Archive | October, 2012

The Smiths at the Palace in 1985

20 Oct

The Smiths at the Palace Theatre in 1985. Courtesy L. Gregory.

This is a ticket for 4 seats for The Smiths concert at the Grade II listed Palace Theatre which took place on the Sunday 31st March 1985, 5 years after the theatre was saved by Raymond Slater from closure along with the Manchester Opera House, when he purchased both buildings from Edinburgh founded theatre company, Moss Empires.

The Palace Theatre, Manchester in 2010. © Copyright David Dixon.

The 4 seats were in the stalls, 10 rows from the stage, which would have afforded a fantastic view of the 4-piece band, which comprised lead vocalist Davyhulme born Morrissey , Ardwick born guitarist Johnny Marr, bassist Andy Rourke also from Davyhulme and Fallowfield born drummer Mike Joyce.

The proceedings started at 7.30pm.

Palace Theatre seating plan. Courtesy Theatres Online.

£5 a ticket including booked fee, which roughly is about £12.65 in todays (2012) money, doesn’t seem too expensive for a band that in the same year had a UK number 1 gold album with Meat is Murder, following on from the previous years success when they released their self-titled debut album which went to number 2 in the charts.

The tickets shows the Palace Theatre  with the old area code telephone number 061, which was changed in 1990 to 0161, which coincided with national area code changes.

The tickets were purchased from Barry Ancill Agency.

Barry Ancill had a record store at 9 Blackfriars Street, Manchester 3, just off Deansgate called Barry’s Record Renezvous which he had opened around the early 1960s; specialising in Rhythm and Blues. Barry later went onto open a store in St James’ Square and a then new business called Piccadilly Box Office, where Barry started to sell tickets for many of the major concerts around the country.

Piccadilly Plaza as it originally looked in 1960. Courtesy J. Shaw.

The ticket is addressed Piccadilly Plaza, so it is possible Piccadilly Box Office was based here at the time of the concert.

Barry’s store sold both domestic and imported vinyl and occasionally attracted visiting blues artist who would drop into to sign autographs and chat to fans.

Does anyone remember the concert? Were you there? Does anyone remember Barry’s Record Renezvous or Patsy from store? Or any other memories. We would love to hear from you. Please see comments below.

The Smiths posing outside Salford Lads Club in 1985. Courtesy Stephen Wright.

The Smiths set list for the concert was as follows:

William, It Was Really Nothing
Nowhere Fast
I Want The One I Can’t Have
What She Said
Hand In Glove
How Soon Is Now?
Stretch Out And Wait
That Joke Isn’t Funny Anymore
Shakespeare’s Sister
Rusholme Ruffians
The Headmaster Ritual
Still Ill
Meat Is Murder

Encore 1:

Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now
Handsome Devil

Encore 2:

Barbarism Begins At Home
Miserable Lie

Encore 3:

You’ve Got Everything Now


Freund, R.S. (2007). How Britain Got the Blues: The Transmission and Reception of American Blues . London: Ashgate. p94-95.

Wikipedia. (2012). The Smiths. Available: Last accessed 20th Oct 2012.

Please contact us by using the form below:

Look and Learn from November 1975 – “Preserving the heritage of the once mighty metropolis of Manchester”

20 Oct

The story of Manchester which was known as “Cottonopolis” by Pat Nicolle. © 2005-2012 Look and Learn

Preserving the heritage of the once mighty metropolis of Manchester

June 7, 2012 

© 2005-2012 Look and Learn

Look and Learn issue number 720 published on 1 November 1975. Courtesy D. Hampson.

This edited article about Manchester originally appeared in Look and Learn issue number 720 published on 1 November 1975.

As its name suggests, like Rochester and Cirencester, Dorchester, Lancaster and Chester, the great city we know today as Manchester, capital of the north, was a Roman castra, or crossing place. It was established where a number of their major through-routes, to Hadrian’s Wall at Carlisle, to York, to the Dee estuary and to London, crossed.

Set the point of a pair of compasses at that crossing-place, marked by the 15th-century cathedral, and draw a circle five miles in radius, and you enclose a million people. Double that radius, and your circle encloses a population of 2,500,000, the largest concentration of human beings in one area, apart from that of London, anywhere in Britain. This is Greater Manchester.

