Joy Division: 77 Barton Street

Ian lived for some time and died in this house located in Macclesfield, Cheshire, England

77 Barton Street 1987       77 Barton Street 2004

The first photo shows the house façade in 1987, the second one the façade in 2004.

I had a friend who worked for more than a year in Macclesfield after we left school, by the end of 1986. I was already a Joy Division fan at the time, but I did not know much about the band history. I had no books and few if any bootlegs. He invited me over in early 1987. It was only a couple of months before that I had read somewhere that Ian was from Macclesfield...

I was supposed to stay at my friend's place, but we had to change plans as he had to move at very short notice. After a long but surprisingly pleasant trip (train + boat + train + train, more than 14 hours as a whole), I finally arrived in Macclesfield around noon. And the first thing I had to do was to find a B&B. So we had a look at the B&B list in the Town Hall. I made a first call to no avail. Then I decided to call Mrs Dorothy Smith. There were vacancies and the address was 77 Barton Street... She lived with her family on the other side of the road.

77 Barton Street 2000

This is the way, step inside!

I spent much of my time looking for Joy Division bootlegs, books and memorabilia, also some New Order stuff, and other new-wave band LPs & CDs. You could not get these in Paris - pre-Internet times!

I found some bootlegs and also several books - I even made friend with one of the sellers, Dave from Chester. One morning I was reading one of the books, when Mrs Smith came in. She noticed the book and said she knew Ian and that he was a nice guy. I asked her how come she knew him, that is when she told me he had lived in the very room I was in!!!

77 Barton Street 1987

I went back to Macclesfield in autumn 1987 for a month, and probably half a dozen times in the following years. Most of the time I was in the same room. Once I had the whole house to myself. That was the time I took the photos in the house. It is likely that the furniture had changed in between though I never discussed it with Dorothy.

77 Barton Street 1987
77 Barton Street 1987       77 Barton Street 1987

I believe Dorothy sold the house around 1990. So I never went back in the house - although I travelled to Macclesfield several other times.

77 Barton Street 2008

I came back to Macclesfield in 2004, and I took a photo of the façade of the house. Just when I was about to leave I bumped into Dorothy! 15 years had passed but we recognized each other immediately! We had a nice chat and she gave me a copy of the book she wrote about Macclesfield.

Dorothy Smith & her dad 2004
Dorothy Smith and her dad in May 2004
2 B&B invoices late 80s
2 B&B invoices from 1987 & 1989
Dorothy Smith 77 Barton Street article
Dorothy Smith 77 Barton Street article
Macclesfield Town Hall 2008
Macclesfield Town Hall in May 2008
The start of it all (21 years earlier)