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Quarterly Newsletter of the Chadderton Historical Society



No 50 August 2009


More than a Name

 Many column inches in our editorial 'Comment' have been taken up, in recent years, by references to the devolution to Chadderton, of limited powers by Oldham Metropolitan Borough Council. The original body - the Chadderton Area Committee, was set up for our three wards back in 2000, by the first Liberal Democrat administration, and over the years was to prove a very valuable asset to our town.


Composed of the nine councillors for Chadderton, and a number of co-optees, its affairs were conducted in a professional, efficient and amicable way, and it had very few, if any, detractors. Indeed, it was considered probably the best Area Committee in the metropolitan borough, and was looked upon as a role model to be emulated by other areas. Part of the reason for this was its uniqueness, in that it was the only Area Committee to serve a single historic township within the borough.


Royton shared its committee with Crompton, whilst Saddleworth was joined with Lees. The township of Oldharn itself was divided into two - East and West, whilst the township of Failsworth also had the Hollinwood ward of Oldham appended to it.


Our Area Committee could have been developed to serve Chadderton and its 33,000 people ever more efficiently, had not party politics resulted in constant changes. In 2007, the Labour administration renamed it a Community Council, and recently under Lib Dem control we have been introduced to the concept of the Chadderton District Partnership. This no longer has any co-opted members, but includes councillors, council officers, the police, and other community representatives.


In effect, it is a form of mini-council whose meetings are held in public, but to which the public cannot contribute. It is questionable as to whether this can be an improvement on the former system. The Society is prepared to withhold judgement, being willing to work with all forms of devolved power, and with all political parties, as in the past.

 This constant change of nomenclature can be quite irritating. We have had area community - district in less than a decade. In addition, the police who once used the term township inspector, now seem to prefer neighbourhood inspector, whilst devolution in Chadderton is supervised by a neighbourhood manager. Ward meetings will continue in each of the three wards, with three councillors and four co-optees each. These meetings were to be known as forums, before the acronym PACT (Partners and Community Together) ousted it. It is not clear how these will dovetail into the District Partnership, given the diminished role of the co-optees, and the restrictions on public involvement.

Why do we have this ongoing problem of addressing the issue of devolution within our metropolitan borough; our neighbours in Rochdale and Tameside do not seem to have similar trouble. As we have argued before, what would be so controversial in setting up, once and for all, a 'Chadderton Township Assembly'? This historic name addresses the whole issue of identity, and the related concept of devolution, so succinctly.

'many towns ... one borough'


External Boundary Signs

 Consultation with the Society has taken place on the details of the new boundary signs which are to be erected around the external boundaries of our metropolitan borough. On Chadderton's borders with neighbouring authorities there will be seven - four where Chadderton adjoins Middleton, within the Metropolitan Borough of Rochdale, and three where it shares a common boundary with the City of Manchester. The signs will be in the new 'rebranded' colour of turquoise with the words in white lettering 'Welcome to Chadderton'. Our suggestion that the Chadderton coat-of-arms be placed above the sign with the words 'Historic Township', is being given serious consideration by the Council.

 On this Day ... (No. 3)

 William Rowbottom (1756-1830), was a handloom weaver living in Burnley Lane, Chadderton. Between 1787, and his death, he kept a very comprehensive diary of local events. From these we select a series of the more unusual entries:


January 26th 1792 This day Sir Watts Horton, Baronet, Lady Horton, and Miss Horton [Henrietta Susanna, aged just 2 years old!], with a large retinue left Chadderton Hall for London. [Sir Watts had a house at 22 Upper Brook Street]

 January 3rd 1794 Joseph Lee of Chadderton and his two sons were apprehended for stealing fish off Sir Watts Horton when Joseph was committed to Lancaster and his two sons suffered to enlist. [In April, at Lancaster Assizes, Joseph was acquitted]

 December 28th 1795 [Chadderton Hall barn] This day the great mains of cocks betwixt Sir Watts Horton, Smith feeder, and William Bamford, Esq., Butterworth feeder, was fought here when Mr. Bamford won 8 mains out of 11, and 3 byes out of 4. There was a deal of company and much betting.

 Peterloo Recalled

August 16th 2009 is the 190th anniversary of the infamous Peterloo Massacre in Manchester, in which the military forces of the Establishment charged into an unarmed crowd of some 60-80,000 men, women and children. Among the estimated 15 fatalities was Thomas Buckley of Baretrees, Chadderton, who was sabred and stabbed. His family had earlier served their country most heroically during the Napoleonic Wars.

 The banner carried by the Chadderton contingent was of green and white silk (no doubt woven locally), and was about four yards long by three yards wide [4x3 metres]. It bore the legends: Chadderton Political Union; United we Stand, Divided we Fall; No Corn Laws; Universal Suffrage; Vote by Ballot; Labour the Source of Wealth. On the reverse was depicted a pair of clasped hands.

 When the vote was eventually achieved by Chaddertonians (albeit very few, and these only men) in 1832, our local poet, Samuel Collins, triumphantly penned the stirring words: 'Rise ye lads of Chadderton ... and cheer the joyful day ... Join us, then, our strength's a tower, Tyrants tremble at your power ... Tell to England, tell the world, Freedom's banner is unfurl'd.'

 Given that fewer than 30% now vote in local elections, and only twice that many in a general election, have we lost all sense of what the franchise really means, and how painfully it was gained by our forebears who made such sacrifices? Let us not betray them when the next elections are held.

 Well-Being Centre Visit

 A recent on-site tour of Chadderton's newest asset reveals a complex of which we should all be very proud when it opens at the end of October.

In addition to the new 25 metre, six-lane swimming pool, and state-of-the-art library, the building will also house a cafe, police post, gym, dance studio and community rooms.

 Greetings to our Yorkshire Friends

On behalf of the people of Chadderton may we offer our neighbours in the Township of Saddleworth, our best wishes for a very successful Yorkshire Day on 1st August. It is well to remind ourselves that 53% of our Metropolitan Borough of Oldham is Yorkshire territory, although the 24,300 Saddleworthians are greatly outnumbered by the 88.9% of the population who are Lancastrians - 'ave a reet gud day!

 Blue Plaque Unveiling

 The Blue Plaque to honour local-bom children's entertainer, Terry Hall and his furry companion 'Lenny the Lion', will be officially unveiled early in September. Full details will appear in the local press.

  Evacuated to Chadderton (Part 2)

 Dennis Goswell, from Wallington, Surrey, was evacuated to Chadderton during World War 11. Here, he gives us his impressions of that period in his life.

 The Lands with whom I had originally stayed lived in a semi-detached, 3 bedroom house in North Chadderton. This was on a private estate, not a council one like 1 had come from. Everything seemed very posh with carpets, nice furniture and none of the clutter that 1 was used to at home. We had high tea in the dining room, a new experience for me, as at home we ate in the kitchen unless we had visitors when we ate in the living room. It was while here that 1 suddenly realised that there was no danger from bombs or doodlebugs.

 My new family, the Baileys, with whom my mother and sister were already living, were about 50 years old and had no children. They lived at 76 Wellington Street, in North Chadderton [a house still extant]. "Uncle" Arthur was a manager in one of the cotton mills and was a small jovial man. "Auntie" Norah was a big buxom lady, very calm and a bit house-proud. Their house was in terrace with three bedrooms, a living room and a parlour, only used for visitors. The upset to their routine must have been tremendous but they just accepted us as an extension to their family. They adored my baby sister and bathed her and sang her to sleep.

 Uncle Arthur treated me like a son and at weekends took me for lovely long walks over the nearby moors. He took me to the theatre where Oldham Rep performed a different play each fortnight. There was a family discussion when they did Pygmalion as Eliza Doolittle had the line "not bloody likely" which was questionable for my young ears. I did go and added to my love of theatre, which I still cherish today. Uncle Arthur grew prize Chrysanthemums for shows and after a while I was entrusted with lighting the coke fire in his greenhouse on cold evenings. Auntie Norah spoiled me with cakes and biscuits and big hugs. Another relation lived nearby, "auntie" Annie. She always made me welcome when I visited and would often make me a plate of chips. [To be concluded]

 Borough in Bloom?

Few people can fail to be impressed with the beautiful floral displays in Oldham Town Centre, and the murals on the outside of the old, disused town hall, and we wish the borough well in the forthcoming competition. It has to be said, however, that Chadderton Town Centre in comparison, looks extremely shabby. It is difficult to find anything of colour and even the circular bed outside the town hall - now the borough's registry office, is totally uninspiring, consisting in the main of foliage plants that recall the 'Day of the Triffids'! Maybe next year the District Partnership could be involved in making our town centre more horticulturally attractive. As it is, the council policy this year would seem to emphasise the fact that Chadderton really is distinct from Oldham, the competition entry having gone forward as 'Oldham in Bloom'!

 Eighty Years Young!

Congratulations to member Lily Johnson who attained her four score years on 29th July. She now joins that exclusive (but steadily growing) band of people for whom membership of our Society is proving to be the elixir of youth! Ad Multos Annos!

 Township Manager's Farewell

All our best wishes go to Simon Shuttleworth as he takes over as manager of the East Oldharn Area. Since early 2008, he has been Township Manager for Chadderton, and in this role has taken our town very much to heart, working tirelessly to promote Chadderton Day, and the Christmas Market and Lights, in addition to his more routine administrative duties. On Chadderton Day, 13th June, the Society presented him with a framed replica of James Butterworth's 1817 map of Chadderton, surmounted by the Chadderton coat-of-arms, in appreciation of his dedication and hard work. Well done, Simon!

Handy Hints for the Home (Part 5)

 We publish our final group of weird and wonderful items from the small booklet, sold on behalf of the Life Boys at Cowhill Methodist Church, Chadderton, about 1925:

 13. When on country walks or picnics, always carry a small quantity of ordinary white pepper in the pocket and midges and other pests will never trouble you.

 14. Try sweeping the stairs with a paint brush instead of an ordinary dusting brush, and note the difference. [What - in appearance, or in the time taken? Ed.]

 15. To tie a shoe lace, proceed exactly as if you were tying an ordinary bow, but before drawing it up pass the right-hand loop through the knot, and give a steady pull on both loops. In untying, be sure to pull the right-hand string, and you will have no trouble. [This one definitely needs a practical demonstration - any offers! Ed.]

 Chadderton Day

 With wonderful weather on 13th June, the crowds came in force to Foxdenton Park to celebrate our fourth annual Chadderton Day. From a teddy bears' picnic to wall climbing, from go karts to face painting, this was an occasion to be thoroughly enjoyed by everyone.

 Many thanks to members of our own Society for their marvellous support. It made it so much easier to organise and run our stalls and sideshows. By the way, Godfrey the Chadderton Griffin's middle name was 'Sidney', and the prize has been claimed.

 Chadderton Cup.

The Society has presented a trophy, the 'Chadderton Cup', to Chadderton Park Football Club. This was competed for at their recent tournament held in Chadderton Fold, and was won by their own club. Congratulations to all players.

 Archive Material

Thanks to the following for donations to our Archives:

Jim Exley, (member in Kent): Chadderton Grammar School Speech Day Programmes; Officials of St. Luke's Church, Chadderton: wide selection of parish documents, photographs, etc.; Trevor Ashworth, (member): family birth, death and marriage certificates; Gillian ?, Talybont, Wales: Two St. Matthews Church Sunday School medals (1925), Farewell sermon of Rev. S. Weeks, Vicar of St. Matthew's (1911), photograph of fire at St. Luke's Church (1954); Geoff Bentham, Cumberland: a cast plaque of Chadderton's coat-of-arms, as surmounted our boundary signs pre-1974 re-organisation; Andrew Spence, Royton: antique plates, one showing interior of St. Mark's Church, the other from St. Matthew's Church, Farewell bookmark from Chadderton Grammar School; From Ebay: Chadderton Coronation Cup (1937), Chadderton Council Guide Book (c1950's).).

 Website & Contacts

The Society's Website may be accessed at . It has been chosen by the British Library for inclusion in its Archives, as an example of good practice. Comments and queries may be made to Enid Johnson via e-mail: The Secretary, Michael Lawson, may be contacted on [0 161] 652-3930; and via e-mail

Chadderton Historical Society 2009










No. 49 ............................................. May 2009


Diversity within Unity

The process of regenerating our borough, through re-branding, involves the use of the much-criticised new logo. In addition to this logo, Councillor David Hibbert, a representative for Chadderton South, requested the use of the Chadderton coat-of-arms on his official notepaper. This was to emphasise the oft-repeated view that the borough is a diverse one, and ought to be proud of this fact. However, it would seem that this diversity is confined within certain parameters.

Councillor Hibbert's idea was rejected on the grounds that it would detract from the unity of the borough. The Executive Director for Strategy and Resources believes that the new logo represents the concept of 'One Oldham', and signifies 'unity'. We are informed that its very 'look and feel' will lift us out of the past, bring a sense of progress, and move us forward.

Devotees of re-branding are undeniably in a world of their own, and we are led along the tortuous path of 'fractured brands' and 'diluted senses' in an attempt to justify the refusal of the coat-of-arms. Maybe it would have been nearer the truth to admit that the new logo has to be rigorously enforced because it will never be adopted by popular acclaim, such is the ridicule with which it is generally viewed.

Councillor Hibbert rightly draws attention to the diversity of the borough with its seven distinct townships. This is about accepting reality not creating division, for the Metropolitan Borough of Oldham is similar to Rochdale and Tameside in consisting of component towns. The only difference is that the latter two local authorities take pride in their townships, and promote them positively, as may be seen so obviously when visiting Heywood, a town within Rochdale Metropolitan Borough.

The 'Oldham Chronicle', with its finger firmly on the local pulse, puts up a strong defence of the historic townships of the borough, arguing that the people of these places are hardly likely to turn their backs on their places of birth. Each is proud of his or her individual township and of the "heritage and sense of history its name evokes". Claims for allegiance from the Council, which run contrary to such deeply-held loyalties, have little chance of succeeding.

In the recent re-branding, we were offered a wonderful opportunity of re-establishing this metropolitan borough - with its seven historic and individual townships - and making it one of the best in the region, if not the country. There is still a chance of doing this, but every edict emanating from the civic centre which ignores the true composition of our metropolitan borough, makes such an outcome most unlikely.

'many towns … one borough'


Blue Plaque

The commemorative plaque to honour Terry Hall (and his companion 'Lenny the Lion'), who was born at 635 Middleton Road, a house now demolished, is proceeding well. The details of the plaque are now with the foundry, and all permissions have been given to erect the memorial. This will be in a prominent place at the junction of Middleton Road and Broadway, a location that will actually be within the former grounds of Terry's birthplace.

On this Day … (No. 2)

William Rowbottom (1756-1830), was a handloom weaver living in Burnley Lane, Chadderton. Between 1787, and his death, he kept a very comprehensive diary of local events. From these we select a series of the more unusual entries:

March 23rd 1792 This day a child of Thomas Johnson of Chadderton Mill fell into the brook [i.e. River Irk] near the mill and the water being high the stream carried it down to Chadderton Green where it was picked out of the water with little hopes of life but by using the means recommended by the Humane Society it was happily brought to life.

October 4th 1788. John Howard of Hill Top, Chadderton, a considerable swailer, died. Disorder a fever. October 27th 1792. In the beginning of last month one Jonathan Stansfield on a courting party went to the house of Widow Howard of Hill Top where he imprudently peeping through the windows received a wound which cut one of his eyes and he having the misfortune to lose one before he is now in a state of darkness.

Chadderton Day

The fourth annual 'Chadderton Day' takes place on Saturday 13th June in Foxdenton Park, from noon to 4.00 p.m. As in past years, this will be an opportunity to celebrate all that is good about our town and its people. The Society will be playing its part with stalls selling Society merchandise, whilst our sideshows - Treasure Township; Cotton Mill Dividend, and Guess Godfrey the Griffin's Middle Name, should prove as popular as ever.

Chadderton Griffin Badges

The first delivery of the die cast badges sold out within days, but a further order has now arrived. The badge costs £2.50 whilst the larger promotional badge is on sale at the nominal price of 20p.

Wear your 'Chadderton Griffin' Badge with pride!

Evacuated to Chadderton (Part 8)

Dennis Goswell, from Wallington, Surrey, was evacuated to Chadderton during World War II. Here, he gives us his impressions of that period in his life.

The Germans had shortened the range of their flying bombs, which meant that the majority fell on Croydon, and the surrounding area which included us. They caused enormous damage and loss of life as, because of their speed (500mph), there was little time to take to the shelters.

My brother, Ernie, remained at home as he had just started at college to learn to be a chef and was very capable of caring for himself, but my mother, baby sister Frances, and I were to be evacuated to a safer place. We packed our cases and assembled at the school to await transport. A doodlebug flew right over us as we waited, but we kept going.

We went by coach to Euston and by steam train to Oldham Mumps station, near Manchester, then by coach to Chadderton, a mill town. We were to be lodged with families who had to have us. Mum and Frances were put with a young couple and I with the Land family who had a son, Jack, about my age. The problem was that they were very middle class and Mrs Land was horrified to find that I only had one pair of shoes and two shirts, one for the week and one for Sunday.The first tea was mushrooms on toast which I had never seen before. However, the family were very nice and kind and we got on well. My mother was very unhappy and the Lands arranged for relations, the Baileys, to have her and Frances. They were a wonderful couple and after a short time asked if I would like to live with them as well. It was a difficult decision for me. I loved my mum and sister but was getting on very well with the Lands, especially Jack. I decided to join my mother and sister at the Baileys and started one of the happiest periods in my life. [To be continued]

Rochdale Canal Signage

In recent months, Oldham Metropolitan Borough Council's Regeneration Dept. asked the Society for help with the historic background for three (with the possibility of a fourth) lectern style information boards, to be placed along the Chadderton section of the Rochdale Canal. These are to be placed near Th' Iron Donger railway bridge, the River Irk aqueduct, and Foxdenton Lane, and also give visitors information on the local flora and fauna, and local facilities. It has been a real pleasure to work with Eleanor Sykes and Simon Patrill on this project, which has speedily been brought to fruition.

Historic Pubs of Chadderton

No. 3 Horton Arms, Streetbridge (Part 2)

In 1844, Anthony Spence was renting the public house from Betty Etches for nearly £20 per year. In the following year John Etches, a gardener, died. He was only 35 years old, and seemingly his early demise was the result of his love of 'the bottle' as well as of gardening.

Anthony Spence remained the tenant under a new owner, Hannah Fitton, and in 1851, when he was aged 43 his family consisted of wife Esther, and three children, James, Mary and Lea. In addition there were two lodgers, a miner and an 'excavator'. Sadly, in 1861, Anthony was driving his gig at speed down Street Lane (the 'Scotch') when he was thrown out and killed. In 1865, Hiram Tonge arrived at the Horton Arms with his wife Sarah and six children. The two elder, Martha and John, were fustian cutters, then an important local industry. A number of tenants then followed, and in 1890, the pub was described as being in moderate condition, with stabling for two horses, able to provide meals for up to six people, but there was no accommodation for visitors. In the next hundred years the pub was to have eighteen different tenants, two of them staying for 12 years each.

Whilst Edward Chadwick was tenant from 1983, the Horton Arms was refurbished, and an extension built. During the alterations an old account book, a child's shoe, and a copy of 'Wheelers' Manchester Chronicle', dating from 1806, were discovered. Although adjacent to the A627(M) motorway, which opened in 1970, this 'olde worlde' hostelry still retains its rural feeling, whilst its name perpetuates a most important and romantic period in Chadderton's history - that of its Manorial Lords.

St. George's Social

The Society had hoped to resurrect this celebration, after a lapse of two years, and everything had been booked for a great patriotic evening in the Town Hall. Unfortunately, a general lack of support meant that the Executive Committee reluctantly decided to cancel the event.

A Chadderton Childhood

Society Member 'M.F.' recalls aspects of her childhood.

