Sherlock Holmes is the greatest detective the world has ever seen or will ever see. That’s elementary.
Since coming to life via the pen of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in the 19th century, the deerstalker-donning pipe-smoker has been regarded as the quintessential riddle-solver; a man capable of fathoming any mystery by sewing together peripheral details that no one else can see.
The character has been regularly reincarnated in various forms for over 130 years – with Holmes’ legend so deeply embedded in British culture that he’s occasionally mistaken for a real historical figure.
Of course, some would be quick to point out that no real-life detective could ever solve the kind of complex cases seen in Holmes books or movies. Let alone in such fascinatingly far-fetched ways.
But in fact, one such detective did indeed exist. And he walked the streets of Victorian Manchester before Holmes was just a twinkle in Doyle’s eye.
An Italian-Irish resident of Deansgate in the 1800s, Caminada clocked up more than 1,200 personal arrests as a lawman – earning him a fearsome reputation and a begrudging admiration from the felons who spent their days trying to stay off the detective’s radar.
During a period when you couldn’t walk through Manchester city centre without being pickpocketed or drunkenly walloped, Caminada was storming through the streets single-handedly seizing crooks by their collars.
Before police were running training programmes or teaching their recruits, he was donning disguises and going undercover, stepping up to solve cases that others were prepared to chalk up as ‘one of life’s great mysteries.’
Caminada’s story is a remarkable one, and it came to wider public attention in recent years thanks to the work of Angela Buckley – a Manchester-born author who started writing about the detective’s life after realising it intertwined with her own.
Poring through the pages of her family history, Angela realised her distant relatives (who lived in Deansgate and Anocats) would’ve known Caminada – including one ancestor who owned a brothel on the policeman’s beat.
“It was when I looked deeper into my ancestor’s nefarious life I discovered that he must have come into contact with Caminada,” Angela tells The Manc.
“My personal links to Caminada were really strong – so I started to read more about him and just wanted to bring it to a wider audience.”
Caminada was born in Deansgate in 1844 and was – like many in the area at the time – raised in abject poverty.
Whilst affluent people continued to work in prestigious buildings in the city centre, the adjoining streets that linked to Deansgate were considered no-go areas, riddled with pickpockets, thieves, fraudsters, tricksters, drunks and robbers.
The local police force was still in its infancy back then and had all the robustness of a Neighbourhood Watch; well-intentioned but lacking the experience, resources or know-how to tackle crime on any meaningful level.
It meant that Manchester’s streets became a villain’s playground, and by the 1870s, local crime rates were four times higher than they were in London.
Around 1873, a local newspaper sent a writer into the slums to get up close and personal with the criminal underworld – with the journalist reporting back on the shocking scenes of forgers, counterfeiters and vagrants huddled in squalor around fires, concocting various get-rich-quick schemes.
Of course, not everyone was a career criminal. Many misdemeanours – like pickpocketing and pinching clothes off washing lines – were simply down to desperation.
The impoverished era also saw the dawn of ‘scuttlers‘ – hooligan teenage gangs that participated in knife fights on the city streets (groups would name themselves after their area, such as the ‘Bengal Tigers’ from Bengal Street in Ancoats and ‘Meadow Lads’ from Angel Meadow).
It would have been easy for Caminada to embrace a life of crime. But he committed himself to cleaning up the city instead – joining the ‘A Division’ police at Knott Mill Station in his mid-twenties.
Within a matter of days after signing up, the danger of his chosen profession became apparent.
Caminada experienced a true baptism of fire as a Bobby – being punched in the face during his first week on the beat whilst on John Dalton Street in 1868.
“He was just a poor boy from the slums – he didn’t have any real [police] training; none of them did back then,” Angela explains.
“The only criteria really was that you had to be strong to become a policeman. And because they were beaten up so much a lot of them were really fearless.
“Of course, a lot of them died, too.”
Caminada quickly proved he could handle himself (he even got battered with his own umbrella one day when he took on anarchists in Stevenson Square) but it was his intuition, intelligence, and incredible eye for detail that turned him into a local legend.
When he wasn’t standing his ground on the streets, Caminada was taking a tactful approach to bring down the bigger crooks; going undercover in various guises such as a priest or travelling salesman.
