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Square saved during Christmas Blitz

December 22 2015 | Articles | News

(Christine and her Aunt Elsie commemorate their relatives)

You might know it as one of the oldest buildings in Ancoats, but Victoria Square may not be here today without the quick thinking of some of its residents.

During the Christmas Blitz of 1940, which devastated parts of the city, an unexploded German bomb fell on the square – known then as the Dwellings.

It landed on the roof and could have destroyed the Grade II listed building.

But when teenage soldier Harold Wozencraft was home for Christmas leave, he heroically dashed to protect his home from the Luftwaffe’s weapons.

Harold and his two older brothers Robert and Arthur, who were all serving in the forces, rushed to the roof and used their mam’s good winter coat to contain the bomb.

It was eventually disarmed by the Home Guard, but it could have been a very different story.

Now Harold’s niece Christine, who now lives in Victoria Square herself, has decided to commemorate their bravery.

A lavender tree has been planted in the Square’s gardens in memory of that fateful night in December 1940.

Christine, 67, is the third generation of her family to live in the Square, which was the first social housing in Manchester.

First built in 1894, it’s the oldest social housing still in use today. For over a century it has been home to hundreds of families. Northwards Housing manage the property on behalf of Manchester City Council and it’s now a peaceful haven for around 170 older tenants.

Christine said: "I first lived here as a child and I’ve always loved it.

"My grandma was the first person in the square to get a bathroom. All the children used to queue up on a Sunday night to have a bath."

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