Vera talks about the local area

Resource Type: Audio | Posted on 16th September 2011 by Liam Physick

Vera recalls how she was born above the family shop, and in 1973, moved to Froggatt Way: she and Michael discuss the maisonettes there. They mention the pubs, a Welsh chapel on Webster Road, and two notorious murder cases in the area. In 1864, a Welsh chapel was built in Smithdown Lane, and it was later relocated to Webster Road, being replaced in 1924 by the Cameo Cinema. The Cameo murder occurred in March 1949, when Leonard Thomas and John Catterall, the manager and assistant manager respectively of the Cameo, were shot dead in a botched armed robbery. Two men, George Kelly and Charles Connolly, were charged with the crime: Kelly was found guilty and hanged at Walton Prison on 28th March 1950, while Connolly, who was tried separately, pleaded guilty to robbery and conspiracy to avoid the same fate: he served seven years in prison. In 2003, Kelly and Connolly’s convictions were overturned by the Court of Appeal after it emerged that the police had kept back from the defence evidence that a key prosecution witness had previously given details of another man’s confession to the crime - officially, it is the longest-running miscarriage of justice in British history. In the other case mentioned, Alice Rimmer, an middle-aged widow who lived alone, was beaten to death by intruders at her home in Cranborne Road in August 1951. Two young men from Manchester, Edward Devlin and Alfred Burns, aged 20 and 21 respectively, were hanged for the crime: however, they had an alibi (that they had been breaking into a warehouse in Salford at the time of the crime), and there was no forensic or eyewitness evidence against them, and therefore the case is also widely suspected of being a miscarriage of justice. Vera then mentions her current residence, Stephenson Court

Interviewee: Vera

Interviewee Gender: Female

Interview Transcript

Ian: So, you were there in the shop . . . ?

Vera: Well, I was born . . .

Ian: In, in the shop?

Vera: Yeah, above the shop . . .

Ian: Above the shop?

Vera: Yeah.

Ian: And you stayed there for . . . ?

Vera: Til 1973.

Ian: So, yeah, 40, 30 . . . let’s get this right . . . 33 years, yeah? And where did you move to then?

Vera: I moved to, well, I moved, by then, we did have to move, it was only me and me dad . . .

Ian: Yeah.

Vera: . . . and we moved to Froggatt Way on Chatty there.

Ian: Right. Just that again, yeah?

Michael: Tenements, just was there.

Ian: Yeah, it’s just off, yeah.

Vera: Where all those new houses are being . . .

Ian: That’s right, yeah.

Vera: Yeah.

Ian: Yeah.

Michael: Just over there, and there was a few blocks, weren’t there?

Ian: Yeah.

Vera: Yeah, oh, yeah, it was . . .

Michael: Maisonettes, were they called?

Vera: They were maisonettes, the, the ones we were on was maisonettes . . .

Ian: Yeah.

Vera: . . . and the houses were in front which the houses are still there, aren’t they, on Chatty?

Ian: Mmm-hmm. Right. Have you got any other strong memories about when you, when you lived round there?

Vera: Round, down here, you mean?

Ian: Yeah.

Vera: Well, used to, well, not really, you know, I can remember . . . well, all I can think about is playing in the street as, as a child, but in me teens, you see, they wouldn’t let me out! (laughs)

Ian: Yeah.

Vera: So, I had to wait for other people, me mother or an aunt or the many cousins who Michael here knows, the one . . .

Michael: We remember all the shops on her road, don’t we . . . ?

Vera: Oh, yeah.

Michael: . . . on Smithdown Road, and the pubs.

Vera: Oh, yeah, I mean, there was the Spofforth . . .

Ian: Yeah.

Vera: . . . the pub, there was . . . yeah . . .

Michael: Which was a Welsh chapel, sorry, was that supposed . . .

Vera: Yeah, that was, it was (indecipherable), the, the Spofforth pub, when it was first built, it, it was supposed to be for a, a Welsh chapel, but it was never used as one, but do you ever remember the Cameo on . . .would you know of, have you ever heard of the Cameo on Webster Road?

Ian: No.

Vera: Ah, right, well that was built as, as a Welsh chapel on it, there was a Welsh community . . .

Ian: That’s right.

Vera: . . . on Webster Road, but that’s the other side of Earle Road, between Earle Road and Smithdown Road.

Ian: Yeah. I know the, is it United Reformed Church on Earle Road?

Vera: Oh, yes, at the very top.

Ian: Yeah. That was a, that’s a lovely church.

Michael: You know, it’s a, yes, it’s (indecipherable). . .

Ian: That’s right.

Michael: . . . the Cameo was where the famous murder was, the Cameo murder . . .

Vera: That’s right, yes.

Ian: Right, OK.

Michael: . . . and there were a few murders, down there, weren’t there . . .

Vera: Yeah.

Michael: . . . on, on Earle Road?

Vera: Well, off Earle Road, yeah, cos . . . Salisbury, no, what’s the first name?

Michael: Salisbury Road?

Vera: No, the other one, where St. Hugh’s is on.

Michael: Cranborne?

Vera: Yeah, the other, Smithdown Road, there was a murder there in one of the houses along there.

Ian: Right. Are you still at Stephenson’s (sic) Court?

Vera: I am, yeah.

Ian: How long have you been there?

Vera: 16 years, on the twenty, twenty . . . 31st, I should say, you’re 30th of . . .

Ian: Right.

Vera: . . . July, I moved in there.

Ian: OK, and what, what’s Stephenson’s Court, do you enjoy it there?

Vera: Well, yeah, I just get on with it . . .

Ian: Do you?

Vera: . . . it’s, it’s not like . . . I mean, you, what you first moved in there, oh, yeah, they do this, they do that, they don’t do much that! (laughs)

Ian: Right.

Michael: She’s never in!

Vera: Well, that’s true as well!

Tagged under: edge hill area, chatsworth street, earle road, pubs, smithdown road, webster road, spofforth road, chatsworth street maisonettes, cameo cinema, cameo murder case

Categorised under: Change & Communities

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