Sunday, 21 September 2014

Visions of a better world .......... nu 2 the campaign badge

The campaign badge has been around a long time.

It is one of those instant bits of political activity which makes the point cheaply and effectively.

A round bit of cardboard, some sticky tape and a safety pin and you have a badge.

Easier than that and just as effective is coloured ribbon, so loved of election rallies in the early 19th century, and the Suffragettes, and before ribbon there were bits of plant, flowers and bush stretching back into the past all of which were designed to mark out your political preference.

My first was “Lets Go with Labour” which I wore in 1966 but must have been a remnant from the ‘64 election.

It was a shinny plastic badge with a plastic pin which fixed into the back and I wore it throughout the campaign knocking on doors in Well Hall.  I was just 16 and such are the things you cut your political teeth on.

Today the badge machine has made it all the simpler and allows almost anyone to turn them out for next to nothing in just a few minutes.

But for me it will always be those enamelled badges which take pride of place in the collection.  I have a few none of which date back before the 1950s.

Of these the old fashioned Labour Party badge is my favourite with its torch, pen and shovel representing all aspects of the labour movement combined with the torch of progress.

The newer version never really caught my imagination in the same way.

Of the remaining enamelled ones it is that of the Sutton Manor NUM badge which stands out because of the contribution  made by many local people to their struggle during the Miners Strike.

And if like me you bought or picked up badges in support of campaigns they now have a place in our history.

Some were deadly serious, a few used humour and others were celebratory, and many today now seem to belong to a landscape that has long since vanished although that said it always seems that gains made in social progress do sometimes have to be fought all over again.

So for those of us who argued against a divided South Africa, wore  the Anti Apartheid badge can now look back on twenty years of that new rainbow nation.

But other campaigns  like the attempt to save the Greater Manchester County Council failed and many more like Justice for Pensioners and the defence of the NHS remain real issues.

Looking back at my collection I cringe at some of the things I supported in my teens and early twenties, are saddened by those that were defeats but also remember how much I learnt by taking part and of some good friends I made along the way.

So each of the badges does represent an important moment in someone’s history and I think I shall return to some of them and explore their stories in more detail.

Many are almost all that is now left of an impassioned moment when people came together to defend something they thought important.

Long after the paperwork has been lost , the newspaper stories discarded and the memories faded these badges record that moment.

They also point to that other simple observation that history does not always turn out the way you would like.

The years since independence in Zimbabwe have been difficult but I still remember the pleasure many of us felt at its promising start as a new country.

And I bet out there there are lots more badges and even more stories.

Pictures; badges from the  1950s to the 1990s from the collection of Andrew Simpson

Lost on Thomas Street in the summer of 1977

I am on Thomas Street in 1977.

This I know because of the street sign high up on the building above the Jarvey Snack Bar and because my friend Jean remembers taking the picture in that year.

But I am lost.

I should remember the scene, and try as I might I cannot fasten it on Google street map.

So perhaps there is someone out there who can help me with the exact location and the date when the buildings vanished.

Such is the price of finally leaving Eltham for good in 1973 and making just the odd trip home which did sometimes take me back to Woolwich.

Picture; Thomas Street in 1977, courtesy of Jean Gammons

523 Barlow Moor Road, captured in a moment in time in 1960 ….. part 2

Now I back at 523 Barlow Moor Road where my friend Ann Love lived during the 1950s and 60s.

"The area at the back of the house was divided in to a lawn, with some flowerbeds, fruit trees, and strawberry beds. 

We kept ducks and hens, so were fortunate to have our own eggs.Granddad used to make a 'Mash' for the chickens from maize, which smelled disgusting.

One year  the ducks seemed to have stopped laying, and it wasn't until Autumn, when the Rhubarb leaves  collapsed, that we found heaps of rotten duck eggs. Granddad was very proud of his rhubarb, and used to cover the plants with old chimney pots to blanch the stems.

There were several sheds, some used for the hens, some for keeping rabbits, and one which I used to play in. 

Mum (or Dad)  whitewashed it for me, and I had a little table and chair, and used to have 'tea' with little Hovis loaves, which you could buy. 

They were about 3 or 4 inches long, and perfect to play with.

The stables at the end of the garden were divided into a garage, a small Chapel of Rest (complete with an Alter and tall candles, which my Dad got from th Catholic Priest down High Lane.) 

The workshop was the last part of the stables, and where Dad used to assemble the coffins. The floor was always covered in curly wood shavings, and there were all manner of interesting tools scattered about.

My Dad was a smoker, and would light up one cigarette from the end of the previous one.

In the winter time, when it was cold and wet, his favourite 'pick me up' was a large cup of milk eg and sugar, all whisked together.

When I as a child, I decided to excavate part of the garden, and dug down and found an old brick path, and a small papier machine box, with a picture of  people dressed in 18th century costumes. It has deteriorated over the years, but I still have it.