Portrait of James Brindley (1716-1772), British engineer by Francis Parsons. Wikimedia Commons, March 30, 2009 at 11:21 UTC. Available at:

Yet, and here is a strange thought, in the Middle Ages, Manchester was only a village, with a market, two water-mills and a communal oven. Even as late as the mid-18th century it was referred to as “the very image of a radiant little garden city”. It had a grammar school, a river abundant with trout, and a small population, most of whom, women and men alike, worked as weavers.

Then came James Brindley, and the Duke of Bridgewater’s canal. As a result, Manchester almost literally exploded. Coal became available in huge quantities and low cost. Textile machines took over, invented by men like Arkwright and Crompton. The Industrial Revolution, with all that it implied, was born, right here, in the Romans’ Manucium, the once “radiant little garden city”. Never was a change more swift, more complete. So many textile mills were established that a small town soon won for itself the title, “Cottonopolis”.

The Opening of the Bridgewater Canal A.D. 1761 by Ford Madox Brown. Wikimedia Commons, April 6, 2007 at 17:45 UTC. Available at:

For two centuries it has continued to expand. More mills, more and more workers and more and more major industries. Towns encircling it expanded, too, until their boundaries tended to merge with one another. Bolton and Bury, Wigan, Altrincham, Oldham, Stockport and Rochdale, among others, became embraced. Problems arose, many of which were easily solved. Others with some difficulty. “Boom towns”, whether in Alaska or in Lancashire, can grow too fast and run into trouble. There is, too, always the risk of their forgetting what made them, what treasures they are in danger of losing through overgrowth.

Packet House, Worsley. Wikimedia Commons, September 17, 2007 at 15:02 UTC. Available at:

Happily, the Greater Manchester Council woke up to the danger before it was too late, and set about a major salvaging operation in good time. Proud of a city that had started as a halting place at the crossing of Roman roads and, eighteen centuries later, had been the setting for the birth of the Industrial Revolution, the council has resolved to show us all what this great area has to offer historically, architecturally, and in many other respects.

It was fitting that a start should be made at Worsley. Where Brindley’s canal leaves the coal mines, at the all-important boat-steps, in front of the Packet House, the site has been restored to its original condition. But in one sense Worsley remains a village, and its civic society has worked out a history trail that enables people to trace the many points of interest, mostly associated with the Duke of Bridgewater himself.

The Old Wellington Inn, Shambles Square, Manchester. Wikimedia Commons, June 20, 2009 at 18:44 UTC. Available at:

In the heart of Manchester, on the edge of the old market, or “Shambles”, now being developed into a shopping precinct, there is the early 14th-century Wellington Inn. With its adjoining half-timbered buildings, it has been raised five feet – no mean achievement in itself – so that a centuries-old merchant’s house is preserved amid the great new buildings of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

City trails have been prepared here, too, with leaflets to tell you what you can see for yourself if you care to raise your eyes above shopfront level and look for the many plaques and other records of builders’ names and dates of construction left by men who had taken pride in building a great city. You may have walked past these a hundred times without realising what you were missing. Such trails have been worked out in other neighbouring towns, Wigan, for instance.

The VUM Mathematics Tower prior to its demolition. Wikimedia Commons, January 19, 2008 at 16:38 UTC. Available at:

With the swift growth of Manchester during two hundred years, many of the buildings came to look grimed and shabby. Many of them have been given a face-lift, or been replaced recently by buildings in a more modern idiom. Pall Mall Court, in King Street, is a good example. Another is the education precinct, with its upper-level walk-ways and, topping all else, the Mathematical Tower. Elsewhere in the city is the complex of magistrates’ courts, Crown Court has a beautiful example of the use of white ceramic tiles and contrasting bronze glass.

It is work such as this, whether in the City of Manchester itself or in the towns circling about it which constitute Greater Manchester, that reveals how very conscious the authorities are today of the great heritage which is theirs and of the necessity for preserving and maintaining and developing it too.

Please contact us by using the form below:

Briscoe Lane Primary School – Miss Lambert’s class c1959

12 Oct

Briscoe Lane Primary School – Miss Lambert’s class c1959. Courtesy M. Saville.

Briscoe Lane Primary School – Miss Lambert’s class c1959. Courtesy M. Saville.

Briscoe Lane Primary School in Newton Heath – Miss Lambert’s class c1959, taken in the playground at the east of the building.

