Chadderton Historical Society

Programme of Events

June 2011 - May 2012

2nd June:     visit to Horwich Heritage Centre

The Centre was officially opened in March 2006, the aim being to do justice to the rich and varied history of the town and its people.  The building contains a wonderfuly selection of material relating to the social and industrial  history of Horwich. There are sever\al exhibition areas, one of them being Horwich Loco Works for which the town was well known.  Other areas feature a Victorians Kitchen, a Horwich pub, childhood, local sport, and transport. A new part of the exhibition will include a reconstruction of the entrance to Wilderswood Mine. Members are assures of a fascinating evening, during which the will, no doubt give some thought to the much-anticipated Chadderton Heritage Centre.

[meet at Victoria Street Car Park at 6.45 p.m. to arrange transport.]

7th July:  Ramble: Streetbridge and Environs

Our local history ramble commences at Streetbridge whose name comes from the Old English street - a paved road, and hence a Roman Road.  It is generally accepted that the Roman  road from Manchester to Ilkley came via Moston, Chadderton and Royton. Along our route we hear about 'tick-a-window', and pass Gillots,  Buckley Wood, Cragg Clough and Nodgate, all places with intersting and historical connections.  We will also see the remains of the water wheel powered by the River Irk, at the site of the medieval corn mill.  The walk is within a compact area and is not too strenuous. [Meet at Victoria Street Car Park at 7.15 p.m to arrange transport or park at Mill Brow Car Park for 7.30 p.m.

4th August:  Visit to Flixton Parish Church

The origins of St. Michael's Church, Flixton, are not certain but records show that the Norman Lord of Manchester gave it away as a dowry for his daughter in 1150.  The church is built with a warm sandstone on a bluff above the River Mersey valley, the architectural style being a blend of gothic and classical. The rough-hewn stone of the east wall dates back to the fiftheen century whilst the east window dates from 1853.  Although the church underwent major internal restoration in 1877, nine centuries of local life are recorded on tombstone and plaque.  A memorial brass portrays Sir Richard  Radcliffe who inherited Foxdenton Hall c1579.  He is shown with his two wives, the second being his relation Margaret Radcliffe, the heiress of Foxdenton.  Their eight children are also depicted.

[Meet at Victoria Street Car Park a 6.45 p.m. to arrange transport.]

1st September:    Visit to Rochdale Town Hall

This masterpiece of Victorian Gothic Revival architecture was designed by William Henry Crossland, winner of a competition.  Built at a cost of 160,000 (11M as of 2011).  It was opened in September 1871, the building originally having a 240ft (73m) clock tower topped with a wooden spire with a golden statue of Saint George and the Dragon.  Sadly, the spire, which had become blighted with dry rot, and the statue were destroyed by fire in1883,  and the replacement in stone is only 191ft, (58m) high. The interior is equally magnificent with octagonal staircases and some windows designed by William Morris.  The medieval style Great Hall has a hammerbeam roof flanked by statues of angels, in a design that resembles Westminster Hall.

[Meet  at Victoria Street Car Park at 7 p.m. to arrange transport .  Please note the early start!]

6th October:               'Versatile Valley'

This talk has been left over from last April. One of the best known valleys in Chadderton is Slacks Valley in the Whitegate area.  Today it is difficult to identify because of major developments over the years, but Society Members Mark Johnson and Michael Lawson trace these changes from the valley's original rural appearance.  In the early 19th century the Rochdale Canal and Manchester-Leeds Railway cut through it, and later on sewage works were constructed nearby. During the First World War a 'secret' airfield scheme was begun but never completed, and this was followed later in the century by Chadderton Power Station, demolished 25 years ago this year.  More recently the land has been used for the extensive Broadway Business Park and to provide the local route for the M60.  Such changes justify the title 'versatile'.

3rd November:     'The Origin  of Surnames'

  Peter Watson visited us in February 2009, when he spoke on 'Medicines and Magic': how many members still have their  abracadabra triangles?  This evening he traces the origins of surnames, and in his talks considers names derived long ago from Anglo-Saxon, and Old Norse.  He also includes names which have their roots in people's trades and occupations - a cooper being a maker of barrels, and fletcher one who put flights on arrows.  Many names come about as as result of a person's nickname, or because of their appearance or personal traits, whilst others can be traced to the locality from which the originated.  Members of the Society are assured of a very informative and interesting evening, with some returning home more knowledgeable about their own particular family names!

1st December:               'Underground Manchester'

We know a great deal about Manchester, the great northern metropolis which shares a common boundary with Chadderton.  It's history is there to be read, whilst its architecture fascinates and inspires the visitor.  However, what do most people know about that part of the city that lies underground, and remain hidden from our eyes?  Keith Warrender, from Timperley, is the author of a book on the subject, and this evening this subterranean expert will take us on a journey below ground as the 'secrets of the city are revealed'.  Tales of a lost city, mysterious rail systems, old streets and shops, and secret passages abound.  Some of these are based on urban myths, but is there actual proof of the existence of underground routes, tunnels and spaces?  This evening members will discover a whole new world!




January 5th                           From our Archives

Over the years the Archives of the Society have grown considerably.  We now have hundreds of photographs and slides depicting various aspects of Chadderton's rich history.  In addition,  we have many original documents including one signed and sealed by Sir Watts Horton, Lord of the Manor 1774-1811.  A number of unique artefacts are also in our possession.  This evening members will be shown a wide and varied selection of these items, and given background information on them.  An evening for personal comments.

2nd February:  'A trip around Morecambe Bay'

                    Part  1 - Walney Island to Cartmel Priory'

Visiting us for the seventeenth  time is our friend Margaret Curry from Rochdale.  This evening she invites us to join her on the first part of a journey around Morecambe Bay, noting the interesting  and unusual to be found in this part of our historic county.  She begins at Barrow-in-Furness, isolated as it is in the extreme north-west, taking in the village of  Rampside, and then moving on to the ruinous Gleaston Castle, originally built in the mid-12th century, and the restored Gleaston Water Mill.  The journey also takes us to the village of Aldingham where the 12th century church of St. Cuthbert contain a small aperture in the chancel wall,  through which is is believed local lepers could watch  the services without having  to enter the building.

1st March:              'Civic Chadderton 1872-1974'

One hundred years ago, on 30th March 1912, the foundation stone of the present Town Hall was laid by Councillor Ernest Kempsey who had just served a fourth term as Chairman of the Chadderton Urban District Council.  The impressive civic building that resulted is now part of the story of 'Civic Chadderton', a story that commences in 1872 with the formation of the Chadderton Board of Health.  Given  by members Michael Lawson and Mark Johnson, this illustrated talk looks at the various public buildings erected during this period and what they meant to the people.  Notable councillors are recalled, whilst the important occasion in the civic life of the town will be recounted.

12th April:                      Themed Party - The Georgians

At a later month than normal for our annual social evening we turn to the Georgian period this season. Covering the years 1714 to 1830 it was the era that saw Chadderton Hall at  its most glorious under the Horton Family.  Our venue is appropriately, Foxdenton Hall which was re-built in 1700 by Alexander Radclyffe.  Catering will reflect the 18th Century,  as will the music  that accompanies the meal.  Members are invited to attend in period costume but this is not essential.  However, they should bring along their own favourite drink whether it be wine, ale, porter, juice of various fruits or, more topically, coffee.   grand night is assured.

3rd May:                            37th  Annual General Meeting

Members are encouraged to attend this most important meeting at which the six Trustees of the Charity and other officials are elected for the following year.  The programme for 2012 -2013 will be available, and will give members full details of the various talks, visits etc; which have been planned.  A great deal has been achieved in the past thirty-six years and it is our intention to continue to build on this success.  The Society is well-established, and respected within a wide region, and all our members are invited to share our vision for the future. There will also be an opportunity for members to discuss the direction in which they feel the CHS should go, by the completion of a short questionnaire.


2010 - 2011

3rd June: Visit to Castleshaw Roman

This year commemorates the 1600th anniversary of the withdrawal of the Roman legions from Britain. During the long period of almost four hundred years our country had absorbed all aspects of Roman civilisation leaving such notable features on the landscape as towns and military forts. The fort at Castleshaw, constructed from turf and lumber, was built around 79 and guarded the road from Deva (Chester) to Eboracum (York). The fort was small, would probably have been home to around 500 soldiers, and fell out of use during the mid AD 90s, It was replaced by a fortlet, constructed in two phases ? AD 105 and c120. These later barracks were built to accommodate 48 soldiers, with the total garrison numbering less than 10D. Our guide is Jim Carr from Saddleworth Historical Society, who will describe both establishments as we tour the site

[Meet at Victoria Street Car Park at 7.00p.m. to arrange transport]

1st July: Visit to Deane Church, Bolton

Like so many other ancient churches, Deane church was built on a prominent site. in this case overlooking a well-wooded valley or dene, hence the name. Originally pad of the extensive parish of Eccles, the present church of St. Mary the Virgin dates back to 1452, but there would probably have been a church here in Saxon times. However, it is not until the Domesday Book of 1086 that Deane is mentioned in documents. The church shows many irregular features ? the width of the arches vary, the pillars are not of the same girth, the south aisle is a metre wider than the north aisle, and the arches on the south of the nave are some 90crins higher than those on the north. All this suggests a gradual development, in all probability under the direction of Whalley Abbey, which ended in 1452. Our guided tour will also include a reference to the major restoration that was carried out in 1884.

