My Hometown – Blackley


Let me introduce you to my hometown – Blackley. It’s a small area of Manchester around 3 miles north from the city centre. There are about 11,000 people living in Blackley and there are two main roads running through it; Victoria Avenue, running roughly east-west from Heaton Park, and Rochdale Road which runs roughly north from the city centre towards Rochdale.  I was born here and I grew up here, attending 2 primary schools and a secondary school in the area, and now as a married woman with children of my own I live here still.

Blackley is a lovely little hamlet that still has very rural atmosphere despite it being part of Greater Manchester. We have all the usual sort of amenities – schools, churches, library, a golf club, police and fire station, doctors surgeries, parks etc but unusually for a suburban area it has its own cricket team and a brass band (Blackley Band…visit their website here). I was a member of Blackley Band from being a beginner at the age of 7 until after I got married. I am still in contact with them regularly and my daughter plays cornet with them.  They had their bandroom on Crab Lane (near to my first primary school) but due to vandalism and general thuggery they were forced to move out about 5 years ago and now have their base in the Community Centre on Victoria Avenue.

I first went to Crab Lane Primary but was taken out of there just before I was 5 to go to Bowker Vale because of difficulties with my class teacher at the time. I went to Plant Hill High School when I was 11 and pretty much enjoyed my time there right through. I had some fantastic teachers – not necessarily good at what they taught but good at teaching me to THINK.  My school had a long-running feud with the catholic school up the road, Our Lady’s High School, and it wasn’t unknown for gangs to organise fights at lunchtime and after school several times a week. It got so bad that the schools got together to change the start and end time of the school day so that we wouldn’t meet in the streets. Terrible when you think about it now!

Victoria Avenue, Blackley

I have loved living in Blackley all my life. It’s so green! Everywhere you look there are trees and grass verges, open spaces, parks and flowers. It is beautiful all year round and I love it here. The people are friendly too and even now, 40 years on, it only takes a few minutes of walking up the main road to spot someone familiar from my childhood. I spent a lot of my time playing out – on my bike, playing football, climbing trees, exploring Heaton Park, playing hide and seek or ralivo, exploring the disused mill site (now a Sainsbury’s) and finding ways to cross the River Irk without getting wet…not always successfully. I had many happy scrapes in and around Blackley and have got oodles of scars and odd bumps from playing where I shouldn’t have been (like the sewage pipes over the river, frozen ponds and building sites when the workmen weren’t watching…)

Let me tell you a little bit about the history of Blackley itself. The name “Blackley” comes from the Anglo-Saxon for “clearing in a wood” and as I described above, it is still very much a rural hamlet. Hints at its rural and farming past are found in some  street names; we have French Barn Lane, Plant Hill Road, Cooper Lane, Acre Top Road, Hill Lane amongst others. In the 12th century the area was a deer park and was used by nobility for hunting. Later the land was parcelled off and was then owned by a string of aristocratic and noble families, including the Byron family of whom Lord Byron the poet is probably the most famous.

Amongst the families who have owned Blackley between them were the Egertons and the Booths. The Booth family built a hall on what is now Charlestown Road and their land became what is now known as Boggart Hole Clough – a parkland area that borders Blackley, Moston and Harpurhey. There is a story about why it is called by that name, and I will be writing about that in another post. The hall was pulled down at the end of the 19th century after a period of disuse, and the land came to be used as an infirmary and later again as a leading children’s hospital. Unfortunately, due to changes and cuts in the NHS Booth Hall Hospital was fighting for its own survival since the 1990s and it closed a couple of years ago. For more on its history click here. Blackley Band visited Booth Hall Hospital every Christmas Day morning (10am sharp!) to play carols for the children and staff on the wards and in A&E. I loved this part of playing with the band and played with them every Christmas even when I was no longer a member. One particular Christmas morning we met up with Take That who were broadcasting live from the hospital. Away from the cameras we went with them round a couple of wards and one of my outstanding memories is accompanying them whilst they sang Away In A Manger.

Earl of Wilton crest
Victoria Ave Bridge Sign

The Egerton family owned the land that is now Heaton Park (again, I will be writing about this later on) and the Earls of Wilton lived in Heaton Hall. If you can’t wait for my article, click here for more information.

Lion at Heaton Hall
Heaton Hall Lion

Blackley is blessed with a huge number of pubs, many of which I have visited whilst carolling with the band and for my own pleasure. There are several that have “lion” in their title – The White Lion, The Lion and Lamb, Ye Golden Lion, The Red Lion, The New White Lion – and legend has it that there are so many with this in their title in such a small area because it was where the last lion in England was killed. I prefer my own notion that it is because the Egerton family had lions as part of their crest and public houses were named in their honour.  This is a picture of Ye Golden Lion in Blackley village to show you its name, its sign and the road that it is on the corner of…Lion Street.

Ye Golden Lion Pub

The smallest pub is The Millstone and the largest was the Clough Hotel (until it burned down a couple of years ago).

There are more pubs than churches in Blackley (which is probably typical of England as a whole!) but I will mention some of the main churches in the area. I am a member of St Paul’s, but I was married at St Andrew’s (I lived in that parish at the time) and I was confirmed at St Peter’s. There has been a church or chapel on the site of St Peter’s since the 1100’s in one form or another. The current building was built in the mid 1800’s and is a glorious example of architecture and history. There is a big catholic church at Plant Hill called St Clare’s and I’ve attended a couple of weddings and a funeral there.  I told you we were a close community! There are quite a few smaller chapels dotted around the area too so as you see we can cater for any “flavour” of Christianity you care for.

St Peter's Church

We may be a small place, but we can boast a couple of famous people who hail from round here. Bernard Hill the actor was born in Blackley, Mike Harding the comedian/singer/presenter was born and brought up locally too. Most people will have heard of Bernard Manning and his “world famous” Embassy Club; he was born on the other side of the Clough and lived with his mum on Lewis Avenue for most of his life. Roger Byrne, captain of Manchester United who died in the Munich air disaster in 1958, had his funeral and was cremated in Blackley. Further back in history (1555 to be precise) John Bradford, a son of Blackley, was executed and made a martyr for his Protestant religious beliefs.

It is also said that the infamous highwayman Dick Turpin passed through the area and there are two pieces of “evidence” to support the claim; first of all there is a plaque on the side of the White Lion pub attesting that he slept there and secondly the Flying Horse pub on Crab Lane is said to be named in his “honour”. Personally I would seriously doubt it because the pub really is not that old, only a hundred years or so and Dick Turpin hails from 200 years before then and the road where the pub is forms part of the main coaching route that was used between Manchester and Rochdale before the wider Rochdale Road was built much later. Most coaching inns were called something relevant at the time, and it wouldn’t have been unusual for that particular pub to have seen horses “fly” past it all day. It makes a good story though doesn’t it!

The Flying Horse Inn

A good story that I know to be true is that the dye works in Blackley village (which became the UK headquarters for ICI) caused the sheets at the local hospital to become coloured blue when the wind was in a certain direction….in the days well before health and safety!! (The local hospital was Crumpsall Hospital which was originally the local workhouse. I will be writing about that another time).

There’s more I could tell you about Blackley but I’m going to save it for later articles. I hope you have enjoyed my little introduction to my home town and my pictures to illustrate certain parts of it. Why not tell me about your own hometown? Link back to me when you have done your post. I’d love to hear from you.

331 thoughts on “My Hometown – Blackley

  1. Jeff Green

    Jeff Green(was Greenbaum)Hi,it was brilliant to read all the memories people have of Blackley,I was born in Sidley Ave off Victoria Ave East 1952,I went to Crosslee Nursery,then to St John Boscoes primary just behind the Clough Hotel,I remember playing in the old empty prefabs on Colmore Drive then when older we moved onto the front of Vicky ave east almost opposite Pennine Close,I remember playing in the new houses on Alkrington when they were being built.The headmistress at St John Boscoes was a Mrs Cannon a frightening woman.We moved away to middleton then chadderton only to return to near the fire station 18 months ago.l remember the dentist Mr Chisholm on Vicky Ave,my mother had to chase me around parked cars and drag me in to see him,first got married at St Clare’s church,lived on Chapel Land opposite Tweedle Hill road and on Boothroyden Terrace for a period of 10 years,my children went to Crab Lane and Plant Hill.l have some very special memories of Blackley and have been pleased to have been brought up and to live here.

