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Topics - Too shy

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I can't imagine that Martin would mind me publicising this event. Our local history writing brothers, David and Philip Williams, will be launching their latest book on Saturday 24th August 2019. The title of their latest creation is, "For Your Delectation and Delight" and will be a history of the music halls and theatres of Ashton-under-Lyne from the early 1800s up to the closure of Tameside Hippodrome in 2008. The event will be held inside Ashton Market Hall, by invitation between 11-30 am and 1-30 pm, and from 1-30 pm onwards, a public book signing at the Community Stall within the Market Hall. I believe the book will be on sale at 15.00 per copy. The Williams brothers have produced some quality titles over the years and have contributed tremendously to keeping history alive in and around Ashton-under-Lyne. They are well deserving of our appreciation and support.

Memory Lane / Billy Liar at Ashton Palais
« on: August 12, 2019, 06:05 PM »
The 1963 black and white film, Billy Liar, was shown on the retro TV channel, Talking Pictures, last night. Many of you will have seen it over the years as it appears to get a re-showing on TV every so often. Many of you, like me, will have seen it on its release in 1963. For you younger listeners, it starred the somewhat quirky, Tom Courtney and the delightful, Julie Christie (whose looks seemed rather ahead of their time). Most people probably wouldn't give it a glance now as it digs and delves into the somewhat erratic life of a Sixties dreamer - sadly set against the rather stark background of the basic lives that folk lived through in that era. Billy finds himself dodging BOTH girlfriends on his night out at the local dancehall - which just happens to be Ashton Palais (certainly the inside, although the outside is a Locarno somewhere or other). When I saw it at one of the Ashton cinemas (can't remember which one) someone would shout out, "Oh, look, there's me...oh, and there's our Harry etc" We were easily pleased.

Round and About / The town where I was raised
« on: October 16, 2015, 01:58 PM »
No, not Ashton this time but Dukinfield. Although I haven't lived in Dukinfield for over forty years, I have nothing but happy memories of my formative years growing up in the borough. I occasionally drive through - perhaps on my way to Hyde, Woodley, Stockport or Hazel Grove and might still have the odd appointment in the town. Earlier this week, with some time to kill, I walked round some of my old haunts in the (lower) King Street area - the Town Hall, Chapel Street, Astley Street etc. It saddened me to see this once busy part of the town largely reduced to a district in decline. All the major buildings have gone, certainly they're no longer being used for what they were built for. The police station and magistrates court, the post office, Trustee Savings Bank, the gas showrooms, the electricity showrooms - you name, it all the resources have left town. Where once there were bakers, butchers, greengrocers, jewellers, clothing outfitters, newsagents, hardware shops etc, all we are left with now are the inevitable tattoo shops, beauty parlours and take aways and even the pubs are closed down (Gardeners, Newboro, Newmarket, Liberal Club) and converted to other use. The area is as dead as a dodo and is now just a shadow of what I remember from the 1960s before the bulldozers did their work. It's really now just an area that people drive through on their way to somewhere else. I try to describe to younger people what a happy and vibrant place it was when I was growing up there but I don't think I am able to convince them. Such is life.

Thankfully, this grand old building is now up for sale again - I think the current owners (Britannia Hotels?) have probably been shamed into attempting something after so many years of neglect. The building ceased to be a working fire station in the early 1970s and just before the creation of the Greater Manchester authority. It was used as a storage facility (presumably by the Fire Service) for some years after that and bought by Britannia in the mid 1980s. Whatever their plan was (probably to convert the building into a hotel) it never happened. Now it has become a total eyesore, with the brickwork shabby and damaged, window frames and doors rotted and, higher up, vegetation growing out of the roof, chimney stacks and gutters. Somebody should be shot for the obvious and blatant neglect of such an iconic building.

Talking about Ashton / Are they talking about us?
« on: May 24, 2015, 09:54 PM »
My late father-in-law served in Burma during WWII. He told us some horrific stories of the conditions they fought under, the hardships they endured and, sadly, the devious and cruel ways of the opposition. He had been a member of the Burma Star Association and the association magazine is still sent to his family. I was reading the magazine earlier today, when I came across an article about a British veteran (either Roy or Ray) who had been approached by the daughter of a Japanese veteran who wanted to invite a British veteran over to Japan so that he could apologise to him for what his countrymen did and ask his forgiveness. Roy (or Ray) completed the trip - I think he was accompanied by his daughter and they appear to have been treated royally by the airline who flew them out there and brought them back. Equally, their hosts in Japan were more than hospitable and a lot of old hostilities, doubts and misgivings appear to have been put right by the efforts of the two veterans. When asked about his time in Japan, Roy went to some trouble to emphasise that the country is extremely clean and tidy and with no litter. Unfortunately, I'm not sure the Japanese veteran would have been able to say the same about our neck of the woods if he had been invited to visit his British counterpart.

