An inter-war view of the Widnes-Runcorn Transporter Bridge that spanned the River Mersey and Manchester Ship Canal. Opened in 1905, the bridge was operated until July 1961 when it was replaced by the Silver Jubilee Bridge. Although later demolished, the former approaches to the structure are still visible on both sides.
Another view of the Widnes-Runcorn Transporter Bridge spanning the River Mersey and Manchester Ship Canal. In this photograph the transporter car can be seen in operation. When the bridge opened in 1905 the car measured 55 feet in length and was designed to carry 4 two-horse farm waggons and 300 passengers. The car was operated by a driver in a cabin at the top of the car, enabling vision in all directions.
Reginald Dixon was the organist at the Tower Ballroom in Blackpool between 1930 and 1970 making him something of a Mr. Blackpool. He was born in Born in 1904 at Ecclesall near Sheffield, he was tinkling piano keys by the age of two. He took up lessons on a church organ in his early teens and was appointed organist at Birley Carr Methodist Church. Bt the age of 17 he was awarded Associate of the Royal College of Music. The golden age of cinema lured him to become an organist at Stocksbridge and Chesterfield before moving to the Midlands to play on Wurlitzer organs. In March 1930 he became organist at Blackpool's Tower Ballroom and within weeks the BBC were broadcasting his astonishing performances. By 1952 Dixon had made over 1,000 broadcasts, interrupted by the Second World War during which he served in the Royal Air Force. Thousands flocked to the Tower Ballroom to dance to the sound of Reginald Dixon at the organ, whilst thousands more just came to watch.
This Edwardian photograph shows Maghull Hall Bridge, a swing-bridge on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal. There were two public-houses close to the bridge - the Travellers' Rest and this building, an old beer house called the Horse and Jockey. At the time of this photograph the licence was held by Esther Marshall. Her husband William was the steam engine driver for the bridge. This section of the canal was completed by 1774 and facilitated new industry in the area, notably quarrying of sandstone. The name of this beer house celebrated horse racing which took place at Maghull in the early 19th century. Old Racecourse Farm was further along Hall Lane. Maghull is also close to Aintree, home of the Grand National steeplechase.
This Edwardian photograph was possibly taken on a Sunday morning as a group of men are gathered on the canal bridge and may have been waiting for the licensee of the Red Lion Hotel to open up. In the 21st century this canalside tavern was trading as the Dover Lock Inn. Dover Lock No.2 can be seen through the arch of the original bridge. Lock No.1 and the Lock House was a little further along the Leigh Branch of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal. A new canal channel was later constructed to compensate for mining subsidence and the locks became redundant. The bridge has also been altered over the years. Joseph Shaw was the licensee of the Red Lion Hotel when this photograph was taken. He kept the hostelry with his wife Mary Ann.
An Edwardian view of Victoria Road at Widnes. There is little commercial activity but plenty of people in the road so perhaps the image was captured on a quiet Sunday morning. On the left The Doctors public-house can be seen. Operated by Greenall Whitley & Co. Ltd. of Warrington, the pub was formerly called the Alexandra Hotel. The name of Daniel Ambrose can be seen above the front door. His parents kept the Brick Wall Inn at Tarbock but he moved to Widnes and worked as a barman for the publican Thomas Gerrard at the end of the Victorian period. He married the gaffer's daughter Annie and took over as licensee. At the age of 36 he became very ill during the winter of 1910/11. He was sent to Bournemouth to recuperate but on the journey south he contracted a chill which led to his death from pneumonia. He was buried at Halewood in February 1911. Further along Victoria Road large signs can be seen for a pawnbroker and optician. The police station stood at the end of the row. In the distance the public library and technical school can be seen, along with St. Paul's Church.
The Masons' Arms remains a popular destination pub in the 21st century. Outdoor seating now dominates the front of the building. The historic tavern nestles on the steep climb up Fell Foot Brow, a lane that heads to the southern end of Lake Windermere from Bowland Bridge, the latter being just across the county border delineated by the River Winster. Trade at the inn was largely from those travelling up the zigzag, part of an old packhorse route from Kendal to the Furness area which was upgraded to a Turnpike in 1763. This is possibly the period when the tavern came into existence. The photographer was stood on Smithy Lane. The track to the right of the tavern led to Hollins Wood and onwards to Great Hartbarrow. Here a couple of traps are parked outside whilst the passengers are enjoying refreshments and perhaps a lunch at the Masons' Arms. The name above the door is that of John James Matthews. He succeeded his parents, Robert and Alverella, who had kept the Masons' Arms for many years during the Victorian era. Indeed, the Masons' Arms was his life - born in 1870, he had grown up in the pub, run it with his wife Elizabeth and was still publican during the Second World War. The publican, who had lived through such historic times, died in June 1947. When I visited this pub it was run by Helen Walsh. Indeed, I believe she and her husband kept the Masons' Arms for around 23 years before selling in 2002. The couple had for many years produced their own fruit-laced beers and spirits.
