The company which has been printing for more than 155 years – has been hit hard by the crash in bingo hall use as Covid ripped through the leisure sector. CEO Paddy Cronin said he was ‘gutted’ but the business had finally had to face the inevitable as the cashflow dried up.
Covid completely changed the market and as the halls went into decline it just became untenable so I had to break the news to the workers.
They were the pioneers of newspaper bingo, printing the first cards in 1975 and going on to work in places like Bolivia and Belgium and even printing the ballot papers for Nelson Mandela’s 1994 election in South Africa.
So their number is up the factory is tinned-up, house has been called for the very last time.
Yeah, yeah, industrial estate
Well you started here to earn your pay Clean neck and ears on your first day Well we tap one another as you walk in the gate And we’d build a canteen but we haven’t got much space
Three nineteen-storey point blocks built as public housing as part of the redevelopment of Sunderland town centre. The blocks contain 270 dwellings in total. Construction was approved by committee in 1967.
The blocks were constructed by Sunderland County Borough Council.
The developers of the Town Central Area were Town and City Properties Ltd. It is believed that they contributed £38,600 to the development of the blocks.
Ian Frazer and Associates were the architects for the sub-structural works only.
Llewelyn, Davies, Weeks and Partners were the structural and mechanical engineers in addition to being the architects for the tower blocks.
Gilbert-Ash Northern Ltd.’s tender for the contract was £959,258 – construction began in March 1967.
Black’s Regal Theatre was built on the site of the Olympia Exhibition Hall and Pleasuredrome 1897-1910 and it was built for the northern independent Black’s circuit. It opened on 28th March 1932 with Jessie Matthews in Out of the Blue.
The theatre was equipped with a Compton three manual, nine ranks theatre organ which had an Art Deco style console on a lift.
This was opened by organist J Arnold Eagle. The policy of the theatre for many years was pictures and variety and it had a fifty seven feet wide proscenium, the stage was forty feet deep and there were ten dressing rooms. Other facilities included a cafe and roller rink.
In 1955 the Black’s circuit was taken over by the Rank Organisation and the Regal was re-named Odeon from 28th November 1955. It was divided into a three screen cinema in 1975 with 1,200 seats in the former circle and two 150 seat screens in the rear stalls.
On 28th March 1982 a special 50th Anniversary concert was given by Phil Kelsall on the Compton organ. Three months later, on 26th June 1982 the Odeon was closed with One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Star Wars & The Empire Strikes Back, Mary Millington’s True Blue Confessions.
The building was boarded up and abandonded for a long period of time.
However it was to re-open as a Top Rank Bingo Club and remains in use today as a Mecca Bingo Club. The sub-division of the auditorium has been removed. In July 2009, it was announced that the building and the entire block had been the subject of a compulsory purchase order.
Opened on 1st March 1937 with Fred Astaire & Ginger Rogers in Swing Time, the Ritz Cinema was built by the Union Cinemas chain. They were soon taken over by Associated British Cinemas – ABC. It was lavishly fitted with deep pile carpets and chandeliers.
In 1961 it was re-named ABC. It was converted into a two screen cinema from July/August 1974 when the former circle became a 534 seat screen and the front stalls a second screen seating 212. The rear stalls area was converted into a Painted Wagon pub. Sadly the conversion destroyed much of the original interior of the auditorium. It was later taken over by the Cannon Cinemas group, but later went back to the ABC name.
Sadly it closed on 29th April 1999, the last of Sunderland’s major cinemas.
It has recently reopened as The Point a nightclub which has four dance floors and has now completely lost all features of its cinematic past.
This joint-stock bank was established in Manchester in 1836 as Manchester & Salford Bank by a group of promoters keen to take advantage of recent legislation allowing the formation of joint-stock banks outside London. The bank had up to 15 directors and the issued capital was £1m, of which £252,100 was paid up by December 1836.
RIBA Pix: Headquarters building for William Deacon’s Bank Limited – Mosley Street Manchester: the garden at podium level.
Harry S Fairhurst & Son 1965
The first shareholders’ meeting, in May 1836, took place in temporary premises, but in August 1836 a banking house was rented in King Street. Land off Mosley Street was later acquired and a new banking house completed in 1838.