At the side of the house was a conservatory, which used to have a door leading into the lounge, but by my time it had been boarded up, and the glass had all gone, but the tiled path was still there.

My Dad retired in 1967, and my parents moved to a smaller house on Mauldeth Rd West. 

Dad sold off many of Granddad's antiquities, and the house was sold to another Undertaker.  

A caretaker and his wife lived in the house, but it wasn't cared for  and in a few years it was sold to a developer, who built over the garden, and altered the front of the house.  

So all these are just memories".

© Ann Love

Models; Howard Love 2014

Outside the Wellington Inn at Didsbury posing for the camera sometime after 1865

Today I am in Didsbury  outside the Wellington Inn and it is sometime after 1865.

Now I can be fairly certain about the date because 1865 was the year the Manchester Carriage Company was formed from a merger of the two bus companies serving the city and neighbouring townships.

The larger was owned by the Greenwood Company and brought over 500 horses and 33 omnibuses to the merger, while what had been McEwen’s City Omnibus Company contributed the routes to Bell Vue, Rusholme, Longsight and Didsbury.

It is one of those wonderfully staged pictures which says much about the novelty of photography at the time.

They stare back at you with that mix of curiosity and arrogance, and not a woman amongst them.  But for me it is the solitary figure inside that captures my interest.  Had he seen it all before or was just too shy or too indifferent to what was going on?

And just as I can be certain that the date is after 1865 I can be equally sure that it can be no later than 1895 when the old Wellington Inn was torn down and the present large property was built.

It stands on the corner of Wilmslow Road and Barlow Moor Road and there has been an inn here for a long time.

Earlier in the 19th century it had been known as  the Grey Horse and had a bowling green at the rear on the land which is now the library.

In the 1970s it became the Cavalcade and has undergone yet a new name change.

Now the picture and the story was originally posted last year and at the time I thought it was in Withington, but in the course of researching the new book, Didsbury Through Time last year  I realized my mistake.

This is a tad embarrassing because I had chosen to ignore the caption on the postcard which referred to Didsbury.

But when you get it wrong there is no harm in admitting it.

I just trust that as the research rolls on I won't have to correct more mistakes.

The new book, Didsbury Through Time is a joint venture with local artist Peter Topping.

We have been collaborating on projects since 2010 and this was a logical next step.

The book is a mix of old pictures  juxtaposed with contemporary photographs and paintings by Peter and stories by me.

Picture; from the Lloyd collection

Saturday, 20 September 2014

When the Horse and Jockey had a football team

Now I have to say that I was a little intrigued when a story on the blog of the Horse and Jockey in the early 1970s was sent on its way across the social media under the caption of “before the pub became trendy.”

It was an interesting take on how the place has changed.

I rather liked the makeover when it was bought from the brewery some years ago and given the addition of a restaurant and micro brewery.

Of course not everyone likes change and I do have some reservations about the way it has gone since it became part of another brewery chain.

But for those few years after it became “the inn on the green” I did enjoy going in there not least because it was possible to think it back to something like it had been during the middle years of the 19th century when it was a much smaller place and doubled up for inquests.

All that said here is another picture from the collection of Bob Jones.

It dates from the 1970s and shows the pub football team and I am equally intrigued by Bob's comment that "one of the barman we called chopper, his son is on this picture and I would be interested to see if any come up with other names."

After all after his story on "Chippy Madge" we had "Blind Bob the barber", and "Bob the cobbler."

So I await the stories, memories and follow up photographs, which point to the fact that history can be about any time,, any event and just plain fun.

And Bob who lent me the photograph has followed it up with the names of some of the team including another of those wonderful nicknames.
"Rod Hudson right of the cup Malc Dawes bottom row right, fag in hand.

Bob Jones E and F DAWES Insurance Agents & Companies. 35 Liverpool Road m/c The above was run by Farther and Malc and Paul sons for many years , at football.

Malc’s  nick name was the Mars Bar kid as he always had one in his mouth, they lived in Chorlton
Bob Jones Terry Tynan Ralf Darlinton Barry Brunton."

Keep the pictures coming Bob and thank you.

Picture; the Horse and Jockey football team sometime in the 1970s, from the collection of Bob Jones

The Eltham we have lost, part 2........ The old lane by the National Schools, 1908

Another of those pictures of Eltham’s past which need no comment

This is the old lane by the National Schools as it was in 1908.  The lane is now Archery Road and 'One acre Allotments' was on the right.

Picture; the old lane,  from The story of Royal Eltham, R.R.C. Gregory, 1909 and published on The story of Royal Eltham, by Roy Ayers,

Alexander Freeman a soldier of the Great War from Longsight

This is the memorial medal of Alexander Freeman.

It was bought by David Harrop  for his collection honouring those who died in two world wars.

And in the fullness of time I want to find out more about Mr Freeman who was driver in the Army Service Corps.

He died on July 24 1916 and was buried in Southern Cemetery.

Picture; courtesy of David Harrop