Westerner Boutique
Barton Arcade

Photo above of yours truly (one on the left) in the Westerner, Barton Arcade, the stagecoach was the window display.

Picture of Barton Arcade, The Westerner was on the corner as the road turns to the left.

Phil Nadin

Don't remember too many cowboys wearing flares but remember wanting one of those jackets. 

Picture was taken for a promo in Manchester Evening News.

Image courtesy Phil Nadin.

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The T-Shirt Has Been Ripped
Barton Square No.1 I worked at this branch from August 1971 until February/March 1973, transferring from G&D Oldham St as the branch was one member of staff short. I got an extra quid a week for my trouble (Wow, a quid a week no less - soon be hanging out with the jet set!) Barton Sq. which employed about five people, was significantly different from the local HQ at Oldham St. It was clear that the new location was an autonomous affair with its own set of local politics as distinct from those which coloured the G&D store. Initially, I was viewed with suspicion; as some sort of spy from Oldham St, such was the political climate in JM Ltd during most of my time there. This new crowd were accomplished jokers and their principal tactic was to ask the newcomer any number of probing questions. The purpose here was to root out any perceived weaknesses which they could naturally exploit and which at first got well and truly up my nose. This, of course, was part of the plan and every ... Read More
21st February 2017 1:59am
Hot buttered toast
Saturdays were ace. Last day of the busy week starting with hot buttered toast at the café on St Annes Square ? The manager always asked for 'lashings of butter' Then for lunch at the Mariner ? just off St Annes. Liquid lunches served daily. Afternoons were really just the time before beer o'clock !
25th February 2017 11:31pm
Paul webmaster
Odd how toast crops up a lot around the site. Simpler times, I suppose.
I worked at CWS and used to whip out to Parkers, Amber St, for tea and toast with mates from different departments. Parkers always cut the toast into three strips - which I still do, 50 years later!
25th February 2017 11:52pm
The T-Shirt Has Been Ripped
I found your 2008 UK reunion with Pete McClain and Butch Mepham interesting. I met Pete at Urmston Men's Club in May 2014 along with Derek Quinn and Eric Haydock. Pete particularly was a great bloke; a true gentleman. I'm still learning about the immediate pre-Beatles era of pop/rock music. The Gospel Train film was shown; the one with Muddy Waters, Rosetta Tharp et al. A few days ago I watched the youtube footage of Muddy with the Rolling Stones in Chicago, circa 1980; and to think he appeared fairly anonymously at Chorlton Station years before. Incidentally, among those interviewed at Urmston were Frank Williamson and Tommy Jackson; respectively driver and fireman of the train featuring in the programme. I have a copy of 'It Happened in Manchester'.
27th February 2017 12:32am
The T-Shirt Has Been Ripped
Barton Square 2 The Westerner shop consisted of a ground floor level and a basement. All of the western stock; suedes, leathers, denims etc. were displayed on the upper level. Some of this stock bore The Westerner brand label. The basement level held jackets, trousers, suits, shirts, ties and knitwear of which, most was branded 'Guy' as in Guys and Dolls. Many of our customers purchased Guy clothing only and came straight to the basement. The staff might take turns at working on either level. The shop at Barton Sq had a half-decent collection of records which were played each day. What it didn't have though, was a half-decent record player to go with them. There was a turntable/deck connected by sellotaped fragment of wire to a speaker mounted on a wooden board. This unbalanced contrivance was propped haphazardly near the open front door. The power connection consisted of a 3-pin plug with no cover so that the internal pins and wires were exposed. Plugging or unplugging ... Read More
27th February 2017 1:25am
Hot Buttered Toast
Later in 1973 The Westerner has a Jukebox - stereo no less - suppliers let us put some of our own singles in so Saturday afternoons rang out to All Right Now and My Brother Jake. At a reasonable volume, of course. I have a nice memory of the shop-lifter catching techniques. The front doors were western saloon swing doors and if we had a new line - denim jackets etc. - they went on a circular rail just inside these doors. One afternoon the staff were alerted by the doors swinging and the rail spinning round. Soon to notice that half the stock had gone we followed in pursuit. We were joined by the display manager, who's name escapes me, carrying a full size axe. This was hung up as part of a 'wild' west type of prop although it was a real axe. We didn't see which way the perpetrator went and returned to the shop. When asked what he would have done with the axe if he caught said perpetrator, the display manager said "I don't know, it was the first thing I put my ... Read More
2nd March 2017 4:51am
Hot Buttered Toast
Strange thing that toast ! Alien perhaps ? Throwback from the Steampunk era ?
2nd March 2017 4:37am
The T-Shirt Has Been Ripped
Barton Square No.3 To Hot Buttered Toast: Welcome aboard matey; no doubt we will have met in an earlier life. As a fellow survivor of the shop of this forum, you have my sympathy where thieves are concerned. As HBT will likely recall, in addition to said tea-leaves and other ne'er do wells, some of Barton Square's customers were great and some were barely tolerable. It wasn't unknown for the time-wasters to descend upon our hallowed premises with no intention to spend money, but instead to rummage through recently tidied suits and other stock before walking out again. You could have so much of this then it became a bit much. Invariably the same faces messing up the same stock in the same aimless manner. Eventually, we sacked off these pests usually in a polite but unambiguous manner. We also had the inane questions: Q: Have you got any of them Levvies in my size? A: If you mean Levi's; they're over there (give me strength!) Q: Do you sell two-tones or Harringtons? ... Read More
2nd March 2017 12:08pm
Paul webmaster
Inane questions? I worked in Dolcis, Market St and got:
"Can you tell me where downstairs is" - yes, down those stairs you walked past to get to me.
"Can I try those shoes on in the window" - No, you will have to take a seat in the shop.
"Have you got any shoes with no heels"
"Have you got anything pointier than these shoes" - Sorry, please try Lewis's sports dept, they sell darts.
and ... always my favourite, customer takes shoe from ssales rack outside and asks "Do you have the other shoe/" We always said NO (if boss wasn't looking" and sent them away.

