31 May 2013

Edgar Wood in Middleton

A Middleton heritage trail leaflet suggests that St Leonards Church is the oldest building in the Manchester diocese, and that this is one of only three churches in the country with a wooden steeple.
This impressive structure is Middleton-born architect Edgar Wood's Exedra, built in 1906 and a link between the parish church and Jubilee Park. Alderman Thomas Broadbent Wood, the architect's father, commissioned his son to build it.

'WHO WORKS NOT FOR HIS FELLOWS STARVES HIS SOUL;
HIS THOUGHTS GROW POOR AND DWINDLE AND HIS HEART
GRUDGES EACH BEAT, AS MISERS DO A DOLE.'

I've retained the original three-line structure. These words are from Rose's Diary (1850) by Nottingham-born poet Henry Septimus Sutton (1825–1901), who moved to Manchester in 1850.
On the corner of Cleworth Road and Rochdale Road:

'EDGAR
WOOD
ARCHITECT
(1860–1935)
FENCEGATE AND REDCROFT
WOOD'S HOME
FROM 1895 TO 1916
GRADE II
LISTED BUILDING'

Closer to the centre of Middleton is the Manchester and Salford Bank, built in 1892 and also a Grade II building. There are several other of Wood's works in the town, including the fine but modest gravestone of his friend the artist Frederick William Jackson (1859–1918), who was buried in Middleton New Cemetery. As I wasn't aware of this at the time though, I shall have to seek it out on my next visit to Middleton.

My other post related to Edgar Wood:
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Edgar Wood in Victoria Park

Jim Allen in Middleton

Middleton Library in Long Street, largely obscured by spring blossom.

On the wall by the entrance to the library:

'JIM ALLEN
1926–1999
 
MIDDLETON WRITER AND PLAYWRIGHT
WAS SELF-TAUGHT IN THIS AND
OTHER LIBRARIES
 
"MY ONLY REGRET WHEN I DIE
WILL BE THE BOOKS
I HAVE NOT READ"'
 
Jim Allen once worked in Bradford colliery, Manchester, before turning to writing as a career. He is most noted for his collaboration with Ken Loach, and his later work included writing the scripts for Loach's Hidden Agenda (1990), Raining Stones (1993),* and Land and Freedom (1995).
 
*Although unnamed in the movie, Raining Stones was filmed in Middleton, mainly on the Langley Estate.

30 May 2013

Samuel Bamford in Middleton

Samuel Bamford's memorial stone in the memorial gardens near the corner of Spring Gardens and Cheapside, Middleton.
 
'Tablet
removed
from
No. 61 Union St.
which stood
on this site
until 1963'
 
'SAMUEL BAMFORD
REFORMER RESIDED
& WAS ARRESTED IN
THIS HOUSE AVG 26 1819'
 
This plaque is a short distance away at the east end of New Lane:
 
'PETERLOO DEMONSTRATION
16 AUGUST 1819
THE MIDDLETON CONTINGENT CONGREGATED HERE
ON BARROWFIELDS AND MARCHED TO ST. PETER'S
FIELD IN MANCHESTER LED BY SAM BAMFORD.
THE MEETING, POPULARLY KNOWN AS THE
"PETERLOO MASSACRE", WAS IN SUPPORT
OF THE VOTE FOR THE WORKING
CLASSES. 16 MIDDLETON PEOPLE
WERE INJURED.'
 
A red plaque on the wall of the Radisson Hotel (formerly the Free Trade Hall) in Peter Street, Manchester, records the broader picture:
 
'ST. PETER'S FIELDS
THE PETERLOO MASSACRE
 
On 16th August 1819 a peaceful rally
of 60,000 pro-democracy reformers,
men, women, and children,
were attacked by armed cavalry
resulting in 15 deaths and
over 600 injuries.'
 
Bamford is said to have used this pub for drinking and reciting poetry.
 
That sign really is as crooked as it looks: the Olde Boar's Head is reputed to date from 1587. Bamford mentions in his autobiography that the pub used to have a room called the 'thrashing-bay', where fights took place.
 
Bamford's obelisk is highly conspicuous in the nearby cemetery.
 
