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Welcome to the April edition of Community Index
Didsbury People Didsbury Through Time Book Reviews Dear Readers, Christ Church West Welcome to Community Index Didsbury. Didsbury, Clock This month, Didsbury artist Ian Andrews talks about his fascination with Restoration faery tales and the power of art to change lives in a very real sense. Historian Andrew Simpson takes another look inside one of our most Southern Cemetery beautiful buildings, the former Didsbury Training College. We celebrate Didsbury Open the restoration of a famous local clock and rejoice in new life in an Gardens unlikely place. Meanwhile, now that spring has ﬁnally sprung in South Manchester, Community Index we look for the green shoots of horticultural recovery with gardener April In Katharine Watson and we look forward to June, when Didsbury’s most Your Garden gorgeous gardens open their gates for charity. You’ll also ﬁnd our comprehensive list of local clubs, societies and social Sport In Didsbury groups, plus a round-up of local sport. Business Index Get out there and enjoy the sunshine – but not before you’ve read Community Index.
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Didsbury Library, The Parsonage, Cafe Nero, Costa Coffee, Expo Lounge, Saints & Scholars, The Art Of Tea, Giddy Goat Toys, Harriet & Dee Cover Image Iain Andrews, Local artist
Contributors Deborah Grace
Andrew Simpson Theo Andrews Bathroom Angels
Deadline for next edition
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Jean Galloway Nola Chesworth Katherine Watson Geoff Garnett
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Didsbury People by Deborah Grace
Award-winning artist, Iain Andrews, is enjoying increasing recognition for his magical and sensuous paintings. Currently exhibiting at the Castleﬁeld Gallery in Manchester (until 13th April), Iain also works as an art psychotherapist at a local high school.
How long have you lived in Didsbury?
I moved up to Didsbury from Birmingham in 2002, as I fell in love and my (now) wife was living here. She is originally from Birmingham too but Manchester is very much our home now.
How would you describe your paintings?
When I paint I’m trying to make work that is suggestive of things without being too prescriptive or obvious. I try to make paintings that hover on the border between ﬁguration and abstraction; that suggest something seen or glimpsed and yet, on closer inspection, frustrate that initial recognition. I love colour and the sensuous physicality of paint, and much of my work is a combination of thickly layered brushstrokes with more considered, ﬁnely detailed areas. Many of my works look like they were painted a century ago as I use layers of varnish to age the image, and I enjoy the contradiction of being a contemporary painter and trying to make work that looks both
modern and old at the same time.
Tell me about the themes and narratives that inform your work.
I’m fascinated by folk tales and faery stories and their accompanying themes, such as deprivation, transformation, oral greed and perseverance. The original faery stories have a wonderful way of tackling difﬁcult themes in a way that neither denies nor sentimentalises them and, because they are a part of most people’s childhood, they have that familiar quality that I want to get into my paintings. I’m also inﬂuenced by my faith in Christ and many stories from the Bible (which JRR Tolkien would describe as a true faery story) ﬁnd their way into my work.
As a psychotherapist, how do you use art to help the young people with whom you work?
The young people I see use their own art to help themselves, really, and I see my role as facilitator – someone who provides a space to allow them to tell their stories in a way that
makes them stronger. When a young person has been through trauma, the telling of their story often seems to happen best through a medium other than words, since it can be so difﬁcult to contain such a powerful experience in words alone. Their making of art in a non-prescriptive environment can help them to access feelings in a less threatening way and, through the re-telling of their story, they can gain ownership and control of their experience.
What have been the highs and lows in your artistic career?
There have been several lovely moments. Being included in a 2011 exhibition at House of the Nobleman in London alongside Rembrandt, Soutine and Poussin - where I sold a big painting of mine to the guy who created Skype - was fantastic! Lows come all the time as an artist as you’re constantly applying to (and ﬁelding rejections from) exhibitions, but over the years I’ve learned to keep plodding on regardless.
Complete the sentence, ‘I love Didsbury because …’ ‘ … it’s where I fell in love.’