In one case, when Caminada was investigating fraudulent doctors, he’d fake ailments to get appointments and gather evidence whilst he was being treated – getting his hands on fake tonics to prove they didn’t work.
He always seemed to be one step ahead – and he took action to keep it that way.
Before inmates were released from local jails, Caminada would wander the cells and stare at the felons inside – burning the images of their faces into his brain.
It was like a primitive form of capturing a mugshot. This way, he’d know which troublemakers to look out for when they were released (reoffending was unsurprisingly common due to poverty).
During decades spent prowling the Manchester region, Caminada got to know many of the main culprits – who would exchange banter with the detective from time-to-time (although most couldn’t pronounce his unusual-sounding Italian surname, calling him ‘Cammy’ instead).
The detective also built up his own trusted network of informants, whom he’d kneel alongside at St Mary’s Church, pretend he was praying, and get the intel he needed to find a break in a case.
“I haven’t come across a detective in my time any better than Caminada,” Angela reveals.
“He was extraordinary.”
Caminada knew it, too.
His memoirs are knowingly self-aggrandising in parts – and often dismissive of any colleagues who had the audacity to be hoodwinked by local crooks.
“I’m sure he could be difficult to work with,” explains Angela.
“Caminada was feared, but also it seems like he was kind of respected, too.
“There was one incident reported in a newspaper which describes a street brawl breaking out and a plain-clothed police officer coming out of one of the nearby properties, dragging the culprits off and running them off home.
“It’s quite obvious that it was Caminada. He did that all the time. He was always in the city walking around at night and he knew everybody.”
Like any obsessive lawman, Caminada was always working – even when he wasn’t at work.
“There was one incident where someone parked their lorry on Caminada’s pavement not far from Angel Meadow – and he took them to court,” Angela reveals.
“He brought up a lot of court cases in his personal life. He was constantly doing it.”
Caminada was often in the headlines during his colourful career – but the ‘Manchester Cab Mystery’ was perhaps his greatest moment in the spotlight.
The story went like this: On the evening of 26 February 1889, a tipsy businessman named John Fletcher hailed a cab on the steps of Manchester Cathedral with a young man. An hour later – with the cab stuck in a procession for Wild West Show – a passerby alerted the driver that one of his passengers had scarpered. Fletcher, meanwhile, had been left for dead on the backseat.
There were no obvious signs of violence, but the fact that some of Fletcher’s key belongings had vanished along with the other passenger suggested something wasn’t right.
Caminada was called upon to solve the conundrum and did so in typically impressive fashion.
After learning that a chemical – chloral hydrate – had been found in Fletcher’s stomach when he died, Caminada started searching for culprits involved in illegal prizefighting (as he knew the drug was used in these circles to subdue opponents and rig matches). He even managed to track down a witness who’d seen a man, Charlie Parton, pouring liquid into Fletcher’s beer.
In three weeks, Caminada had cracked the case – with Parton being convicted.
Caminada’s success is perhaps even more impressive considering the tragedy that befell him throughout his lifetime.
He lost his father at the age of three, before several of his siblings died of syphilis and his mother went blind.
After getting married, Caminada lost three of his own children – all of whom died in their infancy due to congenital heart defects.
According to Angela, the heartbreak he suffered was reflected in his work.
“He does show compassion for poor victims,” she explains.
“He has a rehabilitating view despite his hard-boiled exterior.
“He did try to help people on the right track. He understood the causes of criminality.”
It’s true that Caminada could easily be a character lifted right out the pages of a bestselling crime book.
He even had his own arch-enemy – a would-be murderer by the name of Bob Horridge, with whom he contested a final (deadly) gun battle on the streets of Liverpool.
It was cinematic.
But not even the best detective can work forever.
As the 19th century wore on, many of Manchester’s slums were cleared – including around Oxford Road to make way for the rail station. Scuttlers, too, were largely disbanded as young men found activities such as football clubs taking shape.
But crime still remained rife – even within the police itself.
Manchester police force was subject to a big scandal in the 1890s – with one Superintendent found to be involved in the ownership of a brothel.
Whilst many detectives were exonerated during the investigation, the Chief Constable stepped down in the aftermath and was replaced by his ACC – with whom Caminada shared a bitter history.