 
'SAMUEL BAMFORD
BORN 28TH FEBRUARY 1788
DIED 13TH APRIL 1872'
 
'AN EARLY ADVOCATE
OF
CIVIL & RELIGIOUS LIBERTY,
FREE TRADE
AND
PARLIAMENTARY REFORM.
––––––––––––
AUTHOR
OF
"PASSAGES IN THE LIFE OF A RADICAL"
AND
OTHER WORKS
IN
PROSE AND VERSE.'
 
'ERECTED
BY PUBLIC SUBSCRIPTION
IN THIS
HIS NATIVE TOWN,
1877.
––––––
"Bamford was a Reformer
when to be so was unsafe, and
he suffered for his faith."
                                                                                              JOHN BRIGHT
 
–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
Samuel Bamford in Stockport

Howard Spring in Didsbury

26 Hesketh Avenue, Didsbury, Manchester.
 
'ROBERT HOWARD SPRING
(1889–1965)
JOURNALIST AND NOVELIST
LIVED HERE
(1920–1931)'
 
Spring was working for the Manchester Guardian when he lived here, and his editor was C. P. Scott. In 1931 he accepted a post as book reviewer for the Evening Standard in London. His first novel, Shabby Tiger (1934), was set in Manchester.

Southern Cemetery #6: John and Enriqueta Rylands

 
'John Rylands
of Manchester.
Born 7. Feb. 1801. Died 11. Dec. 1888.
In Living Memory.'
 

John Rylands's grave is the largest in Southern Cemetery, although the metal enclosure has been removed. Rylands was a rich Manchester textile merchant and philanthropist who lived at Longford Hall, Stretford, from 1857.

'Enriqueta Augustina
 Rylands
of Manchester.
Born 31. May. 1843. Died 4. Feb. 1908.
In Loving Memory.'
 
Enriqueta was John's third wife and his chief heir and executor. She founded the neo-Gothic John Rylands Library in Deansgate, Manchester, as a memorial to her husband. It was designed by Basil Champneys and was opened to the public in 1900.

My other posts on Southern Cemetery graves:

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
The Manchester Sound
L. S. Lowry
Maria Pawlikowska–Jasnorzewska
David Martin
George Ghita Ionescu
John Cassidy
Jerome Caminada
George Freemantle
Leo Grindon and Rosa Grindon
Eric Thompson

Southern Cemetery #5: George Ghita Ionescu

'In Loving
Memory of
VALENCE R. de BOIS
IONESCU
2nd SEPT 1917–
12TH MARCH 1996
AND
GEORGE GHITA
IONESCU
21st MARCH 1913–
28th JUNE 1996'
 
Ghita Ionescu was a political scientist of Romanian origin who emigrated after the Soviet invasion in 1947. His most interesting work, perhaps, is Politics and the Pursuit of Happiness (1984), written after his retirement from Manchester University.

My other posts on Southern Cemetery graves:

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
The Manchester Sound
L. S. Lowry
Maria Pawlikowska–Jasnorzewska
David Martin
John and Enriqueta Rylands
John Cassidy
Jerome Caminada
George Freemantle
Leo Grindon and Rosa Grindon
Eric Thompson

29 May 2013

Emmanuel Carrère: Un roman russe (2007)

Un roman russe is translated literally in the English (but not the American) edition as A Russian Novel, although it's largely autobiographical, representing just two years in Emmanuel Carrère's life. However, lives other than his are involved here, and the book begins with a small film crew (of which Carrère is the director) being sent out to Kotelnich (no second 't' in English), a depressing Russian town 500 miles east of Moscow.

The original intention was to make a film about András Toma, a Hungarian soldier captured by Red Guards who spent fifty-five years imprisoned in Russia, the last fifty-two of them in a psychiatric hospital in Kotelnich: somehow, Toma had been forgotten over the years and was declared dead in the 1950s. However, there is not enough material for a feature film and the crew go back to France. But Carrère and crew later return to Kotelnich to make the film Retour à Kotelnitch (2003), and Un roman russe is in part about the making of this film. (The original film about Toma became a bonus short on the DVD called Le Soldat perdu ('The Lost Soldier')).

