Chadderton Historical Society
Quarterly Newsletters


The Constitution
School Local History Projects
Members of Parliament
History of Local Government
News of the Year
Christmas Lights
Sir Philip Sidney Stott, Blue Plaque
Geoff Tootill, Baby Computer
Places of Worship and Education
Family History and Research
Chadderton Organisations
Chadderton Hall
Foxdenton Hall
Chadderton Cotton Industry
Programmes of Events 2000-ToDate
Secretary's Report
Heritage Centre
Membership and CHS Publications
Favourite Links
Henry Taylor
Geoff Tootill, Baby Computer
Lydia Becker, Suffragist
Avro History

Quarterly Newsletters of the Chadderton Historical Society
The Griffin
     Number 78                                                                  August 2016

                                                                                                                                  = COMMENT =                                                                                                                                   
Corner Shop to Shop-on-Line

 Using role play, and a wide variety of period artefacts, children readily appreciate the time it took to purchase these goods from the many shops.
 Most of these items can now be purchased in a single supermarket. They learn about ironmongers, drapers, pork butchers, herbalists, milliners,
 confectioners, tripe dressers and other small shops of yesteryear. Older residents may recall the scores of small shops that once graced Middleton
 Road in Chadderton Town Centre. All were demolished in the redevelopment of the 1970's. Many were outdated premises, poorly situated,
and a modern, centralised shopping area was the vision of the day.

 It must also be accepted that the Co-op shops, whose complete range of retail outlets occupied  much of the north side of this main road, had 
become the proverbial 'Ghost in the High Street' through lack of foresight and investment. 

middleton road pre1970

On the other hand, the fifteen or so shops facing the Town Hall, Library and Baths, on the south side of Middleton Road, ought to have been retained 
to complement the new development, as in similar towns. As it was, a new Shopping Precinct was built which was never of sufficient size to cater for
the variety of goods not sold in the Asda Superstore, which was the anchor store and focal point of the new retail provision. 
 Facing the Precinct was 
the Melbourne Mill, demolished in 1980. Officially designated for industrial use, the scheme for the land was criticised by Chadderton Historical Society,
this resulting in a compromise whereby retail provision was included. As a result, Home Bargains, Farmfoods and parades of shops and services now 
form a welcome extension to our Town Centre.

Unfortunately, charity shops and betting offices now occupy several units in Chadderton, this being a sign of the times. Are the former the modern
counterpart of the pawnbroker of Victorian Chadderton?

On balance, it has to be said that Chadderton Town Centre, despite any shortcomings, but with its new Wellbeing Centre facilities, draws far, more 
customers and footfall than did its predecessor of pre-1970 days.

It should be mentioned that Chadderton also has, in other parts of the town, a Morrisons Superstore, a Costco and a Lidl, whilst we should not forget 
that the whole of the Elk Mill Complex lies within our boundaries, despite its postal address. A computer presentation  describes  many  of  the  above 
changes to the children, while the very use of such modern technology is an indicator of a further stage in our changing shopping habits – shopping on line!

 Historic Anniversaries

(2) Clayton Playing Fields

Fifty years ago, on 23rd April 1966, the people of Chadderton, Royton and Oldham were presented with their new playing fields, constructed on land

where the boundaries of the three towns converged off Broadway. The valley which occupied the site was part of Plumpton Clough and was infilled

using the ash and clinker from the former Chadderton Power Station.The playing fields were the gift of the late Ina Clayton and his generosity has been

acknowledged and treasured ever since, providing as it does, an oasis of greenery in an ever-encroaching urban landscape. It is gratifying that we are able

to celebrate the fifty years of Clayton Playing Fields. Here's to the next fifty!

The Croft

An article by Member M.F.

At the top of Butterworth Street was a big open space but we avoided it as a play area. We knew it as the croft but everyone knows it these days as 

Chadderton Football Club ground. With a new surface it has been completly changed. In the past coal was mined there and after the closure of the pit

the land was left with a gritty surface like cinders. A fall was extremely painful since all the grit had to be picked out of the wound and it was usual 

to paint it with iodine. 

On our way to St. Mark's School we would stop by the cover of what had been the pit head. Time had causd a small hole to develop in the concrete

and we enjoyed dropping stones down the shaft, waiting to hear them hit the bottom. This was on Andrew Street where the bungalows are today.


On the far side of the croft was the brick yard. Perhaps it had once been a brick works and a great pile of bricks remained to make a great adventure

playground. Imagination ran wild! We believed that hidden among the bricks was a certain something which, when rubbed on the hands, would numb 

the effect of the cane. Sadly, we never found it! [The Society has a brick in it archives inscribed in the frog with the words 'Chadderton Brickworks'.]


Birthday Greetings

  Congratulations to Executive Committee Member Janet Crombie who attains the Big 6-0 on 30th August. We are sure she will have a great day with her

  family. Ad Multos Annos! 
New Councillor

Our best wishes are extended to Chris Goodwin, Chadderton's newest councillor, who was elected for Chadderton South Ward in this year's May elections. 

we hope he will have a most rewarding and successful career in local politics. Also re-elected in May were Fazlul Haque for Chadderton North and Susan 

Dearden for Chadderton Central. 


Chadderton Cemetery's

Youngest Soldier (Pt. 2)

Life-long Chaddertonian, Alan Sprawson, continues the account of his research into the life of Private Charles Walter Maskell 14208, of the
Lancashire Fusiliers. Charles  is the  youngest  soldier  from the  Great War who is buried in Chadderton Cemetery, dying on 27th May 1915, aged 15.
[After giving a false age and enlisting in the Lancashire Fusiliers at Hove, near his home in Sussex, Charles has then come north to train at Bury in the 
17th Bantam Battalion, formed in December 1914.] 
During this time he came to Chadderton for further training. [On 16th March 1915; Chadderton Army Camp was opposite Chadderton Hall grounds]. 

Sadly, he became ill and was taken to Westhulme Hospital, Oldham, for treatment. Westhulme at the time was also a Tropical Disease Hospital.
Now with help from the family history people on Union Street, Oldham, we felt felt that Walter more than likely had tuberculosis.
Through a friend who has a newspaper cutting from this time about Walter, it was reported that he sadly died from heart disease. My friend sent
 this information to me and also details of his funeral. It reported that Walter had a full military funeral with officers and men from the Lancashire 
Fusiliers, with honour guard and a band who played the Last Post His mother and father also attended plus a large crowd of local people. It was
reported that the Service was very impressive with floral tributes from his parents and family and  also  from officers  and men  of  his  battalion 
[17th Battalion, 1st South-East Lancashire]. A sad story of a young man a long way from home.

And so on the 27th May 2015, one hundred years after his his death, I went to place flowers on his grave and there were some flowers already at his 
headstone. I thought, "Hmm, that's nice, someone else has remembered." One week later I went to our family grave to place flowers for my parents'
anniversary and I noticed that there were more flowers on Walter's grave. I was puzzled about this and went over to look at Pte Maskell's grave. I 
looked at the flowers and tucked down was a card and on it were the words, "Uncle Walter, we  have  not  forgot  you,"  and on the back  of   the 
card was an email address. {To be continued]


Chadderton Women's Institute

We offer our best wishes to the new Chadderton Branch of the Women's Institute on its recent formation, trusting that it goes from strength to strength.
Meetings are held on the first Tuesday of each month at St. George's Church, Broadway/Mough Lane at 7.30 p.m. For further details contact Emma Collins.
at em_coll@  .

