Well, we often noticed the lack of chimneys. In Corrie, not Archie Street. This was obvious in longer shots of the exterior sets after the first set was moved outside in 1968, then recreated in brick in 1969 (backyards were added later). Coronation Street had no chimneys. So, how did Suzie Birchall lob a brick down one in a late 1970s episode? Lord alone knows. We only saw it in close-up, and afterwards it was gone forever. Coal fires were possible in the house interiors though, so I suppose nobody noticed the lack of the necessary up-above.
either. We didn't even 'ave whole roofs. AND the cobbles ran the wrong way. We just carried on. We were built of sterner stuff. You young 'uns don't know yer born..."
This strange state of affairs lasted until 1982, when suddenly Corrie had chimneys. And the graffiti littering certain walls, and general run-down appearance of the place, suddenly disappeared. And the house exteriors suddenly got bigger, and there was a building on Rosamund Street we'd never seen before - which became a disco and wine bar. We supposed it was all due to the fact that the 1980s were an expansive and upwardly mobile decade.
Archie Street didn't get bigger. It got demolished. The first families were moved out in 1968 and demolition followed in 1971. But Coronation Street had survived. And was booming.
Even in the new scheme of things, the Corrie exterior was still too small to accommodate what was supposedly inside.
Next, we pause at Number 13, home to our beloved Stan and Hilda Ogden. Here lies the strange tale of the straightened wall.
Now, Stan and Hilda didn't ever have much to boast about. They weren't even 'on the phone' (landline, of course - no cell phones back then). Actually, to go off on a tandem, sorry, I mean at a tangent, this made them far more natural back street denizens of that era than most other Corrie residents. It wasn't until the 1980s that 50% of UK households were on the phone, and Coronation Street always seemed a bit too populated with phone subscribers compared to real life humble back street dwellers like me. In my street of twenty houses, only one person had a phone by 1981. Yep, by not having a phone, the Ogdens were being more true to back street life, as I and my true life neighbours were living it, than Elsie Tanner!
But their house was a typically twilight zone Corrie dwelling in other respects.
However, from 1976 onwards, the Ogdens had one thing to boast about.
And I'm not talking about Stan's canteen-sized serving hatch.
Nope. I'm talking about Hilda's murals or 'muriels' (1976-1978 and 1978-1988).
And a wall which flattened itself to accommodate them.
The Oggies had a contoured or stepped wall which miraculously flattened itself when Eddie flogged them the first scenic delight. I think the 'muriel' would have been even funnier with the contoured wall, but there you go. The Oggies' house was obviously very obliging. At times.
Clopping on down to the Corner Shop, we discover several mysteries.
The Corner Shop resembled its Archie Street counterpart (the Daniel Clifton off-licence branch) in exterior appearance more than any other Corrie property. Particularly when it became obvious the Corrie houses had adjoining bay windows (sometimes, early on). The adjoining bays moved the Street away from the template design.
Mouse-like Florrie Lindley revealed an unexpected brave side when she had the shop frontage drastically altered in the mid-1960s. The shop door was moved from the Viaduct Street corner onto the street itself. This was fine. Logical. Once again, the shop was a little small on the outside to accommodate what was within, but it was when you looked upstairs at the shop flat that the real problems began.
The flat's interior had too many windows and sometimes had its own kitchen and sometimes didn't. Bet didn't seem to have a kitchen and slummed it with Renee and Alf when it came to meals. But the kitchen was very evident at other times - particularly when Kevin and Sally lived there. And the flat was pleasantly lighted - by several windows which didn't exist outside. Where WERE those windows on the exterior set, some of us wondered? In fact, we were surprised when a bathroom window was suddenly revealed in October 1980 to accommodate a story about Tracy Langton getting locked in the lavatory. Where had it been all our lives?
In the next exciting episode, we look at a few more mysteries of the terrace, the viaduct, Rosamund Street and the other side of the streets (Archie and Coronation).
Now, I'm off to't pork butcher's before they close. I like to give my family a proper cooked meal every night - none o' yer tinned rubbish. You can ask anybody. Ask Ida Clough.