.
To begin at the beginning or thereabouts, Taylor Street was at the heart of Gorton to the east of Manchester city centre.
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.
The local pub was The Bessemer – its name forging an unbreakable link with the surrounding steel industry, that eventually broke.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The big screen TV forever failing to deliver all the action, live or otherwise.
Latterly transformed into Dribble Drabble.
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.
Time changes everything except something within us which is always surprised by change.
A delightful interwar pub on the corner of Heaton Lane and Wellington Road North, I moved to Stockport some forty years ago and was mightily impressed by the restrained exterior Deco design, wrought and hewn from soft pale sandstone. Equally impressive was the wood panelled, open, spacious interior space.
The George was always something of an anomaly, being the only Greater Manchester pub owned by Higson’s Brewery, our almost next door Liverpool neighbour.
Higsons was founded in 1780 – 1974 saw the brewery merge with James Mellor & Sons. In 1978, Higsons acquired the Bent’s Brewery, which was based next to its North Street head office. Boddingtons of Manchester acquired Higsons in 1985 but decided to abandon brewing in 1989 to focus on its pubs.
Boddingtons’ brewing arm was sold to Whitbread in 1990 which then subsequently closed the Higsons Stanhope brewery and then reopened by new owners as the Cains Brewery in 1991. Higsons beer was brewed in Sheffield and Durham for a few years after closure before being discontinued. The beer brand was revived in the current century and reborn in 2017, now served in the swish Baltic Triangle based Higson’s Tap & Still with an interior order that leaps backwards head first, into an imagined future of raw brick, reclaimed wood and industrial flourishes.
The George prospered – a town centre pub surrounded by workers in search of a wet and shoppers shirking their retail duties in favour of draught bitter or Cherry B.
Its interior however did not fair so well, ripped out in the 80s – remade remodelled, in the deeply unattractive, anti-vernacular, sub-disco style de jour.
Renamed The Manhattan, riding the fun-pub wave, closed reopened as The George – there followed thirty year of uncertainty, struggling to find an identity throughout a time of ever-changing moods.
It became a daytime haunt of the hardened, shattered glass, blood on the tracks class of drinker, its reputation in tatters along with yesterday’s fish and chip papers.
The last time I came by you were still open for business.
I bided a wee while, without imbibing, all the better to record your disabused Art Deco details.
I came by yesterday and you were all tinned-up with nowhere to go.
Premises To Let as of 13th May 2018 – on the 2nd April 2018 the licence has lapsed, so this will be a further barrier to it re-opening.
And so your faux nowheresville interior will pass into yet another of somebody’s history, along with your fine Deco detail and disco destruction.
This a tale of our age – of monopoly capitalism, stay at home Bargain Booze tipplers, demographic shifts, de-populated town centres, fashion fads and cheap cladding.
Time changes everything except something within us which is never surprised by change.
And so our journey continues, leaving behind the semi-detached haven of East Didsbury.
Once again graciously greeting Mr Henry Simon and his wondrous footbridge across the Mersey – the greenest of structures on the greyest of days.
No more fords and/or ferries, say goodbye to wet feet.
We are down by the river, a place of pleasure and practical workaday goings on – on our way to Northenden.
Northenden was mentioned as Norwordine in the Domesday Book of 1086; its name came from Anglo-Saxon Norþ-worþign – north enclosure. It was then a small farming community with a manor house and woodland.
Northenden is on a major crossing place of the Mersey on the salt road from Cheshire to Manchester. The ford was an important way into and out of and into Manchester, in 1745 Bonnie Prince Charlie’s army built a troop-bridge out of big poplar tree trunks where the B5095 now crosses the Mersey, south of Didsbury, in his abortive attempt to seize the crown of England.
The Northenden ford was unusual because its northern and southern ends were not opposite each other, but people using the ford had to wade about 500 feet along the riverbed. The Simon’s Bridge was built at the ford in 1901 to help access to Poor’s Field, and the rent from this field was used by the church to buy blankets and clothes for the needy.
Little is known of Northenden’s Saxon origins other than that it was one of the few disembarkation points on the Mersey flood plain between Stockport and Stretford. A church was recorded here in the Domesday book of 1086. The village has grown in importance since 1641, when a ferry boat for crossing the River Mersey was installed. In 1642 a ford was also constructed, hence the names Boat Lane and Ford Lane. There was a water mill and, it is rumoured, a public house. The plan form of the village was established with properties being built along the two lanes, which intersected near the church.
