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Tony Flynn

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  1. A chance purchase in a Manchester bookshop by Robert Cochrane of a book of poems called, "Gleam O' Pearls which contained some faded newspaper cuttings fascinated him so much that his research unearthed an amazing story of a man who can truly be called one of the genuine lost voices of the First World War....James Lyons. James was born in Winton, Eccles Manchester, UK on 10th September 1896 and lived in a large house called, The Hollies, on Parrin Lane long demolished and now the site of a petrol station. He joined the Army in November 1916 as a Private but was invalided out of service in 1917 with bad health and moved to Lytham St Anne's to be close to the sea, whilst there he wrote further poems and an opera, sadly he died in August 1918 a victim of the Spanish flu that was ravaging Europe at the time and is buried in an unmarked family grave in Peel Green cemetery. Robert himself a poet was so moved at what he had discovered that he has written a book about James Lyons and has reprinted some of his poems in it called, "Do you Remember - the selected poems of James Lyons" I was amazed to read in the book that James had written a poem entitled “Gallipoli – To the Fallen”, which was set to music by his friend Stanley H. Clarke and performed by the Beecham Operatic Choir on 6th November 1918 at a concert in the Free Trade Hall Manchester. Although dated in their style many of the poems are really beautiful, I was moved by the poem, Do You Remember, a sad, wistful, tale a longing for happier times and For The Fallen a moving tribute to the soldiers slaughtered at Gallipoi, "Sleeping a dreamless sleep underneath the waving grass....... I could tell you so much more about this book but I urge you to read it for yourself and find out both more about this sad, doomed poet and open your eyes to his poetry, long unseen but now thanks to Robert Cochrane available for us all to appreciate. He has also produced a CD of some of the poems written by James which have been set to music entitled, The James Lyons Project featuring local poets and musicians including, Bill Fay, John Howard, Lazybones and Nia Morgan. The book is still available from Robert at 40 Brundretts Rd, Chorlton, M21 9DB £9.99 + £2 p&p. and copies of the Cd can be had for £10 + £i.50 p&p
  2. Tony Flynn


    Police are appealing for the public’s help to trace a wanted man from Wigan. Gary Gage (19/11/1967) is wanted for breaching the terms of his bail conditions. He is also wanted in connection with a robbery, section 18 assault and burglary that occurred in June 2019. At around 11.15am on Monday 10 June 2019 a 52-year-old man approached a woman in Wigan Town Centre armed with a knife and stole her handbag. As he fled the scene the man assaulted a member of the public leaving the victim with a cut to the throat. Gage is known to have links to the Denton, Eccles and Wigan areas of Greater Manchester. Anyone with information regarding his whereabouts should contact police on 0161 856 7953 Information can also be passed to the independent charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.
  3. A man who conspired with his brother to carry out a terror attack that killed 22 people at the Manchester Arena has been jailed. Hashem Abedi (08/04/1997), formerly of Fallowfield, has today (Tuesday 17 March 2020) been found guilty of 22 counts of murder, attempted murder and conspiracy to cause an explosion likely to endanger life. During the course of a six week trial at the Central Criminal Court (Old Bailey) in London, the jury heard compelling evidence of Hashem's activities in the months leading up to the attack, which was carried out by his brother Salman on 22 May 2017. These included persuading close acquaintances to purchase chemicals on his behalf that could be used to manufacture explosives, sourcing metal drums that were used to build bomb prototypes and buying a Nissan Micra that was used to store the bomb components back in Manchester whilst the brothers were in Libya. Witnesses also gave evidence in court which suggested the brothers had developed an extremist mind-set. One witness stated in court that, in his opinion, Hashem 'believed in terrorism'. Prior to the events at the Manchester Arena, the brothers used three key addresses to prepare for the attack. A property on Lindum Street in Rusholme was used as a delivery address for the chemicals. The chemicals were subsequently taken to a flat on Somerton Court in Blackley where they were manufactured into explosives. The final version of the bomb would be built at a flat in Granby House in Manchester City Centre in the days prior to the attack. After gathering all the materials needed to construct the final version of the device, Hashem and Salman flew to Libya to see family in 15 April 2017, the month before the attack took place. Whilst the brothers were out of the country, the bomb components were stored in a Nissan Micra that was parked near Devell House in Rusholme. Hashem remained in Libya when his brother returned to the UK on 18 May 2017. Salman would then collect the components from the car in a blue suitcase before taking them to Granby House to finish the construction of the bomb. On 22 May 2017, Salman Abedi entered the Manchester Arena and detonated the device that he and Hashem had created, killing himself and 22 other people, and injuring almost 1,000 members of the public. Hashem was arrested in Libya the following day and successfully extradited to the UK on 17 July 2019.Assistant Chief Constable Russ Jackson of Greater Manchester Police said:
  4. Police are appealing for the public’s help to trace a wanted man from Salford. Kaileb Harrison (21/12/1995) is wanted after absconding from prison. He was jailed 11 years in October 2017 for robbery and burglary. Harrison is known to have links to the Little Hulton area of Greater Manchester. Anybody with information regarding his whereabouts should contact police on 0161 856 528. Information can also be passed to the independent charity - Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.