Round and About / Harold Shipman: Catching Dr Death
« on: April 23, 2014, 11:39 PM »
This TV programme is scheduled for tomorrow night (Thursday) at 9.00 pm on Channel 5. It's the second part - the first part having been aired a week ago. If tomorrow night's episode is anywhere near as absorbing as last week's episode, then it comes as highly recommended viewing. Last week showed us about Shipman's origins, entry into medicine and spiral into his own drug related addiction. I believe that this week will show how he made the mistakes that led to his arrest and then his subsequent trial. Wasn't it Churchill who said that Russia was an enigma wrapped in a riddle and contained in a mystery (or some such )? Shipman would appear to have been something similar. We have no explanation from him for the crimes that he committed - I don't believe he ever admitted his guilt and obviously, by taking his own life, society (and including the families of the deceased) was denied that explanation.

Memory Lane / Waterloo Methodists
« on: December 01, 2013, 12:06 AM »
I wonder if any of our forum members can help me out with this one. You'll see in the thread about "Where were you on the 22nd November 1963" (the day of President Kennedy's death), that I reminisced that I went, in the evening, to watch friends playing in a table tennis match at Waterloo Methodists in the (possibly now defunct) Ashton Table Tennis League. Of the five team members (William Kenyon's, Dukinfield), one I wouldn't know where to look for him, a second I've tried contacting but can't get a response. Of the remaining three, one remembered the match being against Waterloo Methodists but thought the building was nearer to the Hop Pole public house and the old William Monk's garage. Another thought the match might have been against a Conservative Club and the last one more or less agreed with me (but also seemed to have a niggling doubt that he might have been playing for another team by then). To be doubly sure, I'd like to know where the building might have been situated, it has a feel of being in a Sunday School, on the right hand side of Oldham Road (going out of Ashton, towards Oldham). I gather there have been two Methodist churches in Waterloo, the Oakenclough building is still standing (and is for sale?) and is on the left-hand side and the Waterloo Methodists Church which faced onto Oldham Road was closed in 1968 and was replaced by the current church which stands on Vale Street. Perhaps the Oakenclough building had been closed before 1963 which would point to the "correct" church being the one near to Vale Street. Can anyone solve this for posterity? (You might even be able to recall which of the two churches was able to produce a table tennis team in 1963).

These men will parade in Ashton town centre next Wednesday (22nd May) having recently returned from a six months tour of duty in Afghanistan. Although they are a product of previous regimental mergers, they still draw on the Tameside area for recruiting purposes and will have obvious links with the former Manchester Regiment who were garrisoned in Ashton. Sadly, I need to be elsewhere on Wednesday so am unable to see the parade. I wonder if any of our stalwart media contibutors would care to attend to capture some of the event on camera/film/video for the rest of us to enjoy. Come on Bill, Vanessa, Martin, Chris, these lads are the best and they deserve the best. Whichever way you view your world politics, these lads (and in some cases, lasses) have been putting their lives on the line for us and for a safer world and deserve our appreciation.

General Discussion / Why do they say it?
« on: March 07, 2013, 10:13 PM »
Spent a chunk of the afternoon in Ashton today. Gave a pint of blood to the blood people then strolled into the town centre to do transactions at a couple of banks. The young lady cashier who served me at the first bank was very sweet and apologetic and insisted on telling me that she "hoped we haven't kept you waiting too long." Although, she had really, as she spent rather an unnecessarily long time talking to the handsome young chap she served before me (lots of smiling and eye contact). After I'd been served, I was despatched with, "See you later." Now, I'm fairly sure she had no intention of seeing me later, so why say it? Perhaps it was just a cover for the fact that she might have had prearrangements to see the previous customer (the handsome young chap). I'm left confused now, who does she want to see, the handsome young chap or yours truly? I'm staying in tonight so I hope I don't go and disappoint her.

Then, to cap it off, I was referred to as "luvvy" by a slip of a girl who served me in the chippy.

The English language is a funny old thing.

Does anyone out there know anything about this establishment? There's no signage to tell you what it is. I've never seen people going in or coming out. The downstairs windows are half covered in coloured/leaded  glass and, once the lights are on, the curtains get closed. Masonic lodge? Royal Antediluvian Order of Buffaloes? Flanagan and Allen Fan Club?

Genealogy / Ancestry website 1911 England and Wales Census
« on: September 24, 2012, 06:19 PM »
Currently, the 1911 England and Wales Census is available for free on the Ancestry website. Marvellously, this includes access to the actual picture/photograph of the handwritten return for your ancestor. I have an idea that this arrangement will be time limited - does anyone know? I have an idea that we are perhaps only allowed a month.

Memory Lane / Whatever happened to?
« on: July 04, 2012, 11:51 AM »
If, like me, you've reached a certain age, where you regularly ponder on things from years back, no doubt you've also got round to asking yourself, "I wonder what happened to suchabody?" You give it a bit more thought and you can't recall the last time you saw them on the tele or heard them being interviewed on the radio. When my late father was alive, I could engage him in this kind of debate and we had great fun pondering on whether they were even dead or alive. Often, someone we thought was long gone was alive and well and doing a summer season in somewhere like Minehead or Scarborough and others would pop up in panto in somewhere like Aylesbury or Oxford. I'll pose you the question, whatever happened to Millicent Martin?

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