Sunday, May 31, 2009

hardy lane postcard

Flickr turned up a great selection of old Chorlton postcards plus some original pictures of old farms... A fantastic find for a Sunday evening. Though I've seen some of these before there are some new views. The postcard age of cheap and three plus postage deliviers a day was before 1914. It did record the everyday and ordinary street scenes as small companies produced views local to you.

The whole set of 21 is here. It's even worth reading the writing of the messages on the reverse side. Keeping well, weather fine...Top tip click the picture for the bigger view.

Friday, May 29, 2009

South Manchester Members Group

BannerAfter the talk to the Chorlton History Group, April 23rd just gone, received an invite to speak to the South Manchester Co-operative Members Group. It's on Wednesday 10th June at Hardy Lane Co-op Rooms - where else? I know England are playing Andorra in a World Cup Qualifier but for once I'll forgo the football.

Looking forward to it as I've spoke at one of their meetings before on some other non-history subject. It's a small but appreciative group who are well informed on co-operative issues. They are also well informed about the Hardy Lane rooms so I might pick up some anecdotes about activities there from the last twenty odd years.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Farm Gate

Farm Gate in Urban Landscape
Just off Hardy Lane on The Meadows is this old steel gate. It stands forlonely in an open green space with its 6 bars and a spot of rust. Is it a relic of Hardy Farm which stood behind that fence in the photograph? Why is it still here? You could think you were deep in the countryside but walk two minutes from here its back to suburbia.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Origins of M/c and Salford Co-op

"Manchester and Salford Society.—Few are aware that there is a Sunrise store in Manchester. The great Co-operative Society of the City and Salford situated in Downing Street is of this class. Mr. Charles Wright calls it the "Acorn" store, which —owing in no mean measure to his services as its secretary—is now an Oak store. The "Acorn" was sown at 169, Great Ancoats Street, in June, 1859. It began more hopefully than most stores. It had 111 members and a capital of £289. Its sales in the first week were £32. The rent of their shop was only £13, yet its receipts for the first complete year were £7,687."
The History of Co-operation by George Jacob Holyoake - taken from Chapter 12 published 1875 and revised 1906.

George Jacob Holyoake (1817–1906), atheist and freethinker, self-proclaimed 'agitator', champion of the working class, and co-operator, was born at Birmingham on 13 April 1817. There is an excellent website of Holyoake's writings.

He classifies Co-ops in the following ways :
"Co-operative Stores may be regarded as divisible into Dark Stores, Twilight Stores, and Sunrise Stores. The "Dark" Stores are those which give no share of profits to those they employ—give credit—which keeps up the habit of indebtedness in their members—and have no education fund in their rules. The "Twilight " stores are those which have some features or others of a "Sunrise" Store, but not all. "Sunrise" Stores are those which have the cardinal features of ready-money dealing, provision for intelligence, and who give the same dividend on the wages of all their employees as they give to the consumer who purchases at their counter, If "Sunrise" Stores increase it will be owing to the Women's Guilds, when they understand what true Co-operation means."

The website starts with the work of the Chartist, poet, author, and free thinker, Gerald Massey and has writings from other contemporaries besides G.J. Holyoake.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Funeral Directors

Barlow Moor Road
Next door to the Hardy Lane Co-op Rooms is a Funeral Directors shop - currently this is a firm called T.Broome though I'm told this is Co-operative Funeral Services trading under another name.

The picture is from the early 1950's when it was a branch of the Manchester & Salford Co-op Funeral department. Previously it is listed in street directories circa 1939 as a fruiterer.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Equitable not the Industrial

The word Equitable is not used a lot in Co-operative titles but the Manchester & Salford Equitable Co-operative Society had it - probably taking it from the first of the modern consumer co-op societies the Equitable Pioneers. History books refer to the original shop and society in Toad Lane as the Rochdale Pioneers. But they called themselves the Equitable Pioneers in December 1844.

