What a carry on

Terry – Who can remember the ‘toffee made with butter’ man? He must have shouted out that phrase a thousand times a day. Its a wonder he had any voice left.

“What a Carry On”

The Toffee Stall was a magnet for the ‘Cotton Mill Girls’ who left work at noon on Saturday and there was always a great deal of banter back and forward. They were the prettiest girls you ever did see,   and with such spirit.

Hi’ya lassies said ‘Toffee’ as two girls approached, both smoking.

One said “Let’s have some of that Cough Toffee; I’ve got a really bad cough!

“If you stopped smoking like a chimney pot, that cough would clear up” he commented.

“You shut your bloody mouth and mind your own business” was the curt reply.

“Ladies! Please, ” he reprimanded

“No,  listen love, what you need is your chest, rubbing with a ‘strange hand’ and Goose Grease”. Offering up his hand “Here’s my hand and I’ve got the Goose Grease as well.

“Shut up you silly Buger” the girl said “You would not be saying that if our Tom was here”

“Your Tom! Ha!  He’s worse than me. Salt of the earth he is, when is he coming home”

“This year sometime, they say the War is nearly over now” she said hopefully.

“That Bloody Croat” said Arthur, “He’s worse than ‘Kaiser Bill’, have you seen what he’s done to ‘Ancoats’? Half the street is gone. People killed. It is unbearable”. Then holding up aloft the pincers he said angrily  “ If I get my hands on him, I would cut the other one off”  snip! snip! snip! !he went waving the pincers in the air.

“What” said the girl…

Leaning over the stall, and cupping his hands over his mouth he whispered something to them.

They fell about laughing.  “Stop that! You’re making Philomena embarrassed” said one girl.

“Nonsense, you haven’t heard what her mother said to the Coal Man” when he was trying to diddle her out of a bag of coal .Her Mother swears like a trouper if you cross her, Doesn’t she” he said turning to me.

I nodded.

“She’s not a bit like her Mum, are you Princess?

I just smiled; I had no intention of copying such behaviour. “Let’s have a sing song”.

Oh! Oh! Antonio

He’s gone away,

Left me all alone io

All on my own io

I’d like to see him

With his New Sweet Heart

And, up will go Antonio

And his ‘Ice Cream Cart’.

Lots of people had now joined in and there was much clapping

“Listen girls I told Tom I would look after you so ..best Bib and Tucker on and we will go out one evening!  You have my word that it will be only one Drink “

They looked at each other then said “Ok only one drink mind.  Next week then. .Ta Ra” and off they went still laughing.

When his favourite girls called he would sing;

“If you were the only Girl in the world”  and say “Come round here and give us a kiss”

“Don’t be a cheeky monkey” they would say or “Shut up you silly old goat”

and turning to me in mock horror he’d say“ Did you hear that! ..Me who’s  fit as a fiddle on Fynnons Salts!”

“Now Princess” you go for lunch and tell Sam I’m having double Steak Pudding and Chips.

“Would you like a sweet” I asked

“No Ta but some bread please”

By Philomena


PART 2, to Follow.

Terry – Who can remember the ‘toffee made with butter’ man? He must have shouted out that phrase a thousand times a day. Its a wonder he had any voice left.



The Butts Avenue

The Butts Avenue

The Butts Avenue, leading to Bull Brow

The Butts Avenue

Jen Taylor Looking a little like York?!

Gordon Monks The Grapes (extreme left) closed! (I don’t know why, but the Grapes always had a bad reputation in my youth.)

Bev Hughes I remember that shop!

Kath Parrington Bull brow has been painted it looks neat, nice and bright x

Warren Ballantyne My mum used to run this shop selling second hand furniture in the 90’s, it was quite busy at the time I don’t know how she managed I look in sometimes when going to la mancha, its tiny inside.
Have to agree about rates in this town its as if the council are trying to suffocate any chance of a thriving business, if a multi million pound firm like Mac Donald’s cant remain in this town what hope has any ambitious new start up got Rochdale doesn’t have a brilliant track record when it comes to supporting new business 25 ten boutique is one example of a successful business that crumbled under the pressure of ridiculously high rents.