Take a look at Iain’s work at www.castleﬁeldgallery.co.uk
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Didsbury Through Time by Andrew Simpson Goodbye to that College in Didsbury... a wall plaque and the Rev Archibald Walter Harrison I don’t think I ever noticed the wooden plaque in the library showing the crests of the old Methodist College and Didsbury Training College, along with the name of the Rev Archibald Walter Harrison. And when the MMU vacates the site later this year, I hope it will be displayed somewhere in the new building at Birley in Hulme. Now, the Methodist College, which provided theological training from 1842 till 1942 deserves a post all of its own, as does Didsbury Training College, which can trace its history back 1946 when the Board of Education rented the building as an Emergency Training College.
Likewise the Rev Archibald Walter Harrison should not just be
dismissed as an obscure name on a wooden board. He was, at his death, the President of the Methodist Conference and had a long record in the service of the Wesleyan faith. Born in 1882, he trained for the ministry at Didsbury, where he studied for three years ‘completing his B.Sc degree and passing the Intermediate Examination in Divinity before becoming Assistant Tutor.’* From there he moved across
the country as a minister, wrote extensively on church history, was awarded the Military Cross in the Great War, and was variously Vice Principal and then Principal of the Westminster Training College from 1921-1940. ‘Methodism was in his bones and in his blood; he understood its peculiar genius, loved its hymnology, served it with splendid loyalty and gave his life to serve it to the uttermost.’**
So I am just left wondering when the wooden plaque was placed in the library and if the Manchester Education Committee made a contribution. In the meantime it is a nice reminder of the long history of college and thanks again to Pierre for sending it to me. * W F Howard, Wesleyan Historical Studies, 1946 **ibid, W F Howard
Picture; of the plaque, courtesy of Pierre Grace and the collge Library in 1911, from the collection of Paul O’Sullivan
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Book Reviews At Freddie’s
By Penelope Fitzgerald
This is a brilliant, short novel by an author who, unfairly neglected after her death in 2000, is once more attracting interest thanks to Hermione Lee’s acclaimed biography. The story takes place in the early 1960s, at a stage school for young boys. Its proprietress, Freddie Wentworth, is an eccentric, older woman who, in a previous life, has worked at the Old Vic, in its heyday, as assistant to the famous theatrical manager, Lilian Baylis. Freddie’s school is in Covent Garden, in the days before its spectacular re-development. For now, the vegetable market dominates the area and the school, still relatively free of property speculators, is in a state of advanced dilapidation.
A vivid cast of characters graces the novel, which provides a rare, behind-the-scenes look at the world
The House of Mirth By Edith Wharton
Set in America’s so-called Gilded Age, Edith Wharton’s merciless satire of New York aristocracy at the turn of the 20th century has, at its heart, a heroine who is as frustrating as she is beguiling. ‘She was so evidently the victim of the civilization which had produced her, that the links of her bracelet seemed like manacles chaining her to her fate.’
At the age of 29, beautiful socialite, Lily Bart, appears to be at the height of her powers, yet the heels of her pretty, silk slippers stand on quick sand. Shaped for a life of luxury and ease, but of limited ﬁnancial means, Lily needs to make a wealthy marriage to secure her place amongst the glittering elite. Thus, trapped by her desire for money, Lily resists the chance of real love presented
of theatre, where rivalries abound and the brightest talents do not always succeed. The story, which revolves around a revival of Shakespeare’s ‘King John’, is written in the spirit of irony but Fitzgerald also treats her subjects with generosity, managing to shine a sympathetic light on the mediocre, as well as the outrageous hams and precocious youngsters. For instance, one character, a teacher, who fails both in his professional and personal life becomes, here utterly memorable. On the cusp of big changes that are only hinted at, Freddie’s school provides not only a link with London theatre’s past glories but also a symbol of its endurance.