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    1. Hi Jeff thanks for your comments! You’re not alone in wanting to run away from Mr Chisholm….that butcher had a lot to answer for with all the scared kids and adults in Blackley today terrified of the dentist. Me included!!

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  2. beelzibubbles

    My sister and I (who also went to Bowker Vale) used to love drifting off to sleep to the sound of the band playing. It’s one of my favourite childhood memories, after the band left and the local wildlife trashed the place (including painting my sister’s name, spelled wrong, on one of the boarded up windows) we’d have a CD player on quiet but it just wasn’t the same.
    I still have some charred remains of the band hut before they cleared away what was left of it.

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  3. patsy

    Such a joy to relate to so many who remember a cleaner Blackley. Though I lived near the old Berkshire Tavern other places mentioned I know well. We used to sleigh down field near berkshire on pieces if cardboard..who knows amesbury road? Also the sweet shop no longer there next to the two terraces on avenue corner my friends lived there… Susan & a sister. The newsagents forever busy near by. Seymour Meade’s the Osborne Stores where my brothers had Saturday jobs..my dad used to place a bet on to the side of the old Lion&Lamb. Hard times but great memories..Dr Jelenovich house Hill lane where you could wait ages but excellant Gp
    Your site makes me aware of lifelong memories of dentist Mr Chisholm ouch!!!

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  4. Joyce Robinson

    I’ve just found this blog after talking to my neighbour about Cross Lee School. I went there from 1947 to 1958 when I went to Moss house School. I was a member of St Paul ‘s church and was in the choir there until 1965, was married there in 1963. I lived in Dugdale Avenue growing up. It’s so interesting reading people’s memories of Blackley. After my marriage i lived for 4 year in Radcliffe then moved to Alkrington where we lived for 41 years. My husband and i moved to new apartment off Greengate for our retirement. We have been actve members of St. Michael’s church for 43 years. I’m still singingin the choir my husband is a Reader there. Go to Parishes in County of Lancashire and there is a photograph of our choir. I’m on the front row onthe end on the right.
    i u derstand there is going to be a Cross lee re-union next May. I’m hoping to be there.
    Joyce Robinson (nee Fisher)

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  5. Jim Chadwick

    Just found your most interesting blog. I lived in Blackley from April 1963 until I got married in 1970. Having been born in Miles Platting we moved to the then new Riverdale Road estate, when our neighbourhood was demolished. My cousin and her family lived at the bottom of Crab Lane, at the junction with Victoria Ave.

    I well remember St. Andrews, where we used to parade as Scouts on St. Georges Day. I also well remember the “chippy” on Crab Lane. After I left school I became an apprentice at ICI. One of the names I remember was Fred Craighill (sadly no longer with us), who was also an apprentice there at the same time.

    Jim Chadwick

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  6. Caroline Pollard

    Hi Pam,

    Just stumbled across your blog. I remember being at school with you both at Bowker Vale and Plant Hill, although I think you were a year or two older than me..
    I have fond memories of both schools and of some of the teachers, especially Mr Craven at Plant hill, who was my tutor.
    I haven’t lived in Blackley since 1997, although went back to visit my parents and now I regularly go to tend my parents grave at Blackley Cemetry.
    Blackley certainly is a special place..

    Caroline Pollard

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  7. Andy White

    Hi Pam. Just came across your blog by accident. I’m a Moston lad myself but I had two aunties who lived in the village. My aunt Betty lived on Blackley New Road, just passed the news agents where you have to go up some fairly steep steps to get to the front door. My other auntie was the stewerdess at Blackley Liberal club on Warren Street(can’t believe no one has mentioned it yet) Her name was Mary. Both had the surname Howarth but I’m not sure if aunt Mary was married at the time so it might have been different. The club later became some sort of centre before it was demolished. You can find a pic of it(as the centre not the club) on the Manchester Public Libraries site. Hope this is a memory jogger for some folks. Regards Andy

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    1. Hi Andy, thanks for your comments. I wonder if anyone else remembers the club you mention? There’s nothing on Warren Street now but I’ll look up the photo you mentioned on the Manchester Public Libraries site. Thanks for dropping by – I hope we jog some memories from your contribution! Best wishes, Pam

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    2. Hi Andy, I know this is a very late reply , but I remember the Liberal Club. As young lads we used to hang around outside there. I can remember well that if you held your hand flat on the wall near the door, you got a mild electric shock right up your arm. Some kind of dodgy wiring to the door bell we thought. It’s funny when a place is mentioned it triggers off memories stuck deep down in the grey matter.
      Another little place that nobody seems to have mentioned yet is the Gospel Hall just off Oakworth Street. Anybody remember it ?

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      1. Vic Sleigh

        Hi David
        I remember you, I think you lived up Hill Lane.
        We were in St Peters scouts, we played drums.
        Also remember the electric shocks at the Liberal club.
        I lived in Grant St. Opposite St Peters.
        Vic Sleigh

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  8. Andy White

    Hi Pam, it’s me again. Boy this has jogged my memory! Where my aunt Betty lived was almost opposite where the rear exit is for BICC cables is, well just to the left of this was a coal yard run by my uncle, Arthur Howarth. Regards Andy.

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  9. ExBlackleygirl

    Hiya Love the blog brought back some great memories for me and kudos for taking the time to do this. Also read through all the comments too – really interesting. Just to help out, the info regarding Bernard Manning is incorrect – he lived on Mainway in Alkrington with his mum, not Lewis Avenue.

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    1. Hiya Exblackleygirl, thanks for your contribution. Bernard Manning lived on Lewis Avenue before he moved to Alkrington when he’d got rich. His Mum lived in Lewis Avenue til she died. We’ve got to hang on to our famous Blackley-ites!!

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      1. David Pearse

        Quite right. My grandmother, who lived on Hertford Road was great friends with Mrs Manning, who lived on Lewis Avenue till she died.
        My parents also moved to Alkrington from Blackley

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  10. John Bailey

    Fascinating stuff – I was born in Harpurhey (1958) but lived on French Barn Lane in the 60’s. Moved (with parents) to Fleetwood in ’69-70. Went to Pike Fold Primary School. Remember Plant Hill Clinic (verrucas and teeth – not at the same time). Leon’s barber shop on Market St (pretty much opposite The Golden Lion as far as I remember). My sister had a flat above Bill Browns greengrocers on Lion Street. She got married at St Peters. Remember dragging my sledge to Boggart Hole Clough. Lots of random thoughts!

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    1. Neil Edwards

      I remember you John, I lived at No 3 Frenchbarn Lane next to the Waltons. My name is Neil Edwards. By the way, the barbers was on the corner of Oakworth street and market street and there was another barbers just further down. Must of spent all my time in the churchyard or playing football on Jack Hill. Great Times.