(4) Gas Masks and Dinner Basins

When war broke out there were no air raid shelters at St. Mark's School so the summer holiday extended to, I remember, nine weeks. Then we went half-time to Eustace Street School. The shelters were built at the side of St. Mark's Church. Besides gas masks we had to have a bag containing a small blanket and a box of iron rations.

My grandma made me a bag out of a piece of black waterproof material. I remember walking from school to the shelter, and sitting in the dark where we alternatively sang a song and chanted a times table.

Leaving St. Mark's at dinner time my friend and I walked down Milne Street, turned right by the Wren Mill and came to her house on Burnley Street. Her father's dinner was ready on the table, a basin fastened in a red cloth. There was always a piece of currant fat cake for her to eat on the way. Her father worked at Chadwick's dye works. I dropped her off at the corner of Wellington Street and Butterworth Street, and she carried on. After delivering the dinner she had to go back for her own meal before starting afternoon school. [To be continued]

Unveiling of Mosaic

Congratulations to the children of South Chadderton High School on their wonderful mosaic. This shows the Chadderton Griffin, and associated emblems, and was officially unveiled on 25th March. Thanks also to the childrenof St. Herbert's RC Primary School for planting the evergreen tree and daffodils on the site. This project has turned a prominent but untidy piece of land, at the junction of Broadway and Middleton Road, into an attractive feature. The Society was very pleased to be involved with the scheme.

Sowerby to Stoke

While cross-country travellers frequently pass through Chadderton using our motorways and the link road, Broadway, or via the main line railway at Mills Hill, it is still a novelty to see visitors cruising leisurely along the Rochdale Canal, re-opened back in 2002. This mode of transport, of course, allows time for discourse, and in a recent conversation with one of our members, a narrow-boat visitor extolled the delights of his water-borne conveyance as he journeyed from Sowerby Bridge in Yorkshire, to Stoke-on-Trent in the Midlands. Such relaxation would seem to be catching. Even the few minutes it took to raise, and then lower, the road bridge at Foxdenton Lane, did not generate undue impatience in the waiting car drivers, who observed the whole operation with obvious fascination.

Website & Contacts

The Society's Website may be accessed at It has been chosen by the British Library for inclusion in its Archives, as an example of good practice. Comments and queries may be made to Enid Johnson via e-mail: The Secretary, Michael Lawson, may be contacted on [0161] 652-3930; and via e-mail

Archive Material

Many thanks to the following for donations to our Archives.

Colin Cheetham, Grange-over-Sands: Chadderton UDC Coronation Cup for 1937, and Chadderton UDC Programme for the Coronation of 1953.

Keith Sutcliffe, Saffron Walden, Essex: Photographs of boys' soccer and cricket teams at Chadderton Grammar School in 1947/8, also prefects' photograph, and family material re Chadderton

Anonymous: Ten photographs of the Great Flood of July 1927, which caused so much damage in the Chadderton Fold, Streetbridge and Mills Hill areas. Several of the views are new to us and together they form a welcome addition to our archives.

Mrs Booth, Chadderton: Set of slides of Foxdenton Hall before its restoration in 1965.

Kathryn Crabtree, Garstang: Two photographs of Cragg Cottages after the flood of 1927.

From Ebay: Postcard of Foxdenton Park in the 1930's.

Chadderton Historical Society 2009

Number 48--------------------------------------------------------------------------- February 2009


Consultation and Criticism
Local historians are often accused of 'living in the past', or being 'pre-occupied with the past'. In reality, history forms a continuum, in that the present is the result of interactions in the past, and in turn determines the future. All three strands are inseparable, and this fact has been the underlying principle that has guided our Society since its inception in 1975.

After 34 years on the local scene, our Society is well-established and, so we are led to believe, a well-respected organisation whose knowledge, views and advice, have been sought on many occasions, and on a wide variety of issues.

That being so, it is a great pity that we were not consulted on the current matter of that awful sign recently erected outside our imposing town hall. This proclaims to passers-by (and here we might also include passengers making the descent to Manchester Airport!) that the building is 'Chadderton Town Hall'. If such a sign was considered a necessity, why was the question of its size and suitability not brought before interested parties, especially the Chadderton Area Committee?

Seemingly, the reason for its erection was to raise the profile both of the building, now so wonderfully restored internally as the borough's Register Office and Ceremonial Room for Weddings, etc., and also of Chadderton itself. This would seem like a wonderful idea but one which, unfortunately, has misfired.

Our criticism, on this occasion, is a reminder that the Society also takes the opportunity to provide its own comments, sometimes quite forcefully, on matters about which it feels strongly. Often these have concerned identity issues, in which Chadderton's individuality within our borough has been given insufficient recognition.

One of our local councillors, David Hibbert,lends his support on this very point when he refers in a recent press article to 'Oldham, with its component towns'. This might seem a short statement, but it is one that describes the local situation so accurately, and so meaningfully. It addresses succinctly the whole nature and composition of Oldham Metropolitan Borough. It provides the very focus around which everyone can unite if the borough is to move forward.

Most identity issues have been resolved amicably, but occasionally the truth of the matter, as we see it, may have created bad feelings within certain quarters. This has never been our intention, and we certainly take no satisfaction in such an outcome.

Over the years, the Society has worked positively alongside politicians of all persuasions, and with various council departments, in carrying out its function within the community of Chadderton, whether this is related to the past, the present or the future. We trust that this policy will continue in 2009, and beyond!

Re-branding Reality! " This does not mean that we are suggesting that everyone becomes Oldhamers - far from it - we would encourage people to describe themselves as Chaddertonians, etc. as it celebrates the diversity of the place as a whole." ( (Sue Vanden, Hemisphere Design & Marketing Consultants, following the 'Rebranding' of the Metropolitan Borough in 2008) 'many towns … one borough'

Identity Promotion
Councillor Mark Alcock, who represents Shaw Ward on the metropolitan council is also the Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Spokesman for our Constituency. It is most gratifying to see that his official website bears the heading: "Mark Alcock representing Oldham West & Royton including Chadderton". This is yet one more step in the right direction of according Chadderton its rightful recognition as an important town in its own right.
On this Day … (No. 1)
William Rowbottom (1756-1830), was a handloom weaver living in Burnley Lane, Chadderton. Between 1787, and his death, he kept a very comprehensive diary of local events. From these we select a series of the more unusual entries:

March 22nd 1792 Chadderton. This day a newborn male child was found floating in the brook here [i.e. the River Irk]. Upon the coroner taking an inquest on the body it appeared that the said child was born of the body of Mary Greathead of Chadderton but late of Bedale, Yorkshire on the night of the 17th instant and was thrown into the brook by one Grace Stansfield at the request of the mother. It appeared that Stansfield was requested to empty a chamber pot into the water and she was ignorant of its contents obeyed the order. A verdict was found against her [i.e. Mary] of wilful murder. She was of course fully committed to Lancaster Castle but first she was to lay in till she could undertake the journey.

August 18th The Assizes commenced at Lancaster when there was no charge found against Mary Greathead.

Handy Hints for the Home (Part 4)
More weird and wonderful items from the small booklet, sold on behalf of the Life Boys at Cowhill Methodist Church, Chadderton, about 1925:

10. If the handle of an umbrella becomes detached, do not throw it aside, but mend it. Fill up the hole with brimstone, heat the screw red-hot and press it into the cavity. When cold it will be quite firm and hard.

11. A good way to get rid of mice is to sprinkle essence of peppermint about their haunts, and then push a cork firmly into any mousehole you may find. Mice have an aversion to peppermint, and they cannot nibble through cork.

12. Before cutting new bread, dip the knife into boiling water. By this means the thinnest slices of bread may be cut from a new loaf without trouble.

Archive Material
Thanks to the following for donations to our ever-growing Archives:

Allan Cheetham, Society member in Upminster, Essex - photographs of Chadderton people and scenes, Chadderton Teachers' Association Programme for Annual Dinner in 1935; Anonymous, Chadderton - Collins Gentleman's Diary for 1921; Keith Sutcliffe, Essex - Material on Chadderton; Colin Cheetham, Grange over Sands, Lancs. - Book on the development of St. Luke's parish; Eric Tongue, Greenfield, Saddleworth - Photographs, etc. of his late father, Arthur Tongue, three times Chairman of Chadderton UDC between 1940 and 1961; Peggy Cook, Chadderton -

'Ready Reckoner' - every farthing to 10 shillings; Jim Lever, Chadderton - Commemorative Coronation Medal for 1902, with chain, issued by Chadderton Urban District Council.

Gone, but certainly not Forgotten!
In recent months, few members of the older generation cannot have felt somewhat nostalgic, and rather sad, to see the former Chadderton Grammar School building on Broadway (in later life the Lower School of Radclyffe), pass into history as it faced demolition. Only 78 years old, it is hard to accept that the premises had no further role to play, and our town is much the poorer by the loss of another building of character. The Society is most fortunate in having in its archives, a very comprehensive collection of documents and artefacts, recalling this wonderful seat of learning which, at its opening, was the first co-educational grammar school built by Lancashire County Council.
Chadderton Griffin Badge
This initiative by the Society has been very well received, and the 'Chadderton Griffin' provides a splendid alternative to that rather meaningless 'Polo mint' or 'Nul Points' which now purports to represent our borough. All the children who took part in the Christmas Lights Competition, and the Switch-on, were given badges freely, whilst others are on sale at the nominal price of 20p. One resident, with the interests of Chadderton very much at heart, purchased 100 to distribute to family and friends. The order for our smaller, die-cast badge has now been placed with the manufacturer, and this should be available shortly.
Foxdenton Portraits
Congratulations to the 'Friends of Foxdenton' for commissioning the wonderful series of portraits which now adorn the walls of Foxdenton Hall. These portray nine members of the Radclyffe family, each with an interesting story to tell, and it has been our privilege to be involved in this project.
 Local History Society for Lees

The township of Lees is the latest to set up a local history society. In November, Bruce Lander and his wife, June, were advised to attend our monthly meeting to pick up ideas and tips about running such a society, and we wish them well in their new venture. All seven townships of our metropolitan borough now have such a body to promote their individual identities, and our own Society looks forward to further co-operation with each of them.

'Chadderton Celebrates St. George'
The restored splendour of the Edwardian Ballroom, in Chadderton Town Hall, is the setting for this social event which takes place on Saturday 25th April from 8.00 p.m. Share our Grand Patriotic Evening as we celebrate our national day in style. Dancing (to suit all tastes), entertainment, marvellous buffet, etc. will guarantee a great night for everyone. Bring along your friends for a wonderful occasion.Tickets, £15, are available shortly. Contact 652-3930 for reservations and further details.
Stock Brook Children's Centre
A local organisation has revived another ancient name, after asking our Society for advice. The new children's centre, which is based at St. Luke's School, wanted a different title so as to avoid confusion with the school itself. Stock Brook is a very ancient name for that area, and St. Luke's School can trace its origins back to the Stock Brook School of 1859, and even the Stock Brook Sunday School of earlier in the century. Incidentally, the brook itself is now culverted until it emerges under Broadway opposite the Ancora Restaurant (formerly the Red Barn).
Broomes Park and North Dean Park
The two new housing developments on Hunt Lane have been given historic names, after our suggestions were accepted by the Council. Broome was a 19th century farmer in the area, whilst North Dean Park is derived from Norden (north Dene or valley) a name for this particular area of Chadderton. The former co-operative store nearby (now Fish World) was known as the Nordens Branch!
Historic Pubs of Chadderton

No. 3 Horton Arms, Streetbridge (Part 1)

Two public houses in Chadderton share this name, one being on Middleton Road, whilst the one described here stands on the ancient road which linked Prestwich, and Middleton, to Royton. The Hortons became joint Lords of the Manor at Chadderton Hall in 1684, when Joshua Horton, from Sowerby Bridge, Yorkshire, purchased the estate from the Asshetons. The last Lord was to be the Rev. Sir Thomas Horton, who died in 1821 without sons. A family of some distinction, both locally, and further afield, it is hardly surprising that their name should be perpetuated in a local hostelry. The pub at Streetbridge probably dates back to c1788, but its name and owner at that time are not known for certain, although it is likely that is was Joseph Parr.

 Joseph died in 1804, and the licence was taken over by Thomas Hyde who gave the pub its present name. The Lord of the Manor at the time was Sir Watts Horton, High Sheriff of Lancashire in 1775-76, under whom Chadderton Hall was at its most glorious. With a house in Upper Brook Street, London, Sir Watts often visited the capital 'with a large retinue', and was a socialite who entertained the neighbouring gentry with entertainments at the Hall which did not break up until five in the morning. Cock fighting and archery were other aspects of life at the Hall at this period.

 From 1806 to 1813, the landlord was Matthew Robinson, whose inn sign, in 1809, was 'Sir Bart (baronet) Horton', and probably displayed a painting of the gentleman. Incidentally, a portrait of Sir Watts survives, a copy being in the archives of the Historical Society. Matthew was found dead in a canal in Manchester, apparently mentally disturbed after his five-year-old son had been killed outside the Old Cock Inn, at Tonge, Middleton.

A number of short tenures followed with the Morton family, local paper manufacturers at nearby Buckley Wood, being licensees from 1818 to about 1830. Pubs at that time were often used for coroners' inquests, and one at the Horton Arms in 1839 enquired into the death of James Stansfield, known locally as Lord Derby, who was found dead near Chadderton Hall after a cart, thought to have belonged to Whewell and Sudell, bleachers of Streetbridge, had passed over him, crushing his head flat. Aged 44, he left a wife and four children. [To be concluded]

The Society's condolences have been offered to Diana Lawton on the death of her dear husband, Alan, a most wonderful person. The Society was represented at his funeral on 5th December, at St. Peter's RC Church, Middleton, and at Chadderton Cemetery. +RIP+
Blue Plaque to 'Terry and Lenny'
Steady progress is being made towards the erection of the Blue Plaque to Terry Hall, of 'Lenny the Lion' fame, who was born on Middleton Road, Chadderton, in 1926, and who died in April 2007. The Chadderton Area Committee has kindly agreed to fund our project with a grant of £400. Hopefully, it can now be completed in the coming months.
 Website & Contacts
The Society's Website, visited by 32,800 people, and chosen by the British Library for inclusion in its Achives, may be accessed at Comments and queries may be made to Enid Johnson via e-mail: The Secretary, Michael Lawson, may be contacted on [0161] 652-3930; and via e-mail

Chadderton Historical Society 2009





No. 47 November 2008

-Comment -

Many towns … one borough

The above heading, suggested by the phraseology of the recent re-branding of our metropolitan borough, has always had a particular significance for the CHS. As stated in the last edition, it was most gratifying that the name Chadderton was being included in the title of our parliamentary division i.e. on the official correspondence signed by our MP Michael Meacher: 'Member of Parliament for Oldham West and Royton, including Chadderton'. This was something that was long overdue, and which we applauded gladly. Within a month, however, Mr. Meacher had abandoned this policy of promoting the three component parts of his constituency.

In a lengthy interview in the Oldham Chronicle at the end of May, as he reflected on his many years as a local MP, he cites his parliamentary division as 'Oldham', using this name no less than five times within direct quotes. What exactly is meant by the concept 'Oldham' that he purports to have represented since 1970?

It certainly cannot be coterminous with the Metropolitan Borough of Oldham, for this administrative area is shared among three constituencies, and always has been. It cannot even be the town, or former county borough of Oldham, for again the eight wards of this township have always been divided between two distinct constituencies.

Whatever Mr. Meacher intends by using the term 'Oldham', the fact remains that at no time in the past 38 years has he ever represented any such entity as 'Oldham'; at most it is only certain wards within that town, and these have changed considerably, and at regular intervals, throughout the decades.

What soon became very apparent, and consequently so disappointing in the article, was the complete lack of references to Chadderton and Royton, the two historic towns which are almost entirely enclosed within the boundary of his present constituency. Mr Meacher gives them no recognition at all, as if they do not have any separate existence or identities of their own. Ignoring this reality is quite inexcusable.

In total contrast, a recent editorial in the same journal alludes to the proposals for a heritage centre in Chadderton. It praises our Society for its 'splendid idea' which would showcase 'the town's history'. To emphasise the point the article declares quite unequivocally: "The various towns in the borough are keen to maintain their own identity - and quite rightly so, too - and providing a heritage centre for Chadderton would be an excellent way for its citizens to achieve that goal."

Seemingly, we can count on the support of our local newspaper whenever matters of identity are concerned, but not on our long-serving member of parliament. Why do we have this discrepancy?

To be ignored in this way is offensive to people who class themselves first and foremost as Chaddertonians, and for whom Mr. Meacher is also their representative at Westminster! With the solitary exception of Oldham Werneth, the three Chadderton wards are the only ones to have been continually represented by him since 1970, and this ought to be acknowledged.

Why does Michael Meacher have this recurring problem with regard to identity issues? It is now time that he cleared up this matter once and for all.

New Community Champion and Co-optees

As a result of changes in the political composition of Chadderton's representatives on the metropolitan borough council, Councillor Philip Rogers has taken on the role of Community Champion for our town, and Vice-Chairman of the Township Assembly. At the recent meeting of this body nine co-optees were elected, Pauline Richardson retaining her position as Chairperson. Christine Dennis, a trustee of our Society, continues the role she first took on in 2000. This organisation, which imparts a certain degree of autonomy to Chadderton, can count on the continual support of the CHS.

Christmas Market and Switch-On

The Switch-on of Chadderton's Christmas Lights takes place in the shopping precinct on Friday 28th November at 6.00 p.m. It will be preceded by a Christmas Market, which was so successful last year, with school choirs and bands taking part during the afternoon. The Society will play a full part in the occasion, and will run a number of sideshows and stalls selling publications, etc. Please make a note in your diary.

Handy Hints for the Home (Part 3)

More bizarre items from the small booklet, sold on behalf of the Life Boys at Cowhill Methodist Church, Chadderton, about 1925:
7. To blacken brown shoes, rub well with a raw potato, and then apply black polish in the usual way.
8. Boil a new clothes line before using it - it will last a lot longer; also the pegs will last longer if boiled for ten minutes before use.

9. Wallpaper can be cleaned with a thick slice of bread, rubbing gently.

 New Presentation Equipment

The Society now possesses new state-of-the-art presentation equipment which will be ideal for giving talks to our own members, and elsewhere. Many thanks to former councillor, Jim Greenwood, for his kind grant from community funds which has enabled us to take advantage of this modern technology.

Entering his Prime!

Congratulations to our Secretary of 33 years, Michael Lawson, on the celebration of his 65th birthday this month. As he enters his prime, the Society has many new initiatives in mind to keep him fully occupied!

 Blessing of Memorial Lectern

Our thanks are expressed to Fr. Alan Cooke., Vicar of St. Mark's Church, for blessing and dedicating our memorial lectern at October's monthly meeting of the Society. He has also been asked to be Chaplain to the Society.

Remembrance Sunday

As we mark the 90th Anniversary of the ending of the First World War, the Society will be laying its wreath at Chadderton War Memorial on Sunday 9th November as in past years.

Members are asked to join the procession by meeting at the Reform Club for 10.30 a.m.

Lancashire Day - 27th November  

The celebration of our great historic county of Lancaster takes place on 27th November. However, because of other commitments the Chadderton Town Crier and Retinue will make the traditional proclamation on Wednesday 26th November. The procession starts from the Town Hall at 1.00 p.m. and members of the Society and the public are asked to meet there, displaying red roses if possible. For the first time the redesigned Lancashire Flag, which is a red rose now on a pale yellow background instead of white will be on display.