[Meet at Victoria Street Car Park at 700p.m. to arrange transport.]

5th August: Ramble -Cowhill, Historic Community

Mentioned in the mid-16th century as Coohill and Cohyll, the distinct's growth during the late I&I and early 191h centuries, led to this description in 1826i 'Cowhill, with Alder Root, form united a kind of small village with two public houses and a considerable number of cottages`. Becoming noted for its coal mining community, it once boasted far more public houses, but only two now remain, the Dog Inn, one of Chadderton's oldest, being first licensed in 1750. Cowhill once had a school, churches, farms, mills and factories, even a Conservative Club, and its own annual fair, 'Cowhill Wakes', but widespread redevelopment during the 1970's swept most of this away. With the aid of maps, however, it is possible to reconstruct this old community which still holds a fascination for so many. The area itself is very compact and walking will be minimal.

[Meet at Victoria Street Car Park at 7.15pin to arrange transport]

2nd September: Visit to Staircase House and the 'Stockport Story'

Staircase House is a grade 2* listed cruck timber building dating back to around 1460. Little is known of the early history of this medieval town house, but it is believed that it was originally the home of the Mayor of Stockport, William Dodge, in 1483. From 1605 to 1730 it was owned by the Shallcross family who installed the rather unique Jacobean staircase which gives the house its name. The house was semi-derelict for many years until in the 1990's. following an intensive campaign by Stockport Heritage Trust, it was restored. Corridors and narrow passages link an intriguing array of rooms in which may be seen period colours, furniture and artefacts. Together with the adjacent 'Stockport Story', Staircase House offers a unique glimpse into the development of this Cheshire town.

[Meet at Victoria Street Car Park at & 30 p m to arrange transport . Please note the early start]

7th October: 'Coal Mining in Chadderton'

Chadderton's transition from a rural township to a Victorian industrial town was achieved largely as a result of the growth of the cotton industry. However, this could not have taken place without supportive industries, notably coal mining This fuel was needed to fire the boilers that generated the steam for the mill engines Among the collieries to be constructed in Chadderton during the period of its industrial expansion, were those at Cowhill, Buckley Wood, Femey Field, and Hunt Clough, with Birchen Bower being the last local pit to close, in the 1920's. Roger Ivens, Archivist at Oldham Local Studies Library, is our guest speaker this evening and will recall aspects of our local mining industry.

4th November: 'Dunham Massey Hall

Dunham Massey Hall, Cheshire, is a Georgian mansion owned by the National Trust, and set in a magnificent deer park. The architect of the building fell to his death through the roof during the final stages of construction. Some say he was pushed, and it is said that he still haunts the hall. Peter Braun, our guest speaker, will reveal much about the families connected with the hall, about their scandals, romances, and power politics. Discover the salacious scandals of the 7th Earl of Stamford, who married Catherine Cocks, a former bare?back circus rider, and the 2nd Earl of Warrington, who was so enamoured with his wife that he wrote a book anonymously on the desirability of divorce!

2nd December: 'Notable Lords of the Manor of Chadderton and Foxdenton -Part 2'

Last year we learned about the lives of six of the Lords who occupied the Manor between c1255 and 1650. In this second part, we conclude the story by looking at a further selection of the more notable manorial occupants, including Alexander Radclyffe, the builder of the present Foxdenton Hall, Sir Watts Horton, probably the most distinguished resident of Chadderton Hall, and Major Charles Robert Eustace Raddyffe, whose death in 1953 brought to an end the long line of lords of the Manor. This illustrated talk, by Society members Michael Lawson and Mark Johnson, places the lives and achievements of our Manorial Lords within the context of England's rich history.



6th January: Party Night -'Wartime Forties'

Postponed from last year because of inclement weather, the Society's annual party this year is the Wartime Forties, a period associated with austerity and 'make?do and mend'. Whether viewed from a civil or military prospective, this theme should provide plenty of inspiration for those wishing to add to the atmosphere by attending in period costume. Authentic music from the period will be played, whilst our culinary expert, Christine Dennis, assures us that catering will be based on Forties food, but certainly will not be rationed! Please don't forget to bring along your own favourite beverages.

3rd February: 'Manchester'

A friend as well as an excellent presenter, Margaret Curry from Rochdale makes her sixteenth visit to us. Her illustrated talk is a sequel to 'Tales of Two Cities' which she gave in February 2007, and looks at the central area of Manchester from the late Medieval period to the present. Around 1540 Manchester was described as "The fairest, best builded, quickest, and most populous town of all Lancashire." The ancient collegiate church was to become a cathedral, whilst the adjacent Chetharn's Library, founded in 1653, is Britain's oldest, free, public reference library. A parliamentary town during the civil war, Manchester later became the dominant market place for Lancashire's cotton products. Margaret's approach, as always, looks behind the obvious as she seeks out the beautiful and the bizarre.

3rd March: 'Family life in Chadderton in the mid-18th Century'

Although Chadderton formed part of the Parish of Prestwich cum Oldham, many local inhabitants were christened at Middleton Parish Church. Peter Briggs, a local retired teacher, has been researching the baptismal registers there and has compiled an interesting insight to family life as it was in Chadderton in period 1760 to 1780. We will learn what Chadderton had to offer In terms of the type and opportunities for farming, and the natural resources available at this period. The registers also provide us with information on the size of families, fathers' occupations handloom weaving being a predominant feature, as well as locations. Using certain families as examples, Peter takes us back to a rural township about to undergo the traumatic effects of the Industrial Revolution.

7th April: 'Versatile Valley'

Perhaps one of the best known valleys in Chadderton is Slacks Valley in the Whitegate area. Today it is very difficult to identify the actual valley for it has altered beyond recognition over the years. This Illustrated talk by Society members Mark Johnson and Michael Lawson, examines the valley and the various changes it has undergone since its original rural appearance. In the first half of the 19th century the Rochdale Canal and Manchester to Leeds Railway cut through it, to be followed by the 'secret' airfield scheme of the First World War period. Later in the 20th, century it became the site of Chaddeton Power Station, demolished 25 years ago this year, before finally providing suitable land for the extensive Broadway Business Park, and the local route for the M80.

5th May: 36th Annual General Meeting

Attendance is always very good for this important event of the year, and all members are encouraged to attend. The election of the six Trustees of the Charity, and other officials for the following year will take place. There will also be an opportunity for discussing the direction in which members feel the CHS should go. The Programme for 2011-2012 will be available, and will give members full details of the various talks, visits, etc. which have been planned. A great deal has been achieved in the past thirty-five years, and it is our intention to continue to build on this success. The Society is well-respected both locally and within the wider region, and all our members are invited to share our vision for the future. There will also be a small display of archive material, which has been acquired by the Society in recent years.



1st June Visit to Victoria Baths, Manchester

Chadderton awaits the opening of the new swimming pool, we take the opportunity to visit a baths from a different era. Manchester's Water Palace', the Victoria Baths, were designed by the first City Architect, Henry Price, and opened in 1906. No expense was spared in its design and it displays multi-coloured brickwork and terracotta decoration. glazed tile cladding, with decorative glass in most windows. For 86 years the complex provided three swimming pools, a laundry, private baths and Turkish Baths. In 1952, the Baths Installed the country's first Jacuzzi, but were closed in 1993, increasingly in poor repair, but remaining remarkably intact. The restoration of this Grade 11* Listed Building began in 2007, with an extensive programme of external and structural work to the Turkish Baths. This included rebuilding of floors and roof, restoration of stained glass windows, restoration of the mosaic floor, and the revealing of a long-hidden glass block pavement. You are sure to enjoy 'Britain's' Best Loved Restoration Project'.

Meet at Victoria Street Car Park at 6.30p.m to arrange transport Please note early start

2nd July: 'Railway Ramble'

This year commemonates the 1700 anniversary of the opening of the Manchester and Leeds railway through Chadderton. Local diarist George Whittaker informs us: 'Friday 31st May 1839. The first train of carriages passed between Rochdale and the Linnet Inn in Chadderton ... The fare from Manchester to Mills Hill was: first clan 1s 6d (7.1/2p) second class 1s 0d (5p); and third class 6d (2.1/2p) The project commenced in 1830, the engineer being George Stephenson, but opposition held up Work for some years before the necessary Parliamentary Bill was passed in 1837. Locally, the work entailed the digging of outings at Greengate, the culvertIng of brooks at Slacks Valley, and the raising of several embankments, Including the one across the Irk Valley at Mills Hill, described at the time as the 'longest and highest work of that description in England'. This evening, members will learn more about the history and construction of this early Victorian railway, as we visit two locations along its mute through Chadderton.

(Meet at Victoria Street Car Park at 7.15 p.m. to arrange transport or at Mills Hill Station Car Park a 7.30 p. m)

6th August: Visit to Middleton Old Grammar School

One of Middleton's greatest sons, Thomas Langley (1363.-1437), later Cardinal, Chancellor of England, and Prince Bishop of Durham, was the original founder of the Grammar School when he endowed a charity at Middleton Parish church in order that a priest might also educate the children of Middleton. In the 16th century, Alexander Nowell, a former pupil of the school, was granted letters patent by Elizabeth 1 declaring: "... for the better informing, training and education ... of the children and youths ... there shall be forever a free and perpetual Grammar School within the said town ... which shall be named 'The Free School of Queen Elizabeth in Middleton'. The Old Grammar School was finally closed around the turn of the 20th century, and the property donated to the Parish Church who leased it to various organisations. By 1990, the Old School was deteriorating, and a Trust was established to ensure a future for these historic premises, To hear the full story, join us this evening at Middleton Old Grammar School.