You mention thieves - on two occasions we had a one legged man stealing the single shoe from the sales rack outside :-)
2nd March 2017 4:04pm
The T-Shirt Has Been Ripped
Ha-ha! Nice one, very good. I recall somebody switching the elements of three-piece suits round to get a better fit on somebody and thus a sale. We weren't supposed to do this but a sale is a sale. Subsequently we ended up with one dog's backside of a suit; the jacket was tight, the trousers were baggy and heaven knows what the waistcoat was like. That said, somebody bought it and to this day I'm curious as to the physical dimensions of the purchaser. I once went for an interview at your old place CWS just after leaving school. This had been arranged by a family friend and the position was an unspecified clerical one. Of course I was painfully shy and not very at ease in the dark confines of the offices on Balloon St. Two older girls nearby could sense my discomfort and smiled reassuringly which didn't really help. I was soon furnished with an aptitude test paper by Mr Pearson, an elderly man who resembled Captain Pugwash. I suspect that I was not likely to figure on ... Read More
2nd March 2017 8:50pm
Hot Butteerd Toast
Old ones are the best mate. I worked for FHW on Market St and Mansfield in Barton
Arcade in early 70's. Mansfield was a bit classier though the customers didn't seem to know that.
3rd March 2017 3:32am
Hot Buttered Toast
Paul, your 'downstairs' one is good, however, I once worked at a seaside resort where there were drunken youths at weekends. (never!). The police used to park up at the top of the beach banks in case of trouble and as I was passing the time of day through the 'panda' window a youth looked in and said "Hey mate, where's the beach?" he seemed a bit brahms and list and, no kidding, without hesitation the burly p.c. shouted "It's over there between the sea and the sky." Classic.
3rd March 2017 3:46am
The T-Shirt HBR
And Now, it's Barton Square No.4 Ha, with thirteen threads so far, this forum is beginning to rock and roll. The following didn't qualify as an inane question but begs another question; namely should The Westerner have launched its own brand of fetishwear. At the Oldham St branch of The Westerner, one bloke asked us for a whalebone corset for his extremely attractive girlfriend. He was small and skinny; she was tall and well-endowed. It was like looking at Before and After. This wasn't a wind-up, he didn't appear to have smoked anything dodgy, and whatever he had in mind, his girlfriend was probably up for it. Unfortunately, somebody at JM headquarters must have forgotten to order whalebone corsets that week so we lost an interesting sale. The couple, both around our age group, were a bit disappointed so one of the young Saturday staff girls suggested a museum or else they might obtain the bones from the local abattoir. The elastic, fabric and the laces might be ... Read More
3rd March 2017 10:30am
The T-Shirt Has Been Ripped
Barton Square No.5 I referred to the back door from the basement in the last posting. In theory, it represented a rear exit from the premises via a staircase. In practice, however, it was different. It is doubtful that this woebegone corner of the building had been cleaned or swept during the previous fifty or maybe sixty years. The way out was obstructed by and cluttered with grime, assorted hazards and rubbish. Huge black cobwebs, undisturbed for decades hung menacingly from the ceiling and also across the door. One look at this was enough to put anybody off and at no time did I ever think about going out that way. As mentioned previously, this shop was a law unto itself which might have included natural laws as well. There was no telling just what might be lurking beyond that door! I well remember manager Mike Comber's comment about the "----ing tarantulas in this place" Wildlife apart, the antisocial antics with the shop record player continued unabated and went a ... Read More