  5. Police are appealing for the public’s help to trace a wanted man from Salford. Arann McGinley (16/03/1991) was released from prison in March 2019 after being jailed in 2017 for robbery. He has failed to abide by the terms of his licence and is now wanted. McGinley is known to have links to the Salford, Manchester city centre and Altrincham areas of Greater Manchester, as well as Chester and Dublin. Anybody with information regarding the whereabouts of McGinley should contact the police on 0161 856 5238 or the independent charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.
  6. Eccles Police posted this today about a PCSO having his bicycle stolen, and no, it's not a laughing matter... Shouldn't have to do this however whilst dealing with an incident today at about 1.30pm Thursday 12th March one of our PCSO's had one of our fully marked GMP electric cycles stolen from inside a corridor at Nelson Street, Eccles (picture of our 2nd identical bike shown below), He was dealing with an incident at the time and it was locked, the cycle being electric is heavy and wouldn't have been easy to move as it wont freewheel without the key and is not much use without the specialist charger. If you see it around or dumped or saw anything please let us know quoting log number 1397 12/3/20. The theft of this community asset affects the amount of incidents my staff can attend to in a day and ultimately affects you the public. Thanks Ps Judd Eccles Neighborhood Team.
  7. Following on from the success of my last history walks around Salford with the Danish students from the Ingrid Jespersens Gymnasieskole in Copenhagen, along Chapel Street and the Crescent and my popular Eccles history walks on a Sunday, here at Salford.Media thought it would be a good idea if I were to do these walks on a more regular basis, with a catch. I have seen tour guides charging up to £10+ for their walks and I am sure they are good value, however the Salford.Media history walks will be for free! yes you read that correctly, nil, nada, zilch, zero! Instead of charging people we have come up with the idea that people on our walks donate food or cash which will be given accordingly to the emergency, weekend food bank at Mustard Tree in Eccles and any monies received will be given to Broughton House in Salford, the rest home for armed force veterans. I have in mind three walks and they are as follows: 1) Chapel Street and the Crescent, Salford were you will learn about the oldest church in Salford, Scuttlers, public hangings, The Manchester Martyrs, Salford Blitz, Salford Cathedral, St Phillips Church, L.S.Lowry, various monuments and statues, debunk the myth of Marx and Engels boozing in the Crescent pub, fire stations and art galleries. 2) Weaste Cemetery were you can hear about the Salford Poisoner, Crimean War veterans, Mill Owners, painters, two Manchester United footballers, Lady lion tamers, world champion wrestler, musicians, life savers, soldiers, priests and paupers. 3) Eccles Sunday Stroll, come for a leisurely stroll down Church Street and be astonished to learn about, the worlds first railway fatality, bizarre deaths in public houses, body snatchers, Engels popping in an Eccles pub, or did he?, Lusitania riots, the meaning of pub names, local characters, Noddy Holder, Eccles cakes and the Eccles Cross, and much more. Karl and I thought if you were to donate food, tinned or soap products to say the value of a £5 or donate what you can, and less than a fiver in cash, basically half what the other guides are charging plus you get to go for a pint on my walks! So if you are up for it please let Karl and I know, we intend to start doing them in May and afterwards as the weather gets warmer.
