Trafford Park Hotel

It takes a whole corporation to raise a village:

The first American company to arrive was Westinghouse Electric, in 1899, and purchased 130 acres on two sites. Building work started in 1900, and the factory began production of turbines and electric generators in 1902. By the following year, British Westinghouse was employing about half of the 12,000 workers in Trafford Park. Its main machine shop was 899 feet long and 440 feet wide; for almost 100 years Westinghouse’s Trafford Park works was the most important engineering facility in Britain.

In addition to the factory Westinghouse built a village for his workers on the American style grid system of avenues and streets.  The community had shops, eating rooms, a dance hall, schools, a church, and a cinema.

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And where there is people there is almost inevitably pubs, as sure as night shifts follow day shifts.

Trafford Park Hotel

Built in 1902 to keep the Trafford Park industrial dust down, quenching the thirst of the workers employed in the world’s first and largest industrial estate – get in and get outside a pint or two.

Speed headlong through the years and by 1984, a mix of industrial and economic decline and the general move away from the urban mix of housing and factories, the end is in sight for most of the Village’s homes.

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Photograph Nigel Richards

Move a little further along the line and by 2009 and the pub is closed, temporarily home first to a marijuana farm, and subsequently squatters.

Paul, 46, originally from Chew Moor, Bolton, was left homeless in May when his house was repossessed after he lost his job as a mechanical engineer. He found The Freedom Project through its Facebook group and was invited to move in to the Trafford Park Hotel. He said: “The group is apolitical – it’s about freedom of expression, activity and thought.” Enterprise Inns have taken members of The Freedom Project to Salford County Court where a judge gave the brewery an order for possession of the building. 

Enterprise Inns declined to comment.

It takes a whole judicial system and corporate clout to deny a man home.

In February 2017 pub was sold for £900,000, though on the day of my August visit there were few signs of the planned conversion to flats or hotel.

One day time will be called on time itself, in the meantime take a walk down the Avenue and feast your eyes on a Grade II  listed terracotta and brick behemoth.

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Hyde Road Pubs – Gorton Manchester

For almost fifty years I’ve cycled, walked and taken the bus up and down Hyde Road.

To work or to take snaps.

Or take a drink.

The first proper pub crawl I ever went on was up and down here, and these photographs which were taken from the Local Image Archive, represent a world now largely long gone. Of those places pictured only the Travellers, Wagon and Horses, Plough, Nelson and Friendship survive. What was a busy thoroughfare alive with masses of working people and lively boozers is now a shadow of its former self. Many of the breweries are also no more – Wilsons and Boddington’s, once employing hundreds of people and supplying hundreds of pubs, have all but vanished, you may catch a glimpse of a stray sign or two dotted around town.

If there are any pubs missing apologies, but following the expert advice of Kenneth Allen I think I have all of the Gorton boozers.

Take one last walk, raise a glass – cheers!

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Lansbury Estate – London

The Lansbury Estate, to the north of East India Dock Road, is the most important, largest and best-known council estate in Poplar. It demonstrates the different trends in post-war council house design and layout. The interest of the estate lies as much, if not more, in the story of its planning and construction, as in what was actually built. This is especially true of its first phase, which formed the basis of the Live Architecture Exhibition in the 1951 Festival of Britain.

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Originally outlined in the 1943 plan for London, replacing the bomb damaged homes of displaced dockers, the estate has weathered well enough, though changes in demographics, the ever greater engulfing tide of gentrification and the containerisation of all ports, brings a fresh set of challenges and changes.

Go east – I visited the V&A Micro Museum, which has become a focus for residents’ and visitors’  memories and projections of a certain uncertain past and future. Arriving by the Docklands Light Railway, I was immediately drawn towards my destination, by the prominent Lansbury Tower, its clock patiently ticking away the time to and from 1951. Welcomed by staff and fellow travellers at the Chrisp Street Market site we began our tour at the heart of the Festival area – further details of which can be found here at Municipal Dreams.

A mix of market, shops, Festival pub, warm cream London brick terraces and low rise, later tower blocks, schools, churches and open grassed communal areas. On a cold and getting colder late winter’s day, a smattering of residents went purposefully about their business.

