Monday, February 27, 2012

Little Shop Memories

Takes you back fifty years
Re-creating the past isn't just about authentification, if it is in the recent past it's about jogging people's memories. So by chance spotted this story from the Ilford Recorder when I was looking for information on Spel washing powder. Oh, the things you do on Thursday afternoon when you should be doing something more tedious.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Plate Survives

Co-op Plate
Golden Jubilee Plate M&S Co-operative 1909
Commemorative plates were issued to celebrate the golden jubilee of the Manchester & Salford Equitable Co-operative Society in 1909. It has pictures of John C Edwards the first President in 1859, and William Stansfield the President when the plate was made. The former is mentioned in an earlier posting. I do not have a biography of the chap on the right with the big moustache. He was President from July to December 1905, and was relected for the years 1906 - 1909 .

Friday, February 24, 2012

Spel Washes Everything

CWS Spel washing powder
Spel was a detergent powder that was sold in Co-operative stores across the UK in the 1950's & 1960's. Essentially the C.W.S. own brand but instead of calling the product after the name of the factory - Pelaw Shoe Polish, Crumpsall Cream Crackers, Luton Cocoa they chose a snappier name. In fact just like the other short names as used by the big players Proctor and Gamble or Unilver. Such classics as Daz, Omo, Surf, Tide, Persil. Up until the 1950's soap and soap flakes had been the product of choice to wash and clean though detergents had been around for a long time - Oxydol 1914, and Persil 1907 a name derived from two of its original ingredients, perborate and silicate.

The artwork for the advert is a take on a popular televison series from the USA called Bewitched that was made from 1964 thru 1972, the early seasons were in black and white. It starred Elizabeth Montgomery who played a character with magical powers just by wiggling her nose. The magic was always played for laughs. There was no dark menacing stuff in these programs.

So you could now magic that dirt away with this wonderful product, that is you could clean with very little effort. Click the picture to get a bigger view and discover some other CWS adverts from this era.

Links : Bewitched at IMDB

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Rifle Road

Rifle Road is the continuation of Hardy Lane after the Jackson's Boat public house. It runs south towards the M60 motorway. I have always thought it was an interesting name, maybe it's something to do with shooting. Well that hunce turned out to be correct.

It is named Riflebutts Road on the 1875 OS map, and then as Rifle Road on subsequent OS maps. There was a rifle range nearby. The path to the range was roughly on the edge of the football pitch that is opposite the pub. The edge that is furthest from the river. The targets were in a field beyond, the one that was used by people flying model aircraft. It might still be used by the aircraft flyers only I haven't heard them in a while...

The rifle shooting for practice and competitions were the interest of the 28th Cheshire Rifle Volunteers, founded 7th April 1860 from men around the Sale Moor district.

Now I'm no military historian but it appears rifle volunteers was a popular movement from the 1860's through to the 1880's. For example there was a grand inspection event on The Roode, Chester on the 20th July 1860. The chaps from the 28th headed by Captain Watkin attended with lots of other volunteers before 35,000 to 40,000 spectators. The numbers involved in volunteering is around 100, a report from 1877 lists the 28th Cheshires having 89 enrollments and led by Captain Mattinson. It is also a time of technical developments in rifles with the switch from muzzle loading to the easier breech loading.
Joseph Holt's Volunteer Hotel, Sale
The 28th Cheshires were absorbed into the 12th Cheshire Rifle Volunteer Corps as G Company on 13th April 1880. They were joined by the 12th Altrincham, 15th Knutsford, 23rd Northwich, 26th Cheadle, and 32nd Lymm. The rifle range doesn't appear on later maps in the 1890's.

So, all that activity is remembered in the name of Rifle Road, and also a wonderful building The Volunteer Hotel (built 1898, Grade II listed, now Joseph Holt brewery) on Washway Road. That's the A56 Manchester to Chester Road, though the Romans who built the original might have called it something else..

Links : Orders of Battle
I'd recommend Gene Hunt's Photos on Flickr. He gets all over Manchester taking pictures of how the city looks today. That's his photo of the Volunteer Hotel taken in 2008.

Monday, February 20, 2012

National Loaf...recreation

National Loaf Reproduction
Maybe I should have used a better bread knife
This is a continuation of the story of the National Wheatmeal Bread which was on sale across Britain in World War II. Had an attempt at a reproduction of said loaf. I made a 1kg bread machine version. I was in pressed for time and bread machines once loaded with the ingredients do all the work and release wonderful baking aroma in the kitchen. It was made to check the taste, crumb structure and crust. The result was just fine. Good for a sandwich. Dense, moist inside, with a firm thin crust. But as you can see from the photo it does make a few loose crumbs when sliced.

