On Saturday 15 January 1977 Chris and I undertook the so-called Manchester Project; we travelled by car to Manchester to revisit the places we went to when we ran away from home in January 1965, and to record our recollections of that time.
We went first to Bolton. The first few recordings were made while travelling along the motorway to Bolton. I had with me “The Memoir of John” and was reading out extracts from it. First, I read my version of what happened at the police station, or “cop shop”, after we returned home in January 1965 (lines 282 to 324).
Chris recalled a second visit to the police station the following day, which I had forgotten about.
Chris: Don’t you remember that?
Chris: Well, when— After the Friday-afternoon incident in the cop shop that you’ve just mentioned, we all went home feeling a bit— you know, nobody believed us, it was all a big fiasco and such like. And I think we all prayed; and we had to go to the police station the following morning because our case, as far as the inspector was concerned, was unsettled, and he wanted us to be interviewed by the CID.
Chris: Yes— Don’t you remember?
John: I don’t remember that at all.
Chris: Oh yes— Because he kept— If you remember, he said to me, he’d not made his mind up what he was going to do with me at that stage. So he sent us packing, and we had to go back the following morning and see this CID chap. Well, all our parents went then, but— During the course of the night, you know—or that afternoon—my Dad had had a big change of heart; and my Mum came in to me early the following morning, being the Saturday, and said— I think, because my Dad was a bit hard and unpleasant—and he’d been angry, you know—I sort of thought this was as usual, that he was going to “get me” for this. And my Mum came in and said, “Your Dad believes this more than I do, and he’s gone to the police station to tell them that he wants to leave it at that—ask them not to do any more.” And we all went round there to the police station—we still had to go—and it was a CID chap, sat on the corner of a desk, and he was extremely friendly and explained that my Dad had been to see them, and had a talk to them more about what we’d been away for; and he seemed quite impressed, but more or less said, “Let’s have no more running away from home, though, eh?”
John: Oh, I seem to remember that, now: just that last thing that you said—
Chris: Yes, that the chap said more about—or discussed with us—more about what we’d done and what had happened than actually running away, and he just mentioned it at the end. And I remember, we all walked outside the cop shop—and there was your parents and my parents and Gooding’s, all stood chatting—and we were just left in the background then, I think. And everything seemed to be all right then.
John: Oh, that had slipped out of my mind completely.
I then read out to Chris my first experience of the Holy Spirit (lines 1 to 37) and Chris gave me his recollections of the experience he had in Whitsuntide, 1965.
Chris: I felt— Well, of course, I didn’t know anything much about it, only from what I’d heard and— I was convinced of its reality, of course, because one meeting we went to at Sharon soon afterwards, before this Whitsuntide, somebody actually spoke in tongues and spoke in, you know, “human”; a girl spoke in German and French, and it was quite distinguishable. I’ve never heard it since, actually—
John: No, I haven’t; it’s always been something unrecognisable.
Chris: It’s always been an unrecognisable tongue which you presume to be an angel’s tongue, you know, which is what they explain it as being, possibly. But I always remember hearing this girl stand up and start speaking—oh, it was definitely German—and then, again, she spoke in French. So I’d always been very convinced of its reality. Then Pastor got us to go into the back in this meeting—
John: Yes, I remember we went through the left door at the back into the—
Chris: We did, yes. —The back, like a schoolroom affair, wasn’t it, really. We sat in a line, on chairs. Do you remember?
John: Were the chairs all round the wall, and we—? Or were the chairs in the middle of the room?
Chris: No, they were in the middle of the room; I think there was just one long line of people sat there. And I think obviously I was a bit confused as to what would happen, or what I should do, and— (a similar experience to what you had, I suppose: sort of saying, “Praise the Lord!”, you know, and praying and such like)— Not knowing really what to do, I think I just sat there, and I closed my eyes. I think it was Pastor Williams who came along the line and prayed individually for each person and laid his hands on them. When he came to me he put his hands on my head, and I didn’t— I then felt a terrific power—
John: How would you describe it?
Chris: Well, it wasn’t the same as what you described it, I don’t think; I felt it more as a power. Well, it obviously made me start to praise God very loudly—I couldn’t control that any more—and eventually I started speaking in tongues. But it was a power that seemed to force my head back. And I remember, my eyes were closed, and I just seemed to be able to s— I daren’t open them. And it was as though there was a big light, and I couldn’t— Somehow I daren’t open my eyes; it was something that, if I’d opened my eyes it would be blinding, you know. I could see through my eyelids a fantastic light. And— This is how I saw it, anyway, you know; whether it was just the fact that I was looking at a light at the time—! But there was definitely this sort of power that seemed to push my head back, further and further, and I couldn’t fight it—it was like a sort of “resistance barrier”; I couldn’t fight against it, I seemed to be almost paralysed in that position. And eventually Pastor came round and led us out, didn’t he, and—
John: Yes, I remember that.
Chris: —I remember walking through the door with my head back; even then I couldn’t really seem to walk properly. You know, it was like a bit of a daze, and— being under the influence of something—well, obviously, you know.
John: I remember that we went out through the left door, and now you mention it I remember a line of chairs. Then it’s sort of blank; I can remember speaking in tongues, you know—or saying something that I don’t— in a different language from what I normally say— But the actual mechanics of how it happened, and the events that followed one another there, I just can’t remember. And then I remember going back and being led up to the front, and he was sort of— Pastor was quite amused by it—well, he was evidently pleased by it, put it that way. He says, “How does it feel, boys?” and I said, “Oh, it’s great, it’s great!” Then just after that we went back to our places; still in a very inebriated and excited state, we went back to our places. And I can remember Hazel and Pam being very amused by it.
Chris: Yes, there was a certain amount— I think we must have looked a bit funny when we came out—
John: —Sort of dazed!
Chris: I remember he asked me to tell the church what I’d experienced by it. And by this time he was in a very bouncy mood, you know; he used to get like this, and he used to say, “Ooh, I thought Jesus was coming!” He got to such a pitch! And he asked if there was anybody there who wasn’t saved—as a result of seeing this, you know.
John: Did he?
Chris: And I think one lady s— Somebody spoke up and said they weren’t. He more or less said, “What’s the matter with you, woman?”
John: He said that?
Chris: Yes. And I think she said— [Chris refers to a road sign:] It’s only twelve miles; that’s not bad, is it.
John: No, it’s pretty good. [Into the microphone:] Twelve miles to Bolton, folks!
Chris: And she said, “Oh, I’m not ready for it yet.” I don’t know what he said; he just sort of bounced up and down a bit, and— I can’t remember any more.
John: And then on the way home [i.e. to the Williamses’, not to our homes] I must have felt in my pocket for something, and found the fags there, and just tossed them aside with a nonchalant throwaway gesture into somebody’s front yard—and said, “Oh, I won’t be needing those any more!” Or, “We won’t be needing those any more!”
Chris: That’s right, yes.
I read out to Chris what I wrote about our first visit to the Full Gospel Church, Fleetwood (lines 357 to 384).
