The first step to finding the studios is to find their addresses and therefore location on Market Street, those of you who live in Manchester will know that the shops change regularly and there is quite a number of them!
To do this I have visited the archives at Central Library, hoping to find a buisness directory or street map from the 1940’s or 1950’s. Firstly I looked (with help from the very efficient library staff) in the Manchester Trade Ledger until I found a record of the Samuel Cooper studio in 1948 listed as being in “Hope Chambers” listed as 107, Market Street, Northside. Which according to the knowledgeable staff is before Debenhams and opposite Primark! Unfortunately there is no record of Studio Alexander, in fact there is another buisness listed at 28-30 Market Street, but this address is on the Southside of Market Street, meaning it would be just after Boots.
Finding these addresses is really important so that when I come to look in photographic archives (or anyone contacts me with a flash of memory from the past!) I know exactly where I’m looking and we have much more chance of finding the studios.
Next in the Library I searched through the Manchester, Salford & Stretford Street Directory, until finding a register of Studio Alexander on Market Street at the correct address! What was brilliant about this directory is that the shops around it were also listed from the same period, again giving me more signs to look for in any photographic evidence. The studios neighbours listed up to the Royal Exchange theatre were at no.26 reid Bros (Tailors) ltd. among others in a large building (presumably like “Hope Chambers”) then on the other side going up to Piccadilly Gardens there was at no.28&30 the Irish Linen & hoisery Association ltd. (which presumably shared the address with Studio Alexander), at no.32 Edmunds + Co. (a wool shop), at no.34 Meesons ltd. (a confectioners), at no.36 SS.Handbags ltd and at no.38&40 a Dolcis Shoes before reaching Pall Mall Street.
This is wonderful information to have found as now I really know what to keep my eyes out for when I visit the North West Film Archive, which is the next point of call, where hopefully a discovery will be made! Fingers crossed.