Not only is Andrew Simpson my best friend and one of my oldest friends (in the length of time we’ve known each other!!) but he is a brilliant writer; his first book was the history of the area he lives in Manchester – where I also used to live. It takes you on a walk through Chorlton-cum-Hardy, once a small village, now a suburb of the great city.

Andrew has written other books, some in collaboration with the artist Peter Topping. Andrew is also a very popular blogger, and here he writes about his next publication – due out soon so perfect for a Christmas present!!

This is from Andrew’s blog:

The bits of Chorlton’s history no one will tell you ………. the new book

 Well, I must say at the outset that this is not the “conspiracy guide to Chorlton’s past” and nor will you read about the day the Titanic hit an Egyptian pyramid built by Adolf Hitler*

Instead it is an alternative history featuring the quirky bits of where we live, including buildings and the people who live here, have lived here or just passed through.

If there is an inspiration it comes from the pen of Lewis Carroll,who in 1872 wrote “When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.”.

And following the logic of that utterance I will just say that History and all things past are what we want them to be, which rather means that Telecom Eddy, the lost pond of Beech Road and The Twilight Sleep Home are as valid a subject to read about as any battle, any politician or the inventor of that non stick beer mat.

And all three along with lots more are in the pages of The Quirks of Chorlton-cum-Hardy, written by me and Peter.

As ever it features a fine collection of Peter’s paintings, some excellent old photographs of Chorlton, lots of maps and heaps of stories from me.

Here will be found the letter young Tony wrote to the manager of Manchester City suggesting the team for Saturday’s match, the location of the house George Best stayed as a young footballer and that very inconvenient fact that when the Corporation bought the land for Southern Cemetery they discovered that just three feet below the surface was lots of water, which was not good for burying people.

How the Corporation solved that problem, the upshot of Tony’s letter to Joe Mercer, along with the tale of Chorlton’s own Brass Band and the missing Chorlton name are revealed in the book.

And yes, it is outrageous self promotion but is only what you have come to expect from us.  The T-shirts are being printed, the book has gone down the line to the publisher and four people have volunteered to walk the roads of Chorlton with sandwich boards advertising the book.

And do you see what I did there?  Slipped in the quirky fact that we have roads and lanes, but not streets in Chorlton, although my friend Marjorie was not impressed with the growing practise of substituting  Close and Avenue for Road or Lane.

That said those who read the blog will know that once there was a Lloyd Street, which was off Chorlton Row which is now Beech Road.

It is a story which may be in the book along side the story of this knitting pattern which is there and  has a special place in the story of Chorlton-cum-Hardy.

The Quirks of Chorlton-cum-Hardy: Andrew Simpson & Peter Topping,  ©2017, available from mid November, in time for Christmas!!

*Apologies and thank you to the Now Show, broadcast on Friday November 3 2017

**Lewis Carroll (Charles L. Dodgson), Through the Looking-Glass, chapter 6

Here is a link to Andrew’s blog where you can reread this – and enjoy the other illustrations! It will also take you to many other fascinating stories!


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