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28 October 2014

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Voices: A history of Levenshulme (the Beautiful Village) by John Wiggett
A parade in Levenshulme Levenshulme is about 6 miles south from the centre of Manchester and was indeed a village in its own right, located on the Manchester to Stockport Road, now known as the A6.
A parade in Levenshulme
The tiled floor of the former council building
The tiled floor of the former council building

Before 1950 we had our own council offices on Stockport Road – now used as a second hand furniture sales point.

The main road was cobbled from Manchester to Hazel Grove then known as Bullock Smithy 12 miles away.

Two sets of tramlines ran along the centre of the road, Bullock Smith being the terminus. In my day, ‘going all the way’ meant just that – from Manchester to Bullock Smithy. The tram passengers had to negotiate horse drawn traffic in order to mount the tram.


As time went by, one or two motorcars came on the scene and this manoeuvre became a definite hazard. In any weather the motorist applied his brakes and stopped 10 yards on.

Levenshulme had 5 chemist shops, 2 of them being national multiples, ‘Timothy Whites’ and ‘Boots’. All main roads and side streets were lit by gas, yes even side roads.

A man was supplied with a bicycle and a 4ft cane with a hook fitted to the end. His job was to switch the pilot light full on to light the lamp, and reverse this procedure in the morning.

Alarm clocks were a novelty, so a knocker up’ was employed. You booked your early morning call with him and we had a long cane with a gardeners wire leaf rake attached. He would not go away until he saw you at the window.

All roads were tree lined. I well remember how romantic my own road looked even in winter.

The famous Red Brook men’s shirts were made in Levenshulme and sold in premises now selling home decorating materials. They moved on as the shirts sold well.

Wrestler Jack Pye
Wrestler Jack Pye

The building set back from the road now the Iceland Supermarket was the venue for professional wrestling; among the stars were the Pye Brothers. Later the premises became a roller skating rink, and for a short time a dance hall.

If you want milk today you go to a supermarket but before the self appointed milk marketing board came along, milk was produced and sold by local farmers and you go the lot, nothing skimmed off. You could get an inch (2.5cm) of cream in a pint of milk.

Our own family milk came from Alderley, Cheshire. A young woman drove a pony cart from a farm in Alderley to Levenshulme, and measured it into the customer’s own jug.

At our house we gave her pony a carrot and she had tea and toast about 9am every morning. Levenshulme had 3 Post Offices, 5 churches catering from most religious affiliations.

The Roman Catholic Church at that time was in Clare Road with a convent next door. The present site of the RC church now located off Elbow Street, was a council incinerator and on the same site, the Manchester Police Force and stables for 12 horses. The entrance was in Stanhope Street and the back entrance on Delamere Road, along the cobbles. This section later moved to Chorlton where it is today.

Click here for Part Two of John Wiggett's History of Levenshulme

Voices from Levenshulme
Hear local people talking about life in Levenshulme.

A6 Poets
The A6 Poets have been together for a year writing about life along the busy A6

Live music in Levenshulme
Meet Belle Vue

Levenshulme Gallery

A selection of pictures from Levenshulme click here
What is Voices?
Capturing the stories, concerns and aspirations of those unheard voices across the UK.
Find out more here.


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