In 1969 The Royal Bank of Scotland was restructured and Williams Deacon’s became a direct subsidiary of a new holding company, National & Commercial Banking Group. The following year the holding company’s subsidiaries in England and Wales – Williams Deacon’s Bank, Glyn, Mills & Co and the English and Welsh branches of The National Bank – merged to form Williams & Glyn’s Bank.
In 1972 Williams & Glyn’s Bank joined with five other European banks to form the Inter Alpha Banks Group to exploit opportunities in the European Economic Community. In 1985 The Royal Bank of Scotland Group’s two major subsidiary holdings, Williams & Glyn’s Bank and The Royal Bank of Scotland, were fully merged as The Royal Bank of Scotland plc.
The very merry monopolies and mergers merry dance – consequently this perfectly formed Modernist bank stands alone and forlorn.
Having taken a particular interest in this particular piece of public art for some time – I need to go and take a little look.
But what will we see along the way, as we hasten along Rochdale Road?
Which once looked like this, way back when in 1904.
Though some things inevitably come and go, as some things are prone to do.
The city is undergoing yet another reinvention as Manchester becomes – an attractive place to invest and do business.
See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.
Once there was a gas works here – adjoining Gould Street, seen here in 1958.
The Gould Street Gas Works was a gas manufacturing plant located in Manchester, England. Originally built in 1824, the plant was operated by the Manchester Corporation Gas Department and was in operation from 1833 to 1969. It was named after the street on which it was located, which was named after John Gould, who was a prominent Manchester businessman in the 19th century.
The Gasworks New Town neighbourhood is one of seven envisioned by the £4bn Victoria North masterplan. It will feature nine buildings ranging from 8 to 34 storeys. The 6.6-acre site has most recently been home to a car park but the green development will overwhelmingly prioritise walking and cycling over driving. It will result in tens of millions of pounds being pumped into the city’s economy over the lifetime of the development.
Plans for a trailblazing city centre regeneration scheme that will create more than 1200 homes has been approved by Manchester City Council.
The area is in the process of being reconfigured as a delightful country park.
The investment will also help develop an initial phase of the planned City River Park incorporating St Catherine’s Wood as part of a network of public open space, including improvements along the River Irk and works to improve flood resilience, unlocking the potential of the Irk Valley that will characterise the wider Northern Gateway project.
The first phase of the City River Park will begin work to transform former railway architecture to develop the new Viaduct Linear Park north of Victoria Train Station, new stepped public realm space – Red Bank Terraces, along with new green space by the River Irk and the key improvements to St Catherine’s Wood.
Collingham Street is lined with trucks, trailers, stalls and mobile homes.
But there’s nothing temporary about this Cheetham Hill neighbourhood; most residents have lived here for years and many plan to spend the rest of their lives here.
Founded more than forty years ago, it was created by the Showman’s Guild of Great Britain – and it’s reserved exclusively for fairground workers both retired and current.
Built on Queens Road tip, a former rubbish dump, and rented out by Manchester Council, many of the 52 homes belong to older retired showmen or families for whom an itinerant lifestyle has become more challenging.
It’s a close-knit community with a unique shared history.
Though not without its own particular issues it would seem, according to the MEN.
The licensing out of hours team has received noise complaints relating to the premises which was found to be open beyond permitted hours when visited. Officers also identified breaches of the Health Act during inspections in which people were seen smoking shisha pipes in an enclosed extension at the back.
We will leave the Flamingo be and head back into town – but not without giving a nod to this confusing collision between this self-made scrapyard-man chic gate and the ever changing skyline of overheated urban regeneration.
The new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!
Plans to build hundreds of new homes – including a 15-storey tower block – on a vacant Sainsbury’s site in Stockport town centre are set to get the go-ahead.
Proposals that would bring more than 500 flats and 34 townhouses to the three-acre plot, in Warren Street, are set to go before the council’s planning committee next Thursday night. The 573 homes would be spread across a trio of buildings – rising in height from five to 15 storeys. Two of these would also have space for a range of potential uses, ranging from shops and cafes to gyms and creches.
