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Feature

The real story behind the house in the middle of the M62

The most famous farm in the country…

Jamie Roberts

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David Dixon / Geograph

As you probably already know, there’s a farmhouse situated in the middle of the M62 when you head out of Greater Manchester towards Yorkshire.

It seems to pop up online sporadically, and whenever it does it goes viral, generating a lot of discussion about what the real story behind it is – we shared a photo of it at the end of last year and it got a big response.

Everyone thinks they know the true story of the house, but do you really know why Stott Hall Farm wasn’t knocked down to make way for the motorway?

Who else's mam told them the farmer refused to move in the '70s? 😂😂

Posted by Proper Manchester on Tuesday, 17 December 2019

The motorway was built in the 1960s, including that particular stretch on the moors above Huddersfield where Stott Hall sat in its path, the Huddersfield Daily Examiner reports.

According to legend, the farmer who owned the house at the time, a Mr Ken Wild, stubbornly refused to sell his land when planning permission was given to the project, so they had to build around him.

A stubborn Yorkshire farmer refusing to sell his land? Sounds plausible, but the real reason is something else entirely.

Peter McDermott / Geograph

An ITV documentary from 1983 – which was only released a couple of years ago – disproved the myth, revealing that Ken, his wife Beth and the dozens of sheep they owned were actually allowed to stay in the house due to a geological fault.

This fault meant it would have been a huge job to construct anything on their land, so the motorway was just built around the farm instead.

As journalist Michael Clegg says: “A geological fault beneath the farmhouse meant it was more practical for engineers to leave it rather than blast through and destroy it… Outside the noise is relentless but inside it’s as peaceful and cosy as any farmhouse.”

Mat Fascione / Geograph

Ken, whose dad bought the farm in 1934, told the documentary he was glad they were able to stay – and so are we to be honest, as it makes that stretch of the motorway a lot more interesting.

So the next time you’re driving to Yorkshire once this is all over, and someone regales you with the story of the stubborn farmer who wouldn’t move, you can sit back smugly, as you know the truth…

Feature

A look back at Manchester’s greatest nightclubs and venues

How many have you been to?

Proper Manchester

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21 Piccadilly Friends And Clubbers / Facebook

Over the years numerous iconic nightclubs, bars and pubs have disappeared from Manchester. Some of these venues have been legendary, others, well, were just a bit dodgy.

Either way, if you visited one it will have left a lasting impression – whether this is positive or negative is another question entirely.

With that in mind, what better time to take a little trip down memory lane and remember some of the forgotten clubs of our city. Enjoy…

Piccadilly 21s

Piccadilly 21s was a ‘90s party paradise located in Piccadilly Gardens. It had a reputation for being very loud, very messy and very sticky, with cheap drinks to boot – there were even chandeliers in the bogs.

Unfortunately it also had a reputation for being rough as owt, after it managed to attract gang members and other unsavoury clientele in the late ‘80s and 90s, and it eventually shut down in 2004.

These days it’s a Premier Inn and a Nando’s – so the floors are probably just as sticky to be fair.

Manchester Past

Rotters

Besides having a name which would prove a branding nightmare for modern PR-led venues, Rotters boasted some of the best parties in the city, after it took over the site from Romanoff’s.

Located at the top of Oxford Road, in the ‘70s and ‘80s Rotters was a hugely popular nightclub, especi

It was housed inside the old Gaumont Cinema, and sadly the whole building was demolished in 1990 and replaced by an NCP car park.

Pips

Pips, located behind the cathedral, was a popular nightclub in the ‘70s, and was frequented by local musical celebs like Joy Division, Ian Brown, Morrissey and Johnny Marr.

It boasted four different rooms playing a variety of music, including a Punk room, Soul room and the infamous Roxy room with a huge Brian Ferry painting on the wall.

Pips closed in the early ‘80s before becoming a club called Konspiracy – which closed not long after.

Manchester Libraries

The Plaza

The Plaza was one of the city’s most popular venues to dance to the likes of Sinatra and Elvis in the ‘60s, and was located on Oxford Street.

Owned by Jimmy Savile, the disgraced DJ pioneered lunchtime disco sessions for the city’s young workers, where you could grab a quick lunch and soft drink while having a dance.

It later turned into Tiffany’s in the ‘70s, complete with fake palm trees and loads of disco balls, before finally becoming Tropicana, which closed in the late ‘80s. It’s now a Pizza Express.

The Hacienda

We couldn’t do a list of iconic Mancunian nightclubs and not include what is arguably one of the most famous venues in the world.

Founded by Tony Wilson in 1982, the Hacienda managed to define a whole era in the city, putting ‘Madchester’ on the map. Acid House and rave culture was born here – as were New Order and the Happy Mondays.

The club closed in 1997 and was demolished 18 months later, with a block of nondescript red brick flats now on the site – called The Hacienda Apartments.

Mikey / Flickr

Jilly’s Rockworld

Jilly’s was a Manchester institution. Originally called Fagin’s, it opened in 1970 on Oxford Road before being renamed Jilly’s in 1983, eventually adding Rockworld to the end.

The alternative club was always packed full with a cross section of people with a passion for guitar music, including punks, skaters, goths, metalheads, and indie kids.

Underneath was another club called the Musicbox – previously Rafters – but sadly both venues shut their doors back in 2010.

