Tuesday, 23 May 2017

When Harold married Alma in the April of 1928 at Dartford



I am looking at two images which are now 88 years old.

This was the wedding celebrations of Harold Morris and Alma Minnie Shove in April 1928.

We all have pictures like this but many of them will be undated and long ago the identities of those staring back at us will have been forgotten as have the events surrounding the image.

Now even if I didn’t know some of the people and couldn’t place them in the first half of the last century they do have a fascination and an importance.

Part of this is because photographs like this so rarely see the light of day and if they do it is limited to a close set of family and friends.

What of course strikes you first off are the clothes including those above the knee dresses, soon to fall a few inches as the 1930s came along.

And then there is the half hidden garden and house a reminder that most weddings for people like Harold and Alma ended back at the house.

But even here there are questions that we might never know or have an answer to, like the name and age of the elderly woman in the corner of the second picture. I rather think she will be in her 70s or perhaps older, and so her presence takes us back to the late 1850s.

A time almost as remote from Harold and Alma’s experiences as 1928 is to us.

It is just possible that this lady may have walked to her wedding, that amongst the guests would have been those who could remember reading the stories of the old Queen’s wedding in 1840, and more than a few whose parents had talked of the rejoicing of the news of the allied victory at Waterloo and the shock they felt at hearing of the death of Lord Nelson.

And in the same way looking back at that April of 1928 is to see a totally different landscape. Alma might have been 23 years old but it would be another four months before Parliament voted to extend the franchise to her and a full year before she vote in a general election.

That general election in the May of 1929  was dubbed the flapper election marking as it did the first time that women of Alma’s age and class could help determine the next government of this country.

Nor is that all for if the newlyweds had wanted to dance to record music it would have been via a wind up gramophone, many of the films they might have watched would still have been silent ones and many such couples could only hope to aspire to one of those new and clean electric cooker.

So bring on these old family photographs.

Location; Eltham, London

Picture’s from the collection of Jean Gammons

Snaps of Manchester number 4 Piccadilly in the late 1920s

Now I can’t be sure but I think we are looking at Piccadilly sometime before 1932.

It is difficult to be sure but I don’t think that the Ryland’s Building which is now Debenhams’s is there near the centre of our picture and if that is the case then this can be no later than 1932 and possibly sometime in the 1920s.

Like all the images in this collection owned by Sandra Hapgood there is much in the clothes and the vehicles to suggest this is the time frame.

Of course I might have missed some vital clue which can pin point the date and prove me wrong.

Either way it is one of those snaps of Manchester that I have been featuring.  Each of them is not by a professional and all of them were I think taken quickly while on the move and as with so  many snaps they are very personal, meant as a reminder of a day out or to share with family and friends.

And that is both their charm and their value because all of them are not the usual scenes of the city.  Instead they are shot from odd angles or concentrate on places seldom visited by the professional.


Picture; from the collection of Sandra Hapgood.
My Manchester, pictures without the words, ............ Looking out onto Exchange Square, 2013



Picture; Looking out on Exchange Square,2013  from the collection of Andrew Simpson

Lost images of Whalley Range part 2 the petrol pumps

I wonder when these petrol pumps on Upper Chorlton Road were taken away.

They were recorded by A.H.Downes in the summer of 1960 and were on the site of the furniture store.

In an age of big computer operated petrol pumps which do all most everything but make a coffee I like these three.

Simple design, and simple machinery but they did the business and take me back to my childhood.

They come from that time when someone would come out of the garage and work the pump,offering to wipe the windscreen and was available for motoring advice.

You still find this service in places like Greece and rural Italy and no doubt even here in remote communities.

They have long since vanished but the telephone kiosk was still on the same spot just a few years ago.

Picture; Petrol-Pump, Whalley Range, Upper Chorlton Road, north east side, 1960, A.H.Downes, m40781 and again in 1973, photographer unknown, m40728, courtesy of Manchester Libraries, Information and Archives, Manchester City Council

The bridges of Salford and Manchester ......... nu 2 Victoria Bridge, sometime in the 1850s

Now there is not much more to say.

 It is the work of C W Clennel sometime in the 1850s.
But there is more.
And for that I am indebted to Alan who quick as a flash, added that

"Haha, I beg to differ Andrew, there is much to say, for instance the first mention of the bridge over the river Irwell was in the Lancashire Inquisitions of 1226. 

In 1368 Thomas Bothe a wealthy Yeoman of Barton on Irwell bequeathed £30 in his will to the Bridge on which he had previously built a chapel.where prayers were to be said for the soul of the founder.In 1505, the Chapel was converted to a prison.

On September 25th 1642 was the Battle of Salford Bridge between the Parliamentary forces and the Royalists. 

On July 1776 the bridge was widened by taking down the Dungeon and extending its piers and arches. 

On July 2nd 1838 the first stone on the Salford side of Victoria Bridge was laid by Mr Elkanah Armitage, the Borough Reeve of Salford and on July the 2nd the first stone on the Salford side was laid by Mr J Brown, Borough Reeve of Manchester.

On October 16th, the central arches were washed away.

On January 7th 1839 the arches of Victoria bridge were once again destroyed in a Gale. There were to be many more great floods, but the bridge appears to have escaped further damage, here ends my little hisory of Victoria Bridge...... "

And I think pretty much does justice to the old bridge.  Thank you Alan

Location; Salford

Picture, Victoria Bridge, C W Clennell, m77145 courtesy of Manchester Libraries, Information and Archives, Manchester City Council, http://images.manchester.gov.uk/index.php?session=pass

Monday, 22 May 2017

Snaps of Manchester number 7 ....... the Town Hall and the Cathedral in the 1920s

Now if you live in Manchester or like me claim it as your adopted city the chances are that you will have taken a picture of the Town Hall.

It was designed by Alfred Waterhouse and finished in 1877, and it remains a splendid building.

 I spent many years from the 1970s in the various state rooms and when meetings ground to tedious repetition and sloganising there was always the paintings, the wallpaper and the ceilings to marvel at.

The outside is no less impressive, but I have never found a good angle at which the to take a picture, and the result is that you  end up somewhere on Cross Street or South Mill Street trying to get all of the building in the frame.

Now I know it is possible to stand directly opposite on Brazenose Street but all too ofteh you have to wait for a clear moment when a bus a taxi or a lorry aren’t passing.

So I am always pleased when someone pulls it off.  In this case the picture comes from the collection of Sandra Hapgood and dates from the early decades of the last century.

It is another of those Snaps of Manchester which are often just as valuable as the carefully composed images taken by a professional.  And although they are often undated and their significance is lost they can be just as interesting.

More so because they are often of places which are unrecorded by the professional or commercial photographer.

Having said that I would like a £ for every image I have seen of the Cathedral.  This one comes from the same collection and will date from the same time.

It was taken from Exchange Station, now long gone, although bits of its railway past are still littered around what is now a car park.

Today the stretch of Victoria Street is closed to traffic which seemed a good idea but I rather think the temporary building in front of the Cathedral however worthy its use detracts from the Cathedral.

Pictures; from the collection of Sandra Hapgood

On Whitworth Street in May 2007


One from the archive.

It is a scene you won’t see for much longer.


































And as I haven’t been down this way with a camera for a while it my already have changed.

It was May 2007 and I was on Whitworth Street, standing on a partially demolished bit of wall.

Location; Whitworth Street, Manchester

Picture; from the collection of Andrew Simpson