Chadderton Day 'Royalty'

Congratulations to new Chadderton Princess, Ellie Marie Buckley Whitworth, and Chadderton Prince, Riley Faulkner, who were crowned respectively by 
the Mayor of Oldham Metropolitan Borough, Councillor Derek Heffernan and the Mayoress, Di Heffernan, on Chadderton Day, 9th July. We hope they
enjoy their year of office.

Historic Pubs of Chadderton

No. 18 The Albion Inn, Drury Lane

The Albion Inn opened in 1867, its tenant being Thomas Halford. It was a replacement for a former beerhouse, kept by him, which stood on Under Lane
which ran from Tinker Lane (later incorporated into Manchester Road) to Drury Lane. Thomas was a sporting man and once kept two racing dogs, 'Mounter'
 and 'Tulip'.
His new pub was built on Okell Meadow, but whilst it was being constructed he was fined 10 shillings (50p) for allowing drinking outside permitted
hours at his old establishment. The Albion opened in August 1867, as a beerhouse only, but  Thomas  applied  for a full  license in the  following  year  as  he  
felt that its size warranted this. The inn then had a rateable value of £21 and there were four rooms upstairs including a large clubroom, and four on the ground
floor, including an enclosed yard with a water pump! His bid was successful.
albion inn drury lane

In the 1871 census, Thomas was at the inn with Sabina his wife, and their two young children, but Thomas was to die at the early age  of 45  in  1882.  Four years later 
his widow remarried, her husband being William Heywood who then became the licensee. He was 46 and Sabina 52, with her 22-year-old dauighter Elizabeth being their 
barmaid. Also living at the Albion were William's sister Margaret a domestic servant, and 16-year-old Sarah Heywood, a milliner.

A police report in 1890, noted that the inn was in good condition, with overnight accommodation for one traveller and able to provide meals for up to six persons.  

Some time after 1902, the Heywoods left and the inn became owned by J. W. Lees Brewery. In 1909, a music license was granted which no doubt livened the
place up in the evenings! Jane Rossington followed her husband Joseph in 1915, and in the 1920's the brewery modernised the premises for future tenants
by building a bathroom and extension to the rear.

The  Albion's longest serving tenant since Thomas Halford, was James Needham 1936-1953, but in later years the pub was to suffer from house clearance and the 
collapse of the local cotton industry. However, in more recent times the inn has seen a revival of fortune in an area of new light industries.

[Next in Series: Crown Inn (Sump Hole), Walsh Street, Cowhill] 


Whittaker Writes … (5)

Extracts from the Day Books of George Whittaker, sometime of Racefield Farm, Chadderton, who died in 1868, in his 78th year.

1841 Nov. 6th The Population of Chadderton in 1841 is 5,405. In 1831 it was 5,476 being a decrease in ten years of 71. The births in 1840 was 171, and the 

deaths 102.

Nov. 17 The first stone was laid for the Bridge at Cherry Row [Streetbridge]. It was built by subscriptions for £89 10s 0d [£89.50; £8,225 in today's prices]

1842 Feb. 17. The first cart passed over Cherry Row Bridge.

June 12. Sunday Jane Guest Daughter of William Guest of Healds Green, went off with Edin Day, Landlord of the Hortons Arms Public House. and left his 

wife and three children, supposed for America.

July 5. Tuesday John Fitton or Old Tottle, was found drowned in the Canal at Slacks Valley aged 53, he was one of worst Debauched talkers in the Country,

and not fit for any Society whatever.

Dec. 4. Sunday the Barn of Jacob Tomlinson was set of fire by carelessly leaving a candle burning in the Barn, and Property to nearly 20£s was burnt before

the fire was extinguished.

Dec. 19 Mon. Today my son George went to my daughter Nancy at Nottingham in search of work.

1843 Feb. 16 Thurs. Died at Chadderton Workhouse, Joshua Coupe. best known as Jone-oth-Grenfelt. Aged 79 years. A Merry peal was rung on the Oldham

Church Bells at his funeral. according to his request when alive & in health.


Archive Material

Andrew Spence, Royton: grave paper of burial at St. Matthew's (Chadderton Church) in 1907; Visiting Card of Rev. E. Higginson, one-time 

Vicar of Emmanuel Church, Chadderton. 

Peter Dronsfield, Member: Selection of books on Lancashire area, etc.; Latin Gradual and Missal (1897), formerly belonging to Canon George Tighe,

Parish Priest of St. Herbert's R.C. Church, Chadderton 1924-1975; weaver's shuttle. 

Eileen and Jack Hulme, former Chadderton councillors: Boxes of photographs of local government candidates. 

Janet Crombie, Member: Photograph of soldiers in WW1, New Testament presented to soldier in WW1, Allies postcard from WW1, 

Grenadier Guards brass name plate.

St. Herbert's R.C. School, Chadderton: Book – Coronation Glory, A Pageant of Queens 1559-1953

Ebay: Label, Alex Parsons Medical Supplies, Chadderton, c1940's.


Website & Contacts

The Society's Website, which was chosen by the British Library for inclusion in its Archives, as an example of good practice, 
may be accessed at . To date 125,100 people have visited it. Comments and queries 
may be made to Enid Johnson via email: . The Secretary of the Society, Michael Lawson BEM, 
may be contacted on [0161] 652-3930; and via email; . 


(c) Chadderton Historical Society 2016


Number 77                                                                                                                            May 2016

                                                                                          Devolution or Revolution?

'Northern Powerhouse' is a phrase that is becoming increasingly familiar. Whilst it has been coined by contemporary politicians, local historians ought to recognise its significance, for it is a restatement of that concept which once placed our region at the centre of the national economy during the Industrial Revolution. It was wealth created by northern enterprise, but especially by its tireless workers, that made Britain so significant on the world stage.

Devolution to the ten metropolitan boroughs of Greater Manchester, referred to colloquially as Devo Manc, is an important feature of this new vision. It is an undeniable fact that London and the South-East benefit far more economically than does the North-West.

Greater Manchester's population of 2.7 million is larger than Northern Ireland's; its economy is bigger than that of Wales; it has a higher growth rate than Scotland. Why should the Greater Manchester region not have control over certain affairs as these nations have?

Many people are motivated by the idea of an English Parliament, which they see as balancing the autonomy given to the other three nations of the UK. While this idea may have much merit, there remains the concern that such an assembly might automatically be located in London, thereby not addressing the present criticism of remoteness.

The population of England comprises 84% of that of the UK, and the principal of several regional assemblies, rather than a single national one, could make more sense.

Naturally, the ten metroboroughs of the Greater Manchester Region are keen not to lose out in any future realignment of local government structure, and Oldham Metropolitan Borough shares this concern. Only seven years ago it was 'rebranded', the intention being to create a more positive, identifiable and acceptable image.

Recently, the Office of National Statistics named 'Oldham' as the most deprived 'town' in England, but this calls for clarification. As our new MP, Jim McMahon, commented so succinctly and correctly: "... it doesn't say the whole of the borough of Oldham is deprived, which is helpful because of course it isn't and the towns and villages which make up the borough of Oldham are quite distinct." The rebranding exercise acknowledged this very same fact of individuality within the Borough.

Balancing pride in one's town, metropolitan borough, region/county, nation, and ultimately the United Kingdom, can prove a most interesting exercise. If Devo Manc does emerge within the local government framework, it will make for a new political revolution, and Oldham Metropolitan Borough can only benefit. Exciting times may lie ahead for the Greater Manchester region, and this will affect us all, with our  own particular loyalties and allegiances.

