Back to Bideford Drive – Baguley

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Here we are again – having previously travelled back to the inception of the estate in the 1970s.

Structurally little has changed, politically and economically things have shifted.

Tectonically:

The Conservative Party had committed itself to introducing a Right to Buy before Margaret Thatcher became Party leader. After the election of May 1979 a new Conservative government drafted legislation to provide a Right to Buy but, because this would not become law until October 1980, also revised the general consent to enable sales with higher discounts matching those proposed in the new legislation. The numbers of sales completed under this general consent exceeded previous levels. Between 1952 and 1980 over 370,000 public sector dwellings were sold in England and Wales. Almost a third of these were in 1979 and 1980 and it is evident that higher discounts generated and would have continued to generate higher sales without the Right to Buy being in place. 200,000 council houses were sold to their tenants in 1982, and by 1987, more than 1,000,000 council houses in Britain had been sold to their tenants.

The Right to Buy: History and Prospect

The post war policy of building and renting local authority housing was swamped by the phrase property owning democracy, on which the popular conservatism of the 20th century rested, and with it a vision of the good society, was coined by the Scottish Unionist Noel Skelton in a quartet of articles for the Spectator entitled Constructive Conservatism, written in the spring of 1923. The appeal of Popular Capitalism proved compelling, however the periods of de-industrialisation, and the subsequent lull in the building of new affordable homes, has created a myriad of obstacles for those simply seeking somewhere to live and work.

The estate illustrates this historic shift, replete with homeowners decorative amendments and addenda, managing agents and trusts and an end to the architectural integrity of the development.

One could become all Ian Nairn about this, swathed in Outrage.

I myself feel that despite the cosmetic surgery, this remains a homely enclave, residents going about their business in a relatively orderly and happy manner.

Take a look:

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Barmouth Street – Bradford Manchester

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Semi Detached – Warrington

I was walking back from St Stephen’s Church recently, when I chanced upon a small group of two storey, flat roofed, semi detached social houses.

They were blessed with that post war functionalist brick and concrete chic.

Part of a larger development of homes in the Longford area of the town.

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An area which is one of the most socially deprived in the country, with more than its fair share of problems, crack and weed would once have been pressing matters for the Borough Highways Department – these days they are more likely to attract the attention of the boys and girls in blue.

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And to cap it all the area is prone to frequent flooding.

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There are signs of hope as the housing association and council embark on a multi million pound refurbishment of the estate including:

Replacing fencing around bungalows.

On the day of my visit the chill January streets seemed quiet and ordered, and I was enchanted by the mismatched pairs of semis that I encountered.

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Pifco – Manchester

It began with a ray gun.

Following a thread, a tenuous electrical link that brought me back home, to an all too familiar household name.pifco-copy

A name that has illuminated, vibrated, mixed, measured, massaged, warmed and dried our lives for over one hundred years.

But what does it mean, where does this stuff come from, what’s it all about Pifco?

 

Pifco of Failsworth, also of Pifco House, 87 High Street, Manchester.

1900 Company established by Joseph Webber to sell lighting appliances and accessories.

1902 Public company formed as Provincial Incandescent Fittings Co. Ltd.

1911 The Filani Nigeria Tin Mining Co was incorporated as a public company.

1949 Name changed.

1954 Incorporated Walls Ltd, of River Street Birmingham, as a wholly-owned subsidiary to manufacture medical lamps, kettles and small cookers.

1957 The last of the mining assets were sold.

1957 Filani Nigeria Tin Mining Co changed its name to Pifco Holdings Ltd and acquired all of the issued share capital of Pifco 1961 Manufacturers and distributors of electrical appliances and accessories. 

1970 The Regent Cotton Mill, in Failsworth was purchased by Pifco.

1984 Agreed to acquire Swan Housewares from BSR International, but later the deal collapsed.

1987 Acquired House of Carmen, maker of heated hair rollers; the other important brand was Salton.

1991 Purchased Russell Hobbs Tower.

2001 Salton Group, a US company making domestic appliances, acquired Pifco.

 

So Provincial Incandescent Fittings Co. Ltd.

We salute you, so much joy emanating from Failsworth Manchester, making the world a warmer, drier, brighter, cleaner safer place.

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Always at never less than entirely reasonable prices.

 

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A true friend to the nocturnal cyclist.

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Christmas cheer for all!

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Those little things that lighten the wearisome load of the daily beauty regime.

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The minor essentials of our everyday electrical lives.

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The seemingly frivolous rendered material.

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We can all sleep ever so easily abed at night, in the simple knowledge that Pifco is still out there working just for us/you!

Nighty night.

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Pevensey – Oyster Bungalows

Hardly by accident, passing Pevensey Bay by bike one sunny summer’s day, hurriedly intent on catching up with old friends.

Having visited here some years ago, under the guidance of pal Pauline, I was as ever, over eager to renew our previously brief acquaintance.

There they were waiting patiently, to the left of a long straight road, running parallel to the adjacent shore.

Oyster Bungalows – so called for their cylindrical form and formerly scalloped barge boards.

Holiday homes the work of designer / architect: Martin & Saunders Limited built: 1937 – 1939.

Small and perfectly formed, they all seem to have suffered the indignities of ageing none to gracefully.

Subject to the whims of fashion and the uPVC expediency of our age.

Typically no two are the same, variegated planting, neglect and graceless addenda grace the previously pristine homes.

For all that, their diminutive charm remains undiminished.

My spirits lifted as I strolled by, inevitably yours will too.