Back to Manchester...
"With the exception of one or two short-lived attempts to form other societies in the 1860s, their only rival was the Manchester & Salford Industrial Co-operative Society, which at one time had eight branches, but ran into difficulties in the later 1860s and went into liquidation in 1870"
- footnote page 13 from "Feeding the Victorian City -the food supply of Manchester 1770 - 1870" by Roger Scola (1992, Manchester).

Just started reading this book, or more like dipping into chapters, and it is very a comprehensive food history more like a massive Phd with all sources acknowledged. Now out of print but the local municipal library lends copies.

Previously I thought the Manchester & Salford Industrial was some short-lived one store society but now I need to know more.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Archive Work

The rainy days drove me to seek a visit to the Co-op Archives in Manchester. Best to make an appointment. Filling in a few gaps and it opens up new avenues of inquiry. Found some more information about the Barlow Moor Mixed Guild. In 1952 they celebrated their 21st anniversary with a party on March 15th of that year.

"The board of directors presented a beautiful birthday cake for the party, which in true Barlow Moor manner was appreciated. During the past three months there have been speakers, including an address by Mr. Jenkins, of the Co-operative Party, a film show, and a discussion with Royal Oak & Baguely Guild."
Manchester & Salford Co-operative Herald Pg 136, May 1952.

The discussion with Royal Oak & Baguely Mixed Guild took place in Wythenshawe and the topic was "The Future of the Co-operative Dividend"
Manchester & Salford Co-operative Herald Pg 107, April 1952.

It must have been successful because in 1953 they announced similar activities.."programme for the month will be a whist drive, a discussion with Royal Oak & Baguely, a C.W.S. film show, and a social evening."
Manchester & Salford Co-operative Herald Pg 106, April 1953.

The picture above is a 1930 advert in the M&S Herald. You are allowed to take photos without flash in the archives, and photocopying isn't allowed on old publications as it fades them...

Friday, May 15, 2009

The Seven of 1929

1929 is written in history books as the year of the Wall Street Crash. It was in late October. It was also the year when the Manchester & Salford Co-op opened a seven new stores. A new record for them. Here is a list of them, it includes Hardy Lane, and over the next few months I'll go and seek them out to see how they have fared over the last 80 years...

Ayres Road, Old Trafford - January 9th
Green End, Burnage - April 15th
Parrs Wood Road North, Burnage - June 15th (75th branch)
Warwick Road South, Firswood - June 22nd (77th branch)
Park Estate, West Timperley - September 21st (78th branch)
Hardy Lane, Chorlton - November 23rd (80th branch)
School Road, Sale - December 5th

Since found out the main Didsbury store on Wilmslow opened on Saturday 9th November - replacing the very small older store originally opened by the Didsbury & Barlow Moor Co-op Society (amalgamated with M&S Co-op 1901).

The numbering of the branches is taken from the story in the monthly M&S Co-op Herald and doesn't follow on correctly....mmmm.

The 1920's was a time of expansion for this co-op society. Year (new stores opened)
1920 (1), 1924 (4), 1925 (4), 1926 (4), 1927 (4), and 1928 (4). There were also some store closures which are harder to track.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Trams to come to Hardy Lane

"Two new Metrolink lines are to be created in south Manchester. The tracks, which will link Chorlton with Didsbury and Withington as well as Manchester Airport, are part of a £1.4 billion transport bonanza across Greater Manchester."
Two tram lines : No congestion charge in the South Manchester Reporter 14th May 2009

It's the old metro plan from about 17 years ago revived. One of the lines will go down Hardy Lane to the airport. A metro stop is planned for somewhere on Hardy Lane. The local freesheet used its old artist impression of the metro crossing Barlow Moor Road into Hardy Lane.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Original Line