Little change occurred for the next two centuries until, by the mid 19th century, market gardens in and around the village supplied food for the rapidly expanding population of Manchester. The only routes to the City were via the ferry boat or the ford until, in 1862, Palatine Road was opened and provided a bridge crossing. Northenden was still a rural village and, towards the turn of the century, good quality semi-detached houses were built for clerks and managers who were able to commute to Manchester on the horse-drawn bus and the tram.
In the 1940s the new suburb of Wythenshawe was largely completed, and by then Northenden’s rural character had gone. Palatine Road was developed for shopping and other commercial uses, and slum clearance removed many of the village’s early cottages around the church.
The water mill, which had provided a flour-milling service for a wide area, survived until the 1950s. It was situated on the banks of the Mersey where the weir, to create the change in water level and power the machinery, is still in existence.
Ford Lane affords a rural route twixt suburban settlements, tree lined and river-run.
Once the province of pleasure gardens, cruisers, boaters.
The lane is home to several listed buildings – the most prominent being St Wilfrids – the oldest part of the church is the tower, the rest having been rebuilt in 1873–76 by J. S. Crowther. The new part of the church is built in sandstone from Alderley Edge, with slate roofs, and is in Perpendicular style.
The Old Rectory and Northern House both mid to late 18th century, form a group of notable homes clustered around St Wilfrids.
Also in close proximity were a number of public houses – most notably The Tatton Arms.
Built in 1873 by the Tatton family and originally known as The Boat House.
Closed in 2007 and still standing, still awaiting proposed redevelopment into an apartment complex.
The Church Inn built in 1897 closed in 2006 – burnt out left for dead eventually refurbished into flats.
The Spread Eagle built to replace an old pub of the same name, the Spread Eagle was the second estate-style boozer on Royle Green Road, and it outlasted the Jolly Carter by almost a decade – long gone, following a shooting in 2008, the site now developed as housing.
Happily The Crown is still standing and still serving – cyclists and walkers welcome!
This was once my way to work, Stockport to Northenden each and every day, the river on occasion liable to flood – foolishly I cycled the Mersey in Spate, against the current clinging to the handrail, up to my axles in the raging torrent.
The Happy Prospect, 50 Coronation Square, Reading RG30 3QN
I came here by chance researching Manchester’s Estate Pubs for my blog when up pops The Happy Prospect – what a pleasant surprise!
Having never really visited Reading, this is very much a virtual cut and paste journey through time and space – so apologies in advance for any unforeseen errors.
So let’s see how we got here:
The area was sparsely populated until after the Second World War, though excavations have revealed evidence of Paleolithic and Iron Age activity in Southcote, as well as Roman and Saxon habitation. By the time William the Conqueror undertook the Domesday Survey in 1086, Southcote was sufficiently established to warrant a Lord of the Manor, who at that time was William de Braose. From the 16th century onwards, Southcote Manor was owned by the Blagrave family, who sold the manor house in the 1920s. The area was subsequently developed into housing: much of the land changed from agricultural to residential.
Bucolic scenes of small intimate streets and agrarian activity.
By the advent of World War II, Southcote had begun to experience urban sprawl from Reading and the land bordering the Great Western Railway had begun to be used for housing. Following the war, Denton’s Field on the Bath Road in Southcote was used for celebratory events; Battle of Britain commemorative fêtes were held in September 1949 and 1950, and featured a performance by three Alsatians – Rocky, Lindy and Irma to recognise their work in the war.
Dragged into the ferment of Mid-Century Modernism with the development of new housing, churches and schools.
In the 1950s, a huge building project centred around Coronation Square, named for the 1953 Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II – with hundreds of council houses built to satisfy post-war demand. The residents of many of these had moved from houses in central and East Reading that fell short of sanitation requirements of the Public Health Act 1875, these were compulsorily purchased and later demolished.
All that was missing was a pub – and so happily the local brewery Simonds built The Happy Prospect.
Architecturally very much in the à la mode manner of the Modernist estate pub, plain well-lit brick, tile and concrete volumes, replete with a low perimeter wall and ample car parking space.
And so for many years the pub prospered – sadly along with so many others of its ilk, the pressures and constraints of social change and economic decline forced closure and demolition despite the protestations of the local community, who fought for its life.
Beverley Doyle, who lives in Southcote, said: “We don’t see the old people anymore because there’s nowhere for them to meet up.They used to be able to come here and play cribbage and cards.There was also Christmas parties and kids’ parties so people could get together and we need something like that again. It was a good pub and we want it back to how it was.”
Campaigner Bobbie Richardson said: “Once you get this place boarded up you wonder what’s going to be next in the community. It starts to look run down and we want to let the owners know Southcote is not a ghetto.”
Inevitably a once fine social asset is no more, even the somewhat ill-advised reinvention as the Happy Pea failed to save this once Happy Prospect.