Saturday, 25 February 2017

One hundred years of one house in Chorlton part 79 ...... just what you find in your garden

The continuing story of the house Joe and Mary Ann Scott lived in for over 50 years and the families that have lived here since.*

Now I would like to think that these two broken bits of pottery once graced the china cabinet of Joe and Mary Ann and somehow made their way into the garden after they were broke.

They look to be willow pattern but I doubt if they date back to the late 18th century when they became popular in this country and are more likely to be just a cheap version turned out during the late 19th and early 20th centuries and produced in Holland.  Certainly the bigger fragment has what appears to be a Dutch figure staring back at us.

I won’t be alone in having grown up with this range although at the time they never did much for me.

Of course the intriguing question is just why Joe or Mary Ann threw them away in the garden, not that it might have been them.

Certainly the fragment of clay pipe which turned up a few years ago was possibly discarded by someone working this bit of land, or by someone passing along what was then called the Row.

But I like to think it might have belonged to Samuel Gratrix who farmed this bit of land in the 1840s and lived in Bowling Green Farm which stood directly opposite our house.**

All of which might be hung around with more than a bit of romantic speculation so I will leave the finds in the ground and reflect instead on the block of Torrone Morbido Alle Mandorle e Nocciole made by Vergani which is Soft Nougat with Almonds and Hazelnuts and was the last that had come over from Italy at Christmas.

It is a favourite of mine vying with the alternative which is covered in chocolate.

The company are based in Cremona and make a shed load of other similar products and while we will eat them all the year round I do associate them with Christmas.

I doubt that Joe and Mary Ann would have ever come across the products made by Vergani but something similar will have made its way into the house, along with candied fruits and other bits and pieces.

Sadly I have never come across the evidence for any of the things they ate and the one empty tin of Safeway’s baked beans found in one of the cellars will date from the time John, Mike and Lois occupied the house.

So that just leaves me to return to the garden which I know was where they buried many of their pets and admit we too put two of ours along with a Superman figure.

It belonged to our Saul and was a present from Greece.  The figure lasted two holidays and when his head came off we buried him the garden where he rests to this day.

Pictures; from the collection of Andrew Simpson

*The story of house,
http://chorltonhistory.blogspot.co.uk/search/label/The%20story%20of%20a%20house

**Mr Gratrix's clay pipe lost in our garden in 1845, https://chorltonhistory.blogspot.co.uk/2017/01/mr-gratrixs-clay-pipe-lost-in-our.html

A new history of Chorlton in just 20 objects number 7, the king William IV clay pipe

The King William IV clay pipe

It was found during the archaeological dig of the church in the 1980s.  It can be dated to between 1830 and 1832, and may have been bought to commemorate the coronation of William IV.  It bears the inscription “William IV and Church” around the rim and is highly decorated with the royal coat of arms flanked by a lion on one side and a unicorn on the other.  It is also unusual because it was found in one of the graves inside the church.  The final burial in the grave was that of Thomas Watson aged 54 in 1832.  There are those who might well imagine the pipe being placed alongside the coffin of Thomas Watson in imitation of the ancient practice of placing grave goods alongside the departed.  The less romantic will counter with the obvious observation that it was the casual act of one of the grave diggers.  Either way it is unusual for the bowl to survive.   More commonly it is the stem which is turned up and even these are found as fragments.*

Picture; detail from the report on the Archaeological dig conducted by Dr Angus Bateman during 1980-81

* From THE STORY OF CHORLTON-CUM-HARDY,  http://chorltonhistory.blogspot.co.uk/2011/11/the-story-of-chorlton-cum-hardy.html

Growing up in Eltham ......... stories by Eddy Newport ...... no 5 a new home, a baby brother and a new Queen

Another in the series by Eddy Newport taken from his book, The Newport’s 1951 at No. 58 Rochester Close Kidbrooke SE3...........

Mum
Mother was a woman that everybody wanted to have as a friend. She had an open house for anyone to visit and many did for cups of tea and chats. During that time, her work was cut out with her two boys. Shopping expeditions were to the local parade of shops about a mile away along the Rochester Way.

There was a public house there called “The Dover Patrol” So going shopping there was referred to as “Going up the Dover”.

No such things as supermarkets, these were for the future. The main grocery store was called Perks Ltd and you could get all you wanted, provided you queued up for it. Everything had to be weighed out and put into paper bags.

There was still rationing and our ration books had to have the coupons cut out so to prove that you had had your quota. There was a baker, butcher, hardware, newsagent, fish and chip shop, off-licence and a drapers shop all in a row. One thing I will never forget was the smell of the hardware shop; it was a mixture of paraffin, tar and detergents all mixed together and unforgettable."

I was settling into Ealdham Square School and David was soon to follow. It was soon realised that Rochester Close was not going to be big enough for a growing family. It was possible under the London County Council that tenants could exchange properties if all was agreeable. In the area, there were a lot of council houses being built. Dad and Mum put in for an exchange and managed to do a deal with an older couple living at 98 Birdbrook Rd. And so we moved once more the year was 1951.

The eleven plus examinations were looming the King had died we had a new Queen and her coronation was a near future event. Life was going to change.

Dad
Once we had moved into our new home at number 98 we soon settled down. The big news of the day was the coronation of Elizabeth II at Westminster Abbey on June 2nd, 1952. Dad being in the Saint John’s Ambulance Brigade had a duty to attended to.

He was to stand outside Westminster Abbey. He had a fantastic view of the all that went on. We had befriended our new next door neighbours Mr and Mrs Parsons who had a television set and on the day, we were invited in to see the unfolding events.