Do you recognise any of the people in the picture? Then please get in touch with us at:

Back row from left: 1. Mr Thornborough 2. Irene Moores 3. Eric Greenalch 4. Alan Atherley 5. Albert Brogan 6. (UNKNOWN?) 7. Geoffrey Bliss 8. Alan Jones 9. (UNKNOWN?) 10. Ian Smith 11. Brian Cochrane 11. Margaret Smith 12. Miss Lambert.

3rd row from left:  13. (UNKNOWN?) 14. Valerie McGrath 15. (UNKNOWN?) 16. (UNKNOWN?)17. Janice Orton 18. Iris Guerin 19. Ruth Thornton 20. (UNKNOWN?) 21. June Higham 22. (UNKNOWN?) 23. Christine Hope.

2nd row from left: 23. (UNKNOWN?) 24. Susan Brown 25. Carol Hampson 26. Cathy Astle 27. Hazel Moston 28. (UNKNOWN?) 29. (UNKNOWN?) 30. Sheena Williams 31. (UNKNOWN?) 32. Jacqueline Donbavand 33. Barbara Whelan.

Front row from left: 34. Roy Wilson 35. Pete Delauney 36. Graham Bowers 37. John McWilliams 38. (UNKNOWN?) 39. Stephen Thompson 40. Eric Warburton 41. Stuart Risby 42. Frank Walmsley 43. Roy Percival.


Thank you to C. Hope for the invaluable help I received in writing this post.

If you would like to add any further information, memories, pictures or stories regarding the post, HistoryME would love to hear from you.

Guernsey Evacuees: The Forgotten Evacuees of Second World War by Gillian Mawson

7 Oct

by Gillian Mawson

In May 2008 when I discovered that over 17,000 Guernsey evacuees had arrived in England in June 1940, just before the Nazis invaded their island, I was astounded!  I knew that the Channel Islands had been occupied but had no idea that almost half the population had come to mainland Britain. I was equally amazed that the majority had been sent to towns in northern England from which local children had been evacuated 9 months earlier.

Disley evacuees arrival on the 20th July 1940. Courtesy R.Hammarskjold.

As I began to interview evacuees, most said they had never been asked to share their story before. I now realised that their experiences in England during WW2 had not been fully captured. I discovered that the evacuees had integrated into their local communities, but also set up around 100 Channel Island societies. In addition, they had contributed to the British war effort by joining the forces, working in ammunition factories and building aircraft. Others had joined the Home Guard, the ATS and the Fire Service. 5,000 Guernsey school children had arrived in England with their teachers and some of the schools had been re established in England for the duration of the war. Hundreds of young Guernsey mothers had arrived with their infants, whilst their husbands joined the forces or remained in Guernsey to protect their property. These women arrived with practically nothing, and although some adults, as well as children, had unhappy experiences, the majority described the kindness of their English neighbours. Eva Le Page told me ‘I left Guernsey with my baby, and a bag containing feeding bottles and nappies. I will never forget the kindness of my neighbours when I moved into an empty house in Bolton. When they helped you, they did it with good hearts.’

One Lancashire resident, John Fletcher, collected money throughout the war so that the Guernsey children in that area could receive a Christmas gift. There was no postal service between Guernsey and England during the war except for the occasional 25 word Red Cross letter. The evacuees were also helped by organisations outside England. One Guernsey school in Cheshire was financially supported by the ‘Foster Parent Plan for War Children‘ where Americans sponsored a child. One of the children, Paulette Le Mescam, was actually sponsored by Eleanor Roosevelt and I helped the BBC to make a documentary about the wartime correspondence between Paulette and Mrs Roosevelt. I also asked the evacuees about their return to Guernsey in 1945, although not all returned home, as they felt that England could provide them with a better future. Many of those that did return had difficulty picking up the pieces of their pre war lives, or faced problems as a result of five years of separation from their families. Many children missed the English families who had cared for them for five years, and are still in touch with those families. Some of these evacuees actually returned to England because they could not settle down.

It became clear to me that this research was not just a contribution to Guernsey’s history, but also a missing part of the story of Britain’s Home Front. When I began my research, many of the evacuees had already passed away, but I was given access to their wartime diaries and correspondence, as well as hundreds of previously unpublished photographs. Local archives in the northern towns in which the evacuees had spent the war also provided me with a wealth of information.