Marilyn Shaw Well there must be a problem with the valuation officer’s if they think the buildings in Rochdale are worth more than the likes of Bury. Something not right.

Julie Robinson Still doesn’t answer why Burys rates are so much lower

Warren Ballantyne Seems artificially high business rates are the problem which doesn’t seem to be a problem isolated to Rochdale alone.

Julie Robinson Shall we all get in touch with our local council. This should have been sorted out years ago I think k its to late now

Warren Ballantyne Im guilty of being synical towards rochdale like many other people in this town but im tired of being ashamed of my home town this page does a good job of reinstating a bit of nostalgia and pride and its good to see recent investment in our town i.e new transport links, new shopping centre but watching the local economy crumble and to find out the decline is assisted by government is disheartening. Maybe our local m.p can answer some of our questions.

Nigel Lancashire With pages like this, people always rush to Rochdale’s defence, seemingly wilfully blind to the slow death the town is experiencing. If Rochdale’s rates are killing it, why don’t those who have power and profess to love Rochdale not tackle the problem? In the main, today’s Rochdale Council and the people in grey suits who are there ensuring ‘business as usual’ as councils come and go don’t care as long as they are OK – exemplified by the ridiculously ugly and expensive new premises they’ve built with our money that they believe is more important than spending it first on a town dying from indifference. Talk about fiddling while Rome burns…

Meg Barlow In what way has it improved?

Julie Anne McGrann Bull brow has been painted now, looks great and the floor is a lot better than it is in this photo, with hanging baskets on the Italian restaurant opposite Bull Brow 🙂

Rochdale Past, Present & Future. I do hope somebody can explain this anomaly that it crushing our town

Gordon Monks Is it the rateable value that’s set by central government and the actual rate (based on that value) set by local government? That’s the way it used to be.

Julie Robinson I thought the rates were set by the government. Why are bury rates so low do they subsidise them

Nick Barton Are they much lower in Bury? They cannot subsidise them, they are set by the same Valuation Office and the problem has been primarily identified as a north / south issue.

Paul Jones This shop is still there although a little damp inside, have been making some inquiries about renting this but the rates are ridiculous..

Rochdale Past, Present & Future. how much were the rates Paul Jones

Moira Garrod The rates in Rochdale have killed the town. I can’t believe after all these years it’s still the same. The multiples won’t entertain these costs let alone independants. Very sad they can’t see the wood for the trees.

Paul Jones Neil you would not believe the rates mate. A shop this size is over 12 grand a year just for rates. The same size shop in Bury would be under 4 grand….Rents are the same, so high in Rochdale it’s farcical..It’s as if it’s a deliberate policy bu the Council to kill off the Yorkshire St area in favour of the new development….

Kath Parrington Paul a little Antique shop would be great, Simon has his office on Cheetham street/ st Mary’s gate , give him a ring, i’m sure people would enjoy a shop like this x

Kath Parrington Why don’t we stop knocking Rochdale, and try to support people who are trying to improve !!

Nick Barton Rates are not set by the Council, they are set by the Valuation Office on behalf of the government. The Council have a duty to collect the rates, but no control over the amount. Rents are not set by the Council either, suggesting that either is some kind of Council led conspiracy is bonkers!

Paul Jones Could you therefore explain how the rates in our town and those of Bury are so different?

Paul Jones Harrods rates are £189 per sq mtr, Shop on Yorkshire st £375 per sq mtr….Care to explain?

Nick Barton I suspect the rates are not very different from Bury when you start to look more closely. Was it the rates or the rateable value in each example? Did the Bury shop benefit from small business relief, which many businesses in Rochdale also benefit from? No denying rates are a big issue, but is not just a Rochdale problem, as I have said, they are not set locally.