So we have a story about Carrère which begins as a story about Toma, although that (much like the film) really turns out to be a kind of false start, or maybe an excuse for a new beginning. But why does Emmanuel return to this hole? He's not too certain, although as a kind of therapy he's working on a dark part of his family history that has hitherto remained a secret that his mother Hélène Carrère d'Encausse wants to keep buried until her death: her father Georges Zourabichvili, a Georgian refugee, 'disappeared' after collaborating with the Nazis in World War II. Perhaps Kotelnich is where the disappeared go, or more likely perhaps Carrère can find a psychological gravestone for his grandfather, can exorcise his demons.

Emmanuel's demons, though, are often self-created and he has strong self-destructive impulses. The book is also a kind of love story, involving the fraught relationship between Emmanuel with his partner Sophie. And here we come to one of the central issues, because Sophie, who works for a children's publisher, is of a lower class than Emmanuel, who is proud of displaying her beauty to friends, but ashamed, for instance, of the fact that on hearing about the merits of Saul Bellow, she writes herself a reminder to read some 'Solbello'. Emmanuel is egotistical: the couple's life revolves around his whims, whereas Sophie's wishes come a low second and she is unsure of her position in the relationship. It is perhaps not too surprising that (on one of Emmanuel's several long trips away) she takes a lover as a kind of emotional insurance policy: and of course it is no surprise that Emmanuel finds her infidelity wholly unacceptable, even though he adheres to the age-old double standard and has had a brief affair with a young woman himself.

Partly to attempt to patch up the flagging relationship, Emmanuel (before discovering Sophie's infidelity) writes a short story which is published in Le Monde, and which amounts to a long erotic (some might say pornographic) love letter which is – in keeping with Emmanuel's dominant character – almost in the form of an instruction manual. It uses explicit language that shocked many people and annoyed some writers, Philippe Sollers being a notable example.

Some readers might admire Carrère for, as it were, laying himself bare, for exposing his faults for all to see, while others might find him heartless and self-centred for revealing the skeleton in the family cupboard and causing his mother (a highly respected public figure) considerable discomfort. He writes directly to his mother at the end of the book and says that it's better that he uses this form of psychotherapy if it prevents him from killing himself. But doesn't that sound slightly like emotional blackmail?

I wasn't troubled by the multiple narrative threads in the book, nor by its start-stop nature, and in many respects I found this an enthraling read. But the protagonist isn't a sympathetic character at all: he is a weak, unstable person, much like a spoilt child with little emotional maturity and very little regard for anyone but himself.

Below is a link to the short story published in Le Monde and called L'Usage du Monde: this is also the title of Nicolas Bouvier's 1963 book that was translated as The Way of the World. There are also a links to other book comments by the author that I've made.

 
–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
L'Usage du Monde, by Emmanuel Carrère
Emmanuel Carrère: D'autres vie que la mienne | Lives Other than My Own
Emmanuel Carrère: La Classe de neige
Emmanuel Carrère: La Moustache | The Mustache

Southern Cemetery #4: David Martin

Among the many graves in Southern Cemetery this must be one of the strangest, and if an English equivalent of André Blavier's Les Fous littéraires existed it would surely merit a place in it. David Martin was a labourer and amateur scientist who was convinced that Leibnitz was right and Newton wrong, and that the world had been following the wrong person for three hundred years. However, the media wouldn't listen to him. He therefore resolved to self-publish in a poem his belief that gravity does not exist. The gravestone was prepared more than ten years before his death in 2010.

'Space

After 76 voyages around the sun, I am ready
to assert that space is not inert.
The world through space does not go.
Space carries the world to and fro.
It is the conveyer of our sphere. Be of
good cheer. The truth at last is here.
Let it be said "Gravity is dead." "Newton
was mad." "The people have been had."
God can make a tree – but not gravity.
With smooth effortless grace the super fluid
called space carries our world apace.
We pay no heed to our 20 miles per
second speed because super fluid engineering
at Nature's best makes perpetual
motion seem like rest. With hot stars
and our sun burning and churning,
space is alive and pulsating with energy electrified.

In a whirlpool of space our world
plays its part 93 million miles away
from the sun's boiling bubbling heart.