Mrs P had set up benches in two rows for the children to sit on. I found the whole thing very boring, the only time it became exciting was when in the distance a black uniformed man with a white bag over his shoulder came into view. He said later that the only causalities he had that day were trying to sober up drunken Lords sipping their hip flasks during the service.

Note:- this photo was taken in the garden of 58 RC. in the background is the main road Rochester Way, that house is still the. taken 1952

Geoffrey born 27th Oct 1951.  Now we are five.

Life carried on in this way until 1951 when another addition was added to our family. On Oct 27th, our brother Geoffrey Alan was born. That night David and I were woken by a lot of activity and told to stay in our beds.

Geoffrey aged 8 months
The midwife was sent for and later a baby was heard crying. We were summoned to our parent’s bedroom and introduced to Geoff. Weighing in at 6 lbs. Mum looked pleased and dad was so proud to have witnessed the birth.

The prefab we lived in was Geoff’s birthplace and is now an open space area (Kidbrooke Green).

I went back some time ago to try and judge the spot where we had our bungalow. I came to the conclusion that if Geoff ever became famous and the country wanted to put up a blue plaque where he was born, they would have to nail it to a park bench.


Mum used to ask Dave and me to do the shopping and take Geoff in the pram to carry it in. I hated this chore.

The embarrassment of pushing the pram was horrendous to me, so I would push it out in front of and let it freewheel for about 10 yards and when I caught up with it I pushed it out again. This was fine until the pram hit an obstruction and it tipped over and Geoff did a somersault on his rains and all the shopping went over the pavement.  It worried me at the time as was relieved that Geoff was strapped into the pram and did not sustain any injury. However, I did not do that again.

I was settling into Ealdham Square School and David was soon to follow.

It was soon realised that Rochester Close was not going to be big enough for a growing family. It was possible under the London County Council that tenants could exchange properties if all was agreeable. In the area, there were a lot of council houses being built. Dad and Mum put in for an exchange and managed to do a deal with an older couple living at 98 Birdbrook Rd.

And so we moved once more.  The year was 1951. The eleven plus examinations were looming the King had died we had a new Queen and her coronation was a near future event. Life was going to change.

© Eddy Newport 2017

Picture; from the collection of Eddy Newport

Lost in Rome


Now don’t you just hate it when on a cold grey wet day here in Manchester someone parades holiday pictures.

Worse still if they are of place where the sun is currently cracking the paving stones and it is currently 32̀⁰ with an option of getting hotter.

But if there is a consolation we are still here watching the rain come down like stair rods and the photo is a few years old.

It is another of those ones of Rome but a part of the city tourist don’t often see.  Well we do which is more to do with our ability to get lost and miss the big things like the Colosseum, Circus Maximus, and Vatican.

But then there are the rewards which consist of empty little streets and little shops like this one, which specialized in anything and everything to do with birthdays.  And had we wanted a novelty gift here was where we could have got it.

Location; Rome

Picture; Rome 2010, from the collection of Andrew Simpson

Remembering Madge Addy at the Town Hall this Sunday

Now Miss Madge Addy was a remarkable women.

She went off to Spain at the beginning of the Spanish Civil War, served as a nurse on the side of democratically elected Government who were fighting a Nationalist insurrection and was the last British nurse to leave the country the war zone.

She then went on to work as an agent in occupied France during the Second World War, assisted escaping allied prisoners of war and smuggled secret documents on German civilian aircraft.

But despite these achievements few people have heard of her.

And so this Sunday there be is an event to raise money for a plaque to commemorate her work, which it is hoped will go up on the wall of the house she lived in on Manchester Road in Chorlton.

The campaign to bring Miss Addy out of the shadows has been led by Christoper Hall who writes, that Madge is to be honoured as part of the "annual Jarama  commemoration and this year we are concentrating the on the lives of two local Spanish Civil War volunteers Madge Addy and George Brown. 

I am doing the talk on Madge. The Clarion choir will be singing song from the period and wreaths will be laid at the memorial in the Town Hall to those Greater Manchester men who died fighting Fascism in the Spanish Civil War. There will be a bucket collection at the event to raise money towards Madge's blue plaque.

I have also on our website setup a fund raising page for Madge Addy see http://www.international-brigades.org.uk/catalog/conferencestalks

So it would be good to see you all at Manchester Town Hall on Sunday February 26.

The event will last from 10.30 through to 11.30.

Location; Manchester

Picture; Madge Addy, 1938


Updates from Andy ...... “the flats are getting taller and the pub has lost one of its side boardings”

 We are back with another three from Andy recording the changing landscape.

This time we are back with two of his favourites ...... the flats by the canal and the slow demise of the Railway Tavern at Cornbrook.

Always economical with words Andy just reported that “the flats are getting taller and the pub has lost one of its side boardings”.

And that is all there is to say.  If you search for the Railway Tavern on the blog the full sad story of the pub is there to see.

Location; Cornbrook









Pictures; from the collection of Andy Robertson, 2017

Coming soon ........ the book on Chorlton’s pubs, beer houses and bars

Well it had to be the next big project.

.With copies of Manchester Pubs - The Stories Behind The Doors,City Centre  whizzing off the book shelves the next project just had to be the pubs, beer houses and bars of Chorlton.*

We are sticking to those popular formulae.  Peter will paint a picture of the outside of each drinking place, I will tell the stories behind the doors and the book will be designed as a series of walks which will throw in a bit of history along the way.

What we need are memories and pictures of the insides of each establishment. They can be from the very first time you entered the place back in 1963 to when the Bar became Chorlton Tap.

And if you have anything on what any of the bars were like when they were shops so much the better.

You can leave a comment on the blog or get in touch with us through our new facebook page.

The book is planned for later in the year so there is no time waste.