This ultimately brought about the end of his police career.
Caminada would later become a private detective before eventually joining the council where, ironically, he spent all this time complaining about how much money the police force spent.
Still, despite skirmishes with high-profile officers, Caminada nonetheless impressed many key personnel and left an indelible mark on British law enforcement.
The Head of Scotland Yard once named Caminada as one of the best detectives he’d ever come across.
But his most famous parallel remains Mr Sherlock Holmes.
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle would’ve been aware of Caminada given his fame and status, and it’s interesting to wonder whether ‘Cammy’ may have gone some way to inspiring one of literature’s most famous detectives of all time.
“Caminada was known as ‘Manchester’s Sherlock Holmes’ back then, it’s not a description from today,” Angela points out.
“That’s not to say Holmes was based on Caminada. But there are lots of links. You can draw your own conclusions.
“Either way, he was a real character, that’s for sure. And one of the very best detectives there was.”
Angela Buckley’s fascinating book – The Real Sherlock Holmes: The Hidden Story of Jerome Caminada – is available at Amazon now.
For those uninitiated, the massive city centre festival is Neighbourhood Weekender‘s sister event and has been running every October since 2016. Well, barring the pandemic, of course.
Springing from a fledgling one-day festival that boasted the likes of Circa Waves, Blossoms, White Lies, Twin Atlantic and Lonely the Brave, it has now become one of the biggest events of the year with over 100 acts spread across multiple venues dotted around the city centre. And just in time for the students.
Since its conception, crowds have seen everyone from Sam Fender, Easy Life and Holly Humberstone, to Mahalia, Declan McKenna, Miles Kane and many, many more of Britain’s biggest names take the Neighbourhood stages on their way to making a splash on the UK music scene.
Luckily for you, this year’s line-up looks an absolute whopper too.
Neighbourhood Festival Line-Up 2022
As well as those we already knew about such as The Snuts, Sundara Karama and local lads Everything Everything, Wigan-based indie band The Lathums have also confirmed that they will be joining the Neighbourhood headliners at this year’s festival.
You love to see it. You love to see everyone on this list, to be honest.
As you can see, there are big names everywhere – punters can also look forward to seeing the likes of Alfie Templeman and Baby Queen; Lauran Hibberd and Ten Tonnes, as well as Far Caspian and Brooke Combe, just to name a few.
There’s plenty of Mancunian music being represented as well, with Corella, Afflecks Palace, The Covasettes and The Stanleys all repping 0161.
Neighbourhood Festival 22 Venues
One of the best parts about Neighbourhood Fest is that aside from the acts themselves, there are some seriously mint venues on the list every year, from gig-going favourites to some locations you may have never seen live music before or even been full-stop.
Here is the full list of Neighbourhood venues we know of so far:
Manchester Academy 1 and 2 (14+)
Albert Hall (14+)
The Deaf Institute (14+)
O2 Ritz Manchester (14+)
Revolution – Oxford Road (14+ until 9pm, then 18+)
Bunny Jacksons (14+ until 9pm, then 18+)
YES – The Basement and The Pink Room (18+)
The Bread Shed (14+)
The Zombie Shack (18+)
That being said, it’s still worth keeping your eye out on social for any updates as more special guests and surprise appearances are expected, and who knows where they could pop up?
For instance, we already know that Hard-Fi will be playing their first gig in eight whole years at the brand-spanking New Century which we peeped not long ago. It’s quite an impressive space, guys.
Ah, the dreaded stage splits. They cause us inevitable headaches every year but they’re a necessary evil.
Want to know who’ll you manage to see and who’ll you have to prepare yourself for potentially missing? We do the dirty work so you don’t have to:
Are there any Neighbourhood tickets still left?
Put simply, yes, but you better get moving if you wanna snap the remaining few up.
Tickets for Neighbourhood Festival 2022 will set you back £39.50 face value (£43.45 all told with your booking fee) from their official retailer, Gigs and Tours. Wheelchair access tickets are also available.
Not only is that a much more affordable option for those who didn’t want to fork out more than £115 for the two-day pass at Neighbourhood Weekender back in May, but the wristband grants you access to every single venue on the list.