Line 375, mentions “another” who, along with Richard English, came and spoke to us afterwards. I suggested that it might have been Barry Hill; Chris had in mind someone else he thought it was, and was trying to put a name to him. He asked me who it was who used—
Chris: —to work with Maurice?
John: Oh, Ian—
Chris: Ian— “Whatever”.
John: Thin chap, got married to—
Chris: —Christine Brooks’s sister.
John: Yes. Well, I think Barry Hill joined us later, because this looked like an opportunity for “gospel fodder” that could not be passed up. So I think Barry Hill joined us a bit later—
Chris: Because they marvelled at the fact that we were, in fact, converted; they thought that we were, you know— Because they started asking us in a tactful way what we thought of it—so far—and what we thought of the meeting, and—
John: What I’ve got here is: They came and… asked us if we knew Jesus Christ. This worried me, as did the appeal that Pastor Smith had given for people to come and accept Jesus Christ as their Saviour: did I in fact know Jesus Christ as my Saviour? Peter, however, told him that we did, and they accepted us as Christians.
Chris: Yes. I can’t comment on that because I can’t remember much about it.
John: It’s funny, that. I remember—well, quite a lot of appeals, I used to “brick it” a bit.
Chris: Yes, I’ve experienced that.
John: And then, when I was put on the spot just there—“Do you know Jesus Christ?”—[I thought,] “Ah! Do I?” And Peter assured them that we did, so that was all right and I breathed a sigh of relief.
On the subject of these “appeals” in church meetings to accept Jesus Christ as Saviour, Chris said:
Chris: I had a bit of trouble, looking back to the time when we went back to Sharon and I put my hand up, in the— after the appeal.
John: Yes, I remember that. I remember that quite clearly, actually.
Chris: Yet I can’t remember exactly what the sermon was about, but I knew when the appeal was made this was what I had to do, this was for me. I suddenly felt— My hand shot up. But what worried me—
John: The fact that you put your hand up worried me a bit, because I didn’t put my hand up at the time; and I didn’t particularly have great assurance of salvation then.
Chris: No. What bothered me afterwards, looking back in retrospect, was that after that they didn’t—you know, like they do in most cases— I can’t remember exactly what happened. Because normally they take people out and have a word with them and pray with them, don’t they. But they didn’t do that there. I think they probably prayed—as they did last Sunday night at Cleethorpes with those two girls, in fact. They just prayed— he prayed with the whole meeting, didn’t he; he didn’t take them aside individually and—
John: You know how somebody went and spoke with them, though: was she sort of “planted” as a sort of counsellor to go over and speak to people who put their hand up?
Chris: It was Mrs. Wooffindin, wasn’t it.
John: Was it?
Chris: Old Mrs. Wooffindin, yes.
John: Oh, was that— I didn’t know that that was her.
Chris: Yes. We’re going to have to find somewhere to park soon.
John: We’re now in Bolton!
We parked the car in Bolton, and headed for the railway station. Chris remembered that it was a No.12 bus that we got from Bolton to Manchester (later, he thought it might have been a No.8); and in fact we passed a No.12 at a bus stop.
The bus stop wasn’t at its 1965 location, though, which was at a triangular “island” just off Crook Street opposite the Hick, Hargreaves & Company, Engineers factory.
From there we headed down Trinity Street for the railway station.
John: What did you say?
Chris: Where did we change? We got the train from Poulton. Did we change—? Oh, I thought we changed at Kirkham for some reason—
John: I can’t remember.
Chris: —either Kirkham or Preston. Must have been— I think we changed at Kirkham. Because it was a steam train at Poulton, wasn’t it. Did we travel on that train—? We arrived here by diesel train. I can’t remember that—
John: I can remember that the train that arrived at Bolton was a diesel one, because I can remember the shape of the ceiling, the curved shape of the ceiling, and looking at the little electric light bulbs studded in the ceiling. I also remember the rhythm— You see, I can picture it quite clearly—the diesel multiple unit—in my mind’s eye; I can remember, that as it went, “Do-do-do-dum, do-do-do-dum, do-do-do-dum!” I kept saying in my mind, “Chris will be cured, Chris will be cured, Chris will be cured!”
Chris: Well, it’s just that we’re not sure exactly where we changed; I know we got on a steam mail-train affair from Poulton—
John: I can’t remember that at all.
Chris: Oh, well, we either changed at Kirkham or Preston. Oh, well, never mind; it doesn’t really matter. It was one of the two. And we arrived here by diesel train.
John: Here at [for the benefit of the recording:] Bolton Trinity Street.
In Bolton Trinity Street railway station.
Chris: Now then, how has it changed? It’s much more open and airy, and it’s lighter. Of course, it was dark when we came, but I seem to remember it being—
John: Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha!
Chris: That would account for it! I seem to remember it being a bit more gloomy. Perhaps they’ve had a fresh coat of paint since 1965.
John: Yes, possibly; it’s changed colour.
Chris: It’s changed colour, yes.
John: So, what we would do, all three of us, we’d come up the steps from the platform, on to the bridge—
Loudspeaker: Ding, dong! Next train to arrive at platform two is the ten fifty-one to Manchester. To Manchester, next stop.
John: Thank you!
Chris: We can perhaps get a photo of this train coming in.
On the other side of Trinity Street from the station, looking northwards over the side of the railway bridge.
Chris: …arrived from Blackpool North.
John: Yes. Ooh, that was a bit of a run! Anyway, we’ve got a photograph of that train arriving from Blackpool to Manchester—to Bolton. The thing I remember most about the approach to Bolton, was the number of bridges that the train passes under.
Chris: That’s right, it does, doesn’t it. Several in fact: it comes past the gasworks, and there’s a series of bridges till it comes out here, over this junction: Bolton West.
John: This is Trinity Street here, is it?
Chris: This is Trinity Street, that runs down here, yes.
John: So we’d come out of the station. Which way would we turn?
Chris: I think we went that way—
John: —turned left from the station.
Chris: We turned left, because I know we ended up walking past the town hall. So shall we walk up in that direction?
John: Yes. And turning left from, well—
Chris: —from the station—
John: —from the station, ahead of us is Crook Street, the factory on the corner, and the little stand, which is now a car park, which would be the stand for the No.12 bus.
Chris: Yes, it was. The bus stops have all now been removed, because it’s been moved down the road here; but that was the bus terminus at the time.
Chris: We had a cup of coffee in Bolton, if you remember, where we wrote some [or, two] letters.
John: Yes, I can— That’s right, yes. We—
Chris: There was a coffee bar not far from— I think it was either in Bradshawgate or— Is the other one called Great Moor Street? We’ll have to find out; I can’t remember, but it was one of the main streets in the centre.
John: Yes. Because I remember knocking on doors, asking people if they had any paper, or pencils, or something, and—
Chris: Yes. We did that first, then, didn’t we.
John: Yes. But I suppose it’s impossible to retrace our steps there; I don’t even remotely remember what direction we headed for.
Chris: No, I can’t— Well, I think I know the direction; it was on— to the right of where we are now, behind the town centre; but it’s more than likely been demolished. I can’t recall the name of the street, or anything more than that.
