Then and now. Moss Side, Manchester, 1940.

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Then and now. Moss Side, Manchester, 1940.

In the early hours of October 1st 1940, a high explosive bomb fell in the garden of a house on Prestbury Avenue, Moss Side.

It appears there were no casualties in Prestbury Avenue. The residents of Yew Tree Avenue, just a few hundred metres to the north, were not so lucky. 8 people were killed and 5 were injured. Laurel Avenue was also hit hard during the raid.

There were 49 air raids on Manchester that month, with bombs also falling on Didsbury, Prestwich, Sale, Altrincham and Trafford Park.

Photo edited slightly to highlight the figures in the foreground.

Details and photo from Peter J C Smith’s excellent book, “Luftwaffe over Manchester – The Blitz Years 1940-1941” published in 2003 by Neil Richardson

Photo above © Greater Manchester Police Museum & Archives. Used with kind permission.

Prestbury Avenue as it is now.

Many thanks to Danmurray83 of Prestbury Avenue for pointing out the precise location of the photo above. The elevated pov means it was likely to have been taken from inside one of the houses behind. This was as close as I could get and I chose a bad time, with the sun right behind the buildings on the right. Still it is a lot better than the first photo I took.


Google Map, Moss Side

21 comments on “Then and now. Moss Side, Manchester, 1940.
  1. Tech Owl says:

    Interesting that the style of house is the same – presuming that there was a rebuild or at least a lots of work to make good.

  2. pasujoba says:

    Looks like the same houses with the hipped roof , the one beyond has had an extension built on to it , that apart they must have repaired and not knocked down .
    Great series Ian , is this another string to your bow ?

  3. mick cooke says:

    brilliant ian you must have done some searching for this story ,, well done

  4. andyholmfirth says:

    That really is a fascinating old pic.The place looks so much more lived in back then.

  5. Neal. says:

    Blimey! I wonder if the folks living there today know of the history.

  6. Billy Currie says:

    Great old image

  7. Ian D B says:

    Thanks for your comments everyone. I wonder too if people know of the history of these places. A couple in a village once asked what I was up to as I prowled about their house. Asked them if they were aware that an aeroplane had crashed in their back garden 80 years earlier, and showed them the newspaper report.

  8. pasujoba says:

    It looks the same to me Ian, even the lintels above the windows match .

  9. michele ciavarella says:

    You did a good report, dear friend.
    In Italy we often find unexploded German and American bombs almost inside the houses. …real estate agents do not know it otherwise would not go into homes to sell….

  10. Ian D B says:


    Thanks Michele

    : )

  11. Pleasureprinciple2012 says:

    That’s one way of getting the garden dug I suppose. I like the "peoples" aspect of the last couple of photo’s. They, like many others, lived on the front line day in, day out.

  12. Norm Mauger says:

    My mum and my gran lived in the next street to Laurel Av , Broadfield Rd during the war,my dad was away in the Navy

  13. Lazlo says:

    Thank you for this post. Three of my relatives were killed at their Yew Tree Avenue home. Moss Side was back then a more salubrious address.

  14. Beatrice M. Boyd (Burley) says:

    I was 17 when this bombing happened I lived in Old Trafford and had the same raid, The family of three were my Grt aunt Fran Burley, Cousin Dorothy and Grt Uncle John Burley, I remember it well, I now reside in the USA, and my son has been looking things up on the computer when I tell him things of the past, I am now 93 and I served in the WAAF for 4 years.

    • Ian D B says:

      Hello Beatrice, good to hear from you and I am glad you have found this page, though sad memories for you undoubtedly. I hope you are well. Would love to hear of your time in the WAAF!

  15. Pat Ellis says:

    Hi Ian. I love your photo and history. Do you have a photo of the Merchant Navy Club in Miss Side? One of my relatives was the proprietor in 1945. Thanks

  16. george ackroyd says:

    Prestbury ave is in Fallowfield not Moss Side ?

  17. I lived in Darncombe St,a cross Bold st from where the houses were bombed.I was 3 years young and vaguely remember being in the air raid shelter wth my man a nd dad and there was a wooden bunk bed in there.I also remember the shelter being demolished many years later

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