Leyland Titan, Trans-Lancs Vehicle Rally, 2013.

Bus Boarding Beats: A Brief Look at Sounds In Motion

Do you remember when background music on buses was a thing?

In the last 40 years, bus operators across the UK have tried to find creative ways of making local bus routes pay. Route branding with dedicated liveries is one answer, positioning everyday bus routes as product lines in their own right. Another answer is advertising. Initially done by local contractors, most of today’s on-bus advertising space is managed by Global. Yes, the owners of countless commercial radio stations like LBC, as well as outdoor poster sites.

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The Lost Hypermarket: An A to Z of Long Lost Brands

Lost items from our supermarket shelves

If you have spent more than four decades on this planet, you will have seen many shops go the way of dinosaurs. Not a single day goes by without there being a “Do You Remember the Woolworths Pick and Mix” counter or “School Puddings” meme. I have yet to see a single Book of Face post with cosy memories of swallowing Liqufruta if you have an irksome cough. Or a meme that says “Do you remember gargling with TCP?”

Over the last four decades, there has been a fair few foodstuffs that have gone the way of the dinosaurs, Transatlantic flights from Prestwick Airport, and the 400 Trans-Lancs Express bus route. Some of which have been discontinued due to abject unpopularity, corporate decisions or adverse publicity.

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Class 142, Newton Heath depot

Ten Things That Millennials Never Enjoyed About Train Travel: The Not So Perfect Ten

Ten things about British rail travel that people born after 1980 never had the chance to enjoy or endure

For many passengers, today’s trains are shiny and efficient beasts. Some might say they are a little devoid of character. Sometimes they look scruffy or sport garish liveries.

In the space of forty years, the joys of British rail travel has changed beyond recognition. Besides preserved railways, today’s trains look more like buses or aeroplanes. There are some that look exactly like buses that are due to cease operation this year.

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"Put the needle on the record..."

(Do You Remember) Needle Time?

Past of the M60 looks at the long forgotten practice of needle time

If you have a few records, CDs and cassettes in your collection, you may have come across this notice:

“Unauthorised public performance or broadcasting of this record is strictly prohibited.”

Today, this notice or the like refers to the public performance of any recorded music in a public place. If your employer or local hairdressers has BBC Radio Two on in the background, they need to get a licence from the Performing Rights’ Society (PRS). From PRS licences, some part of the money goes towards musicians’ royalties.

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Lucky Ladders screen grab (19 April 1991).

Crosswits, Coffee and Biscuits: Daytime on ITV, Late 1980s Style

Who remembers when morning daytime TV on ITV meant Crosswits instead of people at their wits end?

The 07 September 1987 was a seminal date in Independent Television’s history. Before then, all ITV franchisees from 9.25 am carried schools programming. Instead of The Jeremy Kyle Show or This Morning, viewers tuning into Granada or Central (other franchise holders were available) were treated to How We Used to Live, Middle English, or Stop, Look, Listen.

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Red Star Parcels totem, Guildford (image by Andrew Bowden, 2011).

Red Star: When Parcels by Rail Were Faster By Far

Who remembers Red Star Parcels when you could send your worldly goods by train?

Once upon a time, not so long ago, we used to deliver a lot of our post by rail. Before the late 1980s, our newspapers came by train. Such was the importance of Travelling Post Office trains, mail trains used to have priority above all other trains at the signal box. Both our newspapers and post rely on road transport, a retrograde step given present-day environmental concerns.

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Long Forgotten Microcomputers: A Past of the M60 Not So Perfect Ten

Thought the 1980s computer age was all about ZX Spectrums and Commodore 64s? Think again.

As with many hagiographies, history is always defined by the winners. In home computing, the ultimate victors were IBM compatible PCs – ultimately today’s Windows 10 PCs. Today, their role in history could be wiped out by tablets and smartphones.

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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”.

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Some Kind of Wonderfuel: Publicly Owned Gas and Electricity in Tameside

When NORWEB and North West Gas was king

If you were born some time before 1985, a common feature of our High Streets was the gas and electric showrooms. They were the public face of our gas and electricity boards, nationalised and consolidated upon in 1948 and 1949. At one time they belonged to us, rather than a clutch of investment banks and overseas subsidiaries. Continue reading “Some Kind of Wonderfuel: Publicly Owned Gas and Electricity in Tameside”

Nothing Over Sixpence: A Potted History of Discount Stores in Tameside

From the Penny Bazaar to Bargain Buys

Hard to believe this was a discount store in the 1980s; this was the one time home of Barlins Bargains, off Cavendish Street, Ashton-under-Lyne.

In the last week, it was revealed that TESCO was losing ground to the likes of Aldi and Lidl. Some bad figures have also affected Morrisons, which is probably losing custom to both the bottom end and the top end of the grocery market.

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