Didsbury Curious Exhibition
Private View: Tue 25th June, 7pm: Register here
Sketches Simone Ridyard
Photographic Images Jan Chlebik
Words Phil Griffin
The man in the bowler hat, with the tightly furled umbrella, suavely buttonholes the reddest of carnations, on School Lane, opposite the Parrs Wood Hotel, Didsbury. His bowler hat was made by Christie’s in Stockport. The man is John Steed, he is portrayed by actor Patrick Macnee, in Episode 1 of the first series of The Avengers. It is 1961. Steed inspects his image in the dressing room mirror of the Capitol Theatre, built in 1931, now owned by ABC Television.
Three decades on, Steve Coogan is drinking in the Parrs Wood, across the road from the Capitol Building, home of Manchester Polytechnic’s School of Theatre, most often with John Thompson, who has never really left Didsbury. In 2018 Steve Coogan dons a Christie’s Bowler and is much praised for his portrayal of Stan Laurel in the film Stan and Ollie.
Should you be in the market, you may choose your next violin from either of two establishments on School Lane, Alan Gregory Music, or Ayres Violins. You may guess from this that the first Manchester Band, Charles Halle’s, had some traction in these parts. Actors, musicians, and associated writers and impresarios have passed these ways. Didsbury is not so much a suburb, as a creative eco-system. If that brow sounds a touch high, you haven’t hung out in the Village, or on Burton Road, long enough.
- From Saturday, 15th June 00:00 to Saturday, 13th July 00:00