Memories of Megert's Confectioners
I lived on Stanycliffe Lane until 1969/70 when at the age of ten, my mum, dad and sister Heidi, left to live where I am now near Morecambe, in the village of Hest Bank. I was born at Woodfield Maternity home in Werneth Park, Oldham. My grandfather was Fred Megert from Switzerland who had Megert's Confectioners in Middleton Gardens (which went on to be Tommy Thompson's chippy). His twin daughters, Elza (my mum) and Joyce both worked in the shop. His wife Clara was my grandmother of course. We left soon after my grandfather passed away in 1968. This picture shows the shop on the right hand side with some royal bunting, probably celebrating the Coronation in 1953 with Morton's greengrocer nextdoor.
My dad was Harold Tomlinson. He worked on Suffield Street for, I think, Gainsborough Engineering? His mum ran the Brunswick over the war years. She was from the Cowap family. My cousin was Peter Cowap, the musician, who I believe has a blue plaque at the Olde Boar's Head pub. I wonder if any of your readers have any memories of my grandad and his confectioners shop? From my dad's side of the family, here is a picture of landlady Georgina (my dad's mum) and landlord, and regulars of the Brunswick.
[Middletonian's agree this does look like the Brunswick and think this landlord is John Littlewood (1939 -1961) a long serving landlord indeed! "The chimney breast, clock, pumps and serving hatch has to be the 'Brunnie!" says Vincent McMahon. He thinks the chap in the trilby could be Harold Ashton. The Brunswick was frequented by Irish folk who made the 'Little Park' area their home. Most of the houses in Little Park were demolished during the slum clearances of the late 1960's.]
My parents had 120 Stanycliffe Lane built and this picture (left) must be around the early 1950's. [It was built on the site of the historic Stannycliffe Hall. The 'Sad Cavalier' that is said to haunt the Ring 'O Bells pub was the son of the Lord of Stannycliffe Hall in the 1600's. The Lord and his family were unwavering Royalists during the Civil War.] I was christened at Middleton Parish church and my parents were married there too. I went to Boarshaw Primary school. I'm on this picture (below) of a Sunday School wakes walk. It's on Boarshaw Road, St Margaret's I think it was called.
One other thing I do remember is that down Suffield Street, behind the shop, a scary man would appear in a doorway. He was big and very filthy, with a bushy moustache and cap, and always had a shovel in his hand. It wasn't my imagination. He worked in the boiler rooms of the mill building my dad worked in. The doorway was at street level, and I think he was taking a breather every now and then but I can see him now, and he scared the life out of me! I wonder if anybody might remember who he was?
Another early memory I have is of a big flood in Middleton town centre. It must have been in mid to late 1960's. I can remember my grandfather's bake house completely flooded because It was below street level. This is my grandad, Fred Megert (left) in later years. He was from Berne, Switzerland, and his trade was patissier/chocolatier. He had the shop from before the war to 1968. He lies in Boarshaw cemetery.
[Tommy Thompson chose the premises for his Supper Bar soon after Megert's closed as his old shop on Manchester Old Road was compulsory purchased and demolished along with many others in the area to make way for the Arndale Centre which opened its doors in 1972. This shop remained a 'chippy' for some years after Tommy passed away but was finally also demolished a couple of years ago to make way for the large Tesco now in the centre of town.]
I hope these pictures trigger some memories for your readers. As I left Middleton around the age of nine, my personal memories are sliding back into the mists of time, as it were!
Paul Tomlinson. February 2012.