         David Martin'

My other posts on Southern Cemetery graves:

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
The Manchester Sound
L. S. Lowry
Maria Pawlikowska–Jasnorzewska George Ghita Ionescu
John and Enriqueta Rylands
John Cassidy
Jerome Caminada
George Freemantle
Leo Grindon and Rosa Grindon
Eric Thompson

28 May 2013

Southern Cemetery #3: Maria Pawlikowska–Jasnorzewska

'THIS STONE WAS ERECTED
BY THE UNION OF POLISH WRITERS ABROAD
AND THE POLISH COMMUNITY IN EXILE
IN COMMEMORATION OF
THIS GREAT POLISH POETESS.
A.D. 1973.'
 
The word 'poetess' would probably have sounded slightly better in 1973 than it sounds today. Maria Jasnorzewska, or Maria Pawlikowska-Jasnorzewska (1891–1945), was associated with the Warsaw-based Skamander poetry group. She left Poland in 1939 with her third husband, Stefan Jerzy Jasnorzewski, and died in Manchester.

She was also a playwright, and her Baba-dziwo, or A Woman of Wonder (1937), is generally understood to be a satire of Hitler. The play depicts a dictatorship in which a 'masculine' woman Valida Vrana rules a country called Ritonia, in which she strongly rewards people by the number of children they have: motherhood is compulsory and women are baby-making machines. Dissent produces severe penalties. Norman and Petronika Gondor are childless and both hate Valida, although Norman conceals his hatred and tries to restrain his wife's almost open contempt.
 
But the more Valida tightens her hold on the people the more they become discontented. Petronika is a chemist and contrives to render Valida powerless by means of a perfumed flower that is both irresistable and narcotic: with the despot out of the picture, the people are freed and Norman takes control of the country.
 
Behind the flowers on the grave someone had placed a sealed, pink plastic sleeve containing two photos of Maria Jasnorzewska, which I include below. They may not have come out too well through the plastic, but at least they put a face to the writer.
 
 
 
And below is a link to a translation of Baba-dziwo by Elwira M. Grossman, Paul J. Kelly and Stephen Grecco, which may not be brilliant but it does give an idea of what the author is trying to say:
 
–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
A Woman of Wonder, by Maria Pawlikowska-Janorzewska


My other posts on Southern Cemetery graves:

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
The Manchester Sound
L. S. Lowry
David Martin
George Ghita Ionescu
John and Enriqueta Rylands
John Cassidy
Jerome Caminada
George Freemantle
Leo Grindon and Rosa Grindon
Eric Thompson

27 May 2013

Southern Cemetery #2: L. S. Lowry


'IN LOVING MEMORY OF
ROBERT STEPHEN MCALL LOWRY
THE BELOVED HUSBAND OF
ELIZABETH LOWRY
BORN 4TH JUNE 1857
DIED 10TH FEBRUARY 1932
AT REST
ALSO ELIZABETH LOWRY HIS WIFE
BORN MARCH 5TH 1858
 DIED OCTOBER 12TH 1939

 'ALSO
THEIR BELOVED SON
LAURENCE STEPHEN
LOWRY
BORN 1ST NOV. 1887
DIED 23RD FEB. 1976.'

The links below are to The Lowry's brief account of his life (which includes his relationship with his mother), and to a lecture Manchester-born Howard Jacobson gave at the Lowry in 2007:

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
The Lowry on L. S. Lowry

'The Proud Provincial Loneliness of LS Lowry', by Howard Jacobson

My other posts on Southern Cemetery graves:

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
The Manchester Sound
Maria Pawlikowska–Jasnorzewska
David Martin
George Ghita Ionescu
John and Enriqueta Rylands
John Cassidy
Jerome Caminada
George Freemantle
Leo Grindon and Rosa Grindon
Eric Thompson

Southern Cemetery #1: The Manchester Sound

Tony Wilson was the co-owner and manager of Factory Records (notably of Joy Division, New Order, and Happy Mondays fame), and also founder of The Haçienda in Whitworth Street West, Manchester (or Madchester as it was dubbed in the 'Second Summer of Love' at the end of the eighties).

This understated gravestone in black granite was unveiled three years after Wilson's death. Factory products were given a catalogue number and Wilson's coffin was FAC 501.

