Thursday, 18 January 2018

In a very different Berseford Square

I have to thank Steve Bardrick for the collection of pictures of Woolwich he kindly agreed to share with me.

Part of the pleasure of looking at them is that they remind me of the Woolwich I remember which has now pretty much vanished but also because each of them has set me off on a detective trail.

So here I am in Beresford Square flanked by the Ordinance Arms on one side with Draper’s the butchers directly ahead.

I can’t be sure of the date but I am guessing we must be in the late 1940s into 1950s judging by the clothes, and the presence of the tram lines.

Now the last tram clanked into the history books in 1952 and while the tram lines took a bit of time to vanish they will not have lasted the decade.

So the key will be that butcher’s shop and a trawl of the directories will give us a beginning and end date for the business which might not offer up an exact moment but will be close enough.

That said I don’t have access to the directories for that period but they are located in the Greenwich Heritage Centre and my olf friend Tricia might come up with something when she next visits.

The Draper Brothers have long gone, the Ordinace Arms trades under a new name and the square has lost much of the hurly burly activity all of which Brings me back to Steve's picture.

Like some of his other images it captures a busy day.

And just perhaps there will be people who remember Draper's or sat in the Ordinance Arms watching the trams rattle past.

We shall see.

Picture; Beresford Square, date unknown courtesy of Steve Bardrick

Snaps of Chorlton No 9 Kathaleen Leavy in the Queen and Pasley, mid 1960s

An occasional series featuring private and personal photographs of Chorlton.

We are inside the Queen and Pasley Laundry on Crossland Road.

I have featured both the picture and stories on the laundry* but rather think it is time to bring it out again for this series.

Picture; from the collection of Tony Walker


Annot Robinson ........ revisiting a remarkable woman

I have decided to revisit Annot Robinson*.

Mrs Annot before her marriage to Sam Robinson
I first came across her   in an excellent account of her contribution to Manchester politics in the early 20th century.**

Just weeks before I had  been reading some of her correspondence to the Daily Citizen in 1915 on the exploitation of woman in the workforce. 

“Women” she wrote “will most certainly have to take the place of men.  

There is already a shortage of men workers in Manchester  but so far as I am aware no women taking on a man’s work will be receiving a man’s wage.“***

She had been born in Scotland in 1874 married and moved to Ancoats in 1908 and returned to Scotland in 1923 where she died two years later.

She had become active in Scottish politics in the 1890s and by 1895 was working for the Independent Labour Party in Dundee.

Annot Robinson speaking at a Suffragette meeting circa 1910 with her daughter
“She entered a marriage based at first on love and shared political ideals but which was ultimately disastrous. 

Subsequently living as a single-parent in an unaccepting age, she struggled in support of her chosen and unpopular causes, a constant and active member of the ILP and at different times of the WSPU, the NUWSS and the Women’s Labour League (WLL), Women’s War Interests Committee, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, an ebullient speaker and tireless traveller and twice a candidate in local elections.”****

All of which was set against the backdrop of being “at first the family bread winner and then a single parent of two young children.”*****

And at this point rather than just lift Ms Rigby’sresearch I shall point you towards the article and in the fullness of time return to Annot Robinson when I found out more myself.

Pictures; Annot  before she married Sam Robinson, and Suffragette meeting in Manchester, circa 1910, Annot Robinson standing.  The baby is her daughter, Cathy.  From ANNOT ROBINSON: A FORGOTTEN MANCHESTER SUFFRAGETTE

*Annot Robinson,

**ANNOT ROBINSON: A FORGOTTEN MANCHESTER SUFFRAGETTE, Kate Rigby, Manchester Regional History Review, Vol 1 Nu 1 Spring 1987,

***"no women taking on a man’s work will be receiving a man’s wage" ............stories from the Great War

****ibid Kate Rigby

***** ibid Kate Rigby

Letters to the Daily Citizen, courtesy of the Labour History Archives & Study Centre,  at the People’s History Museum, Manchester,

One to do today ..... an evening with Christina Rossetti

Now here is one to do and having said that I will just reproduce the invitation from The Dante Society

All the heaven is blazing – Tutto il cielo e’ splendente
Parallel Poems
Translated in Italian by Franca Maria Ferraris
Illustrated by Maria Teresa di Tanna

Today, 18 January 2018, 6.30 pm – 8.30 pm

The Portico Library, 57 Mosley Street, Manchester M2 3FF

Societa’ Dante Alighieri and The Portico Library invite you to an evening with
 Christina Rossetti

“Tutto il cielo e’ splendente” is the first Italian translation of her work. The Italian poet-translator and the illustrator will present their new book with readings in both languages and a musical interlude.
 Poetry reading
Franca Maria Ferraris                                        Italian poet translator
Maria Teresa Di Tanna                                      Italian illustrator
Kate Fuggle                                                       musical interlude

Presentation by Anna Maria Forti Sheikh.

