Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Green Fields Pass

Chorlton still has a slice of greenery and position yourself at the right spot it can be a bucolic scene. There is always someone who can remember when all this was fields, the more contemporary version for Manchester is someone who can remember when all this was factories employing thousands when all you have now is another industrial age relic converted to the ready-meal appartment lifestyle, another museum and a visitors centre....

But that rural aspect to Chorlton-cum-Hardy wasn't so long ago. The newspaper report is from 1929 and is entitled "The Green Fields Pass".

"There used to be some pleasant countryside lying alongside Barlow Moor Road between Chorlton-cum-Hardy and West Didsbury. Last year travellers on the "circular route" looked down upon fields of oats ripening in the sun. There was a farm with beasts in the pasture. A lane ran down to the river and a footpath followed by the hedges, both being much esteemed locally as lovers' walks.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Xmastide 2011

Christmas time is usually depicted with a glowing nostalgic past that nobody actually remembers. The people drawn from Dickensian costume drama, the stagecoaches, candles and robins. We'll draw your attention to a set of images from the National Co-operative Archive published on the Archives Hub website.

Now we have the weblog back posting again there is a lot to come in 2012, oh yes, lots of historical posts and current developments. Plus 2012 is the UN International Year of Co-operation and there will events happening in Manchester.

Meanwhile you can check out Christmas at the Co-op from the Archives Hub for images as shown above.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Tram to the Mersey

River Mersey at Chorlton
The forthcoming year will see the start of the construction of the tram track to the airport down Hardy Lane. Brace yourself for months of traffic delays and walking disruption, as anyone who has visited the roads up to Droylsden where a new tram route is being laid down will testify. We've already been photographing the preliminary construction work and will be publishing the progress. Oh the heady delights of something new to blog about rather than just the past.

But back in the 1930's with the electric trams running on the streets of Manchester one of "the countryside on your doorstep locations" would be alighting at Hardy Lane and walking a mile down to Jackson's Boat for the charm of the River Mersey and the green fields of Sale and Chorlton.

"Manchester Municipal School of Art organised a competition to produce pictorial posters for the Manchester Corporation Transport Department trams and buses between 1933 and 1934. In all, eighteen designs were used; the corporation paid the School of Art two guineas in order to use them. Their unusual shape was designed to fit on the back of the driver's cab."

You can see all eighteen designs thanks to Greater Manchester Archives at
Mcrarchives' Flick Collection

Trips to Dunham Park, Platt Fields, football, the new Central Library, Bollin Valley at Hale were just some of the destinations on the municipal public transport system.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Hardy Lane Goes to Rifle Road

Hardy Lane originally ended here at Jackson's Boat. When this picture was taken in 1900 the public house was called the Bridge Inn and it is listed in street directories as the last property on the lane even though it is on the south bank of the River Mersey. The iron bridge was built in 1881 at the E.Bellhouse Iron Foundry in Ancoats when Manchester was an industrial city. It replaced an earlier wooden bridge. There was a penny toll for using the bridge right up until the 1950's. It was one of the few bridges in Britain that charged for pedestrians. Like to know to whom the money was paid to perhaps the people who paid for the bridge?

Note the steep approach to the bridge which sits atop of the flood protection embankments. It's constructed of stone setts, still there and still tricky to go down with a bicycle or when wet. The gates and wooden steps shown in this picture have long gone. Hardy Lane then runs into what is now called Rifle Road. When this photograph was taken it was a narrow country track and the first building you would have come to was Sale Old Hall. That was demolished in 1920. You can still see an old dovecote that was in the grounds of the hall for it has been restored to a new home in Walkden Gardens, Sale. It's well worth visiting the Walkden Gardens - a hidden jewel, free admission, take a sandwich, explore and enjoy.

Further reference and better image : Trafford Lifetimes
E.Bellhouse Jackson's Boat Bridge.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Lane closed

Hardy Lane Chorlton closed until 2012
This is still the scene at the end of Hardy Lane at the end of year 2012. No entry, roadworks that have stalled, months of traffic delay and many more months to come. But those underground utility pipes need to be replaced and improved before the tram comes thundering down the lane on the proposed route to the airport. When that tram comes Hardy Lane will never be quiet again.

It is still possible to reach the place where this photo was taken by a diversionary route.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Oldest Business in Chorlton

Local historian Andrew Simpson has opened up a debate as to the oldest business in Chorlton. Alright there arn't many involved in the debate and they ain't going to fall out about it. All this was prompted by the relocation of H.T.Burt from Chorlton to Poynton recently. The men's fashion store was founded in 1895 and was featured in a Mary Portas Queen of Shops Tv programme in 2007.

The front runners were Ken Foster's Cycle Logic since 1954, then topped by Richardson's Bakery on Beech Road from 1947, and a serious contender R. Pepperdine & Sons, Funeral Directors on Manchester Rd which started in 1873 in Moss Side. But in the mix is the Hardy Lane Co-op Store from 1929. Now operated by The Co-operative after all the mergers that have reduced over a thousand co-operative societies down to a score or so. Should we include the public houses for the Horse & Jockey has a claim for serving ale on that site of Chorlton Green for 500 years?

Anyway you can read the original postings at Chorlton History, and you get a couple of pictures with them.

Oldest Business in Chorlton
The great debate? (part2)

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Manchester History Festival

The Manchester Histories Festival returns in 2012, and is more ambitious than ever, running for 10 days from Friday 24th February thru to Sunday 4th March. That includes the extra February 29th with it being a leap year. The usual mix of talks, guided walks, stalls, books and films. Possibly something for everyone who takes an interest in historical stuff and the olden days. For history is entertainment for many.
Links : Manchester History Festival
Chorlton History on the Festival

Monday, December 12, 2011

Xmas Long Ago

Christmas back in 1946 was in an austere age. There was rationing, make do and mend classes carried on as in the war years, and adverts for Government Surplus made "American Wadded Bed Covers" available for 29 shilling and 6 pence (a sum just shy of £1.50 in today's money). The covers came in one colour and that was khaki. The Barlow Moor Mixed Guild did manage to celebrate their 15th birthday with a "splendid tea" for 60 members. Dancing to music from the piano was the entertainment. Whilst Ladybarn Co-operative Hall which had been occupied by the Americans was released from Government service back in October 1946.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

CP Meeting for Evacuation 1939

Picking up research again after a few months reveals a Communist Party public meeting at Hardy Lane Co-Op Rooms. It was back in April 1939. The Manchester Guardian gives a report of well-attended meeting on April 23rd. 'Miss May Ainley, the principle speaker, condemned the present evacuation proposals of the National Government as a scheme "still up in the air"..'. It was printed in a small column on page 5. There was concern as to where the children of Chorlton would be sent to in the event of a war. Five months later the evacuation did take place.

This is a departure from the usual hire of the hall to an organisation that wasn't a co-operative auxillery group or the Labour Party. No further details of anymore meetings of the Communist Party, or which branch, as yet.
You can email : coop AT with any information that will help in the making of this history.