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Tony Grist

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Rochdale [Oct. 22nd, 2008|10:36 am]
Tony Grist
Rochdale's only five miles up the road but we hardly ever go there. Maybe that'll change. We had a walk round yesterday afternoon and bought boots for Ailz, lace-up shoes for me, a pair of slippers for the mother-in-law and various other bits and pieces- all for under £50.

It's a valley-bottom town, built along the banks of the now invisible river Roch.  I wouldn't call it good-looking- it's not a tourist destination- but it has its points. The Victorian town hall, with tower by Waterhouse, is the prettiest in the North West. The big blocky tower blocks- which dominate the town centre- are known, with inappropriate romance, as "the Seven Sisters".

It's an old town. The church went up in the 11th century. Lord Byron- I don't know if he ever bothered to visit- took his title from here; he was Lord Byron of Rochdale in the County of Lancashire. In the 19th century the town gave birth to the Co-operative movement- and in the 20th century, Gracie Fields- the singer and film star- who forfeited some of her pre-war popularity by snuggling up to Mussolini- was a Rochdale lass.


[User Picture]From: sovay
2008-10-22 05:18 pm (UTC)
It's an old town. The church went up in the 11th century.

My primary assocation with Rochdale is the Coconut Dance . . .
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2008-10-22 06:13 pm (UTC)
I hadn't heard that before. It's brilliant.
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[User Picture]From: sovay
2008-10-23 07:24 am (UTC)
It's brilliant.

I have only a handful of songs by Bellowhead, but they are all terrific.
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From: nostoi
2008-10-22 10:10 pm (UTC)
The last time I was in Rochdale I was with a cousin who lives there and we got stuck in this awful one way system off Yorkshire Street where a lot of the smaller streets had been dead-ended to stop joyriding. She ended up driving up a one way street to indignant shouts from a man on the pavement but it seemed like the only way we were going to get out!

All my great aunts and uncles lived in Rochdale, all dead now, and I have a few cousins dotted about the outskirts that's all. I've got a family picture from the 1950s and I think every single person on it (40 - 50 odd) lived in Rochdale, but then the family started to disperse as they do.

Sorry, rambled a bit there. Those flats in the background were built on the slums where my family lived, and my great grandmother was featured in Woman's Own (or some such magazine) many years ago outside them.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2008-10-23 08:07 am (UTC)
You can no longer drive through the centre of town- which is probably a good thing- and so we found ourselves having to navigate a maze to get in and out.

It's about time they pulled those tower blocks down and replaced them with something conceived on a more human scale.
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