  8. Today's story from March 1920 tells of a tragic accident at Agecroft Colliery, Salford which killed three local men, injured several more and left families devastated. On the morning of Thursday, March 11th 1920 word had spread amongst the tightly knitted community adjoining the colliery that there had been an accident down the pit, the rumours said that 20 men had been killed, this quickly rose to 30 men and IO think it is worth quoting the newspaper report of this, Sadly this initial report was to prove incorrect as two of the seriously injured men would die that day from their injuries bringing the total too, three men killed. It would appear that this was the first shift of the day and the men had descended the shaft in the cage and had walked along an incline were they would get on tubs on a rail track to take them to the coalface, but as they were halfway down the incline a safety chain had snapped sending the tubs crashing along and sending one of them off the tracks. Israel Marsden 27, from Pendlebury died instantly, four others were seriously injured, Charles Morris, William Tattersall, Samuel Rowley and George Berry. Berry's wife told the reporter that was the fourth time he had been injured at the pit in four and a half years, twice in roof collapses, and once when a knee injury caused him to be hospitalised for eight weeks and that he had only returned to work the previous Wednesday. I just hope that George came to his senses and walked away from his job at the colliery before it was too late for him. An inquest was held at Salford Town Hall by the County Coroner, Mr G.S. Leresche and the Salford Coroner, Mr A. Holmes to determine what had happened. Thomas Worsley described as being a "gang rider" at the colliery told the court the following. He then explained that the tubs were fastened to a rope and then a safety chain was attached was hooked to the first tub, threaded through the axles of the other tubs and fastened to the last tub. He put forward the idea that the bumping of the trucks had probably caused the safety chain to come loose causing the tubs to bash into each other as they raced down the incline. Dr Sparrow, House Surgeon at Salford Royal Hospital gave details of each man's injuries which it has to be said were quite gruesome. The Coroner then recorded a verdict of, "Accidental Death" and to him it would appear it was a pure accident, with no one to blame. What a sad story, three lives snuffed out for nothing and as for health and safety I think you can guarantee that there was very little of that in those days and human life was cheap as these three unfortunate men found out. Agecroft Colliery finally closed in 1991 bringing an end to over 150 years of coal mining in the Salford area.
  9. Today it was my privilege to show a group of 18 students and their teachers from the Ingrid Jespersens Gymnasieskole in Copenhagen , around the Chapel Street and Crescent area of Salford to learn about our city's history and culture. They arrived at Victoria Station from Liverpool were they are based and soon they were outside Salford’s oldest chapel, the Grade II-listed Sacred Trinity Church were they learned about the history of the church and the significance of the war memorial and the link to Edith Cavell, who was shot in 1915 by the Germans who suspected her of being a spy. Denmark was neutral in World War One and so it was new to them to hear about the appalling losses the Salford Pals regiments suffered on the Somme and the significance of the poppy on the war memorials. They were both delighted and puzzled that the church held regular Goth music nights, Samba classes, Viking re-enactment nights, art classes and LGBT meetings, all of this seemed anathema to their experience of churches in their homeland. The Salford history walk took us to the site of the New Bailey Prison where the students were horrified to learn that public hangings were still taking place in Salford as late as April 1868. I spoke about the Manchester Martyr's, Allen, Larkin and O’Brien who were hanged here in November 1867 for the role in the murder of Sergeant Brett. It came as quite a shock to them to hear that these barbaric spectacles were considered days out, with crowds of 10,000 people attending, mothers and fathers bringing children to watch and with food and drink available all day. Quite a few of the students were football fans and so I had to mention George Best and the numerous love trysts that he held at the now closed Brown Bull pub. A visit to Bexley Square was next as they were regaled with the tale of the "Battle of Bexley Square" in October 1931, I have to admit they looked confused as I explained what went on that day and the police brutality that was meted out to the marchers, I also mentioned the importance of the Red plaque on the town hall. Sadly Salford Cathedral was closed and so we moved swiftly on to the statue of the Lancashire Fusilier soldier and the Boer War memorial, they must have thought I was obsessed with war memorials as I [pointed out the one to the nurses killed at Salford Royal Hospital in the blitz. They were interested to know about Marx and Engels and was it true if they had both drank in the Crescent pub...I tactfully explained that they both did meet in Manchester and yes they did have a drink together but not in this pub, it was not even licenced then. I have to say the pub looks a real eyesore, filthy windows, peeling paint, really shabby looking and an embarrassment to stand outside it and discuss it's history. The walk ended at Lark Hill Place the Victorian Street at the Museum and Art Gallery, were some of the more adventurous students donned Victorian clothing and got into the atmosphere and mood of the street. I have to say a massive thank you to Karen Marie and Karolina for their kind translation work, having to listen to me and their marvellous present, I was truly touched! Many thanks and I look forward to doing it again, I really enjoyed it.
  10. Ambitious, creative and determined to make a difference – that’s the official verdict on Salford’s services for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). Inspectors from Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission carried out a joint inspection of the services run by Salford City Council and NHS Salford Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) which pooled their budgets for children’s services last year. Deputy City Mayor Councillor John Merry said he was pleased that inspectors recognised Salford’s vision and determination that all children and young people with SEND are given every opportunity to be happy, healthy and achieve their full potential. And Steve Dixon, Chief Accountable Officer, Salford CCG said praise for the creative, ambitious, targeted and effective work of education, health and social care services and positive feedback from children, young people and parents interviewed during the inspection was welcome news. Both leaders said that areas for improvement highlighted in the report are already being addressed and promised parents that there would be no complacency when it came to delivering first class services. Inspectors said both organisations have a ‘balanced and accurate understanding’ of strengths and weaknesses and ambitious plans for the services. They praised the strong partnership working, that parents and children/young people are put at the heart of decision making about how to meet their needs and that work to strengthen that involvement is ongoing. The report says that improved early intervention means an increasing percentage of children are achieving a good level of development, while parents of children in special schools “speak in glowing terms” about the quality of provision and support. Inspectors also praised the quality of services, including support for children with additional needs, educational psychology, learning support, information and advice and the virtual school. They singled out a number of innovative areas of practice including dedicated clinics for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) and Salford’s supported internship scheme, supported by Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust, the BBC, Marks and Spencer and the University of Salford which helps young people with SEND to gain paid employment Areas for improvement include more consistency in assessing and meeting needs, tackling waiting times for some services and timely health assessments, tackling rates of absence and exclusion from school and improving the range of leisure opportunities for SEND children and young people. “There are many, many positives in the report which is welcome and testimony to the hard work and commitment of all staff involved with these services. As we expected, the report highlights areas for improvement which we are already aware of and working hard to address because we want the very best for all our children and families,” added Councillor John Merry. Steve Dixon said:
  11. Tony Flynn


    Officers from GMP Salford discovered a cannabis farm with around 90 plants following a raid on a property in the Weaste area, over the weekend. The plants will now be destroyed and enquiries are ongoing. Anybody with any information is asked to contact GMP on 101.