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  11. debra

    Hi I’m looking for info on my dad Joe Partington he was brought up in crab lane his father also called Joe Partington owned a scrapyard with his brothers who were called ray jack & Steve my grandfather lived at Ruthin avenue & I was born in Victoria avenue but left when I was aged about 3,& moved to Devon where we have lived ever since also any info on a family by the name of barnacle who played a big part in bringing my dad up I think one was called Fred

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      1. TONY SHANLEY

        My name is Tony Shanley I used to live next door to your dad Joe Partington I know the Barnacle Family extremely well. I know all the partington brothers, Your Dad was my boyhood hero If you would like to get in touch I can tell you loads about your dad and all his family. My email address is tony.shanley@sky.com my Mobile number is 07872059878

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    1. TONY SHANLEY

      My name is Tony Shanley I used to live next door to your dad Joe Partington I know the Barnacle Family extremely well. I know all the partington brothers, Your Dad was my boyhood hero If you would like to get in touch I can tell you loads about your dad and all his family. My email address is tony.shanley@sky.com my Mobile number is 07872059878

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  12. Martina Aldridge

    Hi, just stumbled across your blog and have loved reading it, i have lived in Blackley for 46years I, went to St Clares School, i live facing plant hill park, and was wondering if the play area was ever a pond? I remember all the local pubs.. sadly most have gone now, my dad used to work at crown wallpapers in the village untill it closed, myself and 2 of my sisters worked at booth hall childrens hospital untill it closed… a very sad day for North Manchester, we all work at North Manchester general now, previously Crumpsall hospital where all my children were born, such happy days,
    Martina

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    1. Dee. (Sylvia )

      Hi , I have just read your blog about asking if there was a pond where Plant Hill play area was, well the answer is not there, but there was one exactly where the old peoples home is now plus another one a bit bigger than the top one just a little further down nearer to the allotments,i used to play at the top one along with a cousin of mine catching newts, frogs just after forming into tiny sizes from frog-sporn, we never kept them I must add always put them back into the water. I was born in the old cottages in 1942 at the end of French Barn Lane (where it joins Plant Hill Road now), there are flats where our cottage was and across from us was the Co-op’s garage for thier coal lorries. Further down was the Co-op works where the coffins were made, my grandparents lived around the corner from us at the opposite end of the building of this.One of my brothers was born in the cottage plus my late father was born there in 1922. I used to help my grandfather cut Daffodils from his huge garden at the side of the house, when this had been done we would walk to Blackley village florist who bought hundreds of them from him. Sadley we had to leave in 1953 due to the houses etc.. having to be demolished for what is now a continuation of the old Plant Hill Rd that goes to Chapel Rd, before it only went from Victoria Ave to where Ashdown gates are now. after moving around over the years I now live just 5 minutes walk away from where I was born .. have very happy memories of Blackley despite the changes now it could become a lovely place again . Dee

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  13. irvin taylor

    on debras comment I remember fred and Harold barnacle well as they were family friends also my uncle Irvin worked for the partingtons when they had the scrapyard on west street where I was born ray later lived on Victoria avenue

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  14. debra

    I am not looking for my dad Joe Partington we all moved as a family to Devon I speak to him every day & see him every Saturday I was just wanting to know if anyone remembered him or his family

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  15. Hi.i was born in harpurhey nursing home in 1953.i went to bowker vale school for a while where we made puppets! I remember the dye works.i used to jump off the wall in heaton park as a little girl! I remember gledhills the paper shop.does anyone else?I also remember the dentist at the top of the road.we lived in caldecott road.i had a nice young friend round the corner called patty.we made daisy chains in the park.often wonder where she is now.hope she sees this.
    Glad this site is here as it brings back happy memories.be interested to hear from anyone who lived in middleton road area in the 50 s
    which is where we moved when my sister was born.i am 62 this year.how time passes.

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    1. Thanks for your comments Julie, it’s lovely to hear from you. I remember the dentist at the top of the road too – Mr Chisholm *shudder*. I love hearing other people’s stories about Blackley and I’m glad to be able to put you in touch with other people who remember you. Best wishes, Pam

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      1. Hi pam.hope youre ok.its julie from my post in april 15. Just wondered how I could go about chatting to someone who grew up in 1953 in blakely.i am lonely after divorce and it would be nice to speak to someone who has similar upbringing to me.
        with thanks from julie

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    2. Ken Hibbert

      Hi Julie I certainly remember Gledhills run by Ray Dawson I used to play with Michael his son and Elizabeth his daughter. I lived on Ledsham ave . I’m 66 . Ken.

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    3. Ken Hibbert

      Hi Julie I remember Gledhills , Ray Dawson ran the shop . I used to play with Michael his son and Elizabeth his daughter . I lived on Ledsham Ave just around the corner from Chisholm the er dentist

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      1. shelagh k

        Hi I was born in 1951 on caldicott rd then moved onto the avenue opposite cemetery. Friends with Liz Dawson and her brother Michael. Remember Gledhills, Gill’s chippie in between Grays grocers and the Fruit shop.

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  16. Leo Partington.

    Hello Pam, I enjoy reading your column and your blog and I have been intrigued by the memories provoked. I was born in Blackley in 1948 living at school house Domett St. One of my earliest memories was a party held in the large co-op building on the corner of Domett and Market St. I was friends with Stephen Williams who lived at Pike Fold farm at the top of school lane. To get there we walked past St.Peters sunday school and opposite was ‘jack hill’ a very large but shallow pond with more newts and sticklebacks than you could shake a stick at. The farm itself was coming to an end although I can remember cattle. I was a choirboy at St. Peters for a while with Peter Leadbetter who lived on Lawson St. Another memory is bonfire night with the bonfire in the T of Domett St. and Quilter Grove oh the fun and the pain next day rummaging in the embers and invariably getting burned. Any minor trauma a family sustained would be sorted out at the ‘lodge’ that was the Lawsons St.. entrance to I.C.I. as there was always a first aid man on duty his response was either- sit down and we will sort it or Booth Hall for you lad. My sister Julie went to Mrs Brooks dancing class at her house on Lawson St. I remember three or four of us walking to Harperhay baths on a saturday morning and then oxtail soup and a cob for I think sixpence, 7 / 8 year olds would’nt be aloud to do that today. The Clough was our everyday park but sometimes we were aloud to walk up to Heaton Park which I thought was marvelous, even the walk up Blackley New Rd was exciting. Anyway thanks for letting me share that, I only live an hour away but it must be 50 plus years since I was last there, It must have changed a lot.
    Regards, Leo Partington.
    P.S. I cannot remember if Lawson should be street or road.

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    1. Hi Leo – thanks for sharing your memories of Blackley and for bringing to life some of the stories of Blackley village. I used to work at ICI and to us as kids, it was the other way round with the parks – Heaton Park was our everyday park and the Clough was a special outing 🙂 Thanks for dropping by and telling us more about a great part of Manchester. Best wishes, Pam

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    2. Dave Kannenberg

      Hi Leo, my father Bill Kannenberg became the caretaker for the school in the late 50’s or early 60’s and we moved into school house on Domett Street. It didn’t take me long to cause chaos there because I ran downstairs and tripped and smashed the glass door at the bottom of the stairs into a thousand pieces. I loved it there as a little lad, I used to go into the school in a morning and evening with my dad while he stoked the boilers with coal, I had my own little shovel.
      Happy happy days.

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  17. Leo Partington.

    Hi Pam, just a quick memory of my time in Blackley, one of the treats of being a wolf cub and also a choirboy was that we had an annual outing to the pantomimes in the city, one year on the choirboys outing we were all ( including the vicar ) asked to get off the bus as one of the boys had brought his pet mouse and released it on the bus, yes we thought it hilarious and no the vicar did not.I think the vicar was Mr Cryer but Iam not sure. The exciting thing about being a choirboy was actually being paid to sing at weddings, I can remember getting 2/6d for a solo, proper money to a child.
    Regards Leo Partington.