(Meet at Victoria Street Car Park at 7.15 pm. to arrange transport)

3rd September: Visit to Prestwich Parish Church

Chadderton was formerly one of the ten townships which constituted the ancient parish of Prestwich-cum-Oldham. The first church may have been Anglo-Saxon, and served an extensive parish area. The tower of the present building dates from the late 15th century, whilst the main body of the church was erected in the early 16th century. In 1889, the present chancel was built to a design by Paley and Austin of Lancaster. The stained glass is mostly Victorian although the windows in the west wall near the north entrance are probably 18th century. During the late 160, and throughout the 17th century, the Asshetons of Chadderton Hall were Patrons of the Living, and as such instituted 'Bishop' John Lake (formerly of Chadderton Fold) to the parish in 1668. a family member, became Rector in 1685. Members are assured of an interesting evening in this Grade 1 Listed Building, with its many local connections.

[Meet at Victoria Street Car Park at 7.00p.m. to arrange transport]

1st October: The Manchester Region's Revolution

The end of the 18th, and the beginning of the 19th century, was characterised by the onset of the Industrial Revolution. The whole fabric of English Society was changed in a manner never before seen, as people from the countryside flocked into the growing towns, to seek a livelihood not available to them in their rural environment. The centre of this great upheaval was the Manchester region, with cotton manufacture providing the catalyst for the momentous changes. This evening, Pauline Saxon, from Ashton-under-Lyne, describes in her very comprehensive and local talk the part played by the Manchester region in the development of Britain at this particular period in our history.

5th November: Notable Occupants of Our Manor

About 1255, Richand De Trafford divided his possessions between his two heirs, the younger son, Geoffrey, receiving the Manor of Chadderton and Foxdenton. He adapted the name of his estate becoming Geoffrey de Chadderton and the founder of that family. Successors to the Chadertons at Chadderton Hall were the Radclyffes, Asshetons and finally the Hortons. A Radclyffe branch also owned Foxdenton Hall from the mid -15th until the mid-20 century. Geoffrey de Chadderton was a signatory to the Manchester Charter of 1301, whilst in 1415 John Radcliffe was knighted by King Henry V at Agincourt. Edmund Assheton was on Queen Elizabeth's ecclesiastical commission for Lancashire, whilst several Lords became High Sheriffs of the county, or were well known within royal circles. This talk, by Society members Michael Lawson and Mark Johnson, looks at the lives and achievements of some of our more notable Manorial Lords, set within the richness of England's history.

3rd December: Christmas and New Year Traditions

As we enter the season of Advent, our thoughts begin to turn to the wonderful Feast of Christmas, Over the centuries numerous traditions have evolved in connection with this celebration, not all of them readily understood, but all with a meaning of their own. The coming holiday period also takes in the New Year which has its own unique customs. January itself takes its name from the Roman god Janus, whose two heads symbolised looking backwards into the past, and also forwards to the future. Margaret Clay from Rochdale makes her first visit to our Society and will give us an insight into the many traditions associated with this time of the year when the days are at their shortest.


7 th January: Party Night - Wartime Forties

The theme of the Society's annual party this year is the nineteen-forties. The first five years of that decade were pre occupied with the Second Word War, the period forever being associated with austerity and 'make-do and mend'. Whether viewed from a civil or military prospective, this wartime theme should provide plenty of inspiration for those members who wish to add to the atmosphere by attending in period costume. Authentic music from he period will also be played, whilst our culinary expert, Christine Dennis, assures us that catering will be based on Forties food, but certainly will not be rationed! Please don't forget that members are responsible for bringing along their own favourite beverages.

4th February: St Luke's Parish 1616 to 2008

It was with sadness, felt by many people, that St. Luke's Church closed for the last time during 2008, its 120th anniversary. Although never the official parish church of Chadderton, its size and location near the town centre, meant that it assumed the dignity of a civic church, especially during the period of the Chadderton Urban District Council. St. Luke's can trace its history back to around 1816, and the formation of Stock Brook Sunday School. From then, until its recent demise, the parish had a very memorable history which will be recalled this evening by Society members Michael Lawson and Mark Johnson.

4th March: 'The Ramblings of a Luney to Lancaster'.

Margaret Curry makes her fifteenth visit to share with us, once more, her depth of knowledge on the north-west. This evening we take a journey along the River Lune from its source in the Howgill Fells to Morecambe Bay. Along the way we learn something of the history and delights of this beautiful part of the country. On reaching the river's estuary she takes us around our historic county capital of Lancaster Founded by the Romans, [Is interesting buildings include the castle, partly 130 century, its historic Priory Church, and the19" century Roman Catholic cathedral. Six of our Lords of the Manor served as High Sheriffs of Lancashire, their shields being displayed in the Shire Hall. It was said that Lancaster Assizes sentenced more people to be hanged than any other in the country outside of London!

8th April: De Traffords of Trafford Park - Final Years

The De Trafford family were Saxon in origin, and had been associated with Ttafford Park since at least the late 12th century. In the following century, they came into the possession of the Manor of Chadderton and Foxidenton when Geoffrey Do Trafford became our first resident Lord, changing his name to Geoffrey de Chadderton. The De Traffords continued to own Trafford Park down through the centuries, but in 1882, their estate was threatened by the projected Manchester Ship Canal which was intended to run round its north side. The plan was vehemently opposed by Sir Humphrey Do Trafford right up to the time of his death in 1886. In 1898, after numerous abortive attempts by Manchester City Council to buy the estate for conversion into a public park, Sir Humphrey Francis De Trafford sold the land in its entirety to Trafford Park Estates, who turned it into the first industrial estate in Europe. This evening, Carole O'Reilly makes her first visit to Chadderton, to describe more fully these final years of this illustrious family.

6th May: 35th Annual General Meeting

Members are encouraged to attend this meeting at which the six Trustees of the Charity, and other officials, will be elected for the following year. There will also be an opportunity for discussing the direction in which members feel the CHS should go. The Programme for 2010-2011 will be available, and will give members full details of the various talks, visits, etc, which have been planned. Much has been achieved in the past thirty-four years, and it is our intention to continue to build on this success. Our Society is a well-respected organisation within a wide region and all members are invited to share our vision for the future.


June 2007 - May 2008

7th June A Ramble in Royton Town Centre

Royton Town Centre, unlike Chadderton's, developed around its ancient manor house and its historic centre.

Hence, there was a succession of buildings of note in a fairly concentrated area. This evening members of Royton Local History Society welcome us as they point out some of the many items of interest to be found within this central area. The Parish Church of St. Paul was erected in 1889, to replace an earlier structure of 1754, and in the churchyard may be seen the remains of the village stocks, a sundial, and several tombstones of note. Royton Town Hall was built in 1880, whilst the library and baths followed in 1907, and 1910, respectively. There was once an indoor market with stalls for fifty tenants, whilst there have been three police stations since 1855. Our neighbouring township holds many surprises for us, as we shall find out.

(Meet at Victoria Street Car Park at 7.00p.m. to arrange transport.)


5th July Visit to Ashton-u-Lyne Parish Church

Chadderton's connection with Ashton-under-Lyne goes back to around 1450, when one of the three co-heiresses to the Manor of Chadderton, Joan Radcliffe, married Edmund Assheton. Today both towns share the same motto 'Labor Omnia Vincit' (Work Conquers Everything) whilst the black mullet of the Asshetons is a prominent feature in both coats-of-arms. It is believed that there was a church in Ashton before the Norman Conquest, as the Domesday Book mentions a St Michael's Church in the east of the ancient parish of Manchester. The present building dates from the fifteenth century although much of the structure was re-constructed in Victorian times. The church is built in the Perpendicular Style with large windows, which necessitated supportive buttresses. St Michael's boasts some of the best examples of fifteenth century stained glass left in Britain. The nave of the church is dominated by a three-decker pulpit, which has pews facing it, rather than the altar. These are box pews complete with doors, with the wealthier families seated nearer the front.

(Meet at Victoria Street Car Park , at 7.00p.m. to arrange transport.)

 2nd August: 'From Greatness to Glory' An Anniversary Visit to Chadderton Cemetery.

The 18 acres of Chadderton Cemetery were purchased by the Oldham Burial Board at 150 per acre, and the cemetery was opened in August 1857. It was designed by N. G. Pennington, the architect of Oldham Lyceum,, and was taken over by the former Oldham Corporation in 1867. This year is the 150th anniversary of the cemetery which to date holds the graves of nearly 100,000 people. Chadderton soon became a fashionable place in which to be buried, and this evening's visit will concentrate on the impressive 'top walk', which contains the graves of many of Chadderton's noteworthy citizens of yesteryear. These include Ernest Kempsey, who held the distinction of being four times Chairman of the Urban District Council, and John Platt, MP for our town from 1868 until his death in 1872.

(Meet at Victoria Street Car Park at 7 15 p. m. or the cemetery gates at 7 30 p.m.)

5th September Visit to Lark Hill Place, Salford

Please note the change of day to Wednesday!  