Paul Jones As of Today the figures are that Rochdale shopkeepers pay on average 40% more than our local neighbours, this does not include any discounts for small business, this is comparing like to like. One of the latest to close on Yorkshire Street was the fish and chip shop on the right that used to house Gregg’s the rateable value of that shop was 39k, actual yearly rates payable were over 18k and the rent for that shop was 10k a year. Outgoings before any utility bills of 28 thousand a year, rates are tied to the rents payable, be it a council owned property or in private hands, as rents fall rates go up to cover the shortfall. this is a government set system, however there are still many buildings in and around Rochdale that are in council hands, and in those cases they do set the rents and offer discounts for new businesses at reduced rates. This in turn drives up the rates payable, this anomaly was to be looked at this year by the ConDems, however this planned reform was shelved by the Govt, am sure the MP for Rochdale is part of this coalition being a Liberal…One of the few winners in this are M&S on Yorkshire St, they in fact own the building they are in and therefore do not pay rent, if this were not the case I have it from the horses mouth itself that M&S would pull out in rapid style. As the post above stated a shop on Yorkshire St is rated at £395 per sq mtr and Harrods of London are rated at £189 per sq feet, those figures are correct as of yesterday…If anyone could explain this divide between the south and the north I would love to be in on that discussion…I do not wish to turn this into a political debate but it is quite obvious that this part of the country is being monetarily raped by this Govt, and previous ones I might add……

Nick Barton I agree rates are a problem, but I don’t think you understand the issue in the article. Lower rents don’t make the rates rise they just change the ratio. I suspect the MP would rather not be referred to a member of the government, as he is a member of the Labour Party.

Paul Jones Is he, I always thought he was a Liberal lol, my mistake…Re the rates, the figures quoted are correct and the differences between areas are indeed vastly different, where rents are falling in Rochdale and remaining fairly constant in other areas there is a marked difference in the rates payable…And guess where they are higher? Where rental income is falling…You would tend to think that in the more affluent areas of the country the rates would be higher, this is not the case. Rents are higher in those areas but the rates are less…..It is not the ratio that is different..The rate charges for each square foot of floor space is higher here than say London and the South East…..To regenerate areas that are suffering the rates have to be significantly less to encourage the take up of premises in the retail sector. The system we have works in exactly the opposite way…

Nick Barton I am going to try and get my hands on the university of Liverpool report.

Paul Jones http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/75a837d0-2606-11e3-aee8-00144feab7de.html

Stephen Sparky Spark The road is still the same tho

Julie Anne McGrann no the road is better now, it is flagged and has cobbles at the sides 🙂

Jackie Kershaw If you don’t apply for small business rates relief you wont get it..! In Todmorden there are huge rates discounts for small businesses. I have a feeling that Rochdale council are keeping very quiet about this but I seriously don’t think they want new businesses in the town until they have Yorkshire Street and the new buildings done. Imagine the up evil for new businesses when they start building upper walk ways and the glass domes on it. Best to have as little disruption from tenants as possible glasses emoticon I think that is the general plan and I like it. I hope I haven’t given away their little secret plan, I could have been put in the Stocks for that a few years ago but seeing has the Stocks are STILL in a state of disrepair they will have to pay for my silence lol

Joyce Jones Sorry Jackie – Stock been repaired now! Ha!! Also, the high rents killed the market – that’s why it’s like it is now – wood – trees spring to mind!!

Joanne Watchorn Remember the cafe on left was the Lincoln Green. Many a happy time in there with college friends.

Butterworth Jewellers Blue Plaque

Butterworth Jewellers Blue Plaque

Butterworth Jewellers 1896

Butterworth Jewellers Blue Plaque
Photo By Greg Couzens

Since 1903, this property has been occupied by Butterworth Jewellers, which is the longest established family-run business within the town centre.

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14 Drake Street, Rochdale

Lisa Lee My Dad bought my nurses buckle from that jewellers when I qualified in 1991

Angeline Teale Butterworths jewellers, my grandmother, took me to have my ears peirced, when I was 11 years old they used a right contraception, to do the procedure, nothing like the niffty, bits of mechanisms they use today, I told her mum and dad said I could have them done.
She believed me , well you can imagine my parents were furious when I arrived home with my two throbbing little ears, no sympathy there, how naughty was that ???

Jenny Went I had my engagement and wedding rings from there in the 60’s

Please Comment Below?

