Here I am in this instance on Tyneside exploring the labyrinthine netherworlds.
There comes a time in everyone’s life, when one simply must go to Rotherham, at least once – so I did.
To keep company with my personal town guide, Sheffield Modernist and local resident, Helen Angell.
I arrived early at Rotherham Central, so went for a solo wander.
The station was originally named Rotherham, becoming Rotherham and Masborough in January 1889 and finally Rotherham Central on 25 September 1950.
The newish Rotherham Central station was opened to passengers on 11 May 1987, the present iteration on Friday 24 February 2012, as part of the Rotherham Renaissance plans for the regeneration of the town.
Opened 22 December 1934 as the Regal Cinema with Leslie Howard in Girls Please. Sandy Powell, the famous comedian attended opening night this 1,825 seat. It was designed by the Hull based architectural firm Messrs Blackmore & Sykes for local exhibitor Thomas Wade and was leased to the Lou Morris chain.
By 1937 it was operated by the London & Southern Super Cinemas Ltd. chain. The Regal Cinema was leased to the Odeon circuit in 1946 and was re-named Odeon. It was sold by the Rank Organisation to an independent operator in 1975 and renamed Scala Cinema, by 1981 using the circle only.
Closed 23rd September 1983 with the film Porky’s.
Became a bingo hall initially named Ritz but now Mecca. On 20th February 2020 the building was put up for sale by auction at an asking price of £600,000+, but failed to sell, with the maximum reached £590,000. Mecca bingo continues in the building.
Curious corner retail development and sculpture of the Sixties – with pub archeology.
Art Deco detail and tiling.
Royal Mail Sorting Office.
Main contractors J. Finnegan it’s thirteen storeys high – housing forty eight dwellings.
Interwar Technical College – Howard Building
From the 1930s, it provided technical-orientated education from the Howard Building on Eastwood Lane, Rotherham. In 1981, three neighbouring colleges of arts, technology and adult education were merged into one. As a result, the college became known as Rotherham College of Arts and Technology.
Revised plans to convert the historic Howard Building in Rotherham town centre into self-contained studios and apartments have been approved by the planning board at Rotherham Council.
The prominent former college building was sold prior to going to auction last September after it was advertised as a development opportunity and given a guide price of £250,000 by local auctioneers, Mark Jenkinson & son.
A group of rogue property directors with links to a prominent derelict building in Rotherham have been banned for a total of 54 years. The six, of Absolute Living Developments, were found to have misled more than 300 people to invest at least £12 million in residential properties.
The firm was linked through a lender to Avro Developments, which had plans passed in 2015 to renovate former college block the Howard Building in Rotherham town centre.
Next to the market.
With a strident high tech canopy, very recently added – though Rotherham’s history stems back 800 years when it is thought that the original royal market charter was granted by King John in the year 1207.
There are traces of the 1970’s rebuild.
Bunker-like The Trades former music venue/pub, which replaced the former riverside Trades Club.
The PA now silenced.
This was an amazing event. The bands were really good and the drinks offers, while limited, were good. The ceiling in the ladies toilets had fallen through and was dripping, presumably there had been a leak from all the rain, but this didn’t lessen the awesome experience.
The cooling towers and flats are long gone – the coal-fired power station operated from 1923 until October 1978.
The Prince of Wales Power Station in Rotherham was located on Rawmarsh Road and was opened by the Prince of Wales – the future King Edward VIII.
The former Grattans catalogue offices can be seen to the left.
Renamed Bailey House and still in use by the local authority, its days it seems are numbered.
The building is named after Rotherham-born engineer Sir Donald Bailey whose ingenious bridge designs played a key role in shortening World War II, the house in which Bailey was born, 24 Albany Street is still standing.
Sadly no longer home to the Harlem Shuffle
No big names – just big sounds.
There are some surviving power station buildings.
Along with electrical infrastructure.
Up the road next, to the former fire station, which now houses J E James Cycles.
It is surrounded by typically atypical inter war housing.
I could make the wild assumption, that these flat roofed maisonettes were originally homes fit for firefighters.
A passing nod towards a former Methodist Chapel.
Further on up the road to Peck House.
And the attendant tiles.
Just around the corner Backer Heating – still trading.
Returning toward town and enchanted by a giant 13 amp plug.
Under the underpass.
Then the other underpass.
Finally through the last underpass.
With a final notable note regarding Rotherham’s hand painted council commissioned signage – I’d like to think that they have a sign writer in their employ.