 School Project

As is well known, the Society regularly gives talks to other organisations on aspects of Chadderton's history. It also goes into local schools to help with projects. St. Herbert's R.C. Primary School availed themselves of material from our archives, earlier this year, for a series of projects. It is pleasing to hear their comments: "The children really enjoyed using the resources - they gave them a real 'sense' of our local history. The children were able to complete a cross-curricular project based on our local history and the resources provided gave opportunities for creative writing, poetry, art and design, history, drama and much more. Thank you." (Mrs M)


The Society's sympathies have been expressed to Jean Stokes on the death of her dear husband, Alan, a true gentleman. Thanks to those Society members who formed a guard of honour at the crematorium on 8th August. + RIP +

New Baths Complex Co-operation

Seven members of the Society's Executive Committee were recently shown around the site of Chadderton's new 'Health and Well-Being' Centre, on Wellington Street. They also studied the complete plans for the complex, and had their queries answered. The construction firm, Carillion, has a policy of involving the community in its projects, and we thank the assistant site manager, Charles Ames, and colleague Vernon Hailwood, for so kindly inviting us.

 The Society has also provided archive material on the present library and baths to Dave Pugh and his students at Oldham College. This is to assist them in their project to produce appropriate murals for display on the hoardings around the site.

By this time next year, the people of Chadderton should have a wonderful new asset in their town centre.

 Chadderton Badge

Few people seem to be enraptured by the new Oldham logo, and fewer will probably be seen wearing the button badge which displays it.

Critics have likened it to a 'Polo mint drowning in a bucket', whilst the satirical magazine 'Private Eye' summed it up in broad Lanky as 'Nowt Doing'. Certainly it does not induce any feelings of pride and excitement, whilst its clear lack of inclusiveness - promoting only some notion or other of 'Oldham' - is not likely to endear it to people within the six non-Oldham townships.

To counterbalance this controversial and divisive emblem, a Chadderton lapel badge is being commissioned by the Society.  

This will portray a red griffin, the heraldic device associated with Chadderton since the 13th century, and the word 'Chadderton'. Hopefully this will be available for the Christmas Market at the end of November.

 A Colourful Chadderton Bazaar (Part 2)

Cowhill Wesleyan Methodist Church held a Bazaar in November 1913, to raise £700 for its funds. The theme was 'Floral', and several of the stalls named after flowers have already been mentioned.

There were also stalls selling flowers, soap and scent, and a 'Post Office' from which 'messages' could be sent to any part of the Bazaar for a nominal sum, dependent on whether it was a post card, letter or parcel.

This certainly sounds rather intriguing! Cloaks, coats and umbrellas could be left at the Cloakroom at a charge of 1d (½ p) per item so that "visitors … have both hands free to get to their pockets."

Under 'Miscellanea' were the Bran Tub, Village Pump (whatever this was), an Ice Cream Stall, and a Shooting Gallery under the auspices of the Young Men's Stall. Finally, there was an 'Exhibition of Curios, etc.' also managed by the young men. What these consisted of cannot be imagined.

In the official handbook, the advertisements for the various stalls contained a short verse, often taken from Shakespeare. These included: "Must I pay before I pass". (Henry VI), "'Tis gold that buys admittance". (Cymbeline), "We trust well to take moneys from your purse, so that ye mind not, nor feel none the worse." and "To do business is our sole intent, now make your choice". Most forthright of all was "If you don't see something you want, buy something else." Coupons, which had been sold prior to the Bazaar, could be exchanged for any goods, but could not be used to gain entry.

The Church also ran three competitions, for which the entrance fee was 2d (1p) with a Prize Coupon for each winner. The contests were described as 'A Kapital Kombination of Kuriously Kontrived Komicalities'! For the ladies was 'Tack Driving' in which the winner was the lady who hammered into a piece of wood twelve ¾ inch (1cm) tacks in the straightest line. The task had to be completed within 5 minutes. For the gentlemen it was 'Hat Trimming'. Time allowed was ten minutes and each entrant was supplied with a hat, one needle, and some trimmings and thread. The one with the neatest millinery in the quickest time was declared the winner. The third competition - 'Pea Bottling', was for everyone. Five minutes was allowed for competitors to try and fill a glass jar with peas using two sticks! If you only wanted to view the competitions, an entrance fee of 1d was charged!

No Bazaar was complete without its concert which raised further funds. At Cowhill the entertainment was provided twice nightly, and over the three days included bass, soprano, and baritone singers, as well as two elocutionists, one of them also a 'Lancashire Reciter'. On the Thursday, 'Professor' A. Taylor displayed his skills as a conjuror and illusionist.  

The 'Tea and Supper Room' would doubtless prove very popular, its adage being "May good digestion wait on appetite, and good health on both." Teas were served from 4.30 p.m. and suppers from 8.45 p.m. A 'plain' tea cost 8d (3p) whilst tea with beef or tongue cost the hungrier customer a shilling (5p). The meal could be finished off with a sweet or jelly. To us, nearly a century later, the Bazaar at Cowhill provides a glimpse into the long-vanished world of yesteryear. In the days before radio and TV, when even cinema was in its infancy, this church Bazaar provided not only an opportunity to purchase a variety of goods at reasonable prices, but made for a welcome social occasion, and an attractive scene which brightened up the humdrum life of the mill worker and his family.

Archive material

Thanks to the following for contributions to our archives:

Jack Sanderson, Nelson: carpet shuttle; Joyce Higgins, Chadderton: books of old postcards - several local, and celebration cards from early 20th century, selection of handicraft tools;

Edna Ashley (member) photographs of her family when members of Chadderton Amateur Swimming Club.

Anonymous donor, Chadderton: Comprehensive collection of old newspapers, copies of maps and census forms, prints of local scenes, and Chadderton photographs

Commemorative Key

Opened in 1921, the former Ivy Leaf Club, on Chancery Street, was the original headquarters of Chadderton Royal British Legion. It was demolished about 1970, and the Legion, which is the third oldest branch in the country, presently meets in the Reform Club. We have recently received from our patron, Lady Maureen Black, daughter of the last Lord of the Manor, the commemorative key which was presented by the Ivy Leaf Club to her late father, Major C.R.E Radclyffe, after he had officially opened the building. We are most grateful to her for this kind gesture, whilst the key will find a place of honour in our archives.

Website & Contacts

The Society's Website, visited by 32,800 people, and chosen by the British Library for inclusion in its Archives, may be accessed at

Comments and queries may be made to Enid Johnson via e-mail

The Secretary, Michael Lawson, may be contacted on [0161] 652-3930; and via e-mail

No. 46 August 08


Diversity and Devolution
As a result of political changes in our borough, the issue of 'Area Committees' versus 'Community Councils' has once more come to the forefront. The controlling Liberal Democrats favour the former, having inaugurated them in 2000, with each body comprising three or four wards. Only last year the Labour Party, then in power, replaced them with smaller Community Councils, based on individual wards.

Chadderton remained largely unaffected by these changes, with its three wards continuing to form an entity as a Committee/Council, although each was also given sub-group status in 2007. The process of devolution has worked extremely well in Chadderton, and to some extent we are unique within the borough. We are also unique in having the Conservatives as the majority party locally, with five councillors out of the nine Chadderton representatives.

Recent recommendations have produced several anomalies in other areas, resulting from which party has the majority. Several individual wards wish to retain a council/committee, whilst others have merged with adjacent wards under one controlling body. In Royton and Crompton - two of the historic townships of the borough - there is contention, whereby the Labour Party wishes to keep them separate, whilst the Lib-Dems see them more efficient if combined. The townships of Failsworth, and Saddleworth (with Lees), will keep their individuality. How all this variety will work in practice, time only will tell.

To add to this diversity, at the last Chadderton Community/Committee meeting, all councillors and co-optees present, voted unanimously to restyle our organisation 'Chadderton Township Assembly', and this was endorsed overwhelmingly by the public in attendance. The CHS is supportive of the move seeing the 'township' as a useful and meaningful unit of local government, having a thousand years of history behind it.

All parties are agreed on some form of 'devolution', although actual powers and budget arrangements may vary. What cannot be disputed is that metropolitan boroughs are rather large for the lowest unit of local government and consultation, and hence one can question the very notion of 'local'. Oldham Metropolitan Borough's population is currently 217,393 (census of 2001), which is larger than 45 sovereign states in the world. Indeed, Chadderton's population of 33,000 plus, outstrips some 17 sovereign states, including Monaco and San Marino in Europe.

The case for further devolution is a strong one, and should be seriously considered, taking into account the experiences of neighbouring boroughs, especially Rochdale and Tameside.

Town Hall Registry Office

The Society is delighted that Chadderton's impressive Town Hall is now the Registry Office for the whole of our metropolitan borough. The former council chamber, the 'Oak Room', has become a most elegant ceremonial room for the solemnisation of marriages, and a smaller adjacent room performs a similar function. Our thanks to Councillor David Hibbert, Chadderton South, for having this room officially named the 'Alderman Sid Jacobs Ceremonial Room' as a memorial to a former great Chadderton councillor, and past President of the CHS.

The Society was consulted by the Council on the history of the building, and we are pleased and honoured that the official brochure contains so much of our material. We have also been asked to provide material from our archives for display in the Town Hall.

New Councillors

We welcome as representatives on the metropolitan borough council, John Hudson - Chadderton Central, and Jack Hulme - Chadderton North, who were elected in May. Jack has taken on the mantle of Leader of the Conservative Group, and we wish him well in this position. The Society hopes to work well with them, as it does with local councillors of all political persuasions. Although John is a resident of Saddleworth, being Chairman of its Parish Council in 2007-2008, he is appreciative and supportive of all identity issues which concern the six non-Oldham townships of the borough.

New Party Leader

Congratulations also to Jim McMahon, a Failsworth councillor, on being chosen to lead the Labour Party within the borough. Jim is a good friend of the CHS, having played a major role in promoting his adopted town of Failsworth, with its own identity, and its rich history and heritage.

Community Award

Congratulations to Simon Shuttleworth, acting Township Manager for Chadderton, on being chosen by OMBC to receive an award for his services to the community. We thank him for all he does for the town of Chadderton.

Handy Hints for the Home (Part 2)

Further bizarre items from the small booklet, sold on behalf of the Life Boys at Cowhill Methodist Church, Chadderton, about 1925:

4. When washing up, put a piece of lemon-skin into the bowl. It will soften the water, remove all traces of the smell of fish, onions, and so on, and put a fine gloss on china.

5. To put out a chimney fire quickly put some wet papers on the fire, and the steam will quickly put the chimney fire out.

6. To clean strawberries, soak them in water to which a teaspoonful of vinegar has been added. It is surprising to see what insects there are hidden in the fruit. (yuk!)

Chairman's Milestone

We offer our best wishes to the Society's Chairman, Mark Johnson, on reaching the Big '5-0' recently. He prides himself on being our youngest member - that is until someone, out there, joins and deprives him of his smug 'claim to fame'.

Chadderton's Claims to Fame Talk

Members of the Society, who may have missed this illustrated talk last January, have the opportunity of hearing an abridged version at St. Herbert's Parish Centre, Broadway, on Thursday 18th September, commencing at 8.00 p.m. Members of the public are most welcome to attend.

Heritage Centre

Steady progress is being made in the Society's scheme to set up a Heritage Centre in Chadderton. Under the guidance of Councillor Colin McLaren we are looking at proposals to make part of the central library into such a facility, once the new well- being/leisure/social centre is completed in the town centre.

A Colourful Chadderton Bazaar (Part 1)

During the era of the British Empire several foreign words were introduced into our language, one of these being Bazaar, originally meaning an oriental market. During the latter part of the 19th century, and the early decades of the 20th, the word came to characterise a social attraction connected with churches and other organisations, by means of which these organisations raised much-needed funds.

Bazaars were popular, colourful, and entertaining, and in this article we look at one held locally in 1913, by Cowhill Wesleyan Methodist Church, on Block Lane, Chadderton. It was normal to stage a Bazaar over several days, and this was no exception being spread over three days - Wednesday 26th, Thursday 27th, and Saturday 29th November. Why Friday was omitted is not clear. The object of the Bazaar was to raise £700 to pay for extensions to the schoolroom, and because the church had "been compelled by the Chadderton District Council to alter our sanitary arrangements."

Bazaars usually had a theme, and Cowhill's that year was a 'Floral' one. Admission was on a sliding scale with a 'Season Ticket', which allowed admission at all opening hours on all days, costing two shillings (10p) for adults, and one shilling for children. Daily admission, at three o'clock, was a shilling on Wednesday for adults, and sixpence (3p) for children. On Thursday it was again one shilling but only sixpence after 6 o'clock. Saturday was Children's Day when admission was sixpence all day.

Each day's proceedings followed an official Opening Ceremony by a 'dignitary', and the event was supervised by a different 'Chairman' each day. Among the notables in 1913 were W. Heath of Heyside, Royton, E. M. Beard of Marple, Dr. Gill of Werneth, and Councillor F. Houghton, an Oldham councillor who was later mayor of that town. The ceremony naturally included a hymn and prayer, followed by the Chairman's Remarks and the 'Opening Declaration'.

The Children's Opening on the Saturday was a much grander affair, taking the form of a religious service with concert combined. The children entered to the march 'Alceste', and then speeches were made by several of them. The hymn 'Onward Christian Soldiers marching as to war', and a song containing the words "Haste away, haste away, we are fairies for the day", were interspersed by the Lord's Prayer and Psalm 121.

Purses were received by a Mrs W. A. Elder, and a Bouquet of Flowers then presented to her. Other hymns and songs followed, one promoting the virtue of a cup of tea and the strict Methodist aversion to alcohol:

"Strong drink will make our friends, our foes, Strong drink will make us wear old clothes, With bleary eyes and 'cherry' nose, Soon mischief comes and money goes."
A humorous rhyme medley "descriptive of the Bazaar", was given by six girls, and, following the Closing Address, two boys respectively moved and seconded the 'Resolution', after which the day's Bazaar was declared open.

Since the theme of the Bazaar was 'Floral', most stalls took the name of a flower. The Congregational Stall was 'Sweet Pea', whilst the Scholars' was 'Chrysanthemum'. The Young Men's Stall was 'Rose', and the Primary Stall was 'Poppy'. Unfortunately, we are not given any details as to what each of these stalls sold, apart from the Café and Refreshment Stalls which jointly took the name 'Marguerites'.

[Concluded in the next edition]

Archive Material

Thanks to the following for donations to our archives:

Trevor and Mary Ashworth (members) - books on Lancashire themes and the cotton industry; Identity Cards with wallet; Ration Book; Kodak Brownie Camera; class photo of St. Luke's School c1918; old and new Chadderton coats-of-arms on wood; Oldham arms on wood.; pair of bellows; shuttle; pre-decimal coins, and booklet from Melbourne Street Congregational Church (an organisation about which we know nothing!).Jim Begley, Chadderton - a wide selection of old wood-working tools.

Chadderton Day

This event, held in Foxdenton Park on 14th June, was once more a great success. The Society played its part and winners of our competitions were: Treasure Township - the treasure was buried in square E4 (side of canal, near the Boat and Horses! ), and was won by Trevor Ashworth, Hunt Lane.

'Godfrey the Chadderton Griffin's Middle Name': - the voucher was won by Casey, of Mills Hill Road, who correctly guessed the name - Terence.

The "Shares in Chadderton's Mills" game proved very popular, and was much appreciated by the general public. It reminded us all of the significant part played by the cotton industry in the growth of our town.For the first time in public, the 'Chadderton Anthem' was sung, accompanied by Chadderton Band., whose arrangement had been orchestrated by local man David J. Lawson B.Mus (Hons); M.Mus.

Community Involvement

The Society has recently taken its merchandise stalls and sideshows to more local events. These were at Chadderton Fold, organised by Chadderton Park Football Club, who use a very interesting variation of our town's coat-of-arms as their logo, and at Crossley Estate for their annual Fun Day. We will also be at Coalshaw Green Park for their Bowling Competition on Sunday 10th August.

St. George's Social

After a lapse of two years plans are well advanced for our 'Chadderton Celebrates St. George' Social Event and Dance. This will be held at the Town Hall on Saturday 25th April 2009, and promises to be a great evening carried out in the true spirit of English patriotism. Why not encourage a group of friends to join you for the occasion! Further details later.

MP to Promote Chadderton's Identity

Between 1918 and 1950, Chadderton formed part of the constituency with the official title 'Middleton and Prestwich'. However, its own name was often included alongside these other two towns as may still be seen rather uniquely outside Middleton Conservative Club. The foundation stone of that building was laid in 1922, by Sir Nairne Stewart-Sandeman Bart. "Member of Parliament for the Middleton, Prestwich and Chadderton Division."

For some time, David Heyes, Member of Parliament for the Constituency of Ashton-under-Lyne, and one-time councillor for South Chadderton, has shared this policy of comprehensive recognition. He proudly signs his correspondence: … Member of Parliament for Ashton-under-Lyne (including Droylsden, Failsworth, Hollinwood).

In recent months, our Society has requested our own MP, Michael Meacher, to adopt this practice, thus honouring the promise made at his first parliamentary election back in 1968. On that occasion he reiterated the motto of his predecessor, Leslie Hale: "…whatever can be done for the people of Oldham and Chadderton, I pledge myself to do it." Unfortunately, during the intervening four decades, Chadderton's individual identity within the constituency has often been ignored, despite the fact that eight of the nine wards of the present division contain some part of Chadderton.

The Society is pleased to note that in recent correspondence to us, Mr Meacher signs himself "MP Oldham West and Royton Including Chadderton". We trust that this procedure will now be the standard practice, with Chadderton finally being accorded its rightful place in the title of our parliamentary division.

Membership of Local History Societies.

The Society has recently become members of two more worthy organisations who are concerned with local history. These are the Lancashire and Cheshire Antiquarian Society, which was founded in 1883, and the Chetham's Society, which dates from 1843. Members are now able to access the impressive archives of both Societies.

Website & Contacts

The Society's Website, chosen by the British Library for inclusion in its Achives, may be accessed at Comments and queries may be made to Enid Johnson via e-mail

The Secretary, Michael Lawson, may be contacted at [0161] 652-3930; and via e-mail



Quarterly Newsletter of the Chadderton Historical Society

No. 45 May 2008


Re-Branding and Chadderton

The recommendations of the recent re-branding of our metropolitan borough will be met, not unexpectedly, with much criticism. Our Society, in accordance with its Mission Statement, will seek to ensure that Chadderton's identity is in no way compromised, and we will continue to promote our metropolitan borough as a composite of seven individual, distinctive and historic townships, of which Chadderton is one, and Oldham another.

Unfortunately, this reluctance to accord due recognition to this reality, has been a major contributory factor in the "anti-Oldham" feeling that has evolved over the years, and which is now endemic in local life.

It is rather paradoxical that the firm of consultants given the task of re-branding has chosen the words 'metropolitan borough' as the ones to be downgraded in official use, when the real irritant is the misuse of that one word 'Oldham'. For the residents of the six non-Oldham townships the term 'metropolitan borough' has always offered a certain degree of reassurance by virtue of its inclusiveness.

A corporate colour - turquoise, has been proposed, whilst the new logo of the letter 'O' is intended to symbolise the unity of 'Oldham', as a location to be marketed. The latter, in particular, is open to criticism for its clear lack of inclusiveness, while its over-simplistic appearance provides a ready symbol for defacing, with subsequent ridicule!

On the positive side, the new boundary signs will proclaim to the wider world that there are seven distinct towns, each with its own individual history and heritage. Hopefully, these signs will bear a heraldic device appropriate to the relevant township.

There is one particular recommendation in this re-branding exercise, which residents of the six outer townships ought to seize upon as a major breakthrough in thinking within our metropolitan borough. The consultants state quite unambiguously: "… we have to turn the word 'Oldham' into a positive one instead of the negative one it has become. This does not mean we are suggesting that everyone becomes Oldhamers - far from it - we would encourage people to describe themselves as Chaddertonians, etc. as it celebrates the diversity of the place as a whole."

This accords well with the policy of our Society which believes that in 1974, this metropolitan borough of ours got it so wrong by not honouring the true spirit behind local government re-organisation! Maybe we can now see a glimmer of light at the end of a very long tunnel!