Birthday Greetings

Our best wishes and congratulations are offered to member Mary Ashworth who celebrates her 75th birthday on 15th June. We trust she will have a lovely day!


Councillor's Retirement

The Society's thanks and appreciation are extended to Councillor Dave Hibbert for his long and dedicated service to the people of Chadderton. First elected in 1994, he has represented the people of Chadderton South Ward continuously since then, following in the footsteps of previous South Ward stalwarts such as Ralph Semple.




 In recent years he has been the Council's Cabinet Member for Housing, Planning and Transport. We feel sure that he will continue to serve our community in other ways in the years to come, and extend our best wishes to him and his wife, Mary.


Chadderton Day

This takes place in Foxdenton Park on Saturday 9th July from noon to 4.00 p.m. Help to celebrate all that is good about Chadderton, the town, its people and achievements.


Chadderton Cemetery's Youngest Soldier (Pt. 1)

Life-long Chaddertonian, Alan Sprawson, gives an account of his research into the life of Private Charles Walter Maskell 14208, of the Lancashire Fusiliers. Charles is the youngest soldier from the Great War who is buried in Chadderton Cemetery, dying on 27th May 1915, aged only 15.

I first became aware of Private W. C. Maskell when visiting, with my parents, my grandfather's grave who had died in 1966. After placing flowers on the grave, my mother, Ethel, took me over to the water fountain that used to be nearby and next to it was Private Maskell's grave which she pointed out to me. To see the age of Pte. Maskell when he died during World War I, only 15, was an eye-opener and sad to see. We both thought that the young man must have been a local lad, being buried in Chadderton, and belonging to the Lancashire Fusiliers.

After the death of my father in 2001, my mother and I continued to visit our grave and at Remembrance Time we would put flowers there and also a poppy cross. Usually we would have flowers left and so we started to put these and a poppy on Pte. Maskell's grave, still believing he was a Chadderton lad. In 2013, my mother passed away and among the things I inherited were bibles, photo albums and her collection of family history, often dated and going way back. She had often showed me these family records, had visited church record offices before computer research sites were available, and all this had got me interested in genealogy. I decided to join an ancestry site on computer to find out more about my family tree.


After placing flowers on my own family grave during a visit, I put some spare ones on Pte. Maskell's as previously, and when looking at his headstone made the decision to research his history, to see if he still had a family in Chadderton. It seems comical now to realise that I was to finish up in a cafe in Brighton Marina!


The journey began with my research into his name on the Military History site, using his regimental number. Before long I was amazed to find that Private Maskell, now named Walter Charles, came from Brighton in Sussex on the south coast, and had been born in 1900. Pte. Maskell had a brother called George, who was already in the army during World War I, and was aged 19 years old. Young Walter had decided that he would also join up. Hearing that the Lancashire Fusiliers were recruiting in nearby Hove, he went there and signed up. He later told his parents what he had done, and knowing that he was underaged, they said they would have him stopped. However, he had given his brother George's age, 19, and had been accepted. Despite his parents' unease, Charles Walter Maskell made his way north to Bury to begin his training. [To be continued]


Historic Crest – Possible Origins

We read in the February edition we read about the Restoration of the 'Chadderton Crest' found under the stage of the Town Hall last year. The Society supplied the following information in an article to the Oldham Chronicle, in an attempt to solve the 'riddle' of its origins.


The unofficial coat-of-arms used by Chadderton Urban District Council from 1894 to 1955, features a cross potent (a cross with end pieces). Fig. 1] This cross was also used on the insignia of the Chadderton Local Board of Health (1872-1894). [Fig. 2]


It also also featured in the Arms of Bishop William Chadderton, a direct descendant of the original manorial family. He was Bishop of Chester, which diocese included Chadderton,  from 1579 to 1595, and afterwards of Lincoln until 1608. [Fig. 3]


In turn, the cross, which with its central rectangle is more correctly a cross potent and quadrate, was the central feature of the Arms of the Diocese of Lichfield in which Chadderton was situated during the Middle Ages. [Fig. 4]



This is known as St. Chad's Cross, after the first bishop, but there is no known connection between the bishop of that name and Chadderton. It still remains a mystery, however, as to whom we owe the design of 1894, Chadderton Council records remaining silent.


Historic Pubs of Chadderton

No. 17 The Spring Vale Inn (Khartoum), Burnley Street (Part 2)

In 1887, the Spring Vale Inn was acquired by Fletcher and Travis who owned the Edge Lane Brewery, Royton, and James Collinge became their tenant. At the 1891 census Job Holland was at the inn with his wife, Hannah, and young son, Harry. Their older daughter, also named Hannah, and her husband John Clark also lived with them.


It was about this time that the Spring Vale Inn took its nickname 'Khartoum', which is believed to honour a group of regulars who had joined the army, and perished with General Gordon at the Battle of Khartoum in the Sudan, in 1885. It is possible that the Gordon Mill in south Chadderton, built in 1884, was named in honour of this greatly respected army officer. In 1895, Oldham Brewery acquired the Royton-based Brewery and the tenant became John Bowerbank, a former secretary of Butler Green Working Men's Club. A rebuilding of the public house  took place around the turn of the century, the new inn being considerably smaller than the original.  


Whilst Harry Chadderton was licensee in 1912, the Chadderton Gardeners and Fanciers Association made their headquarters at the pub. His wife, Hannah, continued the tenancy after 1922, and saw the opening of Chadderton Market two years later on land now occupied by the Wellbeing Centre. No doubt this venture was beneficial to the Spring Vale but it ceased operating at the outbreak of the Second World War. Since then, a second market nearby has come and gone.


Alterations were made to the Spring Vale in 1961, and then five years later it became fully licensed. In 1973, Oldham Brewery extended the pub into the adjoining house and today it is an open plan inn. Surviving over the main entrance is an interesting stained glass window advertising 'semi-billiards', a modified form of the game and similar in some respects to bagatelle. About 1982, the pub was taken over by Boddingtons Brewery and later by Greenalls.


Whittaker Writes … (4)

Extracts from the Day Books of George Whittaker, sometime of Racefield Farm, Chadderton, who died in 1868, in his 78th year.

1841 March 1st  Monday. This day the Manchester & Leeds Railway was opened the whole length of the line being considered secure. [The completion of the Summit Tunnel, above Littleborough, enabled through trains to travel via western Chadderton and Mills Hill]

March 12 & 13. Celebrated Play of Wat Tyler was performed by the amateurs of Chadderton, at Healds-green school. The first performance of its kind to take place in Chadderton the audience was very numerous in spite of the Ranting Methodists who did all in their power to oppose the Act.

Thursday 29th April. This morning Chadderton school door was locked up by a man sent by John Haigh of Middleton, but the door was broken open as soon as he went away. A meeting was held that night at the school, when it was clearly proved that the ranting methodists had been to John Haigh and prevailed on him to lock it up, and let it to them at two pounds a year, with a view to get it into their own hands, the chief actors in this case were Joseph Sidebottom of Healds Green, John Kent of Healds Green, John Butterworth Son of Abraham Butterworth of Nod Gate. Joseph Hilton of Turnings. & John Hilton of turnings.

Oct. 6th Wednesday. This evening 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 bigeted set of men.

 Parish Centenary Celebrations
Our congratulations are extended to the parishioners of St. Herbert's R.C. Church, Chadderton, on attaining their hundred years of existence. The parish was founded from Corpus Christi, Chadderton, during the dark years of the Great War. The story of its foundation and growth are recorded in a Parish History to be published shortly. 