Many thanks to my learned companion Helen – thanks for a fine day out, so much to see and do!
I’ve been here before on a much sunnier day.
Avoiding heavy showers and even heavier seas, I’m here again.
Three ways in and out of a doughnut on Scarborough’s South Bay.
One way in and out of the North Sea.
The underpass it seems is generally under threat, unsafe, often unloved and underground – often underused.
Once thought to be the answer to the threat posed to the pedestrian, by increased motor traffic, they are now deemed unsafe – poorly lit, badly maintained and scenes of anti-social activity.
Havens for those who are a threat to themselves.
Don’t let that put you off, get down and get with it!
Why not treat yourself to a walk around the South Bay Underground Car Park?
Then get out of it rapido.
A fitting finish to the series as we pass through the final subterranean frontier out into the clear light of the South Yorkshire day.
Each one is a neglected gem of municipal modernism, the underpass a feature under threat, the pedestrian often subsumed by the drive to accommodate the motor car.
As of last Wednesday, we all seem to have tenuously hung on in there.
Oh we’ll hear the thunder roar, feel the lightning strike.
At a point we’ll both decide to meet at the same time tonight.
Having posted the first underpass – let’s take a look at the second.
Orange on white, circles within circles squared.
I had seen a photograph posted by Mandy Payne of an underpass in Rotherham – illustrating a delightful concrete relief.
Enlisting the assistance of friend and local resident Helen Angell, we set out on a mission to visit the roundabout in back of the big Tesco, which housed the three underpasses.
This is the first – painted white, well whiteish – more than somewhat disabused by the passage of time and the passage of users of the underpass.
Brute and angular, incised and cursive and currently lacking authorship or attribution.
Second time around – having once cycled the whole way in 2009.
I’ll do anything twice or more – so here we are again, this time on foot.
Let’s start at the very beginning, a very good place to start – in the middle, the section from the town centre to Hazel Grove.
Maps are available here for free – we declined the offer, deciding to follow signs instead, many of which were missing or rotated, the better to misinform and redirect – such is life.
We are mostly lost most of the time, whether we like it or know it or not.
We begin at the confluence of the rivers Mersey and Goyt – which no longer seems to be a Way way, the signs having been removed, and proceed down Howard Street, which seems to have become a tip.
The first and last refuge for refuse.
Passing by the kingdom of rust – Patti Smith style.
Passing under the town’s complex internal motorway system by underpass.
Where help is always handily at hand.
Whistling past the graveyard – the site of the former Brunswick Chapel where one and hundred and fifty souls lay lying.
Onward down Carrington Road to Fred’s house.
Almost opposite the entrance to the museum, now set in shrubbery, are the foundations, laid in September 1860, of what was to be a forty metre high Observatory Tower. Despite a series of attempts, funds for the tower could not be raised and the ‘Amalgamated Friendly Societies of Stockport’ eventually had to abandon the idea.
Out east and passing alongside the running track.
Lush meadows now occupy the former football field, twixt inter-war semis and the woodland beyond.
Out into the savage streets of Offerton where we find a Buick Skylark, incongruously ensconced in a front garden.
The only too human imperative to laugh in the face of naturalism.
We have crossed over Marple Road and are deep in the suburban jungle of mutually exclusive modified bungalows.
Off now into the wide open spaces of the Offerton Estate – the right to buy refuge of the socially mobile, former social housing owning public.
People living on Offerton Estate have been filmed for a programme entitled ‘Mean Streets’ which aims to highlight anti-social behaviour in local communities.
The next thing we know we’re in a field, a mixed up melange of the urban, suburban and rural, on the fringes of a Sainsbury’s supermarket filling station.
We cross the A6 in Hazel Grove and here for today our journey ends
Ignoring the sign we went in the opposite direction.
As we reach the edge of Mirrlees Fields – the site of the only Fred Perry laurel leaf logo emblazoned way marker.
The Fields are currently designated as a green space and are not available for residential development. But MAN would like to overturn this designation for over one third of the Fields.
MAN Energy Solutions UK is the original equipment manufacturer of Mirrlees Blackstone diesel engines.
Before the Blackstone MAN came in 1842 – the fields were all fields.
To be continued.
This is the journey made by Comrade Yuri Gagarin 12th July 1961 – as detailed in my previous post.
This is that same journey by bike and my observations of 19th August 2019.
