Saturday, 24 March 2018

Tall, elegant with a hint of decay .................. abandoned in the park ......... Viareggio 2010

It was one of those indifferent mornings which made going down to the beach a less than attractive idea so with the promise of cheap bikes for hire we went along to the park.

It stretches for miles is full of tree lined avenues and is perfect for a bike ride which seemed to be what shed loads of people were doing.

But I have never learned to ride and I was not about to so while the rest of the family disappeared off into the distance I went looking for pictures.

And as so often happens this one came from nowhere.

She was one of about half a dozen which were part of an event now long forgotten.

They stood in various stages of decay their wheels half hidden by the long skirts.

I only took the one but now wish I had taken the time to record the others.

All of which just leaves me to say that Viareggio is in Tuscany, with decent beeches and just about an hour from Florence but that is another story.

Location; the park, Viareggio, Tuscany

Picture; in the park in Viareggio, 2010 from the collection of Andrew Simpson

Buying your meat from Mr Unsworth of 2 Chorlton Green in 1909 .... Chorlton's corner shop nu 10

The caption on the picture just says “James Unsworth’s butcher shop on the corner of the Green Albermarle Road.  This shop later became and still is a barbers shop. Private photograph, origin unknown.”

Now I remember it as a barber’s shop, regularly visiting it during the 70s and 80s and even taking my eldest.

Bob who had the business when I went there had been born in Chorlton and had plenty of stories about the place.

I can date the picture from sometime after 1903 and before 1911.

This I can be certain of because back in 1903 the terrace of three shops and houses had yet to be built and from at least 1911 this butcher’s shop was run by Mr Mark Glazerbrook who was recorded in the directories from the start of 1911 at no 2 Chorlton Green.

A decade earlier he had been helping his father run the family butcher’s shop in Railway Street in Ardwick, and in 1910 he married Lillian Carr.

So just perhaps this was their first married home.

That said within another ten years he was trading in Reddish all of which points to the high turnover of some of these small family businesses.

Mr Unsworth was at number 2 in 1909 when his neighbours were Ernest Bugler, cycle maker at number 4 and Stanley Moss, grocer at number 6.

Two years later both James and Mr Moss had moved on.

I don’t suppose we should be surprised for back in the early 20th century there were plenty of butchers, grocers and green grocers in close proximity in Chorlton and competition must have been fierce.

Just opposite was Whittaker’s the grocers and up along Beech Road there were more grocery and butchers shops with even more across the green and behind.

And that is about it except to say I got through the story without commenting on the meat on display in the open air, the sand on the shop floor or  Mr Unsworth’s long knife.

Location; Chorlton-cum-Hardy

Picture; from the Lloyd collection

Pictures of Eltham I wish I had taken ................ passing our parish church

You can never get enough pictures of Eltham and so here is another from Ryan.

And that is all I want to say.

Except he did show me some interesting letters posted recently in SE 9 about the history of the clock which I may well pursue.

Picture; St John’s, 2014, Ryan Ginn

“We will always have Paris” ..... part 2

Now there is something bitter sweet about recreating a photo that you took nearly 40 years ago.

And I am guessing some will mummer why would you want to?

After all apart from me and my companion I doubt that anyone would be interested in how a little bit of Paris has changed over four decades.

The surprise is not a lot.

I am looking out from an upstairs window of the Grand Hotel down on to the Place de l’Opéra with the Opera House off to my left.

It took a bit of time to position myself at the right angle but with the help of street google I did it.

The building opposite me is still there and the shop Lancel still holds a prominent place in the block.

I have to confess that until now I never knew that they sold “bags, small-leather goods, accessories, travel bags and luggage for Women and Men” operated at the luxury end of the market and had been going since 1876.

Back then they specialised in selling pipes and other accessories for smokers developing a whole range of products for women smokers including cigarette cases and purses moving into leather, and  launching their first handbag collection in 1902.

Now given that we are in one of the fashionable bits of Paris that shouldn’t have surprised me.

The rest of the shops from 1981 have not survived.

The little tabac business had become a Currency Exchange shop and the other two have also morphed into something new.

Sill as they say I will always have Paris and of course those lampposts.

Location; Paris

Picture; Place de l’Opéra, 1981, from the collection of Andrew Simpson

Lost and forgotten streets of Salford ....... nu 30 Chapel Street sometime in the 1980s

This is another of those images from John Casey.

Location; Salford

Picture; Chapel Street, circa 1980, from the collection of John Casey

Always look up

Here if you ever needed it, here is another of those simple lessons in always looking up.

I have passed these buildings so many times and have never really looked up to admire them.

Usually I am hurrying past and get no further than garish mix of signage at ground level.

Although I do have to admit for a while in the late 1970s and early ‘80s I regularly called in at Grassroots the alternative book shop.

But then the demands of a young family precluded leisurely saunters through town on Saturday mornings, and then when I did go back the bookshop had gone.

Still the buildings are there and in the March sunlight Andy caught them at their best.

Now I do have to confess to being a tad lazy and have not gone looking for their history, but someone will know it and tell me.

Location; Manchester

Pictures; Always look up, 2018, from the collection of Andy Robertson

Friday, 23 March 2018

The mystery behind the Maypole on Wilbraham Road

Now I grant you as mysteries go it ain’t Agatha Christie or even a Sexton Blake but I am intrigued by the wrought iron arch behind the Maypole grocery shop at number 41 Wilbraham Road.

Maypole Dairy, 41 Wilbraham Road
The shop opened in 1909 and was still trading fifty years later and is now part of LewisBet, the Bookmakers.

Today the gap between the Maypole Diary and what is now Barclays Bank is a small retail unit.

When this was constructed is unclear but in 1959 it is there and part of the grocery shop.

But that doesn’t help with my bit of ornate iron work.

It may of course still be there and I suppose I should pop down and explore, or at the very least ask the owners of R J’s the barber shop to have a look out back.

That ironwork
But where would the mystery be in that?

Even if it is still there, that doesn’t help with the question of why it was erected.

Maps of the period do not help although the 1907 map does hint at something beside the bank and back then this was the Manchester and County Bank who may have decided on putting up a bit of decorative iron work, but I somehow doubt it.

Of course Mr Lloyd who added this to his collection may have mistaken this Maypole Dairy for another, opening up the possibility that this isn’t Wilbraham Road, but I doubt it.

So for now it is still a mystery or as we see say in the business another Quirky bit of Chorlton-cum-Hardy.

But that would stray into an outrageous bit of self promotion which would involve mentioning the new book, the Quirks of Chorlton-cum-Hardy, and the first of our saunters through the past, which is this Sunday at 1 pm starting from the Narnia Lamppost on Chorlton Green.

There are a few spaces left for this free walk and to get your place text 07521 557888

This is the first of a series planned, one of which will be on the quirky bits of Wilbraham Road, by which time we may have solved the mystery.

We shall see.

Location; Chorlton-cum-Hardy

Picture; the Maypole Dairy Wilbraham Road, circa 1909, from the Lloyd Collection

*The Quirks of Chorlton-cum-Hardy, is available from Chorlton Bookshop or from or 07521557888