 Archive Material Received
The following people are thanked for recent donations:
Peter Briggs, Chadderton: large map of north Chadderton, 1893, for public display, with associated photographs. George Wrigley, Lytham St. Annes: cuttings and copy burial papers on family members, formerly of Chadderton; miscellaneous cuttings on Chadderton. Alan Clegg, Member: own sketches of Foxdenton Hall and Chadderton Hall from photographs; Book of photographs of Parkside House, Middleton Road West, during demolition c1988, with photograph of stained glass window in door; Programme from Lyric Cinema, Chadderton, dated November 1955. Anonymous: large photograph of River Irk viaduct and Rochdale Canal, following severe flood of 1927.  Anonymous: Chadderton Grammar School: - Welcome Home Re-union card (1946); Old Students' Association Re-union and Dance card (1949).

 Website & Contacts
The Society's Website, which was chosen by the British Library for inclusion in its Archives, as an example of good practice, may be accessed . To date ****** people have visited it. Comments and queries may be made to Enid Johnson via email: . The Secretary of the Society, Michael Lawson BEM, may be contacted on [0161] 652-3930; and via email; . 


(c) Chadderton Historical Society 2016






  Number 62                                                                                                                             August  2012


A Blooming Good Show

One of the highlights of the summer? season is the participation of our metropolitan borough in the national competition ‘Britain in Bloom’, which judges the most impressive floral displays. Over the years Oldham Borough has done itself proud, the Parks Department being a leader among the various council departments for the excellence of its work. Our parks in particular are most attractive with Chadderton’s three major parks, Chadderton Hall, Foxdenton and Coalshaw Green, each having received the prestigious green flag award. The smaller Princess Park and Fitton Park must also be included in any accolade for they are also so welcoming to the visitor.

This year the competition involves Chadderton to a higher degree than usual and few, if any, can fail to be impressed by the tasteful arrangements to be seen on our main highways and in Chadderton town centre. The town hall gardens portray the Chadderton coat-of-arms in a large floral arrangement that is no mean feat to achieve. The intricacies of depicting griffins, roses, bendlets and a mullet has been achieved on the shield, whilst the anvil, shuttle and blue eagle on the crest is equally recognisable.

Flower planters grace the town hall railings, and railings at major road junctions, whilst a significant number of multi-tiered planters brighten up and enrich areas at the entrance to the shopping precinct and at other sites along Middleton Road. At the major junction of Middleton Road and Broadway one display in particular calls for special comment.

 On the corner opposite St. Herbert’s Church, the floral creation takes as its focal point the colourful mosaic feature, symbolising Chadderton, that was created by the younger children of South Chadderton High School in the Spring of 2009.

It was encouraging that members of the public were invited to join in the planting out schemes, our Society’s own secretary taking particular pleasure in helping with the coat-of-arms and explaining its details to the panel of judges. We congratulate the Parks Department, in its various branches (no pun intended!), and hope that its hard work will have a successful outcome.

Rotary Club’s 50th Anniversary

We also congratulate Chadderton and Failsworth Rotary Club on celebrating its 50th Anniversary this year, thanking it for its involvement with the local community over this long period. Congratulations are offered to Society member and official Town Crier for Chadderton, Reg Lord, on taking over the role of President of the local Rotary Club. As part of the celebrations, the club joined in ‘Britain in Bloom’ by commissioning an eye-catching floral display, complete with caption, near the cemetery entrance at the Broadway and Middleton Road intersection. This complements the local authority’s displays most fittingly.

 Queen’s Diamond Jubilee

Tony Tomlinson, a Society member and co-optee on the Chadderton District Partnership, lit Chadderton’s Jubilee Beacon at Chadderton Heights on the night of 4th June to mark this memorable occasion in our nation’s history, our beacon being selected as symbolic of the borough as a whole for press coverage. As the flame soared upwards at the highest point in the town – 509 ft [155m] above seas level, members of the Society led the gathering in singing the National Anthem. Thanks also to Stan Mitchell and staff of Chadderton Hall Park for arranging the event.

A local connection with celebrations in the Capital was also to be seen on the afternoon of Tuesday 5th June, when the fly-past above Buckingham Palace included the iconic Lancaster Bomber designed in Chadderton during the Second World War.

 Heritage Weekend

The Society will once again be involved in celebrating aspects of our local history. On Saturday 8th September members of the public will be taken on a conducted tour of Chadderton Cemetery which opened in 1857. Designed by the Manchester architect N. G. Pennington, it is a Grade II site of national importance and contains some impressive monuments to local worthies, those from Chadderton being given particular consideration. The tours take place at 10.00 a.m. and 3.00 p.m.

On Sunday 9th September an illustrated talk on the history of Chadderton Town Hall will be given at intervals throughout the afternoon in the impressive ceremonial room, commencing at 1.00 p.m. The Society will also be displaying a collection of photographs and artefacts associated with the Town Hall which is celebrating its centenary in 2012 – 2013.

 Excavating Our Past

The manorial period of Chadderton’s history was a rich and romantic one, stretching from the mid-13th century to the middle of the 20th century, and the halls at Chadderton and Foxdenton were enlivened by occupants whose lifestyles and deeds often went far beyond the confines of the township. We are most fortunate in having Foxdenton Hall extant and it is often referred to as the ‘jewel in the crown of Chadderton’.

Sadly, Chadderton Hall faded into the annals of history when it was demolished in 1939, but that is not the end of the story. An archaeological dig is to be carried out on the site of the hall to discover whatever is possible from its buried history. The project, supported by the Chadderton District Partnership and the Borough Parks’ Department, will be led by the Centre for Applied Archaeology of Salford University.

At the initial meeting held in Chadderton Hall Park on 10th January, and afterwards at the Town Hall, our Society played an important role and will be fully involved in the ‘dig’. The excavation will take place from 10th to 22nd September,and the project is intended to involve local people, especially children from Chadderton’s schools. Further details will appear in the local press as they become known, but the project promises to be an exciting one for Chadderton as a whole.

Chadderton’s Health in the Late Victorian Period (Pt. 8 – Causes of Death)

The following table gives the average number of deaths per year for each disease, or group of diseases, recorded during the four year period 1897 to 1900, and also the percentage of the total deaths. The population averaged approximately 23,900.

Zymotic’ (a)                                                                         35.9                         8.0%

Diarrhoea (b)                                                                       27.5                          6.2%

Tuberculosis and associated diseases                           43.3                          9.7%

Cancer                                                                                  13.0                          2.9%

Respiratory diseases                                                         96.5                         21.7%

 Heart Disease                                                                    34.3                           7.7%

Diseases of the Nervous System                                    57.3                          12.9%

Diseases of the Digestive System                                  28.8                           6.5%

Diseases of the Urinary System                                      13.5                           3.0%

Death in Childbirth                                                             3.3                            0.7%

Deaths by Violence and Poison                                     14.3                           3.2%

All Other Diseases and Old Age                                   78.0                          17.5%

 (a) This obsolete term was used extensively from the 1840’s as a cause of death, but ceased to be used in the early 1900’s. It was derived from zyme or microzyme which was the name of a germ presumed to be the underlying cause of these diseases which comprised smallpox, scarlet fever, diphtheria, typhoid, measles and whooping cough.

(b) This included gastro-intestinal catarrh, gastro-enteritis, etc.