Original Terminal Building LC Howitt and SG Besant Roberts 1962
Shadow Moss Road
St Andrews Church – JCG Prestwich and Son 1960
St Luke The Physician – Taylor and Young 1938-9
Church of the Latter Day Saints – TP Bennet and Son 1964
St Ambrose Reynolds & Scott 1956
Barlow Moor Road
Upper Chorlton Road
Imperial Picture Theatre – W.H. Matley 1914
I had wrongly assumed for months that this was the AUFW Offices it wasn’t – it’s two doors down, the other side of the Imperial.
The stonework above the door is a clue, thanks awfully to my observant comrades – July 12th 2020.
The 59th anniversary of Yuri’s visit.
Monday 3rd August 2015 one finds oneself wide wake in the Rydeview Hotel.
Faced with a breakfast best described as indescribable.
I arose and departed, not angry but hungry.
Made my way to the corner of Southsea Common, where once we drank – Tim Rushton and I were often to be found in The Wheelbarrow together.
A boozer no longer, now named for the city’s long gone famous son.
How bad a pub is this? I walk past it to get to my local. Most nights there are six people max in the bar, all huddled around the bar itself, backs to the door. – this often includes the landlord and landlady. They have live music there once in a while and you can’t get served by the one bloke behind the bar – the landlord and landlady never help out, they don’t seem to give a toss.
Beers crap, not worth a visit.
It was never like that in our day.
Visiting our former abode on Shaftesbury Road – where I once dwelt along with Tim, Catherine, Liz and Trish.
Yet more Stymie Bold Italic.
Back to the front for a peer at the pier.
Clarence Pier is an amusement pier located next to Southsea Hoverport. Unlike most seaside piers in the UK, the pier does not extend very far out to sea and instead goes along the coast.
The pier was originally constructed and opened in 1861 by the Prince and Princess of Wales and boasted a regular ferry service to the Isle of Wight. It was damaged by air raids during World War II and was reopened in its current form on 1 June 1961 after being rebuilt by local architects AE Cogswell & Sons and R Lewis Reynish.
Low cloud grey skies and drizzle.
This sizeable two bedroom apartment situated on the seventh floor of the ever popular Fastnet House is offered with no onward chain and the option of a new 999 year lease as well as a share of the freehold. With panoramic views over The Solent towards the Isle Of Wight and Spinnaker Tower, situated in a central location and close to all amenities, this lovely apartment offers luxury living for any prospective buyer. With lift access, the apartment comprises; entrance hallway, a large lounge diner with box bay window boasting stunning sea views across the city and The Solent, master bedroom with built in wardrobes and sea views over The Solent, a spacious second bedroom, fitted kitchen with breakfast bar and a recently updated modern shower room.
On The Market £365,000
We are fully stocked with house coal, smokeless coal, kindling and fire lighters, fire grates, companion sets and fire tools.
Christmas lights have also arrived.
Coal Exchange – Peter and Dawn welcome you to their traditional pub in the heart of Emsworth adjacent to the public car park in South Street and close to the harbour.
Lillywhite Bros Ltd is a family run business established over 60 years ago in Emsworth, which is ideally located between Portsmouth and Chichester. It is currently run by brothers Paul and Mike who continue to keep up with modern techniques and equipment, as well as maintaining their traditional values and high standard of customer service.
Next thing you know I’m in Pagham, having become very lost somewhere between there and here, asking for directions from the newsagents and buying a bottle of Oasis.
The newsagent was mildly amused by lack of map, sense and/or sensibility.
I spent many happy hours here in my youth playing the slots with The King.
We would stay here in Tamarisk with my Aunty Alice and Uncle Arthur and Smudge the cat, an idyllic railway carriage shack two rows back from the pebbled seashore.
We would enjoy a shandy at the King’s Beach with Lydia, Wendy and David.
All gone it seems.
On to Bognor a B&B and a brew – a brief glimpse into my luxury lifestyle.
I’ll take an overcast Monday evening stroll along the prom, where I chanced to meet two landlocked Chinese lads, gazing amazed at the sea – they were on a course in Chichester learning our own particular, peculiar ways.
There was no-one else around.
Who can resit the obvious allure of the novelty item?
Or an Art Deco garage fascia.
Fitzleet House was built in the 1960s architects: Donald Harwin & Partners, it consists of seventy four flats, fifteen of them are in a three-storey block next to the main building.
PS&B are pleased to offer this sixth floor flat which is situated conveniently close to the town centre and within close proximity of the sea front. The accommodation is newly refurnbished and is offered unfurnished with south/west facing lounge with small balcony with far reaching views to the sea. Kitchen and bathroom with shower over bath and one double bedroom. Further benefiting from having modern electric heating and double glazing, telephone entry system, lift to all floors, communal sky dish and white goods. With regret no pets and no children – £685 rental is payable calendar monthly in advance.