New President and Vice- President

Many thanks to Society members who formed the Guard of Honour at Christ Church, for the funeral in February of Hon. Alderman Sid Jacobs, our late President. Following his death it was unanimously proposed by the Executive Committee that the Presidency of the Society be offered to Councillor Jim Greenwood, who has been our Vice-President since 1994. He retires this month as a councillor for Chadderton Central Ward, a position he has held since 1986. Jim was Chairman of the Borough Education Committee for a period in the mid-1990's, and from its inception in 2000 until its demise last year, was a very efficient Chairman of the Chadderton Area Committee. Coming from a sound Chadderton background, Jim will still be involved in local affairs, retaining his position as Chairman of Governors at Radclyffe Technology College. In accepting the position, Councillor Greenwood said that he was "honoured to be asked [but] will never be able to fill Uncle Sid's shoes".

It was also most gratifying to hear Jim compare the 'honour' bestowed on him, with events such as the recent opening of the £28 million Radclyffe School, and the fact that his team, Manchester City, recently beat Manchester United. Jim has certainly got his priorities right, and we look forward to many years of friendship and co-operation.

The Executive Committee also agreed unanimously to ask Councillor Colin McLaren, who has represented Central Ward since 2006, to take over from Jim as Vice-President. He has the interests of Chadderton very much at heart as shown by his role as 'Champion' of the Community Council, his interest in the proposed Chadderton Heritage Centre, and his commitment to the 'Bringing Chadderton Together' project, all of which augurs well for the future of our town. As a Geordie, with Mancunian experience, he also comes to us not encompassed with too much 'Oldham baggage'!

Councillor Jeremy Sutcliffe

The Society takes this opportunity of thanking Councillor Jeremy Sutcliffe, who retires this month from political life, for his contribution to our community.

Although never a resident of the town his connection with Chadderton goes back to 1978, when he was appointed Deputy Head Teacher of Chadderton Hall Junior School. Taking early retirement in 1994, he was first elected for Chadderton North Ward in the following year, and during his time on the OMBC took particular interest in environmental issues and passenger transport.

One of his most memorable moments was in 2003, when he beat the leader of the British National Party, Nick Griffin, into second place in North Chadderton. Our Society has often referred to him as "an Honorary Chaddertonian", and we wish him well in all his future undertakings, and also the very best of health. Thanks Jeremy!

Chadderton Day - 14th June

Chadderton Day - the celebration of all that is good about Chadderton and its people - is celebrated on Saturday 14th June in Foxdenton Park. As in the past two years, it will provide the opportunity for families to enjoy themselves with a wide variety of activities and entertainments. The event runs from 12 noon to 4.00 p.m.

80th Birthdays

The Society wishes to congratulate our Patron, Lady Maureen Black on attaining this marvellous milestone in her life. Lady Black is the daughter of the final Lord of the Manor of Chadderton and Foxdenton, Major Charles Robert Eustace Radclyffe, who died in 1953. She visited Chadderton in 1992, and planted a commemorative tree, now well-established, in Foxdenton Park.

Similar congratulations are extended to our Treasurer, Denis Barrott, who has also recently celebrated his four score years, and also to Alan Clegg, Executive Committee Member, who is eighty in June. Many thanks 'lads' for all you do for the Society.

Debut on Local Radio

On 5th February, our Secretary, Michael Lawson, was invited by Oldham Community Radio to tell listeners something about the wide variety of activities in which our Society is involved. During the programme the martial strains of the 'Chadderton Anthem' were broadcast for the first time. The Society has now been asked to make regular contributions to this local station.

Ornate Flags

Thanks are extended to member Lilian Johnson for embellishing the Society's English and Lancashire flags with gold braid. The results of her work were seen for the first time at the Military Re-enactment in Chadderton Hall Park.

Handy Hints for the Home? (1)

From a small booklet, sold on behalf of the Life Boys at Cowhill Methodist Church, Chadderton, about 1925, come these remarkable gems. We take no responsibility, or credit, for their success or otherwise!

1. A tablespoon of salt sprinkled on every hundredweight (50kg) of coal will make the coal last double its time. [Remember current smoke control orders!]

2. If cockroaches and ants are troublesome in the house, sprinkle ground rice around their haunts. They will eat greedily and it swells inside them and they die.

3. When buying tea, before using it spread it on a sheet of paper and place it in a warm, but not too hot oven, from ten to fifteen minutes. By doing this the tea will go much further and the flavour will be greatly improved.

Involvement and Co-operation

Members of the Society have been involved with Councillors, Council officers and outside bodies, in feasibility studies on the redundant police station, central library building, and old swimming baths. This is part of the Town Centre redevelopment scheme.

A further body, "Bringing Chadderton Together", also has a representative from the CHS on its committee, and is about to be officially launched in the near future.

A Tale of Two Families
(Part 2 - the Brogdens)

Back in November 2006, we looked at our first family the Cheethams, who were the owners of Firwood Mill, and who lived an affluent life at Firwood House, now long demolished. Using the same 1861 census material, we have selected another family who lived in the same area of Chadderton, but whose life style was somewhat different.

Thomas Brogden who was aged 48 and born in Royton, lived with his family in the 'Old Station House'. The railway through Chadderton into Yorkshire was opened in 1839 and a station was opened at Mills Hill, adjacent to the turnpike road of 1810 (Middleton Road). At the time this was the nearest station for both Oldham and Middleton, but it was to be very short lived.

In 1842, a branch line was constructed from near Foxdenton Lane, and this went up to Oldham where a terminal station was built at Werneth. A new station was also erected at the junction of these two lines, replacing Mills Hill*, and being known originally as Oldham Junction, then Middleton, and finally Middleton Junction, when the branch line into Middleton was opened in 1857. Ten years earlier the Werneth branch had been extended to Oldham Mumps, via a tunnel.

The former station house had thus become the home of the Brogdens and Thomas worked on the railway being a pointsman, probably working at the local rail junction. His wife, Anne, who was three years younger, was born in Bolton, and altogether they had ten children, all of whom were born in Chadderton.

The eldest was the only daughter, Ellen, aged 24 who was a cotton factory weaver. Even at this period, handloom weaving, chiefly of silk, was still very dominant in the Chadderton Fold and Healds Green area, but industrialisation was beginning to make its mark locally, and from 1861 onwards, Chadderton's population began to increase at a rapid pace, rising from 7,486 to 12,203 in this decade alone. One of the earliest mills in Chadderton was the Firwood, situated along Mills Hill Road, near Joshua Lane. This had been constructed about 1844 by James Cheetham, the head of the family in part one our story. It was a large concern employing around 500 people in 1856, in sharp contrast to the Stock Brook Mill of William Smethurst, in east Chadderton, which employed only 66. As well as spinning, the Firwood was also involved in weaving, and most likely Ellen Brogden worked at this local factory.

Of the Brogden boys, Marrener was the eldest at 20, and he was employed as an iron driller, whilst Thomas, aged 19, was an iron polisher, presumably working at the same place as his older brother. Which firm this was we cannot be certain but an ironworks operated at this time off Haigh Lane. Four younger brothers, John (16), George (15), Harry (13), and Septimus (11), were all piecers maybe at the Firwood, or the Boundary Mill, which had been erected nearby about this time on Mills Hill Road.

Piercers, as the name implies, were employed to rejoin threads which had broken as they were being drawn and spun from the draught rollers of the mule. There was a strict hierarchy in the cotton mill, and a young male employee would start as a little piecer, before graduating to a big piecer. He might, if lucky, and there became a vacancy, advance to the position of mule spinner, and as such would have overall responsibility, not only for his own machines, but for paying the wages of his own piecers.

Two other children, Lewis, aged 8, and Arthur, aged 5, were at school. Most likely this would have been Mills Hill Baptist, which in 1856 had 260 pupils taught by 18 teachers. Another local school, situated at Lane End, Middleton Junction, and non-sectarian in principle, had some 140 children being taught by 16 teachers!

The youngest boy, Willoughby, was an infant of two years old. With eight wage earners the family could not have been impoverished, whilst their home in a converted station building would probably have much to commend it. For most working class families in Chadderton at this period, life was far grimmer.

*A station at Mills Hill was re-opened in 1985, and is much used by both Chadderton and Middleton people.

New Radclyffe Technology College

Our best wishes are extended to the staff and students of the new multi-million pound Radclyffe Technology College on the opening of their impressive, new, single site buildings on Hunt Lane. We are proud to have such a wonderful asset within our township.

Blue Plaque to Local Worthy

Procedures have begun with the metropolitan borough council to have a commemorative Blue Plaque erected at the corner of Middleton Road and Broadway, in honour of Terry Hall, ventriloquist and creator of Lenny the Lion, the children's favourite from the 1950's onwards. His place of birth, 635 Middleton Road, is now demolished but it is intended to site the plaque close by.

Society Archives

Thanks to the following for their generous donations:

Sheila Danhieux, France: Two commemorative Chadderton Council mugs, George V 1935 Silver Jubilee; George VI Coronation 1937.

Bill and Bertha Brough, Chadderton: Chadderton Swimming Baths towel dated 1911;

Radclyffe School, Chadderton (former Chadderton Grammar School): clock, school bell (engraved ARP), Shield and cups; printing blocks; class photographs, etc.

Arthur Wilson, member, photograph of Chadderton Grammar School Football team c1940's

Albert Sanderson, Nelson: shuttle from a carpet loom.

Obtained from Ebay: photographs of Foxdenton Park and Hall c1935




The Griffin

Quarterly Newsletter of the Chadderton Historical Society

No. 44 February 2008



Old Issues; New Initiatives

The beginning of every new year is a time for reflection, and for formulating policies for the future. The Society has many activities planned for 2008, and doubtless there will be others in which we will become involved with the wider community. Of equal concern, is the fulfilment of previous plans. We eagerly look forward to the commencement of the regeneration of Chadderton Town Centre, with its new swimming, fitness, library, police, and community complex, and the other developments requested through last year's public consultation exercise. We hope to see a weekly market finally re-established in the precinct, whilst the rapid increase in our township's population, as a result of ongoing housing developments, must surely be reflected in the provision of more retail outlets to give us the same facilities as other town centres within the borough.

Adjacent to the town centre should emerge a fine technology park, centred on Zetex Electronics, a beacon of enlightenment in an otherwise desolate wasteland. The Peel Street/Stockfield Road area grows more depressing by the year with its network of concrete plants, brick-crushing installations, scrap yards, waste tips, and crumbling walls surmounted by barbed wire. These monstrosities should soon be no more than a bad memory, as the area undergoes essential rejuvenation.

We are particularly interested in the current proposal to re-brand the Metropolitan Borough of Oldham, and the coming weeks should see the publication of the report with its recommendations. The Society has always maintained that this important matter has two distinct, but interlinked aspects. Whilst the overall concern of the Council is to promote a more positive image of the borough outside its boundaries, with the object of attracting investment, we are not alone in believing that the borough must also regain the confidence, respect and support of its own citizens if this aim is ever to succeed. Presently, we witness deep-seated dissatisfaction, resentment, and frustration within six of the seven townships of our borough - Chadderton, Crompton, Failsworth, Lees, Royton, and Saddleworth. This is as a result of official policies which have sought to downgrade the identities and roles of these historic townships, and subsume them into a would-be enlarged town of Oldham. Whatever proposals are eventually put forward during the re-branding exercise, these will be totally ineffective if serious efforts are not also made in addressing the parallel issues of identity and equality!

All-in-all, 2008 promises to be a very good year for Chadderton and its people. Let us hope they will not be disappointed!

Record 'Sales'

Five hundred copies of November's edition of this newsletter were distributed, many being given away at the Chadderton Christmas market. 'The Griffin' now reaches a much wider readership than originally intended, and favourable comments are regularly received from Chaddertonians proud of their history and heritage.

Plans are now in hand to identify distribution venues throughout our town, where each quarterly edition of 'The Griffin' can be made available to a wider cross section of our community.

Christmas Market - 'Here's to the Next Time!'

This venture, a new one by the Events Sub-Committee of the Chadderton Community Council, was a huge success. Throughout the day of Friday 16th November crowds thronged the shopping precinct to purchase at the wide variety of colourful stalls. There were roundabouts for the children, and a marvellous atmosphere prevailed throughout. Thanks must be given to the pupils of the following schools for their musical contribution to this community event: North Chadderton High; South Chadderton High; Chadderton Hall Junior; Mills Hill Primary; St. Herbert's Primary; and St. Matthew's Infant. They ensured that the true meaning of Christmas remained at the centre of our celebrations. Many shoppers asked if the market was to be a weekly event, and the whole day augurs well for the future. Our society was pleased to have played its part on this splendid and joyful occasion.

A Chadderton Childhood

Society Member 'M.F.' recalls aspects of her childhood.
(3) Outlet Pipes; Mine Shafts; that 'Elusive Something!'

At the end of school (St. Mark's) in the morning all the children went home for dinner, but some of the teachers stayed. Before going home it was my job to get an enamel bowl from the cupboard, put it under an outlet pipe in the large central heating pipe around the room, turn a handle and half fill the bowl. Then I carried it to the teacher's desk so that she could wash her hands. Sometimes she would send two of us to a baker's shop on Victoria Street for her dinner.

Walking from Butterworth Street we went by the disused coal mine on our way to school. There was a section where possibly a shaft had once been since the surface was different. We found a hole in it and used to put stones down to hear them drop.

At the top of Butterworth Street was the croft (now Chadderton Football Club). We avoided playing on it because of the surface, a relic of the coal mine. At the other side of the croft were the remains of the brickworks. It was rumoured among the children that there could be found an elusive something which, when rubbed on the hands, would take away the sting of the cane. We looked among the bricks but never found it.

Township Manager

The Society would like to place on record its thanks and gratitude to Mark Simmons, who has been the Area Manager for Chadderton since May 2003.

In introducing him to the public of Chadderton on that occasion, the Chairman of the Chadderton Area Committee, Councillor Jim Greenwood, announced that Mark's role was "… to look at issues of concern in Chadderton." From the outset, Mark took Chadderton very much to heart, and became immersed in all aspects of its well being. Working with other community groups he was responsible for many innovations in our town, including the Chadderton Christmas Lights, and the inauguration of Chadderton Day, both events giving back pride, and a renewed sense of identity, to the residents of our township.

Although he has now taken over responsibility for the community councils in the East Oldham section of the borough, his supervisory role within the area managers' team, remains. Simon Shuttleworth, who worked alongside Mark, now takes over the helm in Chadderton and is assured of the full support of the Chadderton Historical Society.

School's Magnificent Mosaic Creation

The Society is delighted to have been involved with a group of Year Seven children at South Chadderton High School, in their recent artistic project. The children, assisted by a professional artist, have created a most wonderful piece of mosaic which is to be erected on a piece of reclaimed land at the junction of Broadway and Middleton Road.

Proclaiming the message 'Chadderton - Working Together', two of the three panels show hands clasped and joined, whilst the central one incorporates the heads of two red griffins - Chadderton's heraldic device that goes back to the 13th century. We now eagerly await the mosaic's installation, for not only will it be appreciated by local people, but it will become a notable eye-catching feature for motorists from all over Europe who pass this central location.

Thanks must be given to Mrs Symington, her staff in the Art Department, and their pupils, for their enthusiasm and their commitment to the community. As she says in her own inimitable way, "The mosaic is stonking!"

'Chadderton 1861 Memorial Day' - Military Re-enactment

The Society is playing a lead part in an impressive military event to be held in Chadderton Hall Park on Sunday 6th April, commencing at 2.00 p.m. Organised by 'A Life for a Life', which is based in Chadderton, the event will commemorate and re-enact the handing over of new Colours by the 'Ladies of Oldham' to the 31st Lancashire Rifle Volunteers, on 6th April 1861, in Chadderton Park, then the largest open air venue in the area. Detachments of the Armed Forces will be present, as well as cadet units, ex-servicemen, military bands, etc. During what promises to be a marvellous event, two commemorative trees will be planted. One is to honour Lewis Potts, an unsung military hero of Chadderton, whilst the other will commemorate the Polish ex-combatants who served during World War Two.

Restoration of Historic Building

The residents of Healds Green, that pleasant 'village' nestling among the northern foothills of Chadderton, are to be congratulated on the superb restoration work carried out on the old 'grammar school'. The building which dates from 1789, as the datestone over the entrance testifies, was re-opened on Sunday 9th December, by the oldest inhabitant of the locality. The rural community now have impressive and historic premises in which to hold a variety of functions, hopefully without any discord.

In October 1841, the situation wasn't quite so serene when "… the Ranting Methodists and the band both met at the school, the Methodists were praying at one end, and the band was playing at the other, when someone threw a stone through the window which struck John Taylor on the knee; it was supposed to be the work of the Ranters, they being a very stupid bigoted set of men." [Diary of George Whittaker of Racefield Farm, Chadderton]

'Chadderton Life'

This new publication, which contains useful local information, and to which our Society contributes items, is distributed freely in parts of north Chadderton each month. Do read it.

Archive Material

Thanks to the following for donations to our ever-growing archive collection:

George Wrigley, formerly of Shaw, - items on his family, one-time Chadderton residents with a member on the CUDC; Alice Hadfield, member, - material on her relative, William O'Neill, long-time manager of the Sun Mill; E. Collins, Timperley, - material on her relatives, the Livseys, who operated the preserves factory at Chadderton Hall, and local photographs; Arthur Fletcher, Chadderton, photographs of the mug issued by Chadderton UDC in 1911, to commemorate the coronation of King George V; Mavis Finchett, member, - sample of unfinished velvet cloth woven at the former Falcon Mill, Chadderton; John and Margery Tomlinson, Chadderton, apportionment document for the making up of Chadderton Park Road in 1957.

Web Site

Our website is found at and was chosen for inclusion in the British Library's Archives, a great honour for our Society. To date 23,400 people have visited our site. Are you one of them?

Society Membership

This continues to grow annually. Readers who may wish to become members of the Chadderton Historical Society should contact our Membership Secretary, Alan Clegg, on (0161) 624-5953. He will then provide further details, and an application form.

Useful Contact Number

Our Secretary, Michael Lawson, may be contacted on (0161) 652-3930.




Quarterly Newsletter of the Chadderton Historical Society


Number 41 ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------.-May 2007


Town Centres and Township Assemblies
Chadderton Historical Society has pursued a consistent policy in its claim that the Metropolitan Borough of Oldham, newly formed in 1974, consists of seven historic towns, and not just one, To many people this claim is self-evident, but it has often been ignored, or even challenged, by councillors and council officers. Apart from Oldham itself, the other six townships have been accorded scant recognition, with their town centres being denigrated in official parlance to 'district centres'. All this is about to change.

In the 'Oldham Beyond' report one of the major criticisms of borough policy, from the outlying townships, was the failure to given due recognition to these constituent parts. As a result, the report makes particular reference to the fact that: "One of the great strengths of the borough is its many and varied towns, each with its own town centre".

As part of the regeneration process now taking place within the borough, the title 'town centre' is now being promoted as the official designation for each of the former 'district' centres. This has our wholehearted approval, and can only augur well for the future well-being of each township.

 Associated with this important change in direction, is the more contentious issue of replacing area committees with community councils. Official views on the subject divide along political party lines, but is the issue so simplistic? Chadderton Area Committee is considered a great success in the six years since it was formed. Part of the reason is that it encompassed only the three wards of Chadderton unlike, for example, Royton and Crompton, which shared a committee.

Both the Oldham East, and the Oldham West, Area Committees have received criticism, largely based on the size of each area and the poor numbers attending meetings. Despite strong opposition to the proposals, these areas have been subdivided into their eight constituent wards, each one being given a community council.

Each of the historic townships will also have one of these new councils, but it is somewhat insulting and demeaning to the people of Chadderton, Crompton, Failsworth, Lees, Royton, and Saddleworth, to award them a status no higher than 'community council', the same name as each of the eight individual wards of Oldham Township will receive. It has been suggested that 'township assembly' would be a far more appropriate title within these former urban districts.