This year celebrates the 50th Anniversary of the opening of Lark Hill Place, in Salford Museum, and is therefore an appropriate occasion on which to make a visit. This reconstruction of a street of typical nineteenth century Salford buildings, was created from features salvaged from houses and shops, during the demolition of parts of the city in the 1940's. Many of the unhealthy cramped dwellings, dating from before the 1840's, had been replaced after 1870, by terraced streets with yards and back alleys. Prominent within this pattern were a variety of corner shops. Lark Hill Place, named after the Georgian Mansion that once stood on the spot, greets us at a winter tea-time just after the street gas lamps have been lit. Join us as we recapture past living conditions, and let our imaginations run riot!

(Meet at Victoria Street Car Park at 7 00 pm to arrange transport)

4th October Failsworth Pole

Failsworth's most notable landmark is its 'pole'. Although there is evidence of a pole, possibly a Maypole, prior to 1793, it was in that year that the first political symbol was erected to "overawe the Jacobins, and to demonstrate the loyalty of the township, and its hatred of Tom Paine, and all his works.' To date there have been five poles. The present one, which surmounts a handsome brick clock tower, was erected in 1958. Perched 54 feet [16.1/2m) above ground level, on top of the modern pole, is a gift-painted solid copper 'Cock of the North'. Our friends from Failsworth outline the reasons behind the Pole, and describe the various ones that have occupied the same site during the past 214 years.

8th November The Four Meres of Saddleworth

Making his first visit to us is Mike Buckley, Chairman of Saddleworth Historical Society. Saddleworth has from ancient times been divided into four divisions or meres, and each of these has shaped Saddleworth in a different way. Friarmere, originally monastic land, was eventually sold by King Henry viii. Lordsmere, as the name suggests, was land belonging to the Lord of the Manor, and held as the Manorial Demesne. Quickmere was originally moorland, owned as independent Saxon freehold land. The smallest estate, Shawmere, was originally owned by the Shaw family before passing to the Radcliffes of Ordsall, Salford, who were related to the Radcliffes of Chadderton. Members will doubtless learn much about this very unique community that forms over half of our borough's area.

6th December. Party Night 'Imperial Echoes'

Over the years we have had themed parties on periods from Ancient Rome to the 1940's War Years. This year we look back to the days of the Raj and the British Empire, an empire on which it was said the sun never set. It is recorded that Queen Victoria enjoyed curry, which she thought delicious, but a wide variety of food from many distant parts of the former empire will be available this evening. As is the custom, members are encouraged to come along in appropriate costume, although this is certainly not compulsory. A joint bar, to which members are asked to contribute, will provide the liquid refreshment for the event.


3rd January Chadderton's Claims to Fame

When the Society first published its leaflet on 'Chadderton's Claims to Fame', it contained only a dozen or so entries. Over the years a great many more interesting facts have been discovered. This evening's illustrated talk by Society Members, Michael Lawson and Mark Johnson, will look at a selection of the more unusual Claims to Fame, and Fascinating Facts. Did you know that a Chadderton resident carried out the last official hanging in the UK, prior to the abolition of the death penalty? Who was he? What was AL 63, and why was it important during the Second World War? All will be revealed this evening!

7th February When the Saints Came Marching In! Part 1 - Early Days

Our friend of many years, Margaret Curry, from Rochdale, makes her thirteenth visit to us with yet another of her extremely informative, and also entertaining presentations.. With particular reference to Lancashire she traces the coming of Christianity to our shores.: This first of two illustrative talks covers the Pre-Christian Period, via the Roman legionaries to the death of the Anglo-Saxon Saint Aidan in AD 651.

6th March 'Ferney' Farnworth

Farnworth means "the enclosure among the ferns", and according to a source dated 1787, the area was overrun with ferns. The township passed to several families, notably the Levers and the Hultons, and the industrial history started in 1611, when George Hulton dug the first coal pits. By 1848, there were 20 pits in the area, whilst beneath Farnworth is a series of underground canals, dug in the early 1800's to transport coal to Worsley. Other industries included iron foundries and cotton mills. Originally, within the parish of Deane, its parish church of St. John was consecrated in September 1826, by the Bishop of Chester. In 1894, the township became an urban district, which in 1939 was elevated by charter to a municipal borough. This evening Ken Beavers introduces us to this Lancashire town, situated on the rivers Croal and Irwell.

3rd April Visit to Local Studies Centre, Oldham.

Following the talk given to us last April by Roger Ivens, the Archives officer for the Borough, we take this opportunity of visiting the Local Studies Library in Oldham. The impressive archives contain a wealth of material on Chadderton, and this evening members will have the opportunity of seeing this first hand.

(Meet at Victoria Street Car Park at 7 arrange transport)

1st May 33rd Annual General Meeting

As many members as possible are encouraged to attend this most important meeting. This evening they have the opportunity of criticising, in a positve manner, any aspect of the Society's activities, and of defining the direction in which the CHS ought to go. The election of trustees, and the various other officials of the Society, will also take place, whilst the Programme for 2008-2009 will be made available. Much has been achieved in the past thirty-two years, and the Society is a well-respected organisation within our metropolitan borough, and in the wider north-west region. We intend to build on this success story



8th June Visit to Roman Castlefield, Manchester

Julius Agricola built the first fort overlooking the confluence of the rivers Irwell and Medlock, about AD 79. This wooden fort, on the road from Deva (Chester) to Eboracum (York), was named Mamucium after the outcrop which resembled a breast shaped hill. Over the next three centuries, a stone fort was built, and a small civilian settlement, or vicus, grew around it. It has been estimated that some 2000 people lived in the complex, including soldiers' wives and families, and traders and craftsmen. At the withdrawal of the Romans in AD 411 the fort and settlement were abandoned, became overgrown ruins, and ultimately were buried under the railways and canals of Victorian Manchester. The reconstructed North Gate, and other features show how the fort would have appeared about AD 200. Members are assured of a fascinating glimpse into the distant past when Britannia formed the northern boundary of the Roman Empire.

Meet at Victoria Street Car Park at 7. p. m. to arrange transport.

6 th July Ramble: Mills Hill - Canal Environs

The Rochdale Canal was opened throughout its 32 miles length in 1804, and one tenth of it passes through Chadderton. During the 1 19th century it was much used on a local level. The walk along the canal towpath from Mills Hill will go as far as 'Th' Iron Donger' historic railway bridge, and members will be able to see, among other features, the site of McDougall's Chemical Works. The ramble also takes in the rural area which lies above the canal.

( at Victoria Street Car Park at 7 15 p. m., or Mills Hill Station Car Park for 7 30 p. m. Start).

3rd August: Visit to Littleborough

In April 2005, Mark Pearson from the local historical society gave us a very interesting talk on Littleborough old and new. This town, which historically was situated within the ancient township of Blatchinworth and Calderbrook, is perhaps best known for Hollingworth Lake, a popular beauty spot, known in Victorian times as the 'Weighvers Seaport'. However, this evening members of the Littleborough Historical Society will be showing us some of the interesting buildings to be found within the town centre.

(Meet at Victoria Street Car Park at 7.00 p m. to arrange transport).

7th September: Visit to Radcliffe Tower& Church

Radcliffe Tower was the original home of the Radcliffe (Radclyffe) family, one of the most illustrious in England. Two branches became our local Lords of the Manor - at Chadderton Hall (c1367-c1454), and Foxdenton Hall (c1454-1953) The ruined Tower stands in a loop of the River Irwell, which is overlooked by the 'red cliff of sandstone which gave the township its name. In close vicinity stands the medieval parish church of St. Mary. A church has existed on the site since Saxon times and the present structure, a Grade 1 listed building, has been modified over the centuries. The oldest part is the nave, built in the early 15th century, by James de Radcliffe. The tower dates from 1665, but incorporates original features. A guide will be available in the church.

(*Please note early start . Meet at Victoria Street car Park at 6.30p.m. to arrange transport).

5th October: 'Looking Back at Newton Heath'

Joining us for the first time is Peter ChorIton who will give us an insight to the history of Newton (Heath). Situated on the doorstep of Manchester, this ancient township saw a rapid increase in population in the Victorian period, and this created problems too great for its Local Board of Health. As a result the township sought incorporation with the neighbouring city in 1885. However, it was five years later before the township was absorbed by the metropolis. No doubt members will leave the meeting with a much deeper understanding of this important district of north Manchester.

2nd November: 'Rails Radiating from Manchester'

Making his first visit to us is Donald Cash from Shaw, whose talk is on the history of Manchester's rail routes. Several railway lines were constructed out of Manchester during the 19th century, and these were operated by various companies including the Lancashire and Yorkshire. Three lines came through Chadderton with stations sited at Hollinwood and Middleton Junction. Grouping of companies took place in 1923, whilst nationalisation and rationalisation after WW11, led ultimately to the decline of many lines in the region. Privatisation in the 1980's opened a new chapter in rail transport, and Manchester Victoria is now linked by the Metrolink to Manchester Piccadilly thus connecting the systems north and south of the city.

7th December: Archives Evening

In February 2005, an unscheduled change to our programme gave members the opportunity to look at items from our large archive collection. This included documents - originals and copies, photographs from our wide collection, and various other artefacts. It was very well received and members requested another opportunity of 'perusing the archives'. This evening will be an informal one of looking at this material, of chatting and generally enjoying the company of other members. Such a relaxing evening must surely end with coffee and mince pies!