John: Because I remember one woman came, in her cardigan, curlers and slippers—
Chris: I don’t remember this at all.
John: —and said, “Oh, me ’usband locks it away.”
Chris: I don’t remember that!
John: And then we knocked at another door, and this Polish bloke—
Chris: Yes, I remember this, yes.
John: —or eastern European bloke came, and said— We asked him if he had any paper; he says, “You want money?” “No, paper, paper!” “Oh, paper money!”—or words to that effect.
Chris: Yes, I remember that.
John: The town hall’s ahead of us, and we’re just turning into—
Chris: No, we want to go straight down here.
John: Oh, we’re going straight down to the town hall, crossing Great Moor Street.
John: Right, let’s go! [Sound of running.]
John: Now, this shopping area that we’re in, does strike me as being vaguely familiar—
Chris: —except that it’s been “precinctised” since we came, yes.
John: Oh yes. But I rem— I do remember going in a coffee bar; I couldn’t remember quite when. It must have—
Chris: It was after we’d managed to get some paper.
John: We wrote our notes home to reassure our parents that we were actually on a mission rather than just—
Chris: —an escapade.
John: —capriciously running away.
John: I don’t remember this statue with fountains here when we were first in Bolton.
Chris: I do. Yes, I do. I think the fountains were there as well.
John: This would be an actual road, would it, with traffic and stuff?
Chris: It was a road, yes; in fact there were buses used to park here, I think. But yes, definitely there were the fountains on that side; I think it was just a road that went straight through.
John: On the right side, yes.
Town hall clock striking—people—traffic noises.
John: Do you reckon that the original coffee bar is beyond recovery?
Chris: Well, let’s— It was in that direction, so let’s go and have a look.
John: Right! Down what street?
Chris: I can’t remember the name of this street. Can you see it somewhere?
[Chris’s words unintelligible.]
John: Oh, anyway—
Chris: Oh, I don’t know.
John: Let’s see if we can find it.
John: It is Deansgate, yes.
John: All I remember, really, is terraced houses; and we went down a couple of rows of them—it took us quite some time to get that paper. Because all I remember is terraced houses, and then vaguely those shops that I pointed out to you earlier, and being in a coffee bar writing letters—and that’s all I remember about Bolton. What do you recall? Anything special?
Chris: Roughly about the same— I can’t remember the location of the street, apart from that it was in this general direction. The coffee bar—
John: [referring to Chris’s mention of “the street”:] The coffee bar street?
John: Oh, the— where we knocked on the doors.
Chris: —the street where we eventually found somebody to give us some paper. I then remember the— this particular part, and the coffee bar was somewhere around here. I remember walking, trying to find the post office, to post the letters; and then making our way to find where the Manchester bus stop was.
John: [to locate the scene for the benefit of the tape recording:] Does that ball still go up and down? It looks stuck, doesn’t it.
Chris: Yes. I can’t tell.
John: If we’d gone from the station direct to the streets where— the residential district, would we have gone the same way that we’ve just gone this morning? To find this coffee bar, and the post office, and that?
Chris: No, not quite.
John: Did we actually pass the town hall and fountains, et cetera?
Chris: Oh, I think so, yes. I think we must have walked about a bit first; I don’t— I seem to— I’m sure that we came out of the station and came down Newport Street, as we have done now. But it’s a bit vague as to how we wandered into the back of the town to find somebody’s door to knock on.
Chris: I think we walked through the town centre in the same way as we just have done, but—
John: —the actual time—
Chris: —the chronology of it is a bit vague, really.
Chris: I think the coffee bar— I think we’ve lost that; I think it was somewhere around here, but I can’t see one now.
John: No. What street are we in? Any idea?
Chris: Bradshawgate, I think. Can you see a sign anywhere?
John: [identifying landmarks:] Yates’s Wine Lodge, the four-faced clock with a ball, the cross in the middle.
Chris: Well, I think we’ve more or less covered Bolton now; I think we should head towards Salford.
John: A bit of a non-event, really, wasn’t it, Bolton!—
Chris: Yes, a lot of it’s a bit vague.
John: —Not being able to recover the café, not being able to recover the str— Shall we—? Do you think we could drive through some old property and maybe get a photograph of somebody walking up to a door?
Chris: I suppose so. What, here, you mean?
Retracing our steps back to the car:
John: What’s that street down there, towards the town hall?
Chris: Newport Street.
John: Newport Street. That actually rings more bells for the coffee bar, the actual appearance of that street rings more bells for the coffee bar, than anywhere else for me.
Chris: Oh, it could have been down there.
John: Just the appearance of it: the wide-ish street, the low-ish buildings.
Chris: We’ll walk back that way and have a look, if you’d like.
John: All righty!
John: What time did the train come into Bolton station that night?
Chris: Ooh— Let’s try and think— It must have been—
John: Would it be ten-ish?
Chris: It would be before that, I think.
John: Would it?
Chris: I think it was about half-[past] eight, something like that. Because we spent quite a while wandering around here, and we got a bus into Manchester, and we were still— It wasn’t sort of midnight, was it, or anything like that.
John: Wasn’t it? I had the impression that when we were at the Granada studios in Manchester it was about midnight.
Chris: Oh no, I don’t think so; I think it was only about half-[past] ten then—eleven, perhaps. I could be wrong, but I don’t think it would have been that late, because we— It was only about half-past six when we set off, wasn’t it.
John: Yes, that’s right: our tryst was half-[past] six at Four Lane Ends, wasn’t it?
Chris: Yes, I think so.
John: Or was it six o’clock at Four Lane Ends?
Chris: One of the two. And I think it was only about half-past eight when we got to Bolton, having got to Poulton and got a train from there. Something like that. Right, shall we go to the station, then?
Near the town hall.
John: At T. L. Osborn’s meeting here, I— when he did the appeal, I— Oh, blimey, I’ve forgotten. Yes, yes! I actually put my hand up when he called out for people wishing to be saved, like.
Chris: Did you?
John: Yes. That was years after I got baptised in the Holy Spirit and everything. Not “years” after, about a year after.
Chris: I know you came— You’d been before—
John: And I’ve felt ashamed of my lapse of faith since then, but I did actually put my hand up and all that.
Chris: Did you?
John: It just shows you the emotional pressure of these appeals, doesn’t it.
Chris: Yes, well I found this. I think it is, because you’re put on the spot, as though you’ve got to “reckon up again”, more or less, haven’t you.
Chris: You know, it’s just the way that it’s put over, obviously you think the spea—
John: Your heart starts to pound, and they say this is the Holy Spirit speaking to you, which makes it even worse—
Chris: Yes. And you get very—
John: Where was T. L. Osborn? Was it—?
Chris: It was here, in the town hall.
John: Actually in that hall?
Chris: Yes. You’d been the night before, or a couple of nights before, hadn’t you, because you t—
John: I don’t remember that. How long was he there for?
Chris: A week, I think, wasn’t he, or a few days, anyway. And you’d been with your Dad and somebody else, in some van, hadn’t you—somebody’s van.