Situated at the junction of Salkeld Street and Cook Street
Glasgow Central Signalling Centre, located in the vee of Bridge Street Junction, opened on 2 January 1961. It replaced signal boxes at Central Station, Bridge Street Junction, Eglinton Street Junction and Eglinton Street Station. When initially opened it was capable of handling 1,000 routes.
Glasgow Central Signalling Centre closed on 27 December 2008, when its area of control was transferred to the new West of Scotland Signalling Centre – WSSC at Cowlairs. The NX panel is to be preserved. The station is currently signalled by two Westinghouse Westlock Interlockings which are controlled via an Alstom MCS control system.
Opened in 1966 along with the slightly later Lancastrian Hall and Library, the Swinton Square shopping precinct provided an integrated modern setting for shopping, living, learning and entertainment.
The late 60s and early 70s was a time of general prosperity – and the hard landscaping offered a soft option for the local folk.
This was the age of the Precinct, celebrated nationally with postcard after postcard.
My local haunt in Ashton under Lyne.
Local traders and national chains rubbed shoulders.
There was even a Job Centre opening- there was even a wide range of vacancies.
Following a challenging year, the letting reinforces Swinton Square as a pillar in the local community. Whilst retail has been heavily affected throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, footfall at the scheme has remained buoyant, with shoppers staying local, favouring the convenience and independent retailers of Swinton Square. Renovations began on the site of the new, temporary job centre at the beginning of the year and is due to be completed in May. The centre is expected to boost footfall and support for local, independent businesses.
Despite Swinton’s many strengths, it faces similar challenges to other towns. The shopping centre and other buildings in the town centre are dated and in need of investment. Demand for local housing has grown by 23% in the last five years, but there is a lack of high-quality family and affordable housing in the right locations in the area.
The vision is just the first step of the journey, the next is to appoint a developer partner who can take this vision and help shape it, through ongoing consultation and engagement with the community, into a framework and plan for Swinton that will guide future investment.
This is an opportunity to create tomorrow’s local centre, but that does rely on removing the Lancastrian Hall, rethinking the shopping centre, and repurposing the Civic Centre and the spaces around it.
The current railway station is a modern version from the 1980s that was built on top of the original station. The level of the old platforms can be seen under the existing station’s two platforms which are connected by underpass. The initial station was opened on 22 December 1841 by the Bolton and Preston Railway – which later became part of the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway and was subsequently served by the Lancashire Union Railway between St Helens, Wigan North Western and Blackburn from 1869.
Passenger trains over this route between Blackburn & Wigan were however withdrawn in January 1960. Further work was done in 2016 and 2017 in connection with the electrification of the line between Euxton Junction and Manchester.
Hang a sharp right to the Market – where there is this newish piece of public art Pattern of Life a bronze relief by Diane Gorvin and mosaic work by Tracey Cartledge
This piece involves an innovative combination of cast bronze and ceramic mosaic. Two bronze relief panels display female figures holding out rolls of fabric, each decorated with patterns and images that are particular to the town of Chorley. Payphones, for example were invented and manufactured in Chorley, the crested newt is protected here and you might also notice the famous Chorley Cakes. As the fabrics tumble down, the designs are translated from bronze relief on the wall surface into 2D mosaic in the pavement.
Looking down Fazakerley Street to where Fine Fare once was.
We’ll return to such matters in a moment – we have to get to the Post Office – which is no longer a Post Office.
It was a Post Office in 1935 – it also has a later extension.
The local list declares that the post office dates from 1935. This is almost certainly erroneous since the contract documents date from 1924, and from contract to completion the average construction and fitting-out time was about 18 months.
Plans supplied by the Architects Messrs. Cheers & Smith of Blackburn which were approved by the Education Committee on the 18th August 1904 – design proposals for the new Technical School entitled Light and Air.
The considerable task of erecting the school was given to the local builder Mr. William Hampson of Pall Mall.
Surely the envy of his trade, the total contract was worth a mouth- watering £10,041 15s. 9d. – approx. £720,000 today.
The building was officially opened by the 16th Earl of Derby on September 24th 1906.
Over the road the town’s newest retail development Market Walk – the work of AEW Architects.
