I first met my friend Andrew Simpson, a very long time ago when we started at Manchester Polytechnic together. You can read his fascinating blog which covers so many different subjects here:
As you can see from the title of his blog, it is mainly about the town of Chorlton-cum-Hardy, in south Manchester but now part of the city, its boundaries long swamped by the metropolis. One of the series of stories I particularly enjoy is his history of the house he lives in now on Beech Road. He first moved in, as I did, when a friend of ours owned it; I’m not sure how long I lived there, two or three or maybe four years, I can’t quite remember now. It’s a wonderful house, a magical house, a large end terrace property built in about 1914 – you will have to read his blog to find the exact dates!
Life moves on, and so did we – I moved to London, then back to Manchester when I stayed with Andrew in another Chorlton house for a couple of months before moving into my own place. Life moves on again, and Andrew was able to buy the Beech Road house – and he lives there still!
Andrew is now a much admired and respected local historian, and has written about Chorlton-cum-Hardy, and Manchester on his blog, and in several books which you can find in your local bookshop if you live in Manchester, or on Amazon if you live anywhere else in the world! One of his series of blogs is about the Beech Road house and its history, charting it’s actual construction by Joe, who continued to live there until his death, to our brief few years there, and now Andrew’s own personal and family history of the lovely old place.
I think these stories which reflect the social and historical situation of Chorlton as well as the personal stories of the inhabitants of the house, would make a great book – a biography of a house! Here is one of Andrew’s stories from a month ago… a mystery!
In my Radwinter stories, the main character Thomas looks into the past too, finding his own family history but also doing genealogical research for other people – and these investigations are part of the narrative! Thomas’s family has grown somewhat, and it has occurred to me that realistically a modern family of seven could not live in the small house they occupy – yes, I know in the past people with large families lived in very cramped circumstances – and Thomas reflects on this, and I also know that today, many people still live in cramped and overcrowded conditions. However, Thomas and his wife are beginning to think they should move house…
I have a house in mind for them, based on a beautiful house I know in real life (never been in it, just admired it from outside) I think the move will have to take place in another novel – if I write one, but it struck me that Tomas, like my friend Andrew, could write the history of the house – do its genealogy! My imaginary house’s history would be totally fictional, but I would base it on proper research so that it is believable to the reader.
If you are interested in Andrew’s fascinating book about Chorlton, here is a link:
… and he has also written books on Manchester and the Great War, and other illustrated books about the city.
If you haven’t yet read Thomas Radwinter’s stories, or my other novels, here is a link: