From time to time one of the talks in our programme strikes a chord with the wider community. So it was with our December talk about Belle Vue, given by Brian Selby and Frank Rhodes. As well as a good attendance of our regular members, we had twenty five visitors come to recollect something of their childhood. Brian and Frank were an effective double act. Brian was the amateur enthusiast; Frank was the historian. Brian did most of the talking whilst Frank relayed many of the anecdotes and legends that have grown up around the iconic amusement park.Memories were stirred but not shaken. Such was the promise of an evening of Belle Vue to the members…..and visitors.
above: People queuing for the Bobs Coaster at Belle Vue Gardens, Manchester, 1968 (Photo: Marshall Collection / Chetham’s Library online archive)
Monday 21st January 2019
‘STORM Gathers over Mellor!’ with Bob Humphrey-Taylor
STORM OVER MELLOR is an illustrated talk about how the €7.2M EU funded project is looking at the effects and mitigation of Climate Change on our Cultural Heritage. This will be a non-technical talk presented by Bob Humphrey-Taylor, Chair of Mellor Archaeological Trust.
So what, you might very well ask, is STORM? Bob,will explain this and how the Trust is involved as the lead organisation in the UK, in a Europe wide initiative to reduce the impact of climate change, natural hazards and human actions on heritage.
The one UK site is at Mellor, comprises of the Iron Age Ditch at the Old Vicarage, the bronze age burial ground on Shaw Cairn and Mellor Mill in the Goyt Valley.
18th February: Anne Woods - ‘Adlington Hall’
18th March: Ann Hearle - ‘Early Water Power in Mellor & Ludworth’
15th April: Diana Leitch - ‘The Towers Estate’
The question posed by Julie Bagnall was what to do with 323 postcards and she regaled us this evening with the many and various things she had done with them.
Her first task was to justify to her husband why she had bought this dog-eared album at a car boot sale in 1992. He was told it was none of his business and when he enquired about the price that was a confidential matter. However, the album was squirrelled away for a couple of years on the basis of “out of sight, out of mind.”
When they next saw the light of day, Julie decided to count them, which is how she came to the total of 323. But they were not all postcards. Most were, either used (written and posted) or unused, but there were also pictures and some clippings....
In March 2015, Judith Atkinson gave us a fascinating and entertaining insight into the building of the ‘Big Ditch’ - the Manchester Ship Canal, using a remarkable collection of glass slides. This evening, Judith excelled again, using an album of photographs that had narrowly missed being discarded in a skip to illustrate her talk about the working life of the Burgess-Ledward mill at Walkden.
left: The interior of Burgess Ledward's Wardley Mill
‘Hotels in the Sky - History of Zeppelins’ with Mike Ogden
In the opening presentation of the season, using both photographs and film of the period, Michael Ogden told us of the fascinating story of a lost technology, and a long forgotten way to travel the world
During the early years post the First World War, very few thought the aeroplanes would ever develop into a safe, efficient and affordable way to travel long-distances. The first airliners had only a short range – 500 miles at most – though that was probably plenty for the passengers because they were uncomfortable, cold, noisy, far from reliable -- and not very safe either.
What a contrast with airships, especially Zeppelins! They could cruise for thousands of miles, carrying more passengers in far greater comfort than aeroplanes. They had kitchens and toilets and, on trans-ocean flights, cabins and showers as well. They were a little slower than airliners but, more importantly, they were two or three times faster than the ocean liners they were competing against.