  Having accepted that there is no need for a uniform system of community councils throughout the borough, with both single-ward and multi-ward units, the Council should now consider a variation in titles If the Council now concedes that there are a number of 'town' centres within the borough, what is the real problem in awarding each of these towns a 'township' assembly? It would seem to us to be a very logical and welcome progression.

Society President now Honorary Alderman

 The Society feels very privileged to see its President, Sid Jacobs, awarded the distinction of Honorary Alderman of the Borough. Sid was a councillor for Chadderton on both the former Chadderton Urban District Council, and the present metropolitan borough council, serving the community almost continuously from 1956 to last year. The honour has yet to be bestowed on him officially, and Sid will then join our previous President, Ralph Semple, as one of only five people in the borough who have been similarly honoured. May we also congratulate Sid on his 81st birthday which was on St. George's Day.

Maundy Money Recipient

Congratulations to our Treasurer, Denis Barrott, who had the honour of receiving Maundy Money from her Majesty the Queen, for his many years of devoted service to Chadderton Church (St. Matthew's). This historic ceremony took place at Manchester Cathedral on Maundy Thursday with 81 men and 81 women - one for each year of the sovereign's age - receiving the purses of specially minted coins. No doubt, there will be many members eager to view these unique items. Denis was also fortunate to be caught briefly on the television news.

Aircraft Factory Demolition
Few people passing along Greengate can fail to have been moved emotionally by the sight of the huge assembly sheds of BAE Systems being reduced to rubble. Chadderton's one-time, greatest asset, originally Avro, then Hawker Siddeley Aviation, and then British Aerospace, with its wonderful record of many fine planes - notably the Lancaster and Vulcan Bombers, has passed into the history books. The impressive office block will survive as it continues to deal with spares, and our seventy years of aircraft manufacture will be commemorated forever by the blue eagle that proudly surmounts the Chadderton Coat-of-Arms.
 Local-Born Ventriloquist Dies
Terry Hall, one of television's earliest, children's entertainers, died on 4th April in Coventry, after a long illness. He was aged 80, and as a ventriloquist, his creation 'Lenny the Lion' was a firm favourite during the 1950's and 60's, having the catchphrase "Aw, don't embawass me!" Terry was born at 635 Middleton Road, Chadderton, (now demolished) on 20th November 1926, later moving to Denton Lane. Winning a talent contest when only 15, he went on to host his own TV shows, on one of which The Beatles made an early TV appearance. Terry also appeared in America on the prestigious Ed Sullivan Show. His sister, Kathleen, still lives in Chadderton.
Chadderton Town Hall - New Registrar's Office.
The news that the Registrar's Office for the whole of the Metropolitan Borough is to be transferred from Hobson Street, Oldham, to Chadderton Town Hall, is certainly most welcome. It ensures that our dignified town hall, which ranks as one of the most impressive civic buildings in the Manchester region, will be preserved for the foreseeable future.

As the Oldham Chronicle stated recently, "The townships which make up the borough have long complained about the centralising of key services and facilities. The move is a welcome sign of an important borough facility being moved out of Oldham town centre".

Our Secretary was similarly quoted in the Advertiser: "We are pleased that Chadderton is able to help the rest of the borough in this way. It's our philosophy that we are seven individual, interdependent towns." Unfortunately, there are still people in high places who find this fact difficult to accept!

 Farewell to home in 'Chadderton Detached'!
Our best wishes are extended to Phil and Pam Ingham who are retiring to Cleveleys. Both have been excellent members of the Society, Phil serving on the Executive Committee. Living as they did in Garden Suburb, Oldham, they were constantly reminded that this particular area was historically 'Chadderton Detached' until taken into Oldham by an act of parliament in 1880! They assure us that they intend continuing their membership, and of attending meetings whenever possible.
Society Website
This may be viewed at and to date has been visited by over 20,900 people. Constantly being expanded, it contains many items on contemporary Chadderton, as well as on its history and heritage.

Our site was chosen for inclusion in the British Library's Archives, Their website may be found at (Arts & Humanities/History).

Claims to Fame Booklet
Our much-admired leaflet on Chadderton's 'Claims to Fame and Fascinating Facts', continues to grow as new items come to light. Because of difficulties with the print size, it has been decided to simplify the free fact sheet, and publish a fuller version as a booklet complete with illustrations. Undoubtedly, this will have a ready market.
On Council Business!
Neville Denson, now living in St. Bees, Cumberland, was employed by the former Chadderton Urban District Council between 1951 and 1962. In this series he provides us with some interesting anecdotes from that period.
(6) Hackney Carriages
In the 1950's the Council was responsible for licensing hackney carriages (private hire vehicles) and their drivers. A sub-committee met on a Saturday morning, once a year, to examine the vehicles for which licenses were required. The owners drove up to the front of the Town Hall with great pride and great care. It was quite a sight. There were only a handful of vehicles but they were immaculate. All black and chrome, they shone and sparkled, and the licenses were granted.
Archive Material
Thanks to the following for material donated to out extensive archives:

George Wrigley formerly of Shaw: Book 'Stories and Poems' by J.T. Taylor, which contains dialect stories of Healds Green Old Sing etc.; also photographs of Chadderton Fold and Healds Green.

Mavis Finchett, Member: Photographs of Harvest Festival and Pantomime at Mills Hill School in 1950's; Park Avenue in 1948; Rose Queens at St. Mark's in 1930's; Queen's visit to Oldham 1954.

Trevor and Mary Ashworth, Members: Photographs of the now-demolished Parkside House and its last resident Peggy Barrott.

Chadderton Grammar School Song
Following from our recent articles on the former Chadderton Grammar School, we have been given the following version of the School Song, by Sheila Daniel (nee Moores), of Failsworth, a former pupil. The words were written by a group of pupils, including Margaret Warbanks, who later married Roy Sutcliffe, the first Grammar School pupil to attain a Cambridge Blue. The music was composed by Miss Fothergill, the Music Mistress.

We give Thee thanks for this our school,

For which our joyful hearts give praise.

For many hours that we have spent

In stern and ever-joyful ways.

So let your voices proudly sing

The chorus of its name.

So let your voices proudly sing

The chorus of its same.

As of our school we proudly sing

And so exalt its name, its name!


Historic Pubs of Chadderton

No. 2. The Boat and Horses, Whitegate (part 2)

The licence of one tenant of the Boat and Horses ended abruptly in 1838, when he was arrested, together with three boatmen, for stealing a cargo of malt from a barge belonging to Messrs Jows and Thomas Storey of Worksop. Accidents and suicides were a frequent occurrence in the canal, and the pub took on the function of a mortuary. Coroner's inquests followed such drownings, and in some cases, extreme intoxication was deemed a factor in the death.

The Boat and Horses remained a rural pub for many decades, with many of its licensees also farming as an occupation. A few also fell foul of the law for allowing gambling and drinking after hours. In 1890, the hostelry was described as being in good condition, with overnight accommodation for one traveller, stabling for two horses, and able to provide meals for up to twelve people.

In the early part of the 20th century the public house was re-fronted, and in 1925 found itself on the newly constructed Broadway, even though its official address remained Whitegate Lane for many years. The construction of the M60 motorway in the late 1990's, caused substantial damage to the foundations of the Boat and Horses and it had to be completely rebuilt. During this work, a travel lodge was added to the scheme, which also included a restaurant and pleasant canal side terrace.

Today the pub, which shares with the Dog Inn, Cowhill, the distinction of being Chadderton's oldest licensed premises, is looked upon as the flagship of local brewery, J. W. Lees. Few public houses are so conveniently situated as is the Boat and Horses. Not only is it on a trunk road, Broadway, that links two busy motorways - the M60 and M62, but it also sits astride a restored canal that is part of the north-west waterway network, and which will only increase in popularity as the years go by.

Chadderton Pudding - 1795 Style
During the period of the Napoleonic Wars, in the late 18th century, times could be hard indeed, and the price of flour expensive. The following flourless recipe was recommended by the Chadderton diarist of the time, William Rowbottom:

'Two pounds of potatoes boiled, peeled and mashed. Take a pint of milk, three eggs, two ounces of moist sugar. Mix them well together and send it to the oven for three quarters of an hour.'

Maybe the more adventurous chefs among our readers can tell us what the resulting pudding tastes like!




Quarterly Newsletter of the Chadderton Historical Society

No 30 February 2007


Sharing our Pride in Chadderton!

Since November's edition we have been informed that a new swimming pool is planned for Chadderton at a cost of around £2 million. Chadderton Swimming Club, formed in 1894 is assured of a secure future, irrespective of the fate of the present art deco structure of 1937. The club has a truly marvellous history, and a record second to none for putting Chadderton firmly on the map.

Former organisations, which have also been proud of their Chadderton identity, include Chadderton Grammar School, with its impressive academic record, and Chadderton Power Station, whose three cooling towers were once such an identifiable feature, especially from the air. To these we add British Aerospace whose Chadderton plant was known throughout the length and breadth of the land as the birthplace of several remarkable aircraft.

Our magnificent new police station, situated so prominently at the 'Chadderton Junction' of the M60, welcomes the visitor to our town, whilst nearby is the Chadderton Depot of the Vehicle Inspectorate. The visitor entering the town via the A627(M) has a similar point of reference in Chadderton Fire Station.

Chadderton Total Care home is now well established, but its sister company Renaissance Living will shortly add a new dimension to Chadderton life with the opening of Sienna Court, a development of apartments that is unique in this part of the country. Its construction and marketing are being carried out by Wiggetts and Kirkhams respectively, two local firms happy to display their Chadderton credentials.

In the world of soccer, Chadderton FC are long-standing ambassadors for the town, whilst the name itself travels the highways and byways by courtesy of such enterprises as Chadderton Cars,


Chadderton Van Hire, and P. and J. Coaches of Chadderton.

Last June the first 'Chadderton Day' was a huge success in bringing together all sections of our community, while the forthcoming consultation on the redevelopment of our town centre will give Chaddertonians a share in creating the future they want for our township.

Pride in Chadderton shows itself by the willingness to proclaim its identity and individuality as an important town within our metropolitan borough. Thankfully, those days are now long gone when our borough was marketed as 'Oldham - the Town in the Countryside'. One now fully appreciates how fallacious and misguided that slogan was, causing as it did so much resentment in the other six townships that constitute the borough. Times have definitely changed for the better, and the year 2007 promises to be a significant one for Chadderton in its many facets.


When Horse Power meant just that! (Part 2)

One hundred years ago, when the horse was the main mode of conveyance, ten carters and one horsekeeper were employed by Chadderton Council. In the summer of 1905 tenders were invited for painting the carts and the 'lurry', and the tender was awarded to George Hobson whose fee was £10.15s 0d [£10.75]. Evidently, the work was not up to standard and in November the Horsekeeper and Councillors Howarth and Scholes met with the contractor to discuss the matter.

In September 1905, enquiries were made to neighbouring authorities as to the wages, hours and conditions of work of their carters, and also as to allowances for overtime. The following month, after receiving replies from the other councils, Chadderton agreed to raise their carters' wages to 25s (£1.25) a week

In December 1908, the Horsekeeper reported to the Council's Horse and Provender Committee that the total cost of keeping nine horses during the previous five weeks had been £25. 17s. 6d., [£25.88] this being equal to 11s 6d [57p] per horse per week. Of course horses had a limited working life and at the same meeting the condition of some of the animals was raised. Sadly, it was agreed that the dark mare 'Darling', which was afflicted with a foul discharge from her nose, should be destroyed on the premises at once, and her carcase sold. A sub-committee was also set up to obtain a veterinary surgeon's report on another horse, a lame mare named 'Flower'!


Restoration of Healds Green's Historic Gem

Local people in Healds Green, that most pleasant area of Chadderton, are presently restoring one of our town's historic gems. The old school at Healds Green is the second oldest dated building in Chadderton, after Foxdenton Hall, being erected in 1789.

 Built as a 'grammar' school, it has a most fascinating history, and at one time was part of the Methodist cause in that part of Chadderton. It is a building that is very much part of our heritage, and it is daunting to think that it was in existence when Sir Watts Horton, one of our most illustrious Lords of the Manor, resided at Chadderton Hall. No doubt, he was a visitor on more than one occasion. For our own Society, it is of special significance, for it was in that building that we were founded in 1975, and in which we continued to meet for the following twelve years.

The complete work of renovation will see features such as the two west windows restored to their original condition, and also the re-hanging of the school's fine bell.

The public of Chadderton are encouraged to support the people of Healds Green in this restoration work, in any way possible.

Historic Pubs of Chadderton

No. 2. The Boat and Horses, Whitegate (part 1)

Like the Dog Inn, which featured in our first article, this hostelry also dates from 1750. Like many public houses of that time it was opened by a farmer, in this case William Taylor, and its earliest known name was the Crown. Whitegate End was then an isolated place with country tracks winding their way to Moston, Hollinwood, Cowhill, Foxdenton, and the township centre at Chadderton Fold.

The licensee's fortunes received an important boost in 1794 when work commenced on the Rochdale Canal, and the route took in this inn. Numerous obstacles were encountered in this area of Chadderton, but in December 1804 the canal, which joined Manchester to Sowerby Bridge, was officially opened throughout its length.

During the canal's construction, a new inn had been built alongside, together with a wharf and small warehouse. It was given the name the Pleasure Boat Inn, but was also known as the Boat House for a few years, until in 1826 it received its present name. By then its occupants were running a thriving business, storing goods in their warehouse and transporting them to and from nearby farms.

The Boat and Horses became the venue for a variety of social events. A dinner for fifty in 1829 included members of Chadderton Opera Company and the local Conservative Association. In the 1850's potato shows became an annual feature of life at the pub, which had acquired the nickname 'Owd Prog's', probably after one of the licensees, John Ogden. The old hump-backed bridge over the canal, outside the Boat and Horses, had the name Prog Bridge until it was demolished at the advent of Broadway. It was also another tenant, Nathan Thompson, who probably gave his name to the nearby lane, which is a continuation of Whitegate Lane. [To be concluded]

On Council Business!
Neville Denson, now living in St. Bees, Cumberland, was employed by the former Chadderton Urban District Council between 1951 and 1962. In this series he provides us with some interesting anecdotes from that period.
(5) The Dustbin Man
The man responsible for refuse collection had other duties too. He rejoiced in the title of Sewage Works Manager, and Carrying and Cleansing Superintendent. A busy man, you'd say? I'm sure George B, the holder of that long-titled post would have agreed.

But as a junior assistant, one of my jobs was to take the internal post round each morning to other departments. I recall seeing George leaning with his elbow on the mantelpiece of the fireplace in my department, finishing his conversation, finishing his cigarette and throwing it into the fireless grate, taking a deep breath and saying, "Well … I'll go and do a bit more."

On my travels I'd likely see him in a similar position in the Treasurer's Department, elbow on mantelpiece and saying, as he completed his cigarette, "Well … I'll go and do a bit more." His next port of call would probably be the Engineer & Surveyor's Department, and I don't doubt there'd be a recurrence there of this ritual.

In fairness, I have to say that I often saw him in his own office 'doing' what I presume was that 'bit more'.


Conservation Report

The Society has recently finalised its report into the condition of 14 of the more historic, council-owned buildings within our town. This has been carried out as part of our involvement with the other historical societies of the borough, and council officers. Our buildings range in age from Foxdenton Hall (1620) to Tylon House (c1920).
Archive Material Received
Thanks to Jean Colclough, Spain: Photographs of Garforth Street Methodist Church; Eustace Street School; Chadderton Grammar School; Falcon Mill Weaving Shed, etc.

Website: The total number of visitors to our website, which can be found at has recently passed the 20,000 mark. Our site was chosen for inclusion in the British Library's Archives, Their website may be found at (Arts & Humanities/History).

Memories of Chadderton Grammar School (Pt. 2)
Edith M. Smith, a member of Failsworth Historical Society, recalls her days at the former Grammar School on Broadway, now Radclyffe Lower School.

There were two dining rooms, separate for boys and girls, one on each side of the kitchen. There were always two sittings for dinner and a member of staff supervised each sitting. Prefects headed each long table and served the meals from tureens.

There was no choice of meal we had meat and two veg, and a pudding and custard, or rice pudding. This was wartime and looking back the meals were good. We obtained our dinner tickets from the main office every Monday morning, and we paid 2s 6d (12 ½p) for five meals.

The school building was shaped like a letter E on its back, with ground and first floors. On the left side of the E were the form rooms, geography room, library, and art room. The centre of the E was the hall which doubled as a gym until a separate gym was built. On the right arm of the E were the dining rooms, woodwork room on the ground floor, and the music room and domestic science room upstairs.

The main corridor on the ground floor had the cloak rooms, washrooms, and lady teachers' room on the left, and this was replicated for the boys and men teachers on the right. (Incidentally, Chadderton Grammar School had the distinction of being the first co-educational grammar school built by the Lancashire County Council) On the main corridor on the first floor were the chemistry, physics and biology labs.

School uniform was compulsory and was purchased from the school outfitters, J. Barrie in St. Anne's Square, Manchester. Girls wore navy blue gym sliop, white blouses and tie, blazer edged with pale blue, the school badge on the pocket, and blue dresses in summer. We wore navy blue velour hats with a blue striped band around the crown. Boys wore trousers (short pants in the lower forms!), shirt, tie, bl;azer and cap. We had to look smart, hats and caps were worn at all times outside the school gates.

There were special buses, Oldham Corporation buses to Royton and Shaw, and North Western single deckers to Failsworth and Woodhouses. I remember having to walk home in a crocodile on more than one foggy day.

There was an excellent Gilbert and Sullivan Society and a G & S opera was performed each year. Chadderton Grammar School was a good school which achieved excellent results, and I am grateful to have been educated there. [Concluded]

[In 1959 a separate grammar school for boys was opened on Chadderton Hall Road. In 1974 both grammar schools ceased to exist when they became part of the local comprehensive system. Editor]

Constituency Name - Final Attempt!
Following last summer's rejection, by the Boundary Commission for England, of our attempt to have the name of Chadderton included in our revised parliamentary constituency, the Society has taken the matter to the Secretary of State for Constitutional Affairs. We remain convinced of the validity of our case, and believe that the representation from so many quarters - our local MP, the main political parties, local organisations, as well as ourselves - was not sufficiently considered by the Boundary Commission for England.

The Assistant Commissioner stated that "he had sympathy with the position adopted by the Society", but declined to recommend a change. It is at the BCE's suggestion that we have decided to take the issue further in a last attempt to obtain a modification of the name.

Incidentally, during the course of the campaign the Society did not receive any adverse comments from the people of Chadderton. This says much for our cause, based as it is on this long-standing anomaly.

Chadderton Historical Society: 2007


The Griffin

Newsletter of the Chadderton Historical Society

No 39 November 2006


Neglect and Regeneration

The news that Chadderton Swimming Baths has a number of structural problems, and may be beyond repair, is certainly not good news for the people of our township. Whilst the original swimming baths in Chadderton were opened back in December 1894, the present building dates only from 1937, and is an excellent example of the art deco style of the period. For decades it was looked upon as one of the most modern pools in south-east Lancashire. Going to 'Chaddy Baths' was considered something of an upmarket experience when, for many people in this region, baths usually implied a building from the late Victorian period.

Swimming pools, like buildings of all types, require regular maintenance, and it is hard to believe that after only 69 years Chadderton Pool is nearing the end of its useful life. It would seem that little has been spent on the building in recent decades, with a tree firmly embedded in the frontage, masonry defective, and window frames long overdue for renovation.

 It is difficult to deny that since local government re-organisation in 1974, the six outer townships of our metropolitan borough have not received the attention and funding to which, in all fairness, they were entitled. Had the urban district council still been in existence, it is doubtful whether the neglect we now see would ever have arisen.

Chadderton is a relatively prosperous town within our borough and its people, through their council taxes, make a significant contribution to the central finances. Is it not unreasonable to request that some of this money should be returned to the Chadderton Area Committee, which presently has a very limited budget, for use in the restoration and refurbishment of our local swimming pool?