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Feature

There’s a hidden tranquil waterfall located in the hills above Rochdale

This looks so peaceful!

Alex Watson

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@thesijones / Instagram & @lockdownwalks / Facebook

If you’re after some tranquillity in your life (let’s face it – we all are), this is the perfect escape and it’s not too far away from Manchester. 

Tucked away in the hills above Norden in Rochdale is a beautiful waterfall surrounded by luscious woodland, and its the perfect weekend walk.

Naden Valley is home to four huge reservoirs Naden Higher, Naden Middle, Naden Lower and Greenbooth, which all offer perfect exploring options and ample walking opportunities.  

lockdownwalks/Facebook

From the top of the valley you’ll find stunning views of Manchester city centre’s skyline towering over the hills in the distance. 

The trickling waterfall is in the southwestern corner of Greenbooth reservoir, and is actually heading towards the United Utilities-owned reservoir after running through a housing estate. 

There are clear circular footpaths around each reservoir that are perfect for a gentle stroll and are mostly accessible. 

There are several flights of stairs to reach the waterfall which is slightly off path and requires a bit of careful exploring. 

If waterfalls are your thing, you could also head to Rivington Pike’s forgotten Japanese Gardens just outside of Chorley. 

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Feature

These are the five best chippies in Greater Manchester, according to you lot

Thoughts?

Jamie Roberts

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Renfrew's Chippy / Facebook

When it comes to chippy teas in Greater Manchester, we take them extremely seriously.

They’re a local tradition, something not to be messed with, and everyone has their own favourite chippy – meaning a debate on where should get the coveted number one spot is guaranteed to get even the most placid Mancunian going.

Earlier in the year we asked you guys just that – where is the best chippy in Greater Manchester? – and we got quite a response.

Now as today, Friday September 4th, is officially National Fish and Chip Day, what better time to revisit your answers and help shine a light on the best chippies our region has to offer?

It's time to settle the debate once and for all 😬🍟

Posted by Proper Manchester on Sunday, 5 January 2020

Going through your  replies, we were able to determine the top five contenders, and here they are in no particular order.

Renfrew’s Chippy

First up we’ve got Renfrew’s Chippy in Denton, with Andy Manser declaring it the ‘best chippy in the UK’ in the comments (he wasn’t lying, Renfrew’s was actually voted ‘the best fish and chips in the UK’ recently). The online reviews are all very positive as well, with smooth 5 star reviews on both TripAdvisor and their Facebook page.

For more info, head over to their Facebook here and have a gander.

Sykes Fish and Chips / Facebook

Sykes Fish and Chips

Up next we’ve got Sykes Fish and Chips over in Pendlebury (some of you insisted it’s in Swinton, but that’s a debate for another time). There was a lot of support for Sykes, and the reviews on Facebook back it up, with Sam Burton dropping five stars and writing: “By far the best fish & chips I have had in a long while! Beautiful batter, the fish was absolutely delightful and the chips were fantastic. Nothing too greasy, and for the price was absolutely excellent! Will most definitely be coming back!!”

Can’t argue with that – head over to their Facebook here for more info.

Tony’s Chippy

Tony’s Chippy was a very popular choice, with comments mentioning it racking up a lot of likes. Now, there are two locations, with Tony operating chippies in Ancoats and up by the Etihad, and both seem to have a lot of fans. One reviewer on TripAdvisor gave the Ancoats branch five stars, writing: “I visited Manchester and had to try Tony’s chippy after hearing how nice the food is. I was not disappointed. The food was amazing, all freshly cooked and the fish are made to order, it was very busy which reflects how good it is. The price is standard and worth every penny. The staff were very friendly. I will visit this chippy again.”

You can find out more info here.

Armstrongs / Facebook

Armstrongs

Armstrongs in Prestwich was another winner according to you guys, and the Facebook page describes it as the ‘Home of the Jumbo Cod’ so it’s easy to see why. Besides massive fish, Armstrongs also has a lot of love online, with Julie Shaun writing on Facebook: “We have been going to Armstrong’s for around 15 years since we moved to Prestwich. The staff are so friendly and helpful and the shop is immaculate. The food is lovely, huge portions so can split between the kids. Definitely recommend and even if we didn’t live near the shop, we would travel a distance as the fish and chips cannot be beaten.”

Head over to the Facebook for more info and pictures of jumbo cods.

Olympus Fish & Chips

Finally we’ve got Olympus Fish & Chips, whose website describes it as ‘Bolton’s award winning restaurant’. One TripAdvisor reviewer didn’t hold back with the praise, writing: “50 of us, paid a visit to the Olympus Restaurant, from arriving to leaving, it was a real treat, each person ordered their own dish, which was quite varied, particularly when we have people with diet requirements, all the feedback was extremely good. Thoroughly enjoyable experience, and highly recommended, we also had background music from the grand piano to provide a lovely day, we will be back.”

You know the drill by now, head over to the Facebook page here if you want some more info.

Olympus Fish & Chips / Facebook

An honourable mention goes to the two different Kong’s in both Hyde and Flixton, with each of them getting quite a few mentions (making things especially confusing when trying to figure out the most popular places).

So there you have it, the top five best chippies in Greater Manchester according to you guys. What do you think? Are they worthy winners, or should somewhere else have made the list?

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