Essentially I followed the wholemeal recipe for the bread machine using a flour mix with the following percentages :
75% lightly sieved 100% wholemeal.
The original used 85% wholemeal, usually called wheatmeal. I didn't have any so I bolted some of the bran out of a flour produced by The Watermill. They use organic English wheat, and yes it is milled by water power.
15% of strong Canadian white (the item that was in short supply in the war)
5% potato flour (really it is just a starch filler)
5% wholegrain barley flour

I'll have another attempt but trying a hand made version using fresh yeast and a longer proving time.
Links : Previous posts about The National Loaf.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Jackson Bridge..tolls

Approach to Jackson's Boat Bridge
Approach to the bridge from Rifle Road and the public house
Hardy Lane would be just come to an end at the River Mersey but at the end there is a footbridge to a pub and beyond into Cheshire. According to Thomas Ellwood who wrote about the history of Chorlton-cum-Hardy in 1885-86, and whose writings have been copied ever since..."The first bridge was erected in 1816, at a cost of £200, by Samuel Wilton. It was a wooden structure, with three supports sunk into the bed of the stream". Mr. Wilton ran the public house and instead of relying on the small ferry boat probably thought access via footbridge, very likely with a toll, would be better for trade. He never realised his investment for he was declared bankrupt in 1817.
Jackson Boat Bridge......Jackson Boat Bridge
The second replacement bridge, and the one you walk across today was erected in 1881. Again according to Thomas Ellwood "it was paid for by Mr. John Brooks." Don't know how much it cost but we know there was a toll of 1/2d if on foot, 1d with a bicycle. No information if you came on a horse or mule. There was a gate on the bridge near the pub side, and you can still see where it was positioned.

Mr. John Baguley Brooks (1856-1886) had inherited the land and property from the estate of his late father, Rev. John Brooks (1825-1856). He was then a 25 year old barrister from the wealthy Brooks family. He was later very briefly MP for Altrincham winning the seat in the 1885 General Election for the Conservative cause. But took ill and passed over when just aged 30 whilst in London a year later.

Going back even further Samuel Brooks (1792-1864) bought the land. A very successful banker who bought realty and developed estates of big houses for rich people in Whalley Range, Brooklands, and Hale Barns. He had three sons and five daughters, the eldest one, William, inherited the bank and lived at Barlow Hall, Chorlton.

One thing still puzzles. How come this bridge charged tolls, usually that power and the tariff was laid down by an Act of Parliament. Not found one so far, nor the year, sometime in the 1950's, when the tolls ceased...but then historical research isn't spoon fed it is prised from wide reading.

Historians of Chorlton Thomas Ellwood (Andrew Simpson)
Wikipedia has an outline of some the Brooks family : Samuel Brooks ; William Cunliffe Brooks
John Baguley Brooks

Friday, February 17, 2012

National Loaf...continues

Glynis Johns 1949
Here we have the M&S Co-op's Golden Twist loaf being pawed by film star Glynis Johns on a visit to the head office and central stores in Ardwick on Saturday 20th January 1948. Other photos not shewn here have the crowds and dinner with the directors of the co-operative. She is wearing a fur coat in all the pictures.

As in previous posts this loaf was the local version of the National Wheatmeal Bread. Clearly the M&S Co-op are proud about their bread if they make it a feature in story of a visitor from London. Bread wasn't on ration, other types of bread are available yet it is still being baked by the thousand. Somebody must have been buying it, so much for it being unpopular. It looks like a full 2 lbs. (907g) unsliced loaf. I've read reports that in the war years that bread had to be reduced to 1 lb. (453g) size due to wheat shortages.

Glynis Johns was in then in a new film release of "An Ideal Husband", directed by Alexander Korda and starring Paulette Goddard and Michael Wilding.

'The film was advertised on milk bottle tops in return for free advertising for the Society on the cinema screen, where the slogan : "An Ideal Husband's Ideal Wife Saves as She Spends at the Co-op." will be shown three times daily for the whole run of the film.' - Manchester & Salford Co-operative Herald February 1949.

The film was on at the New Oxford and Market Street cinemas in Manchester city centre.

Links : Glynis Johns Wikipedia a long and successful career in Hollywood, Broadway and Tv.