Respiratory diseases such as pneumonia, pleurisy and bronchitis were widespread, the latter resulting from the pollution of the air by the numerous industrial and domestic chimneys, whilst within the mills the situation would be compounded by the inhalation of dust from the cotton process. The dampness of the air, which was one of the reasons why the textile industry thrived locally, would also be a contributory factor in respiratory illnesses.

Tuberculosis, known historically as consumption, was of great concern as an endemic disease of the urban poor. In Chadderton nearly one in ten deaths at this period was attributed to it, but this was an improvement on the figures for 1815, when a quarter of all deaths in England were attributed to the illness.

 Violence and poisoning were recorded but we have no actual figures for suicides. During August 1898, thirty-six or more cases of food poisoning occurred in Chadderton causing three deaths. The Medical Officer made a full inquiry into all the cases and found that the poisoning came from the same source – veal pies baked at a confectioner’s shop. [To be concluded]

 Chadderton Day

This event, held on 14th July at Foxdenton Park, was again a great success, the Society playing its part as in previous years.

  Our thanks are given to the retiring Chadderton Prince and Princess, Max Butterworth and Jade Chadwick, for their enthusiasm and commitment during the past year. We congratulate their successors, Conor Smith and Olivia Henstock, who were crowned by the Mayor, Olwen Chadderton, and trust they will have a very enjoyable term of office.

Historic Pubs of Chadderton

No. 10 - Hunt Lane Tavern, Middleton Road

The Hunt Lane Tavern has its origins in a farmhouse which was situated in Hunt Clough. This was a valley through which ran the stream known as Spring Brook. The brook itself had its source in Oldham and  flowed westwards through Chadderton, part of its length being long since culverted, with Brook Street off Victoria Street still indicating its course. The Clough crossed Broadway and continued north of the present cemetery before turning south-west towards Ferney Field.  

The pub was in the area of Hunt Clough now built over by the Swallow Fields housing development off Middleton Road. The earliest landlord was Joseph Boardman who obtained a licence to sell beer at his farmhouse in 1840, and lived there with his wife Ann and three young children. The farm, with barn and some 20 acres [8.1 hectares] of land was rented from Robert Radclyffe of Foxdenton Hall for £73 1s. 0d [£73.05] in 1844.

Ten years later, Hannah the eldest child had left home but the younger children were still living with their parents, Eleanor being described as a servant whilst Charley was working on his father’s farm. Shortly afterwards, Joseph decided that a new public house on the nearby Middleton Road would be more profitable and this was subsequently built.

The new premises stood at the corner of Middleton Road, a turnpike dating from 1810, and Nordens Lane which was part of one of the oldest roads in Chadderton. This ancient road came from Cowhill, and beyond, to Chadderton Fold, the historic centre of the township, and the various sections became known as Stock Lane, Hunt Lane which ended at Middleton Road, and finally Nordens Lane. In 1857 the extensive Chadderton Cemetery was opened and this stretched to the side and back of the new public house.

In 1861 Joseph was 78 years of age, his wife 66, and living with them was their widowed daughter, Hannah Bottomley, a cotton weaver. Joseph died eight years later and Hannah took over, the licence being transferred in 1871 to her new husband, Thomas Ogden. There were four children in the household, John, William, Maria and Ralph. Ten years later John and Maria were working in the pub, whilst William was a labourer at the nearby Chadderton rope works, owned by the aptly-named James Knott.

The premises were by now known as the Hunt Lane Hotel, taking its name from the nearby clough or valley, and lane. How these got their name is open to discussion, one viewpoint being that they simply commemorate the local hunt, whilst another suggests that they may be named after a John Hunt: “A messuage in Chadderton in the tenure of John Hunt (1642).” Originally numbered 696 Middleton Road, the pub was renumbered 754 about 1888 when the whole of the road’s numbering was altered.

The Ogden family were still tenants in 1891, by which time the youngest son, Ralph, was employed as a cotton rope maker, presumably at the same ropewalk as his older brother. The pub was substantially altered in 1902 from the compact, double-fronted cottage with its tap room, smoke room, bar parlour, adjoining carriage shed and shed, and the outlying stables, brewhouse and lavatories. Rooms were reallocated to different uses and a new domestic kitchen built.

In 1914 the branch railway line (now defunct) to Chadderton Coal and Mineral Yard opened necessitating the realignment of Hunt Lane so as to enter Middleton Road further west. Thus it no longer faced the pub. This confuses people to this day with neither the Hunt Lane Chippy nor the Hunt Lane Tavern being adjacent to the lane of that name.

J. W. Lees Brewery bought the property in 1932 and the pub was extended into an adjoining cottage. In 1949 the enlarged hostelry obtained a full licence and was renamed the Hunt Lane Tavern. During the tenure of Lees’ last tenant, John Harratt 1970-1989, the pub was totally rebuilt segment by segment until completed in 1971. In 1995 the Tavern was refurbished and is now a popular and tastefully decorated restaurant-type establishment.

[Next in Series: Radclyffe Arms, Grimshaw Lane]

Birthday Wishes

Congratulations to Society member and Trustee of the Charity, Trevor Ashworth, who celebrates his 65th birthday on 7th August. Many Happy Returns of the Day!

Changes of Councillors

Local elections in May often bring about changes in our council representatives. This happened this year but without any sitting member being ‘defeated’ at the polls. In Chadderton North Ward, Jack Hulme retired, as did John Hudson in Chadderton Central. We thank them most sincerely for all they have done for Chadderton over the years and wish them good health and best wishes for the future.

We welcome Councillor Fazlul Haque in North Ward, and Councillor Susan Dearden in Central Ward. We trust they will have many happy and successful years in local government and assure them of the support of our Society which has always aimed to work alongside our local councillors irrespective of political affiliations.

On This Day … The next in this series is held over to the November edition.

Website& Contacts

The Society’s Website may be accessed at  and also at .It has been chosen by the British Library for inclusion in its Archives, as an example of good practice. To date, 55,950 people have visited it. Comments and queries may be made to Enid Johnson via e-mail: The Secretary of the Society, Michael Lawson, may be contacted on [0161] 652-3930; and via e-mail

© Chadderton Historical Society 2012

              Number 61;                                                                                                                                                                                      April 2012



Number 60                                                                                                                                                                                    February 2012   


Devolution, Delegation and Identity

The erection of the new boundary signs around the constituent townships of our metropolitan borough, referred to in the last edition, raised a certain amount of criticism in the local press from people concerned with the financial costs at this time of constraint. In his contribution to the debate, our secretary outlined the history of the signage scheme, and sought to emphasise the fact that the latest signs had received the approval of local historical and civic societies who had been involved in their design, and that the money had been necessary expenditure.      The signs are much clearer and distinctive than their predecessors, and the inclusion of the relevant coat-of-arms adds dignity that can only engender pride within the appropriate township. Few observers can deny that they are the most impressive boundary signs we have seen within the Borough since local government re-organisation in 1974 and they should be recognised for what they are – part of a continuing process of devolution and delegation by the Council who wish to stress the identity of the historic, constituent townships of our Borough. Hopefully, the days of regarding the Metropolitan Borough of Oldham as coterminous with the Town of Oldham are now over, and all councillors are now united in according equal recognition to all the seven towns which together form the one borough. Such a policy conforms to national observations as outlined, among others, by Wikipedia. Here we are informed that North-West England is one of the nine official regions of England, and has a population of nearly seven million. Our region contains an impressive number of “Important Cities and Towns” (Wikipedia’s own heading), and these are listed in order of their populations. This makes for some very interesting reading!


