Gasworks with Tanker, Salford
One of the pictures to be seen until 7th July at my exhibition 'There's a Rainbow in the Road' at Salford Museum and Art Gallery.
This is the very 'gasworks croft' mentioned in the song 'Dirty Old Town'.
"...in October 1931 the first of the mass-unemployed demonstrations which were to sweep the country during the next few months took place in Salford. The following day another enormous demonstration was held on the Liverpool Street gasworks' croft and there, from the back of a horse-drawn coal lorry, three of us enacted a sketch dealing with the means test. It was our first open-air performance and one of our most successful. The occasion was marked with baton-charges by mounted police." Ewan MacColl.
"A few days before Christmas there was a dreadful blitz on the Manchester and Salford area. In the Woodbine Street area of Salford the Air Raid Warden told everyone that they must go to the public shelters, my grandfather could not be moved so my mother was allowed to stay in the house with him providing my grandmother went to the public shelter.
"The bombing got worse and those in the public shelters were shepherded along Liverpool Street towards Manchester city centre. My grandmother was not well and eventually she collapsed and was taken to Salford Royal Hospital, she arrived in the hospital shortly before the bomb fell that killed a number of nurses.
"Meanwhile the Air Raid Warden helped get my grandfather downstairs. Grandfather had not been out of bed for more than 6 months and was umable to walk at all. Mother and the Warden helped carry my grandfather along Liverpool Street, the Warden had been told that there was an ambulance waiting for grandfather as near to where they were that the ambulance could get. They walked along Liverpool Street past the blazing gas works. The gas works had a large number of incendiary bombs dropped on it, I understand that some wardens received medals for the work they did that night in trying to get the incendiaries off the gasometers." Eyewitness account.