To find out more about the lives of the Guernsey evacuees in England, you can follow my blog at:

My book ‘Guernsey Evacuees: The Forgotten Evacuees of the Second World War‘ is published on 1st November 2012, and available from   and also from

Last Link To Manchester’s Past Demolished

1 Oct

Princess Street, Manchester during demolition in August 2012. Courtesy J. Nightingale.

Sadly in early August of 2012, Manchester lost yet another link to its almost forgotten past.

Building on Princess Street in 2012. Viewed from Charles Street. Photograph by Mike Peel (

Little so far is known about this building on Princess Street.

However, what we can ascertain was that it was certainly one of the oldest buildings if not the oldest in this part of Manchester and possibly a rare example of 18th/19th century business premises, with its own overhanging privy seen still insitu which at some point would have emptied its contents straight into the River Medlock below.

In the early 1800s, toilets were usually nothing more than communal cesspits, shared by dozens of families and frequently became blocked with waste. Sometimes they overflowed into wells, infecting drinking water in the process. This persisted until the first Public Health Act 1848 was created to improve sanitary conditions across England and Wales and to ensure that all new houses had drains and lavatories.  This was administered by a single local body or Local Board of Health, who also oversaw water supply, sewage, refuse collection and street cleaning.

So the building looks more likely that it was indeed business premises.

Building on Princess Street, Manchester before demolition in 2011. Courtesy M. Singleton.

The building or buildings may have been one of the very first to have replaced some of the more distinguished houses vacated by the middle classes as they were largely displaced in the early 1800s as the Industrial Revolution further tighten its grip with the growing need for business space as well as for workers housing as the population swelled and grew at an unprecedented rate.

By the 1800s many of the middle classes moved to more wealthy and leafy suburbs like Ardwick Green in search of fresh air, which was becoming an increasingly luxury and rare resource.

Building on Princess Street, Manchester viewed from River Medlock, November 2011. Courtesy J. Pickstone.

In the 1850s, the sheer stench emanating from the build up of fecal matter in areas like this gave rise to the miasma theory; the belief that poisonous gases caused illness. In particular it was believed that the main scourge of  the Victorians, cholera was caused by breathing in such “poisonous” gas. A theory that had been popularised during the Black Death in the 14th century and largely prevailed until physician John Snow’s  investigations into the Broad Street (Soho, London) cholera outbreak in 1854, when he proved by mapping the cases of cholera throughout the area that it was indeed water and not gases that were the infections vector.

The building stood next to Fac 251 club (118 Princess Street)


Thank you to D. Easton, E. Glinet, J. Nightingale, J. Pickstone for their  invaluable help in writing this post.

If you have any information on this building, please get in touch with us below. We would love to hear from you.

Please contact us by using the form below:

Briscoe Lane Primary School – Miss Lambert’s class of 1957

1 Oct

Briscoe Lane Primary School – Miss Lambert’s class of 1957. Courtesy of F. Turner.

Briscoe Lane Primary School – Miss Lambert’s class of 1957. Courtesy of F. Turner.

Briscoe Lane Primary School in Newton Heath – Class of 1957, taken in the inner courtyard.

Do you recognise any of the people in the picture? Then please get in touch with us at:

Back row from left: 1. Willie Mulane 2. Malcolm Malone 3. Alfred Percival 4. Barry (UNKNOWN?)  5. (UNKNOWN?) 6. Graham (UNKNOWN?) 7. Charles Hampson 8. (UNKNOWN?) 9. (UNKNOWN?) 10. Miss Lambert.

3rd row from left:  11. Paul Nugent 12. Valerie Cosgrove 13. (UNKNOWN?) 14. Pauline Brogan 15. Jacqueline (UNKNOWN?) 16. Brenda (UNKNOWN?) 17. Suzanne (UNKNOWN?) 18. Barbara Wilson 19. (UNKNOWN?).

2nd row from left: 20. Susan Hughes 21. Sheila Black 22. Pamela Coucher 23. (UNKNOWN?) 24. (UNKNOWN?)  25. Glenis Turner 26. (UNKNOWN?) 27. (UNKNOWN?)

Front row from left: 28. David Horrocks 29. (UNKNOWN?)

If you would like to add any further information, memories, pictures or stories regarding the post, HistoryME would love to hear from you.

Please contact us by using the form below:

%d bloggers like this: