City al­ways been in the mar­ket for Christ­mas

Manchester Evening News - - NOSTALGIA -

YOU al­ways knew it was close to Christ­mas when the an­nual dec­o­ra­tions lit up Lewis’s depart­ment store in the 1940s and 1950s.

An­tic­i­pa­tion was in the air – and the lights and trees on the Mar­ket Street front seemed to sparkle a lit­tle bit brighter af­ter the dark days of the war years.

Novem­ber was the month for the big switch-on and shop­pers flocked to Manch­ester city cen­tre to check out the store win­dows and dis­plays.

Lewis’s looked splen­did in Novem­ber 1949. Al­though ra­tioning was still in place for many items, shop­pers milled round Mar­ket Street search­ing for a bar­gain or two.

The crowds were there 10 years later too, as our photo shows.

There are more cars and the pave­ments are busier, but every­one was still on the look­out for a special gift on the last rainy Satur­day be­fore Christ­mas.

The scene was very dif­fer­ent in 1987 when hun­dreds more pedes­tri­ans combed Mar­ket Street for last-minute bar­gains. Our pic­ture was taken on De­cem­ber 19, the last Satur­day be­fore Christ­mas.

One man who found a bar­gain was prime min­is­ter Ted Heath when he vis­ited Manch­ester in De­cem­ber 1969.

He had a few mo­ments to spare be­fore catch­ing the train back to London, so he bought him­self a sweater for £5. The colour? Blue of course, al­though he did try on a brown sweater first.

The Prime Min­is­ter prob­a­bly didn’t get a chance to call in at Ge­orge Best and Mike Sum­mer­bee’s Ed­war­dian bou­tique.

Our pic­ture shows the two foot­ball stars and best friends hang­ing out the tin­sel in early De­cem­ber 1967.

Al­though mar­kets stretch back to 1066 in Manch­ester, the first in­ter­na­tional Christ­mas mar­ket took place in 1999, when stalls from Frank­furt set up in St Ann’s Square.

Now the an­nual event has grown to be one of the big­gest Christ­mas mar­kets in Europe, with more than 350 stalls fan­ning out from the hub in Al­bert Square.

Toys are al­ways a pop­u­lar Christ­mas pur­chase – and it was no dif­fer­ent in the 1960s.

Dolls dom­i­nated the decade’s best-sell­ing toys with Bar­bie, Ken and GI Joe in the top five. Num­ber one was Chatty Cathy, who could speak no less than 11 phrases.

Hot Wheels cars made an ap­pear­ance at Num­ber Nine and the Wham-O Su­per Ball came in at Num­ber Six. They were as hard as bul­lets, but bounced very high.

The Manch­ester chil­dren in our pic­ture were quite happy with a tra­di­tional toy car. They were tak­ing part in the 1964 Corona­tion Street pan­tomime Cin­derella along with Cor­rie star Philip Lowrie, who played Den­nis Tan­ner.

The pan­tomime spirit made its mark on Manch­ester City foot­ballers in De­cem­ber 1971.

Swap­ping their play­ers’ vests for vin­tage Aladdin cos­tumes were, from left, Fran­cis Lee, Tony Book and Mike Sum­mer­bee.

Play­ing the lead role of Aladdin at the front was none other than City goal­keeper Joe Cor­ri­gan.

Sea­sonal spirit was also alive and well in a place far re­moved from the busy shops and tele­vi­sion stu­dios of cen­tral Manch­ester.

Strik­ers on the picket line at Park­side Col­liery, New­ton-leWil­lows, dec­o­rated a tree as best they could with beer cans, stream­ers and the odd fairy light in De­cem­ber 1984.

Some­how it cap­tured the spirit of Christ­mas as well as any glitzy shopfront dis­play.

Mem­o­rable images like these – and many more like them – can be found in Clive Hardy’s brilliant new book Around Manch­ester in the 1970s. It’s crammed with more than 300 photos and il­lus­tra­tions that truly bring the decade to life. For the first time in the se­ries, there are colour pic­tures too. M.E.N. read­ers can order it for £19.99 (free postage and pack­ing) from the coupon on this page or from the iNostal­gia web­site on inostal­gia.co.uk. It’s also on sale in all good book­shops. Why not take ad­van­tage of iNostal­gia’s Christ­mas of­fer? You can now buy all three Around Manch­ester books for £39.98 plus postage and pack­ing. That’s the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s all wrapped up - three brilliant books by Clive Hardy for the price of two. Just go to the iNostal­gia web­site inostal­gia.co.uk to place your order or call 01928 503777.

Soc­cer stars in Aladdin cos­tumes, from left, Fran­cis Lee, Tony Book and Mike Sum­mer­bee with Joe Cor­ri­gan, cen­tre

Christ­mas on the picket line at Park­side Col­liery in 1984

Tory leader Ed­ward Heath does some shop­ping in 1969

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