The Homes of Ian Brady
One of Britain's most notorious killers left a trail of former addresses, most of them thankfully now demolished.
I’ve been reading books written about famous crimes. The ‘new’ angle is that they are old books written at the time the crimes were committed. So my first example is Emlyn Williams’s book: Beyond Belief, about the moors murders. It was published in 1967 and I’m reading the first edition from the London Library in St. James’s Square. It is mercifully out of print. My problem with it is that Williams was an outlandish character and his written style is novelistic in places. So not only I am I grappling with the comparatively recent movement to give more prominence to victims than murderers (which I support), but now I am grappling with a book that is so dated it would be considered fairly titillating and sexist if it were published now. It’s sarcastic and cynical and overly dramatic. It seems to wish it were a docudrama.
The best I can do at the moment is bring you news from Chapter Nine, in which Ian Stewart finally arrives in Manchester from Glasgow and becomes Ian Brady. I have found a partial list of Ian’s homes, which I have not so far seen anywhere else. The only address I was aware of before was Westmoreland Street in Longsight, an area I knew well as I lived there in the 1990s as a student, then unaware that Brady and some of his victims had lived so close by.
In December 1954, Ian took the train to Manchester to start a new life.
His first address: 132a Denmark Street, Moss Side. I am aware of Denmark Road near Whitworth Park, but cannot find a Denmark Street today. Moss Side, Hulme, Longsight and Gorton were being extensively redeveloped after the war and many of Ian’s addresses have been demolished. Some were knocked down in the slum clearances, but his final address was demolished because of its association with his torture and sadism.
1955: the Bradys move to Grammar Street, which had become Cannel Street by the time Williams wrote this book. I cannot find either on the map today.
Shortly after: 36 Cuttell Street, which was close to Hindley and her grandmother at 7 Bannock Street, Gorton, although Ian had not yet met her. Cuttell Street and Bannock Street have both gone.
Ian was sent to Strangeways Prison and later borstal at Hatfield in Yorkshire, then HMP Hull Prison. Then back to Manchester: Strangeways again?
When Ian was released on 14th November 1957, the Bradys lived at 97 Grey Mare Lane due to some mortgage problems. This was close to Cuttell Street. Grey Mare Lane is (perhaps, see below) today close to the Manchester City football stadium. There are many terraced houses that look newer than 1950s and a couple of newish schools. It seems likely that the Brady house is long gone.
After Ian turned 20 in 1958, the family moved to 18 Westmoreland Street in Longsight. Williams claims this was “a little over a mile” from Grey Mare but if he is right, then Brady’s Grey Mare Lane is not the one near to the Etihad Manchester City stadium as that is at least 2 miles distant, depending on the route taken.
This, Westmoreland Street, was Ian’s final address until the slum clearances, and although it was demolished at that time, I have found it on an old map of Longsight: see below. It seems he was practically living with Myra when Hindley and her grandmother were moved out to Wardle Brook Avenue in Hattersley, the scene of two of the moors murders, including the most grotesque and notorious attack on Lesley Ann Downey.