14th January: Salve, Populi Chaddertoniens151

'Greetings, People of the Township of Chadderton!' As is our tradition we commence the New Year with a historically themed party, and this year we return to the days of Imperial Rome, as we sample some of the delicacies from this distant period. One of the seven Roman roads radiating from Mamucium (Manchester) came through Chadderton at Streetbridge, and some of the unspoilt natural areas of our township would certainly have been familiar to the legionaries. Latin will, no doubt, be spoken this evening (albeit with a Lancashire accent!). Members are asked to bring along 'vinus' or the juice of fermented hops and barley. Roman costume is encouraged - a toga needs little preparation - but this is certainly not essential!

1st February: Tales of Two Cities

London and Westminster are not the only two famous cities existing side by side, alongside a river, for in our own region we have the twin cities of Manchester and Salford, sitting astride the River Irwell. Whilst the latter city may have developed in the shadow of its larger neighbour it has a rich history of its own, and staunchly maintains its independence. Medieval Manchester developed at the confluence of the rivers Irwell and Irk, some 1.1/2 km from the former Roman site, and it became the parish for a wide area including its near neighbour. However, Manchester was to owe territorial allegiance to the Royal Manor of Salford, the name Salford also being given to one of the six ancient divisions or hundreds of the county. Manchester is now the seat of an Anglican bishop, whilst across the water is the cathedral of the Roman Catholic bishop. Margaret Curry, making her twelfth visit, is certain to provide us with an interesting insight into these two friendly rivals!

1st March: Toys and Games

Raymond Rush, from Macclesfield, makes his third visit to the Society. In past years he has regaled us with the background history to how our fairs, feasts, and festivals came into being, and also provided us with much new information about our Christmas and New Year We all have memories of our favourite toys and games, and this evening Ray takes as his subject the history of this central aspect of childhood. Ray's inimitable style and infectious laugh are sure to make for a most entertaining, as well as informative, evening.

5th April: Archives of Oldham Local Studies Centre

Over the years members have made several visits to the Local Interest Centre in Oldham. Few can dispute the wealth of information contained in this valuable asset to the metropolitan borough. This evening the Archives Officer, Roger Ivens, makes his first visit to the Society to talk about the archive material at the Centre. He will also bring along items which will be of particular interest to Chaddertonians.

3rd May: 32nd Annual General Meeting.

This meeting is always of the utmost importance since it sets out the policy of the Society, and the direction in which members would like it to go in the future. It gives the opportunity for constructive criticism and for newer members to inject fresh ideas into the organisation. All members are requested to be present for the election of trustees, and the various other officials of the Society Much has been achieved in the past thirty one years, and the Society is a well-respected organisation within our metropolitan borough, and in the wider region of the north-west. Various topics will be open for discussion and the Programme for our monthly meetings during 2007-2008 will be available.

 2005 -2006
9th June Visit to Ordsall Hall, Salford
 The first Ordsall Hall dates back to before 1250, and the present building retains features of the manor house begun by Sir John Radclyffe in the early 14th century. He was one of the descendants of the family from Radclyffe Tower, who also provided Chadderton Hall and Foxdenton Hall with their manorial lords. Ordsall is a timber-framed building of outstanding historical and architectural interest, with an impressive spere truss. The Radclyffes of Ordsall and of Foxdenton were closely related branches, but in 1662 Ordsall passed out of their hands. Members are assured of a very interesting visit as they are conducted around the hall by a guide in Tudor costume.

[Meet at Victoria Street Car Park at 6.00 p.m. to arrange transport. Please note early start!]

7th July: Visit to Delph Village, Saddleworth

It is many years since the Society visited one of the villages which together make up that rather unique community of Saddleworth, historically in Yorkshire but on the Lancashire side of the Pennines. Delph is our destination this evening and the history of this village, which sits astride the River Tame, will be outlined by a member of the Saddleworth Historical Society, as he takes members and friends on a conducted tour.

[Meet at Victoria Street Car Park at 7.00 p.m. to arrange transport, for 7.30 p.m. start in Delph.]

 4th August: Ramble around 'Our Ancient Centre'

For this year's local walk we look at the area from where Chadderton evolved. For convenience we start at St. Matthew's Church, the mother church of our township. After a short conducted tour we journey via Mill Brow, Cragg and Hill Top, before descending into Chadderton Fold -the ancient centre of Chadderton. In the environs of this attractive spot on the River Irk, there is much to interest the visitor, even if most buildings of note are no longer in existence. This ramble, together with October's talk, provides the ideal introduction to the history of Chadderton for the newcomer.

[Meet at Victoria Street Car Par at 7.00 p.m. to arrange transport.]

 8th September: Visit to Oldham Parish Church

The present church in Oldharn was opened in December 1830, the corner stone being laid by the Bishop of Chester, but there had been an earlier church on the site. Although the exact date when a church was first founded in Oldham is unsure, the first building was for many centuries a chapel-of-ease to the mother church in Prestwich. Chadderton was one of the ten townships which formed the Parish of Prestwich-cum-Oldham, and in the ancient church the Manorial Lords of Chadderton Hall had a side chapel, whilst the coat-of-arms of the Radclyffes of Foxdenton was portrayed in the east window. Unfortunately, none of these features survived the rebuilding, but the present church has much to interest the visitor, including the crypt with its coffin of the 'Oldham Giant', the bell tower, and some fine parish silverware.

[Meet at Victoria Sreet Car Park at 7.00 p.m. to arrange transport.]

 6th October Chadderton through the Ages

Within its comprehensive archives, the Society has hundreds of slides on Chadderton, its past and present. Members, especially those who have joined recently, have the ideal opportunity of seeing something of our town's rich and varied history. The long and impressive manorial period has an appeal of its own, exemplified in Foxdenton Hall. The change from a rural township to a Victorian town is illustrated by photographs detailing the evolution of local government, whilst the development of industry and communications is given consideration. On the social side, the influence of the churches and schools is Included in this wide-ranging talk.

 3rd November: The Romans in Lancashire

Making his fourth visit to us, Fred Holcroft from Wigan, takes as his subject the period of 400 years when 'Britannia' was a province of the Roman Empire. He explains how the Imperial Legions came to the northwest which was then inhospitable country inhabited by the Celtic tribe of Brigantes. Several important forts were to be constructed in the area later to become Lancashire, including Mamucium (Manchester) and Bremetennacum (Ribchester) and as many as seven roads are believed to have radiated from Manchester including one through Streetbridge in Chadderton. The talk will concentrate on the area near Wigan or Coccium.

 1st December: Nineteenth Century Greeting Cards

Advent marks the preparation period for Christmas, and this evening our thoughts turn towards the coming joyful season. Many of the festivities associated with Christmas developed during the 19th century, particularly in the Victorian period, and greetings cards are now seen as a central feature of the celebration. Sheila Sturrock from Burnley makes her first visit to Chadderton, and in her illustrated talk looks at examples of this form of conveying best wishes. Naturally, the evening would not be complete without mince pies and coffee.

5th January: Vintage Victorian

The New Year commences with our seasonal party, which this time returns to a Victorian theme. The young Queen Victoria came to the throne in 1837, dying in 1901, and during this longest reign of any English monarch the face of the country was transformed. In addition a great empire was consolidated in all parts of the world. The evening is one of fun with parlour games, etc. and includes a Victorian supper. Members are encouraged to come in appropriate costume.

 2nd February: Dirt and Disease in Lancashire

In Autumn 2004, the Society was given several copies of the Reports of the Medical Officer of Health for Chadderton, covering the years 1897 to 1913. As may be expected they make fascinating reading, especially the earlier ones. The most prevalent causes of infection in 1897 were Scarlet Fever, followed by Typhoid Fever and Diphtheria. During 1898 twenty?nine cases of Typhoid Fever occurred in Chadderton and a family of five in Block Lane were removed to hospital where one died. Poor sanitation and lack of cleanliness were contributory factors in contracting the infection. The guest speaker this month is Anthony Foster from Darwen. His illustrated talk is based on the health reports of that township for 1861 and 1874, when serious typhoid epidemics broke out among a section of the population. The talk focuses on the reasons why the township did not take sufficient precautions to ensure that the disease did not reoccur following the earlier outbreak.

 2nd March: Along the Eden Valley

This evening Margaret Curry makes her eleventh visit to Chadderton, to inform and entertain us in her own inimical way. Much travelled throughout the north of England, she takes us along the course of the River Eden which rises at its source near Kirby Stephen in Westmorland. Places and items of interest are captured on film slides as the journey of some ninety miles takes in Appleby-in-Westmorland the county town, Penrith, and Carlisle, county town of Cumberland, and administrative centre of Cumbria. The journey ends as the Eden reaches the sea at Solway Firth.

 April 6th Chadderton's Aircraft Industry -the End of an Era

During the past decade or so, Chadderton's most prestigious asset, its aircraft factory on Greengate, has become but a shadow of its former self as the work force was reduced dramatically. The news that it was to close completely marked the end of a significant chapter in our township's industrial history. Opened in 1939, the factory was then known as A. V. Roe's, and it was here that the Lancaster, the most famous bomber of the Second World War, was designed by Roy Chadwick arguably the world's greatest aircraft designer. Many other historic planes have come off the assembly line at Chadderton, including the magnificent Vulcan, a delta-winged bomber which was part of Britain's defence system until the early 1980's. This evening Harry Holmes, former employee and historian, traces the history of the factory. Although its closure may signal the end of an era, the blue eagle that proudly adorns the crest of Chadderton's coat-of-arms, will remind future generations of Chadderton's once most renowned industry.