Making new archives

Potatoes from the Co-Op
Co-Op Flyer 16th February 2011 : Potatoes
There is a lot of history in this weblog, and there are still lots more stories to tell. But what about today which will become history as well. I was reminded of this the other day when I went looking for a postcard from the shops of Chorlton. The long and short of it is they are no longer around. Eventually I did obtain an amusing one from a shop called Number 68 on Beech Road. They brought an old box of them from out of the back. Who needs postcards now - too slow to communicate, it takes days, too expensive to mail, 60p for the old card, plus 35p postage.

Then I saw a sign in a newsagent's window that sending a fax was available. Now that is a technology that is virtually obsolete.

So what about the advertisement for the Co-Op potatoes. The world's most versatile vegetable is going down memory lane. Usually the flyer that is delivered with the free newspaper gets a glance before going to the recycling bin. But I thought it was time to record some of the adverts and prices of the current times. So more recording of ephemera, and I'll go back and take a photograph of that sign about faxes can be sent from here....

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Longford Park

Co-op Landau
In an earlier post about the Co-op Rose Queen there was a reference to "a magnificent landau" that the M&S Co-op used in the summer months. As can be seen in the photograph it was a very large impressive carriage. The picture says it was taken in Longford Park, Stretford in 1949. It actually looks like The Quadrant just outside the Firswood entrance to the park. Just look at the crowds lining the road. The young lass must have felt like royalty.

This leads on to Longford Park celebrating its centenary this year. A section of the park is in Chorlton and it has always been enjoyed by all nearby residents. The hall - sadly demolished after neglect by Trafford Council, and grounds used to be the residence of John (1801-1888) and Enriqueta Rylands (1843-1908). Very rich, multi-millionaire rich, he made his money in the cotton industry. The Longford estate of 62 acres was purchased by Stretford Urban District Council in 1911. It was opened by Harry Nuttall MP on Saturday 11th May 1912 with speeches, brass band, maypole dance and other entertainments.

There are some celebrations this year to the very day in May, and I've noticed Chris Makepeace the noted historian of Manchester is giving a talk.

Centenary celebrations : Friends of Longford Park
Related Post : Queen for the season

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Hardy Lane 1929

Just a picture from Tuesday October 29th 1930. Quality a bit poor, clipped from a newspaper, what wouldn't you give to get the negatives?

It shews Hardy Lane being transformed from a narrow country lane to wide road. New houses from the Barlow Moor Estate have been built. But are those old farm buildings the right foreground? Can't tell without further recognisance. It was planned to create "Arterial Route No.10" out of Manchester. It would have taken the dual carriage way of Mauldeth Road West built 1922-24, down Hardy Lane and then across the River Mersey to Sale and Altrincham. As we know this plan made Hardy Lane a very cul-de-sac as the road construction stopped at The Meadows.

Thanks to the commentor below. This is a photo of Hardy Lane looking towards Barlow Moor Road. The buildings on the right are the Hardy Lane Cottages - see

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Soft Drinks for the duration

You go down the store for a bottle of your favourite refreshing fizzy drink, only to find them replaced by cordials or concentrates. This was the position during WW2.

"In order to set free more factory space and more labour for the war effort and to save fuel and petrol, Lord Woolton has reduced by a large percentage the amount and variety of 'soft' drinks that may be manufactured" - Manchester Guardian, Saturday19th December 1942.

The Ministry of Food ordered the closure of many soft drink factories with some being turned over to aircraft production. Those manufacturers that remained produced bottles full of red, yellow, and orange concentrate. The Vimto factory in Manchester produced a deep purple version. The return of empty bottles was also encouraged due to a shortage of glass. The Soft Drinks Industry (War Times) Association Limited (SDI) ran the operation from 1942 through to 1948.  After that the various brands Schwepps, C.W.S., Kia-Ora & etc returned to shelves.

A little research into the wartime National Loaf, officially known as National Wheatmeal Bread, led to discovering National Cheese, and now SDI Drinks. I wonder what else will be stumbled upon in the range of foods restricted in the national interest.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Canned Retro Food

The demise of canned food has been predicted for sometime. Some sectors are in terminal decline - tinned fruit, rice puddings, sauces, custard. It's those more attractive forms of packaging like resealable pouches, cartons, and glass that makes cans look old school.