  12. Tony Flynn


    Five fire appliances were called to Le Cassi's, restaurant within the Vimto Gardens complex, Chapel Street, on Sunday evening March 1st , after reports of a fire caused by a faulty electrical appliance. The restaurant was closed and Chapel Street temporarily cordoned off for an hour whilst fire crews dealt with the incident. A spokesperson for GMFRS confirmed the cause of the fire was a faulty dishwasher, and no injuries were reported. Photo: MancTraffic Twitter
  13. Murder thankfully is still a fairly rare occurrence in this country, this story from February 1920 tells of such a terrible deed and how the perpertrator paid the ultimate penalty, death by hanging. Ida Prescott 44, was a widow with two children Irene aged 12 and William aged 10, who lived at 90 Manchester Road, Clifton. On the evening of Monday, February 16, Irene was seen running from the house and screaming for help, her next door neighbour, Tom Haslam heard the commotion and raced out, a passing collier, Charles Penberthy also came to the assistance, armed with pokers they made their way into the house. They were met with the sight of Ida lying on the floor in a pool of blood, her throat had been cut ear to ear. Just then William Thomas Aldred came into the house from the back door, Haslam asked him if he had done this, to which he replied, "It was me, there is no need to get excited about it" The police were summoned and P.C. Holden took Aldred into police custody, a search was made of the area and a blood stained cut throat razor was found on the roof of a neighbours outside toilet. The local newspaper reported that Ida and William Aldred were, "keeping company", he was a widower who had lost a son in the war, and was employed at Bridgewater Mill, Pendlebury. An inquest was held into her death at Clifton Parochial Offices the following day, were a large crowd, several hundred in number,mainly women had gathered in the hope of seeing Aldred and no doubt, injuring him. He was bundled into a taxi with two constables and Inspector Holt to make sure no harm came to it as he was escorted from Clifton and Swinton to Strangeways prison. The Coroner recorded a verdict of "Wilful Murder" on Ida and Aldred was sent for trial to the Manchester Assizes set for May 1920. He pleaded not guilty at his trial but the jury were told that he was a jealous and possessive man, who drank a lot and often turned up at Ida's house causing trouble. On the day of the murder Aldred missed work, and in the evening called at her house and took her son, William shopping for chips and tripe for their supper whilst he went in a nearby pub. They both returned home and they all sat down in the kitchen to eat the meal he had bought them,things must have turned nasty for Ida told Irene to go to bed, she refused and sat in the other room. The poor girl then heard screams and her mother staggered into the room with blood gushing from a gaping wound in her throat, this is when she ran out of the house looking for help. Evidence was then heard that Aldred had been in the "Imbecile Ward" at Barton Hospital on Green Lane on two occasions, once in 1916 and again in 1919 for treatment to his nerves and a nervous breakdown. The Medical Doctor at Strangeways, Dr Shannon told the court that, he had Aldred under observation at the prison and had not seen any obvious traits of insanity when he examined him. The jury retired to consider their verdict and came back with a unanimous "Guilty" He was asked if he had anything to say before sentence was passed upon him, "All I can say is that I am sorry, I must have lost control of myself, that is all" Mr Justice McCardle the placed the black cap on his head and passed the sentence of death upon him. Aldred did appeal the sentence on the grounds of temporary insanity but this was turned down. He was executed at Strangeways prison on Tuesday, June 22 by the public hangman, John Ellis. It was stated that Aldred dies instantaneously and death was recorded as being due to dislocation of the neck.
  14. Tony Flynn


    Today I paid a visit to the Crown Theatre, Liverpool Road, Eccles after diggers were seen on the site, levelling the ground and generally making good the area. I spoke to the site manager, Simon from Goodwins who told me that the digger was doing, "enabling work" a posh term for getting the ground ready for construction work, which will start in the next few months, and new safety barriers are being erected around the site. I have a long term fascination with this building and it's rich and varied history, so I would like to share a few anecdotes about the performers who have played here and incidents at the theatre. The building opened in February 1899 and was called the Lyceum Theatre and it originally put on Shakespeare productions and high brow revues, sadly the people of Eccles were not too enamoured with this and wanted good old fashioned music hall revues. And so their wish was granted with top name artistes treading the boards here, including a young Charlie Chaplin in 1910, George Formby Senior and George Formby Junior, Frank Randle as one of the Bouncing Randles, trampoline artistes, Ted Ray, Linga Singh, Will Hay, Max Miller, Max Erard and countless others. I came across some strange acts that performed here and I would like to share just a few with you. In June 1900 a revue called, The "Klondyke