May: 31* Annual General Meeting

All members are requested to be present at this important event at which the election of trustees, and various officials of the Society will take place. The Annual General Meeting also provides the opportunity for members, old and new, to consider the direction in which they would like to see the Society go in the future, and to criticise present policies if necessary. A great deal has been achieved in the past thirty years, and the Society is a well-respected organisation within our metropolitan borough, and in the wider region of the north-west. Various topics will be open for discussion and the Programme for our monthly meetings during 2006-2007 will be available.


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Programme of Events

2004 - 2005


 10th June. - Fire Service Museum, Rochdale

English legislation in 1189 encouraged the use of more fire-resistant building materials, whilst in 1212 it was decreed that water should be kept nearby for fire fighting purposes. The first appliance for delivering a continuous stream of water dates from 1675. During the 19th century manual fire engines were gradually replaced by horse-drawn steam engines. The Greater Manchester Fire Service Museum offers members the opportunity of exploring the fascinating history of fire fighting in our own region. Many of the exhibits are fire appliances shown in period settings, such as a Victorian street, and a 1940's scene during the blitz.

(Meet at Victoria Street at Car Park at 7 p.m. to arrange transport)
1st July. - Washbrook Walkabout.

Our local history ramble this year commences at Washbrook, also known as Butler Green. Commencing at the crossroads the walk takes us along Stanley Road to trace the line of the former Hollinwood branch canal and its basin in south-east Chadderton. Along the way the history of a variety of buildings will be outlined. The ramble then goes along the township boundary to Mill Lane returning to Washbrook by way of Spencer Street, Old Lane, and Block Lane. Maps will be available to bring aspects of a bygone age alive.

(Meet at Victoria Street Car Park at 7.00 p.m. to arrange transport, or at Wallis St. (car parking) for 7.30 p.m. start.)
5 th August - Mossley Industrial Heritage Centre

Based in Longlands Mill. built in 1871, the Centre was formed when local interest was shown in the building after Emmaus, a Christian charity, bought it in 1996. It is run by Mossley Civic Society who developed the Centre when former workers started to reminisce about their lives at the mill. Memories abounded, and all had tales to tell. This served as an encouragement to dig into their photograph albums, bookshelves and attics. This fascinating account of industrial development in Mossley should appeal to all members.

(Meet at Victoria Street Car Park at 7 00 p.m. to arrange transport


2nd September - Setantii Tales of Tameside

This evening we travel to the borough of Tameside, and also back in new visitor attraction that time as we experience this exciting traces the history of Tameside from Celtic times to the present. Housed in the basement of Ashton-Under-Lyne's elegant Town Hall, the displays help us to team about the Setantii who were a local tribe of Brigantes defeated by the Romans in AD 71. We also experience the 15th century market, find out about local involvement in the Civil War, and took at the famous Longendale Longbow. This was the type used at the Battle of Agincourt, at which our own John Radcliffe of Chadderton Hall fought. The experiences conclude with the industrial and cultural developments of today.

[Meet at Victoria Street Car Park at 7.00 p.m to arrange transport.]

7thOctober. - The English Civil War in Lancashire

The mid-17th century saw English society torn apart by internal conflict as the autocracy of King Charles I was challenged by Parliament. The ensuing civil war was to lead, ultimately, to democracy as we now know it. Fred Holcroft, on his third visit to us, gives members an insight to how the Civil War of 1642-49 affected all levels of society in our own county. Locally, Edmund Assheton of Chadderton Hall, and William Radclyffe of Foxdenton Hall, were staunch royalists, and our manorial lords were to suffer greatly for their cause.

 4th November - Sea to the West.

Making her tenth visit to us, Margaret Curry is guaranteed a very warm welcome. This evening her illustrative talk takes us up the north?west coast of England, commencing at Morecambe Bay in our own county of Lancashire. Her journey continues through Cumberland, with its unspoilt coastline, and on to Solway, passing through an area largely off the usual tourist trail.However, we are assured that there is plenty to interest the visitor - and our members!

2nd December - Christmas Miscellany. Here and There -Then and Now.

As we commence Advent, our thoughts turn towards the coming festive season of Christmas, with its many customs and traditions, some of which we accept without asecond thought. Paying her first visit to us is Barbara Lovegrove from Heald Green, Stockport. Her illustrative talk looks at a variety of these customs, both British and mainland European, many of which trace their origins to pre?history. The evening ends, most appropriately, with coffee and mince pies.

7th January. - Tudor Treat

For our themed Party Night this year, on the feast of Epiphany, we return to the era of the Tudors, a dynasty which was, without doubt, the most renowned in English history. Although the five monarchs occupied the throne from only 1485 to 1603, their reigns encompassed a period of great events and momentous changes. Member Christine Dennis will more than satisfy our palates with her tasty and genuine Tudor removes, whilst appropriate music, etc. will add atmosphere to the evening. Tudor costume - and this can be quite simple - is encouraged but is, by no means, obligatory.


3rd February. - Failsworth Pole

Failsworth's most notable landmark is its 'pole'. Although there is evidence of a pole, possibly a Maypole, prior to 1793, it was in that year that the first political symbol was erected to "overawe the Jacobins, and to demonstrate the Loyalty of the township, and its hatred of Tom Paine, and all his works." To date there have been five poles. The present one, which surmounts a handsome brick clock tower, was erected in 1958. Perched 54 feet [16.1/2m] above ground level, on top of the modern pole, is a gilt-painted solid copper 'Cock of the North'. Jim McMahon, Secretary of Failsworth Historical Society, gives the reasons behind Failsworth's Pole, and describes the various ones which have occupied the same site during the past 212 years.

March 3rd. - Lighten Our Darkness!

Stained glass windows are surety one of the most beautiful and richest forms of artistry. This evening, Society members Michael Lawson and Mark Johnson treat us to examples to be found in the windows of Chadderton's churches, including some by the celebrated Belgian artist Capronnier. They also look at stained glass to be found in some non-ecclesiastical buildings of Chadderton. Glass can also be etched, to produce pictures or lettering. A selection of such images, found in the windows of local mitts, public houses, etc., will also feature in this illustrative talk.

April 7th. - Littleborough - Old and New

As part of our ongoing programme to look at other towns in Lancashire, we welcome Mark Pearson of the Littleborough Historical Society. In the true sense Littleborough was never a township itself, but was situated within the historic township of Blatchinworth with Calderbrook. This, in turn, was one of four townships which had been formed from Hundersfield, a large township mentioned as early as 1332. Local government reorganisation in 1894, created urban district councils, and the former Littleborough local Board took under its authority not only the whole of Blatchinworth and Calderbrook, but also parts of two adjacent townships. Mark's illustrative talk this evening considers both the history and redevelopment of this Pennine town, which is probably best known for Hollingworth lake.

5th May. 30th Annual General Meeting

It was exactly thirty years ago this month that the inaugural meeting of the Society was held, and work of a very diverse nature has taken place during this long period of time. This evening members have the opportunity to assess the progress made to date, and to put forward any suggestions for future activities. It also provides the occasion when members can change, or reelect, the six trustees, and the other committee members. All members are asked to attend this milestone meeting which will end, undoubtedly, with a celebratory drink!

The Society's Newsletter, 'The Griffin', is published quarterly, in February, May, August and November. It is available to all members, and to the general public. Back numbers may also be found on our website:


The Society meets at 7.30 p.m. at Chadderton Central Library, Middleton Road, Chadderton, on the first Thursday of each month unless school holidays, etc. necessitate a change of date to the second Thursday.

Mernbership- Annual Subscription 10.00 Visitors' donations most welcome.


Programme of Events

2003 - 2004

 12th June "On the Border - a unique part of Chadderton"

The local history ramble this season takes in part of the area known as Middleton Junction. The construction of this railway junction in 1842, led to the formation of a large village community, which was unusual in that it was divided between two local authorities, Chadderton and Middleton. To a certain extent it possessed its own identity but, in the late 1960's, urban renewal by Chadderton Council led to the demolition of most of its section of the 'village'. With the aid of contemporary maps, the walk will reconstruct many of the features of this rather unique part of Chadderton.

[Meet at the Car Park opposite the 'Railway and Linnet' for 7.30 p.m. start.]


3rd July. - Visit to Whitworth Museum

 This Museum, on North Street, is owned by Whitworth Historical Society, which was formed in 1973. Their first museum was housed in part of the former Council Offices until 'generosity outweighed available space' and it was moved to the local Methodist Church. It took up its present premises in 1985, and relies on a group of willing helpers for its success. The museum, which features a large display room packed with exhibits, also houses a splendid reference library and large collection of photographs. Donations welcome.

[Meet at Victoria Street Car Park at 7.00 p.m. to arrange transport]


7th August. - Visit to Middleton Parish Church

 Joan Gillett takes us on a two-hour tour of this largely 15th century church, built by Thomas Langley, later Cardinal Bishop of Durham. It still possesses Norman carved stones in its tower, and splendid woodwork enriches the building, including a 16th century chancel screen depicting the Assheton family arms. Members of this family are also portrayed in what is considered the best gallery of monumental brasses in Lancashire, whilst pride of place is undoubtedly the 16th century 'Flodden Field' window, depicting local archers who took part in this famous English victory over the Scots. Donations welcome.

