50 Volunteers Reflect on What Chorlton Good Neighbours Means to Them
Films celebrating 50 years of Chorlton Good Neighbours can be seen at:
All films have been funded through a Celebrate Lottery Grant , and been produced by Hannah Powell from MACC community reporters, with input and support from volunteers and members of Chorlton Good Neighbours, and staff and pupils of Chorlton High School.
Helen Hibberd, Co ordinator
0161 881 2925
Welcome to new worker – Philip Barrett
From November 1st 2016 we have a new older men’s visiting and development worker, Phil Barrett, who will be taking over from Wayne Marr.
Phil will be visiting older men in their own homes and finding new local activities and interests for them.
Wayne has now retired but is continuing to oversee the Tuesday afternoon snooker, darts and bowling session for the men down at South West Manchester cricket club 1-3pm.
If you know any older man who might like a visit from Phil or to come and join us at the snooker session please get in touch.
“Progression of Inclusive Design & Accessibility: |
From Manchester to Rio Via London & Sochi”
A talk by Mark Todd, Nov 3rd 2016
Mark Todd has had over 30 years experience in the field of disabled people’s access. Having played a key role in the disability movement, Mark became the first Access Officer at Manchester City Council overseeing the City Council access programme. and played a key copy in the 1988 campaign to make “Manchester – the Access City” – see the video at https://youtu.be/imlaSdBvEjQ
In 2001 he launched his own consultancy “access all areas” and now specialises in Sporting Mega Events for clients such as the Manchester Commonwealth Games in 2002, the London 2012 Paralympic Games, the Sochi 2014 Winter Paralympic Games, Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games and the Rio 2016 Olympic & Paralympic Games. He is currently working for the Tokyo Paralympics organising committee for the games planned for 2020
Mark giving his talk at Chorlton Good Neighbours history group on Nov 3rd 2016.
It was a really excellent talk about access and other facilities for disabled people had improved since his first involvement in planning for the Paralympics and other big sporting events. The crowning glory to date were the 2012 London Paralympics, whilst there were big improvements at Sochi and Rio, but not to the extent of London
Next step Tokyo!
Bob Cowan, was born on July 5th 1919 and grew up in Moss Side. He died on 25th Sep 2016. Together with his wife Joyce he was an active member of Chorlton Good Neighbours for many years. He was a veteran of the World War 2 Arctic convoys and we have featured many stories about our successful attempts to ensure that Bob got the Ushakov medal from the Russian government to acknowledge the bravery of those sailors who kept the Russians supplied with armaments to enable them to fight the Nazis in the darkest period of WW2
Bob was in the navy from 1940 to 1946, starting as an ordinary seamen and then climbing through the ranks – able seaman, leading seaman and ending up as a petty officer
Bob was aboard the tribal class destroyer, Mashona when she took part in operations resulting in the sinking of the Bismarck on 27 May 1941. She came under heavy air attack from the Luftwaffe while returning to port the following day, and was bombed and sunk off the coast of Galway with the loss of 48 men. It seems it was a sitting duck as it was proceeding very slowly due to lack of fuel. Bob was swimming around in the water for 30 mins or so before he was picked up by HMS Tartar which took the survivors to Greenock
The Arctic Convoys
“The Arctic convoys, described by Winston Churchill as the most dangerous of the entire war, transported four million tons of crucial supplies and munitions to Russia between 1941 and 1945, supporting the Red Army in the conflict. As Germany occupied Norway, the British ships had to take a treacherous northerly route, often skirting the Arctic ice floes, before dropping south into Russian ports including Murmansk and Archangel. In bitter cold, the merchant seamen and their Royal Navy escorts endured repeated attacks from both U-boats and Luftwaffe bombers, often sustaining heavy losses.