Christina Rossetti, one of the most original voices of her century: 1830-1894.
An English poet born in 1830 to Gabriele Rossetti, a poet and a political exile from Vasto, Abruzzo – Italy and Frances Polidori, the sister of Lord Byron's friend and physician, John William Polidori.

Christina wrote a variety of romantic, devotional and children's poems including ballads, love lyrics, and sonnets.

Best known for her long poem Goblin Market, her love poem Remember, and for the words of the Christmas carol In the Bleak Midwinter.

Her brother Dante Gabriel Rossetti became an influential Pre-Raphaelite artist and poet.
Christina’s writing was influenced by the work of Dante Alighieri, Petrarch and other Italian writers. Her home was open to visiting Italian scholars, artists and revolutionaries.

The evening will conclude with a glass of Italian wine and nibbles.
£ 5  members of Portico / Dante and students
£ 6  non-members

Il mondo in italiano – Promoting Italian Culture in the world since 1889
Website:  Find us on Facebook

 Booking required:   T. 0161 236 6785 or email or book online

Location; Manchester

Pictures; Logo and portrait of Christina Rossetti, courtesy of Dante Society, and photograph, The Dante Society does St Anns' Square, 2017 from the collection of Andrew Simpson

The view from the Bridge

A Salford Bridge looking out across a Manchester scene.

The two in one picture

Location; the river and the bridge

Picture; 2018 from the collection of Andy Robertson

Five go quirky in Chorlton ........ history, art and a few bikes, January 26 to the 29th

What goes around comes around, and so I am pleased to announce that the partnership between one historian, three local artists and Ken Foster is back for its second year.

The theme for the 2018 exhibition will be the Quirks of Chorlton-cum-Hardy, which of course builds on the highly successful book which was published at the end of last year.

Inspired by the idea of the odd, the interesting and the daft, Susan Parry, Stephen Raw, Andrew Simpson and Peter Topping have taken up the invitation from Ken Foster to display an exhibition of their work in his cycle shop on Barlow Moor Road, from Friday January 26th through to Sunday January 28.*

There will be a chance to meet the artists, share your Chorlton story with me, listen to Susan play the guitar,
 and get advice from Ken in the art of how to maintain your bike.

Now that has to be a winning combination.

Location Ken Foster Cycles, 374-376 Barlow Moor Road, Chorlton-cum-Hardy, M21 8AZ

*Ken Foster’s Cycles,
374-376 Barlow Moor Road, Chorlton-cum-Hardy, Manchester, M21 8AZ 0161 881 7160

Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Saying something is wrong ........ alternative histories .... part 1

Now I can remember the first demonstration I went on in the 1960s and then pretty much all of the others.

Liverpool, 1980
But those I supported during the 1980s have become a blur, and part of that was because there were so many of them which were provoked by a series of developments, none of which many of us thought were good.

There was steadily rising unemployment, a Government intent on curtailing the ability of the Trade Unions to do the business of protecting the work force while pursuing a policy of reducing expenditure for public services.

Along side these, there was the growing fear that a new generation of nuclear weapons and their delivery systems coupled with the hard line leaders in both Washington and Moscow threatened world peace.

Liverpool, 1980
So, many of us marched, firmly believing that in doing so we could express our concern and send a message to those in power.

And from 1978 I documented all of the ones I attended, from Manchester to London and back via Liverpool and Birmingham.

I will leave others to write the history of that decade and to make judgements on the effectiveness of the demonstrations and instead will set about posting some of the pictures.

These have sat in the cellar for nearly four decades, left in a corner because they belonged to old photography, which relied on a dark room, smelly chemicals and an enlarger to bring them to life.

But as many know my Christmas present was one of those whizz scanners which can take a negative and make it into an electronic image.

Birmingham, 1983
I don’t pretend the quality is always the best, but they are a record of how many of us went about expressing our concerns and fears along with working within political parties and the trade union movement to bring about a change.

Liverpool, 1980 was the first national demonstration organised by the Labour Party just a year after the Conservative Government had been elected.

Birmingham was three years later.

Location; Liverpool and Birmingham

Pictures; Liverpool 1980,and Birmingham 1983, from the collection of Andrew Simpson