 Plans are in hand to regenerate Chadderton Town Centre, and expand its facilities. The restoration of our swimming pool should form an integral part of this renewal process, if the people of Chadderton are not to be deprived of a worthwhile facility with such historic associations.

M.P.'s Website Omission

Complaints were made recently by our Society that the official website of M.P. Michael Meacher contained no reference whatsoever to Chadderton, despite our town forming the core of his constituency since 1950. It is pleasing to report that the website has now been amended, but it remains rather insulting that the people of Chadderton were ignored in this way, especially after the recent constituency name campaign.

The original item stated simply that Mr Meacher has "been proud to be the Member of Parliament for Oldham West since 1970 and the newly formed constituency of Oldham West and Royton since 1997".

In contrast, our neighbouring MP David Heyes, one-time councillor for South Chadderton, proudly signed a recent letter to the Advertiser newspaper as: "Member of Parliament, Ashton-Under-Lyne, Failsworth and Hollinwood," even though this is not the official title of his constituency!

In the light of the above is it any wonder that the CHS pursues identity issues with such relentless determination?

Memories of Chadderton Grammar School (Pt.1)

Edith M. Smith, a member of Failsworth Historical Society, recalls her days at the former Grammar School on Broadway, now Radclyffe Lower School.

I attended the co-educational Chadderton Grammar School from 1943 until 1948. The school would have been thirteen years old when I started, and the headmaster was J. Clement Platt (nick-named 'Clem'), a man who wore rather thick spectacles. Miss Turner was the headmistress.

Boys and girls entered the school through separate entrances, girls through the door on the far left of the building, and boys through the far right door. Boys and girls had separate staircases to go up to the first floor as well. We were taught in the same form rooms, girls sitting on the left and boys on the right. Girls were called by their first name and boys by their surnames.

 There was an intake of three forms, 1A, 1Alpha, and 1B. For some reason there wasn't a second form, we went from 1st to 3rd forms. Each form had its own form room and form teacher. We kept our written work and text books in our own allotted desks in our form room, we being responsible for their security.

 We changed rooms at the end of most lessons, i.e. to go to the geography room, music room, and science lab. etc. Teachers taught in gowns and commanded great respect. Everyone played sports - girls played hockey, rounders and tennis, and boys played cricket and football. We had three subjects of homework a night, and five on Fridays.

 The school day started at 9.00 a.m. with assembly in the main hall. First Formers were at the front, Fifth Formers sat on the balcony. The teaching staff sat on chairs down the sides of the hall, ladies on the left and men on the right. With everyone assembled, the headmaster and headmistress would enter from the back, and walk down the central aisle to the platform which had a baby grand piano, played by an able pianist student.

 Assembly consisted of singing hymns, prayers, and giving out notices. At Monday morning assembly we were informed of the inter-school sports results which had taken place the previous Saturday morning, i.e. hockey, netball, cricket and football. At the end of assembly the head teachers would leave the hall first followed by the teaching staff and last of all us.

[To be continued]

Society Website

Members are reminded that the Society possesses an excellent website, maintained by Enid and John Johnson. This has been visited by 18,750 people to date and can be found at Our site was chosen for inclusion in the British Library's Archives, a great honour for us. Their website may be found at (Arts & Humanities/History).

Lancashire Day
This is officially celebrated on Monday 27th November, but locally the commemoration will take place on the previous day, when the Lancashire Proclamation will be made by the Town Crier, Reg Lord, outside the Town Hall at 1.00 p.m. His retinue, led by the Chadderton Standard, and the English and Lancashire flags, will then process to the shopping precinct and Asda, where further proclamations will take place. Members are invited to attend wearing their red roses to show their allegiance to our 'real' county - Lancashire! Do not forget to make our unique loyal toast at 9.00 p.m. on the 27th - "The Queen, Duke of Lancaster".
Commemorative Civic Items
Work has commenced in recording the various commemorative items associated with Chadderton's development in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Silver trowels, spades, rose bowls, keys, cigarette cases, were presented to various personalities at the stone-laying and formal opening of our civic buildings, etc.

Unfortunately, the whereabouts of most of these is not known, but it is intended that tracing them will form part of the project.

Christmas Lights Switch-On
The official Switch-On of Chadderton's impressive Christmas Lights takes place outside the Town Hall on Friday 24th November at 7.00 p.m. As in the past, the Society will be involved in the evening's celebrations. The procession, led by the Chadderton Standard, Flags, Town Crier, etc. will leave from the precinct at 6.45 p.m. Members are most welcome to join the procession and enjoy the entertainment afterwards.
A Tale of Two Families (Pt. 1)
Social divisions within society were nowhere more evident than in the Victorian Era. In this article two Chadderton families, enumerated in the census of 1861, are considered and their lifestyles compared. Both families lived close to each other at Mills Hill, in the west of Chadderton, but their modes of living must have been quite different.

James Cheetham, was the owner of Firwood Mill, and lived with his family at Firwood House, which was a newly built property, standing in its own grounds on the opposite side of the canal to his mill. This house was demolished many decades ago but its name is perpetuated in the Firwood Park estate, at one time the largest private residential development in Europe.

James was aged 54 in 1861, and had been born in Oldham. Described as a cotton spinner and manufacturer, this title always means a mill owner rather than an operative. His wife, Anne, some eight years his junior, was originally from Hull.

Two of his sons, John aged 30, and Septimus aged 22 were also spinners and manufacturers, presumably running the mill with their father. Two daughters are next enumerated, Jane who was 20 and Ellen a year younger. Neither was listed with an occupation, seemingly they were ladies of leisure!

William Cheetham, at the age of 17, was a book keeper, again it is presumed at his father's place of work, whilst the two youngest children, George aged 14, and Mary aged 6, are at school. James Cheetham was greatly involved in Mills Hill Baptist Church and school, and it is to that school that his children probably went.

The Cheetham's life-style was a very comfortable one, with live-in servants to help around the home. There was a housekeeper, Eleanor Bowskill, then aged 33, and a housemaid, 19 years old Mary Stevenson. Mary Brophy, aged 34, was the cook, whilst the domestic staff was completed by Hannah Thorpe, aged 21, who was the laundress. No doubt there would be other servants who did not live in, such as gardeners and a coachman.

[To be continued]

Library Cupboard
Thanks to Cynthia and Terry Poyner, Society members, for their donation of a glass-fronted cupboard. This will be used to set up a library of local interest books, for members to borrow at our monthly meetings.
Archive Material
Many thanks to the following for donations to our extensive archives:(1) Martin Simmons, Chadderton: Photographs of the new Willow House development, Hunt Lane.

(2) Geoff Rothwell, Chadderton: Photograph of workers in the cop winding room, Chadderton Mill c1940's; Theatrical production at Corpus Christi School c1930's

(3) Joan Long, Society Member: Set of four postcards- Chadderton Town Hall, Grammar School, North Chadderton School [Broadway building], Foxdenton Park [The Rockeries], all c1950's

(4) Ron Lees, Society Member: Five photographs of Chadderton Power Station in 1950's.

(5) Avril Dawe, East Sussex: Photocopy of Ticket for Ceremony of Cutting First Sod of Broadway in 1922; Photocopy of Ticket for Visit of French International Swimming Team to Chadderton in 1920; Photocopy of census return for Chadderton Hall in 1891.

(6) Edith Smith, Failsworth: Photocopy of Chadderton Grammar School Speech Day Programme 1949.

(7) Janet Curran, Cheadle Hulme, Cheshire: Photographs of Mills Hill Baptist Church, Sunday School, Dramatic Production; also other local photos.

(8) Mary Dent, Chadderton: Photographs of St. Herbert's Church c1950's; Family photographs from c1916 to 1950's, showing Stock Brook. Area, etc.



The sympathies of all members are extended to the family of Ron Kearsley who died recently, and is buried in St. Matthew's churchyard. Ron had been a member of the Society since the mid-90's but had been in poor health for some time. Sympathies are also extended to Nicholas Radclyffe, of Buckinghamshire, on the untimely death of his wife, Caroline. Members will recall that Nicholas provided the Society with the photographs for the Radclyffe family portraits that now adorn the Town Hall. Nicholas also performed the official unveiling of the portraits in October 2002. R.I.P.

 New Township Inspector
The Society welcomes Inspector John Harwood as the new Township Inspector for Chadderton. We trust he will have a most successful, rewarding and enjoyable career in his new role.
Conserving our Heritage
Our Society is presently meeting with neighbouring local history societies, and council officers, to devise a scheme to oversee the conservation and preservation of the borough's historical buildings. Some 35 council-owned buildings in Chadderton come under our brief, 11 being considered of higher priority. We have begun documenting each of these, detailing their histories and physical conditions.





The Griffin


-Quarterly Newsletter of the Chadderton Historical Society

No. 37 May 2006


Constituency Name-Change

The Society has caused quite a stir in the local press in recent weeks, with its campaign to see the name of Chadderton included in the name of the constituency. For this it needs not apologise, as it is well known that the Society pursues vigorously its policy on Chadderton and any issues affecting its identity.

For some time we have been preparing our case for a name change, and the resulting document was laid before the Boundary Commission for England in the spring of 2005. Last November we appeared before the Commission, at its Inquiry in Manchester, to restate our position on this issue.

Over the years we have been given the backing of the various political parties, and also the support of our local member of parliament, Michael Meacher. He has stated that, "I would be pleased to see Chadderton in the constituency name and I still believe that Chadderton should be included."

Despite these reassurances the Commission, in their revised recommendations, failed to recommend a name change, claiming that the constituency under its present name of 'Oldham West and Royton' was of long standing, and that there had been no representation from the political parties.

Both these claims are lacking in substance, and the Society has once more been promised the support of all interested parties, and our MP, as it makes a further representation to the BCE. As this body itself admitted, our case for a name change is "a powerful one", and any individual or local organisation wishing to give support is asked to write to the Commission.

Points to be included in any representation should include reference to the importance of Chadderton as the second largest town in the borough, and the fact that its three wards are the only ones (along with the Oldham Werneth) to have been represented by Michael Meacher for the complete period since he became MP in 1970. Of equal significance is the fact that eight of the nine wards proposed for inclusion in the revised constituency contain some part of the town of Chadderton, however, small. In itself this should be sufficient reason for including our town's name!

Boundary reviews are held only every decade or so, and the opportunity to rectify this anomaly should now be grasped if Chadderton is ever to be given its rightful recognition at Westminster.

Representations should be made before 17th May, to the Boundary Commission for England, D1/02, 1 Drummond Gate, London SW 1V 2QQ.

 Congratulations and Thanks, 'King' Sid!

Our President, Councillor Sid Jacobs J.P., retires from Oldham Metropolitan Borough Council this month, after serving the people of Chadderton for half a century. Although he remains staunchly 'Labour' at heart, an unfortunate political dispute in 2004, led to him standing in the local elections as 'Chadderton Independent', under which banner he was most successful, receiving votes from people of all political persuasions and none.

This says much for the popularity of Sid, who was described recently by our MP, Michael Meacher, as "The King of Chadderton". Sid turned 80 on St. George's Day, a most appropriate day on which to celebrate his personal and political achievements. On behalf of all members we offer him our congratulations, our thanks, and every best wish for the future. Long may he 'reign' as our President!

First 'Chadderton Day'

Plans are well under way for the first 'Chadderton Day' - the celebration of our town, its people and achievements. This takes place on 17th June from 12 noon to 4.00 p.m. in Foxdenton Park. Many local organisations are involved, and the event should be an excellent celebration of all we hold dear as proud Chaddertonians! The Society will be mounting a display on 'Local Government in Chadderton', and will also have stalls selling merchandise, booklets, maps, etc. Participants will also have a chance to try their luck at various topical sideshows. Society members and the public in general are asked to support this new venture and make it a huge success.

On Council Business!

Neville Denson, now living in St. Bees, Cumberland, was employed by the former Chadderton Urban District Council between 1951 and 1962. In this series he provides us with some interesting anecdotes from that period.

(3) Chadderton - Near Oldham?

The Clerk of the Council, and no doubt many councillors, didn't like the idea of Chadderton having to be described, in postal terms, as being 'near Oldham'. Chadderton was an entity in itself and ought to be recognised as such.

So each day a record was kept of all letters addressed to the Clerk. This record showed the place, date and time of posting, and how it was addressed; whether simply 'Chadderton, Lancs', the proper address in our view, or with the added 'near Oldham', the official postal address. The object of the exercise was to see whether the words 'near Oldham' made any difference in the length of time it took the letter to arrive.

My recollection was that it didn't make any difference, and I'm sure the Clerk would have taken the matter up strongly with the Post Office. But again - I don't think it made any difference.

[Maybe there's a lesson here for present day inhabitants who feel that 'Oldham' must always be part of their address. Inclusion of your postcode is sufficient in itself but please avoid that horror of errors - 'Greater Manchester'! Ed.]

Whitsuntide Fun Day

Organised by the churches of North Chadderton, this annual fun day will take place in Chadderton Hall Park on Saturday 3rd June. The Society will have a display and stalls selling its merchandise and publications. On the following day, Whit Sunday, the local churches will go in procession to the park for their annual united service for Pentecost. Please support both events.

St. George's Day

This event was celebrated in style at the Town Hall on 22nd April, and for the fifth successive year was organised jointly by our Society and the Chadderton and Failsworth Rotary Club. The band which opened the proceedings was the excellent Besses Boys' Band, and during the evening patriotic songs echoed through the Edwardian ballroom, while the story of St. George was also retold. The occasion provided the opportunity for members to present our President, Councillor Sid Jacobs, with gifts to mark his 80th birthday, and to thank him for all he has done for Chadderton in the past half century.

Chadderton in Hit Parade?

The month of May sees the release of the song 'Manchester' by the pop group Beautiful South. This not only refers to the wet weather for which Manchester is so well-known, but mentions a number of local towns including our own: "If rain makes Britain great, then Manchester is greater. From Altrincham to Chadderton it's rain, from Moss Side to Swinton hardly Spain." Maybe it is not the ideal way for Chadderton to achieve immortality, but we give it our full approval for its emphasis on our town's identity and individuality!

 Memories from Afar (Part 2)

Jim Exley, an expatriate Chaddertonian now living in Kent, revisits some of the scenes of his childhood.

My grandfather, John Exley, was a large, jovial man with a white moustache, and a liking for a pint (or perhaps two or three) in the Sun Mill Inn, or in the Reform Club, which was then in Milne Street. He would be in the company of my father, Billy, who for many years was the postman covering, at various times, the Park Estate, and the Victoria Street and Garforth Street areas, including the war years, when he was often the bringer of bad tidings to his customers.

It was the Reform Club which helped in my education as, in the Reading Room, there were kept copies of the "Illustrated London News", from which I learned a great deal about world affairs and geography. I also learned to play snooker in the Club, and formed a liking for the pork pies sold on Friday and Saturday nights.

In those days, the nineteen thirties and forties, I was part of an extended family, with my mother's father living in Ward Street, Oldham, as did her brother Jimmy Abbott, who later became Head Brewer at Oldham Brewery in Coldhurst Street. Her other brother, George Abbott, lived at 638 Middleton Road, Chadderton, with his wife, Elsie, and my cousins Dorothy and Ronald. George worked at the 'Jam Works' at Mills Hill, and he and my dad used to put on hilarious entertainment at the family Christmas parties which were a feature of life in those days.

My father's younger brother, John Exley, lived at 680 Middleton Road with his wife Florrie (nee Oakes) and my cousin Barbara. Florrie was an expert dancer, and she taught me ballroom dancing at Eddie Cooke's, at the junction of Main Road and Featherstall Road, where she was an instructress. Other family members living in the area were Harry Moores, the barber in Middleton Road, married to my aunt Martha Alice, and Uncle Herbert Exley and Aunt Annie, living in Busk Street.

In 1938, I passed the "11 Plus" and went on to Chadderton Grammar School on Broadway, which I attended until 1945. Memories of this school include the wonderful productions of Gilbert and Sullivan Operas, which were my introduction to "serious" music, although I never appeared on the stage, confining my help to back-stage activities. I think that the Musical Director was Miss Fothergill, the music teacher.

Other memorable members of staff at the Grammar School included the headmaster, Clement Platt, known as "Clem"; "Ossie" Marrows, my geography teacher; "Isaac", whose real name I can't remember, who tried to teach us woodwork, and Mr. Carney, who later returned after the war as the headmaster, I believe.

[To be continued]

Society Trustee Honoured

It was most gratifying to read that Trevor Ashworth, a Society Trustees, and the person in charge of our merchandising, has just received an award for reaching his 100th donation of blood. Trevor commenced this most meaningful form of generosity, which benefits so many unknown individuals, back in 1965. Many thanks on behalf of the Society and the community.

Postcards of Chadderton

As mentioned previously, our first postcard of Chadderton published last summer has been a huge success. This illustrated the civic, manorial, ecclesiastical and industrial aspects of our town. It is intended to publish other cards, one showing various scenes within Chadderton, and the other one depicting the Town Crier, Reg Lord, with the Signifer (standard bearer).

More on Chadderton Avro

Neville Denson, expatriate Chaddertonian, contributes the following item. A book has been written by Christopher Winn, entitled "I Never Knew That About England", published by Ebury Press. It covers the whole of the country, but the section on Lancashire contains only eleven entries. Of these that on Chadderton is the second longest, and outlines the story of our now defunct aircraft industry and its founder A.V.Roe. Once again it makes one proud to read: "The Chadderton factory … produced Britain's most famous bomber, the Avro Lancaster. Another famous plane to emanate from the factory was the Avro Vulcan bomber." Gone but never to be forgotten!

Archive Material

Thanks to member, Alan Clegg, for a fascinating series of photographs on the demolition of the former Chadderton Power Station in April 1986. The photographs record the three notable cooling towers as they disappear individually into history. There are also a number of photographs of Parkside House, on Middleton Road West, which has also been demolished.

Macabre Footnote

It was interesting, albeit somewhat unnerving, to read recently that the last execution in Britain, prior to the abolition of the death penalty, was carried out by a Chadderton (hang)man - Robert Leslie Stewart. This was on 13th August 1964 at Walton Gaol, Liverpool.


For fuller information on many aspects of Chadderton and its history, please consult our website on date the site has been visited by 16,486 people.



The Griffin

Newsletter of the Chadderton Historical Society
No. 36 February 2006

Broadway - Beneficial or Baneful?

One of the greatest enterprises of the former Chadderton Urban District Council, in the early years of the 20th century, was the construction of Broadway - the A663. At the cutting of the first sod in 1922, Councillor James Fitton, Chairman of Chadderton Council, stated that the step they were taking that day would be recognised in the future as the beginning of a new era in the history of Chadderton. The new road would be "an avenue through the heart of the district" opening up means of expansion which previously had not been possible.

Councillor William Crossley, the Chairman of the Arterial Road Committee, who cut the first sod, echoed these sentiments remarking that the event was "the most important in the history of Chadderton", and that the benefits of the road would be clearer in years to come. 

There were several reasons for the construction of Broadway. Chadderton had changed from a rural township into an industrial town but there was the lack of a central road running north and south, to link the many east-west roads, and to weld together the different localities. The road would also help to attract more industry to Chadderton's many hectares of open land in its central area. Of great importance it provided much-needed work for the many unemployed people of the period. The scheme was also an excellent example of co-operation between the local authorities of Chadderton, Royton, Failsworth, and the City of Manchester. Indeed Alderman Turnbull, of Manchester Town Planning Committee, praised the local council for their persistence with the road, which he trusted would be "an everlasting memorial to the initiative and foresight of Chadderton".

Broadway was opened in 1925, by the Minister of Transport Lieut.-Colonel the Rt. Hon. W. W. Ashley, M.P., who congratulated everyone concerned on the successful completion of the enterprise, the main credit being due to Chadderton for the inception of the scheme.