• Review by Theo Andrews
by Lawrence Selden, an impecunious lawyer, and sets her sights on more afﬂuent prey. Torn between head and heart, however, she repeatedly sabotages her opportunities of making a prudent match and so begins to sink, slowly at ﬁrst, into the quagmire. Her conspicuous charms and lack of wealth make Lily all too vulnerable to the petty jealousies and intrigues of others. Increasingly compromised, she eventually ﬁnds herself brutally cast out by the society wherein she was once feted.
In Lily Bart, the reader cannot help but ﬁnd sympathy with a heroine who is at once the victim of circumstance and social hypocrisy and the tragic architect of her own ruin. Irresistible!
• Review by Deborah Grace
Clock face restored at Christ Church West Didsbury by Jean Galloway The tower clock of Christ Church, West Didsbury, has been restored. It dates back to 1886 and was built by James W. Benson of Ludgate Hill in London. They were famous clock and watchmakers of the Victorian era and held royal warrants as ofﬁcial watchmakers to Queen Victoria, the Tsar of Russia and the Emperor of Japan.
The restoration of the clock faces was carried out by The Cumbria Clock Company who maintain and repair many famous clocks including those at the Palace of Westminster, Hampton Court, Salisbury and Worcester cathedrals and Manchester and Leeds town halls.
All previous maintenance work had been done with the clock faces in situ, but last June three dials and six hands were removed with the help of a steeple jack who abseiled down the tower.
On inspection they made two interesting discoveries. Firstly, the maker’s name ‘Benson London’ was found underneath the existing paint and secondly, the shape of the numerals had gradually changed over time, possibly due to the challenges of painting them in situ.
The project was funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and Greater Manchester Churches’ Preservation Society. A booklet ‘The Clock and its Restoration’ has been distributed to local schools and libraries and is available at Christ Church.
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Southern Cemetery by Nola Chesworth
Spring in the cemetery
Southern Cemetery is seen by most as a place of peace, calm and rest, but it is also a thriving home to numerous species of animals; mammals, birds and insects. Springtime is when the cemetery really comes to life; daffodils and crocuses that have been planted around the graves are joined by wild ﬂowers such as bluebells, common dog violet and cuckoo ﬂower. All adding beautiful colour and delicate fragrance to the surroundings. During the day squirrels are a common sight;
scurrying around, going about their business, and when night falls they are joined by a whole host of other animals. Tawny Owls keep watch from old trees that cast shadows over the foxes who are patrolling the ground, while three different species of bat circle high above.
Efforts have been made to ensure Southern Cemetery remains an urban paradise for our wildlife; grass is no longer cut around some of the oldest graves, so that wild ﬂowers can ﬂourish and small mammals and insects can
make their homes; while The Meadow offers environmentally friendly burials in a site dedicated to attracting wildlife to the area. Southern Cemetery, ﬁrst and foremost is the resting place for loved ones, but it is also a place full of life, colour and natural beauty; something which is never more apparent than at this time of year.
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Didsbury Open Gardens Sunday 8th June 11:30 – 5:30pm
More than twenty gardens across Didsbury will open to the public, in aid of charity, on Sunday 8th June. You can expect to see a broad range of gardens, and contemporary to traditional design and planting schemes.
The community event has raised over £35,000 over the last six years and the team look forward to breaking through the £40,000 mark this year. Maria Stripling, the founder and one of the organisers said, “The event attracts a lot of people of all ages, from Didsbury and across Manchester. There is so much to enjoy from the gardens themselves to meeting old friends as you wander around the village, listening to music in one or two gardens, or watching willow weaving. Of course, plenty of cups of tea and home made cakes are on offer to keep you going and it’s all for a good cause.”
The event attracts around 1,000 visitors and creates a great sense of community, with a number of community groups also getting involved at The Parsonage Trust, Friends of Fletcher Moss Gardens, and The Bradley Fold Allotments. It’s a real treat for all the family, so don’t miss it.
Programmes go on sale early May from selected shops in Didsbury, including Inman’s Newsagents, Lapwing Lane, and The Cheese Hamlet, Didsbury Village.