Fashion Corner Blue Plaque

Fashion Corner Blue Plaque

Fashion Corner 1922

Fashion Corner Blue Plaque

In 1922, this building was opened as the drapery emporium of the Rochdale Pioneers – the Fashion Corner of Rochdale. Sold to Rochdale Council in 1983, it became the ‘Project House’ then ‘ Poll Tax House’. It was renamed ‘Fashion Corner’ by the Council in 1995 – to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Co-op.

[dt_button size=”medium” animation=”none” icon=”” icon_align=”center” color=”#59d600″ link=”https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@53.6157046,-2.1547055,3a,75y,18.11h,95.43t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sA4sMM54jxMoFCmZhD7C6Ag!2e0!7i13312!8i6656″ target_blank=”true”]Google View[/dt_button]

57 to 59 Drake Street, Rochdale

Kenion Street Music Building Blue Plaque

Kenion Street Music Building Blue Plaque

Kenion Street Music Building, Cargo Studios (first floor) 1977-84

Tractor Music (ground floor) 1977-83

Suite 16 Studios 1984-2001(both floors)

Kenion Street Blue Plaque

From 1977 onwards this building saw an endless stream of bands from Manchester, Liverpool and from all over the British Isles, pass through its doorways as it became the place for groups to record, and to buy and hire their equipment.

Joy Division recorded here from 1978 onwards and had their bass equipment custom built on the ground floor.

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Kenion Street, Rochdale

Blue Plaque Unveiling
Blue Plaque Unveiling 24.09.09 at the studio in Kenion St. Guitar George Borowski performs. Photo by Nigel ‘Idolfrets’ Pickering

Dave Hopwood Think that is Guitar George, of the Dire straight song fame.

Stephen Sparky Spark guitar george, he knows all the chords

Greg Couzens The side of my head peering over the wall, great day!

Rick Lowe Hey my head by the shutter door, was great indeed!

Dave Hopwood I’m in there somewhere, and what a grand day out it was.

Please Comment Below?

Rochdale Blackwater Street

Rochdale Blackwater Street

Rochdale Blackwater Street

Rochdale Blackwater Street, photo from Harold Howarth

Are the windows being held in with scaffolding? probably tied into the rear of the building and holding the front on. Some people say health & safety has gone mad these days but Im glad I don’t have to walk in front of that shop everyday lol





  Rob Travis looks like a Commer van or is it a Ford Thames …. not sure ?
2 September 2013 at 00:29


2 September 2013 at 09:22


  Mildred Fielding THE WING WHA was the best Chinese around
2 September 2013 at 11:02


  Janette M Plain Blackwater Street ran parallel to Toad Lane and the road to the right is Lord Street. This is looking up Blackwater Street towards St Marys Gate.They have pulled all this down now, so that’s why you can’t fathom where it is.
2 September 2013 at 01:00


  Andre Wilson Can someone please put an old street map of Rochdale on this page so that us ex.pats can try & remember places and Street locations. Andre – South Aust.
2 September 2013 at 11:19


  Elizabeth Macpherson I’ve been looking for one Andre (well on the net). A lot changed in the very early ’70’s when I was 10 – so I need a map to try & get my bearings
2 September 2013 at 12:01


  Andre Wilson Thanks Elizabeth – I lived on Manchester Road opposite the convent when I was about 13 years old and sang in the Church choir at St. Aidans. I moved around England with my work and finally left for Australia with my family in December 1972. I have only been back to Rochdale once since then – in 2008. I can recognize many of the ‘great’ photos but some times I can’t remember the particular street to get a picture of the place. Andre – South. Aust.
2 September 2013 at 12:15


  Phil Burke Blackwater Street
2 September 2013 at 00:40


  Lilian Mullane My dad had a pet shop on the left hand side about 4 doors up across the road was a shop that sold studs to put in belts etc
2 September 2013 at 10:38


  John Lord Lilian, the stud shop was on the same side as the tackle shop, a few doors down. It was run by an old lady who seemed to be about 100 years old. Sold all kinds of leather goods, still remember the smell. Across from that was the surgical supply shop and the market parking lot.
2 September 2013 at 18:42


  Mark Hayes Does anyone remember a chinese restaurant somewhere near that roundabout use to go there in about 1972 I am sure
2 September 2013 at 18:12