Chorley Council bought the shopping centre from Orchard Street Investments for £23m in 2013 and commenced a large-scale regeneration scheme in 2018 involving a £15m, 79,000 sq ft retail and leisure extension led by main contractor Eric Wright Group and designed by AEW Architects. Here, Conrad Heald of Chorley Council tells his interviewer, AEW director Phil Hepworth, how the scheme came to fruition and has rejuvenated the town centre.
The memorial re-sited in 2018 commemorates the Chorley Pals.
In less than 20 minutes, 235 of the 720 men from the 11th East Lancs. were killed. Another 350 were wounded, of which 17 would eventually succumb to their wounds. Many of the Battalion died where they fell, in No Man’s Land.
As a result of the attack on the morning of the 1st July, the Chorley Pals – Y Company, had 31 men killed and three died within a month of their wounds received on that day. 21 have no known graves and their names are transcribed on the Thiepval memorial to the Missing on the Somme battlefield. A further 59 were wounded, making a total of 93 casualties out of approximately 175 men from Chorley who went over the top that morning.
Reversing now to the former Barclays Bank – which closed earlier in 2022.
We return now to the former Fine Fare.
The company began as one single supermarket in Welwyn Garden City in 1951, as an offshoot of the Welwyn Department Store, owned by Howardsgate Holdings, the company of Ebenezer Howard, the founder of the garden city movement.
Here we are now at a Post Office that is a Post Office but was an RBS Bank.
The new location is at the former Royal Bank of Scotland on Market Street in the town centre.
Since the Post Office that was based at WH Smith on New Market Street came to an end, when that store closed in January, it relocated to a temporary unit in Market Walk until a permanent solution could be found.
The unit, which had been provided by the postmaster from Burscough Bridge Post Office, closed on Tuesday.
Kenny Lamont, Post Office Network Provision Manager, said a Post Office is important to a community.
This had been a Methodist Church – then, it became the HQ of the Lancashire Electric Power Company.
The Lancashire Electric Power Company was one of the largest private electricity companies in the UK. It was established in 1900 and generated and supplied electricity to 1,200 squares miles of Lancashire from 1905 until its abolition under nationalisation in 1948.
Time to back track to the Cop Shop – the work of County Architect Roger Booth and crew.
The Magistrates’ Courts are closed and up for sale.
Next door the White Hart once upon a time the Snooty Fox, a pub with an up and down trajectory – currently open and described online as plush.
Down the road a pub no longer a pub but an Urban Spa.
We offer you a full range of professional treatments tailored to your own personal needs. We treat every client as an individual and offer an extensive range of treatments and professional products making your visit one to remember.
Let’s go to the theatre – The Empire tucked away at the back of town.
The Empire Electric Theatre opened, as the town’s first purpose-built cinema, on 3rd September 1910. In 1912 Archie Hooley began his connection with the cinema business at the Empire Electric Theatre. By 1927 it had been re-named Empire Cinema and by 1930 it was equipped with a Western Electricsound system and was operated by the Perfecto Filmograph Co. Ltd. By 1939 it was operated by the Snape & Ward chain. According to the Kine Year Books, in 1940 the seating was for 800, while by 1952 it had been reduced to 679 – still a far cry from today’s 236 seats. 3D films were shown in the early-1950’s. Archie had died in 1944; his son Selwyn closed the cinema in 1957, apparently “because of the taxes”.
Wrestling took over for a while before Chorley Amateur Dramatic and Operatic Society – CADOS acquired the building and renamed it the Chorley Little Theatre. Since 1960 CADOS have been putting on high-quality productions, presenting at least six productions per season – from September to July. It is also the home of the award-winning Chorley Youth Theatre who meet every Saturday, putting on shows throughout the year; and Chorley Empire Community Cinema who present the cinema experience on their 21ft wide screen with 8-Speaker Surround Sound. Run entirely by volunteers the theatre has state-of-the-art sound systems and a full range of lighting equipment. There are two spacious dressing rooms, space for costumes and props and the Empire Bar. The building has disabled access throughout the public area, including a toilet, and the auditorium is fitted with a hearing loop. There are three spaces for wheelchairs in the auditorium. It was re-named Chorley Empire Cinema at Chorley Theatre in October 2019 and films are still part of the programming.
