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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Bideford Drive – Baguley

Baguley is derived from the Old English words Bagca, badger, and Leah, wood.

Historically in Cheshire, Baguley is mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086, it was incorporated into Manchester in 1931.

It has a Brook though babble heard I none, it had a Station now long gone.

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EPSON scanner image

I idled by on my bike to snap the homes around Bideford Drive, which I dutifully did. My curiosity suitably aroused I pursued the Manchester Local Image Archive, in search of clues. Planned in 1969 complete in 1971 main contractor Laing architects the City Office.

A rich mix of scale and typology, two differentiated blocks, tower and slab, short rows of compact terraces, open spaces, shops, car parking and limited planting. The interlocking geometries, paths and walkways make it an intriguing and entertaining estate, full of small surprises and ideas – these pictures are of 1971.

There is a sharply attenuated and clean feel in the air, optimism on a largely overcast day, a totality – planned integration – homes and architecture of distinction.

 

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Lower Falinge – Rochdale

Walking between College Bank flats and St Patrick’s church you and I will almost inevitably pass through Lower Falinge.

In April 1967 Rochdale Council’s Estates Committee considered a proposal to build 750 dwellings in four-storey deck access flats in the Falinge area. By November the £1,810,000 scheme for the area bounded by Spotland Road, Hudson Street and Toad Lane was given the thumbs up.

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The four-storey development was to provide 527 dwellings with deck access, ramps and overheard walkways. It was planned so people could walk from any point in the area to another without having to return to ground level. Work began in early 1968 and was completed in three stages. More recently they have been up-graded and now have pitched roofs. Freehold Flats were built in the early 1970s. Eleven of the eventual 19 blocks were occupied by August 1971. 

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Built at a time when full employment was a tangible reality rather than a fondly recounted folk memory, the area was buoyant and relatively prosperous.

Time, the free market, and casualised labour has not been kind to Lower Falinge and many other post-industrial estates. The Thatcherite press conveniently badges the residents as scum, scroungers and frauds, a carefully conceived sleight of hand, transferring responsibility onto those careless enough to become the victims of an uncaring economic system.

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Demonising and dividing working people regardless of ethnicity, ability, sexuality or ability – the equal opportunities abuser.

A few years ago there was even a national news story about a Falinge café serving fry-ups with a can of Stella for £2.50, this was untrue.

So Lower Falinge and its like become the convenient exemplar for the inconvenience of Broken Britain, a PR device to whitewash the very dirty hands that authored its very dirty demise. Those very dirty hands that have no viable solution to a very real problem, of resolving poor peoples’ uncertain futures.

Meanwhile the journalists form a disorderly queue to file the next in line, online assessment of an awful situation devoid of resolution, short of revolution.

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Transferred from local authority control to charitable trust, forever shape shifting its hard lines to a softer, home made, fluffier image as limited resources, chase limited opportunities, all around the deck access landings.

Life goes on, we live in hope or Lower Falinge.

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The estate is now post-post modern, acquiring another veneer of refurbishment over the now tarnished green of the cover all, all purpose un-repurposed steel railings.

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Longfield Open Air School – Stockport

Happy days!

I was a delicate child with bronchitis, must have done me good as I went on to serve 39 years in the army!

We lay on camp beds for an hour in the afternoons, on bad days on blankets on the floor in the main building.  

Michael Dooley  10/03/2013

Tithe Barn school stands on land which was originally a house called Longfield, the house sign is on the wall near the side entrance to TBS, which was built around 1871 for John Brown who owned Afleck and Brown’s department store in the centre of Manchester. The gardener for the house lived at what is now known as Tithe Barn Cottage.

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John later sold the house to his brother William whose wife sold it very cheaply to Stockport Education committee in 1929 to be used as an open air school for children who suffered ill health in the town, mainly through smoke pollution. This was called Longfield Open Air School. Pupils travelled there by bus before breakfast, from Portwood and other parts of the town. Most of them had a sleep outside in the afternoon so that they could take advantage of the clean air of Heaton Mersey. As the town became healthier and the chimneys stopped belching out black smoke, the need for an open air school lessened and it closed in 1968.

The original house was demolished and some of the beautiful wooden interior offered to museums in York where the original bath with its enameled sides and copper shower canopy is now on display in the Castle Museum. The only part kept and used by the architect  was the Venetian glass bathroom window which Mrs Brown had made to remind her of the beautiful water scenes in Venice. This glass panel was installed outside the Headteacher’s office and is still there today.

Penluchtschool – Open Air School

An idea that found its way from continental Europe to the British Isles.

Amsterdam – Johannes Duiker 1930

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Longfield School in the 1930s

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I was lead here on finding this print for sale in Stockport Local Studies Library.

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Here are the pupils seen in detail.

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The school in 1968

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Manchester – Tanzaro House

A chance meeting with two aged cordial bottles, a little nudge in the right direction from Christine Studley-Yates, encouragement from Natalie Ainscough, and learned guidance from this erudite site:

http://manchesterhistory.net/manchester/outside/tanzaro.html

Here we are on the edge of Ardwick Green, outside Tanzaro House, former home of Jewsbury and Brown – J&B.

So called as many of their soft drinks were branded Tanzaro.

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J&B are long gone, bought out by Schweppes in 1964 – the building is now home to a range of photographic, clothing and design studios. Happily the majority of the internal and external architectural features remain intact.

It stands in a small corner of Manchester, surrounded by a rich variety of architectural styles, by the side of a well-used public park – take a trip down there, just a moment away from the city centre.