A Slice of Bread & Jam by Tommy Rattigan
Hulme, Manchester 1963
Hulme was probably one of the largest slum-come-demolition sites in the whole of Manchester, with its blighted wastelands, Victorian slums, dark streets and derelict houses and factories. Every day, we would find the heavy bulldozers hard at work, doing what the blitz of 1940 had done to the city of Manchester but had failed to do to Hulme and the neighbouring towns. There seemed to be a sense of urgency – a keenness – to eradicate all evidence of the Victorian era and innumerable smoking chimneys, which had blocked out the sun and poisoned the air-and our lungs. And so the mills and the factories and the slums, would constantly meet their fate, as day after day the blighted landscape around us, steadily became more blighted by the high-rise curved tower blocks and their concrete pedestrian walkways above the streets. This new regeneration plan for Hulme, had an ugliness about it, which the grownups said was all too reminiscent of a Communist country, though they’d never said, which country they’d been talking about. The neighbourliness inherited from bygone years had been slowly deteriorating for a long while, along with its sense of community, as a new concrete jungle steadily rose up, as did its new and more sinister culture, The Cresents.
I hope to take you with me on my journeys throughout this one particular year, 1963, living with my family of fourteen others in a three up two down Victorian slum in Hulme, leading up to my encounter with Myra Hindley and Ian Brady, and to share with you, my thoughts, my feelings, and the unbearable overwhelming instinct which had bore down on me, to go! Get out!