The Odeon Market Street was built for and operated by Oscar Deutsch’s Odeon Theatres Ltd. chain, it opened on 21st February 1938 with Jack Buchanan in The Sky’s the Limit.
Architect Harry Weedon was assisted by PJ Price.
It was closed by the Rank Organisation on 6th February 1971 with George Lazenby in “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service”. After laying closed and un-used for over two years it was sold to an independent bingo operator and re-opened on 9th August 1973 as a Tudor Bingo Club. It later became a Gala Bingo Club which was renamed Buzz Bingo Club in June 2018. It was closed on March 21, 2020 due to the Covid-19 Pandemic. On 15th July 2020 it was announced that the closure would be permanent.
The building was handed over to Chorley Council who decided that asbestos removal would be too costly and the building was demolished in August 2021.
Located on Salisbury Street, off Cunliffe Street, built in 1888 as a military warehouse, it was converted into a roller skating rink around 1909. It opened as the Pavilion Picture Palace on 14th September 1911, operated by George Testo Sante, a music hall strong man, who also operated the Grand Theatre as a cinema. By 1915, music hall acts were also part of the programme. After the end of World War I, the flat floor of the cinema was raked, allowing for better viewing of the screen. The proscenium was 30ft wide, the stage was 16 feet deep and there were two dressing rooms.
The Pavilion Cinema was the first in town to screen ‘talkies, when an Electrochord sound system was installed in 1929. It was taken over by the J.F. Emery Circuit in 1932 and they operated it until the end of 1933. The sound system was upgraded to a British Talking Pictures sound system. In 1954 it was the first cinema in town to be fitted with CinemaScope and the proscenium was widened to 36 feet.
The Pavilion Cinema was closed by 1962 and converted into a bingo club. In 1972 it was re-opened as a cinema again, but due to Star Cinemas chain barring it from showing first run features – they operated the Plaza Cinema, it was closed after 5 months of operation. It was later demolished and the area was redeveloped for housing.
No trace of The Hippodrome Theatre on Gillibrand Street, which was built and opened in 1909, or the Theatre Royal, opened on 30th September 1911, It was demolished in 1959.
A supermarket was built on the site which later became a McDonalds, which is now a Pizza Hut.
Last but not least – located on the Flat Iron Parade, aka Cattle Market, The Grand Theatre was a wooden building built in 1885, which presented melodramas and plays. In June 1909 it was taken over by George Testo Santo, who had been a music hall strongman, and his family. It went over to operating as a Picture Palace for a short season.
By 1914 it was operating as a full time cinema, but was destroyed by fire in 1914.
Wolverhampton High Level Station was built in 1852 and lay on what used to be known as the Stour Valley Line. The modern day Wolverhampton Station now occupies the site and there is little left of what my father photographed as the station suffered a major phase of modernisation in the mid 1960’s.
The present Wolverhampton station dates from 1964 to 1967 when the High Level station was completely rebuilt by the architect Ray Moorcroft as part of the modernisation programme which saw the West Coast Main Line electrified.
More recently in 2004, a new through platform – platform 4, was constructed on the site of infrequently-used sidings. This has greatly enhanced the capacity of the station. A new footbridge was also constructed, to allow access to the new platform but also to improve access to the existing ones.
Members of the public are now able to access the second half of the new Wolverhampton railway station, following the completion of main construction on Phase 2 in March 2021.
The new station forms part of a significant local transformation being carried out, as part of the city’s £150m Interchange scheme. Within the city scheme, there are improvements planned for bus, Metro, cycle and train connectivity.
On the day of HM Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee, I cycled around Ashton under Lyne in search of landmarks of her sixty year reign.
Today, on the day of her funeral, I set out for a walk around Stockport, to record a town largely closed for business. Overcast but far from downcast, I defied the almost persistent fine rain and these are the pictures that I took.
Many of the subjects are products of her time on the throne.
The traffic was much lighter, there were few pedestrians, a couple of cafés were open and two men watched the funeral service on the Sky TV stand in the precinct.
