The Old Parsonage Stenner Lane Didsbury Manchester M20 2RQ 0161 445 7661

December 2020 Newsletter

Message from the Trustees

Wishing you Seasons Greetings and New Year Mike, Mary, Pam, Gordon, Dominic and Richard

Mike Corlett, Chair of DCS

A very Happy Christmas and a very Healthy and Covid-19 free New Year. The year has been very trying for everyone without exception, with a virus that knows no bounds and does not recognise age and ethnicity. Please keep safe, let’s all obey the rules, with common sense being uppermost at all times.

The DCS has had a good year and made exceptional progress in its transition to a CIO (Charitable Integrated Organisation). We have held regular Trustee meetings, Planning and Licensing during the various lockdowns and our first open General Meeting via Zoom. We also have great plans and ideas for 2021 with continuous striving for the improvements in Infrastructure, Transport, Green Spaces, Heritage and Buildings, along with reductions in pollution, fly tipping, fly posting and graffiti which are very high on the agenda.

Mary Christie, Secretary

The pandemic led to even more reliance on local shops, green spaces, and meeting places. Certainly, in lockdown, there was less buses, less car traffic and, in turn, less pollution. There were families walking, playing and on bikes enjoying green spaces. Greater use of public footpaths. The resurfacing of some local roads and pavements has also been a tremendous improvement. We know that people have lost their jobs and livelihoods and there are real pressures out there on local businesses.  I do hope that anyone with Covid -19 during makes a full recovery. For 2021 with a vaccine on the way, we can look forward to socialising again.

New website

A New DCS website is due very shortly. All information will be on the website, newsletters, minutes and in the meantime e mail with any enquiries to: –

Our Unsung Heroes thank you to all the volunteers in Didsbury who support streets our green spaces and keep Didsbury free from Litter

“When Brenda and David Woods ‘retired’ to Didsbury in 2014, after many years away from the village, they joined the newly formed Friends of Didsbury Park.  The special attraction of that was to be given their own litter picking sticks!  Armed with those sticks, they began to do a ‘litter patrol’ during their regular morning walking circuit of Wilmslow Road, Ford Lane, the River Mersey and Stenner Lane.  Come rain and come shine, they have continued to try to keep up the good appearance of Didsbury.  Even though at times it felt like they were fighting a losing battle, the gratitude of joggers, dog walkers and morning commuters helped to keep them going, and several passers-by have posted photos and appreciative comments on-line….and now the ultimate accolade – recognition by DCS. Thanks, DCS for all the good work you do”.

Brenda and David DCS Members want to “thank you” for all your hard work and efforts in keeping Didsbury free of Litter
Picture Courtesy WI Magazine, 2020                                                                                                                

Acts of Kindness

Manchester Islamic Centre, Didsbury Mosque is distributing hot meals, drop off fruit and vegetables Tuesdays and Saturdays. This is for the elderly defined as anyone over 60. Distribution in Withington, Chorlton and Didsbury. Please telephone Tracey if needed 07464602434

What’s going on in Didsbury, I am hearing that …….

The DCS continues to have a high level of concern about Graffiti and Flyposting around Didsbury. MCC advises that the current issues with green street level Telecommunications boxes are not their responsibility, even though they are degrading both our living environment and a total eyesore. Should your area be affected, please report problems to the following e-mails: –

BT or telephone 0800 023 2023

Virgin Media

The Trustees’ Annual General Meeting – DCS Trustees are holding their AGM on Monday 14th December 2020 at 7:15pm to receive a Zoom link drop an e mail to

Website – A new DCS website is about to be launched during December 2020…….

Improved Toilets – The DCS are pleased to have played their part by submitting a supporting justification for the planned replacement and upgrade of the Old Parsonage volunteer toilet facilities to the rear of the building. Funding and work will be carried out under a social value funding request submission by Cllr. Richard Kilpatrick. The Trustees

The Chippy, School Lane is now Bravos!

Photos from Fog Lane Park

Didsbury Civic Society Projects

We are currently devising a list of small improvements to our Didsbury Area to make some necessary albeit small changes to enhance the Village.

Didsbury Civic Society Trustees have compiled a list of projects which we are considering spearheading as future projects. The list below is not in order of priority and in this regard, we should like to hear our Members views on what you deem as priority. The DCS Trustees will also be finding out where responsibility lies for funding these projects, some of which may require fundraising where the project is seen as an addition and enhancement to the Didsbury Centre. DCS Trustees may consider small allowance of funding, should funds allow. However, MCC and TfGM will be lobbied to take on their funding responsibilities. In some cases, Crowdfunding may be a better means of sourcing the funding.