John: Ah, now then, there was—
Chris: And there was a back seat made up, wasn’t there.
John: Oh, what was her name? I quite liked her.
Chris: It was some girl who was sat— I know you t—
John: Valerie— Morning?
Chris: Could have been.
John: I know it’s all in here, in my script, about her.
Chris: Is it? Oh, I’ll have to have a look at that. There’s a coffee house there, but I bet it’s packed, don’t you?
John: Yes, I reckon it will be.
 It’s all in here, in my script, about her: Not, in fact, “all about her”; there are only a few lines in the cryptic Memoir of Yahweh-is-Gracious, where she is referred to by the name Strong.
In the coffee bar.
John: This is more or less equivalent to that coffee bar that we were in before. It captures the general atmosphere of coffee bars.
John: …if you like. Nice clinking of knives and forks— It’s a shame we haven’t got any letters— We should have got some letters to write to our parents, some postcards or something.
Chris: “Mr. and Mrs. Woodhead, 19 Ascot Road, Thornton, Blackpool. Dear Mum and Dad”—!
John: What did we write?
Chris: I can’t remember.
John: What did your note to Fido say? Well, Fido and Mrs. Fido! We’ll have to cut out all references to “Fido” if we make this tape public property! What did it say, can you remember?
Chris: I think you—
Voice: Say goodbye to “The Gemini Man”.
Child’s voice: Goodbye!
Chris and John: Goodbye!
Chris: You might not see me next time! “The Gemini Man!”
John: “Are you invisible?”
Chris: Not now, I’ve just come out for a cup of coffee!
John: —without wishing to be interfered with by small boys! Shall I turn this idiot thing off now?
The Gemini Man was a 1976 drama series. Sam Casey, played by Ben Murphy, is caught in an explosion which makes him invisible. By using a stabilizer in the form of a wrist watch, he can remain visible. By turning off this stabilizer, he can then become invisible again for short periods of time. Any more than fifteen minutes of invisibility will make him disappear entirely. He uses this invisibility as a secret agent.
Back outdoors again.
John: Ah, Trev-town We called it Trev-town on our visit here.
Chris: I think we did, didn’t we, yes. […] significant!
On the road, heading for Manchester.
John: Back in the car now, we attempt to pick up the route of the No.12 to take us into Manchester. Have you anything to say, Chris?
Chris: Not at the moment, I’m surrounded by large buses.
John: All right.
Chris: The road to Manchester now—the A666—is re-routed on that new by-pass road, so we don’t want to go that way; we’ll follow the signs through Farnworth, the way the bus still goes.
John: Across the railway bridge—
Chris: —and turn right.
John: Ah, you’ve got to turn left, though, now; didn’t it use to turn right, down this sort of ramp?
Chris: Yes, it did.
John: However, this very slight deviation from the route cannot be avoided.
John: I always imagined that ramp to be a lot higher than it is there. That red bus ahead, is that a No.12, do you think?
Chris: I don’t know. There are several Lancashire United buses round here that run to Bolton, Westhoughton, Wigan, Farnworth…
John: “Bolton Wanderers Football Club”.
Chris: I just saw that sign, “Little Lever—Radcliffe”; that’s where Rita used to go, isn’t it.
John: What, “Radcliffe Assembly”?
Chris: Yes. She used to have some close friends there, and she used to disappear from time to time and go to Radcliffe.
John: That was the ex-Stanley Smith church, was it?
Chris: Well yes, he was there, wasn’t he.
John: Yes. So what connection did Rita have with Radcliffe?
Chris: I don’t know. She had close friends, I think. [A few unintelligible words follow.]
John: Oh, yes. [Looking out of the window:] Oh yes, my sole experience of this, as far as I remember, is going under this bridge that we’re passing over.
Chris: Yes, Moses Gate. On the train.
John: Of course, I’ve been over it on the No.12, and whatever buses I’ve been on since.
Chris: Was it the No.12 bus—have we got this right?—or was it the No.8? Because there are two routes into Manchester from Bolton, the No.12 and the No.8. I thought it was the 12, didn’t you?
John: I can’t remember, to tell you the honest; it’d better be the No.12, considering we’ve taken several photographs.
Chris: I think it was, but I just saw a No.8 on this route, that was all, the one that just passed us going towards Bolton; and I just wondered if— Oh, I think we’ll scrub— Yes, I think we’ll assume it was the No.12.
Chris [with an exaggerated Lancashire accent]: Manchesturr!
John: Manchesturr! “Manchesturr, 6 miles”.
John: Was this the route that we took on the way back from Manchester?
Chris: Yes—because we headed— We walked out of Manchester, didn’t we, thumbing a lift. And we got a lift in a coal lorry—
John: That’s right, yes, I remember a lorry.
Chris: He dropped us off in Bolton, in Bradshawgate, where we were in—
John: Dropped us off where?
Chris: In Bradshawgate in Bolton, where we went to this morning. Do you remember when we were looking for that coffee bar, in that street, and you commented about that clock and the cross? That lorry dropped us off along there somewhere.
John: At the traffic lights, was it?
Chris: Yes, those traffic lights. So we went back that way.
John: Where did we pick up the lorry? It was somewhere al—
Chris: Very close to the centre of Manchester; we hadn’t walked very far out of Salford—maybe either just before or just past the Technical— the University, as it is now—
John: I see. No, we got a lift in a— Oh, no, we got that lift in a van after the lorry, didn’t we. I remember getting a lift in a van or a car.
Chris: Yes, we did. I think we got—
John: Was that before the lo—? Did the van drop us off in—? Oh, I can’t remember.
Chris: No, the—
John: The van was after the lorry, wasn’t it.
Chris: The van was on the way— from Bolton, on the way out. It took us almost to Chorley. Whittle— Whittle-le-Woods, is that this side of Chorley, or the other side? Oh, I don’t know, but we— The— Did we see the 180 before Chorley or after Chorley? Would it—?
John: I don’t remember.
Chris: No, I can’t, really.
John: Oh no, another 8 bus!
Chris: Oh dear, I reckon we’ve made a mistake.
John: Oh no! We’ll have to do this again next year and correct all our mistakes.
Chris: Yes. I wonder if that was the 8.
Chris: …When, coming— going back?
John: Yes, did we get a bus out of Manchester?
Chris: No, we started to thumb it from that— you know, from the centre, on this road out.
John: Oh, I was wondering if we got a bus to clear us of the actual city centre.
Chris: No, we didn’t; we started thumbing it on that— you know, just in Salford, when you come out over that bridge from the centre of Manchester, and you—there’s this old church there, or something—turn on to the— It is the A6 then, the road in Salford that leads past the University—we started thumbing along there. I think he stopped— We hadn’t been thumbing long; but he stopped fairly soon, as I remember.
John: We’ve just passed the Lancastrian Supper Bar, where— You tell them, Chris.
John: About the coach expeditions.
Chris: Oh yes! On any coach expeditions from Fleetwood to Manchester for any particular reason—church do’s—coaches used to frequently stop there, didn’t we, for fish and chips on the way back. Yes, we can see the city of Manchester looming up in front of us now, all the skyscrapers.
