Thursday, April 30, 2009

Mystery Buildings

A little intrigued by some buildings that marked on some old maps. Above is Johnson's map of 1819 and if you look at Hardy Lane there are two buildings at the westerly end before it disappears into a footpath that's not shown. They also appear on the 1848 Ordnance Survey map, but not in their 1884 map. Lots of speculation can be made - another farm maybe? I love a good mystery if I had a metal detector I'd be over there scanning around.
Seriously thinking about making some diving rods out of metal coat hangers and doing a bit of dowsing the site, marked red on the aerial view. I've done it before just for fun but I don't think they can taken as a serious archaeological tool.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Exploring Hardy Lane

The weather was beautiful bright spring sunshine and still cool enough for a light jacket. Got the old mountain bike out to explore the original route of Hardy Lane. It still runs as footpath from Jackson's Boat to the abandoned UMIST sports building though the route wanders in places from the original way . I was using a copy of the 1905 Ordnance Survey map as a guide. Wish I had taken my compass so as make more accurate alignments instead of guessing.
Hardy Lane at Jackson's Boat
There is a steep bank near the sports building and a fair amount of stones and bricks been chucked into the low ground below. Beyond that is the metal fence that surrounds Chorlton Golf Club. At the junction of Hardy Lane and Barlow Moor Road you can still make out some old Manchester Corporation gully covers set in the pavement on the north side. That's opposite side to the Co-op. This is probably the original start of Hardy Lane before it was re-aligned to face Mauldeth Road.
Relic of something
Certainly more exploring to be done, especially down the embankment. Might find some old farm relics from Hardy Farm which stood nearby.

Pictures are of the end of Hardy Lane at Jackson's Boat, and something I spotted down the said embankment.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

First Co-op Store in Chorlton

The Manchester & Salford Co-op opened its first store in Chorlton on Friday 24th March 1896 at 41 Wilbraham Road. "It is not the largest shop in the district, but it is quite equal in appearance to the best shop in Chorlton."
Manchester & Salford Equitable Co-op Society's Monthly Herald April 1896 Pg 1

The whole road was later re-numbered, so unsure where it was. That's until my old mate Andy sorted it all out with some old street directories. This is the building in a later guise as a Maypole Dairy store in 1959, and in 2009 as a betting shop. The M&S Co-op built a new store in 1900 just around the corner next to the Royal Oak public house. Now I always presumed this branch would have closed when the new store opened. But it is still listed in street directories until the 1909 editions. Which is a bit strange having two branches about 500 metres apart. A little more investigation needed to check this....The Hardy Lane store was the third store opened in the district.

Further reading : Maypole Dairies by David Clare

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Soap Bar

History is an item on e-Bay and this is what the pitch reads...."Wonderful antique unused Co-operative Wholesale Society Limited primrose soap bar, which is not packaged like later examples, as was cut to size at the merchants from larger bars. The soap has been later wrapped in cellophane to protect it."
AGE : Circa 1910
SIZE : The soap measures 5cm (2") high, 14cm (5½") wide and 5cm (2") deep.
CONDITION : The soap is in a very good condition for age and delicate nature, although there are areas of damage. Please refer to the above photographs for details of condition.
Asking price £4.99 plus the P&P...
Postage and packing to the UK will be £2.50 (via 1st class recorded), to Europe will be £3.00 (via Airmail), and to the US, Canada, Australia will be £4.00 (via Airmail), anywhere else please e-mail for postage costs.

Youth Section

The British Federation of Co-operative Youth was a organisation for persons aged 15-24. It's long been defunct. Back in the 1940's and early 1950's there was a branch at Hardy Lane. There were at least two others in south Manchester at Didsbury and Wythenshawe. A notable local co-operator Walter Frost - later a Labour Councillor, and a Director of M&S Co-op started his co-operative career as a leader of these organisations.

It was never a major British youth movement with a large membership. It's timeline looks briefly like this :
1922 various local co-operative youth groups in existence across Britain were termed 'Comrades' Circles'. There was such a group at Barlow Moor around 1934.

1924 - the British Federation of Co-operative Youth (BFCY) was founded by young members as a national body with the purpose of organising and co-ordinating Circle activity.

1937 - Membership figures are available. Comrades' Circles possessed 8,000 members. Britain's largest youth organisations, the Boy Scouts had 448,396, the Girl Guides 581,000, and the Boys' Brigade 111,442, the Woodcraft Folk had 5,000.

1941 British Federation of Young Co-operators (BFYC) formed when the BFCY was wound up by the Co-operative Union.

Further reading :
Pleasure, Politics and Co-operative Youth: the interwar Co-operative Comrades' Circles
by Selina Todd in Journal of Co-operative Studies, September 1999, No.32.2

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Mergers Part 1.

Manchester & Salford Equitable Co-operative Society merged with other co-ops to form the Norwest Co-op in 1970, later to become the Norwest's all part of The Co-operative now.
United Norwest Mergers

Sunday, April 19, 2009

When Whist was big!

The card game whist was a popular activity in Britain. Many an hour of social activity was spent at whist drives. It was an important source of fund raising for associations, local Labour Parties and other voluntary groups. It also had a competitive element with prizes for participants and cups for teams.

Barlow Moor Guild - 15th April 1938
Annual meeting. Mr. Forrester , captain of the Whist Team, reported that Barlow Moor had won the shield, and we are all proud that our whist players have secured this honour, especially as we shall be the second Mixed Guild to have its name engraved on the trophy.

The new Guild officials are :
President, Mr. Frank Spires ; vice-president, Mr. A. B. Miles ; secretary, Mrs. Ada Dean ; assistant secretary, Mrs. Doherty ; treasurer, Mrs. Forrester.

Committee :
Mrs. Oultram, Mrs. Oriel, Mrs. Turner, Mr. S. Coombes, Mr. A. Dean, Mr. Morris.
Whist captain, Mr. Forrester ; vice-captain, Mrs. Hinchey. Sick visitors, Mrs. Shaw and Mrs. Wallwork.
from Manchester & Salford Co-operative Herald May 1938.

Frank Spires was a long time active co-operator, one of the original members who founded Withington Co-operative Party back in 1918. Mrs. Oultram on the Committee was Secretary of the Guild after WWII.

Saturday, April 18, 2009


Hardy Lane MakeoverAfter being closed for weeks the new enlarged Hardy Lane store opened on Saturday 15th November 2008. Now it has extended out the back the square footage of the sales area has doubled and consequently so did the sales. The meeting room is still be same size, and still features one of the steepest staircases in Manchester.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Warwick Road South

Former Co-op Firswood Manchester
Opened on June 22nd, 1929 - three months before the Hardy Lane store was opened. It's in a similar style, or at least with similar brick and roof tiles. This is how it looks today - literally took the photo today. The store and its hall closed long ago, and some of the windows have been replaced. Situated at 90-92 Warwick Road South, Firswood, Manchester.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Withington Road Revealed

It took me a while to notice that 100 Withington Road, Whalley Range has had it's former co-op store signage revealed. It's above the windows in black and silver and has been hidden for nigh on 50 years. A typical 1920's Manchester & Salford Co-op building in Ravenshead Rustic brick with a green tile finish. A grocery store and a seperate butchers. The former co-op hall is above with a door on the left hand side.

More photograhs needed but in the meantime why not use Google Streetview to track down a few more. Let's hope that Streetview images will be archived because they will give a fairly comprehensive picture of a moment in time.
You can email : coop AT with any information that will help in the making of this history.