'Anthony H Wilson
 
Broadcaster
Cultural Catalyst
 
1950–2007'
 
'Mutability is the epitaph of worlds
Change alone is changeless
People drop out of the history of a life as of a land
though their work or their influence remains
 
The Manchester Man
G Linnaeus Banks 1876'
 
The quotation is from Isabella Banks's The Manchester Man – Wilson of course being known as 'Mr Manchester' – and reads as if from a poem, although these are the first three (prose) sentences of Chapter XVIII of the novel.
 
(Wilson's grave is in Plot B, only a few yards from the grave in Plot A of ten-year-old Lesley Ann Downey, who was murdered in 1964 by Ian Brady and Myra Hindley, and who is mentioned in The Smiths's song 'Suffer Little Children'.)

'MARTIN
HANNETT
1948–1991
Husband Of
Wendy
Father Of
James and Tania
Record Producer
And Creator Of The
Manchester Sound'
 
Martin Hannett was also a partner and director of Factory Records whose name is closely linked with Joy Division. His grave is in the New Cemetery in plot FF.
Rob Gretton (1953–1999) – full name Robert Leo Gretton – was the manager of Joy Division and also partner and director of Factory Records. His grave is in Plot G.

My other posts on Southern Cemetery graves:

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
L. S. Lowry
Maria Pawlikowska–Jasnorzewska
David Martin
George Ghita Ionescu
John and Enriqueta Rylands
John Cassidy
Jerome Caminada
George Freemantle
Leo Grindon and Rosa Grindon
Eric Thompson

24 May 2013

Isabella Banks: The Manchester Man (1976)

The Manchester Man (1876) is a triple-decker novel by 'Mrs. G. Linnæus Banks' according to the cover, although we probably prefer to call her Isabella Banks in a feminist age. This is a regional novel in that the author was born in Manchester and all of the events take place in Manchester or the surrounding area, and Banks self-consciously makes use of her considerable knowledge of local history throughout the novel. Several characters in the book also existed in the 'real' world: the radicals Henry 'Orator' Hunt (1773–1835) and Samuel Bamford (1788–72); the teacher Mrs Broadbent (a presence apparently strongly recognized by at least one ex-pupil); but above all Joshua Brookes (1754–1821), the eccentric clergyman Banks felt she couldn't exclude from this portrait of the Manchester of the early nineteenth century.

The book begins in 1799 with the saving of an orphan baby in the flooded River Irk by the tanner Simon Clegg, who brings him up as Jabez Clegg. Living in a deprived (but loving) environment, Jabez shows great promise and is granted a place at the Blue Coat School, but finds a lifelong enemy in privileged Laurence Aspinall from the neighbouring school, who calls Jabez a 'charity boy'. But within a little more than three decades Jabez – a person of 'lowly' birth who was expected to conform to the limitations of his caste (as class was then considered to be) – rises from an apprenticeship in Ashton's smallware business, through a respected position in the same firm, to a joint partnership with the large, thriving business of Ashton, Chadwick and Clegg: he is of course The Manchester Man. And he marries the two men's daughters: first Ellen Chadwick until she dies, and then (his lifelong love) Augusta Ashton.

What my above summary ignores is the dichotomy between Jabez Clegg and Laurence Aspinall: essentially, Jabez is a self-effacing angel, and Laurence is a juvenile frog-roaster who becomes an alcoholic, adulterous wife batterer. That perhaps sounds a little reductive, but in the first two volumes it is difficult for the reader to identify with the angelic Jabez: for instance, he refuses to identify Laurence as his (very violent) aggressor, and when he marries Ellen it is essentially because she will wilt away without him: only when we see the conflict within him during his first marriage does a more than cardboard version of him begin to emerge. There is, of course, never any question that Laurence will manifest any humanity, apart from by subterfuge.

The shadow of Dickens is very large here, and in some respects this book can be seen as a (weaker) northern version of some of Dickens's novels.

