Manchester StoriesAuthor: David Clayton
232 pp paperback
Manchester is one of the most vibrant cities in Britain and its long and turbulent history has produced a wealth of dramatic stories. This unique collection by David Clayton, a proud Mancunian, captures the best of them. The variety is impressive. There are famous people like actress Pat Phoenix, once Britain's biggest television star, controversial comedian Bernard Manning, artist L. S. Lowry, cricket and music writer Neville Cardus, Oscar-winning actor Robert Donat and world boxing champion Jackie Brown, all leaders in their chosen fields.
Manchester has had a plethora of notable achievements, most notably the opening of the Manchester Ship Canal, but also the creation of the 'Showground of the World', Belle Vue. And let us not forget 'Jollywood', or Mancunian Films owned by the enterprising Blakeley family, which was responsible for a string of box-office hits in the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s and featured the likes of George Formby and the great Lancastrian entertainer, Frank Randle. In 1965 Manchester bands like Herman's Hermits and Freddie and the Dreamers conquered America with a host of number-one hits. The city's most fondly remembered pub features too; it went by the name of Tommy Ducks.
We must not forget the darker side. There have been disasters: the devastating Woolworth's fire, the Irk Valley rail crash, the horrors of Munich, the Manchester airport fire. The greatest devastation, however, was caused by Hitler's Christmas blitz of 1940, which Mancunians responded to with typical fortitude and courage. Crime also features, whether in the exploits of Inspector Jerome Caminada, Manchester's 'Sherlock Holmes', or in the barbaric crimes of Trevor Hardy, the so-called Beast of Manchester.