John: Ah! How awesome! How—
Chris: How majestic!
John: This is Eccles, just here, isn’t it?
John: Near enough Eccles. Yes, I remember coming along this route every morning—
Chris: Yes, because you stayed here, didn’t you.
John: Yes. —from Eccles into the University.
Chris: Monton. Monton, Eccles.
John: Monton, Eccles. And they were just building all this lot here, so— all these underpasses and things—I think. Oh, I remember this view very well. There’s a church, just— Sorry to distract you; can you see that blackened church there?
Chris: I can see it in the mirror, actually, yes.
John: Yes. Is that the one—? You mentioned a church earlier.
Chris: Oh no, it’s right in the centre.
John: Oh, I see. I’ve seen Salford College of Technology; the Chemistry building of the University appears on the left; a lot of other buildings that weren’t there when I was at Salford University.— It hasn’t changed a great deal.
Chris: That’s new, that bit, isn’t it. […]—
John: Oh, yes, the— And the building project.
Chris: Now this is getting more familiar here, isn’t it—
John: But that building, that red-brick building to the left there, was the Union building. Now, this is exactly the same: the Chemistry building; the art gallery, where there’s a mock-up of an ancient Victorian street and L. S. Lowry exhibition.
Chris: Oh yes?
John: The only difference is, that they’ve named these buildings—like that building that we’ve just passed—the big one—is the Maxwell Building.
Chris: Oh. Why?
John: Well, Maxwell was some great figure in physics. And then there’s the bow of the River Irrwell.
Chris: That’s the Irrwell, there.
John: Yes. I noticed we passed a bus stop that said “8”, “12”, etc., etc.
Chris: Which one—?
John: I don’t know!
Chris: [inaudible at first] …slipped up here, but I thought it was the 12 until I saw that—
John: Oh dear! Now this hasn’t changed at all.
Chris: This hasn’t, no. It’s very much the same.
Chris: …somewhere up here.
John: Yes, there’s a small church—
Chris: —through here somewhere.
John: —just on the other side of this girder bridge that we’re passing through. There it is!
Chris: This is it, yes.
John: Very ancient. I remember, yes, we started thumbing just after the traffic lights, didn’t we.
[Chris’s words unintelligible: perhaps something about finding a place to park.]
Chris: […] over here?
John: There should be something under the bridge.
Out of the car, now.
John: So in the morning, we got up at Camp Street, after that bloke and Grace had—
John: Yes, yes. What was that, “populated” or “copulated”? —And went into town, found a post office, and phoned “Carrot”.
John: Now— Didn’t somebody impersonate me? Didn’t you impersonate me? Because I was scared stiff of using phones, I didn’t like phones.
Chris: I can’t remember that, no. I don’t know whether one of us rang the number and got through for you.
John: I seem to remember that somebody impersonated me, said it was “John”, when Carrot answered—told him to pass the message on to “Mrs. Cooper”—
Chris: I can’t remember.
John: —or “me Mum”! Oh, I just thought I remembered it. Of course, I could be wrong.
Chris: I can’t recall that, no.
John: Did we write more letters home, or something? Or did we just let it go at that?
Chris: I think we let it go at that. We didn’t know Carrot’s number, so we went to the post office there to find the Preston Area directory, I imagine.
John: Yes. Oh, that’s right, yes. This is the bridge over the Irwell where I took that photograph, isn’t it?
Chris: No—the one further down there, I think. You can’t see over this one, can you.
John: Oh, this is the one that appears in the photograph—
Chris: —from the other one—
John: —where there’s a bus going across, a red one.
Chris: Yes, yes. So it would be taken from— This is Blackfriars Bridge…
John: “Hello, Mr. Harrop? Yes? It’s John here. Em— We’re all right. Tell me Mum not to worry!”
Chris: “Don’t worry, Mother!”
John: “And we’ll be back as soon as possible—when Chris has been cured!” I bet he wondered what the heck we were on about! He probably didn’t know we’d run away. And I didn’t explain myself too well.
Chris: I can’t remember what was said at all—or who spoke, for that matter!
We made our way towards Piccadilly Station, to see if we could find the transport café where he had had lunch after leaving Salford and making the phone call in Manchester to Mr. Harrop. On the way, we spoke about our first visit to the church Sharon.
John: Oh yes, it was marvellous, the— when we first went; and Pastor warned us off it a bit, you know, warned us of the— You know, he talked about people speaking in tongues, and—
Chris: Oh, he did give us—?
John: And it was all so strange and new and marvellous—
Chris: Yes, it was, wasn’t it—
John: And of course, as you were just saying, there were all these black people there, and—
Chris: Yes. There was a definite “intrigue”, wasn’t there, about the whole place, because it was a completely new sort of sphere of experience to us, wasn’t it. Well, not that— I know that the Christian experience is in itself, but being only—
John: And the fact that they called them “meetings” and not “services”—
Chris: Not “services”, yes—
John: Singing choruses and—
Chris: —Being what? fifteen, or only fourteen at the time, and coming to this new sphere of completely different kind of church life— Not that the actual message was strikingly different, perhaps, fundamentally, to what, say, the Methodist church was, but it was just that—
John: Now there I differ with you, because I’d never actually heard it— I’d never actually heard the word “saved” in the Methodist church. Mind you—
Chris: No, I don’t think I had; but I think if somebody had talked about “conversion” I would roughly know what it meant, but related it to the heathen, i.e. someone who’d never even heard of Christianity being converted to it—
John: But it struck me as being completely different from ordinary churches.
Chris: [Continuing his theme] —Or something not related to me, I suppose, thinking— the usual misconception of going to Sunday School, being brought up in a church-going home—it became unnecessary for you to do any more.
Chris: Now, where is it?
John: It’s there: the “Restaurant and Pizzeria”.
Chris: Oh that’s it.
Then we went to Albert Square. This is where, in January 1965 we had caught the 81 bus to Sharon. As we had waited for the bus, I had sat in a recess, or “hole”, in the wall of one of the buildings there, the branch of a building society.
Chris: They’ve moved the bus stop!
Chris: They’ve moved the bus stop!
John: Oh no! And the hole—!
Chris and John: The hole’s gone!
John: And look! Look across Albert Square! Look! There’s daylight! It’s all—
Chris: They’ve knocked that side down, completely!
John: Oh no!
Chris: Oh dear! But they’ve replaced the hole by new windows. I’m sure it used to be—
John: Hey, I’m glad I sat in the hole and had a photo taken! Oh, dear, dear!
Chris: Because the bus stop, of course, was here, wasn’t it. It’s now about— almost a hundred yards down the road.
John: They’ve ruined it
Chris: Oh dear! And I’m sure it was the Burnley Building Society here.
John: Ah well, it’s the Huddersfield now.
Chris: I must have been wrong.
John: Oh, what a tragedy! What a tragedy! It’s completely different.