1. The cleaning of Didsbury Library building*

2. The cleaning and repair of the Cenotaph and the Milson Rhodes clock tower*

3.  A new DCS wall art around the Costa Coffee area*

4. The provision/repair one wooden bench for bus passengers outside 328 Fog Lane and the provision of a bus shelter bus stop (Johnnie Johnson flats, Fog Lane).

5. A new additional DCS noticeboard in the Jubilee Gardens area of Didsbury Centre*

6. The repair of the iron veranda over shops near the East Didsbury railway station.

7. Installation, of lamp post flame cut style flag banners to keep Didsbury centre clean and “Welcome to Didsbury” etc.

8. HODs initiative to create an online virtual tour of the buildings*

9. Water butt/tap from Didsbury Library for use by DIB volunteers*

10. Ideas for Tesco/Kingsway triangle green space.

11. Ideas for the public toilets at Barlow Moor Road, including a franchise funded facility.

12. Installation of a Defibrillator for a 24/7/365 service

13. Didsbury Toilets*

14. Provision of disabled parking (Wilmslow Road) *

The projects marked with a red asterisk *are being pursued by DCS Trustees to identify agency/organisation responsible and funding streams or possible means of funding these projects.


Didsbury Civic Society is looking for volunteers to commit time to doing tasks, such as, researching Manchester City Council documents, archives, buildings etc; support for the membership secretary, general administration, website management, interest in social media, stall keeping on Festival days, organising the administration for social trips, getting articles for the Newsletter, networking etc;

There`s lots to do. Not every day and the work can fit around your availability and interests. Ad hoc volunteering an hour or two a week or even an hour or two a month. It depends what you like to do and where you like to spend your time. E mail and a Trustee will contact you.

The Future Beckons ‘Future Didsbury’

Like most people, I was hoping we would be cruising towards Christmas with the Covid numbers on the slide but the opposite has happened with the second wave threatening the festivities, although we do have the positives of two or possibly three vaccines already on the horizon which is great news!

As we move forward it seems some important features are moving towards the Future Didsbury ethos in the sense of the government attempting to commit money to the high streets as previously mentioned and now, we have a government announcement bringing the prospect of electric vehicles becoming more and more prevalent in less than 10 years rather than the 20 we expected!  This is going to give us a great opportunity to discuss the options around what happens when they start to dig giant trenches in our high street in order to provide ‘charging points’ for the growing number of electric vehicles (EVs).

Why is the above important? I think most of us would agree that digging huge trenches, laying cables and then filling them back up again without a thought given to the surrounding infrastructure would be totally irresponsible and comes from a mind-set that needs to be abolished ready for the adoption of new ‘strategic thinking’ fit for the challenges ahead of us. Future Didsbury proposes that every opportunity should be taken to see where value can be added to these ‘must have’ 21st century essentials to accommodate.

Let’s not think in isolation when needing to dig deep trenches, let’s think about how these changes can be expanded into opportunities.  The obvious one to include is the capability of providing wider and better pavements together with massively improved surface drainage by using permeable materials.  This could be designed in such a way as to give the added bonus of ‘grey water’ collection’ for redistribution via large underground tanks. The ‘grey water’ could then be used for watering flower tubs/beds and potentially provide filtered ‘grey water’ for toilet flushes and other purposes where ‘drinking water’ isn’t necessarily needed.

These thoughts and many others would combine to hugely improve a large element of sustainability which is one of the bywords that needs to be uppermost in our thinking in the coming decades of finite resources.  Look no further than the tremendous work done by the 5th Year Architecture students! The answers are there!                                            

Phil Downs MBE

Christmas will be different this Year

Christmas will be different this year, and for many of us it will be a virtual one.

In our case I doubt our children and their families will be here in person.  One is in Warsaw, another in Leicester and while the remaining two are closer we are not holding up hope that they and our grandson will be around the Christmas table.

Nor will the Italian side of the family be here. They were planning to descend in instalments in the run up to the event, but now their tickets have been put on hold for a better time.

In that respect the mooted festival will take its place alongside the way Eid, Diwali, and Hanukkah were celebrated.