For many years, a gentleman called Todd Sweeney collected sunshine statistics from the roof of Fitzleet House, which were then forwarded to the Met Office in London to assist with national statistics, and in 1983 one group of Cubs arranged a special tea party on the roof of the building as part of the national tea-making fortnight.
Highlight of the day or any day for that matter the Health Centre.
Paul English Conservative Felpham East – asked about the life span of the building given it was built in the 1960s, describing it as ‘incredibly old’.
Mr Clavell-Bate replied – NHS Property Services say it is structurally sound, it has a life expectancy going forward.
I was looking forward to going forward Wetherspoon’s – ideologically unsound going forward, with hindsight.
Let’s take a last late night stroll along the promenade.
In 1898 Manchester Liners Ltd was launched, four second hand ships were purchased and the company naming policy of applying the prefix Manchester was established.
The company began to operate services to Canada and the USA. Manchester Liners started WW1 with 15 ships in its fleet. During the war 10 ships were lost to enemy action, but because of the purchase of replacements the fleet was at 12 in 1918. At the outbreak of WW2, Manchester Liners had 10 ships in service. War losses were 7 ships, but the delivery of war-standard ships maintained the fleet at 8, which was sufficient to resume a weekly service to Canada.
The Manchester dockworkers strike record became so bad, that in 1973 the company decided to move half of its container services to Felixstowe. Furthermore, to obtain lower costs per unit, container ships were becoming bigger than the Canal limits.
This was a history of economic growth and prosperity, for some. Tangible commerce, the wealth of a nation built on making things, moving things. Cranes, ships, stevedores and sailors, the world and his wife converging at the base of the Manchester Ship Canal.
All this is long gone, containerisation, recession and state engineered shifts in global manufacture and trade.
They took away the cranes.
The area is now awash with intangible activity – what goes on behind the smoked and mirrored glass?
Just who is moving what around, how, where and why?
But hidden away between here and there is a tiled underpass.
A permissive path.
Where once there was a bridge – before the Manchester Ship Canal was built, the course of the River Irwell was approx. 50-100 yards further north of where the Ship Canal now passes under Trafford Road. This plaque is next to a pedestrian tunnel under Trafford Road, roughly on the line of the old navigation.
Archive photographs Salford History
So here it is a hidden, harshly lit, slightly disabused tribute to the brave souls who sailed the seven seas, stayed ashore, weighed, loaded and shifted stuff.
We all deserve a better deal.
I’m walking, yes indeed I’m walking – I’m walking the Mancunian Way.
Previously posted as historical journey – this, as they say, is the real deal, one foot after another, one sunny afternoon in September.
From east to west and back again – in or on, under and around our very own Highway in the Sky.
Part of the ever changing patchwork of demolition and development which defines the modern city. The carriageway prevails, whilst the pervasive rise and fall continues apace, its forlorn pedestrian underpasses may soon be superseded by wider walkways.
Manchester City Council is spending around £10million to make major changes to the junction where Princess Road meets the Mancunian Way and Medlock Street.
Much to the chagrin of local residents, who value the solace of their sole soulful green space and the frequent users, passing under the constant waves of sooty traffic.
What you see is what you get today, tomorrow is another kettle of concrete, trees, traffic and steel.
I often use this local yellow passageway as I make my way in the world.
Bridging Lancashire Hill, Belmont Way, Manchester Road, Tiviot Way – from the town centre to the out of town shopping centre, the flats to everywhere.
Bridging the tarmac to another green world and back.
Come with me now there’s a life going on underground.
I’ve been here before.
In and out of the underpass from shore to mighty sea.
I’ve come back again, fascinated by the barely illuminated utilitarian infrastructure that seems so rarely used, alone in world of my own.
Take a closer walk and look with me.
The light at the end the tunnel is another tunnel.
Milton Keynes synonymous with something or other, the town where everything is an off centre out of town centre, where anything was new once.
A broad grid of boulevards, sunken super-highways and an extended series of balletic roundabouts swirls the cars around.
Beneath this merry carbon hungry dance, we find the cyclist and pedestrian, the self propelled underclass passing through the underpass.
During my eight hour non-stop walking tour I encountered several – here they are, home to the homeless – others somewhat desolate and deserted, grass between the paving stones, the occasional casual tag and discarded can.