Chris: Yes, isn’t it. There was a block here with a travel agency on it, and— That’s the only kind of shop I can remember; but it was on that block there that’s been knocked down. Of course, if you stand this way and look across Albert Square it’s the same, because the City Hall hasn’t changed.
Chris: Do you remember those very familiar red buses with the Manchester coat of arms on the side, with the motto Concilio et concilium and City of Manchester underneath?
John: Oh yes. Yes. Gone!
Chris: Gone! Manchester Exchange [railway station], it’s gone as well; it’s just a derelict car park now. And Manchester Central, which was not far from here, of course, was a very familiar place— And Lower Mosley Street bus station, of course, has been—
John: Oh, Lower Mo— Oh, I remember that well!
Chris: That was very, very important in the story. In fact, we ought to go there, really, just to see what’s left of it. Because, of course, they’ve moved the out-of-town coach station to Chorlton Street now. The old Lower Mosley Street [bus station] was extremely important in these escapades.
John: Indeed! Indeed it was!
Chris: In fact, perhaps we ought to have a little walk down there and see what’s happened, because the bus station and Central Station were adjacent and they’ve both been closed. They’re probably all car parks now.
John: Well yes, let’s have a walk down and—
Chris: Well, look! We can see it, we can see it— Oh, the roof of the station’s still up. Oh, look! All the windows and everything are broken. It’s derelict, isn’t it. Oh dear!
John: This is alarming!
Chris: This is tragic, of course, because it was— Oh, I bet it’s an NCP car-parking monstrosity.
John: Like Blackpool Central—
Chris: And Blackpool North, before they—
John: —à la 1964, though: Blackpool Central.
Chris: Ah, yes! It became a car park, didn’t it.
John: And “Blackpool North”, as you were just about to say.
Chris: Yes, when they knocked the whole canopy down at Blackpool North they made—
John: I’m afraid that chap can’t get down.
John: The Free Trade Hall… Do you remember that convention at the Free Trade Hall in 1965? I remember—
Chris: Yes. We came from Fleetwood on the C & H Coaches, didn’t we.
John: Yes. Did we stop at the chippy on the way back?
Chris: I think that was one of the incidents when we stopped at that chippy, yes. 46p, by the way, that car park—I misread it from back there—and it is NCP—
John: And I saw— I saw Ann Fenton there.
Chris: Did you?
Chris: Was I—? That was while I was—
John: This was in 1965.
Chris: Ah, no! You’re getting conf— Yes, we did come once, but— Oh, I’m getting— There were two occasions: the second time that we came was when I was living at Billericay; and I came up with Carol Bunch and her sister and— No, not her sister, somebody else: a girl—Andrea Green. We came up by coach, and met you there—didn’t we. That was another occasion—
John: Yes, but this original occasion: Audrey Wood was on the bus, dressed in a blue dress, I believe; and I rather fancied her—
Chris: Were you going out with her at this time?—
John: No. Oh, heck, no, I am getting [confused about events].
Chris: Don’t talk about it too much, this might hurt you!
John: I am getting— I am— Look at that! Look at the bus station. Or rather—
Chris: No, it was just down here. That was the block of—
John: Oh, you can still see a few remaining bits.
Chris: You used to be able to walk— You used to be able to walk through here, across the station forecourt, which is cobbled still, down some steps, on to Lower Mosley Street; and across the road was the bus station. Let’s see if we can still do that, shall we?
John: Tell you what, shall we get a photograph here?
Chris: Oh, NCP! Isn’t it out— awful!
John: Isn’t it outrageous!
Chris: Well, let’s have a photograph here, shall we.
John: All right. Do you want to get it with yours? It might turn out. [It was rather a dull day.]
Two shots or more have been taken on the same piece of film, but I can
nevertheless be made out standing before the NCP car park, with the
arched roof of the old Central Station building in the background.
Walking across the old Central Station forecourt.
Chris: [It must have been a Saturday morning when the coach set out from] Fleetwood, because we picked Trevor up at Kirkham station.
John: Yes. There was one when I was actually going out with Audrey, wasn’t there. And that’s when—
Chris: I think that was the one.
John: No, no! No, the original one, I saw Ann Fenton there, and she made various remarks. I don’t remember too well, because when I was going out with Audrey I saw Ann Fenton at Blackburn Assembly.
Chris: Did you?
John: Yes. And we had a talk— We went in the back room for typical church tea—you know, that weak stuff with the milk already in it in the teapot.
Chris: Oh, yes!
John: And there were wooden forms—
Chris: Oh, the steps are still here.
John: —And I remember, over the wooden forms, I had a word with Ann Fenton. But at the Free Trade Hall I did meet Ann Fenton; she said rather embarrassing things which I’m not going to put on record.
Chris: Why, because you were out with Audrey then, were you?
John: No, I hadn’t actually approached Audrey then, I don’t think.
[Standing at the top of the steps, looking down into the gateway.]
John: Oh, they’re locked up, these steps.
Chris: We don’t need to— We’ll walk down; we can see through the gates, can’t we. We’ll walk down.
[At the bottom of the steps, looking through the padlocked gate.]
John: Look, there’s a bus there!
Chris: Maybe it’s still used as a bus park.
John: Oh, isn’t it tragic!
Chris: Yes, it’s completely— completely ruined, of course! The buildings have gone; it’s just like a— a car park for private coaches or something now: a coach park.
John: Curse NCP! Curse them bitterly!
Chris: They’ve taken over round here, haven’t they! They’ve absolutely exploited these old Mancunian relics and turned them into car parks! This is absolutely outrageous! Look at it!
Chris: There used to be cafés across the road from the bus station, a little block. Are they still there? I can’t see from here— There’s still a sign that says “Snacks”—but it’s all sealed up, I think.
John: I remember once, I was at the bus station here, and there was this loony woman.
Chris: Was there?
John: Yes. And—do you remember?—you met a loony once, and you said—when you were in London—and you said to her, “You’re insane!” and she said, “No–I–am–not–insane!”
Chris: I didn’t say that. No, that was a report from John Yetton; he had an experience with one.
John: Oh, I’m sorry— Oh, I thought it was you.
Chris: I wouldn’t have the nerve to say such a thing.
John: Anyway, there was a loony woman in this bus station here, and I said to her, “You’re insane!” and she said, “[Untranscribable sounds of rage]!” So I ran then.
Chris: No, it was John Yetton. A friend of his and he were on a tube, or—that’s the usual place to congregate, with these loonies—and a chap was rambling on, and his friend said, “You’re insane!”, and he said, “No–I–am–not–insane!”
John: Oh, that was it. I got that wrong.
As we walk along, now, Chris quotes from John Nelson Parr:
Chris: How tragic!
John and Chris: How terrible!
Chris: In the words of the great Oracle: “They’ve destroyed
Chris and John: “Manchester!”
John: They have, haven’t they.
John: Yes, I remember, in 1967 when I was about to meet my cousin Mary, I was going to get a bus into Sheffield, but unfortunately it was full so I got—let me think—a bus into Manchester. And I remember walking round here; and I got a bus from the— No, I got a train— I got a train to Sheffield from here—is that right?