Chadderton's Member of Parliament, Mr. A. N. S. Sandeman, felt that "Chadderton had shown an example to the rest of the country" in initiating the scheme, whilst the engineers, James Diggle, believed that the road would be one of the greatest benefits ever conferred on Chadderton.

As the above account testifies, praise for the venture was plentiful back in the 1920's, and no-one doubts that the vision behind Broadway has been more than realised. Could such stalwart supporters of the scheme, as Councillor William Crossley and his colleagues, ever have imagined that in the future the road of their dreams would be carrying transport from such distant places as Spain, Italy, Poland and even Turkey? Chadderton has certainly been placed on the European map!

Of course there is a negative side to all this, and the thundering roar of heavy wagons is not something that residents along Broadway readily appreciate. In recent years the resurfacing with a quieter material, and the removal of traditional grids, has gone a significant way towards addressing this problem of noise.

However, Broadway is a national trunk road and, whether we like it or not, is open to use by everyone. Short cuts appeal to most motorists, and the fact remains that Broadway provides a convenient link between the M60 and the M62, shortening the route by 8 miles, and also cutting down on time at many periods of the day. On a local level it provides us with easy access to the whole motorway network.

There can be no ideal solution to problems experienced, apart from an enforcement of its 40 mph speed limit, and ensuring sufficient regard is always given to the safety of pedestrians, especially children from the many schools along its length. It is a fact of life here in Chadderton that Broadway - that "New Arterial Road" of the 1920's - has become the victim of its own success.

Society's 30th Anniversary

A most enjoyable evening was had by over 50 members and friends at Foxdenton Hall on 11th November last. The occasion of our 30th Anniversary was celebrated informally, but in style, with an excellent buffet supper, music and dancing. Thanks to all who made it such a great success.

Celebrating St. George

Our national day, 23rd April, the Feast of St. George, will be celebrated at a social evening at Chadderton Town Hall on Saturday 22nd April. The event will be organised, as in past years, by the Historical Society, and the Chadderton and Failsworth Rotary Club, and will include a brass band, patriotic singing, disco, and buffet supper. For further details contact Mark Johnson on 626-6995.

'Chadderton Day'

This initiative has come from the Chadderton Area Committee, and the idea is to promote our township, with its rich history and heritage. The day chosen this year is Saturday 17th June - during the period of the former 'Wakes' holiday, and will be a "Celebration of Chadderton, its People and Achievements". It is hoped to involve all sections of the community in a wide variety of activities, which will increase pride in our township.

On Council Business!

Neville Denson, now living in St. Bees, Cumberland, was employed by the former Chadderton Urban District Council between 1951 and 1962. In this series he provides us with some interesting anecdotes from that period.

(2) The Birds

Following complaints of masses of starlings roosting in trees in Foxdenton Lane and causing considerable nuisance to local residents, the Health Department was called in to deal with the problem. The solution they came up with was a novel one. In the mid to late evening, as the birds came to roost, there was a massive explosion of fireworks. The ploy worked. The birds left immediately. But what those responsible hadn't done was to warn the nearby householders. Not only they but their pets were scared out of their wits, and there were reports of dogs and cats being so distressed that they tore around some houses, the cats climbing the curtains, and the dogs ripping pieces out of three piece suites. How long the birds stayed away, and who paid for the damaged furniture, I don't know.

The Chadderton 'Anthem' ?

Recently, the Society has discovered a song which was composed in 1832, to celebrate the first election in which Chaddertonians were represented in Parliament. It was written by Samuel Collins (1802-1878), a Chadderton poet, who was known as the Bard of Hale Moss. This was the area in which he lived, near to South Chadderton School. The song commences with the stirring words: "Rise ye lads of Chadderton", and is a dramatic piece of writing, emphasising the importance of the vote at that particular time. The intention is to adapt it for modern use with its own new tune. Maybe it will then find a fitting place at local events?

Memories from Afar (Part 1)

Jim Exley, an expatriate Chaddertonian now living in Kent, revisits some of the scenes of his early childhood.
I was born at 97 Stockfield Road, near the bottom of Melbourne Street, in December 1927, and was, for 11 years, an only child, until my sister Margaret arrived in April 1939. I attended St. Luke's School in Kempsey Street, an easy walk from home around the corner into Hunt Lane.

I passed the paper shop on the corner, and the fish and chip shop at the end of the terrace row where, as well as fish and chips, you could buy elder, slut, weasel, tripe, cowheel, and other exotic offal, although I didn't know the word "offal" in those days!

Next door to 97 was a hardware shop, run by Connie Hall, from which the smell of paraffin emanated. In "Connies" you could buy all manner of useful objects, from nails to tin baths, but the most magical time of the year was from September to November, when you joined the "Firework Club", and saved your pennies for the Standard Fireworks she always sold.

At the end of our terrace was Mrs Edward's shop, a draper's, selling everything from knitting wool to dresses. At the end of the next terrace was the grocer's shop and off-licence, where one could take a jug to be filled with beer.

Opposite our house Dalton Street stretched away in the direction of Middleton Road, with Board Street [now Apfel Lane] in the distance, fronted by hen-pens and a cinder-covered football pitch.

I don't remember the names of my teachers in the Infants section of St. Luke's, but I do remember vividly the Headmaster of the Junior School, Mr. Young, and the very strict Miss Aspinall and Miss Garside. We used to have half-days off after attending church on Ascension Day and other religious occasions, and I also remember the procession we had through the streets on Empire Day, with someone dressed up as Britannia, and other children with blacked-up faces, representing countries which, in those days, were red on the map of the world.

Links between church and school were obviously close, and I remember dances, socials, and other events, especially the Rose Queen annual ceremony preceded by a procession to the Rose Garden near the church.

Melbourne Street contained the Stockfield Mill, and I was always awed by the sight of the gleaming mill engine, with its highly-polished parts and the spinning governor. I often walked past this temple of steam power on the way to my grandfather's house at 501 Middleton Road, almost opposite the library, where I borrowed and read every "Just William" and "Biggles" book on the shelves. Little did I know then that I would be returning to the same library 60 years later to attend meetings of the Chadderton Historical Society! [To be continued]

Lancashire Day 2005

Once again Lancashire Day, Sunday 27th November, was celebrated in style in Chadderton. The Lancashire Red Rose Flag flew outside the Town Hall, at which venue the Town Crier, Reg Lord, complete with retinue, made the Lancashire Proclamation. This was repeated at various places in our town centre, with leaflets explaining the day being given out to shoppers, and lollies to their children. It is most gratifying that there are virtually no members of the public who question the loyalty to our true County Palatine of Lancaster!

Dazzling Display - a community effort!

Chadderton's Christmas Lights this year were better than ever, some observers maintaining that they were more impressive than Oldham's! From the Shopping Precinct to the Town Hall was a continuous array of lights. The switch-on itself was an impressive occasion and brought together an ever-increasing number of local organisations. Many local businesses also shared in the festivities, whilst every church in Chadderton - 18 in all - contributed to the beautiful crib which was positioned in the entrance foyer of Asda. All this activity in recent years is the direct result of the Chadderton Area Committee, under the guidance of its Chairman, Councillor Jim Greenwood, and its Area Manager, Mark Simmons. Long may it prosper!

Lancaster Bomber

The recent closure of Chadderton's aircraft factory made the news on BBC's "Inside Out" on 9th January. It was a short, but very informative item about the Lancaster Bomber, which was designed and built on the premises. The Society has recorded the programme for its archives. We have also applied for a number of models of the famous Lancaster, from a source in the south of England.

Society Merchandise

The Society has for sale the following items: leatherette bookmarks; commemorative mugs to mark our Thirtieth Anniversary; ties and scarves; and key rings. Most of these items display the Chadderton coat-of-arms. Thanks to Trevor Ashworth, our 'marketing manager', for all his work in this area.

Postcard of Chadderton

The Society's first postcard of Chadderton, showing the Town Hall, Foxdenton Hall, St. Matthew's Church, and the Rochdale Canal with 'Th' Iron Donger' Railway Bridge, has been a huge success. It is intended to publish a second card during the year showing various scenes within Chadderton.

Archive Material

Thanks to Jennifer Tonge, of East Didsbury, for the photocopy of "The Wild Floweret", a book of poems and songs by her great-great-grandfather Samuel Collins. He lived in Chadderton from 1802 to 1878, and was known as the Bard of Hale Moss, this area lying in south Chadderton, adjoining Moston.


The Society's Website may be seen at:
Chadderton Historical Society 2006


The Griffin

Newsletter of the Chadderton Historical Society


No. 35 *1975 - Thirtieth Anniversary - 2005* November 2005


What makes a Chaddertonian?

Chadderton's rapid development in the second half of the 19th century, from a rural township to an industrial one, led to the creation of a new town centre on Middleton Road. However, several smaller 'centres' also evolved during this period - at Cowhill, Butler Green/Washbrook, Middleton Junction, and Whitegate/Nimble Nook. To varying degrees each of these places had an individuality that could command the allegiance of residents.

Broadway had yet to be constructed, and this lack of a centrally positioned road, meant that the township lacked cohesion. This fact was used by the Post Office, with the result that it carved up the township into postal districts to suit its own purposes. Part of north-west Chadderton came under Royton, whilst a large part of south Chadderton was classed as Hollinwood, a fact very difficult to comprehend today!

Foxdenton Hall, our impressive manor house, and the aircraft factory on Greengate, once our most prestigious asset, are both situated in an area of Chadderton that is still considered part of Middleton, Manchester, M24, for postal purposes! This is a survival of the Post Office's somewhat arbitrary behaviour.

Despite the vagaries of the post office, and any apparent lack of cohesion, people in all parts of the town have never been reluctant to proclaim that they are Chaddertonians, albeit often for quite different reasons.

Those residing in the historic centre at Chadderton Fold, and on the adjacent hillside at Healds Green, would even go so far as to claim, somewhat tongue in cheek, that anyone living south of Chadderton Hall Road was not a true Chaddertonian!

Two miles to the south, in the Whitegate End area, people are as staunchly Chaddertonian as their northern compatriots, because they have always had a dread of being labelled Mancunians, like their close neighbours in Moston! Pride in being a Chaddertonian exists among all sections of our community, for whatever other differences there might be, this is a unitary factor.

In recent years Chadderton's identity has been re-emphasised with the setting up of the Chadderton Area Committee. The nine local councillors have the support of eleven co-opted members, whose dedication and expertise should not be undervalued. This organisation has become a focal point to which all Chaddertonians can relate, and it has much to its credit in promoting our township.

As a result, one cannot help but believe that the Chadderton Area Committee (Township Assembly might be a more appropriate title), has not yet been fully utilised, and that this body has much to offer those 33,000 residents within our metropolitan borough who take pride in classing themselves 'Chaddertonians'.

British Library Invitation

The British Library, a founding member of the UK Web Archiving Consortium, has invited the Chadderton Historical Society to participate in this pilot project. This is a great honour for us as the BL is selecting websites "to represent aspects of UK documentary heritage". If the pilot is successful the archived copy of our website will form part of the British Library's permanent collections.

Lancashire Day

This is celebrated on Sunday 27th November. The Lancashire Proclamation will be made by the Town Crier, Reg Lord, from the steps of Chadderton Town Hall at 1.00 p.m. It will be followed by repeat performances in the Shopping Precinct and in Asda Superstore. Members of the Society are asked to join in the procession, wearing their red roses. At 9.00 p.m. please remember to make the Loyal Toast: 'The Queen, Duke of Lancaster'.

On Council Business!

Neville Denson, now living in St. Bees, Cumberland, was employed by the former Chadderton Urban District Council between 1951 and 1962. In this new series he provides some interesting anecdotes from that period.

(1) The Civic Ball

Chadderton's Civic Ball was on of the highlights of the social calendar and to be invited meant that you'd 'arrived'. It attracted the Mayors and Chairmen of many councils from the area, like the Lord Mayor of Manchester, the Mayors of Oldham, Rochdale and Ashton, and the Chairmen of Crompton, Royton, Failsworth, Lees and Saddleworth Councils. Evening dress was expected.

Great pride was taken in getting the best artistes for the cabaret: usually people who were appearing at theatres in Manchester or Leeds, who would come to the Ball after their theatre performances. This meant that the timing of the cabaret always had to be approximate, since they didn't know exactly what time they'd finish their act or how long it would take them to get to Chadderton.

On one occasion the assembled guests awaited the arrival and there was a delay. Councillor Sid Jacobs, late to become Chairman of Chadderton Council, and Mayor of Oldham Metropolitan Borough, was Master of Ceremonies. I stood with him in the corridor outside the ballroom and anxiously looked in to see if the guests were restless. They obviously were. What could we do? I recalled that some time before, Sid had made a great hit with the audience during a break in a Road Safety Film Show I'd organised. He'd got them all singing 'One Meat Ball' - a rousing song that lent itself well to community singing. Half jokingly, I suggested he should repeat the performance and bet him a pint he wouldn't do it. But Sid did!

He went up on the stage, apologised for the fact that the cabaret artistes had still not arrived and said that to fill in a little time he was going to lead some community singing. Remember that this was in the days when social decorum, formality and dignity still meant an awful lot. The various civic heads could be seen sitting in the front row, fidgeting nervously, turning to their partners and each other, and not really knowing how they should react. Sid launched into his song … 'One Meat Ball, Without the Gravy …', clapping to keep the rhythm. Slowly and perhaps with shy reluctance, the Mayors and Chairmen (sometimes disrespectfully referred to as 'the chain gang'), joined in. It was not a sight I thought I'd ever witness - the chains swinging from side to side as Sid got them all to sing and swing in harmony. It was an enjoyable, if unusual, interlude but there was much relief when the artistes finally arrived.

The Clerk to the Council, Leslie Stott, was not best pleased and I heard raised voices the following morning in the Inner Sanctum, as his office was known. Sid was with him and presumably was being berated for lowering the dignity of the occasion - and before such a distinguished audience. I trembled fearing the worst, but to his eternal credit, Sid never told the Clerk that it was me who'd made the suggestion and perhaps sealed the deal by betting him a pint he wouldn't do it!

[Sid is still a councillor for Chadderton, and President of the Historical Society! Ed.]

Christmas Lights Switch-on

The Switch-On of Chadderton Town Centre's Christmas Lights takes place outside the town hall on Friday 25th November at 7.00 p.m. This year the festive display will include the library, and the trees outside the precinct, for the first time, and will now stretch from the town hall to the shopping centre.

The event is guaranteed to be as impressive as ever, with local bands, and church organisations, providing the entertainment. The Switch-On will be preceded by a procession from the shopping precinct, and this will include the Chadderton Standard, National and Lancashire Flags, the Town Crier, Father Christmas, pantomime characters, and member of other local societies. Chadderton Floral Art Society is decorating the town hall for the occasion.

Remembrance Sunday

This is held on 13th November, and as in past years the Society will lay a wreath at Chadderton War Memorial. Members are invited to attend and should meet at the Reform Club at 10.30 p.m. if they wish to take part in the procession.

Library Centenary

Chadderton Central Library has recently celebrated its 100th Birthday. Funded by that great Scottish-American philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, the library building cost £5000. The Foundation Stone was laid by Councillor Ernest Kempsey on 14th May 1904, with the Official Opening being performed by Councillor Joseph Hilton on 14th October 1905. The first librarian was Miss Maud Mellor, from Blackpool, who was appointed on a salary of £50 a year!

Our Society mounted a display, and was well represented at the commemoration, during which local man, David Carnegie, ceremonially cut a ribbon tied across the main entrance. Thanks to Sandra Burgess the Librarian, and her staff, for organising the afternoon's events.

Early Chadderton Memories

- A Series of Reminiscences by Society members

"Down on the Farm" (Part 2) by Mary Ashworth.

Following the item "Oh to be a farmer!" by Alan Clegg, which appeared in the May edition, another member concludes her own postscript to the story.

On other days we would go into the plots as they were called locally, for my dad had an allotment down the bottom of there. We would pick the fruit from the bushes. There was a field and a footpath where the "tin tacks" ponds were. That path is still there and goes up to Ferney Field House Farm. We would look for small fish - jack sharps, and newts, and go home with them in a jam jar, keeping them until the day after when they were taken back. The field down in that area used to have Swedes growing in it, and when I got older I would go picking them.

I spent many years going to Park Side Farm which is now only a bungalow and some very run-down buildings off Chadderton Park Road. I still go and chat to Edith Sherratt and her younger brother, Fred. There was George, who was the eldest of the family, and Charles, junior. They both died in the last few years.

I would also go potato picking in a field which was at the back of the recently built "Packwood Chase" at Oakbank, Middleton Road. I also took the cows in for milking. They all knew their places in the shippons which I always thought was very clever. I had a go at milking but was never good enough, or fast enough, to do it all myself. I spent a lot of time with Charlie, who was the one who looked after the hens. I'd muck out, get the eggs, and see the chicks hatch out, before they were kept under the lights to keep them warm.

I would get up and cut over to the farm ready to catch Edith and Fred set off with the milk float, pulled by Prince the brown horse. It was quite a large area which we would cover, stretching from Mills Hill to around Chadderton Town Centre. In those days there weren't any of the large estates off Middleton Road. Then we went to Werneth, and on the way home would go down the hill on Edward Street like the Flying Scotsman because Prince knew he was going home. The street was cobbled in those days and we held on for dear life. Next we went along Hunt Lane which was still more like a rough track than a road.

Back at the farm Prince would be taken out of the shafts of the milk float, and would then knock on the door latch with his nose to let Mrs Sherritt know he wanted his sugar butty. There was one very sad day for me on the farm when Molly the old horse had died in her stall, and had to be pulled into a large truck and taken away.

I would have dinner at the farm when Mrs Sherritt made meat puddings in a rag, and they would be the length of the plate. I really loved my time on the farm but I don't think my mother enjoyed me going home as she used to shout, "Take them clothes off and hang them on the line before you come inside!" Happy Days!

Blue Plaque to Computer Scientist

Initial steps have been taken recently by our Society to honour Geoff Tootill, one of the three co-inventors of the world's first, wholly electronic, programmable computer, who was born in Chadderton in 1922. The computer, named 'Baby', was successfully activated at Manchester University in 1948, and was to pave the way for all subsequent modern Information Technology.

Newsletters Received

Thanks to the following Societies for their publications which are now available to Society members:

Saddleworth White Rose Society - in the County of York. Newsletter No. 28 Autumn 2005

Failsworth Historical Society. Issue 1 Summer 2005


To date over 14,000 people have logged on to our main website, which can be found at



 The Griffin

Quarterly Newsletter of the Chadderton Historical Society

No. 34 1975 - Thirtieth Anniversary - 2005 August 2005



Town Centre Regeneration

The regeneration of Chadderton Town Centre forms part of the overall plan for the regeneration of the borough as a whole. Our Centre, lying as it does on the eastern side of Chadderton, provides for a great number of Chaddertonians the first port of call for shopping, before using the facilities of Oldham itself. Free parking provision is adequate, whilst more bus routes now come into the centre of Chadderton than was once the case.


The 'Urbed Report' emphasised the fact that: "One of the great strengths of the borough [of Oldham] is its many and varied towns, each with its own town centre." Each of our seven townships has a unique centre, and few would disagree that Chadderton has an attractive central area, complete with a number of impressive public buildings. Middleton Road, lined as it now is with numerous trees, presents something of a boulevard, in contrast to the drabness of the former Victorian thoroughfare.

Whilst the Asda superstore provides the major attraction, there are also other national retail outlets represented in the precinct. The superstore itself sells a wide variety of goods, in addition to food, but it cannot be denied that Chadderton shopping centre is rather small for the size of our town of some 33,000 people, and that there are many obvious gaps in retail and service provision which need to be addressed.


As a response, a number of projects are in hand to redevelop and enhance our local centre. The market is shortly to be relocated within the precinct where, hopefully, it will be reinvigorated and prove as popular as those in Shaw and Royton. Future plans will see a new health centre built on the site of the former council depot on Burnley Street, freeing the old site, with its Middleton Road frontage, for further retail development.