11th March 2017 7:41pm
The T-Shirt Has Been Ripped
Barton Square No.7 Not everything at Barton Sq revolved around immature behaviour and symptoms of a disturbed psychosis. When we were busy, we took things seriously and worked hard as required. In 1972 as many may recall there was a series of national strikes and power cuts. The power blackouts were preceded by a 15 or 20 minute warning; in some cases well in advance. This state of affairs nearly put The Westerner out of business because of the massive slump in sales, yet amazingly people still came into the shop. In the absence of mains electricity, we were obliged to illuminate the premises by whatever means available. The upper floor did allow some daylight in but the basement lay in total darkness. We had candles and a camping gas lantern. From one or more of the displays, two green-painted paraffin-fuelled contrivances appeared. These I think were known as Tilley lamps but nobody had a clue how to use them. Therefore we obtained a couple of 12-volt car batteries and some ... Read More
30th April 2017 6:08pm
David simmonds
Please ttshbr more on Barton squareGrin made my day
30th April 2017 6:52pm
Hi, worked at the Westerner in 1973 with Dave Pearce, Mike Bradbury , Brian King, Rick ford and a few others. Awesome time. sold clothes to Julie Goodyear, Mike Harding but to mention a few.
23rd November 2016 9:46am
The T-Shirt Has Been Ripped
Barton Square No.8 To Dave Simmonds. Thanks for your comments Dave; always appreciated. There's still more to come. Following on from Barton Square No.7, the power cuts we experienced at The Westerner naturally affected the Free Trade Hall, particularly Pink Floyd's gig in March I think. An advance warning had been received by the hall's management which was conveyed in turn to the audience. After about two or three tracks into their set, the hall manager asked the band to stop playing and would the audience please vacate their seats then leave the premises. PF carried on playing to the concern of the management. Not surprisingly, we concert-goers hung back, reluctant to leave then the sound ended abruptly as simultaneously, the lights went out. There was no panic, just the steady shuffle of feet in the dark. Despite the daylight of Peter St, the FTH sans electric light was a very dim place within. Not long afterward, the strikes and blackouts ended so things returned to ... Read More
30th April 2017 11:16pm
Hot Buttered Toast
Ever so entertaining TTHBR, but sometimes I think you took the wrong junction on the railway to reality (I only say that as I know I did !!) - as for Paul's inane questions - I have an inane statement. Mo son has started going to the gym (foolish fellow) and he came in one day and said 'I can't move my legs' to which I instantly replied without thought to silliness ' no, they have to stay at the end of your ar*e' - keep 'em coming TTHBR - we all enjoy the jolly japes of our mis-spent youth ! regards Phil
1st May 2017 12:11am
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