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    1. David Pearse

      Hi Leo, we must have been in St Peter’s choir at the same time as I was born in 1947. I was in the choir from about 1954-1961 and was also Server. You are quite right, the Rector was Neville Cryer and his Curate was Roland Seaman with Ken Anson a Lay Reader. My father Jack Pearse was a Church Warden and I remember playing for St Peters Choir football team, although we did not have a regular team. I remember scoring a goal which was disallowed by my father who was refereeing the match. My grandfather was watching and was disgusted at “the referee’s” decision. I thought it great fun to see my father being told off in no uncertain terms by his father!
      I too remember the joy of getting 2/6 for a wedding and even better, the rare occasions when we got five Bob for a “double wedding”. Peter Horrocks was another choir boy I remember from those days with a wonderful organist and Choir Master – Henry Duckworth. I also remember a church ox roast attended by loads of people on the field at the back of the Rochdale Road Rectory. It was organised by Duggie Allman who was a butcher with a shop at the Victoria Ave/ Rochdale Road crossing. We had to arrange for groups to turn the beast on a huge spit and baste it constantly for 24 hours. No matter what part of the ox you were given, it all tasted fantastic.
      You may also remember that St Peters organised a trip in 1960 to see the Oberammagau Passion Play in Bavaria, followed by 7 days in Kaprun. The Church chartered a plane from Ringway to Munich and was able to fill it from St Peter’ congregation. what an adventure for those times! It was organised by a Miss Agnes Hesford, and I remember it particularly well as I and another choirboy experienced our first hangovers when a lovely lady called Mrs Margorie Royle bought lots of Moscatel wine for us thinking it was a fruit juice.
      Happy days!
      David W Pearse

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      1. william berry

        Hi,
        Delighted to come across your site as a Blackley boy in exile in the south-west!
        I was born in Crumpsall Hospital in 1947 and we lived on Rochdale Road opposite the lane leading to Dam Head fields. The fields contained some underground springs and my dad used to say they would never build there but of course they did. I was in St Peter’s choir and remember Dave Pearse and the other folk he mentions. My father – Norman Berry – was also in the choir as a bass. We lived a few doors up from the rectory where Rev Cryer and later Harold Tate lived. I remember another lad of our age in the choir – George Bewick- whose father was a lorry driver for Crown Wallpapers. There was also a married couple, Denis and Margaret Gibson.I was sometimes asked to carry the large salver down to the altar to receive the offertory and that used to scare me stiff!
        I went to Victoria Avenue school and then North Manchester Grammar where the headmaster was Mr Sibson, a.k.a “The Pod”. We used to go cross-country running along Charlestown Road and through Boggart Hole Clough – not my favourite pastime!
        Bernard Manning’s dad had a greengrocery shop in Harpurhey and used to deliver our fruit and veg in a red Austin wagon with Bernard helping him. Bernard later would drive past our house from his home in Alkrington to his Embassy Club in Harpurhey in one of his cars, either BJM 1 or 1 LAF.
        Just down from our house live the family Hodgkinson who ran the farm on Lion Brow. Their cattle used to graze on Dam Head fields and they would come down Lion Brow and just wander across Rochdale Road into the fields regardless of the traffic on the main road. They would make the return trip in the afternoon. I can’t recall any casualties, human or bovine! I would go on the milk round up Rochdale Road, Levedale, Colindale, and then across up to Hill Lane with the milkman, Bill, and the horse-drawn milk float. The horse knew the route and would plod steadily on whilst Bill and i stepped off to deliver the milk.
        Our house was on the rather dangerous bend just below Milo Street and every garden wall opposite had been demolished at some point by motorists failing to make the bend. Eventually the council erected black and white steel barriers to protect the houses.
        Just past Victoria Avenue on the way to Middleton was a large gap between the houses. This was there all the time i was growing up and it is now the site of the M60 motorway. Talk about forward planning!
        It has been a treat to read all the contributions and, like other folk, i could continue to reminisce. I really miss Manchester and would be back tomorrow if circumstances allowed.
        Thank you for the chance to join in this exhange of memories which has been so enjoyable.

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  18. Leo Partington.

    Hi Dave, you are right we must have been in the choir at the same time although my reign was 1956 or 7 to 1958. We left school house and moved to a small hill farm in Wales, the term culture shock barely describes it. The move was always a dream of my fathers, as a boy ( 1920s ) he worked on Hodgekinsons farm before and after school ( St. Peters day school school lane ) and later we were connected ( maybe related ) to the William’s of Pike Fold farm. One memory that I have is of a travelling circus that set up on Butts Hill for a short time and gave my sister a life long phobia of clowns. I missed out on both of the occasions that you mention but hey ho I was fishing for brook trout by then.
    And yes, Happy days.
    Leo Partington.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Jennifer

    Hello Pam..I’ve just spent a lovely half hour reading all the memories of Blackley.I was born in 1946,in Crumpsall hospital.We lived in a prefab on Moorway(the road where the shops were….,starting at Victoria Ave East and ending at Broadmoss Drive..Like all the people my age I have lovely memories of a carefree childhood spent there.I went to St John Bosco’s,the head was Miss Gannon,who someone else has already mentioned.Mrs Dilger was another teacher.We had to change for Primary so went to Mount Carmel and then Notre Dame.I worked at Crown Wallpapers in the school holidays and also did volunteer work at Booth Hall…what a wonderful hospital that was! I went out with lovely lad called Les Jones,I think he lived on Mirfield Ave.He was in Blackley band and I went with the band when they played Christmas carols at the hospital.My life revolved around St Clare’s youth club and I remember a lot of people from there..Brian Pearse,Mike Young,Brian Hassell,Mary Higgins ,Joe Stringer,Valerie Brown,Roger Byrne,Vivienne Andrews and many others..BERNARD HILL walked me home one night but I was called in by my dad and Benny ,as we called him then,made a hasty retreat! I queued all night outside Ardwick Apollo to see the Beatles and I used to go to Chilterns every Saturday and later to the Plaza on Oxford Rd.By then we were living in Inchcape Drive,top of Riverdale Rd My brother ,John Waddington, went to the new St John Bosco’s and then Cardinal Langley and my much younger brother Geoff went to St Clare’s and is the most likely to be remembered by people reading this as most of them seem younger than me.Geoff is now a lecturer at Leeds university but he plays lead guitar in a rock band MEANSTREAK LEEDS who are getting quite famous on the rock band circuit!
    I’ve just remembered that I also worked at Harpurhey and Cheetham Hill baths!In the days when the changing cabins were around the pool and when time was up we would hold up a piece of clothing and whistle for the owner to come out of the water! And finally…those wonderful Saturday mornings at the ABC cinema…the ABC minors…I still remember our song! and having to wait a whole week to find out if Flash Gordon would eventually escape from whatever disaster he found himself in in the last seconds of that week’s episode!!!
    In will definitely be following you from now on so keep up the good work!’
    Warmest regards to you and all Blackley folk,
    Jennifer Waddington.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for adding to the memories shared on here Jennifer, I appreciate you taking the time and the trouble to put them here. I played with Blackley Band for many years and remember the Christmas Day carolling in Booth Hall too – oh the memories there! My mum grew up in the prefabs on Victoria Avenue East and also worked at the Avenue Cinema too. It just goes to show that the world is a small place after all isn’t it?! Please call back soon, best wishes, Pam

      Like

  20. Pete Irish

    Hi just been reading about ABC cinema, I can remember some of the shops near it. Nuttalls newsagents I had a paper round (Alklington) that was a right slog. Boardman’s sold cycles’ and electrical ‘s if my memory serves me right. The co-op and Coppello’s clothing? sure there were more but just remember them

    Like

  21. Lisa fogerty

    Hi my grandad (taid which is Welsh for grandad) Mr Griffith was the head master of crab lane school who died in 1984 he was my world and I looked up to him and was devastated when he was no longer around, and his daughter Sarah which is my mum also sadly died aged 55yrs in 2002. I am so proud how my taid is being remembered after so many years still. I carry the paper article that was written when he was retiring form crab lane in my purse xx Lisa xx

    Like

    1. Hi Lisa, thanks for your comments. I love hearing more about the people of Blackley and their stories. It’s only by sharing them that our loved ones’ memories stay alive. Thank you for dropping by, best wishes Pam

      Like

    2. Marie Turton

      Hi I really had to reply to this – I remember Mr Griffiths when he was my headmaster and my auntie who was also taught by him when he was a young teacher was ‘in love with him’ she died quite a while ago but often talked about Mr Griffiths and how good he was with my uncle Jack (her brother) who was a very good cricketer but sadly died in an accident when he was a teenager – Mr Griffiths was a great comfort to the family when this happened.

      Best wishes Marie Turton nee Webb family name Molden

      Like

    3. Mrs Lesley Condon

      Is Mr Griffiths Michael Griffiths? My God father is Michael Griffiths my nana lived on crab lane, I was born on Lee road now asda. My dad was the caretaker of dommett street and I lived in the school house. What a wonderful blog this is. I have even seen articles written by cousins hi Raymond Smith.