Just under 3,000 British seamen were killed during the convoys, the majority never recovered from the icy waters. More than 100 British ships were sunk during the campaign” Bob Cowan was on two of these convoys PQ16 and PQ18, In each a third of the ships in each convoy were sunk
Bob was eventually discharged from the navy on Jan 1st 1946 exactly 6 years after he had joined the navy. He later trained as a company accountant and worked as a manager at Procter and Gamble in Trafford Park until his retirement
Here are links to some of the stories and videos about Bob and the fight for recognistion of the Arctic Convoy sailors
http://wp.me/p2KlLI-k7 Chorlton’s Arctic Convoy veterans on Granada TV
http://wp.me/p2KlLI-lq Video of WW2 Event at Chorlton Good Neighbours
http://wp.me/p2KlLI-CT Arctic Convoy medal presentation at Manchester Town Hall
http://wp.me/p2KlLI-eo Bob to get Arctic Convoy Medal
http://wp.me/p2KlLI-6L Bob Cowan and the Arctic Convoy medal
http://wp.me/p2KlLI-iJ Bob Cowan WW2 Arctic Convoys
http://wp.me/p2KlLI-GN Another Russian medal for Bob Cowan
A group of us from Chorlton Good Neighbours visited Chorlton High School on Tuesday Nov 14th for an event which was part of Chorlton Book Week . It was an inter-generational event organised by Chorlton Library staff in which members met with year 7 & 8 students from Chorlton High to discuss our own experiences of being at school – with some people’s memories going back to the 1930’s
One thing that was clear as we entered the imposing entrance to this large school which has 1,500 students, was how important security had become. Schools are now required to have sophisticated security systems which are impressive but somewhat daunting. We each had to sign into a large console where we typed our name, who we were coming to visit, what organisation we represented and our car registration number. Then a photograph was taken and a label printed that we then stuck on our coats or jumpers (see below). Swipe cards were needed to get through doors and access the lift
How different to even a few years ago when entry into school was much more informal. I am sure it is necessary but it did feel a bit intimidating. It certainly doesn’t help in making the school feel part of the community
The school is very impressive and the students and staff were wonderfully welcoming. For the activity there were a range of photos and school log books dating back to Victorian times and brought there by a representative from Manchester Archives. On each table there were Good Neighbours members and students. We discussed what school life was like from our own experiences and we compared things like discipline, our favourite subjects, school uniforms, teachers and dinner hours (though we were told that students only have 30 mins for lunch nowadays)
Students and older visitors discussing topics about school days
whilst a member of the Chorlton High News team looks on
Altogether an enjoyable experience all round and I hope we can do it again in next year’s book week.
“Victorian dress of the middle and working classes”
Margo Singer’s gave a great talk to the Chorlton History Group on 3rd April 2014 in which she looked at the development of fashion and textiles in the mid 19th century, especially with reference to Manchester and the novels of Elizabeth Gaskell
The talk looked at the development of corsets, crinolines and bustles and the changes in fabrics and dress due to both fashion and technical change (eg sewing machines, synthetic dyes). Margo went on to show how these trends affected the dress of the urban classes in Manchester – from millworkers and seamstresses to the middle & upper classes.
Margo brought along samples items of clothing, textiles and reconstructed dress, for us to have a look at. It was interesting to note that whilst the last two history talks on trains & railways had a majority of men in the audience, for this talk the audience was overwhelmingly women
A couple of the bonnets Margo brought along for us to look at. The bright colours of the bonnet on the right were made popular by the new dyes that became available with developments in artificial dyes. Margo suggested the more sober bonnet on the left might have been of the type worn by Elizabeth Gaskell, whilst the fancier one on the right might belong to a more fashionable upper class woman
Chorlton History Group at Manchester Histories Festival
Chorlton History Group had a prime spot in the Lord Mayor’s Parlour in Manchester Town Hall at the Manchester Histories Festival Celebration Day 2014 on Sat 29th March 2014. It was an excellent event and we had a very good response from people with 67 signing up to receive regular email updates from us
We also used it as an opportunity to explain to people the transformation planned from June this year to transform the group into the South Manchester U3A History Group. We think this will support the sustainability of the group and out what we do into a clearly educational context of mutual learning
Here are some photos from the day
The Lost Railways of South Manchester
The March 6th 2014 Chorlton History Group session was on the ‘Lost Railways of South Manchester’, a talk given by Roy Chapman – a lifelong railway enthusiast. Roy worked for British Rail for over 15 years. Roy has contributed to transport training material, is a co-author of three railway books. Roy is currently Rail Services Planning Officer at Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM).
The talk was very popular with nearly 60 people attending. many of whom were train enthusiasts or who had worked in the industry
In this video Roy talks about his enthusiasm for the railways and his career in the industry. There are also clips from the talk he gave at Chorlton Good Neighbours
Bernard introducing Roy to the audience
Longsight Traction depot & a Long Lost Photo
Danny Heathcote attended the talk on “the Lost Railways of South Manchester” given by Roy Chapman at Chorlton Good Neighbours History group on 06-03-14. Here is a letter from Danny and an interesting photo to go with it
“Today’s lecture about the Lost Railways of South Manchester was very, very good. Like Roy, I am an ex-railwayman, who retired over 2 years ago.
