Mural panels on East Didsbury railway bridge
Station side of the bridge – left to right.
Emily Williamson (1855-1936) Co-founder of RSPB. She lived at The Croft in Fletcher Moss Gardens (near the tennis courts) with her husband, Robert. In 1889 she formed the Society for the Protection of Birds, which fought against the cruelty to birds whose plumage was used in fashion. The Great Crested Grebe, pictured next to her, was hunted to near extinction for its long feathers.
Louis Paulhan’s bi-plane. On 28th April 1910 Louis flew his bi-plane from London to Manchester in a race organised by the Daily Mail and landed in a clover field close to Fog Lane. Paulhan Road off Parrswood Road and Brayside Road was named to commemorate the event.
Daniel Adamson. (1820-1890) Engineer and Manchester Ship Canal pioneer. The decision to build the canal was signed in the Lodge at The Towers on 27th April 1882. There is a blue plaque to commemorate this.
The plaque on Simon’s bridge, which crosses the River Mersey, linking Didsbury and Northenden. Before this existed, the only two means of crossing the river were the bridge on Manchester Road near the Waterside Hotel and the bridge in Northenden. The bridge was gifted to the people of Didsbury by Henry Simon (1835-1889). He was the founder of Simon Engineering and Simonsway in Wythenshawe is named after him. Following the death of Charles Hallé he helped to ensure the future of the Hallé Orchestra. He lived at Lawnhurst which is next to Barlow Medical Centre.
Worker bees, the symbol of Manchester’s industrial past, are still used to this day.
Tesco’s side of the bridge
Andrew Carnegie (1835-1919). A Scottish-American industrialist and philanthropist and one of the richest Americans in history. Alderman Fletcher Moss (1843-1909) was unhappy that Didsbury did not have a library and approached Andrew Carnegie to fund the building of one for the people of Didsbury. The library, now a Grade 2 listed building, was designed by Henry Price, Manchester’s city architect at that time and was opened in 1915 with a golden key. Carnegie also funded Chorlton Library and Withington Baths, as well as around 660 other Carnegie libraries in the United Kingdom and Ireland.
Margaret Ashton (1856-1937). The first female councillor in Manchester, representing Manchester Withington and a member of the Education Committee. Her portrait should have been hung in the Council Chamber, but the male members of the Council passed a law to prevent this. As a consequence, she resigned. The portrait was found and restored several years ago and is now in safe storage until the re-opening of Manchester Town Hall in 2024. She was Chair of Child Welfare and promoted free milk for mothers and babies, founding the Manchester Babies Hospital in 1914 and living on Kingston
Dame Kathleen Ollerenshaw neé Timpson. (1912-2014). She was the granddaughter of the founder of the Wythenshawe shoe factory. Deaf from the age of eight, she became an eminent mathematician and leading expert on magic number lattices. She was Lord Mayor of Manchester from 1975-1976 and High Sheriff of Greater Manchester from 1978-1979. In 1970 she received the title of Dame for her contribution to the field of education. She lived at Broome House on Wilmslow Road.
Other images on the bridge include:
The Eagle gate, the entrance to the Old Parsonage and the Parsonage Gardens, the former home of Alderman Fletcher Moss (1843-1919). In 1915 he gifted his house and land to the City of Manchester, part of which is now Fletcher Moss Park.
Rhodes Memorial Clock Tower. Built to commemorate Dr John Milson Rhodes (1847-1909) who was a general practitioner in Didsbury and a pioneer of social reform. He carried out work for the poor and those suffering from TB and epilepsy. He founded what is now the National Epilepsy Centre in Chelford, Cheshire. The plaque on the tower describes him as “A FRIEND TO HUMANITY”.
The BAFTA mask and sketches, designed in 1955 by US sculptor Mitzi Cunliffe (1918-2006). She lived at 18 Cranmer Road off Fog Lane, where a Civic Plaque was unveiled in 2018. Many of her sculptures can still be seen in and around Manchester.
Fletcher Moss Rangers FC badge. The club was established in 1986 and is still thriving. It is a registered charity and an FA Charter Standard Community club. Notable professional players who began their early football training at the club include Wes Brown, Jesse Lingard, Ravel Morrison, Danny Welbeck, Tyler Blackett and Marcus Rashford.
Molecules which represent graphene. Professors Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov rediscovered and investigated graphene whilst working at the University of Manchester in 2004. They lived in Didsbury during this period. In 2010 they were jointly awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics for their “ground-breaking experiments regarding the two-dimensional material, graphene”.
The artist. Russell Meehan aka Qubek of Mural Life.