Manchester Bach Choir Reg. Charity No. 1096957
Saturday 12 April 2014 Emmanuel Church Didsbury, 7.30pm
Bach: Sleepers Awake! Pergolesi: Magnificat Handel: Chandos Anthem No. 9 Vivaldi: Concerto for Two Oboes RV535
Detail from Magnificat by Botticelli
Jennie Marsden-Williams: soprano Rachel Gilmore: alto Stuart Keen: tenor Thomas Eaglen: bass
with chamber orchestra James Hulme & Alex Hilton: oboes Jim Cooke: conductor
Tickets: £9 & £6 Tel. 0161 366 0532, from manchesterbachchoir.com or on the door
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Community Index Clubs, Societies & Groups
Didsbury Village East Residents Association
Acting For Fun Central
Didsbury Amateur Dramatics
Didsbury Civic Society
Monday of each month, 8-10pm, Whalley Range Venue. Ann 07814 861285
Didsbury Cricket Club
Friends of Didsbury Park
Didsbury 431 4794
celestaplayers.co.uk didsburycivicsociety. org.uk
didsburydinners. wordpress.com For general enquiries/ Community growing group: didsburydinners@ yahoo.co.uk
Didsbury Good Neighbours Every
Tues 10-11.45am coffee morning. Holt Pavilion, Didsbury Park 07749 504298 www. didsburygoodneighbours. org.uk
Didsbury Ladies Probis Club Alternate Monday afternoons in East Didsbury. Joan Woodall 0161 434 2532
Didsbury Lawn Tennis Club Bob Peel, 01614 45 0465 didsburyccsports. co.uk
Didsbury Village WI
Dolls House and Miniatures Group 2nd
Friends of Fletcher Moss Park Alan Hill 215
0971 awhill@globalnet. co.uk
Friends of Marie Louise Gardens
Manchester JKF Karate Club Didsbury MMU Sports Centre, Tuesdays 8.30pm Ben Pollock, 07894108944
Oneness Deeksha Meditation Saturdays
11am-12 at The Didsbury Parsonage, Stenner Lane M20 2RQ. Donation £2 Christine 07734 072040.
South Manchester Camera Club Mondays
at 8-10pm, Didsbury Methodist Church smcc. org.uk
Didsbury Over 50s Group 247 2323
South Manchester U3A
1st Tuesday of the month 2pm, Emmanuel Church. Edna 434 2509
West Didsbury Bookgroup Meets every four weeks at 7.30pm. Lively mixed group of all ages. Call 445 4483 leaving your name, address & landline
West Didsbury Residents Association
Pam Siddons 445 5406 westdidsbury.org.uk
Withington Civic Society Roger Smith 445 1473 withingtoncivicsociety. org.uk
Social & Support Groups
Manchester Diabetes Support Network Details/
venues/ monthly dates etc diabetesinmanchester@ gmail.com 0161 860 5688/07414 635992
New Family Social
UK charity for LGBT adopters, foster carers and their children. Meets every month in south Manchester. newfamilysocial.org.uk email: nwdevelopment@ newfamilysocial.co.uk
Useful Numbers Didsbury Library 227 3755
Environment on Call 954 9000
Mersey Valley Countryside Warden Service 905 1100
Manchester City Council 234 5000
Didsbury East Councillors Andrew Simcock
Didsbury West Councillors Mark Clayton
John Leech - MP
8 Gawsworth Avenue M20 5NF Tel: 434 3334 johnleechmp@parliament. uk
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April In Your Garden by Katherine Watson We had some mixed weather in March, some beautiful, hot spring days as well as the ubiquitous rain all of which will have stimulated the growth of April’s emerging foliage. There are some magniﬁcent youngsters pushing their way through this month. Some are ﬂushed with the bright colours of youth and with foliage that is soft and still fragile, whilst others are only just unfurling from a tight protective knot of leaves.