Even a one-day ticket at Weekender cost £59.50 + booking fee, whereas with Neighbourhood Fest you still get the chance to see some serious box office names at Neighbourhood Fest for less money. More spare pennies for food and pints, init.
It’s also worth noting that you can grab tickets on the day as a last resort, but we’d obviously advise getting yourself sorted before then.
As announced on Wednesday, this year’s box office and wristband exchange will be located at the University of Manchester Students Union building (M13 9PR) – the Lime Grove entrance, to be specific.
This will be open from 9.30am and will close promptly at 7.30pm, meaning there will be no wristbands issued after this time, so we would obviously recommend arriving as early as possible to avoid the large queues.
Organisers also had some important top tips to share with you:
Last but not least, make sure to keep a lookout on Facebook, Twitterand Instagram for the latest updates and, most importantly, grab your tickets HERE while you still can.
A Manc’s guide to: the Heatons, Stockport’s flourishing suburbs
While the likes of Stockport‘s ‘Old Town’ revival has seen the borough slowly brought back to life in recent years, it’s easy to forget that it includes a number of attractive suburbs that have become increasingly popular destinations to live in Greater Manchester.
Besides the investment in the town centre’s Merseyway shopping district and Redrock opened back in 2017, many people have long been stopping short of places like Didsbury, Chorlton and Manchester city centre in favour of SK’s best-kept secret: the Heatons.
The Four Heatons – comprised of Heaton Chapel, Mersey, Moor and Norris – are a collection of neighbourhoods dotted around Stockport and situated some 30 mins or so from the city centre that many in the region may have never visited before.
With Heaton Chapel your go-to train station and East Didsbury your closest tram stop, it isn’t hard to venture out that way, but what is there to get up to?
Parks a plenty
If those precious green spaces are what you are looking for then you’re pretty spoilt for choice. Ironically, the famous Heaton Park is the only one that isn’t in the Heatons, but all these are.
First up is Heaton Moor Park, a lovely green space that dates back to 1894 and is still wonderfully maintained by local residents to this day. As well as the customary gardens and children’s play area, you can do everything from bird watching and group knitting to family bowling or joining the running club.
Heaton Norris Park has bowling greens, tennis courts and football pitches if you’re looking to stay active, as well as a playground for the youngens; Heaton Mersey Common is a nice little pocket of natural greenspace with serene ponds and wildflower meadows, perfect for walking the dog.
But the fresh air doesn’t stop there: you also have Thornfield Park, Heaton Mersey Park & Bowl, Marbury Road Park in Chapel; Maunders Field, Bowerfold Open Space and, perhaps the most popular of the lot, Mersey Vale Nature Park.
Nestled among the remnants of the old railways and bleach works, Mersey Vale is a 2.5-mile loop that serves as a great place for a picnic, riverside walk or to just to enjoy the wildlife, and the Trans Pennine Trail actually runs right through the centre of the reserve which lies along a serene stretch of the River Mersey.
Historic sites to see and plenty to do
It isn’t all grass and shrubs, of course, the Four Heatons are steeped in history and culture thanks to its Cheshire heritage and evolution under a Greater Manchester postcode.
Undoubtedly the most historic landmark is the iconic Savoy Cinema, which celebrates its 100th birthday in 2023. Having nearly disappeared following a fire back in 1953 and changed hands on multiple occasions down the years, the Savoy in Heaton Moor has remained a proud local institution throughout.
It was shut for a major refurbishment in late 2014 but, thankfully, it opened back up a year later and is still going strong, showing all the latest releases as well as old classics to suit the vintage aesthetic. They offer everything from private hire to dementia-friendly screenings – a real gem.
Another popular location is the Heatons Sports Club. It’s the home of areas local cricket, rugby, tennis and lacrosse clubs, some of which date back to as far as 1879. Whether you want to get involved or just sit back and watch live sport, be it in front of you or on the telly, there’s something to do every day. There’s also the Heaton Moor Gold Club just five minutes down the road if that’s your thing – perfect for birthdays, work events and so on.
Speaking of the Sports Club, you’ve also got Heatons Comedy Evening on the first Sunday of every month, the longest-running of its kind in Stockport. Resident comperes Alun Cochrane and local comedy legend Justin Moorhouse have garnered a loyal following since its conception in 2010.
