Harry Rutherford's
Festival of Britain Mural

Friday, 7 December 2012

The Last of Handforths Pies/Newton Street Shops and the M67

This informative piece was sent to us via David Mills
I found this old picture (courtesy of Tameside council) that was taken in the early 1900's of whit walks.  You will notice the stone wall of Ashton Brothers (on Newton street) meets up with the brick wall of the first shop in the row of shops  that would lead in to Hyde (note the Newton Street sign can be seen above the wooden doors).  I think this first shop eventually became the famous Handforths Pies.  I used to live on Dukinfield Road, so  this was a local treat every Saturday lunch with home made chips and it was the purported best pies in the world.  Its funny as Ashton Brothers seem to scale down its operation shortly after this pie shop went!
The whole area changed and most of it went (George Street etc), so I had really lost my bearing of where the shops stopped and started.  My mother told me that Handforths pies was the first shop next to Ashton Brothers, so when I found this photo……..but there again was this first shop demolished earlier and was Handforths further up?
I couldn't resist looking for the 'odd brick' that might be left from 30 odd years ago so I drove past a few weeks ago and noticed there is certainly more than the 'odd brick' that remains of the first shop that adjoins the stone wall of Ashton Brothers.  It looks like the road is now raised as the wall the stone wall now seems lower owing to  the changes that were made to the area as a consequence of the motorway.  The road also starts to bear to the right at this point to go over the motorway.


You can also see the bricks on the outer wall run parallel to the stonework without jagged edges, so this would have been where one of  the wooden doors was hung (see on the first photo).  Recent pruning of shrubbery is now revealing the gable end of the first shop (see below)

From the above picture it looks like some sort of concrete was used to cap the bricks so that water would run off them to protect them from ingress as its seems the wall was left as some sort of retaining wall from the land below into Ashton Brothers.

The above 1968 map shows the first row of  shops leading into Hyde (between Mary Street and Dukinfield Road) from the wall of the first shop we have discovered. If you zoom in on the map it was actually looks like the gable end wall forms part of an access ginnel which turns right possibly running  behind the whole row of shops possibly for goods deliveries.
Looking at this whole area where the motorway went, as it was an odd thing to do removing all the houses shops to make way for the motorway as so much of Hyde was lost and a lot of character. From the above map it looks like there were three rows of shops on Newton Street.  Why didn't they make a tunnel?
The 30 bus (now the 330 bus) which went from Ashton to Hyde to Stockport (and beyond) used to turn at the end of Dukinfield Road and the on to George Street an you were in the bus station!  After all this was done it seemed to take for ever.
I expect the Motorway took more prosperity out of Hyde than it brought to Hyde .  I also remember the numerous streets you could cross to get into Hyde most with shops or housing, sadly most of these are now dead ends.  I expect these were the 'so called slums' where we re-housed people in high rise flats or took them out of town where there were very few shops (along with their loss of business to the area) - so much for progress!
It also looks like Wellspun (the last occupiers of the remaining Ashton Brothers site) is all being demolished, I wonder if the wall will remain or survive the demolition of the site.
Does anybody have any pictures of the famous Handforths pie shop as I seem to remember in the 1970's it having a beige coloured sign with Handforths written on it.  More to the point, did this shop relocate anywhere when it was demolished as result of the M67 motorway works (or did they retire after making a crust!)."
Best Regards
David Mills
Super account and photos there, David.
Thank you so much !


Anonymous said...

Barry in Oz. The son, Frank Handforth now resides in Scunthorpe, Lincs, is an electrician by trade, now retired. Married a Hyde Lass, barbara and has two grown up sons who served in the Army in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Anonymous said...