With more than 100,000 is Oldham; >30,000 Chadderton; >20,000 Saddleworth; Shaw and Crompton, Royton; Failsworth. Each place is given as an individual entity which is as it should be. Let us take pride in all our constituent townships and the metropolitan borough which is formed by their unity, for it is only by recognising this reality that together we can progress and prosper.

 Royal Diamond Jubilee

This year we celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of the accession of Queen Elizabeth II. As part of his official proclamations Chadderton’s Town Crier, Reg Lord, always includes the words: “ … in the year of Our Lord 20--, the Nth  year of the reign of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Duke of Lancaster”. Since early February of 2011 he has used the format “the 60th year of the reign of …” for on 6th February 2012 the Queen will actually enter upon her 61st year as monarch.

  In our archives we find the following details from 60 years ago. Before the monthly meeting of the Chadderton Urban District Council, the Chairman of the Council, Councillor Fred Halkyard, expressed sorrow on behalf of Chadderton at the news of the king’s death. He told the Council, “The King’s death caused us much grief and sorrow as is only known on the loss of one who is near and dear to us. I know I am voicing the feelings of every inhabitant of this Urban District when I say how deeply we mourn his demise.”

 “Whilst we so deeply mourn his passing, we hasten to express out loyal, dutiful and sincere homage, devotion and allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II who, by her high sense of duty, her innate kindliness and her steadfast resolve has already established such a firm hold on the affections of all her peoples.”

 “I am sure that her subjects will do all that they can to make her reign happy, peaceful and glorious and as memorable as that of her illustrious father.”

An official resolution based on the above sentiments was then formulated, being moved by the Chairman.

 A Century of Service

The 30th of March millustrative talk ‘Civic Chadderton’.

 On this Day … (No. 11)

Continuing our selection of items from the Chadderton diarist, William Rowbottom, (1756-1830), a handloom weaver living in Burnley Lane:
May 6th 1794 A party of the Manchester Volunteers with a fine band of music passed through Burnley Lane [no Middleton Road then!] on their way to Oldham.
May 10th 1794 In compliance with an order from Government to raise a man for every 70th house the different towns returned their different quotas. They are to act as landsmen in the Navy. 

They gave from 20 to 30 guineas [£21 to £31.50] per man. … Chadderton raised 3 and ¼.

January 30th 1797 the Lots for the supplementary militia were drawn at Middleton for the Hundred of Salford. Chadderton quota 29 … substitutes were obtained from 4 to 10 guineas [£4.20 to £10.50]

March 3rd 1797 Rochdale. This day supplementary militia were swore in here. Substitutes fetched from 6 to 8 guineas [£6.30 to £8.40] per man. And one Thomas Tetlow a constable for Chadderton 

found guilty of making false lists in numbering for supplementary militia by screening his son was by the Magistrates fined five pounds but was mitigated to 40 shillings [£2.00].

June 18th 1824 the Oldham Cavalry were reviewed in the park at Chadderton by Major Watt of the 3 Dragoons. They went through their different evolutions to the general satisfaction of all present. 

The day was very fine and the spectators which were numerous were highly delighted with such an attracting scene.

April 12th 1827 Thursday. William Dyson of Chadderton Mill [corn and logwood mill, Streetbridge] as a recruit set out to join his Regiment, the Foot Guards, at London.

 School Project

The Society has always been most willing to provide input for Chadderton schools who are doing projects in local history. In the Autumn Term of 2011 four visits were made to St. Herbert’s R.C. Primary                                School where the children of Year Five were looking at ‘Settlements’. They wanted to find out more about how Chadderton changed from a rural township to an industrial town. As an introduction, the                                  class were given a thirty minute computer presentation outlining the development of Chadderton since the days when the Romans marched through Streetbridge. They learned much about Chadderton                                    Hall and the Lords of the Manor, and then made a visit to the site of Chadderton Hall and to Chadderton Fold, the ancient centre of the township. Here they could see for themselves what the                                                    area was like before industrialisation so dramatically changed the local landscape.

Since the changes came about because of the growth of the cotton industry, the children next took on the roles of cotton mill operatives – ring doffers, little piecers, slubber tenters, lap carriers etc. as they handled cotton samples and learned about Chadderton’s one-time 60 mills and the processes which transformed the raw cotton into thread, and then woven cloth. They learned about half-timers – children who spent half a day in the mill and the other half in school, and also used ‘dip in’ pens and ink to recount their imaginative day working in the mill.

The whole experience was thoroughly enjoyed by all who participated, including those staff members whose own knowledge of Chadderton’s history was limited. Well Done, Year Five of St. Herbert’s!

 Chadderton’s Health in the Late Victorian Period

 (Pt. 6 - Fresh Water & Efficient Sewerage)

Several diseases of the period were spread by unsanitary conditions, especially with regard to impure water supplies. Most of the water was supplied by the Oldham Corporation from its reservoirs in                                     Saddleworth but there were still a few wells supplying farms and houses in the more isolated parts of the township, notably above Chadderton Fold.

 In 1897 some cases of sickness were attributed to drinking from one such well and the Medical Officer of Health for Chadderton, Dr. Harold Ashton, had the water analysed. It was found to be contaminated                  with iron to the extent of 52 grains [3.4gm] per gallon [4.5 litres], this coming from the old iron pipes in which it was conveyed to the houses. There were, however, no organic impurities in the water.

 Analysis of a sample from a well at Streetbridge showed that it was contaminated with vegetable matter to an extent which rendered it unfit for drinking purposes, and as chlorine was present to the extent                               of 3 grains [0.2gm] per gallon, the Medical Officer requested the well to be closed Corporation water supplied instead  or another well constructed.

Corporation water was not always a guarantee of good health and in early 1901 two cases of lead poisoning occurred at Hall Hill. An inspection was carried out and it was found that a group of five houses was being supplied with treated reservoir water but this came to the premises through a lead pipe 100 yards [91.5 metres] in length. Traces of the lead were found in all the houses, and there were cases of lead poisoning in two of them. The owners of the houses were informed and a new pipe was subsequently laid.

 A Sewage Works for Chadderton was opened in September 1898, at Slacks Valley, Foxdenton, and mains sewers were then constructed throughout the township. Prior to this innovation, toilets consisted of pails             or cans inside the ‘privy’ which was situated some distance from the house. These were emptied by council employees at regular periods, the work being carried out during the hours of darkness. The human                   waste was mixed with ‘shoddy’ which was waste from the cotton mills, and this was sold to local farmers.

 By March 1899, the Medical Officer could report that the new Sewage Works, operating on the International System, was treating about half a million gallons [over 2.25 million litres] of sewage daily, and ‘turning                  out a very good effluent’. In 1900, he was able to state that a number of waste water closets were then in use in Chadderton, and the system was gradually being extended in suitable cases.

 The waste water closet replaced the pail system and was connected directly to a mains sewer under the privy building. However, this type of toilet wasn’t flushed by a tank of clean water, but relied on                                 the periodic discharge of waste water coming from the house sink through a buried pipe, and emptying into the pan which formed the bottom of the toilet. Once the amount of water in the pan was sufficient                             counter-weight, the pan tipped up and deposited the waste into the sewer beneath. Because of this action, waste water closets became known as ‘tippler’ toilets. Although not exactly user-friendly, and                                   indeed quite ugly and forbidding, these toilets were a big improvement on the former cans.