A lucrative ploy of the Edwardian photographer was to gather together the holiday-makers staying at one of the guest houses on the seaside in order to take a photograph. The people could subsequently purchase postcards to send to friends and family. This group may be an extended family or neighbours who had travelled together to enjoy a break at Blackpool. A notice board to the left details excursions from the North Pier operated by the Blackpool Passenger Steamboat Company.
This photograph shows the canal locks at Plank Lane, along with the colliery and adjoining Britannia Hotel. Replacing an older building this attractive hotel was erected in 1903 by George Shaw & Co. Ltd., of the Leigh Brewery. Some of the company's etched-glass windows survived into the 21st century. However, this 1911 photograph shows that the hotel was selling beers from the Ardwick Brewrey operated by Chester's Brewery Co. Ltd. Although the Britannia Hotel closed in 1962 the building was not demolished until April 2009. Bickershaw Colliery opened in the early 1830s and transported coal via trams to the Leeds and Liverpool Canal for onward distribution. A number of accidents occurred at the colliery, the worst disaster being the death of 19 people when a mine-shaft elevator fell in October 1932. Deemed unprofitable by British Coal, the colliery closed in March 1992.
A sailor is displaying a degree of athleticism climbing out of a dinghy in choppy waters onto the pier at Knott End. A group of passengers are disembarking from the steam ferry from Fleetwood. Although earlier ferries had operated across the River Wyre, steam boats were not brought into service until the late 19th century. In 1894 a steam launch named Nelson used the recently-constructed ferry jetty. The vessel in this photograph named Progress, a boat built locally by John Gibson and capable of carrying 140 passengers.
An apartment block now stands on the site of the Derby Arms, once regarded as a landmark public-house at Halewood. The Liverpool-based Threlfall's Brewery Co. Ltd. applied for permission to rebuild the centuries old Derby Arms in the 'modern' style during the Widnes Sessions held on January 3rd, 1935. Superintendent McCrone had inspected the plans which met his approval and the application went through. Subsequently, the historic pub was replaced by this building before the Second World War. Here a group of boys with bicycles can be seen in front of the Derby Arms. From early cycling days the old tavern was a popular meeting place for cycling clubs such as the Combine Winter Cycling Club. The Liverpool branch of the Cyclists' Touring Club also held their field day in the grounds of the old house.
Many of the buildings in this photograph survived into the 21st century, particularly the parade of shops on the right looking along Northenden Road. The shop in the foreground is on the corner of Hampson Street and was a pharmacy - a business that has remained here for generations. In recent times it was owned by John Hugall Ltd. The shops, along with Hampson Street, was a late 19th century development. The driver and conductor of the tram are posing for the photographer. It was the 49 service to Picadilly in Manchester. Ellen Lamb, a resident of Hampson Street, was sentenced to seven days' imprisonment for using bad language in her own house during the summer of 1908. However, she steadfastly informed the magistrates were exceeding their powers and the sentence was revised to a fine.
The women in this photograph are seemingly making a dash to get across the level crossing at Grimsargh, though there is nobody waiting to heave the gate across the road. The cyclists have whizzed along Long Sight Lane and have passed the Plough Inn which can be seen here on the left. Despite an agricultural inn sign, the Plough Inn enjoyed a little extra trade from the railway. Indeed, in the early years of the single-track Preston and Longridge Railway, the pub acted as the booking office. A dedicated railway station was built in 1870 when the line was run jointly by the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway and the London and North Western Railway. A sign on the stone-built Plough Inn is advertising 'home-brewed ales.' In 1900 the publican Ivor Davies advertised the Plough Inn as a cyclist's resort in the Preston Herald, along with promoting the 'prettiest situated bowling green in the district.' Ivor Davies had previously been a tenor in August Van Biene & Horace Lingard's Opera Company. Formerly of the Cemetery Road Hotel, it was Tom Brown who produced the home-brewed ales around the time of this photograph.
This view of Spring Gardens in Manchester was captured from the northern end of the thoroughfare close to the junction of Market Street. The large building in the distance was the General Post Office, a structure described by Nikolaus Pevsner as "a tremendous palazzaccio, like a Ministry building in Rome." Designed by the architect James Williams, the post office was constructed between 1881 and 1887 although part of the building was opened in 1884. This magnificent structure was pulled down in the 1960s. At the time of this photograph the Rainbow Hotel was operated by the Manchester Brewery Co. Ltd., a company based at the Britannia Brewery in Broadie Street at Ardwick. Their MB logo can be seen on the frontage of the building. The thoroughfare was named after the springs which provided a supply of water via a pipe network to the market place.
A photograph of the shop run by J. Stephenson in Blackburn, a shoe, boot and clogmaker who, according to the notices, used only the best English leather. He is stood on the doorstep with an apprentice perhaps? A sample of the leather is hung outside for potential buyers to check on the quality of the hide. The window display features a range of the shoes made on the premises. A sign above the entrance informs customers that the shop is closed at 13.00hrs on Thursdays.
Some members of Swinton Tennis Club gathered on the steps for this photograph taken around 1934. They are smartly-dressed and are sporting Oxford two-tone brogues. One of the group is playing a ukulele which is bringing a smile to their faces. The steps may be part of Swinton Old Hall which formed part of Victoria Park. The grounds were noted for tennis courts and bowling greens.