Like many townships prior to the industrial revolution, Blackley had very few inhabitants.

In the middle of the 17th century, Blackley was a meagre village with 107 residents, whereas in 2011, a census stated that there were in fact 13,686 residents in Higher Blackley.

Notable residents in that time have been the comedian Bernard Manning, actor Bernard Hill, and former Manchester United and City striker Jon Macken.

But there has been one resident who had seen it all in Blackley, staying there throughout the majority of his life, a Mr John Hopwood.

His parents, who came from the far away place Salford found themselves in a very accepting community, who were tightly bound by place.

Here, Mr Hopwood gives an example of the community spirit.

Growing up for children today can be particularly easy, mainly due to the variety of toys on offer, and the vast improvement of technology. There is more than enough to keep a child distracted.

But for John, it was vastly different.

Here, he gives an insight into the games he used to play.

When John was at school, children were judged by different standards. They had to leave school when they were fourteen, as established by the Fisher Act, although there were provisions for children to stay in school till they were 18.

Despite not enjoying school too much, John provides a fascinating insight into what it was like for him.

Because of the Wall Street Crash plunging America into a economic depression in 1929, the USA called in loans from countries worldwide, forcing a worldwide depression.

By 1933 Britain, unemployment had rose to 2.5 million, with industries such as coal, and steel being hit the hardest.

Fortunately John avoided being hit too hard by the slump. Here he explains what that particular time was like for him.

His families togetherness, often seeped into his home life as well. With the lack of some appliances like TV’s, John describes some of the activities that would take place inside his household, as well as giving some background information into the history of his street.

By Craig Carroll


To listen to the full interview with John Hopwood, please visit our online catalogue. The transcript of the interview can be accessed here: john-hopwood-transcript.