12, Bowker Avenue.

I visited 12, Bowker Avenue, Haughton Green last night.

In Denton.

In Manchester.

It’s the house I was born into in 1968.

And lived in until I was 15.

Rude Words.

Craig Pyatt lived next door when I was growing up.

He, when he was in his teens and I was 7, taught me my first rude word.

It was ‘pillock’.

Larry Grayson.

My mum’s car used to park outside.

The car that her dad Harry left her when he died.

It was a black Ford Anglia, the ashtrays stunk and it had the registration 9166 LG.

It’s funny what you remember isn’t it?

She tried to sell that registration plate to Larry Grayson once.

He didn’t want it.

4 Bowker Avenue.

And Mark Woodcock lived at number 4 Bowker Avenue.

I went to his house last night, too on Bowker Avenue.

His dad Keith is dead now and I am not sure about his mum.

He was my first best friend and his dad, my Uncle Keith, made us bacon sandwiches.

4, Bowland Avenue

I went to 4 Bowland Avenue, Gorton last night too.

To visit my grandma.

She died about 20 years ago.

The front garden looked pretty much the same.

12, Elford Grove

Then I went to 12, Elford Road, Gorton.

That’s just about 200 yards away from Bowland Avenue and it’s where my grandma lived with her second husband, Frank Cherry.

From Harry… to Frank.

She cried for years when her first husband Harry died.

I was 3 then, I think.

My grandma, Anne, moved from Bowland to Elford to be with Frank.

One of the reasons Anne fell for Frank after Harry died was because Frank tapped the barometer in the hall when he first visited 4 Bowland Avenue.

Harry had done that every day of his life.

Grandad Frank’s shed.

I looked at Frank’s Elford Grove house from the outside last night.

I spent many days and nights over about 6 years there, being looked after by my grandma and Frank as my mum worked.

I made planes in Frank’s shed as he patiently watched on.

Then Frank died.

Then my grandma died.

So I didn’t go there any more.

The Old Dog Pub

I wandered past the first pub I ever went into last night too.

‘The Old Dog’ in Haughton Green in Denton.

The Village Chippy

The ‘Village Chippy’ is still there too.


I looked at it from the outside.

Last night.

I felt very grown up when I was allowed to get pudding and chips and gravy from there when I was 10 years old.

I am happy it is still there.

The Fields.

And finally last night, I also found time to gaze across the fields that Darren McLellan lived the other side of.

The fields I used to walk past to go to school.

My mum didn’t like me mixing with Darren McLellan.

Two Trees School.

Darren McLellan went to Two Trees school.

It was a bit rough.

The Dead Man.

These fields are also the fields where my sister Debbie found a dead man.

She thought he was sunbathing.

But he’d died of a heart attack.

Shirley Frost’s Bottom.

I felt Shirley Frost’s bottom on these fields too.

She was 10 I think.

But so was I so I think that’s legal.

Time Machine.

You can try visits like this too if you like.

It’s emotional.

Google’s Streetview really is a Time Machine.


  1. I had a Granddad Frank. Perhaps Frank was a popular name for boys when they were both born.

    I too was looked after by one set of grandparents while my Dad was in London, being a designer, and my mum was working as a nurse at Middlesborough General Hospital.

    I remember the smell of his greenhouse. We spent hours in there tending to his tomatoes. Martin Stephenson sings a beautiful song about being , ‘…in a greenhouse, my grandfather and me’. He says to the listener at the end of the song, ‘You can use it as a lullabye for the bairns’. My grandad used to say ‘bairns’ too. That song never fails to bring an eye-moistening wave of nostalgia. So I love Martin Stephenson for that.

  2. Now you’re tugging on my heart strings Michael.

    Growing up in Gorton myself I know the emotional connection that I still have with the place. The pubs where probably from the outside had an air of menace, but on the inside were filled with simple working class people (some doing better than others, but hey that’s life), who trusted each other to have their backs.

    People that shared success and not so good times with each other.
    Sunday league football, lifting the cup for the Royal.Oak.
    20-30 lads playing “killer” pool roaring with laughter as Graffo would swipe the ball as he was still.pissed from the night before.
    Then finding out Dean had been stabbed, never to play football or pool again.
    Sad times, good times.

    It’s one of the associations I make with my now NE home, the great hospitality, the grit and determination. But more than anything a down right honesty about the people.


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