      Like

      1. Michael Blackburne

        Lesley-your grandfather Mister Griffith used to give me a lift to crab lane

        primary school when I attended in the 60’s from 45 hill lane blackley where I

        lived back then-I remember him being a very kind and a very nice man who

        lived further up hill lane from me-god bless him from Michael Blackburne.

        Like

  22. irvin taylor

    to LISA i was in the same class as your mam and sat at the same desk with her at both schools she was lovely MR GRIFITHS was one of the best people I have ever met even though he gave me the strap many many times before I left junior school he said to me if you had spent the same time in the classroom as you have spent in my office you would have been a great pupil

    Like

  23. Eric Graham

    I was brought up on Erskine Road, where we lived from before the war, until I left to get wed in 1963.Iwent to Victoria Avenue school, before going to North Manchester Grammar School in 1946. During the bombing raids on Manchester in 1940, my friend Tony Lazenby and I used to go searching for shrapnel (bits of metal from anti-aircraft guns in Broadhurst Park in Moston). Two bombs landed in Viccie Ave school, and two houses at the edge of the playground were destroyed. Later it was Saturday afternoon martinees at the Avenue Cinema, and in my teens it was tennis in the Little Park atPlant Hill, and then Vimtoes in PrestonTemperance Bar opposite the Ave cinema. They were happy days. My mates then included Tony Lazenby ,Danny Moran,Alan Garner, Terry Harris, Bob and Colin Whiteside, I’m 79 now, so I don’t think there will be anyone on here who will remember us.Thanks for this lovely site.

    Like

    1. ray renshaw

      Hi Eric, I went to North Manchester Grammar, 1945-1951. I don’t recall your name, but I do remember Colin Whiteside. Mr Burnett, Big Jake, was the headmaster when I started. He was replaced around 1949 by Mr Sibsen. I never liked him, we nicknamed him Creeping Jesus, he was overly religious and sly.

      Like

    2. Barbara lewis(fowler)

      The houses were in Ethel avenue and the policeman sent to deal with it found it was his house and his wife and baby had been killed. The plane flew over beardwood Ed and my mum said it was low and they could see him laughing then he went over Ethel dropped his bombs and later crashed in bowler air feild. Many lovely memories, watching the farm animals on n hill lane, seeing the cows from hodgknson farm being moved across Rochdale rd to dam head to graze. It was a beautiful place to live. Changed a lot now, many more memories.

      Like

  24. Brenda sleigh nee Robinson

    I was born in 1943 in Crumpsall Hospital and lived with my mother father and brother David in Dover St Crumpsall until at 21 I married a Blackley lad VIc Sleigh from Grant St. He often talks about his younger days spent on Hodgekinsons farm helping with milking and delivering milk from the float with a jug. He was also best friends with David Ingham and Mike Gavin, a Sumday school teacher at Blackley Methodist Church and a member of St Peters scouts. I also knew Stephen Williams who lived at Pike Fold farm, I went to Blackley Tech High School with his sister Dorothy and spent many happy hours on the farm. Many thanks for so many memories.

    Like

  25. Paul Bassman

    Hello everyone, and I see for the first time someone who is older than me, above is Brenda sleigh. I too was born at Crumpsall Hospital only a year later though December 13th 1944. 😉

    Love this blog. What got me interested was Blackley. I lived at Catherine Road for the first 17 years of my life, but the most memorial time of my life was at Plant Hill School. I went there from Crumpsall lane Primary school, when Plant Hill first opened in 1955 to 1959. If anyone went there about the same time would love to hear from you. Some of the pupils whom I can remember were Alan Toby, Stuart Black, Geoff Silver, Hillary Benson. Some of the teachers were Mr Davis, Mr Hargreaves, Miss Bennet, Mr Royals, Mr Baylis, Mr Anderson, Miss Taylor, Head was Mr Bromley, deputy Mr Watson etc.

    Regards Paul Bassman

    Like

  26. dave woodward

    Hi my name is Dave Woodward I lived in Berwyn Ave ,I remember John Hadfield and his brother Bobby . I remember cycling to colluhurst flats with John to see friends ,bobby was a butcher and his dad was a fireman. Facing John’s house was where Lenny Jones and his brother lived.
    I went to Victoria Ave and Plant Hill. As a teenager I did a paper round at Baileys on corner of Victoria Ave and tweedle hill road I also new Bob Woodhouse .I worked at ICI at Blankley in the monastral blue and later went to work for Norweb before retiring to Perth Western Australia.from time to time I see Keith Warren when he visits family out here . I used to go in the F lying Horse and Duke of Wellington , that’s what’s lacking out here some good pubs

    Regards Dave W

    Like

      1. Ken Hibbert

        Hi Jennie my name is Ken Hibbert I also went to Crab Lane and Plant Hill though I went to CL in 1955 . Carrying on about Bobby Hadfield did he have two sisters on call Linda

        Like

  27. I was sent your article from one of my old mates in the Seminal Rover Crew, St Andrews Crab Lane, Higher Blackley and it was an excellent read.
    I moved to a pre-fab on Victoria Av,. Higher Blackley in 1947 from Ardwick Manchester when I was 18 months old , then moved closer to Heaton Park, to the new Hill Side council estate Finningley Rd., off Heaton Park Rd. in 1952. I like most of my mates I went to Crab Lane, then Plant Hill. We as a family were still in Higher Blackley. Blackley to us was the Village in the bottom where ICI was.
    I was Always told that the name Blackley originated from two words, Black Lea (Dark Meadow) and this can be found on the other side of Rochdale Rd from Charlestown Rd. behind Blackley Tram Office. I suppose it could be a clearing in the wood, but I think I would go for the Dark Meadow especially if its next to Bogart Ho Clough (Ghost in the Valley)
    When I got married I moved out to Wardle, Rochdale and since 1980 live in Uppermill, Saddleworth.
    My Mother who is 93 this year still lives in the house on Finningley Rd.

    Like

    1. Steve Beers

      Hi Dave, your mum must be Louie Allport. What a lovely lady. She was a dinner lady when I was at Crab Lane and then became friends with my mum when she worked in the kitchens at Crab Lane. I lived on Heaton Park road.

      Like

    2. Hi Dave, thanks for your comments. I know where you’re coming from with the name of Blackley meaning “dark place” or “dark meadow”. The land north of Manchester city centre was a densely wooded area and was used as a deer park for the medieval aristocracy to enjoy their sport in. I can imagine that there will have been clearings in the woods, and one of those will have been where Blackley came into being. I think all that’s left of the forest now is the swathe of land on the banks of the Irk between Victoria Avenue down into Crumpsall Vale and as you say, the parkland of the Clough. I believe there was a manor house/hall on the ground behind the tram stop on Rochdale Road and the flat bit was where they practiced archery – the butts. Whatever the history of Blackley, I know love it for what it is today – green, lush and full of interesting people. Thank you again for sharing your story on here. Please drop by again! Best wishes, Pam

      Like

    3. Raymond. Smith

      Hi Dave my name is Ray Smith I don’t know if you remember me ,my mother Edith Smith and your mother used to work together at Crab Lane School.
      they remained good friends for many years when I was in my twenties I moved to Guernsey and your mother visited us .We stayed in touch for many years it’s good to hear she is still going I lost touch after my wife died and I moved to Cyprus.Your mother is a lovely lady ,was your dad the scout master ? And do you have a sister Denise and brother my memory is not what it used to be .
      This is a great site to catch up with old friends give my love to your mum.

      Like

      1. David Kannenberg

        Hi Raymond, this is Dave Kannenberg and seeing your post on here was a real blast from the past. I remember seeing you at my Nana’s ( Alice Goostry ) 80 Crab Lane, although it was your younger brother Barrie that I used to play with more. Crab Lane is so different today from when I used to stay with my nana during the summer holidays. I go down to St Andrews graveyard where my mum and dad Gwen and Bill Kannenberg are buried.