Welcome, at the Kardomah Cafe we have a long history of excellent service, great food and wonderful coffee. We are an independent, established, family run business of nearly 50 years. Traditional values are important to us and have helped us create a warm and friendly atmosphere, which is seen by many of our customers as an important part of their lives, a place to meet their friends, whilst enjoying quality food and drink.
The company that created the Kardomah brand began in Pudsey Street, Liverpool in 1844 as the Vey Brothers teadealers and grocers. In 1868 the business was acquired by the newly created Liverpool China and India Tea Company, and a series of brand names was created beginning with Mikado. The Kardomah brand of tea was first served at the Liverpool colonial exhibition of 1887, and the brand was later applied to a range of teas, coffees and coffee houses. The parent company was renamed Kardomah Limited in 1938. The brand was acquired by the Forte Group in 1962, sold to Cadbury Schweppes Typhoo in 1971, and became part of Premier Brands some time between 1980 and 1997. The brand still exists, selling items such as instant coffee and coffee whitener.
The Kardomah Cafés in London and Manchester were designed by Sir Misha Black between 1936 and 1950.
The original Swansea branch was at 232 High St, and known as ‘The Kardomah Exhibition Cafe & Tea Rooms’, moving to the Castle Street in 1908.
The Castle Street cafe was the meeting place of The Kardomah Gang, which included Dylan Thomas, and was built on the site of the former Congregational Chapel where Thomas’s parents were married in 1903. The cafe was bombed during WW2 and was later replaced by the present Kardomah Coffee Shop Restaurant in Portland Street.
I’d never had the pleasure of visiting a Kardomah before, imagine my delight when I was directed there by local artist, activist and archivist Catrin Saran James, during our delightful Swansea Moderne tour!
Following an extensive walk from one end of town to the other, I returned there for a late midday bite to eat and a sit down – it looked a little like this:
Many thanks to the staff and customers for putting up with me wandering around for a while with my camera, whilst they worked and ate.
Commissioned by the burgh of East Kilbride, was designed by Scott Fraser & Browning, built by Holland, Hannen & Cubitts and completed in 1966.
Accommodating Ballerup Hall.
Ballerup Hall is located within East Kilbride Civic Centre and takes its name from its twin town Ballerup, which is near Copenhagen in Denmark. The hall comprises a main hall with stage, kitchen facilities and a bar servery. The adjoining district court room is available after office hours for a limited range of activities.
The stars of British Championship Wrestling return to East Kilbride with a star-studded line up including The Cowboy James Storm and all your favourite BCW Superstars!
I missed the missing link twixt Roddy Frame and the Civic Centre.
If you were lucky enough to catch the 2013 concerts in which Frame marked the 30th anniversary of High Land Hard Rain by playing Aztec Camera’s seminal debut album live, you’ll already have seen Anne’s pictures. Before getting to High Land Hard Rain itself in those shows, Frame treated audiences to a rare set drawn from what he termed his East Kilbride period – the songs he was writing as a teenager that would appear on Aztec Camera’s two Postcard singles, and form the basis of the band’s legendarily unreleased Postcard album, Green Jacket Grey.
While he played those tunes, huge, striking black and white images of his old hometown appeared as a backdrop behind him, setting exactly the right fragile, retro-future new town mood of post-industrial Fahrenheit 451 urban development.
A strategic masterplan for East Kilbride town centre which could see a new purpose-built civic facility is to be put before the council next month.
Last March we told how radical new plans could see the crumbling Civic Centre replaced with – a new front door to East Kilbride.
Despite there being no specific proposals agreed at this stage, South Lanarkshire Council has confirmed that agents of the owners are set to present their strategic masterplan to elected members in February.
It currently sits by the shopping centre and a patch of empty ground.
Several imposing interlocking volumes, formed by pre-cast concrete panels.
East Kilbride was the first new town built in Scotland in 1947. New Town designation was a pragmatic attempt to soak up some of the population from an overcrowded and war ravaged Glasgow. Its design was indeed an anathema to the chaotic and sprawling Glasgow: clean straight lines, modern accessible public spaces; and footways, bridges and underpasses built with the pedestrian in mind. It was designed as a self contained community — with industry, shops, recreation facilities and accommodation all within a planned geographic area.