Life goes on.

Next time everything’s going to be different.

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Coventry – Precinct

Coventry city centre is a city centre, comprised of several interlocking post- war facets, realised over a thirty year period. This later addition the Bull Yard, the work of Arthur Ling and Terence Gregory, city architects and planning officers.

It incorporates pedestrian walkways, retail, civic and car parking facilities with a crowded unease and grace. Much of the original detail survives, though not unusually, some more recent additions detract from the integrity of the scheme.

The site is graced by two major works by William Mitchell – the concrete facade and interior of the former Three Tuns public house.

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And the sculpted panels on Hertford street.

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So we are left with a series of spaces that now seem slightly adrift, particularly the City Arcade, as both the earlier and more recent developments in the city compete for clients and customers.

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To explore is to discover a work continually in progress, or regression, as the forces of heritage, commercial development, and civic planning pull each other this way and that.

There is an initiative for redevelopment for the area yet to find a satisfactory resolution.

Take a look.

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Back to Beswicks

You’re never more than a thousand yards from a main road, six feet from a rat, or a quarter of a mile from Beswick, one of many Beswicks.

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Beswick was once a bustling mixed industrial and residential area of east Manchester, alive with back to back terraced housing, pubs, clubs, shops and people.

Sixties slum clearance swept away most of its past when Fort Beswick was built.

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Remember the Alamo?

Forget Fort Beswick.

It’s gone – wind the Bobbin up.

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Turn it into a Library

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Wind the library up

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Build another

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Call the Police!

But the Police Station has closed now, and moved further on.

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http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/greater-manchester-news/greater-manchester-police-rake-17m-6273100

There are traces of the past that remain, homes and pubs that have survived the revival.

Where is Beswick now?

On the edges of the Eastland’s dream, on the outside of everything.

Sheik Mansour ensures the construction of a brand new shiny world.

The private provision of an almost public space.

 

Everyone knows this is nowhere.

But Beswick?

Oldham Street – Manchester 2016

Following my previous post of archival images of Oldham Street, I took a walk along its length a week ago, to record what remained of the post war past.

Gone again the blackened façades, exuberant and differentiated signage.

Woolworth’s burnt out long ago, never to return, exit also C&A, don’t forget your coat and hat.

Affleck’s – same name different place.

Yates’s three down none to go, the last all-in is all out.

Three pubs prevail, some serving craft ale to the not so crafty.

Methodist Main Hall is mainly well-used and well, loved.

In low Winter light the upper floors dance in shadow and sun-glow, against a brighter than bright blue sky.

A crazy range of saw-toothed roof tops colliding.

Oldham Street survives.

 

 

 

Oldham Street – Manchester

In the early 18th century, Oldham Street was apparently:

“An ill-kept muddy lane, held in place on one of its sides by wild hedgerows”.

In 1772, a privately owned track which is now known as Oldham Street was given to the public. The road took its name from Adam Oldham rather than from the place name. He was an acquaintance of John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, which could account for the Oldham street location of the Methodist Chapel, opened by Wesley in 1781. Central Hall replaced the Chapel in 1885.

The area around Oldham Street became more affluent, with warehouses and shops, many of whose merchants lived within their shop premises. This is described by Isabella Varley, Mrs. Linnaeus Banks, a resident of Oldham Street, in her book The Manchester Man.

One Oldham Street shopowner mentioned by a number of writers is Abel Heywood, who spearheaded the mass distribution of books, supplying the whole country not only with penny novels, but also with educational books and political pamphlets. Heywood went on to become Mayor of Manchester.

The general well to do, mix of hustle and bustle, pubs, warehousing, grand stores, smaller specialist shops and services continued into the 1970’s. Woolworths, C&A, Affleck and Browns, Cantors, Dobbins attracted a steady flow of happy shoppers, I loved the mongrel nature of the mixed use architecture.

The focus if the city centre then slipped away to the newly built Arndale and pedestrianised Market Street.

Oldham Street awaited a new sense of place and purpose.

With thanks to http://www.manchester.gov.uk/info/448/archives_and_local_history/326/historical_photographs_of_manchester