I started on the railway, straight from school and became an apprentice fitter at Longsight E.T. Traction Depot <now Alstom Transport Service Manchester Traincare Centre>. I’m 64 now.
One day, while I was still an apprentice, there were 6 of us, a professional photographer came to the depot to take a photo of a class 82 electric locomotive lifted on the jacks. This was done. We ran out one of the bogies, attached chains to the electric motor, with the intention of lifting it out with a crane.
2 fitters were on the top as though preparing to do this. The photographer said, ”I want one more.” We apprentices all looked at each other, but no one moved. I did eventually and got up with the fitters. I stood there. The photographer said, ‘‘Well look as though though you’re doing something!” I picked up a big spanner. ”Hold it,” he said. Click. Done. I was 17 then.
That’s Danny on the right.
“Well, look as though you’re doing something!
the photographer said, ha, ha,ha!”
The caption on the photo reads:an electric locomotive undergoing treatment in the maintenance shed. If necessary the body is removed from the bogies and a new set of bogies is fitted. This leaves the old pair free to be serviced
For many years I never saw the results until a Longsight train driver brought in a train book he bought on the nearby market for his 5 year old grandson. He came in to the depot and went to show the picture to the yard inspector who he knew. He recognised the layout of the depot. The yard inspector who knew me, saw me in the picture. Both of them sought me out to show it to me. I asked if I could photocopy it. ”No, I’ll cut it out for you” said the driver. He did so and I had it plastisized. It’s in my lounge to this day. In later years, I worked on the Pendelino.
The chap with the beret on<in the photo> is Stan Greenhalgh (greenhouse we called him) And he’d learned his trade in the R.A.F. We, for devilment, used to get him talking sometimes, especially if he’d crept out for a pint, as we all did, about his time in the R.A.F. He had a habit of leaning against the wall on his elbow. We would engage him in conversation near an emergency button (it tripped out the 25,000v overhead wire in the event of an emergency). Without thinking, he’d do just that and…..all the claxons would howl, the overhead would trip out and he’d call us apprentices all the names under the Sun!!!
The other chap, Charlie Potts, what he didn’t know about electrical work, wasn’t worth knowing. He liked a pint though, in fact a bit more than that. He would, on occasions, take an apprentice out for a haircut to a nearby barbers. No funny business, just a visit to a pub after. Both Stan and Charlie were heavy smokers, it was the norm in those days to smoke, though I never did, but got cancer anyway. When I started on the railway, as the youngest apprentice at the time, it was my job to go to the canteen and get the toast, egg and bacon sandwiches and cigs for the men. Park Drive-2/6d ! There were a lot of people we’d all call friends, both in and out of work. In those days, the railway was a family and no matter what, we’d all work together to get the jobs out, even foreman if need be. It was a pleasure to go to work.It was easy also to get a brother or sister a job on the railway.
I was the only one ever in my family to work for the railway. My dads family were 3 generations of chimney sweeps. Then John Major, in the dying weeks of the Tory government, privatised the railway. That was the start of the end of the family. In came consultants, lots of managers and graphs, pie charts and wall charts. Then when Alstom took over, things got even worse.-even MORE managers. I keep in touch with those still working at that place but I’m glad I got out when I did
2002 Golden Jubilee celebration
Ian Hobbs took this video of Chorlton Good Neighbours celebrations of the Queen’s Golden Jubilee in 2002. It includes our own Odette Heslin dressed up as a very convincing Queen look-alike
Bob Cowan presented with Arctic Star medal
Chorlton Good Neighbours has run a long campaign to get a medal awarded to our member Bob Cowan, 94, who is a veteran of the WW2 Arctic Convoys and who’s story we have told before (see http://goo.gl/hY76Md)
The campaign was successful in that the UK government agreed to an new award – the Arctic Star medal. However, the medal arrived in the post over the summer in a jiffy bag. As Bob’s eyesight is so poor, he wasn’t aware of the medal. It is only when I rummaged around with Bob did we find it
As part of Chorlton Book Week, I was asked to give a talk about the Arctic Convoys. I thought it would be a good idea if we could make a presentation of the medal to Bob and link his personal story of the Arctic Convoys with a wider history of them
Here is Bill being given the medal by local Chorlton Councillor Cllr Sheila Newman
Bob show his medal to Mary O’Mahoney, A Chorlton Good Neighbours volunteer
The campaign for Bob and other Arctic Convoy veterans began when Bob received a letter from the Russian Embassy in 2012 offering the Ushakov medal for his wartime service on the Arctic Convoys. We found out that the British Government was blocking the award of this medal. However, this decision has recently been reversed and Andrey Makarenko, the Russian Embassy representative who cam to Chorlton Good Neighbours to present Bob with a medal in Feb 2013, has said that the Ushakov medal should be awarded to Bob early in 2014
When that happens we will have another celebration with Bob!