Chris: Yes, yes— There used to be trains that went from here to Sheffield Midland, while Victoria was still open, that ran via Stockport and Chinley; they run now via Chinley into Piccadilly—
John: It must have been from here, because when I couldn’t get the bus into—
Chris: Let’s cross over, shall we.
John: —into Sheffield from the Coliseum, I got a bus into Manchester, and I remember ending up here at Central Station—so I must have got one from Central Station into Sheffield. Because I arrived a bit earlier than the bus would have done—
Chris: Yes, you probably would.
John: And I only did it on spec; and then I went off to the bus station—
Chris: Yes, and met her there.
John: —Hotfooted it to— And met her there. She came round the corner of the bus shelter in her bronze foam-backed mac.
Chris: Did she!
Chris: More memories!
John: End of message!
Stationary, on the street corner outside the YMCA.
John: Yes, here’s the YMCA. [As the letters light up in sequence:] Y–M–C—
Chris and John: —A!
Chris: Yes. Well, it was on this corner we met Tom Bennett, wasn’t it.
John: So, Tom Bennett— Did Tom Bennett come walking quickly down Mount Street?
Chris: He must have come— He must have walked down here. I mean, we were stood on this corner, weren’t we—
John: —Said, “Excuse me! Can you tell me where we could find somewhere to stay for the night, some hotel?” we must have said.
Chris: Standing across the road from the Midland Hotel!
John: Well, yes. And he must have paused for a minute here, and [said], “Ah sure, you can come to my flat”—or words to that effect.
Chris: Something like that.
John: Southern Irish brogue, wasn’t it.
John: Which way did we walk from there? Across the road here and up there?
Chris: We walked through Albert Square, up through that street—I forget its name—on to Market Street, then over Blackfriars Bridge, and Blackfriars Road to where he lived.
On our way, walking again, towards the Granada building.
John: Yes, it’s at least a quarter of a mile to Granada, isn’t it, from YMCA.
John: I wish I had a cine with a zoom lens, and I could have stood at YMCA, panned in on that tower there with “Granada” on it— It doesn’t say “Granada” on it—
Chris: It doesn’t, no, but it’s down there.
John: Anyway, I could have panned in and then zoomed up right close to it.
Chris: It does say “Granada” on the building; you can just see it now, it’s not lit up, you see, and it’s in red letters.
John: Just imagine: three youths, cold, wet—
John: Walking the other way.
Chris: It was very windy; it wasn’t raining, but it was very windy, wasn’t it. Do you remember those big placards, shaking about in the wind? And we thought, Where on earth are we going to sleep tonight? We’re going to get blown away, or something.
John: No, I don’t, but it adds to the atmosphere, the general—
Chris: Yes, there were; down near Granada, there were some big— Go on, let’s get across. There were some big placards; and as we came away from the studios, not knowing where we were going to go to next, we walked up this street—would it be Cross Street, where the studios are?—and there were some— They must have been building this big building on the right hand side near— opposite— Can you see, beyond the Opera House? There were some big placards, and it was very windy, and they were shaking and banging in the wind.
John: No, I don’t remember that.
Chris: Don’t you? It added sort of a chilling effect to the prospects of finding somewhere to kip down, I think. Because we’d brought things in preparation, if the worse came to the worst, [for] sleeping in some derelict terraced house, or something like that. But of course, when we finally got here and the adventurous side of it had died down a bit, we thought we probably might have to do this, and it became a little bit less—
Chris: —attractive, yes.
John: Well, we’ve done it in reverse, but it’s all right.
Chris: Quay Street, isn’t it, not Cross Street.
John: Oh, Quay Street: now I remember that, now.
Chris: I do, now I see it.
John: [in order to show where we are:] Hey look! Billy Dainty and Ayesha are on at the Opera House.
Chris: Oh yes. “Cinderella”.
John: Yes, we’re actually doing everything in reverse now, aren’t we.
Chris: Yes, as far as the evening before is concerned, yes.
John: I wish I had a cine camera now.
John: In fact, next time we do that, we’ll bring my Dad along with his cine camera.
Chris: Yes, excellent! Yes.
John: And he can retrace the footsteps exactly. Because, with a cine camera, if you don’t do it in exactly the right order, you can easily cut it and put it back in the right order. Look at that! Granada TV—where it all started.
Chris: Where have I got “Cross Street” from? That must be something else that we— Cross Street, Manchester 4. Oh, I think that’s the Daily Telegraph’s office, isn’t it, or something daft like that. It must be familiar from something. This is Atherton Street, isn’t it, in Manchester 3.
John: Do you see those steps going up there [into the Granada building]?
Chris: Yes? We went up there.
John: Yes. But in my mind’s eye, I see them faced ninety degrees— ninety degrees to that.
Chris: Do you? Oh, I know what you mean, yes.
John: It just doesn’t look the same. I mean, it is the same, but it doesn’t look right.
Chris: Yes. Maybe the memory distorts things, doesn’t it.
John: It does indeed.
Two shots or more have been taken on the same piece of film, but I can nevertheless be made out standing before the front of the Granada Television building in Atherton Street. I had had the impression that the entrance was round the right-hand corner, in Quay Street.
Continuing to walk beyond the Granada building.
John: Did we walk under that dark railway bridge there?
Chris: I can’t remember, on our way up— Not on this journey, I don’t think.
John: We probably went rather indirectly through the centre of Manchester and— We were asking people where the Granada buildings were, weren’t we.
Chris: That’s right, because we were told it was in /ki:/ Street, and we— I imagined it /ki:/, spelled K–E–Y, until we found it and it was /ki:/, spelled Q–U–A–Y. So we must have asked somebody where it was, and they told us the name of the street.
John: Yes. Presumably we went up, say—
Chris: Probably Deansgate or Piccadilly, somewhere round there. And they said it was in /ki:/ street. Yes, that’s right.
Chris: Correction to previous statement: the Manchester motto is Concilio et labore; Concilio et concilium is the Lancashire coat of arms—or motto, I don’t…
We went back to the car, finding that it had been broken into by smashing a window.
After notifying the police, we continued on our way.
Chris: We’re on Blackfriars Road, Salford, which leads into Clowes Street, heading towards Camp Street.
John: Very good! One rather leaky car! I hope the photo turns out.
Chris: Yes, I do. Oh, this looks familiar; do you remember this bridge here?
Chris: Don’t you? Don’t you remember this walk along here?
John: Oh, now then—very vaguely.
Chris: Think! Think very hard! You should remember where we are now.
John: I can remember that it was a long, long, long way. [Looking out:] No.73 bus, to 73 Camp Street.
Chris: Yes, it was, wasn’t it, a 73 bus, which went to Whitfield— Whitefield. Where was that street, we just had the car broken into? Viaduct Street, wasn’t it. That’s a typical Mancunian name for a street, isn’t it; doesn’t Viaduct Street appear on Coronation Street?
John: Very probably. Did we walk back on the Saturday morning— on the Thursday morning, then?
Chris: Yes. We never bothered to get a bus at all; they told us which bus to get, but I think we, for some reason, just walked.