Hello everyone, eileen from bolton here.
this particular article brings back lots of lovely memories for me.

the old photograph reminds me of going back to when i was a very young girl. sarah and thomas wigley lived directly opposite this shop. they were our grandparents who lived in an old terraced house up some very wide, steep steps. their back yard over-looked the row of shops. i remember looking over as i used the old tippler toilet that was shared by neighbours. i would love to see a picture of those steps or the streets. our other grandfather, jack collins, who lost a leg in the war was a master tailor for burtons, lived a couple of streets away. he used his front room as a workshop.

much later in life from the age of 15, i used to go in the pie shop EVERY day for my mates from ashton brothers for their lunch. i can vouch that it WAS the best pie shop in the world. i've never tasted any since, to beat the meat pies with their unusual shape and runny gravy. everytime i come back to hyde i think of those meat pies - they don't know what good meat pies are in bolton!

when the shops were blighted by plans of the motorway they took a long time to close down and the area looked dreadfully neglected for a few years. i used to frequent the second hand shops on the same row looking for unusual music records. i picked up some belters for 50p each! one in particular i liked was by an unknown group called legend, released on the vertigo lable. it sells on e.bay now for up to £300!

as anyone got any photo's of the demolishion of the ashton brothers?



Hyde Lad said...

Handforth's started as a confectioners around 1914, run by Joel Handforth. Later in the 1920's John Handforth took over, still as a confectioner's. A John Handforth was still running the confectioners in the 1950's, probably a son or grandson. The shop changed it's name to Handforth's bakers probably in the 1960's.

Anonymous said...

hello everyone - eileen from bolton here.
this article brings many memories back to me.
our grandparents, sarah and thomas wigley lived on mary street, just up the steep steps off newton street. from their back yard we could peer over the wall at the local shops. the pie shop was on the end almost opposite the steps.
many years later i used to go to the pie shop everyday for for my workmates from ashton brothers. i can vouch that they were the best pies in the world. boltoners don't know what a real pie is!
the area was blighted when plans were made to build a motorway. the shops closed one by one and houses were left empty for years. i remember collecting old music records from a second hand shop just futher up from the pie shop at 50p a time. one particular record sells for up to £300 on e.bay nowadays.

Frank Popperwell said...

For me, the best pies were Bilton's on the corner of Russell Street and Reynard Street. You can keep you Handforth's pies, give me one of Bilton's meat and potatoe pies anytime.

ceecee said...

I must agree with Frank about Biltons pie shop their pies were delicious and huge compared with what we can buy today

ceecee said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gerald (Hyde DP) said...

There's a photo of the demolition of the mill at http://hydedailyphoto.blogspot.co.uk/2007/08/ashton-bros-mill-demolition.html Frank Bennett took a series of photos of the demolition and there was an album of them on FlickR or somewhere but I don't have a link to them to hand.

Frank -GODLEY said...

I worked at the CPA and every dinner time most of us had Bilton's pie's, Handforth's meat were ok, but Bilton's meat and potatoe were the best in Hyde.

Colin said...

When I went to Greenfield School my mum use to get Bilton's meat and potatoe pies for dinner, there were two sizes, the small size just about the same size that you get today. They were certainly the best in Hyde.

Anonymous said...

We had Bilton's pie's every other dinner time when we lived near the old cinema on Travis Street. From about 11.am there was always a crowd waiting to be served. You had to get there before the dinner boy or girl with their baskets from the Hat works or the Print works got there. The meat and potatoe pies were certainly the best in Hyde and three times the size of Handforth's little meat pies.

Werneth Low said...

I'm fascinated by this post and have read all threads with interest. For some reason I can't recall the part of Newton Street beyond its junction with George Street up to Flowery Field Church. I know the left turn into Dukinfield Road was always there but were the traffic signals there in the old days too? Are there any photos of that stretch of Newton Street which I seem to have forgotten? Be good to see one if there are.

There are some good, though sad, shots of the recent demolition of the last part of Ashton Bros in the Tameside Citizen. Wonder if the Blog should do a tribute to this wonderful institution. After all, there can't be many people in Hyde who didn't have a Zorbit or Christy towel - purchased or otherwise!

Anonymous said...

There were never any traffic lights on Newton, which ran from its junction with Manchester Road to its Junction with Dukinfield Road until it reached the junction of Old Road, Lodge Lane and Park Road. Handforth stood near enough directly across from the seven steps that went up to Mary Street, which led directly down to Edward Street. The street that went to the left at the top of the steps was Elizabeth Street. The other street's were Catherine Street and Rochfort Street. At the top of the steps on the left hand side were four houses. The Prince family I think lived in the one that overlooked Newton Street. Newton Street and George Street crossed but there were no traffic lights only the Boars head pub.