To continue my story of Longsight through the ages makes me become emotional about thoughts of the past, the people I knew, the events we lived through, the poor times and not so poor times. So here we go.
I was born in February 1946 a Baby Boomer if ever there was one. Conceived during the celebrations of Hitler’s death and brought up in the wonderful British invention, The National; Health Service. We lived on our street, we did not wander far. Palm Street and Clitheroe Road were the extremities of our realm. Hector Road was a destination to plan, mainly because at the Slade Lane end of Hector Road there was Connie’s Hill, to us a massively steep gradient on which we could wheel our bogies, crash our bogies and sometimes destroy them. It was a hill that should not be there as both ends of Hector Road were flat but there at nearly one end was Connie’s Hill. Why Connie, I do not know, possibly a lady whose fame was lost in time. Recently I was back there to look at this incline and I thought to myself, “What hill”. But a hill it was to us flat liners.
As we got older and bolder my friends and I welcomed the start of the 60s we expanded our horizons playing football and cricket on Crowcroft Park the other side of Stockport Road and taunting the park keeper. There was jobs for everybody those days and poverty galore but nobody starved and nobody lived on the street. Our travels took us past our church, St Robert’s on Hamilton Road, bisecting Beresford Road with hormones bursting out of our glands, in search of GIRLS. A race or sex we had never encountered as kids but we thought the Anson Estate would be full of them. It was a council estate very sedate in its population who tended to lock up their daughters in fear of the marauders from the Slade Lane area but we found the odd one that escaped the curfew and we found out how nice these girls could be.
By the age of 16 the world certainly opened up for me. We moved to the extremities of Longsight onto Birchfields Road amongst the rich people. The Anson Estate and its wealth only across the road but the richness of this wealth I found amongst the daughters of the Birchfield set. Cooly middle class but every man jack working in whatever occupation they could find.
I was going to finish my story there but recently something grabbed my attention regarding Longsight and the nature of the place.
Recently I joined a website, I think it is called “Longsight memories of our childhood”. An interesting site but the contributors as you can guess all remember the 70s but few can dive back to the 4os and 50s. People my age lack the new skills of the net. However one day a lady from Levenshulme sent a message through asking if anybody had seen an old man who used to run up and down Stockport Road. She worked in a cafe there and he used to come in and have a cup of tea. He never had money so they used to give him a bite to eat as well. She was worried that she had not seen him for a while and was worried about his safety. She thought is name was Johnny Scudder but she was not sure. That rang bells, I knew a Johnny Scudder when I was a kid. A few years older than me but badly handicapped both physically and mentally. He came from a large but very poor family on Clitheroe Road. He used to run everywhere, he never walked. Up and down Stockport Road and down all the adjoining streets, always running and fetching errands for people. Everybody including shopkeepers used to keep an eye out for him. He was never in any trouble even the fancy teddy boys of that era after the war protected him. He used to go to a special school in Gorton about three miles away which helped his infirmity if you could call it that and he used to run there and back every day. With the shape of his body you would think even walking was difficult but ran he did everywhere and not a bad bone in his body. It must be the same man.
After this woman’s shout for news people all over Longsight started writing in and asking the same question. Eventually after some days a chap from Stockport wrote in saying he was Johnny Scudder’s nephew and that is uncle was all right. He said Johnny was feeling the winter and had gone for a rest. He often came to my place he said but he had friends in an old folks home locally and in fact they had taken him in for a few weeks during the cold spell. Obviously knowing old folks homes recently in this Covid nonsense there would have been no paperwork in this case just plain old fashioned charity. Anyway Johnny as old as he was would have been running to quick for the virus to catch him. He is probably about 82 now, still running, people still keeping an eye out for him, old fashioned charity and care still coming to the fore. That is Longsight and its hinterland as I knew it all those years ago.
5 thoughts on “Longsight Manchester All Those Years Ago – Part 2”
As you know I lived in Blackley (from 1958, when I was 5), but before that I lived in Chadderton, on the edge of Oldham, and I remember even there quite well. Neither were quite the same as the places you describe, but there were far more similarities than differences. The really big differences compared with today were that everything was smaller scale (like you, I remember all the small shops), people had time for you, and life was much freer. (Greece is still like that. You can spend 10 minutes chatting to a shopkeeper, and it’s completely normal.) At age 5 I used to walk to and from school, by myself, and I’m sure you did too. Try doing that today and your parents would probably be thrown in jail. By age 10, I often used to go many miles from home, on my bike, without anyone knowing where I was. Nobody saw any reason to worry about me..
We may have gained some things – and I have no wish to denigrate the benefits of things like computers and the internet – but we have also lost a lot. And I am certain that, on average people are no more happier now.
Why is is that today most households need two working adults to survive when in the 1950s one was usually enough? If “progress” means that society has to work twice as hard for zero increase in average happiness, I’ll vote for backwardness.
By God it is lovely when me and you are on the same wavelength. We have both found are little piece of heaven in our adopted land, of us sitting back and dreaming of days gone by, both of us forgetting about are own personal traumas. Life is good in old age, forget the pain. We are mates for the moment.
I remember John Scudder going up and down Stockport Road. He was much older than me and I found him to be a bit frightening. From memory his family were not to be messed with. We Portland Road boys rarely ventured into Clitheroe Road and I remember some of the houses there were in very poor condition.
Interesting days in old Longsight. I also remember seeing the wrestler Billy Two Rivers occasionally and I still have his autograph. I understand he was from a Canadian tribe of native Americans. He lived on Slade Lane apparently.
Are you any relation tp Paul Drinkwater who married an Australian girl of the Campbell family. I knew him well all those years ago.
Sorry Paul, only just seen this. Paul was my cousin and was exactly 1 year and 1 day older than me.
A few years ago we started to share some memories of our lives after very little contact. He had a good life in Australia as a pharmacist and he was a keen amateur cyclist. Sadly Paul died from cancer a couple of years ago.