As revealed in my last post, after 10 years Dead Rats Cycles is moving just around the corner from our old workshop, to 7a Nicolas Road, Chorlton, Manchester, M21 9LG. Locals will recognise the building very well as it was the home of the much-loved Irene’s Sewing Box for the last 28 years. Irene’s haberdashery – shown in the photo above – was a Chorlton institution and I’ve had many passersby asking after her, which makes me proud to be taking over such a well-known space. I’d been looking for a new home for a very long time, it needed to be close by and a good fit for my business. Naturally as soon as I heard Irene was retiring I was straight onto the owners and, after several months of planning, wombling materials and sorting out the lease, I’m in! Now halfway through a two-month renovation & shop fit, it’s looking like the shop will finally be open by the end of January 2019.
I’ve done a bit of research and spoken to lots of people about the property. Nicolas Road was built in 1909 and the shop was originally a part of a market hall dating from c.1910-1920. Prior to Irene’s Sewing Box it was a typewriter shop for many years (as confirmed by the lady in the local branch of my bank) and I found out from Rita, one of many supportive neighbours I’ve met this month, that in the early 1970s it was motorcycle shop by the name of BJ West who later moved to Deansgate to sell BMWs. Around this time the current owner bought the property, before that it was a plumber’s merchant. I’d love to find out more about it pre-1970 and display a timeline and some photos in the shop, please get in touch please if you have any more information.
Battling a heavy Christmas sinus infection and with still huge amounts to do I’ll not be writing much more, except to say the building has now had its blown brickwork and roof repaired, a new roller shutter fitted, a drop/suspended ceiling removed and replaced by overboarding the original lath & plaster. Security has been beefed up, a new fuseboard has been fitted and today saw the continuation of the fitment of a new multi-layered floor. It’ll soon be time to finish the dirty work – though the exterior may have to wait until warmer weather comes along for completion – and start on the actual shop fit (storage, lighting, signage, counter, workbench, tool wall, display, seating etc.) before I finally move my tools and stock in – and get back to doing what Dead Rats Cycles does best!
So here’s a few snaps of what’s been going on this month! Thanks to everyone who’s helped out so far, especially Katharine, Don, Colin, Dave S, Dan B, Adam, Ron, Matt P, Ben, Pete K, Tommy and Stephen, Glen and Nathan, Sam, Rosie, Kat and Aimee, Andrew, John and not forgetting Annie & Patrick. More to follow in the next couple of weeks as the shop takes shape…
Nasty drop ceiling, fitted circa 2000. Its removal was the obvious start to the renovation, huge thanks to Don for your help.
Original ceiling – the best bit.
Original ceiling – the worst bit.
Tide mark at top of walls from old drop ceiling. Height of main room is now back to a towering 3.3 metres!
Tommy from T&T Security removing the old window grills – highly recommended.
Roller shutter installed, old sign still in place for now. The old lower steel grill support remains in place under the window, now acting as a pretty solid barricade.
Glen and Nathan fitting new the ceiling at very short notice – cheers lads!
Fuseboard replacement by Dave Skillington.
Voila! Top marks to Dave.
Leaky kitchen, now fixed by Dan and Dave.
Seven bike hanger fitted in petite backroom, wood is found scaffolding boards.
Exterior facelift continues with iconic old sign removed with lots of help from Sam. Window sill, paintwork & signage still to be completed as you can see!
First bit of gloss painting – new window sill, resplendent in Rat Grey. OK, it’s actually Squirrel.
Finally, new floor – stage one screed layer. Nice one John!