        Like

  28. Carl F

    Great blog! Moved to Blackley from Cheetham Hill as a nipper in the late 80’s to Printon Avenue. It was renowned for being quite rough but the people were fantastic. I remember the flats on Printon Avenue fell into disrepair and the local kids (including myself) used to play in there before it was renovated! Simpler times back then! Moved to Fotherby Drive at the bottom of French Barn Lane for a few years then to Plant Hill Road at the end of the 90’s. Couldn’t believe how many pubs there were! Frequented a fair few of them before they all shut! Worked at The Legion on Victoria Ave for years! Great memories!

    Like

  29. Barbara Boyle

    Hi, great to read all about Blackley. We lived on Heathbank Road and went to St. Clares. My dad worked at ICI and managed the ICI Club for quite a few years, mam worked at The Lion and Lamb. Dad used to print the parish magazine for St. Clares. I have been in Australia for last 34 years.
    Family name was Burgess.
    Keep up the good work.
    Barbara .. nee Burgess

    Like

    1. great site. my 2xgrt grand parents lived on rosebank of silver st on the1881 census,gould st on the 1871 census,and 7a brook [could be blackley mill/house,hulton house] on the 1861 census.any help on the whereabouts gould st and 7a brook would be appreciated.
      david

      Like

  30. Pingback: Share Your World | Mushy Cloud

  31. Jane Hoey (nee Parkinson)

    This is all fascinating…well done for taking the time to set it up!I now live in Richmond Surrey but was born in Crumpsall Hospital in 1953 -and lived in Branksome Drive,near Heaton Park Road and close to the cotton mill by the Irk.I remember the river changing colour with the dyes and also, as mentioned earlier, playing on the pipes by the river and fishing for sticklebacks in the adjacent pond.Went to Bowker Vale and then North Manchester. I too remember Dr Jelenowicz, Chisolm uugh, Gledhills newsagents, Dexter Road shops, the Heaton Hall lions and the wallabies and highland cattle there.I remember, from Bowker Vale ,Mrs Butterworth with the strap she never used just in view in her drawer,Mrs Stocks, Mr Houldsworth and Mrs Ball.I used to go to Middleton Baths and ten pin bowling just beyond Cheetham Hill and the mobile library near St Clares.And I bought Xmas presents for my mum from the hardware shop near was it Tweedle Hill Road?Plus went to the church near there but cant remember its name.Could go on for ever…LOVE THIS…thank you!!

    Like

    1. Mandy Lomon

      Wow….somebody else that’s remembers DrJelenowicz! I even remember how the Surgery in that house smelt.
      As for Chisholm…Blackley Butcher…somebody should have shoved him in that chair and done some extractions on him!

      Like

    2. Monica Roche.

      Dear Jane, My sister Catherine and l (Monica Roche) also grew up in Branksome Drive and vividly recall you and your family including your very elegant grandma. Cath sent this link through so l hope this site is still accessible. I send and receive Xmas cards from Christine Calverley and lived near Marilyn Clapham 30 years ago. Used to push the children down to Crumpsall green and call in on her. Hope you are well . Regards Monuca Roche.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Jane Hoey

        Oh my goodness…I remember you too.I can clearly visualise your house at the top of the drive and your garden on the side which seeme huge to me.You lived next to Mrs Greenhalsh and her son Peter who had the African grey parrot which sat on his shoulder as he drove an open top white sports car and I remember you wanted to be a surgeon!Remember the others too.We went to Bowker Vale Primary.Believe it or not I still have a photo of you all at one of my birthday parties…think I was about 5…with jellies and cake.Wow…wonderful.How are you?

        Like

      2. Monica Roche.

        Hello. Lovely to hear from you, Jane. We remember the grey parrot with very colourful language. It used to swear like a trouper in the back garden. We have a picture l think taken in your back garden after the Fair we did when l was in Mrs Stocks class. Your father worked so hard to help out with it. Both Cath and l went to M/c Uni. She did a Masters in History and l did Medicine (GP). Both of us are retired but Cath does some probono work now. She and her husband have just moved to London where both their sons and their families live and we live in a village near Newmarket 75 minutes from our son in London and daughter in Bedford. We became new first time grandparents 2 weeks ago when both children had babies the same day. It’s been tiring but amazing bobbing between the two. Mum lived with me for 22+ years and died aged 93 in 2007. Do you remember Pepsi our flea infested dog? She lived on until 1974 .
        Do hope you’ve enjoyed Life since Branksome Drive . Do you remember going to the cinema with me on Victoria Ave East? We have lovely memories of our childhoods. Best wishes Monica Roche

        Like

      3. Thanks for your feedback. I’ve added a couple of sentences about our response to God’s call, his invitation to enter into relationship with him, and in my intro I’ve added a couple of examples of the cheap throwaway promises we are offered every day such as the promise that this cream or that lotion will give us younger looking skin, or the promise of the holiday of a lifetime if we book with such and such a cruise company etc. Not too much because I want to still leave room for people to think for themselves.

        I have tried hard to keep this one focused on one thing, so thank you for commenting that it’s a lot tighter than the previous ones. I think I’m starting to get it….!

        Get Outlook for Android

        Like

      4. Kevin partington

        Hi Monica et al
        Kevin Partington here ex Wyville Drive and Bowker Vale.
        Remember you all so well.Still got a programme from the Garden Party at yours!
        Had 2 careers after nmgs and just retired as Rector of Dewsbury.
        Kind regards to you and yours and Christine C when you are next in touch.I married Sandra Parkinson of nmgs in 1972 and still going strong in Huddersfield with 2 daughters and 3 grandsons.
        K

        Like

    3. Maria Sale

      Hi Jane. I think we knew each other when we were girls. Did your Dad have a Mini he maintained himself ? If I have the right family, he taught my Dad when we got our Mini in around 1962. We livec on the corner of Finningley Road in the marionette. My memory is shocking, so apologies if I have the wrong family.

      Like

  32. Christine

    Came across this site when I was looking for something else and have been reading and enjoying everyone’s comments. The main thing that struck me was Chisholm the dentist and all the comments. I’m now in my 60s but have never, ever forgotten my visits with him at the dentist’s office on the corner, overlooking Blackley Crematorium (think the crem was new then, in the 1950s?. When you walked into the dentist’s building, there was a strange smell, and I remember the waiting room to the left of the front door was painted in that awful green colour. His (torture) room was upstairs and I was terrified as I climbed the stairs. Apart from that, I have great memories of growing up in Blackley. We (the Draycotts) lived on Howden Road, and I went to Victoria Avenue, then North Manchester Grammar. For some reason over the years, I’ve thought of the shops I used to go to on Victoria Avenue a lot. The sweet shop on the corner (opposite St. Clare’s), think it was called Diamond’s. There was a fish and chip shop on that same row, and a greengrocer’s nearby that was always so busy. If anybody remembers the name of those shops, please post them. Not important really but I moved from Blackley long ago and there’s nobody I know who would know those things.

    Like

    1. Jane Hoey

      Can’t help you with the shops, I’m afraid, but certainly remember Chisolm and couldn’t help noticing you went to North Manchester Grammar. So did I. When were you there?

      Jane Parkinson (now Hoey)

      Like

      1. Christine

        Hello Jane,
        I was at North Manchester from 1960 to 1965. Miss Webster was the headmistress at the time but she was probably there for many, many years. I was in the history stream. and I’m trying to remember the names of some of my teachers–Mrs. Pienkosh (spl?), Miss Morris (history), Mrs. Williams, Mrs. Burgess (English)–that’s all I can recall off the top of my head. I still have the school form photos but I the only class-mate name I can recall is Brenda Ben, and that’s because she was crazy about the newly formed Herman’s Hermits and got all the class interested (I still am and see Peter Noone whenever he’s on tour). Were you there when one of the students, Bernice Fingerhu,t won a place at Oxford? It was announced during a morning assembly and we were told the school would be getting a day off in celebration. Funny the things you remember! Any of those memories ring a bell with you? I didn’t appreciate it at the time but realized years later what a great, all-round education I had received at that school.