Tinned Potatoes
Now tinned new potatoes are old school, and occasionally I buy them but it feels like a culinary offence worthy a suspended custodial sentence. They were the standby for the "hunger gap" when what was left from the last of autumn crop and the first of the new season. Now those lean months are covered by imports from places warmer and a lot further south - Egypt, Cyprus, and Sicily. They are also the standby for the can't cook won't cook types...

Baked Beans remain the biggest seller in the canned vegetable department. Their sales march ever onwards. Britain is the biggest consumer of them in the whole wide world. True story and it is one I point out to those misguided folk who deny baked beans. Ellen MacCarthy sailed solo around the world in the fastest possible time, it was back in 2005, and I followed every piece of news as it progressed. It was some achievement. First meal back in Blighty, beans on toast with the family on the yacht. It's that much part of the national pysche.

Links : Food Manufacturing : The decline and fall of canned food

Photo credits from Flickr: Co-op Historian (top); Lorenzo23 (bottom)

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Co-Op Matches

That e-Bay always has interesting things for sale. How about these old match boxes, current bid over 11 GBP. These look like south of England matches, the box from Enfield Highway Co-op may the give away. In the north we've always preferred red top strike anywhere matches over the dark blue safety match. But they no longer manufacture matches in Britain. The factory in Bow, London where the famous match girls strike took place in 1888 has been converted to apartments.

National Loaf...more

Co-op Bakery 1950Co-op Bakery 1950
If you study history you realise it is never complete. To most what happened in the past is cut, dried and pressed into a series of memorable or not so memorable dates. For the historian you always want to know more. So it is when I got distracted by the story of the National Loaf introduced in WW2. This is an update from a previous post called National Loaf....

The real name is the National Wheatmeal Bread (1942-1956), the term National Loaf is one coined after the war. There was also a National Cheese which was rationed, some months at just 2 ounces (56.6 grams) a week. It was processed and homogenised in the cheddar style. Also National Dried Milk which came in large tins introduced in the winter of 1941. Times were tough on the food front...and then you had to make something from dried egg powder.

The M&S Co-op version of that National Wheatmeal Bread was called the Golden Twist loaf and we know it was still being made in 1950 from this trumpted article..." The result is the famous Golden Twist loaf. Its colour a rich nut brown, its crust delectable, its texture perfect. Just try one out on the kiddies, and they will clamour for more."1
Then made at the Manchester and District Co-operative Bakery which was formed after the war as a joint venture by the M&S, Beswick, and the Blackley Co-op Societies who were baking off 1,600 loafs an hour. So brown bread wasn't that unpopular. Some or most of these would have been at the factory on Cakeloaf Street in Ardwick. What a great name, who came up with that? Just off Ardwick Green, around the corner from the M&S head quarters. This co-op transfered its engagements, a phrase much used in co-op business to cease trading because of financial difficulties, to the CWS in 1961.

Still work to be done. Re-create the National's nothing special if you can make your own bread. Not rocket science but just four ingredients, a hot oven and 3,000 years of history.

1. Manchester and Salford Monthly Herald April 1950, page 86

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Before Self Service

Northenden co-op branch 1950
I've not discovered any pictures of the inside of the Hardy Lane Co-op store as it was before the modern era. However I came across some poorly reproduced indoor photoraphs of similar branches of the Manchester and Salford Co-op. Taken around 1950 just before they introduced the self-service format. First is the Northenden store, below is Sale Moor store. This was how shopping for groceries was done. You had to queue, then you had to ask for each item unless you handed over a shopping list. At least most of the items were pre-packed and you didn't have to wait for someone to have a quarter of tea weighed, then the flour bagged up it was in earlier times. Bacon, ham and cheese were still cut to your request.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

National Loaf

National Loaf
The National Loaf was introduced to Britain in 1942 due to a shortage of shipping space for flour from Canada and the USA. It was sold unwrapped and unsliced to save packaging. There are references to it being sold a day old despite bread being best when fresh as possible. White bread was then no longer produced so if you wanted bread you bought the National Loaf.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Self Service 1950

Self Service was a retail format introduced into Britain from the USA around 1949. It came to Chorlton in the summer of 1950. In a long running programme the M and S Co-op rolled out the aisles and wire baskets to the branches. It took a further nine years for it appear at the Hardy Lane store.
Self Service 1950
These photos are in an article "Toasting Self Service", about the success of new way of shopping in the Chorlton branch. They are very likely have been photographed at the branch at 349-351 Barlow Moor Road. It was in the red brick building next to the Royal Oak. Quoting from the story...

You can email : coop AT with any information that will help in the making of this history.