Dame Kathleen Ollerenshaw

It’s with great sadness that Folla has learned of the death of Dame Kathleen on 10th August 2014, she was a supporter of our efforts and many others in Manchester over her long years of public service


Reminiscences of a centenarian

Dame Kathleen Ollerenshaw has lived most of her life within a few hundred yards of the Lapwing Lane Arcade (or ‘The Veranda’ as she insists it is properly called). She celebrates her centenary this year on October 1st and is being honoured, again, with a Doctorate from Manchester University. This will be her seventh Honorary Doctorate. She was a Conservative member of Manchester City Council from 1956 to 1981, involved in creating the Royal Northern College of Music, Chair of Manchester Education Committee in 1967 and Lord Mayor of Manchester in 1975. Her contribution to mathematics is recognised worldwide.Liz Spence and Mike Bath from FOLLA interviewed Dame Kathleen on August 17th 2012 Dame Kathleen Ollerenshaw

Barton Arcade

Barton Arcade

“I can remember all the names of the shops. Mother called it The Arcade, which it was not, because an arcade has a top to it like Barton Arcade. It is a veranda we mustn’t call it an arcade! It is very nice to celebrate the 100 years because I have always been closely in touch with the veranda but never once have I been round the back of the shops. Only one of the shops had another shop above it and that was Inman’s. Inman’s is now a newsagent but there were two Inman brothers in my mother’s day; one was the newsagent and the other was a shoe retailer in the building which is now DidsburyKitchen. There have always been lodgings above the shops and Inman’s has always been part of my existence. We used to live in Elm Road and Mother used to send me to the shops for something. At 4 years old I’d walk with money in my hand to the shops from Elm Road.

At the end of the row was Christy’s the cake shop and Russell’s who sold fish and vegetables. Mother didn’t like going shopping and always sent me because I was very reliable. She sent me once for four cod steaks for our supper. I knew steak was meat so I went to Collins the butchers who had an abattoir at the back of their shop on School Lane. They hung meat either side of the door. They laughed at me when I arrived and told me cod was fish, so I walked back across the main road and back to the fish shop and bought the cod steaks. I was about 5 years old at the time.

There was also a sweet shop (Chas Wm Woolley) and, of course, sweets were rationed in the war. There were jars of bonbons and creamy whirls. I would walk two miles to school in Withington every day and I’d come back via the veranda and buy two pennyworth of creamy whirls and share them out with my friends.

 Creamy Whirls

1914 penny

1914 penny

 “Creamy whirls were brown and white toffees. It was a very good sweet shop and 2p bought about 8 creamy whirls. The Veranda was very important to the neighbourhood. Mother sent me out every Saturday afternoon to buy a paper bag of chocolates for her.
Then there was a very posh grocer at the end – John Williams. Most of the floors above the shops were flats with individual doors and stairs running down. A few were used as storage space but only Inman’s used the floor above as a shop. The post office on the corner was important for its pillar box with its extrusion on top. That post office was built new in my day on empty land. The Veranda was built first, then the bank and then the post office. Behind The Veranda were good-sized back yards and a cobbled alley. I’d never seen cobbles before. It was a very busy shopping area with all the deliveries taking place at the back. The only thing delivered at the front was the Evening News.

 There was a boy who used to throw the papers with great force. He would stand at the back of the van – he never got out – and throw them all the way towards the shop each day around 4.00pm. There was also a sewing shop selling cottons and needles. Dobbins sold blouses and there was a chemist, Ashton Sidney. There was a shoe shop (Freeman, Hardy and Willis) but we never went there because we were shoe people ourselves (Timpsons) and my father brought our shoes home from the warehouse.
During the war we were hungry and if there was a queue at the shops we’d always join it. I remember once dashing around to The Veranda because we’d heard they’d just got a box of tomatoes.The Veranda was a very special place for the neighbourhood round here – it was a very good area for shopping and always busy. People would come home from town on the trams, get off at the terminus and do their shopping there.I think it’s a good idea to have a party to celebrate The Veranda’s centenary and its restoration. It was a wonderful shopping centre  – and still is!!”

 Pillar box