        Like

      2. Jane Hoey

        Hi Christine…I didn’t go to North Manchester until 1964 so we would just have passed like ships in the night. Miss Webster was there, though, and Miss Morris and I also remember Mrs Silverman(English) who was THE best and Mr Longden, the geography teacher, who was the image of Gene Pitney. Don’t remember Brenda but I do remember a girl called Marilyn Boydle and her friend Val something who were always going to Top of the Pops and suchlike and who were really trendy. They may well have been in your year!
        Isn’t this fun?!!

        Like

    2. Andy Coulson

      Christine, if you go on Manchester city council website. Libraries and local images,search Victoria Avenue you will find photos of all the shops facing St Clare`s church.

      Like

  33. Christine

    Hi Jane,
    I agree, this is fun, thinking of things you haven’t thought about in years. Yes, we would have been ships that passed in the night at North Manchester. I didn’t have Mr. Longden but now that you’ve mentioned his name, I remember the girls couldn’t wait for his geography class as he was so handsome. The name Marilyn Boydle sounds vaguely familiar but she wouldn’t have been a friend of mine, I wasn’t in with the “in crowd.”

    Like

  34. dave woodward

    Hi Christine the shops at Plant hill road corner were Diamonds Balfs chemists, Bernard the butchers ,Myatts greengrocers, Braines chip shop ,then a clothes shop and iron mongers and a women dress shop then a alley way and a brokers called Booths and last of all was a hair salon

    regards Dave

    Like

    1. Christine

      Hi Dave,
      Thank you so much for giving me the detailed info on the Plant Hill Road shops. Once I read the names, I could see them all clearly in my mind. It took me back to my childhood and was a lovely memory for me. How on earth though did you remember all the names and where each shop was situated? You must have a fantastic memory as I’m sure those shops are long gone.
      Thanks again for the memory!
      Christine

      Like

      1. dave woodward

        Hi Christine
        The only reason I can remember them is I worked for Baileys at Tweedle hill Rd and delivered papers to most of them . I am sure all of them have long gone ,they were changing before I emigrated to Perth western Australia

        davem

        Like

      2. Christine

        Hi Dave,
        Well that explains your detailed knowledge of the row of shops at Plant Hill. You’re in Australia and I live in the United States. Never let it be said that people from Blackley don’t have a sense of adventure. Enjoy your summer.
        Christine

        Like

    2. caroline baker

      Hi Dave, I am not from Blackley, but have recently been doing some family history research for a friend whose grandparents Stanley and Mary Keates had a bakery in Blackley. I am trying to find out what year it opened. I think early 1950’s (?) I believe from your description of the shops, it may well have been on Plant Hill Rd as I have a photo of it neighboures by a chemist ( Balfs?) and a Greengrocers the other side ( Myatts) If you can help with any memories of Keates bakery I would be so grateful ! Many thanks Caroline

      Like

  35. Adie

    My husband lived in Albert Road (later renamed) Alworth Road and I moved to Tweedale Avenue after we were bombed out in the 1940 Blitz. We both went to Victoria Avenue School and remember the bombs in the school yard and a house on Cecil Road and one in Ethel Avenue, were also hit. I remember metal nose cones of shells being used as Spinning Tops in the school yard, until the Police came and collected them.
    I went on to Harpurhey High School in Church Lane, which later changed Its name to North Manchester. I have so many happy memories of Higher Blackley especially with my friends at Hopkinson Road Methodist Church, Sunday School, Brownies, Guides, 199th Scouts, the Youth Club, the dances when members of the Scout Band played, the Carnivals and the Pantomimes.
    My Husband was a choirboy at St. Paul’s and when his voice broke he became a Server . He was a member of the 2nd 270th Cubs, then Scouts in Mansfield Road. At 13 he went to the Junior Art School in Byrom Street, Manchester now called Castlefield
    He went camping in Rhodes Woods with the cubs and to the Jamboree that was held in Boggart Hole Clough with the Scouts and had his photograph in The Manchester Evening News, going across the valley on a Monkey Bridge. He went on to be a server at St. Peter’s, possibly to see the pretty girls there
    We both became keen cyclists and met at Luke Dunkerleys Cycle Shop on Rochdale Road, which was a meeting place for cyclists on Saturdays. We were married at St Paul’s in 1957, whilst Gordon was doing his National Service in the Royal Navy and have two children. We moved from Higher Blackley in 1964 and have many happy memories.

    Like

  36. Margaret

    Hello, I grew up on Dexter Road and used to play by the mill at the end of the road. It was called Cawleys mill (I am not sure of the spelling). I have tried to find info and pictures of the mill before it was torn down but to no avail. Do you have any information or websites I can check out please? It was very nostalgic reading posts from other Mancunians. Thank you for the blog.

    Like

    1. David W Pearse

      The original dye work was Levinsteins, then British Dyestuffs Corporation and finally I.C.I. I think the other one was called Connolly’s

      Like

  37. Dear Sterlingsop,

    I am Derek, born in Withington, raised in Altrincham but has also lived in Cheetham Hill.

    Thank you for your well written and positive view of Blackley. It was refreshing to read and great to know about.

    I had a friend who lived on Crab Lane and I did stay there once, also popping into the Flying Horse. I thought it was great around there and quite village like. The same friend still lives around there somewhere but I am not too sure where now. I have two more friends around Blackley too.

    I now live in Beirut. But I am looking to buy a small flat in England. Blackley came up as an inexpensive area in which to buy and one that is both close to the city centre and green.

    I am happy that I came across your blog as you really have painted a great picture. I too like to focus on the positive side of life, regardless of where one lives.

    Anyway, I will certainly be looking at properties around Blackley.

    Once again,

    Thanks

    Derek

    Liked by 1 person

  38. m doyle

    Lived on bankhouse road and crab lane in the 70s and 80s attended crab lane and plant hill schools. reading the comments bring back many happy memories of a great area

    Like

  39. Alma

    I moved to Higher Blackley as a small child and attended the old Crab Lane School, which had few classrooms, the one I was in was separated by a large curtain, with another class on the other side of it. Mr Griffiths taught us arithmetic. The first television I ever saw was at Mr Griffiths house. He organised classes into small groups to go and watch the king’s funeral.
    Mr Griffiths was a wonderful teacher, he taught us phonetically to sing a Welsh song at the Eisteddfod, and to this day over 60 years later I remember the words.
    I also sang in the St Paul’s choir in the early 60s and have many happy memories of it.
    After working at the ICI for four years I left to go to college in 1964 and having lived in many places have just returned to find a retirement home.

    Like

  40. Christine

    Thanks Andy for the lead to the Manchester City Council web site for the historical photos of Victoria Avenue and the shops opposite St. Clare’s. Once I started looking at all the old pictures of the area, nearly an hour had gone by and I hadn’t realised it. Really enjoyed them and they brought back a lot of long-forgotten memories.
    Thanks again,
    Christine

    Like

  41. Paul D

    Hello all you Blackley people Have a look on You Tube – search for Blackley Rememberd
    A lady has uploaded a 15 minute video of Blackley through the years
    It shows a lot of Victoria Avenue, Plant Hill, Heaton Park etc.
    Photos of shool classes, shops, roads.
    Well worth watching

    Regards Paul D

    Like

    1. Christine

      Hello Paul,
      I’ve just watched the Youtube video you suggested–spent 40 minutes looking at each photo carefully. Talk about nostalgia, plus I even found myself in one of the Victoria Ave. school black and white photos. Really enjoyed it. Thank you for letting us know about it, and thank you for Christine Filer for compiling it. I wonder if the two Christines were in the same class, at least one year, at Vicky Ave?
      Christine Techky

      Like

  42. Hi Pam.
    I was born in Moston and found this site when looking for any pictures of prefabs in Boggart Hole Clough on behalf of a friend.

    I noticed an obvious error in your very interesting article and thought I would point it out to you:

    You say that Roger Byrne who died in the Munich air crash (6th Feb 1958 – I was devastated) was cremated in Blackley, I remember that date very well. I also remember a later date in December 1958 when my father died, neither of them could be cremated at Blackley as the crematorium didn’t open until 1959.