  Ian B Graham The Wing Wah i think ?
15 September 2013 at 21:59


  David Crabtree I remember the restaurant, yes it was called the Wing Wah!
25 November 2013 at 03:40


  Joyce Jones It was brill too!
28 June 2014 at 22:36


  Joe Kozarzewski looks like bacup now
31 October 2013 at 17:27


  William Graham Lees these are excellent photos phil they bring a lot of memories back to people of a certain age because as time passes by it is sometimes hard to remember where everything actually was
2 September 2013 at 22:46


  William Graham Lees blackwater street no 12 Spotland bus went up it always felt has if it was going to tip over when it turned left onto spotland road
2 September 2013 at 22:40


  Lilian Mullane In between Blackwater st and Toad lane was the Brickcroft working men’s club and on the corner in toad lane was woods clothing shop
2 September 2013 at 22:22


  Lilian Mullane John the tackle shop was towers
2 September 2013 at 22:02


  Keith Rothwell aha, im too young to have seen this in fact, not born even!
2 September 2013 at 17:49


  Mike Royds it is commer van
2 September 2013 at 13:34


  Jean Pickersgill Still have the Bills for furniture we bought from Pilkies 1960’s? It is the bottom of Blackwater Street. The old Salvation Army Citadel was to the left?
2 September 2013 at 11:50


  Jenny Went Blackwater St. I can smell the fish place half way up on the left hand side
2 September 2013 at 09:41


  Anne Gorton wing wha did 3 course lunch for 4 shilling and sixpence.
2 September 2013 at 09:02


  Elizabeth Macpherson I need an old map!
2 September 2013 at 01:24


  Gordon Monks Try Touchstones. They have reproductions of the 1908 Rochdale Ordnance Survey map on sale. Alternatively, there are a couple of suppliers on ebay.
2 September 2013 at 06:21


  Elizabeth Macpherson thx Gordon, I will give the place a visit – haven’t been since the library was moved.
2 September 2013 at 08:31


  Lilian Mullane Next door to the solicitors was the Wing Wha Chinese restaurant
2 September 2013 at 08:30


  William Graham Lees What it doesn’t show is how steep Blackwater street was
2 September 2013 at 07:19


  Dale Butterworth On the upper floors of pilkingtons
2 September 2013 at 07:14


  Dale Butterworth I think they are talking about the metal cages fitted over the windows to stop people breaking in or people getting out.
2 September 2013 at 07:13


  Gordon Monks Standing on this spot today, you would be on Newgate, almost under the Bielefeld Bridge (from the market to Newgate House).
2 September 2013 at 06:23


  John Woolfenden no old clock face was on lord street
2 September 2013 at 05:47


  John Woolfenden what scaffolding????.
2 September 2013 at 05:43


  Vincent Kelly The building after Pilkington’s would be the Clock Face pub?
2 September 2013 at 04:13


  Meg Barlow I think as u went past Pillkington’s S u were going up Theresa’s a pub called duke f Wellington? Am I right?
2 September 2013 at 00:57


  Meg Barlow Blackwater street
2 September 2013 at 00:55


  Meg Barlow Its backwater street
2 September 2013 at 00:54


  Elizabeth Macpherson Is it looking towards cheetham st?
2 September 2013 at 00:52


  Elizabeth Macpherson Eeh the solicitors haven’t moved far Phil
2 September 2013 at 00:49


  Elizabeth Macpherson Argh it’s driving my brain mad
2 September 2013 at 00:41


  Rosina Mason-Parker Bailey street to the right…I think..
2 September 2013 at 00:27


  Rosina Mason-Parker Bottom of Water street ???
2 September 2013 at 00:26


  Rob Travis lost me ? where is it ?
2 September 2013 at 00:21


  Keith Rothwell sorry i cant place this picture.
2 September 2013 at 00:20

Second Co-op Branch Store Oldham Road

Second Co-op Branch Store Oldham Road

Second Co-op Branch Store Oldham Road, photo by Harold Howarth

Second Co-op Branch Store Oldham Road

Second Co-op Branch Store Oldham Road, situated opposite Wet Rake Gardens at the beginning of Oldham Road the building was after used as a Masonic Building amongst other uses. Photo taken October 1982