Clark Brothers – Thomas Street Manchester

Who you gonna call?

0161 834 5880 · 34-36 Thomas Street M4 1ER Manchester – Clark Brothers.

There’s nowhere quite like it – a wonderland of wares from who knows where?

Well mostly from upstairs where they hand print the signs.

P1110728 copy

They have everything that you never ever knew that you really wanted.

At prices you just can’t resist.

The finest selection of candy striped bags.

P1110733 copy

Things which twinkle and shimmer like no other things could ever do.

Transform your home into a 380 degree 365 24/7 winter landscape or tropical retreat.

P1110730 copy

P1110731 copy

P1110732 copy

P1110734 copy

Just to wander the wobbly floorboards, is to enter a palace of variety that fills the senses with pure unadulterated delight.

Step inside love and lose yourself in a garden of artifice, happiness and joy!

P1110719 copy

P1110720 copy

P1110721 copy

P1110722 copy

P1110723 copy

P1110724 copy

P1110725 copy

P1110726 copy

P1110727 copy

P1110729 copy

P1110736 copy

P1110737 copy

P1110738 copy

P1110740 copy

 

 

 

John Lewis Mosaics – Milton Keynes

I was lured here, siren like, by an un-purchased eBay postcard – which precipitated a virtual four colour process printed journey around the shopping precincts of the UK.

MK b copy

It only seemed appropriate to finally arrive at MK Central in real life, by train from Stockport – walking at last wide-eyed and expectant, along the whole length and width of Midsummer Boulevard to centre:mk

The Milton Keynes Development Corporation began work on the Shopping Building in 1973. It was to be the largest building of Central Milton Keynes. It had a total length of over one kilometre and a maximum width of one hundred and sixteen metres . It was built at the highest point in the New City. The architects were Derek Walker, Stuart Mosscrop, and Christopher Woodward, who had been significant architects at the MK Development Corporation; and the engineers were Felix Samuely and Partners. The shopping area was opened on 25th September 1979 by Margaret Thatcher. The building’s sleek envelope accommodated one hundred and thirty shops and six department stores, arranged along two parallel day-lit arcades, each eight hundred meters long and planted with sub-tropical and temperate trees.

A big bad Miesian box of glass and steel that goes on forever and forever.

At the very far end of forever is the John Lewis store, to the right of the entrance there are a series of tiled panels – these are possibly the work of Lucienne and Robin Day

Way back when, when brown was the new brown, brown still is the new brown.

Fresh and crisp and even.

Bobbing up and down precipitously on low marble walls, from amongst the sub-tropical and temperate trees, I bring you these thirteen tiled panels.

P1260155

P1260155a

P1260155b

P1260155c

P1260155d

P1260155e

P1260155f

P1260155g

P1260155h

P1260155i

P1260155j

 

P1260169k copy

P1260155m

Working so close up and personal at altitude, photographing such large pieces in confined spaces, it’s not until you arrive home that you discover that together they spell:

john

lewis

What a delightful surprise!

Long Lane Post Office – Heald Green

Screen Shot 2018-05-30 at 14.09.16

190 Wilmslow Rd, Heald Green, Cheadle SK8 3BH

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

40249

However – I digress.

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

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

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

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

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

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

il_570xN.1484313889_n91e

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

Self service – at your service.

P1250715

P1250711

P1250712

P1250713

P1250714

 

P1250717

P1250718

P1250719

P1250720

P1250721

P1250722

P1250723

P1250724

P1250725

 

Walton’s – Ashton Under Lyne

William Walton’s and Sons – 152 Stamford Street, Ashton-under-Lyne, OL6 6AD

Stamford-Street-Ashton-under-Lyne

Founded in 1832 – when Stamford Street looked a lot like this.

Much has changed during the ensuing years, Walton’s it seems has not.

On Monday 24th October 2011 I had the privilege of meeting current owners Margaret and Dave, spending time chatting and taking photographs.

Thank you.

They tell their own tale – take a look.

DSC_0013

DSC_0015

DSC_0018

DSC_0020

DSC_0023

DSC_0026

DSC_0027

DSC_0028

DSC_0029

DSC_0035

DSC_0036

DSC_0037

DSC_0038

DSC_0039

DSC_0041

DSC_0042

DSC_0043

DSC_0045

DSC_0047

DSC_0049

DSC_0050

DSC_0051

DSC_0052

DSC_0053

DSC_0055

DSC_0056

DSC_0058

DSC_0060

DSC_0067

DSC_0069

DSC_0072

DSC_0076

DSC_0077

DSC_0078

DSC_0079

DSC_0082

DSC_0087

DSC_0088

DSC_0089

DSC_0090

DSC_0092

DSC_0093

DSC_0095

DSC_0096

DSC_0097

DSC_0098

DSC_0099

DSC_0101

DSC_0103

DSC_0104

DSC_0105

DSC_0107

DSC_0108

DSC_0113

DSC_0114

DSC_0115

 

 

52 Wellington Road North – Stockport

Screen Shot 2018-05-07 at 07.25.27

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

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

20384

 

35147

35148

Stockport Image Archive

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

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

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

Screen Shot 2018-05-07 at 08.03.22

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

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

P1210198

P1210199

P1210200

P1210201

P1210202

P1210203

P1210204

P1210205

P1210206

P1210208

P1210209

P1210210

P1210211

P1210212

P1210215

P1210216

P1210217

P1210218

P1210220

P1210221

R.E & J. Parker Bakers – Leigh

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

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

Screen Shot 2018-01-16 at 11.21.08

 

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

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

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

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

P1120865 copy

P1120868 copy

P1120869 copy

P1120870 copy

P1120871 copy

P1220700

P1220701

P1220702

P1220703

P1220704

P1220705

P1220706

 

 

Coventry – Central Co-op

 

Built between 1955-56 and opened November 1956 the central Co-operative Society store in Coventry is a clean, clear example of post-war design and redevelopment, epitomised by the city’s plan and realisation.

coventry-co-op-plaque

Picture – Natalie Bradbury

Sadly it finally closed its doors in 2015, along with many other of the Society’s larger stores, as they moved their focus to smaller food outlets.

p1100002-copy

Happily it has been listed, saved from the indignity of the wrecking ball and the building of further student flats. Coventry, along with other UK cities, has begun to rely on the expansion of higher education, in the face of industrial and retail decline. The future use of the site, is as yet uncertain. Sadly I am now informed that the listing did not go through, make of that what you will.

While such measures are not an ultimate protection from bulldozers or drastic renovation, it is considered the building helps tell the tale of the city centre’s contemporaneously vaunted but since controversial rebuilding after the Coventry Blitz.

One of the city’s largest and oldest stores was closed last year as a victim of flagging city centre trade in an internet era, and EDG Property bought the site.

No planning applications have been received, although the council says ‘prospective buyers’ have stated an intention to demolish the building to erect two 12-storey towers of student accommodation.

p1100004-copy

So it stands empty, the late summer foliage obscuring its splendid signage.

p1100001-copy

Still in clear view the stone relief work of John Skelton November 1956. Three of the eight column have incised Hornston stone works, depicting the activities of the CWS.

p1090991-copy

p1090992-copy

p1090993-copy

p1090994-copy

p1090995-copy

p1090996-copy

p1090997-copy

p1090998-copy

p1090999-copy