The best part is, it’s only getting bigger. With the likes of John Bishop, Sarah Millican, Joe Lycett, Romesh Ranganathan and more having already left audiences in stitches, Moorhouse’s comedy night is one of the best places to catch both headline acts and the best upcoming talent.
Let’s talk shop. Home and fashion-wise, you can find nifty little local traders like the Moo Boutique and Bloom and Dots in Heaton Moor, not to mention one of the best-named wine bars in the world, Cork of the North. You’ll be sure to find plenty of bottles to take home with you.
There is also Heaton Hops and The Beer Shop in Mersey too. You won’t be surprised to know they very much do what they say on the tin.
We were sad to hear Bernie’s Grocery Store shut down in June 2022 but, thankfully, their Altrincham site isn’t going anywhere; you also have lots of alternatives and similar general store vibes courtesy of Feed in Heaton Chapel and The Good Life in Heaton Mersey.
Lastly, we can’t mention Heaton stores without giving a shout out to Back’s Deli and beloved Mancunian chain, Martin’s Bakery: two of the best local food staples that always guarantee the warm and friendly reception of an independent business whilst delivering insane quality and consistency.
And that brings us to the lifeblood of any good Manc destination: where to eat and drink.
There’s plenty of food and drink in the Heatons
From wine bars and traditional pubs to a premium fish restaurant hidden behind a local fishmonger’s counter, the Heatons have plenty to offer foodies on the hunt for something new.
Cork of the North
This Heaton Moor wine shop and bar is known for its regular tasting events, which offer guests the chance to sample six delicious wines (three reds and three whites) alongside a selection of complementary nibbles, but you can book a table to sit in, drink and graze any time.
The Easy Fish Co.
This quality fourth-generation fishmonger also has a restaurant tucked behind its counter and serves all your chippy tea favourites, alongside the likes of satay monkfish and roasted turbot, crab croquettes and herb-rolled tuna carpaccio.
Originally a deli, this popular Heaton eaterie has a relaxed European feel with a tapas menu served until 10pm. Throughout the day, you can also tuck into a selection of breakfast and lunch dishes that cater to veggies just as well as meat eaters.
This suburban tapas bar in the middle ofHeaton Moor serves a great selection of Spanish gin, alongside traditional regional tapas and a range of imported wines and beers. From Spanish black pudding (morcilla) to courgette ravioli stuffed with goat’s cheese, there’s a huge choice on offer mixing the typical with the unusual.
This cosy pub boasts a great atmosphere, solid grub and a regular quiz night every Thursday at 7pm that’s proven popular with young professionals in the area. Dog friendly too, it’s known for its burgers and epic Sunday roasts with giant Yorkshire puddings.
That Pizza Place
Widely considered to be the best pizza in Heaton Moor, if you’ve got a hankering for a bit of tomato and cheese then this is the place to be.
If one of the Heatons manages to cast a spell on you and the prospect of a move arises, it’s worth knowing how much you’d be looking at paying.
As for Heaton Chapel, the prices skew slightly lower at around £815.75pcm and Norris is even more affordable at around £755, as per Rentberry stats from July 2022.
Now, if you were looking to buy, four districts is a fairly large search area give but you’re easily looking at north of £300,000 in Heaton Moor and Mersey, but prices often break the £400k mark quite comfortably given its up-and-coming reputation. One local told the MEN that she’s heard the area described as ‘Didsbury for those that really know Manchester’.
Once again, Norris and Chapel offer a cheaper option when it comes to the property market, with terraces being the most popular type of home and going for anywhere between £200,000-280,000. That being said, you could still land your forever home starting from around £270,000-£330,000-ish.
Of course, these prices are based on average estimates but take them with a pinch of salt as you’re always likely to end up paying more, especially in this current climate.
Nevertheless, whether you’re looking for somewhere to settle down or a part of Greater Manchester you still perhaps have given enough time to yet, make the Heatons the next one you cross off your list.
You can check out our Manc’s guide to Chinatown and the Gay Village now and, as always, be sure to keep your eyes peeled for more neighbourhood guides soon.