 The new sewers also took the general waste water from homes, but even in 1900 a complaint was made that a large number of houses in the Burnley Lane area were being drained into a stream flowing                               over a nearby farm, the water from which was liable to be drunk by the cattle. It was announced, however, that the houses would soon be connected to the new sewer which would pass from Middleton                                  Road to Burnley Lane. [To be continued]

               Historic Pubs of Chadderton

No. 9 Church Inn, Chadderton Fold (Part 2)

On Saturday 10th July 1927 serious flooding caused considerable damage to surrounding houses in Chadderton Fold and to the banks of the River Irk itself. At this period the Church Inn was a large three-storey        building with a brick arch doorway and eight windows on the front elevation and nine on the gable overlooking the river. Adjacent to it was a small row of terrace houses.

It was during the long tenancy of Samuel Boardman - 1935-1962, that Oldham Brewery had the top storey taken off. However, it wasn’t the intention of the brewery to completely renovate the premises for they                       had others ideas in mind. Their solicitors argued that the road outside the pub was bad, and that the brewery would prefer to build a new public house 300 yards [295 metres] away at the junction of                                 Chadderton Hall Road and Nordens Lane, approximately opposite Kiln Hill Lane. The magistrates decided otherwise so the old pub was spared.

 Another long-serving licensee, Edward Gilmore, arrived at the Church Inn in 1967 and successfully ran the pub for 22 years. Whilst he was there, the premises were extended during the 1970’s into the adjacen                 houses. The Church Inn is, undoubtedly, a typical village pub providing not only Chadderton Fold but the whole of Chadderton and beyond, with a traditional hostelry in a peaceful, rustic setting. Those                            who sit outside, or alongside its bowling green on a warm summer’s day do well to reflect on the great amount of history that surrounds Chadderton Fold – the original centre of our township.                                                   [Next in the Series: Hunt Lane Tavern, Middleton Road]

 Archive Material Received

Many thanks to the following for archive material: (1) Liz Leech, Middleton: twelve photographs for copying, including Swan Mill Nursery, St. Saviour’s and Eaves Lane Methodist Rose Queens, and                              Foxdenton Lane events. (2) Frank and Edith Etherington, Royton: Chadderton Royal Silver Jubilee Commemoration Cup 1935. (3) John Flynn, Chadderton: Burrows Guide Map of Oldham c1960                                                (4) Mary Dent, Chadderton: ‘Flyer’ advertising Jumble Sale in aid of St. Luke’s Church Rebuilding Fund (following serious fire) March 1954 or 1955.

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.                                                                     date, 53.550 people have visited it. Comments and queries may be made to Enid Johnson via e-mail: The new website is

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

© Chadderton Historical Society. 2012




                Number 59                                                                                                                                                                           February 2011


Constituency Boundary Changes 

Presently, our metropolitan borough is represented at Westminster by three MP’s, one representing Oldham West and Royton Constituency, which includes Chadderton, another representing Oldham East and Saddleworth Constituency, whilst Failsworth is included within the Ashton-under-Lyne Constituency. Under the new proposals, to achieve equal electorates of approximately 76,000, the MB of Oldham would be divided among no less than four constituencies!
Even more bizarre is the way that historic townships and communities within the borough have been dismembered. Chadderton’s wards of North and Central have been placed in the Constituency of Middleton, whilst Chadderton South is to be included within Ashton-under-Lyne Constituency.  Naturally, our Society finds these proposals totally unacceptable and has objected most strongly, and in this we join our local councillors of all political persuasions, in recommending that the three wards be kept united.

 The Society’s submission to the BCE notes that there is no logical boundary, either geographical, social or otherwise that separates Chadderton South from           Chadderton Central. It emphasises the affinity among all three wards, and the common loyalty the electorate of each has to Chadderton. The unifying factor of Broadway, which runs centrally though all three wards, is also expressed. Of importance is the fact that the three wards of Chadderton form a devolved unit of Oldham Metropolitan Borough Council – Chadderton District Partnership - and the severing of a ward could cause unnecessary complications.

The Society also traces the history of Chadderton’s representation in Parliament since 1832, but expresses no preference as to which new constituency it should form part, maintaining that the unity of Chadderton is of prime concern, and  that the town should continue to be accorded adequate recognition by its MP, and be well represented at Westminster.

As the local historical society for the whole of Chadderton, we take pride in, and show concern for, the historical and heritage aspects of all three wards, and can find no reason why South Ward should be treated differently, and severed from the rest of the town. We now trust that the BCE will arrive at the same conclusion.

Christmas Market and Lights Switch-on

The market will be held in the Shopping Precinct from noon to 7.00 p.m. on Friday 25th November, and the Society will be fully involved as in previous years.  At 6.30 p.m. the Chadderton Prince, Max Butterworth, and the Chadderton Princess, Jade Chadwick, in the presence of Manchester United player Paul Scholes, and Chaddy the Griffin, will perform the Switch-on ceremony outside the Town Hall. Fuller details may be had from the forthcoming poster, etc.


Birthday Greetings

Congratulations have been extended to member Margaret Kennedy who celebrated her 70th Birthday on 9th October. Every Best Wish to you Margaret!

Chadderton’s Health in the Late Victorian Period (Part 5)

Other diseases common at the time were Diphtheria, Measles, Whooping Cough, and Diarrhoea. Of these, the last-named, which also included gastro-enteritis, was the biggest cause of death. Usually referred to as summer diarrhoea it peaked in late summer and autumn and in the period 1893 to 1900 was responsible for 152 mortalities, averaging 19 a year. However, the incidence varied from only 4 in 1894 to 36 in 1899. Many of the deaths were of infants under one year old.The Medical Officer of Health for Chadderton, Dr. Harold Ashton, had no doubt that many cases could have been prevented by more care in diet at that time of year, by boiling all milk before use, and by using the most scrupulous cleanliness with regard to all vessels used to contain milk and other articles. Diphtheria is a respiratory disease characterised by a sore throat. It is contagious and spread by direct physical contact or breathing the vaporised secretions of infected people. In 1878, one of Queen Victoria’s daughters, Alice, and her own young daughter, had died of Diphtheria. Deaths in Chadderton from the disease were less common than with Diarrhoea and the number of cases reported varied during this period from only four in 1894 to 56 in 1900. The previous year there had been some 34 cases, and the increase about this time was common in neighbouring townships. The total deaths in these two years was 15 but had been on average only 3 in the previous five. Four cases in one house, in 1897, were attributed to the fact that the first one was so mild in character that it had been regarded as an ordinary sore throat. The Medical Officer expressed the hope that Chadderton Council would use the improved methods of bacteriological diagnosis then being offered by the Physiological Lab. at Owens College, Manchester (later to become the University). In the following year he announced that arrangements had been made with Professor Delepine of Owens College for the bacteriological diagnosis of all doubtful cases of Diphtheria and Typhoid. Measles, another respiratory illness, and Whooping Cough were both highly contagious and local outbreaks characterised the late 1890’s. An epidemic of Measles in 1897 passed through Chadderton from south to north necessitating the closure of three schools: Christ Church, Bourne Street and Corpus Christi, for periods of two to three weeks from early June through to mid-August. A total of 18 children died from it and 10 from Whooping Cough. Head Teachers supplied Dr. Ashton with weekly lists of names and addresses of children absent because of Measles or Whooping Cough and this helped to localise the outbreaks. Another severe outbreak in the summer months of 1900 caused a further 18 deaths from Measles and 16 from Whooping Cough, with most schools closed for three weeks at the Medical Officer’s request. This helped the epidemic to subside. The total deaths in Chadderton from all four of the above-mentioned diseases, for the seven years 1894-1900 was 365. [To be continued]

Lancashire Day


his will be celebrated on Sunday 27th November with the Town Crier making the Lancashire Proclamation on the steps of Chadderton Town Hall at 1.00 p.m., and afterwards in the Shopping Precinct. Loyal Lancastrians are asked to join the retinue, red roses will be provided! Do not forget the Loyal Toast at 9.00 p.m. that evening – “The Queen, Duke of Lancaster”.