Hardy Lane Looking West
Took a little time out today to photograph what I believe is the original section of Hardy Lane. It is marked by the gully covers set into the pavement. This would have been on the north side of the road. The photograph is looking westwards.
Gully Cover
Gully covers are a clue to the age of a street and these were made by J & S Eyres, an iron works in Lord Street, Miles Platting, Manchester and date from around the 1920's. It all reads a bit nerdy. The gaps are also parallel to the road which was the way then. It was and still is a hazard for cyclists, that's why more modern ones are at right angles or 45 degrees to the curb. The point is that iron street wear rarely changes. For example I've been to places in Italy that still have Mussolini era covers as part of a 1920's water distribution scheme in Puglia. Closer to home there are plenty of examples from Victorian and Edwardian times.Fountain Street, and Police Street in the city centre have some very early pre-Manchester Corporation gully covers.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

When M&S didn't mean M&S

Grainger Market
Only in recent times has M&S become synonymous with Marks & Spencer but up until the 1970's, in Manchester it stood for Manchester & Salford. On the high street besides the M&S Co-op there was the M&S Trustee Savings Bank. Not that people would say 'Manchester & Salford' as there was no need. There were numerous charitable and religious institutions with M&S in their title. For example the Manchester & Salford Playing Fields Association or the M&S Street Missions. So when you see old buildings in Manchester with a stone carved with M&S it won't mean the famous UK retailer.

Recently in Newcastle, the big one on the River Tyne and spotted an original Marks & Spencer Penny Bazaar. It still operates as the smallest branch of the retail giant and it's in the fascinating Grainger Market. Worth a visit, a pleasant shopping experience.

Footnote :
Manchester was designated a city in 1853, whilst Salford was not given that status until 1926

Further reading :
Mentions the origins of the M&S Playing Fields Society (PDF)
M&S Street Missions at Wood Street Mission
List of Bank mergers (it doesn't mention M&S Trustee Savings Bank though but does record the M&S Permanent Benefit Building Society)

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Before the widening

This old plan dates from around 1927 and shows the proposed Barlow Moor Estate. Marked in red, not on the original are..
1. site of Hardy Lane co-operative store
2. the original route of Hardy Lane coming off Barlow Moor Road
3. the drive up to Hough End Hall, the only other road off Barlow Moor Road here. Part of this drive still exists as a path in Chorlton Park behind the school.

What I find interesting is that roads and drives rarely come off at right angles. Note the drive up to Hardy Farm coming off the north side of Hardy Lane. There might be a good reason for this. I could guess it was easier to steer a horse and cart at a lesser angle than 90 degrees but I don't know.

Sunday, May 3, 2009


Artist at work Once you start looking you start seeing. I've been to the Local Studies Centre at Manchester Central Reference Library hundreds of times but have yet to look for Manchester & Salford Co-op material. I've always been researching other matters. Checked the excellent National Archives website and it appears there are 142 boxes of material hidden away in that wonderful round building.

National Archive : List of boxes
This picture was taken in 2005 of an artist painting the library. It was shirt sleeve weather.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Merseybank Co-op

Merseybank Co-op
Then and now photos invite scrutiny. The co-op store on Merseybank Avenue opened in 1931. Confusingly it was the 80th grocery branch of the M&S Co-op and so was Hardy Lane branch. Two stores must have closed between 1929 and 1931. In the older photograph the store is a stand alone building and the rest of the parade would have been added on later in matching materials. This was then the fourth co-op store in Chorlton. Was there a meeting room above the shop with an entrance through the narrow door on the left?

The modern picture was taken in 2007 by John Hacking. Another visit required to see what's happened since.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Co-op Stamps

Bit of nostalgia for older people. Now, this shows that something that existed in their millions but can no longer to be found. Ephemera becomes the rarity in your own lifetime. Everytime I've shown this book to people the reaction has been - where did you get that from? Somewhere in my archives there is a book of Green Shield stamps, and an even more obscure blue stamps from some other company.

Dividend Stamps were introduced in 1965. It was an alternative to the traditional methods of paying the 'divi', and as a response to the adoption of trading stamps by other food retailers (Tesco adopted the Green Shield stamps scheme). Some individual societies operated their own stamp schemes but the CWS National scheme was in use from 1969. Don't know when they ceased.

Further reading : Trading Stamps - Wikipedia
You can email : coop AT with any information that will help in the making of this history.