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Griffin last won the day on October 22 2012

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  1. It's just had a fortune spent on it, but it's no longer a cinema or concert venue. Where commerce is involved, it seems the money can be found. I suppose it's famous as somewhere the Beatles appeared, but it's never quite scaled those heights since. For a number of years, I recall it was a seedy strip club. I used to walk past on my way to the Central Library after tea, and see the degenerates queueing up outside.
  2. Way to go Phyll! I can't believe how much of the folly has disappeared since I was small. To the benefit, I suspect, of rockeries in the neighbourhood. At the top of Shaley Brow, where you can park to walk to the beacon, there used to be a long stone wall at the beginning of the seventies, when I first drove up there. I saw it shrink bit by bit over the years, and now it's completely disappeared.
  3. I hadn't noticed that before. The folly was presumably constructed when the Ansdells had what's now called the Mansion House as their residence. It seems to be made up of copper slag and mortar, along with various gargoyles and things like that mermaid, which must have been salvaged from old buildings. As a child, I thought it was a real castle, before I ever got to see a proper one. Caernarvon was probably the first one I visited. The mermaid looks quite old. My guess would be Elizabethan or earlier. It would be interesting to know where it came from. I've seen a postcard image of the folly when it was still in good repair. It may have been on this site.
  4. It's unlikely. The line was at a potential of about 500 volts, so it wouldn't have been a good idea to come into contact with it. However, I read an excellent book called "A Silence of Trolleybuses," in which the author deals in some detail with the period of abandonment, and a number of accidents which added to the pressure for motor buses to replace trolleybuses. As an example, in Scotland, the metal globe came off the end of a boom and hit a boy on the head, injuring him fatally. In another incident, a bus dewired and fell down an embankment, causing some fatalities. St. Helens was famous in the trolleybus world because we had a unique device to stop buses which were too high going under Peasley Cross bridge. Engineers and enthusiasts used to come from all over the place to see it. Had there been an accident in St. Helens, it would have been well-known about, and surely been mentioned in that book. Incidentally, I imagine there were far more accidents involving motor buses than there ever were with trolleybuses. I can think of several fatal ones in St. Helens.
  5. Of course. Like Windleshaw, they may have had separate infant and junior schools. It does resemble a school of that era.
  6. Don't know how that happened. In the picture of the Providence, note how the software has interpreted the wall capstones as number plates and obscured them.
  7. I'll see what I can do. Sunday morning is probably the best time to do that without arousing suspicion.
  8. That might be the proper hall, converted into the use I mentioned. What I remember may have been something like the school canteen. It was prefabricated, probably from asbestos cement sheets or similar, and was in terrible condition. It would have been in the foreground of that Street View picture.
  9. My mother grew up in Windleshaw Road, moving to Greenfield Road in 1938. She remained friendly with a lady who'd lived opposite in Windleshaw Road, and had married a chap called Sid Hordley. Sid worked as a slaughterman. They had no electricity in the house, so washing was a problem. We had a washing machine. We had an excellent arrangement whereby Sid used to drop off a bundle of washing at our house late in the week. My mother would do it and parcel it up, and I'd take it round to Windleshaw Road on Saturday evening. In return for the washing, I'd pick up a huge bundle of meat - several pounds in weight. We never had to buy any meat for years. It was always top quality, although we took pot luck as to the cut. Once, we got fillet steak week after week, and I still can't face it. Anyway, the reason I mention this is that, at the time, Greenfield Road was lit by awful sodium lamps which changed the colour of everything. I used to love turning into Windleshaw Road and seeing the gas lights. It was so atmospheric, and a bit like going back in time even then. As you say, it was probably a bit earlier than I thought, but would certainly have been in the early sixties, because we had a television set by then. I recall the Windleshaw Road lights being replaced by electric ones, and it wasn't an improvement. The same with Swinburne Road, which was very atmospheric when still lit by gas. Some people reckon that the problem with electric light is that it reaches right into the corners, and drives all the mystery away.
  10. While I'm planning to take those photographs in the morning (hopefully while there are not many people about), is there anything else in town anybody wants a picture of?
  11. I'd always assumed it was called that because of the Masonic Hall, but the street was probably there before that was built. As Woden says, builders used ready-made ornamental features ordered from catalogues, going back as far as the 18th century. Phyll, it never occurred to me that the reason Google Street View is so unsatisfactory round there is because it's pedestrianised. You'd think they'd have a handheld unit to fill in such gaps on foot, but people would probably challenge them nowadays and demand to know what they're up to. The car just drives by and is gone. I'll try to get some close-ups of the Cotham heads in the morning, then see if I can remember my Photobucket log-in details to post them.
  12. Yes, I think someone said they were made by Varleys.
  13. Windleshaw Road retained gas lighting until well into the late sixties, I seem to remember. I also remember gas at the beginning of the seventies in the back streets around Peter Street. The big impetus to go over completely to electricity was, of course, the conversion to North Sea natural gas. Gas light fittings could be converted, and the few still in domestic use were, if the customers insisted, but I don't believe that any public ones in the streets were. However, there are still plenty of magnificent gas lights to be seen in London. The Royal Mews has gas lighting.
  14. No, the old church hall has gone. It was a really cheaply built, ramshackle temporary building fronting on to Corporation Street, which had long outlasted its sell-by date. In its place is Catapult Too, which is a development of small workshops which may be rented by people wishing to start some sort of business. These seem to be run by the council. I spoke to somebody who leases one, where he operates a business constructing hi-tech electronic medical equipment.
  15. My favourite TV programme.
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