200th Anniversary

On November 15th we commemorate the bicentenary of the death of Sir Watts Horton of Chadderton Hall. He was one of the most notable Lords of the Manor of Chadderton and Foxdenton, and at his death in 1811, aged only 58, he was described as ‘a poor man’s friend and a good neighbour’. He is the only occupant of Chadderton Hall of whom the Society has a portrait in its archives.

 Historic Pubs of Chadderton No 9 Church Inn, Chadderton Fold (Part 1)

Chadderton Fold was the historic centre of the township, going back at least to the mid-13th century when Geoffrey de Trafford first came here as Lord of the Manor. In accordance with the custom of the time he changed his name to that of the estate becoming Geoffrey de Chadderton, and thus founder of the family. As well as the first Chadderton Hall, there would have been a small cluster of cottages around the River Irk, whilst a few hundred metres upstream was the water-driven manorial corn mill at Cragg. Whether there was also some form of tavern or inn at an early date we will never know.

The Church Inn, whose name commemorates the nearby parish church of St. Matthew, was first licensed in 1840 when Joseph Mellor obtained permission to sell beer. In 1847 he was granted a full license and shortly before this date he was recorded by the Select Vestry of Chadderton as being owner of a house, shop, garden, brewhouse and stables.


In 1851, Joseph and his wife Betty, were in their forties and had three children, one of them, Mary, working in the inn. Irmah was a tea dealer’s apprentice whilst Allen was a bookkeeper’s apprentice. Jonathan Tomlinson, a 29 year-old farmer, took over in 1859, accompanied by his wife Mary and three young children. However, eight years later Thomas and Clementina Scholes, from the Duke of Bridgewater at the side of the nearby Rochdale Canal, took charge. In his first year at the Church Inn he got into trouble with the local police for allowing card playing for money, and was fined 10 shillings [50p]. His stay was only five years, and after the three year tenancy of James Haughton, Jonathan Tomlinson was back.  

In 1881 Jonathan was described as a retired publican living with his youngest daughter, Alice. During his stay he also was in trouble with the police when they caught his son, James Henry, playing pitch and toss with another man for 2d. [1p]. For this Jonathan was fined 10s. but this episode didn’t affect the career of his son who took over the licence in 1883 and stayed until 1898.

The 1890 survey of Chadderton’s pubs reported that the Church Inn was in moderate condition with accommodation for two travellers and able to provide meals for up to seven people, but there was no stabling. Ten years later the pub was sold to Oldham Brewery. [To be concluded]

Meeting with Council Leader

On 6th July, members of our own Society joined other member societies of the newly-formed ‘7 Townships Heritage Forum’ at a meeting with Council Leader, Councillor Jim McMahon. This had been called by Jim to discuss general issues of historical concern. It was a most productive meeting, there being unanimity on the need for everyone to work together for the benefit of the borough as a whole, whilst accepting that this unit of local government was composed of seven, historic townships. It was acknowledged by all present that the individual identities of these townships had not always been given rightful recognition, but under the Council’s policy of devolution to the District Partnerships, a more positive approach should now be engendered.

New Boundary Signs

At the same meeting Councillor McMahon unveiled one of the new boundary signs which members of the Forum found most satisfactory. Wording had been kept to a minimum and the name of each township, with the accompanying coat-of-arms, was most impressive and quite clearly the focal point. These signs have now been erected around the boundaries of the constituent townships of the borough.

 Archive Material Received

Many thanks to the following for archive material (1) Lorraine Boulton, Hebden Bridge:Scrapbook of cuttings concerning Roland Hill, Chadderton, Councillor 1946-72; (2) Eunice Garside, Royton, 19th Century Chess Set ,formerly belonging to Stockbrook Cycle Club, Chadderton; (3) Bob Pedley, Middleton, Photographs of Spike Island in the 1950’s (now Firwood Park Estate); Junction Mill and Canal c1985; (4) Member Margaret Dronsfield, Royton: First World War Dead, Commerative Plaque and Citation, local funeral receipts  1928/9; Demobilisation Certificate 1919; School Exemption Certificate 1909. (5) Ken Wright MBE, Dobcross, Saddleworth, Chadderton Grammar School photographs; (6) Anne Meredith; Chadderton: photocopy of ‘History of Healds Green Old School 1787-1994'

On this Day … (No. 10)

We continue our selection of items from the Chadderton diarist, William Rowbottom, (1756-1830), a handloom weaver living in Burnley Lane.

March 1813 … On the night of the 31st a gang of villains soon after dusk entered the house of David Atkinson of Springs [near Mills Hill] within Chaderton. They forced him into the pantry where they locked him up. They then took his wearing apparel and they then got their supper and decamped about one o’clock in the morning with their booty. They were armed and disguised. They fried a quantity of bacon and eggs and drank all his milk and took his lantern, the sheets of his bed.

N.B. the persons who commited the above Robberys were executed at Lancaster in the spring of 1814.

[David Atkinson died at Chadderton Workhouse on April 8th 1829, aged 76 years.]

September 30th 1816. …wife of Thomas Broadley a staymaker of Middleton was found dead near Chadderton Fold in a hedge where she had attempted to go through in order to avoid a dirty lane, where it is supposed she got fast and was not able to extricate herself.

May 10th 1822. James Booth a farmer of Chadderton Roughs [now Firwood Park Estate] in a state of intoxication unfortunately fell into the [Rochdale] canal near the Lancashire Rose and was unfortunately drowned. He was not found until the morning, the 12th.

 June 24th 1827. Early this morning a young woman of the name of Fitton whose parents reside in Middleton was found drowned in the canal near the Lancashire Rose in the Township of Chadderton. It is supposed she committed this rash deed in a fit of despair.

 Grammar School Reunion

The Society was privileged to be invited to the recent Reunion of pupils of the former co-educational Chadderton Grammar School, held at Chadderton Town Hall. We were able to put on display the extensive collection of archive material which we have on this highly-regarded institution, ranging from the original photograph of the opening in 1930, to the commemorative album produced in 1959 when the school was divided into Chadderton Girls’ and Chadderton Boys’ Grammar Schools.  The display attracted much favourable comment from past pupils, who included visitors from Australia, Canada, Germany, as well as various parts of Britain. Among the latter were two Associate Members of the Society, Jim Exley from Kent, and Keith Sutcliffe from Essex. The oldest past pupil present was Keith Moores a gentleman who commenced at ‘Chaddy Grammar’ in 1934! Thanks must be given to Malcolm Shaw who started the reunion venture back in 1994. 

 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. To date,49,450 people have visited it. Comments and queries may be made to Enid Johnson via e-mail: The Secretary of the Society, Michael Lawson, may be contacted on [0161] 652-3930; and via e-mail

       © Chadderton Historical Society 2011



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 (� 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 � 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 Caf� 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 largeconcern 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 �p) 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  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

 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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