The police station on Victoria Street will become redundant once the replacement at Broadway Business Park is opened. It is inconceivable that the old premises will be demolished, rather than given over to other purposes for the benefit of the community.

We now have a prestigious Asian restaurant located in historic premises, and an application is currently being made for another restaurant, with gym, and snooker hall, in other central premises. Permission has already been granted for an Indian takeaway off Peel Street.


If all these plans come to fruition the people of Chadderton should have a regenerated town centre to be proud of, and one that is as vibrant in the evening as it presently is during the daytime.

Chadderton's Brass Bands

David Needham, of Austerlands, Saddleworth, has written a marvellous article on the history of Chadderton's various brass bands. It appeared in this year's official magazine for the Scouthead and Austerlands Whit Friday Band Contest. Entitled "Sunbeams on Dancing Waters", it traces the history of bands in Chadderton from the probably reed and brass band which originated during the 18th century, by way of the band whose drum proudly boasted: "Born in 1820 and still going strong", to the present Chadderton Band, which continues to meet in Chadderton Central Library.

The article is illustrated with many interesting photographs, and the Society was privileged to have been of service to David in his researches. Our thanks are conveyed to him for he copies of the magazine which he has kindly given to our Society.

When 'Horse Power' meant just that! (Part 1)

We sometimes forget that one hundred years ago the horse still provided the main form of transport in our streets, especially for goods. Many aspects of the work of the local council were dependant on these noble creatures, and when perusing the Minute Books of the former Chadderton Urban District Council an interesting insight is gained into this long vanished world of the working horse.

In 1905 Chadderton Council employed ten horses which cost £22 for a four week period, this being 11 shillings (55p) per horse per week. At 2.00 p.m. on Saturday 13th May of that year a parade of all the horses was held so that councillors could inspect their condition.

The animals required adequate feeding and for this the council paid half yearly 12s 6d (63p) a load for bran; 8s 6d a hundredweight (43p per 50kg) for oil cake; £4 5s 0d a ton (£4.25 a tonne) for good clover hay; and 14s 9d (77p) a load for crushed oats. A tender of £1 4s 6d a ton (£1.23 a tonne) for peat moss litter was also accepted.

Tenders were invited for the re-shoeing of horses for the coming year on the understanding that any loose shoes would be fixed free of charge. Thomas Meyers's tender of 4s 3d (22p) per set was accepted and for this he agreed to remove old shoes, and supply and fix the new ones, the whole work to be done to the satisfaction of the Council's horse-keeper, whose name we are not given. The horse-keeper was also authorised to have one of the horses shod with rubber pads on its fore feet, at his discretion. The tender of J. Brighouse for supplying two sets of best horse gears, all complete for £6 per set was also accepted.


The carts and 'lurries' of the council needed to be kept in good condition and the order for a new cart body on No. 2 cart was given to S. Howarth providing that he would carry out the work for £8 10s 0d (£8.50). In late summer of 1905 it was decided to repaint some of these council 'vehicles' and George Hobson was awarded the contract for painting seven carts and one lorry for £10 15s 0d (£10.75).

[To be continued]

Royton Dig

Our Society is following with great interest the archaeological excavation presently being carried out by our friends in the Royton Local History Society. They are unearthing the foundations of Royton Hall, a building believed to date back to the Middle Ages, and which was demolished in 1939. Members of our Society were invited to assist. The methods employed, and the findings from the dig, will no doubt be useful to us if, and when, we undertake our own excavation of Chadderton Hall, which was erected in 1620, and demolished in 1939.

Foxdenton Hall

Plans to fully restore our historic manor house, which dates from 1620 and 1700, are now well underway. Much of the enthusiasm for this project comes from the Friends of Foxdenton, a voluntary body who have the future of the hall very much to heart. In the past eighteen months they have worked extremely hard raising funds, enabling them to redecorate the interior. Ultimately, a board of trustees will be formed, including two members of our own Society, and these will have responsibility for the ongoing running of the hall. In early July a visit was made to Dam House at Astley, near Wigan, to see how that historic building had been restored.

Archive Material

The following variety of material has been added to our archives in recent months, and we thank the donors:

1. John Arnold: Photographs of places and buildings in South Chadderton

2. Mavis Finchett (member): pottery including Chadderton Coronation Beaker from 1937.

3. George Wrigley, Shaw: Cuttings, and diverse, material concerning aspects of Chadderton's history.

4. Several old school registers from the former St. Mark's School, and Eustace Street School, have been purchased from Terry Fowles.

5. An original document from the late 18th century, signed by Sir Watts Horton, Lord of the Manor of Chadderton, was bought on E-Bay.

Society Merchandise

The society's venture into this new area is proving most successful. The latest addition to the 'products' we now offer for sale is a leatherette bookmark, available in a choice of ten colours. Printed in gold lettering are the words: "Chadderton - the ancient township in the heart of the historic county of Lancaster". The bookmark is priced 50p.

We also have a commemorative mug to mark the thirty years since our Society's formation. It portrays the Chadderton coat-of-arms in true heraldic colours, on each side, with the words: 'Chadderton Historical Society, 1975-2005' printed between. These are £5.00 each. Other merchandise on sale includes ties and scarves, costing £5.00, and key rings at 75p. All these items display the Chadderton coat-of-arms. Thanks, once again, to Trevor Ashworth, our 'marketing manager', for his enthusiasm and work in this area.

Membership and Meetings

The Society continues to grow in strength, and in the past twelve months has been joined by a number of new members. We also have Associate Members in other parts of the world who are kept fully informed of our activities, although distance prevents then from attending our monthly meetings. Current annual subscription rates are £15.00 per family; £10.00 per individual; £5.00 associate.

The Society's Programme for the coming months is:

4th August - A Ramble around 'Our Ancient Centre' (Chadderton Fold and environs).

8th September - Visit to Oldham Parish Church.

Our monthly meetings in Chadderton Central Library resume for the season with the following talks:

6th October - "Chadderton Through the Ages".

3rd November - "The Romans in Lancashire".

Full details may be found in the official printed Programme.

Early Chadderton Memories

- A Series of Reminiscences by Society members-

"Down on the Farm" (Part 1) by Mary Ashworth.

Following the item "Oh to be a farmer!" by Alan Clegg, which appeared in the May edition, another member adds her own postscript to the story.

I knew Alan as a kid, when he still lived on Middleton Road, at the top of Baytree Avenue. I was born and lived off Baytree Avenue until I married when I went to live in the bungalow estate which was built on the field with the "bell pond". This was the field that the cows were taken over, from the field in which they grazed which was facing our house in the Lower Roughs Farm area. The farm itself was run by an extension of the Sherratt family until they died, or finished with farming.

Then one of Charles Sherratt's sisters, Mary, came to live back to back with our house, on Middleton Road West, until she died. My brother and I used to go out to play after breakfast on warm summer days. We used to go in the field that is now the top of Firwood Park Estate. In those days the houses on Middleton Road had long gardens across from their back yards, which then went up to the field.

We would sit hours watching rabbits and all their babies play, and also make daisy chains. How many kids would do that these days? We played whip and top, up and down Baytree Avenue, for there was only an odd car on the avenue then, and the big trucks with bales of cotton on for the Baytree Mill or Malta Mill on Mills Hill Road. Another game was hop-scotch which was played on a line of flags between our front garden and the field.

We would spend half a day in "Nelly's Hollow", which is in the field alongside Ferney Field Road, jumping the stream that runs along the bottom. The stream comes from under Middleton Road and used to have coloured water in it from Chadwick's dye works, which is where the new estate now is, called "Swallow Fields". We played with the other local lads at a game called "Ducky". We went to hide while one person stacked a pile of bricks. Then he had to look for us. Without being seen, we had to run and throw a stone at the bricks and shout, "Ducky!" The last person to do so had to rebuild the bricks. You don't see kids playing those sorts of games these days.

[Concluded in November's edition]

Lancashire Toasts

Most people are aware that within our great county of Lancaster we have the privilege of making the loyal toast in the following manner: "The Queen the Duke of Lancaster". However, a less well-known Lancashire Toast is:

Meight w'en w'ir 'ungry,

Drink w'en w'ir dry,

Brass w'en w'ir short on it,

An' 'eave'n w'en wi dee!

No translation should be necessary for all true sons and daughters of the Red Rose County!

Postcard of Chadderton

The card portrays four local scenes, each representative of an aspect of our history: Chadderton Church (St. Matthew's); the Town Hall; Foxdenton Hall; and th' Iron Donger railway bridge, crossing the Rochdale Canal. The card proudly bears the title: "Chadderton - in the Historic County Palatine of Lancaster".

They have been selling very well in recent weeks, one outlet being the Tourist Information Office in Oldham, and it certainly looks as if a second order will shortly be placed with the manufacturers! Plans are also in hand to produce a second card which will possibly feature scenes such as Chadderton Fold; Healds Green; the Shopping Precinct; and Coalshaw Green Park.

Web Site

Our main site continues to be popular, and to date almost 13,500 people have logged on to it. It can be found at

Ó Chadderton Historical Society 2005


 The Griffin

Newsletter of the Chadderton Historical Society


No. 33 *1975 - Thirtieth Anniversary - 2005* May 2005




Constituency Recognition at Last?

The provisional recommendations for Parliamentary Constituency Boundaries in the Greater Manchester area have recently been published. Locally, the three wards of Chadderton will be grouped with the two wards of Royton, as previously, and also with three wards of Oldham.

However, the Oldham wards have been altered substantially with Medlock Vale (formerly St. Paul's), and Alexandra now being taken out of the constituency and replaced by St. Mary's. The two wards of Coldhurst and Werneth remain.

The outcome of these changes is that Chadderton's electors now form 37.3% of the total electorate, which is the largest of the three parts of the parliamentary division. In addition, for local government purposes, parts of the township of Chadderton are included in the adjacent wards of Royton North, Royton South, Coldhurst, and Werneth, so that Chadderton's total share is even greater than 37.3%. With 1,113 hectares, Chadderton is also the largest of the three sections in terms of area.

For many years our Society has been of the opinion that the name 'Chadderton' should form part of our constituency name, and has continued to pursue this important matter of identity. In recent years, both the local Liberal Democrat, and Conservative Parties have been supportive of this objective, the latter stating that the omission of Chadderton "is quite clearly an anomaly which needs rectifying."

Following the last general election in 2001, our MP, Michael Meacher, re-stated his own position: "I have said in the past that I would be pleased to see Chadderton in the constituency name and I still believe that Chadderton should be included." It is a very relevant fact that since Michael Meacher became our MP in 1970, the only wards to have been continually represented by him in Parliament have been the three wards of Chadderton, and the single Oldham ward of Werneth. Despite this, Chadderton has never been acknowledged in this respect.

Chadderton Historical Society has compiled a very persuasive argument in favour of the inclusion of the place-name Chadderton within our constituency title, and our representation has now been submitted to the Boundary Commission for England. Whatever other proposals may be put forward for redefining the constituency's boundaries, it is our belief that our request has a good chance of being adopted, and that Chadderton, somewhat belatedly, will be given its rightful recognition at Westminster.

BAE Systems

- the End of an Era-

The news that Chadderton's greatest asset, our aircraft factory on Greengate, is to close can only be greeted with dismay for it marks the end of a significant chapter in our town's industrial history. The factory, which opened in 1939 as A.V.Roe's, and later became part of the Hawker Siddeley Aviation group, has been in decline for a number of decades and is now only a shadow of its former self.

However, its place in national (and indeed international!) history will be secured for all time, for it was here in Chadderton that the most famous bomber of the Second World War, the Lancaster, was designed by Roy Chadwick, arguably the world's greatest aircraft designer. Some 3,050 of these planes were built at the site, and this represents over 40% of the total number constructed here, and elsewhere in Britain and Canada. During the post-war period the Chadderton factory designed and produced the magnificent Vulcan, a delta-winged bomber which was part of Britain's defence system until the early 1980's.

Whilst aircraft production will no longer be associated with Greengate, future generations will continue to appreciate that the blue eagle, which proudly adorns the crest of Chadderton's coat-of-arms, represents forever our once most prestigious industry. In writing his Golden Jubilee history of the factory in 1989, Harry Holmes stated that he wished to "touch on why Chadderton is internationally famous." For nearly seventy years the factory was, indeed, well-known throughout the world, and in turn it was never reluctant in proclaiming its allegiance and loyalty to the town of Chadderton. It will be missed!

Society's Thirtieth Anniversary

This month marks the 30th Anniversary of the formation of our Society back in 1975. Founded in the Old School at Healds Green, a building dating from1789, the Society has become a well respected organisation not only within our borough of Oldham, but also in the wider north-west region. Naturally, such an anniversary deserves recognition by members, and it is planned that a social event will be held later in the year to celebrate our achievements during this long period.

A Successful Area Committee!

Appreciation of these bodies would seem to vary throughout the borough of Oldham, with some people finding little purpose in their existence. Others complain that they are merely talking shops leading to dissent and infighting. Attendances also appear to show much variation from area to area.

It was most gratifying, therefore, to read in the local press that a survey of the six area committees within the borough suggested that "Chadderton Area Committee appears to be the most successful, boasting an average attendance of around 30 to 50 locals." Its Chairperson, Councillor Jim Greenwood, commented that the assembly was "a good example of local democracy working. … [It] isn't a forum for councillors but for the public to give their views and influence decisions made."

This is a sentiment with which our Society totally concurs, and we would encourage even more Chaddertonians to attend and make their own positive contributions to the life and well-being of our township.


Early Chadderton Memories

A Series of Reminiscences by Society member Alan Clegg

No. 7 "Oh, to be a farmer!"

This was always my desire, to go into farming, but things did not work out quite as planned. However, I would walk up our backs off Middleton Road, turn left up Thurland Street, climb over the farm gate in the Bell Pond field (now Oakbank Estate), down by Barratt's wall, over another gate, across Chadderton Park Road, and on to Sherratt's farm.

Mr. and Mrs. Sherratt, Edith their daughter, and their lads George, Charlie and Fred, always welcomed us on the farm as long as we were well-behaved. One friend of mine, fondly remembered, was Tommy Fogg, who used to come with me to the farm. He lived at 'Moss Lea', Oakbank, next top Parkside House, with his mum, dad, and sister. Sadly, he was killed in a motorcycle accident some years later. Incidentally, we have lived in this house, the same one as Tommy, for nearly forty years now!

On the farm we would help to bring in the cows for milking, which was all done by hand in those days, help to feed the calves, and at hay-making time rake up, and do many other jobs, which were none too strenuous for young kids.

What I do remember well were the horses on the farm. Dolly was a white, placid, shire horse. Bonny was a huge, dark, cantankerous brute who would chase us out of the field if in that frame of mind. There were also two horses brought in together, named Betty and Darky. Betty was a beautiful, light-brown mare, and a real power-house. She would glide up Park Road, which was unpaved at this time, with a full cart load of 'muck', as though there was nothing in the cart! Darky was a more gentle horse, good-natured, but not so full of beans as Betty. The story was that she had had a foal before arriving at the farm.

There was also Molly, a lighter horse usually used in the milk float, but also used at hay time for lighter, raking-up jobs. Lastly, there was Benny, an old horse with a real curve in its back. It looked like Cyril Smith had ridden it frequently! This horse was a real character. It knew where home was and, if not watched, would head for it. In other words, it knew when it had had enough and wanted to go home.

Sherratt's also farmed Roughs Farm, just down a farm track which eventually became Baytree Avenue. Roughs Farm was still there after the avenue and Mills Hill School were built. Sherratts took over this farm when Charles's senior brother, George, died, and they then farmed over 100 acres, including both farms, with land running down to the canal (now Drummer Hill Estate), and the other side of Baytree Avenue. This included the plots with Tin Tacks ponds, and down towards Drummer Hill Village, i.e. a large section of what is now Firwood Park Estate.

Sadly, only Edith and Fred remain of the Sherratt family, and of course all the land is built on, barring a few acres around the farmstead. As for me, with all these great memories, I did eventually get into farming, although not quite how I first imagined it. I ended up for twenty-odd years on the technical sales of Grain Driers, selling installations to arable farmers all over the north of England, so my dreams came true to a certain degree

Postcard of Chadderton

During the year the Executive Committee sanctioned this project and we now await the delivery of the first batch of postcards. They portray four local scenes, representative of the various aspects of Chadderton's history - the Town Hall (civic); Foxdenton Hall (manorial); Chadderton Church - St. Matthew's (ecclesiastical); and th'Iron Donger railway bridge, crossing the Rochdale Canal (industrial). Each card will carry the title: Chadderton - in the Historic County Palatine of Lancaster, thus proudly asserting our history and heritage.

Commemorative Mug and Merchandise

The latest addition to our official merchandise is a commemorative mug to mark the thirty years since our Society's formation. It portrays the Chadderton coat-of-arms in true heraldic colours, on each side, with the words: 'Chadderton Historical Society, 1975-2005' printed between. Other merchandise on sale includes ties and scarves, and key rings, all with the Chadderton coat-of-arms. For all these items, which add greatly to the prestige to our Society, we are grateful to Trevor Ashworth.

St. George's Day Celebration

Once again Chadderton Town Hall was ablaze with English flags, and resounded with true patriotism, as Chadderton and Failsworth Rotary Club, and Chadderton Historical Society, combined to celebrate our country's patron saint, and England's national day on 23rd April. Thanks to all who supported the occasion, and the 'Oldham Chronicle' for their excellent coverage of the evening's events.

May Day at Foxdenton

The 'Friends of Foxdenton' welcomed the month in true English style, as they commenced their new season of events at Chadderton's 17th century Manor House. Warm weather encouraged large crowds, on Sunday 1st May, as the Chadderton Academy of Dancing performed their traditional dances, including the 'Spider's Web', around the May Pole. A full programme of events is planned for the Sundays of the summer months. Please give the 'Friends' your support.

Metropolitan Map - A Borough of Seven Townships

Earlier this year the Society published its map of the Metropolitan Borough of Oldham, showing its seven constituent townships: Chadderton, Crompton, Failsworth, Lees Oldham, Royton, and Saddleworth. The map also had illustrations of the armorial bearings associated with each township. The purpose of the map was to emphasise the reality, as observed in the Urbed Report, that our borough consists of seven towns, each with its own town centre, and that the town of Oldham is not synonymous with the borough of Oldham. All 60 councillors received a copy of the map which is to be distributed widely throughout the borough during the year.


Archive Material

Thanks to the following for their donations of material to our archives:

1. Anonymous donor: selection of old books including volumes on cotton spinning.

2. Jack Halliwell, Chadderton: Photographs of demolition of Vale Mill chimney in 1964; Chadderton Council Medical Officer's Reports for 1897-1900 1900, and 1913.

3. Joanna Marlow, Chadderton: photographs of original Sportsman's Arms c1912, Nile Mill Football Team in 1910, cotton mill workers c1910; Denton Lane School book of tables, etc. 1952; Commemorative Booklet for Dedication of St. Saviours's Church in 1962; Nimble Nook Club Rule book c1952; several artefacts, etc.

4. Margaret and Jack Dixon (Mansfield) via parishioner of St. Herbert's Church, Chadderton: 21 books on Lancashire, Manchester and the North West.

5. Roger Holden, Stockport: Article in the 'Industrial Archaeology Review' on the Elk Mill, Chadderton, the last cotton mill to be constructed in Lancashire.

6. David Needham of Saddleworth: Article, to be published, on Chadderton's brass bands, with several photographs.

7. Gordon Simpson, Scowcroft Farm: Information on the place-name Mills Hill.

8. Alice Hadfield (member): Old newspapers with account of life of William O'Neill, of the Sun Mill.


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History of Local Government
News of the Year,
Sponsors Christmas Lights
Sir Philip Sidney Stott, Blue Plaque
Geoff Tootill Baby Computer
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Peterloo Massacre
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Last updated 03/04/10 Copyright Chadderton Historical Society 20010