    I’ve just checked and found Roger’s funeral service was at Flixton prior to cremation – I also found a fact (I won’t forget) that Roger died two days before his 29th birthday – which was exactly (to the day) my age when I married in 1973.
    Best wishes David

    Like

      1. I checked details with Wikipedia, before I let you know – I wondered why I didn’t know that Roger Byrne was a local lad – he was actually from Gorton (if Wikipedia has got that right ☺).

        I knew from memory that Blackley Crematorium wasn’t open in 1958 which was what made me suspect those details were incorrect.

        Incidentally a famous person from Blackley who perhaps deserves a mention is Malcolm Roberts. I didn’t know him personally but found after his death that he was two days older than me.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malcolm_Roberts
        Here’s a link to one of his biggest hits https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H1agAUNZRp0

        Best wishes David,

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  43. Dear Sterlington thanks to this site I was able to put my dad in touch with an old friend he hasn’t seen or heard of for 60 years both from crab lane area my dad moved to Devon over 50 years ago by chance I came across you and left a message two years later I had a message back and 2 friends were reunited my dad myself and my sister visit Manchester every year he likes to come back to his roots we always go to the flying horse and this year we also met his long lost friend and his lovely wife and actually stayed overnight with them as part of our stay it was wonderful and to see my dad reminiscing with his friend was priceless so thank you without this site this would never have happened can’t thank you enough.xx

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    1. Awww that’s a fantastic story and I’m glad your dad managed to see his old friends again. I never thought that when I wrote this piece there would be such a great story to come from it! People may leave Blackley, but Blackley never leaves them. It’s a great place to live and I’m really chuffed to be a part of your family’s story too. All the best, Pam

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      1. TONY SHANLEY

        Hi Pam,
        I would like to say thank you for setting up this site, It has enabled me to meet up with a childhood friend that I had not seen or spoke to for 61 years.
        My name is Tony Shanley and my long lost friend is Joe Partington, My Wife and I meet with Joe and this two Daughters Debra and Jane recently and within 10 minutes we were talking as if we had left each other the week before, both Debra and Jane are really nice genuine people and very easy to get on with and Joe who is 85 could pass for 60 and talk about talk your socks down! he could charm the birds out the trees or even talk a glass eye to sleep if he put his mind to it!!
        We spent 3 days together and never stopped talking and laughing the whole time!
        We are meeting up again in September at Blackpool with Joe and one of his sons when they attend a Forces Reunion so we are looking forward to that
        I have already meet up with Irvin Taylor and Roy Mansfield who I had not seen since about 1955 and I am hoping to contact other people who have posted comment on your site Bobby (Corky) Warren.and Alan Partington.
        Thanks again Pam.
        Tony Shanley

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  44. Christine

    Talking of famous people from Blackley “Malcolm Roberts,” I remember when I was a teenager in the 1960s, that another young woman, who lived on the front of Victoria Avenue between Victoria Avenue School and Plant Hill shops, became a famous model. Her name was Lesley but I can’t recall her last name. She even made it on the cover of of Women’s Own, or another famous magazine, but was killed in a plane crash. Can’t remember any more details, does anyone remember her too.
    Christine

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    1. Jessica

      Hi Christine – a few years late commenting on this!
      I am the niece of the woman I believe you are referring to. As Marie says, her name was Pamela McCarthy. She died in the Alitalia Flight 112 crash in 1972.

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  45. Anne Marie Hartley

    Hi Pam, just came across this site, has brought back so many memories. I have always told my girls what a great place Blackely Village was to grow up, so many of our Hartley family were there. My great grandad used to be known as the singing waiter at the Old House at Home. I went to Crumpsall Lane Primary and Moss House. Dad was a colour mixer at Howarth’s Wallpaper Factory and mum owned the sweet shop on Market Street. This was opposite the ICI, I think it was once a week when they used to (let out) which was a horrendous smell from the chemical plant, quite a lot of the people were quite old, my great gran was 96 when she passed and we thought the chemicals were pickling them. We moved away when I was 13 in 1966. I live in New Zealand but when I come back always check out the village. Loved all the stories, thanks Anne Marie

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    1. Hi Anne Marie, thanks for your comments. I love hearing people’s stories about their families in Blackley and it really brings our little town to life for me. I like your description of Blackley people being pickled into old age! I loved the Old House at Home when it was a pub but it has been converted to a house now and not accessible to the public. You might know my mum who also went to Moss House – Jody Birds – but I don’t know if you would have been there at the same time as her. You might know her younger sisters though, Norma, Jacqueline, Maureen, Sonia or Pat?

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      1. Anne Marie Hartley

        I can’t place your mum or her sisters, I was in the last intake when we became Manchester Grammar for Boys, (40 girls left) can get people a bit confused if when asked what school I went to I drop that one in.

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  46. Hi Pam, I found you by accident and adore your blog. I grew up in Cullen Grove which backed onto Dam Head Farm before the estate went in. It was an amazing place to be 9 years old. Here I am living in the USA age 57 I cannot think of anything more amazing to write about. Thanks for the great information resource you have provided. I wonder if anyone remembers the name of the creek/stream that ran west behind Booth Hall Hospital through Bailey’s Wood and skirted the southern edge of Dam Head Farm before disappearing beneath Rochdale Road at the Jet (I think) station just above Blackley Village. My guess is the stream eventually fed into the Irk somewhere around the ICI plant. There was some low land at the southwest corner of Dam Head Farm with 3 ponds so full of life they would be protected eco systems today and it may have drained into them first before crossing under Rochdale Road. I think it might have been called Charleston Creek because it paralleled Charleston Road but my aging mind could be cracked. Years later they laid pipe that took it under Dam Head Estate and I’m having a hard time finding a named record of it though a partial blue line still shows up on current maps of Bailey’s Wood.
    p.s. I should just ask my Dad but it is way more fun touching base with you.

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    1. Hi Robert – thanks for your stories of Blackley and Dam Head. I think I might know your family…there’s only one Pepper family on Cullen Grove that I can think of! Your parents must be Jack and Fran, and your sister Janet? You are older than me and I don’t think I knew you when you were living here, but I grew up with Janet and your mum and dad at St Paul’s. I remember performing with Janet in church once – me on my cornet and her on her cello. Great memories! Good to hear from you. As for the stream you asked about, there is a stream that runs round the edge of the Butts at the bottom of Charlestown Road and I wonder if that’s the same one? It would be interesting to see who knows its name. When I worked at ICI I remember talk of a stream that was culverted under the top end of the site, near Dommet Street but that was about 25 years ago and my memory might have been jiggled a bit since then. Good to hear from you and thanks for dropping by. I’m interested to know what information comes up to answer your question!

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  47. john brennan

    First 20 years of my life lived in Blackley Prefabs off Victoria Avenue 6 years moved to Duster Avenue till 1960 then moved to Mansfields Road got married lived in Caldecott road Went to Saint John Boscos till 11 then off to Saint Clares played football for both school teams Happy Days went fishing at the apple and Pears work at hexigon house ice early 1963 then moved to james briggs blackley

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  48. I lived in yewlands ave in the 1940s every Sunday we would go to Frank sweets farm and buy a stone bottle of dandelion and burdock. His mum and dad ran the little shop whilst his gran lived in little cottage next door. Later on Georgie gore the rag and bone man kept his horse on nutbank farm, frank used to cycle round blackley selling egg my name was Dorothy Stevens now earnshaw

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  49. Uta Pieper

    My name is Ms. Pieper and I am German. Around the year 2000, I spent a long time, two years altogether, in Manchester. I loved it and still do.
    Unfortunately I had to leave Manchester due to health problems.
    I lived mainly in Whalley Range and Levenshulme, but I know Blackley quite a bit.
    I also think itś a very likeable place.
    For instance, I remember, in 2000, there was a line of shops along Chapel Lane including
    a chippy, a general store, and a wine dealer.
    I also remember the park and the pub next to Chapel Lane.
    Unfortunately Ive been stuck here in Germany, Iḿ very comfortable here but I still love Manchester and its suburbs including Blackley.
    God willing I would still return.

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