JL Womersley's Hulme Cresents in the 1970s/ small and simple hoop earrings/ socks and sandals- outfit styled by Nike Felldin/ homemade pizza from new favourite food blog Straw Hat/ Margaret Howell scarf/ Brookfarm General Store market backpack, store found via Through A Glass Darkly/ gold nails/ 'Camille aux Caraibes' Jalouse March 2011
I've enjoyed reading about JL Womersley and his infamous Hulme Cresents this week after hearing about him from a free copy of Article Magazine picked up at Lee Rosy's in Nottingham before the Topshop blogging event. The huge brutalist block cresents were built in the 1960s as a Post-War solution to the existing slums in Manchester's Hulme. A massive demolition project went underway to replace the 19th century terraces (two of which Morrissey lived in when he was growing up) with Womersley's cresents but within 20 years the severe poverty that had been a problem in the 'old hulme' was worse and aggravated by the new development. Though the Cresents had been designed very much from a social angle-the walkways for example were meant to create the community feeling of streets familiar of the terraced ones the buildings had replaced but in practice these ideas didn't work. There were faults with the design of the buildings and the high crime rates meant Hulme wasn't an area many people felt comfortable passing through at night. The Cresents were eventually pulled down in the mid-1990s and now a huge shopping complex (where I bought my turkeys at Christmas no less..) stands in it's place. Despite the problems that were caused by the intensely close living quarters of so many people (around 13,000) it's a real shame that the Cresents no longer stand as they are a big part of Manchester history. I read somewhere something along the lines of 'forget the Hacienda, in 1989 everyone in the know was going to The Kitchen' which was a club made up of 3 of the flats knocked into one. And as somebody who is fairly new to the city I was hoping to cycle down the road and gasp at the concrete giants before discovering they were no more. The tone of the piece in Article was very much in Womersley's favour-that he has been mostly forgotten and misunderstood. It is noted that gasp!, Womersley doesn't even have his own Wikipedia page. Even after the small bit of reading I've done, theres something very fascinating about the legacy of his Cresents. It's personally interesting to me because it's just around the corner from where I'm living and the energy of Manchester in the 1980s-1990s is something that I think interests a lot of people that move here as it explains so much of the city's heritage (think of Factory Records if nothing else). You can watch a short video about the Cresents here though it sadly gets cut off at the end.