The local history in this book, especially that relating to literature, is interesting. In the 1896 edition of The Manchester Man, in a note in the Appendix about the Sun Inn, Banks states:
 
'I am not aware of any ancient record of this inn, either as a licensed house or a private abode. It was brought into prominence when Mr. William Earnshaw, a native of Colne, one of my father's old friends, and the father of one of my pupils, migrated from Cheetham to become the landlord, drew round him the literary men of the town, and inscribed the legend on the front, "Poets' Corner." This was in the early forties, when John Critchley Prince was in the ascendant and lived over the way. A glimpse of the inn may be seen through the College Gateway initial, and again, in the larger view of the Old Grammar School, comes a shoulder of antiquarian interest where a narrow strip of window marks the sometime "Poets' Fratorium."
 
Sadly, as far as I'm aware there is now no evidence of the pub's existence (for instance in the form of a plaque, etc) in this area.

23 May 2013

The Grave of Photographer Samuel Bourne (1834–1912), General Cemetery, Nottingham

This is one I forgot about a few weeks ago when I was looking for (but didn't find) the Rev. Samuel Cox's grave. Samuel Bourne is most noted for the photographic work he did in India from 1863 to 1870. He married Mary Tolley in 1967 at George Street Baptist Church, Nottingham, where he later settled and where he died at their house on Clumber Road East.
 
 
'IN
LOVING MEMORY OF
SAMUEL BOURNE;
DIED APRIL 24TH 1912,
AGED 78 YEARS.

ALSO OF MARY
WIFE OF THE ABOVE,
DIED NOVEMBER 26TH 1912,
AGED 68 YEARS.'
 
I believe this is the only online photo of his grave, but please don't email me to ask where it is as I don't remember: being unsure of the dates, I wasn't certain that I'd got the right Samuel Bourne! As usual, though, I have no objection to the non-commercial reproduction of my photos as long as they're attributed to me with a link to my blog or to this blog post.

20 May 2013

Isabella Banks and The Manchester Man

The above sketch is from a photo of Isabella Banks, a writer most noted for her triple-decker novel The Manchester Man (1876). She is also sometimes called – as a fusion of her birth name and her married name – Isabella Varley Banks, although here she self-effacingly calls herself Mrs G. Linnæus Banks. (Which incidentally is also the appellation used after a quotation from the same novel on Tony Wilson's headstone in Southern Cemetery, Chorlton-cum-Hardy – post to follow in due course.)

There's a bar and nightclub in Princess Street called the Joshua Brooks after a prominent character in The Manchester Man, although it's unfortunate that there's a slight orthographical difference – in the book his name is Brookes.* Interestingly, this bar is almost next door to the Lass o' Gowrie, which is the name of a poem by Carolina Nairne, and that pub also has the poem written above what I assume used to be a corner door. (It's also very close to the Peveril of the Peak pub, which of course is the title of a novel by Sir Walter Scott.)
 
What's more, there is also another pub about a mile away, in Portsmouth Street, called the Jabez Clegg after the protagonist in The Manchester Man. I still have to take a photo of that place.
 
*Banks bases the character on a real Rev. Joshua Brookes (1754–1821),  an eccentric – sketched below from a photograph – who also briefly appears in Richard Parkinson's novel The Old Church Clock (1843) as the Reverend Joseph Rivers.


 Below is a link to an online edition of the complete novel.
 
ADDENDUM: On receiving an email from Keith Johnson of New Zealand, I include a related link to a blog post by him here.
 
––––––––––––––––––––

Elizabeth Raffald in Manchester and Stockport

Elizabeth Raffald (née Whitaker) was born in Doncaster in 1733 and worked at Arley Hall, Cheshire, where she became housekeeper. She met her future husband John Raffald there. The couple moved to Manchester in the early 1760s, where John had a florist's and Elizabeth was involved in a number of business enterprises, although she is most noted for her highly successful book The Experienced English Housekeeper (1769), which she dedicated to her former employer Lady Elizabeth Warburton.

In Exchange Square, Manchester:
'ELIZABETH RAFFALD
1733–1781
Cookery book author and publisher of
the first Manchester trade directory
Established a cookery school, shop
and domestic service agency
near this site'
The Arden Arms in Millgate, Stockport, was rebuilt in 1815 by John and Elizabeth's nephew, George Raffald junior. It was on land originally used as a market garden and passed on from John to his brother George Raffald senior in 1760. Its interior is unusually well preserved.
Elizabeth Raffald was buried a few hundred yards from here, in the parish churchyard.