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Childhood memories of post-war Manchester

Posted on 26 September 2016

When budgeting was just a way of life…

Times are tough today compared to twenty years ago. Many of us stick to a budget and find ways to make our money go further. But after the war, in Manchester and across Britain, making every penny count was a way of life.

We thought the people who grew up in this great city at that time could teach us a thing or two about saving the pennies. So we’ve scoured the web and uncovered memories from local bloggers and historians about life in Manchester after the war.

Here are some of our favourite Mancunian memories to take you back to simpler times.

The thrill of “The Bobs” and Zoo

Money was tight back then, so a visit to the Belle Vue fair and zoo was a real treat. There were animals galore, a giant water chute and “The Bobs” rollercoaster that scared the pants off anyone who dared ride it apparently.

the-water-chute-rollercoaster-at-belle-vue-manchester

Day trips to Blackpool

The closest many Mancunians came to a holiday was a day trip to Blackpool. We’ve heard many a tale of beauty pageants, donkey rides, losing fillings on Blackpool rock and paddling in the sea with dad in his shirt and jacket.

a-young-girl-in-the-sea-at-blackpool-with-her-dad

Skating in the streets

Many of you remember strapping on your metal skates and going in search of a cobble-free street to show off your skills. The lucky ones got to go to Birch Park Roller Skating Palace and skate with the pros on a proper polished floor.

a-teenager-and-younger-child-skating-at-the-birch-park-roller-skating-palace

Fun and games in Platt Fields

In the summer holidays, kids would flock to the local park with their jam butties and stay all day playing cricket, football and climbing trees. It sounds like mucking about on the boat lake at Platt Fields was a firm favourite among you.

six-young-children-climbing-a-tree-in-a-park

A dip at the baths

Did you ever dive for pennies at the deep end in the High Street Baths? Bernard Carroll recalls the attendant checking that kids had washed in the tub before entering the pool and how there were kids whose only chance of a real bath was when they came to the pool.

two-girls-in-caps-swimming-at-the-public-baths

Finders keepers

Kids created their own toys with anything they could salvage. Bike parts and old prams were transformed into perfect bogies. Charles Bentley remembers collecting ‘clear marbles’ from outside the Co-op Printworks that may have been stoppers from acid bottles. Imagine the fuss that would cause today.

a-young-boy-on-a-homemade-bogie-being-pushed-by-a-friend

Dancing at Belle Vue Ballroom

Teenagers would save their pennies up to Jitterbug the night away at the Belle Vue Ballroom, or to catch the latest music there. Some lucky people recall seeing Louis Armstrong play at King’s Hall in 1959. And in the 1960s, the Top 10 Club hosted all the big names of the time.

men-and-women-swing-dancing-at-the-belle-vue-ballroom

And finally, the pictures on a Saturday morning

It seems every kid from Ardwick to Whalley Range dashed off to the pictures on a Saturday morning to be enthralled by the likes of Flash Gordon and Roy Rogers. Which cinema was your local?

children-buy-refreshments-from-a-cinema-usherette

If you enjoyed this article, you might also like to read: Make do and Mend or growing up in 1940s and 1950s Britain.

We’d like to say a very big thank you for all the memories we have collected from Manchester Memories and History Facebook page and Manchesterhistory.net. It’s been a pleasure discovering such vivid memories of your fantastic city.

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