Castles in the Sky: Lost Architectural Projects of the Tameside Area

A potted look at lost Tameside’s construction projects missing in time

There are several reasons as to why many people choose to set up home in the Tameside area. One selling point is its proximity to the Peak District as well as Manchester city centre. By car it takes just as long to get to Buxton as it does to get to the intu Trafford Centre. Another factor may be house prices in comparison with other parts of Greater Manchester.

Continue reading “Castles in the Sky: Lost Architectural Projects of the Tameside Area”

The First 39 Tunes on Piccadilly Radio: A Past of the M60 Rebellious Mixtape Special

Ever wondered what the first ten tunes on Piccadilly Radio were? Your questions have been answered

On this day in history, Piccadilly Radio began broadcasting 44 years ago. The first voice on Piccadilly Radio was Roger Day. As for the first record, that was The Beach Boys’ Good Vibrations. What company may you ask had the first advert on Piccadilly Radio? It was the North Western Regional Gas Board. With the tagline “The North Loves Gas Best”.

Continue reading “The First 39 Tunes on Piccadilly Radio: A Past of the M60 Rebellious Mixtape Special”

Could You Spend a Week in Oldham?

Does Oldham and surrounding area have enough attractions for a week’s holiday?

This week, Northwest Tonight and its predecessor Look North West have celebrated its fiftieth birthday. Via social media channels, the BBC Archive has scoured the library for weird and wonderful regional clips.

Continue reading “Could You Spend a Week in Oldham?”

A History of Piccadilly Radio Jingles (Part Two): The Nineties

Another nostalgic look at the former radio station’s jingles

The 1990s was a seminal decade for Piccadilly’s two radio stations. It opened with an upsurge in Key 103’s fortunes and the transformation of its AM service as a golden oldies station. By the end of the decade, Key 103 was top dog among Greater Manchester’s radio listeners. Piccadilly Gold became Piccadilly Magic 1152 – later Magic 1152 and Key 2 in the 21st Century.

Continue reading “A History of Piccadilly Radio Jingles (Part Two): The Nineties”

The Stores That Tesco Ate: A Lost Precinct Not So Perfect Ten

A look at ten supermarket chains absorbed by Tesco since 1945

For social historians and retail commentators, the recent history of Tesco is peppered with twists and turns. Contemporary hagiographies focus on the store chain’s tax affairs, or their presence on our High Streets.

Much of the groundwork was set in the 1960s and 1970s thanks to Jack Cohen. After organic growth, the end of the 1950s onwards saw Tesco buying regional chains like Irwins and Hillards. Even so, their integration wasn’t all plain sailing: for example, outstanding debts; unsuitable sites; and planning issues. Its turning point came when Ian MacLaurin joined the Tesco board after being a management trainee. As Managing Director in 1977, he ditched the Green Shield stamps, a gimmick which only ten years before, drew shoppers to their stores.

The rest, they say, is your favourite humanities cliché. It set the store chain onto an upward trajectory. Stores grew in size as well as numbers: standard sized supermarkets; plus Extras, Metros and Expresses. Then global domination, and a loyalty card scheme that took the retail world by storm.

In our Lost Precinct Not So Perfect Ten, we look at the ten store chains that Tesco have acquired since 1945. Continue reading “The Stores That Tesco Ate: A Lost Precinct Not So Perfect Ten”

Ten Shops That Have Defined The Ladysmith Centre: Ashton Review of Shops Extra

An Ashton Review of Shops Extra Not So Perfect Ten

Ladysmith, Ashton-under-Lyne
Fifty years old: the Ladysmith Shopping Centre, Ashton-under-Lyne. This is the Warrington Street entrance. Photographed by Mikey in Easter 2015 (Creative Commons License: Attribution-Some Rights Reserved).

Back when the creator of East of the M60 was born, this entrance seen above was between two iconic stores: Marks and Spencer, and Woolworths. It was also the last weekend before VAT almost doubled from 8% to 15%. Warrington Street wouldn’t be pedestrianised till 1985, and the market ground had three roundabouts. A gigantic yellow-bricked hulk was under construction.

Continue reading “Ten Shops That Have Defined The Ladysmith Centre: Ashton Review of Shops Extra”

Eatymology: A Tea Potted History of the Superstore Café

Feast of the M60 looks at how the superstore café has evolved in the last fifty years

Please forgive me for taking a well trodden part for this introduction. In my formative years, the supermarket café seemed fairly exotic. Supermarkets, when I was young, were small, in town centre locations, and a bit chaotic. The edge of town supermarket with its vast car parking seemed otherworldly. Back then, the Fine Fare hypermarket in Hyde, Ashton’s original ASDA, and the Shopping Giant stores in Droylsden and Denton were notable exceptions. Continue reading “Eatymology: A Tea Potted History of the Superstore Café”

Reality Estates That The Heroes Got: 4. Primrose Bank and Crete Street Tower Blocks

Montrose House and Primrose House: Partington’s short lived twin towers, on opposite sides of Ashton Road

Montrose House, Oldham
Montrose House, Hathershaw: a black and white view of the tower block. Image © 1974 Paul Thorpe.

Throughout the United Kingdom, local authorities were given incentives to build taller tower blocks for slum clearance schemes. As well as heights, there were incentives to adopt experimental building systems. For example: Sectra, Bison, and Jespersen. As well as speeding up the slum clearance schemes, a lot of builders made a packet. Continue reading “Reality Estates That The Heroes Got: 4. Primrose Bank and Crete Street Tower Blocks”

1992: The Last Great Year of 8-Bit Computing

Remembering the commercial twilight era of the Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum, and Amstrad CPC

1992 was a strange yet eventful year in British home computing. The Sega Mega Drive rose in popularity, the NES was replaced by the 16-bit SNES in many homes. In Dear Old Blighty, there were two factors which delayed their supremacy (for another year at least). One was the recession. Another was the dominant home computer market. Former C64 users were just as likely to plump for an Amiga, which led to 1993 being some sort of a memorable year for Jay Miner’s wonder machine. The console may have been an extra, filed under ‘nice to have’. Continue reading “1992: The Last Great Year of 8-Bit Computing”

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