Nugget" played here, a full Cowboys and Indians show complete with horses on stage, gunfights even a band called "The Alaska Brass band" even a shooting contest with local councillors taking part. This revue was the work of Samuel S. F. Cody, no relation to Buffalo Bill, but he was an American who led an amazing life of his own. He developed a man-lifting kite and sold the patent to the War Office in 1906, and in 1908 became the first man in Great Britain to build and fly his own plane in a sustained power flight and won £5,000 in a Round Britain air race in 1912, sadly he died when his plane crashed at Laffan Plains, Aldershot in August 1913. A chap called Dr Walford Bodie appeared here in 1903 and he billed himself as being, "The World's Greatest Hypnotist, Electrician and Scientist" obviously a very modest man. He claimed he could cure people with polio by giving them electric shocks with his "Royal Magnets" and on stage he allegedly cured two young boys of polio, James Bethell and Willie Davis, they arrived in wheelchairs and walked out of the Theatre. Bodie led a fascinating life, he even introduced an electric chair into his act and would electrocute his female assistants, also hypnotising them so that they would sleep in a coffin in a shop window for several days, in Birmingham a deranged youth ran on stage and tried to kill him, to no avail. In 1905 King Edward V11 was so impressed with his stage act in London that he visited him backstage to congratulate him! He incurred the wrath of the medical profession with his use of the initials M.D, he said that they stood for Merry Devil not Medical Doctor and shrugged it off, however a large mob of medical students would turn up at his shows causing mayhem, pelting him with bricks and rotten fruit, causing him to flee the stage. If you get the chance, look into Walford Bodie a truly remarkable man who could list Chaplin, Houdini, Harry Lauder. Marie Lloyd and many more as his friends. Continuing with the bizarre a chap called Samson appeared here in 1921 and his act consisted of him performing feats of strength such as bending iron girders, catching a 200lb canonball fired from a cannon 20 feet away and the highlight of the act was to have a motor car drive over him on stage, Follow that! If you think that was strange, consider, "Fred Ropers Midget Company" this consisted of a troupe of midgets who each did a novelty act, such as singing, dancing or juggling, he even put adverts in the Eccles Journal to let people know that would be arriving at Eccles Train Station and then taking afternoon tea in the Furnishing Department at Eccles Co-op Stores. The Crown became a cinema in 1932 and carried on showing films until 1963 when it became a bingo hall, this too closed in the mid 1990s. Finally no story is complete without a ghost in it, is there? spare a thought for Fred Mason a decorative painter who was killed shortly before the grand opening when part of the scaffolding he was working on collapsed and he fell 45 feet to his death into the auditorium. Obviously many,many more stories can be told about the Crown Theatre and I am certain you have your own, so feel free to share them with me.
  15. Tony Flynn


    It's hard to believe but today, 24th February is the tenth anniversary of the death of Joe Martin, a man who many of you may possibly not have heard off, but his legacy is all around us. Joe was the last Conservation Officer for the City of Salford, sadly a position that has never been replaced by the Council, something I find shocking, surely Salford needs a Conservation Officer to keep an eye on listed buildings etc? I first met Joe when I was working at SalfordOnline and was doing some research into the blue plaques and listed buildings in Salford, I contacted him and the very next day he sent across all the information I needed but also a huge list of information through the post. From then on I found Joe to be friendly, informative and a mine of information about Salford, a place he loved dearly and fought hard to improve and preserve. We met again when the Salford Totem Pole which had stood outside the Manchester Liners office on Trafford Road, was rediscovered after years in storage, neglected and in need of some repair. I followed the progress of the totem pole, from a lock up garage in Broughton until it was fully restored by Native American Indian carvers from Canada who came over specially to do the specialised work. I have been told that totem pole will shortly be erected in a site in an appropriate place in Salford, you have to guess were. The famous Monton Lighthouse may possibly not have been built if Joe hadn't seen the potential in allowing it to be built and helped the owner, Phil Austin through the minefield of paperwork that needed to be completed for the job. To learn more about Joe and his life I met his brother Pete Martin who shared his memories with me. So tonight Joe, I shall raise a glass to you memory, Salford lost a great man when we lost you and the City is poorer for your absence. Joe's older brother, Anthony has written a delightful book about the family growing in Salford, full of amusing anecdotes about the family, with some lovely anecdotes in it. It's called, "Tales of 47" and is available from Amazon priced £9.99 - ISBN# 9781773740539 https://amzn.to/2VlttJ4

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