John: Yes— [Noting where we are:] Broughton Lane.
John: Typical Camp Street buildings, surrounding us.
Chris: Yes. We’re not very far now, are we.
Chris: This road turns round.
John: Is that Upper Camp Street?
John: Upper Camp Street, and left is Camp Street.
Chris: Yes, there we are!
John: Oh look! Look at the demolition, folks!
Chris: Oh. Well, let’s have a look; it’s not all demolished. 73, wasn’t it.
John: Yes. On the right side, was it?
John: Oh, got it! There!
John: I saw 83 then.
Chris: Oh. We can— Well, we can’t walk too far but—
[Sound of handbrake.]
John: One of these houses here.
Chris: My lock’s bust!
John: Oh dear!
Chris: So, I’ll have to get out your side. Yes, here we are.
John: Oh, seventy- —
John: Seventy-five; seventy-three— there it is!
Chris: This is it!
John: Oh— oh! That’s the one! Here it is! We’ll get one or two photographs here, eh?
Chris: Ah! I think we can walk round the back.
John: Yes. If you’ll just excuse me I’ll take a photograph of the front here.
John: …a watchdog. [Sound of barking.]
Chris: Ooh! Look at it!
John: What’s that, in 75?
Chris: Yes. Shall we get a photograph of—
John: Oh, he’s right at the top, look! Right on the top floor!
Chris: Yes, I know; I can see him. Yes. Shall we get a photograph of the sign Camp Street? Oh, no, it doesn’t matter—
John: Oh, look at this! Look at this, look at this! We’ve caught it just in time.
Chris: Yes, I think it would have been knocked down in about another six months.
John: Oh, I hope that photo turns out! Was it on the top floor?
John: I remember several flights of stairs.
Chris: Yes, the top floor.
John: Let’s have a look round the back—quickly, very briefly, I want to have—
We walk round the back of the building by way of a piece of empty, unused ground just beyond it.
Chris: […] walk round the back, didn’t we.
John: I beg your pardon! Oh yes, when— What, when we—? Was this empty in ’65?
Chris: Yes. You could walk round the back, because we walked— After we came back, we walked round the back, didn’t we.
John: And just whistled up to them?
John: That one where the light’s showing through?
John: Just a moment, I’ll get another photo.
John: …Right, ladies and gentlemen, we’ve just paid our last respects to 73, Camp Street, the three-storey building plus basement here—
Chris: —Salford 7.
John: —Salford 7, of course. Now this is the best bit, isn’t it, just now.
Chris: But we’ve got to get round to Chorlton Road yet.
John: Yes, we’ve just recaptured a lot of atmosphere here—
John: —if only the pictures turn out. Oh, I hope they do! It’s very dark.
Back on the road again.
John: Where now?
Chris: Well, we’re heading back now down Great Clowes Street, Salford, back towards central Manchester where we’re going to head for Chorlton Road.
On the road, travelling towards Sharon.
Chris: It’s vastly different round here, isn’t it. In fact, you can’t recognise where the old Stretford Road used to be, from where we’ve just come.
John: No, you certainly can’t. It’s completely different: all these flats and everything. That— It looks quite spa— It looks quite nice, the spaciousness just to the left.
Chris: Yes. Here’s Stretford Road. Well, that road, that comes from the centre of Manchester, which I thought we’d pick up, having come the way we’ve come— but we seem to have bypassed it somehow. Oh, it’s changed vastly, hasn’t it.
John: It certainly has. No more slums to wander about for an hour, from half-past three to half-past four.
Chris: No, there isn’t. It’s about the right time, it’s ten-past four, isn’t it, now.
John: Yes. Hey, we’re just about on time!
Chris: Aren’t we, yes.
John: Is it the—? It’s the—
Chris and John: —fourteenth of January—
Chris: We’re a day late, aren’t we.
Chris: Looking down here— It’s getting familiar now.
John: It is.
Chris: In fact, here we are.
John: “Borough of Stretford”. High-rise flats—telephone box! It’s there.
Chris: It’s there, look!
John: They’ve cleaned the church. And they’ve got a youth centre across the road—well, the road which was.
Chris: “Sharon Youth”.
John: Oh! Oh, how about that! Everything’s spanking clean and new; it was black when we first came here.
Outside the car now.
John: As I was saying, the notice board’s gone, where we saw the Pastors’ telephone number. But the phone box is still there.
Chris: Yes. Well, let’s have a photo of the telephone box and one of the church, shall we?
John: Yes. I’ll take the phone box, you take the church.
John: Right, how do you want to do it?
Chris: I’ll take you over the road […] the phone box, […].
John: No, I’ll take you over towards the phone box, because you made the original phone call.
Chris: OK, OK.
John: We used to walk behind the church among rows of old houses, didn’t we.
Chris: Yes. Do you want to take one of me outside the phone box?
Chris: With your camera or mine?
John: My camera will do.
Very poor photo: the phone-box is to the right, and across the road,
behind a passing bus, is the church Sharon.
Setting off again in the car.
John: The images of it just won’t stick in my mind at the moment. It’s great to be here: the actual real road surface we walked on! Look at all the netting on the building. But that, on the other side: it was all buildings, wasn’t it. It’s been made fairly pleasant. Those high-rise flats were there; but where the new houses are, behind them, those were all the slums that we wandered around for that hour.
Chris: Yes. All round here was slums, wasn’t it.
John: Yes. There was a church there, where those houses are.
Chris: Yes, there was, wasn’t there—Ayres Road.
John: Ayres Road.
Chris: Yes. This is Brooks’ Bar—the Whalley Hotel […].
John: The Imperial cinema with all the foreign films—
Chris: Yes. It still is, isn’t it. This has altered, hasn’t it: Brooks’ Bar.
John: Yes. The bogs are still there on that corner. The Whalley Hotel. [In Upper Chorlton Road:] And the— that church—that sort of “black” church, the New Testament Church of God—
Chris: Yes, with the spire chopped off.
John: —with the spire chopped off.
Chris: I wonder if Bracegirdle Motors are still down here. Do you remember them? It should be this one here. A Shell garage. Yes, “Bracegirdle Motors”.
John: Bracegirdle Motors. Oh, now this is exactly the same here. 69, Upper Chorlton Road. Do you want to just nip out, take a photo and—? Or is it—? It’s much too dark, isn’t it.
Chris: No, it’s—
John: Do you want me to […]?…
[Sound of handbrake.]
John: Can I just nip out and take a couple of shots?
Chris: Yes. […] my camera […].
John: Right, let’s be off quick!
John: Do you think they’ve seen us taking a picture of 69 Upper Chorlton Road?
Chris: Well, I don’t think they knew that we were taking a photograph of that house, because we just took one of you at an angle, didn’t we. The chap was looking, though, and— We might have got one with it—you know, more obviously in, but never mind.
John: Which was the room that we slept in? Was it that front room?
Chris: Yes. Upstairs, wasn’t it.
John: And then the room that you were prayed for in, was that one facing the road there, wasn’t it.
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