[Meet at Victoria Street Car Park at 6.45 p.m. for a 7.00 p.m. start in Middleton]


4th September. - "On the Move" - Transportation in Chadderton: Part Two

 In April the first part of this illustrated talk was given. This evening, Society members Michael Lawson and Mark Johnson, conclude the story by looking at the changes that have occurred to the rail system in the past fifty years, including the proposed Metrolink. It also considers the impact on Chadderton of its two motorways, the A627(M) link, and the M60. The restoration for pleasure use of the Rochdale Canal is also described, whilst the talk ends by looking at some unusual transport accidents that have occurred locally, and also at some rather bizarre modes of transport. The talk will begin with a brief resume of Part One, which included ancient lanes and tracks, canals, railways, trams, and the construction of Broadway.

2nd October . - "Monastic Churches of Medieval England"

 One of the most interesting and poignant aspects of the English countryside is the number of monastic ruins to be seen. For many centuries these religious foundations, besides being centres of prayer and study, were also involved in a diverse range of crafts and occupations. In addition, they provided the only social security available to the people at large. Brian Marshall, an expert on ancient history and archaeology, pays his first visit to us as he looks at the monastic churches of medieval England, including some in our own county of Lancashire.

6th November. - " Days in the Dales"

The delights of the Yorkshire Dales include attractions of many kinds. Unlike some areas of natural beauty, the mark of civilisation has enhanced the scene rather than detracted from it, and life in the Dales is a constant celebration of a rich and ancient heritage. This evening Margaret Curry makes her ninth visit to us, and is assured of a warm welcome as she describes, with the help of slides, some of the history and curiosities to be found in this most beautiful part of the country.

4th December. - "Christmas and New Year Customs"

 Raymond Rush, from Macclesfield, returns for his second visit and is most welcome. His accent, infectious laugh, and unique humour, will certainly add to the proceedings as he regales members with a whole series of anecdotes, concerning the celebration of two of the year's most popular festivals. He subtitles this talk 'rites and rituals, fun and frolic' and this description undoubtedly sums up his approach!



8th January. Annual Party: Theme "Back to Lancashire"

Over the years we have had a wide variety of themes for our annual party. These have ranged from the 'Romans' to the 'Roaring Twenties'. This year we return to our roots, so to speak, as we celebrate the fact that we are still proud citizens of Lancashire - a county famous throughout the world as the place where the Industrial Revolution provided the impetus for Britain's 19th century prosperity and imperial greatness. A traditional supper from our great Red Rose County will be provided, and hopefully, the evening will not be interrupted by any 'trouble at t'mill'. A local history fun quiz will also take place, the first for ten years, and members are invited to come in traditional Lancashire costume.

5th February. - "Royton Hall"

 As with Chadderton, our neighbours in Royton have a memorable manorial history of which they can be proud. This centred on Royton Hall, a building of medieval origin that was demolished in 1939, the same year as Chadderton Hall. Only the site now remains, but interest in this manor house was rekindled in 2001, when Frances Stott, local librarian and historian, had published her 'History of Royton Hall'. This evening she provides us with a detailed account of this former home of the Byrons, Percivals, Pickfords, and Radcliffes, around which the town of Royton was to develop.

4th March . - "Work Conquers Everything"

 The title of our talk this evening is the translation of the Latin motto on Chadderton's coat-of-arms: 'Labor Omnia Vincit'. This motto was adopted in the early years of the Chadderton Urban District Council, and summarises the reason why Chadderton changed from a rural township to a Victorian industrial town. In 1801, the township had a population of only 3,452 and was still under manorial control. One hundred years later it had 24,892 inhabitants and was an important cotton-spinning town. Although cotton was of paramount importance, it was not Chadderton's only industry, and this evening Society members Michael Lawson and Mark Johnson, take an illustrative look at the many diverse industries which provided a livelihood for the town's population. These include the more modern enterprises such as Ferranti Electronics, Her Majesty's Stationery Office and, most prestigious of all, British Aerospace.

1st April . - Visit to Stockport Air Raid Shelters

One of the many legacies of the Second World War was the large number of air raid shelters. Some were quite substantial, and capable of accommodating many families, whilst others were for domestic use only, and often occupied a small plot in the garden, or back yard. Stockport has a rather unique labyrinth of tunnels which were cut into the red sandstone rock, and were capable of accommodating thousands of people for prolonged periods of time. These tunnels now provide visitors with a fascinating trip back in time, to experience what it was really like sheltering from the Blitz in 1940's wartime Britain. Admission charge.

[Meet at Victoria Street Car Park at 6.45 p.m. for a 7.15 p.m. start in Stockport]


6th May. - Twenty-Ninth Annual General Meeting

 The importance of the Annual General Meeting cannot be stressed. It provides the opportunity for members to consider policies, and the direction in which they would like to see the Society go in the future. The organisation is now twenty-nine years old and much has been achieved over this long period of time. It is a well respected body throughout the metropolitan borough, and beyond, its views being sought on a number of occasions. There will the opportunity for open discussion and for members to raise their own concerns. The election of Trustees, and various officials, is an important part of the proceedings, and all members are asked to attend.

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Programme of Events
2002 - 2003

13th June 2002 

Visit to Heptonstall and Hebden Bridge.

The ancient village of Heptonstall sits proudly and secure on the hillside above Hebden Bridge, in the West Riding of Yorkshire. The village is unique and its centre is protected as a conservation area. As members wander around the village they can see the Old Grammar School, the Cloth Hall and the Mechanics Institution. An unusual feature of Heptonstall is the two churches in one churchyard-one now in ruins. The churchyard itself is reputed to hold 100,000 bodies! Afterwards we descend into Hebden Bridge in the Calder Valley. Winding through the centre of this pleasant small town are the Rochdale Canal and the Manchester to Leeds Railway. An optional 'Chippy Supper' seems the ideal way to conclude our evening!

{Meet at Victoria Street Car Park at 6.30 p.m.}.

4th July 2002

Visit to Manchester Town Hall

Despite our regional capital being only six miles away, this will be our Society's first visit Alfred Waterhouse's Gothic masterpiece - Manchester Town Hall? Work commenced on this magnificent structure in 1868, and it was opened officially on 13th September 1877, at a cost of 1,000.000. Built on the irregular site of Albert Square, the building has a striking facade extending 88.1/2 m {290 feet} along one side of the square. Crowning this monument to Victorian achievement and prosperity is the massive clock tower that rises to a height of 100 m {328 feet} above the central entrance porch. The interior is even more awe-inspiring, and in the imposing Great Hall are the murals painted by Ford Madox Brown which depict the history of the city.

{Meet at Victoria Street Car Park at 6.30 p.m. or Lloyd Street Entrance for 7.00 p.m.}

 1st August 2002

Ramble; "The Baretrees Circular"

Most areas of Chadderton have now been included in our local history rambles over the years, but there are still pockets of interest waiting to be discovered. This year the walk commences in the Broadway /Middleton Road Junction and proceeds along Wellington Street to Burnley Street. From there it crosses to Victoria Street, with its 19th century industrial background and then follows Burnley Lane to Broadway. Along the route are a variety of interesting features, including Fitton Park, named after a local councillor who gave 28 years service to the people of Chadderton. The final section, along Broadway, holds more history than members may imagine. With fine weather, the walk is sure to be as enjoyable as our many previous ones.

{Meet at Wellington Street Car Park, opposite St. Herbert's Church at 7.30 p.m.}

5th September 2002

Visit to Toad Lane Museum, Rochdale 

 Among the many snippets of information that the aveage adult aged over 40, is able to recall, is the family 'Co-op Number'. Few people have forgotten theirs, whilst thirty years ago there was a branch of the local co-operative society in every locality. In Chadderton there were no less than 15 branches, but all have long since closed, as a result of changes in shopping patterns and facilities. The Co-operative idea was a great innovation, and this evening a visit is made to the home of this revolutionary movement in Rochdale. The store in Toad Lane was opened in 1844, and visitors can see displays of original documents and artefacts outlining the story of this remarkable enterprise.

[Meet at Victoria Street Car Park at 6.30 p.m.. The visit is booked for 7.00 p.m.]

3rd October 2002

Looking Back at Stretford

Stretford, where a Roman road once crossed the River Mersey, is probably best known as the home to Manchester United, the Lancashire county cricket ground, and Trafford Park industrial estate. Like Chadderton, it was for many years an urban district, but its prestige was enhanced when it gained borough status in the 1930's. This evening Bill Newton, of Stretford Local History Society, takes us back into the history of this township with his selection of slides.

7th November 2002

 "History of the Ancient Township of Halliwell"

This evening we welcome Peter Nightingale, from the Halliwell Local History Society, who will introduce us to the history of this old township. Halliwell formed the north east part of the ancient Parish of Deane, and is perhaps best known for the impressive manor house of Smithills Hall. This was a residence of a branch of the Radcliffe family. Part of the township was incorporated into the Borough of Bolton in 1877, and the rest was absorbed in 1898.

5th December 2002

"Through Glass Brightly"

Margaret Curry is now an established friend of our members, and this evening makes her eighth visit. Stained glass windows are one of the joys experienced when visiting any old English churches, and an important part of our heritage and culture. This evening Margaret looks at the beautiful, and also unexpected, in English stained glass windows.


