‘We all looked out for each other”: Residents recall memories of Longsight

  • Residents of Longsight reflect on what life was like growing up in the area.
  • Many residents have since moved away, but remember their childhoods.
  • Longsight was home to many iconic shops and buildings.

Longsight is a diverse residential area in Manchester, known for its multicultural environment and its many cultures and traditions.

Over time, Longsight has adapted and changed to become what it is today, but what about Longsight in the past?

Whether living in Longsight now or having moved on, many still remember the area for the memories it holds, the good and the bad.

Sense of community

One thing that remains consistent throughout residents’ descriptions is the sense of community, even back then.

Anne Guy, who spent most of her life in Longsight, said: “I lived in a street off Birch Lane.

“It was terraced houses with back yards and an entry down the back and our play area was the street and a croft at the top of the street.

“It was a great community as we all looked out for each other.

“No one had much but we were clean and turned out well especially on Whit Week when most of the local churches walked around the Parish”.

Stanley Grove in Longsight, where there are now a multitude of modern shops and markets. Photo credit Zoe Spencer.

Famous Victorian baths

Many remember the Victorian architecture that gives Longsight a distinct architectural look.

Norbet Stiles said: “My wife’s father was manager at the famous Victoria Baths in Longsight for many years, through the 70s and 80s.

“Many people have very fond memories of the Baths, which closed for a time but is now up and running again, as a Baths and social events venue.

“It’s hard to imagine any historical look at Longsight which doesn’t include reference to Victoria Baths”.

An image from the Centre of Longsight city centre today, with its busy junctions off Stockport Road. Photo credit: Zoe Spencer.

Tacky buildings

For Marguerite Mackenzie, a recent visit to Longsight left her feeling despaired at the demolition of the old properties.

She said: “I lived in Stockport Road right next to Ridings TV eventually bought by Manzil Indian restaurant and I do have some happy memories of my young life there.

“I have noted some of the most wonderful houses were demolished by the planning dept via the  council.

“On my recent visit to the area I was saddened to see such a lack of thought and imagination by the planners council to demolish many superb properties, and build tacky buildings that all look the same.”

Memories of childhood

Many residents associate Longsight with the memories of their childhood.

Michele Jo said: “My nana and grandad lived there when I was a child, I remember my nana working in a sewing factory near the market and kids going in the school holidays running round.

“There were no safety issues then.

“I remember plattfields having pets corner and boats and Longsight Catholic club kids discos and father Christmas.

“The toy shop and the outdoor (off license) as my Grandad called it wrapping my Nana’s 1/4 bottle of whisky in brown paper”.

‘Brilliant times’

Robert Washi Edwards lived on Greenwood house flats and went to Stanley grove school, which is still the main school in the area and describes the sense of community.

“Everyone looked out for each other, brilliant times”. He said.

Proud and industrious

Frank Lawless reflected on the social and political atmosphere of the time.

Frank said: “It’s difficult to explain how thousands of families living in old houses were proud and industrious, keeping a community alive and vibrant, were sent to live in places like Macclesfield or Duckinfield, Glossop and so on.

“Then the new houses were built, thousands and thousands with proper plumbing and central heating, yet the new “improved” estates were crime zones.

“I realise now the same disintegration of society was happening in every major city in Britain, and I used to suspect it was an orchestrated political issue.

“Having observed our leaders for 60 years I realised the people running the country are not capable of such a subtle plan”.

Strong community network

Norma Collins moved to Longsight when she was only 6 months old.

She said: “While we lived there, two brothers were born at home which I was able to witness.

“I went to the local primary school like most of the kids, Crowcroft Park primary school.

“Growing up was very different in the 60s and 70s, we went out when we got up and came in when it was dark”.

Norma had a strong community network and was always close to her family when living in Longsight.

“I could see my cousin’s bedroom window from mine” she said

“A whole gang of us would go off for the day”.

She continued: “Shopping was very different, there were no big supermarkets.

“Where I lived there was a little shop on the corner and a fish and chip shop up the road.

“If you went onto Stockport Road, you had your butchers and your green grocers”.

‘Lovely times’

Patricia Callaghan was born in Longsight in 1951.

She said :”Longsight was a really nice place to live back then and had some great shops mostly independent like butchers, fish shops and green grocers.

“They had really good communities helping each other”

“They had Bellevue which housed a fair ground, a dance hall, which catered for weddings and get togethers.

“My grandad was a painter and decorator and had a big sign outside the house and he used to walk miles from Longsight to Moss side.

“We moved away, but over the years we visited my grandma and grandad in Longsight and had lovely times with my mums big family”.