Thursday 3 July 2014

What's In Your Brew Can?

As a lad I went with my Dad to his work at Mother's Pride Bakery. The work's canteen left such a lasting impression on me, noise, smoke, chat, laughter, howls, hands of curled cards, linoleum topped tables, clatter of chairs, steaming mugs of tea, straight from a huge urn, as it comes, deep dark brown, milk and sugar not optional, catering loaves toasted and buttered, piled high to the rafters. 


Later on, in my life as a BR goods guard, tea and butties were often as not taken on the hoof. An enamel brew can essential to any movable feast. Though the mess room, brew hut and brake van, provided some rude shelter, heat and hot water.

These images from the Museum of Transport - Greater Manchester mark and record that great institution the bus canteen and the lives of working people.

Never leave home without the makings of a brew, what's in your brew can?

Friday 27 June 2014

Concerning Conductresses

During the Second World War, Manchester Corporation Transport along with most other bus companies employed female staff as crew, particularly as conductors. These images from the archive of The Museum of Transport - Greater Manchester the confidence, fellowship and √©lan that they brought to the service. Standing as lasting testament to the importance of the lives of working women. 

At the end of the war many were summarily dismissed.

Now we don't have any conductors at all.

Tuesday 24 June 2014

The Bus Stop Starts Here

To begin at the beginning, on the 12th May 1832 passenger vehicles are first allowed, by Act of Parliament to stop at the kerbside. The growth in passenger transport and the need for intermediate routes and stops, between the new railway stations, industrial cities and suburbs heralds the birth of the bus stop. And in 1890, the bus shelter, its primary function to provide rest and respite from the elements for the weary traveller.
By no means a mere mean refuge, it was adopted and adapted to become boudoir, bordello, immobile disco, inferno, urinal, Lambrini shebeen - a truly contemporary temporary home. Our country cousins huddle inside the comforting vernacular, half-timbered, waney lapped, clapboarded and stone clad. The city dweller is quickly encased in the new materials of the industrial age, cast iron, glass, concrete, galvanised steel and aluminium sheeting. Their design is rational, utilitarian, functional and modern. 

The bus stops here

Prefabricated Concrete shelter, a rare survivor. Situated at Heyrod in the Tame Valley, built to serve the workers at the nearby Hartshead Power Station, which was demolished in the late 1980s.

JCDecaux supply and maintain the majority of Manchester's bus shelters, and to much of the UK, they also operate in 55 other countries. They are by no means immune to the street interventionist, undermining their corporate sheen.

Another vernacular anachronism, this cast Chester survivor seems to have assimilated and shed several layers of paint applications in its life.

Early Christmas Morning in Ribchester Lancashire, the sun rising across frosty fields to illuminate this David Mellor designed Abacus shelter.

Close to my home on Didsbury Road Stockport, this imaginative reimagining, further confounds the homogeneity of JCDecaux's cultural imperialism.

From the outset it seemed clear that a transparent bus shelter was a boon, from the outset the onset of destructive forces, would ensure that one would often queue ankle deep in shattered  glass. Long suffering Mr JC was contracted to repair the shelter within 24 hours, which he dutifully did. Finally surrendering a glassy global aesthetic, in favour of this functional metal shuttering.

Along with ghosts and forgotten memories this shelter contains an arcane and archaic noticeboard, for a civic theatre that no longer shows shows, in a now non-existent Bredbury & Romiley U.D.C.

In the nether never lands of Bredbury, between Renolds Chains and the former Sunblest Bakery stands this resolute brick shelter. Once upon a time the majority of workers would have use their bikes or public transport to journey to their travails - now it stands largely unused as the cars quickly pass by, averting their guilty gaze.

Deep in Audenshaw Greater Manchester, sitting beneath the retaining banks and stone wall of the Audenshaw Reservoirs sits this delightful anachronism. Stone built, slate roofed glazed brick interior, tastefully lit by three frosted glass window panes. An interesting amalgam of Waterworks Vernacular and local transport needs.