9th January 2003

ANNUAL PARTY: Theme "The Edwardians"

After the Victorian era, which spanned the greater part of the 19th century, the Edwardian years are often overlooked. Queen Victoria's eldest , Albert Edward, was nearly sixty years old when he succeeded his mother in 1901, and was to reign for only nine years. During this time he won the affection of his people, was known as the 'Peacemaker', and the whole period leading up to the war in 1914, is seen as one of stability, At a local level several of Chadderton's public buildings were erected. One again Society member, Christine Dennis, has undertaken to provide an appropriate menu. Edwardian costume is optional, but welcome.

6th February 2003

"The Busby Years" - Manchester United's Story (Part 2)

Last 'season' we saw how Manchester United were formed, and how they became eventually a team of note on the international scene. In part two of their illustrated talk, Society members Reg Lord and Matthew Butterworth, continue their story as they relate the events of the 1950's including the disaster at Munich in 1958. This is the era of Sir Matt Busby, who was to take the club to new heights, and see Old Trafford transformed into the present 'Theatre of Dreams' .

6th March 2003

"Denton Hall and Medieval Life"

Our visiting speaker this evening is Frank Brown from Denton Local History Society. With the aid of models of the building, he gives us an account of the history and development of Denton Hall. Like most manor houses, it went through a number of changes during the centuries, and these alterations will be fully illustrated using the models. Frank will also describe the life style of those who lived at Denton Hall in the Middle Ages.

3rd April 2003

"On the Move" - Transportation in Chadderton

The earliest roads in Chadderton were mere tracks, but today the town is firmly placed on the national motorway network. especially at junction 21 of the M60,. This evening Society members Michael Lawson, and Mark Johnson, describe the development of our local transport and communication system. Chadderton also had the terminus of a branch of the Ashton Canal, whilst the Rochdale Canal was of major importance as it wound its way through the western part of the township. The railways also played a part, albeit somewhat marginally, in Chadderton's industrial growth. Trams, buses, motorcars, and the forthcoming Metrolink, are also considered in this illustrated talk.

1st May 2003

Twenty-Eighth Annual General Meeting

Alway well attended, the Annual General Meeting provides the opportunity to consider future policies, and the direction in which they would like to see the Society go in future years. Much has been achieved in the past twenty-eight years, and the Society is well respected organisation throughout the metropolitan borough, and beyond. There will be many topics open for discussion and members are free to raise their own concerns. All members are asked to be present at this important event at which the election of Trustees, and various officials, will also take place.



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Programme of Events

2001 - 2002


7th June 2001

Visit to Fairfield Moravian Settlement, Droylsden.

The Moravian Church traces its origins to 1457, when it

was founded in Moravia, now part of the Czech Republic.

 Its official name is Unitas Fratrum, Or Unity of the

Brethren, and it was the first to be formed during the

 Reformation period, preceding Martin Luther by sixty

 years. Following persecution, the Church was 'renewed'

 in 1727, and spread to other countries, including

 England. A Moravian Church exists at: Westwood just

 over the Chadderton boundary, but this evening we have

 a guided tour of the historic settlement at Droylsden.

[Meet at Victoria Street Car Park at 7.00 p.m.1

 5th July 2001

Visit to Portland Basin Museum, Ashton-under-Lyne

The Portland Basin, refurbished and re~pened in 1999,

 is the centrepiece of the Ashton Canal Warehouse, now

 looking much as it did in 1834, when it was first built.

 Here we have the opportunity to walk back in time and

 learn about Tameside's history, whilst we experience the

 lifestyle, industries, crafts, and trades of hygone ages

Call at the Bridge Inn, chat in the chippie, pop in the

 grocer's, visit the doctor - discover just how times have

 really changed!

[Meet at Victoria Street Car Park a: 7.00 p.m.]

 9th August 2001

"Broadway Central to Firwood Park"

The local history rarnble this year commences a:

the Broadway/Middleton Road junction and proceeds

down Middleton Road as far as Ferney Field Read in

 the district known as Nordens. The route then continues

 down Ferney Field and along the public footpath through

 Firwood Park Estate. After reaching the Rochdale Canal

 the route continues to Foxdenton Lane which is followed

 for a short distance until a public footpath takes us back

 towards Ferney Field Farm. From there the disused

railway line is followed along the new linear park to

 Hunt Lane and back to Broadway. This ramble takes in

a variety of interesting features and is sure to be as

 enjoyable as our many previous local walks.

[Meet at the Car Park outside St. Herbert's Parish

Centre a: 7.30 p.m.]

 6th September 2001

Visit to the Weavers' Triangle Visitor Centre, Burnley

This evening we take a walk through the Weavers' Triangle -

 a well-preserved Victorian industrial landseape. While

 Chadderton was an important town in the cotton spinning

area of Lancashire, Burnley led the world in the weaving of

cotton cloth. The opportunity is offered to examine various

 buildings weaving sheds, spinning mills, warehouses,

foundries, domestic buildings and a school. See a weaver's

 cellar dwelling from the turn of the l9/2Oth century, and

 inspect a fine canal-side wharf, before ending the evening

with tea and biscuits in the Wharfmaster's Victorian parlour.

[Meet at Victoria Street Car Park a: 7.00 p.m. prompt.

the tour is booked for 7.45 p. m.]


Rochdale Canal Restoration Update




7th February 2002

"In the Steps of the Brontes"


7th March 2002

"Fairs, Feasts, and Festivals"


11th April 2002

"The Radclyffes - Family of Distinction!"

In his 'Book of the Radclyffes'

2nd May 2002

Twenty-Seventh Annual General Meeting

The Annual General Meeting provides the opportunity for

members to consider future policies and the way they would

 like to see the Society progress in the future. We have commenced

 our project to create a 'Chadderton Heritage Centre' and this will

 he one of the major issues under discussion, All members are

asked to be present at this important meeting at which the election

of Trustees and various officers will also take place.

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 Year 2000 to 2001

8th June 2000

Visit to Chetham's Library, Manchester.

Chetham's Library, founded in 1653, is the oldest public Library

{Meet at Victoria Street Car park at 7 p.m. or Chethams Library

 at 7.30p.m.}

6th July 2000

Visit to Rochdale Museum Archives Storage.

This archive storage building,
[Meet at Victoria Street car park at 7.10 p.m.]



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4th January, 2001

Annual Party - Theme "The Forties"

The theme of the society's annual party this year is the

 nineteen-forties. The first five years of that decade were

 preoccupied with the Second World War, while the years that

followed, comprised a period of austerity and reconstruction.

 Whether viewed from a military or civil perspective, the "Forties"

 should provide plenty of inspiration for those members who wish

to add to the festivities by coming along in period costume. Many

 thanks to Christine Dennis who once again, will be responsible for

the catering-based on Forties Food!

1st February, 2001

"Sixty Years of Spinning Yarns - Part Two"

 Ken Brough, who visited us two years ago, continues his tales

 of life in the local cotton industry. With the news of the impending

 closure of Chadderton's last mill actively engaged in cotton

spinning - by a strange co-incidence named the "Chadderton Mill"

 - the choice of subject seems most appropriate. At one time the

town had nearly 60 cotton mills covering the landscape. Today

only 15 of these industrial giants survive, each bearing mute

 testimony to the industry that once placed our county of Lancashire

at the centre of the world stage.


1st March, 2001

Visit by Oldham Local Studies Archive Officer

This evening we welcome for the first time Maria Sienkiewicz, Oldham's

 Archive Officer. She will give us an insight into the resources and working

of the vast Archive Department of the Local Studies Library, and it is planned

 that she will bring along several items associated with the history of



5th April, 2001

"The Life and Times of Bishop William Chadderton"

William Chadderton, who was born about 1540 at Nuthurst in

our neighbouring township of Moston, was a direct descendant

of Geoffrey de Chadderton, the first Lord of the Manor of

 Chadderton and Foxdenton back in the 13th century.. Embarking

on a career in the church he held the office of Warden of

Manchester Collegiate Church (now the Cathedral) before

becoming Bishop of Chester and then of Lincoln. Society

members Michael Lawson and Mark Johnson give an illustrated

account of the life of Bishop Chadderton setting it within the wider

 context of the turbulent religious changes of the sixteenth century.

3rd May, 2001

Twenty-Sixth Annual General Meeting

All members are asked to attend this important meeting at

which the election of Trustees and Officers will take place.

 The AGM provides the opportunity for members to discuss the

future direction of the Society and to put forward their views on

 any aspect of the Society's policies.

Special Visit-December 2000
Christmas Market at Skipton

The Society normally meets at 7.30 p.m. at Chadderton

 Central Library,
Middleton Road, on the first Thursday of each month, unless holidays,

 etc. necessitate a change of date.
Membership subscription on application. Casual visitors donation

of 1.00
most welcome. 

Chairman: Mark Johnson. Secretary: Michael Lawson B.Ed.,M.A.
Chairperson;  Christine Dennis.

Treasurer: Denis Barrott. Membership Sec: Alan Clegg

Email, Newsletter & website Secretary; Enid Johnson

Patron Lady Maureen Black (Radclyffe of Foxdenton)

President Rtd Cllr. Jim Greenwood.

Vice President Councillor Colin McLaren.

Chadderton Community Council 'Champion'.



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