The hostas fall into this last category having sent up pointed ﬁngers of purple through March, they are just about to come into their own. There are a huge variety of hostas from miniature (for example ‘Baby Bunting’) through to the truly giant leaved example, ‘Empress Wu’, via some medium to large, more saucily named varieties, ‘forbidden fruit’ and ‘climax’. A particularly lovely medium sized hosta is ‘Avocado’ with shiny dark green leaves shot through with a subtle yellow. These more leathery hostas are supposed to be less susceptible to slug attack although I have
the smaller hosta, ‘Devon Green’ in two large pots, with similarly thick leaves that eventually get chomped but perhaps not quite so quickly.
The shuttlecock fern, Matteuccia struthiopteris is also making an appearance unravelling from tight, furry whorls into upright lime green foliage. These ferns like the damp so you could try digging out a section of a shady border, lining it with a bin bag (perhaps one or two holes punched through) and back ﬁlling it with a mix of the old and some new compost before planting the ferns. Both the ferns and hostas
will thank you for a mulch and/or a feed in spring.
The furry, dissected leaves of the oriental poppy have been around for a while now with the perfect, round buds just forming. Varieties like ‘Patty’s Plum’ continue to be a favourite but I might try ‘Royal Wedding’ this year – a beautiful white version with a dark purple heart. We tend to think of June and July as the most thrilling in ﬂower and foliage terms with perhaps September coming a close second for repeat ﬂowering and late interest, but April’s promise is just as lovely- you just have to look at bit closer.
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Where children are cherished
One of the main reasons why parents choose St James for their child is the school’s commitment to excellence. Running against the current trend of large schools, often with increasing class sizes, St. James’ commitment to excellence means class sizes are kept deliberately low. The average class size, currently below eight, gives pupil-to-teacher ratios which are amongst the best in the region. This has helped them to achieve results which are amongst the very best. This all takes place in an atmosphere of calmness, order and peace: words not often associated with schools. One parent recently referred to the school as “an oasis of calm, where my child is not so much valued, as cherished”. Don’t take our parents’ word for it: come and see St James’ focus on excellence for yourself.
Call 0161 480 4586 to book a visit or free taster day for your child. St James Junior School, Belmont Street, Stockport SK4 1TG i n f o @ s t j a m e s s c h o o l . o r g. u k w w w. s t j a m e s s c h o o l . o r g. u k
Sport in Didsbury by Geoff Garnett
Pam and Claire Greys seconds through to GM double up ﬁnal
Didsbury Greys seconds are through to the GM All Divisions Cup in an exciting local derby with City of Manchester ﬁrsts.
City had a goal start as they are from a division below the Greys but the Greys soon drew level with a strike from Cath Thompson. Their joy was shortlived as City regained the lead with a strike from Kerry Goodall. In an end to end second half, Thomson added her second to draw the Greys level again with an unstoppable strike. The vital winner came from a penalty corner struck home by Jacqui Prest to set up a tense ﬁnish with the Greys defence holding on against strong pressure. City have the consolation of an unbeaten league record as they look good to return to division one.
Left to right - Rebecca, Meredith, Pam and Claire The wonderful new ﬂoodlights at The Albert Tennis Club in West Didsbury have greatly increased the winter activity at this popular club. Head tennis coach, David Chadwick said, “Thanks to the lights we are now able to stage specialist women’s events from beginners to team players and also high energy Cardio Tennis classes.
“The Winter Women’s Doubles was won by Pam Cavanagh and Claire McCarron who beat Rebecca Gorman and Meredith Franney. The runners-up are girls who developed through our junior programme and the winners are two ladies who joined a beginners’ class two years ago.”
The club is looking to recruit more women players visit www.thealbertclub.co.uk for more information.
Didsbury move up to third Didsbury Toc H moved into joint third in their league with a stunning 67-7 win over Hutton. They were inspired by the centre partnership of Tom Makin and James Turner as they ran riot, scoring 11 tries.
The visitors always struggled. Half backs Will Luffman and Gaz Oakley combined well as the tries ﬂowed in the ﬁrst half from James Turner (three), Ed Taplin, Mark Chambers, Enita Okidiko (two) and Tom Makin.
The second half was tighter as Hutton never gave up and managed a consolation try as Toc added more tries from Okidiko, completing his hat trick.
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