Bishop Marshall’s First Head Boy

We moved from Longsight to Coledale Drive in Langley when I was about 7 (1954ish) It took us several hours to find the house as the bus stopped a mile from where we were to live. It was late November, dark and deep snow. We eventually asked a gentleman passing by if he knew where it was. ‘Yes’, he said, ‘That’s where I live. He took us to his house, introduced us to his family, gave us tea and then showed us our new home. The Wrights became good friends throughout the next 14 years. As kids, we used to play cricket in the street using a street light standard as a wicket. We had fields to roam around and a stream in which to catch sticklebacks and frogs. I started out at St Mary’s catholic school, joined the church choir. As there was no secondary school in Langley, for 2 years we were bussed to St Patrick’s Boys School in Sudell Street, Manchester. When Bishop Marshall Memorial School was built, I went there and became the school’s first Head Boy. I joined the North Manchester Cathedral Choir (Salford) and started playing and singing around the pubs in Bury, Middleton (Ring O’ Bells) Whitefield, MSG in Manchester and even ventured over the border to Todmorden. I was working as an apprentice precision engineer in Middleton.
Around 1968 we did a house swap and moved to Stevenage and lost touch.
The old houses have been demolished.

Pete C

A right bargain!

My Aunty Lynda and Terrence have lived next door for 53 years. They are the original people from when the house was built. She has lived there for that long that when she bought the house it was only £14,000!

L Ashton

Sheila

The estate was all new and clean. We thought we’d moved to the country! Not many houses were here at the time – they were building new houses all around us, I lived with my granny till we moved to Langley. My mam had a tow up and two down at Newton Heath, outside toilet, no bath and a very small sink in the kitchen.  Sheila T

Cath

I lived in Collyhurst and moved to Bowness road in 1964. OMG there was such a huge difference! From cobbled streets, back yards, no bath or toilet inside – we felt like we were in the country. Posh!

The first time I stepped inside Our Lady’s Church on Wood St I felt like I was walking into a Cathedral. 

It was so big and beautiful from the small underground church of Saint Malachys in Collyhurst – and then my sister had her wedding there! One of my best memories.

Back from the future: a poem by Robin Parker

This poem was written at an Overspill workshop led by poet John Lindley which the Langley Writers took part in in November 2019.

Back from the future

Eight immigrants,

Indigenous population absent,

Writing in refurbished

Community centre,

Heading for mists of history.

Riverside from Merseyside

Control Bowlee Park,

Control most of overspill.

Rest consisting of

Right to buy and

New private houses.

Bowlee Park Housing Association,

Sold to residents by

Dianne Oxbury,

In expensive video.

Estate saved by irony of

Sold-off council houses,

Refusing to allow

Bulldozers relentless progress.

Swathes of social destruction

Wreaked by absentee landlord,

It’s city starved by Thatcher.

Decay, decay, decay.

The lowest ebb.

Early nineties;

Middleton Central bye-election

Highlighting abject difference

Between Rochdale’s vibrant, occupied Hollins

And Manchester’s neglected Langley.

Far cry indeed from bustle of

The Folk on the Hill, where

Newly imposed residents,

Above town of Middleton,

Spilled into a new future,

Where Loach’s Stones Rained.

A film of mixed emotions

Of folk, poor in money

But rich in humour

Portraying, above all,

Community,

Community,

Community.

©Robin Parker