Chris used to attend The Holy Name church as a child so I asked him about which priests he remembers.
“I remember Father Doyle in the 60’s. I was confirmed there by Bishop Holland who asked me if I was a soldier of Christ. I said ‘Yes’ “.
We were at the Zion Centre on Stretford Road in Hulme, a stone’s throw away from St Wilfrid’s Church and Social Club, where I learned music. Despite so much around being flattened the courtyard and building remain. The Pesvner guide describes St Wilfrid’s as “A seminal building in the history of C19 church architecture, yet in striking contrast to the regeneration all around, it is in shockingly poor condition.”
It’s a shame for an 1812 listed building and for the area. Just up from the courtyard of St Wilfrid’s Club is the R.C. Primary school that Stephen Morrissey attended.
Looking back it appears that the 1980’s was an important one in the history of Irsish mancunian history.
In 1981 I was one of three tin whistle players in St Wilfrid’s Under 12 Ceilidh Band that won the All Ireland Fleadh in County Kerry, Ireland. The competition which started in 1957 had not seen a band from outside of Ireland win until this point. I was the drummer in 1982 when we retained the title, this time in County Kilkenny, being the first band to ever do so. A feat that to this day hasn’t been matched.
From 1983 to 1987 The Smiths won six awards for : Best New Act, Best Group, Best Single -Panic-, and Best L.P. on three occasions for ‘ Meat is Murder’ ‘The Queen Is Dead’ and ‘Strangeways Here We Come’.
The song ‘Vicar in a Tutu’ featured on ‘The Queen Is Dead’ album. The song starts with the lyrics “I was minding my business, Lifting some lead off, The roof of the Holy Name church…”
Chris and I were both born in Withington, an area he grew up in. At nineteen he moved to Upper Brook Street before moving in to a curates flat at St Benedicts in Ardwick.
St Benedicts opened in 1878 but was in a state of disrepair in a similar way to St Wilfrid’s. It was classed as ‘at risk’ from 2002. With the help of a £70.000 English Heritage grant, John Dunne opened the Manchester Climbing Centre just three years later.
It was also in 2005 that I played drums for The Jakpot in Jabez Clegg, formerly the Holy Name Club. We supported Pete Doherty, and Littl’ans. The same night that we supported Pete Doherty my former band The Klappers supported him across the road at The Academy on Oxford Road. I went across to watch them play after our soundcheck. It was on that night that Anthony Dwyer from Fallowfield got offered a place on the tour with Pete Doherty. It led us backstage in Liverpool and Cardiff. Although they were in the UK top 40 at the time, The Littl’ans were touring in a Ford Escort that broke down en route to the venue! With a bit of extra lugging about of gear we all got through the gig. In 2006 The Jakpot supported Bromheads Jacket, who were in the top 10 at the time. My dad came to the gig which was packed to the rafters and I asked him what he thought. He said “It’s good but it’s too loud”
It was so packed in fact that a crash barrier gave way at the front and there was a right kerfuffle. I bumped into Bromheads a few years later and it’s something that has stuck the mind of us all. Luckily nobody was badly hurt.
The Holy Name is where Chris would sit alongside his father on the organists stool and turn the pages on demand. Doing this throughout the 1960’s and 70’s is what inspired Chris to become a keyboardist.
He recalls playing the keys in Intastella and performing at The Ritz and Sankeys Soap in the late 1990’s.
After moving to a few different areas yet never leaving Manchester Chris has lived in Hulme for nearly two decades where he creates his own music and is a practicing Catholic. He attends the Holy Name church religiously