Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Manchester (Part 3 : Didsbury)

Didsbury in the south of the city is one of those places that turn out to be much more interesting than you think they are going to be. There is a lot of good information about the area on the civic society website www.didsburycivicsociety.org.uk.

The reason for the visit was the image of the clock tower spotted on the web.

The somewhat odd location of the tower, i.e. at the edge of the carriageway but not on the pavement in front of a row of retail premises, is explained by the fact that it was built outside of the railway station, which was closed in 1967 and demolished in the early 1980s. The trackbed behind the modern shops has now been brought back into use for the tram.

The clock tower was built as a memorial to Dr J Milson Rhodes (1847 - 1909) who carried out work for the poor, those suffering from TB, epileptics and probably many others - as the plaque says "a friend to humanity".

Just a few doors away is this small clock.

And a few doors further away, but this time on the opposite side of the road, is this much larger clock on The Crown pub.

Continuing south, a small diversion into Stenner Lane brings you to St James' church.

There has been a church on this site since at least 1236, but the oldest part of the current building is the west tower, dating from 1620. On which sits the clock.

Continuing along Wilmslow Road brings you past the cricket ground. From the road the pavilion clock could just be made out using full zoom.

And finally on to this curiosity - a large free-standing clock tower on the edge of the Tesco supermarket site on Kingsway / Parrs Wood Lane. This is certainly not a usual design for Tescos - where its stores do have clocks they are normally on the main building.

The lamps and railings along the Kingsway frontage also didn't look they belonged to a modern supermarket.

The answer to this mystery? Well a bit of digging revealed that the tower is all that remains of the Parrs Wood bus depot, which was built in 1926 and extended in 1932. The depot was used as a munitions factory during WWII, and finally closed as a bus depot in 1971. Demolition, with the exception of the tower, followed in about 1980.

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