So, rather than dwell on what might have been or reflect on past Didsbury Christmases, instead I shall wander along School Lane sometime around 1911 and I am drawn to the people in the picture.

I doubt that we will ever be certain who the woman staring back at us is but I rather think it will be either Mrs. Martha Meredith who ran “The Supper Bar (Fish and Chips)” at number 1 School Lane or Ellen Tennant who was the wife of George Tennant the butcher from number 3.

And if pushed I think it will be Martha who at 36 described herself as a widow with a 14 years old daughter and shared her home with her brother in law, Mary Ann who she employed as a servant and John Wilson the boarder.

Alas the children’s identities are lost to us, but they will be local and must have been drawn from their homes by the presence of the photographer.

The properties are still recognizably the same and by one of those odd pieces of continuity it remained a fish and chip shop until very recently.

Pictures: – 1916 from the collection of David Harrop, and School Lane circa Didsbury through Time, by Peter Topping and Andrew Simpson.

Andrew Simpson writes regularly on the history of Didsbury for a number of publications, has written ten books and features Didsbury on his blog,

Not long after this picture was taken young Bertha Geary aged just 13 of School Lane had heard history when she “saw the flying man on Tuesday night fly overhead.  Beaumont is his name.  I wish you could have seen him.  It made such a noise.”

He was André Beaumont and he was one of 30 competitors in the Daily Mail Circuit of Britain Air race in 1911. Flying in a Blériot XI, he was the first to complete the course which was no mean achievement as many of the aircraft either failed to take off or crashed along the way. But that is for another story………

Changing Face of Didsbury….

DCS Sub Planning group whilst not against the change of use of this building, nonetheless,  raised concerns about the new front entrance, the overdevelopment of the building to 3 storeys ( poor head height room of top flat), and no parking.

Didsbury Police Station

28136/FO/2020 | Change of use of former police station to 6 x two bed self-contained apartments (Class C3), including the erection of a 3 storey rear extension, following demolition of rear single storey and two storey outriggers and elevations alterations to front including new front entrance. | Former Didsbury Police Station 742 – 744 Wilmslow Road Manchester M20 2DW

The Limes Nursing Home

Soon to be flats with 4 terraced houses behind

Andrew Graham Shoes…..

is an independent shoe retailer located in the heart of Didsbury Village. Being independent means that we can offer an extensive range of attractive and stylish footwear that you won’t find elsewhere on the high street.

We stock a broad range of shoes, boots, slippers and sandals from Gabor, Ecco, Rieker, Waldlaufer, Josef Seibel, Remonte and many more distinctive brands from all over Europe. As many of our regular customers will know we pride ourselves on our varied choice of styles, our expertise and friendly service.

We would have been celebrating 25 years in Didsbury village in April 2020, we have been supported in that time by an amazing and loyal customer base. Above are a few images of the shop when we took over the premises in 1995. We had to dismantle brickwork and fixtures in the front of the shop that the kebab shop owners had installed and also dismantle a cold store that had been used when the shop was a Titterton`s butchers.

As we were not able to celebrate our 25th year in business this year, here are a few pictures of our 10th anniversary celebrations. Including a fabulous cake made by Christine one of our employees at that time (stood in the doorway on the left picture). At this time, we had the French patisserie L’Epidor on the left of the shop, and Help the Aged charity shop on our right (as you look from outside). The most satisfying part of my job is helping customers who have been having great difficulty in finding comfortable footwear to suit their feet, with some helpful expertise on what might work for them from our extensive range we can usually find a solution that offers comfort and support and puts a smile on their face.

Above we have on the left a celebratory window display from 2018, Also on the right is our ‘Mini Didsbury in Bloom’ tribute that we put together in March earlier this year as we had to clear the shoes from the window display to prevent them from fading as we entered the 3 months’ lockdown.

I write this as we enter a second lockdown period which is putting an even greater strain on the business. We are operating a ‘Pay and Collect’ service and Free Local Delivery during this period and hope this will sustain us through to opening again on Wed 2 December 2020, hopefully. I look forward to welcoming our customers back as soon as possible and thank them for their continued business and support.

All the small independent businesses in Didsbury need your support more than ever at this difficult time – Thank You.

673 Wilmslow Road, Didsbury, MANCHESTER M20 6RA. Tel: 0161 445 8243 Email:


Early Morning Fog at Fog Lane Park, from which this Park derives its name.