Bill started the walk outside Chethams Music School and on the spot at 144 Long Millgate where stood the Nathan Brother’s house, one of the first places where the itinerant Jewish pedlars first settled in Manchester
This an old photo of the Nathan Brother’s house, taken later when this part of central Manchester became known as Poet’s Corner. The X on the top right of this postcard was marked by a son of one of the Nathan brothers to show which one was their house
Oy Chee and Carolyn sit on a big chair outside what is now a furniture store at the beginning of Cheetham Hill Road, near Victoria and which had been one of the first synagogues to be opened. It had been previously a Christian chapel, but was surplus to their needs and so was converted to a synagogue
Bill talks to the group at the bottom of Cheetham Hill Road, opposite what was was the Red Bank district whose poverty was described by Engels in “The Condition of the Working Class in England”.and in which many of the first Jewish immigrants to Manchester from Eastern Europe settled. Bill is sur[rised that no recognition is given to this historically important community and the district has now been renamed the “Green Quarter” to help sell the new blocks of flats
What used to the ‘new’ synagogue, built almost next door to the Great Synagogue (now demolished) with which there was no love lost
The Great synagogue
Built in 1856-8 the Great Synagogue on Cheetham Hill Road, remained the most prestigious synagogue in Manchester until the 1960’s when most of its users had moved further down Cheetham Hill Road or further afield and so were unable to walk to the synagogue as orthdox Judaism requires. It was demolished in 1981;
The group walking past the site of the demolished ‘Jew’s school’ just off Cheetham Hill Road
“The Jew’s School ” 1890 approx (headmistress Miss Raphael in background)
The original Marks and Spencers warehouse, built 1900-02 in Derby St. Michael Marks, originally a stall holder in Leeds then set up series of shops.Marks and Spencers was founded in Manchester when Marks got together with Spencer an accountant; their first shop was on Cheetham Hill Rd. This was the warehouse they supplied the shops from; their motto was “don’t ask the price, it’s a penny”
the group stop to look at the sign “J.Cohen” on the building opposite the M&S warehouse. He was Spencer’s brother in law and claimed to have invented the ‘penny emporium’ which M&S would later claim was their invention
This building was set up to provide additional schooling (bit like Sunday schools), and students would make their way to this after attending the Jews school round the corner. The sign above ‘Cuba’ says “Harry Cohen memorial wing, erected 1931, 5001”
This building students would pass on their way from the Jews School to the “Harry Cohen memorial wing”. It was a sausage factory at the time. Workers where known to have called out to the Jewish students to have a sausage and sometimes animal fat was thrown at them
We finally made it to the Jewish Museum
Bill then told us the background and some history of the Jewish museum, which we were then able to look around
Natasha -Good Neighbour’s new service support worker
Hello, My name is Natasha and I live in WhalleyRange. Although originally from Glasgow, I have lived in Manchester for over 20 years.
Chorlton Good Neighbours have made me feel very welcome as I replace Janet Jones as the new Service Support Worker. I will be visiting Janet’s existing ladies and gentlemen, as well as supporting Helen in the office. I will be helping to organize the small and larger monthly trips, Sunday teas and helping Bernard with the history talks.
My background is in Learning Disabilities, and I have worked as a Community Nurse across Manchester for over 20 years. I also work voluntarily for the Epilepsy Society and have been a voluntary worker at the Busy Bee toyshop, not far from here!
I have been aware of Chorlton Good Neighbours for some time and was so pleased to be appointed to the post.
I have met so many people already, but look forward to meeting you all in the near future.