Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Norfolk Arms Disaster Plague

A plaque in Clarendon Square Shopping Centre close to the site of the former Norfolk Arms recalls a disaster that occured on 1st April 1829.

In the summer of 1828, the cotton trade was in such a bad state that the masters announced a reduction of wages. The reduction was firmly opposed by the operatives and a great strike commenced which rapidly spread throughout the district. At Stockport the struggle was extremely bitter, neither side showing any desire to give way. In Hyde a better spirit prevailed and soon the mills in Hyde were all working full-time. However, the harmony did not continue. The operatives of Hyde were contributing each week from their wages towards the support of the people who were out on strike in Stockport, as a result of which their employers issued a notice on 24th March 1829 that the manufacturers, whose mills were working, intended to reduced their wages by 10 per cent every 14 days until the Stockport hands returned to work.

To discuss the threat, a meeting of operatives was held in The Norfolk Arms on 1st April 1829. In its day The Norfolk Arms was the principal hotel in the area and said to be the oldest commercial hotel. The room in which the meeting took place was fifteen yards long and seven yards wide. It was only expected to hold approximately 300 people, but there were nearer 700 present when the accident occurred.

John Dawson, one of Hyde's principal operative orators, was the chairman and was seated in a large chair belonging to a lodge of Oddfellows, placed near the middle of one of the side walls of the room. A man named Tobias Wood then began to speak, insisting on the working classes having a fair remuneration for their work. He had just cried out "It is bread we want and bread we must have," when an awkward crush took place, caused by new arrivals trying to crowd into the room. The chairman was appealing for order when part of the floor gave way and numbers of the audience fell into the gaping gulf which appeared. The weight of the people who fell with the floor broke through the floor of the rooms beneath and the unfortunate victims crashed into the cellar, amongst beer barrels and stillages, heaped one upon another in a distorted state. The portion of the floor which collapsed was only six yards square and the fact that over 200 persons were precipitated down the hole is evidence of the extreme closeness with which the occupants of the room were packed. Many who were standing upon the unbroken part of the floor were actually propelled into the gulf by the thrust of the living mass around them. The chairman narrowly escaped; barely more than a foot of sound flooring separated his chair from the edge of the hole. Seven young women were seated on a bench fastened to the wall and when the floor gave way they found their feet and legs suspended over the gulf, but they managed to hold on to the seat until they were rescued.

The scene in the cellar was dreadful - 29 persons were killed and many injured. When the cellar was searched, after all the bodies had been extricated, over 120 hats and 50 bonnets, shawls and cloaks were found.

The verdict at the inquest was "Accidental Death", but the belief for many years, persistently held by a large number of operatives, was that the disaster was the result of foul play.

The Norfolk Arms closed in 1960 for the redevelopment of the market centre.

Further information can be found on the Tameside MBC website.

See Hyde Daily Photo for a view down Norfolk Street today.

A contribution to ABC Wednesday.

Sunday, 3 November 2013

St George's 1927

The front of this Whit Friday programme from 1927 shows how St George's churchyard use to look before the railings around several graves were removed.

See how it looks from a similar viewpoint now on Hyde Daily Photo.

Details of the early history of St George's can be found at The Annals of Hyde: St George's Church

A contribution to Inspired Sundays.

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Newtonhurst from the air, 1922, 1935.

This image from 1935 is © English Heritage from Britain from the air.

In the foreground is the former Newton Hurst cricket ground around which are five blocks of terraced houses built in 1920.

A front view of the two blocks facing Victoria Road can be seen on Hyde Daily Photo and on Hyde DP Xtra.

Victoria avenue runs across the middle of the photograph with Cartwight Street leading off at a sharp angle to meet Talbot Road which runs across the top of the photograph.

Most of the open space between Victoria Street and Talbot Road continues to be a recreation ground for the area.

This image from the Roots chat forum shows the ground in 1922.

According to the play-cricket website
Newtonhurst began life in the early part of the twentieth century as the Newton Mill works team, and played in a variety of leagues, including the Hyde & District League, the Glossop & District League, the High Peak League, and for a short period in the 1950s they even competed in the heady heights of the North Western League.

In 1972, the cricket team metamorphosed from Newton Mill into Newtonhurst, and similar to their forebears, competed in the Glossop & District League for a short period. This was followed by an even shorter exodus to the Denton & District League, before joining the Ashton Cricket League in 1980. The Ashton Cricket League merged to form the Ashton & Oldham Cricket Alliance in 2005, though sadly folded following the completion of the 2011 season. Thus, Newtonhurst are now currently members of the Saturday section of the Greater Manchester Amateur League (GMAL).
I'm not certain where they play their matches now. New houses were built on the site of the former ground in about the early 1980s with the roads bearing sporting names including Charlton Avenue, Perry Avenue, Stathom Fold and Mallory Road so retaining a reminder of yesteryear.

A contribution to ABC Wednesday.

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Hyde Lads Club

On display for the Heritage Open Day at St Thomas the Apostle were some memorabilia collected by Harold Greenhalgh, Honorary Secretary (1972-92) of Hyde Lads Club.

The club was founded in 1928 by the then Chief Constable of Hyde, J W Danby. The club first started in Hyde Town Hall in a room over the adjoining Police Station yard but quickly moved into Water Street Sunday School. A public appeal for funds allowed Mr Danby to purchase the premises on Beeley Street which had previously been the local Police Station and Courthouse. A plaque outside the club commemorated the fact that Judge Thomas Hughes, author of Tom Brown's Schooldays used to preside there as a Circuit Judge.

The club was officially opened in 1930 by the HRH The Duke of Gloucester. Catering for boys from the ages of 13 to 21, it contained a large gymnasium used for gymnastics, boxing, five-a-side football and basketball, a snooker room with three tables and a canteen area on the ground floor. On the first floor was an assembly room used for table tennis, a smaller table tennis room, a library where chess and board games were played, a darts room and two small rooms used for hobby activities such as photography and leather work. Located at the rear of the club over a garage which had once been used as the town's mortuary was a woodwork room.

At its peak the club, a voluntary organisation, ran four football teams, a gymnastic team which gave displays throughout the area, a boxing section, a champion winning table tennis team and a "Black & White Minstrel Troop" who travelled around local towns giving shows. In later year girls were allowed to join a judo section with some members taking part in international competitions.

In 1992 the building was declared electrically unsafe and with no funds available for the necessary repair it was forced to close and was demolished.

Only the signage and plaque to Thomas Hughes were saved and are on display in Beeley Street car park as can be seen on Hyde Daily Photo.

Sunday, 6 October 2013

St Thomas The Apostle (1920)

This painting, dated 1920, of St Thomas the Apostle on Lumn Road was on show at the recent Heritage Open Day.

St Thomas' church was built in 1868. The architect, Medland Taylor was a Manchester architect who produced a number of fine if quirkish buildings. Locally, he designed St. Anne's, Denton, St. Mar'’s, Haughton Green, Holy Trinity, Hyde and the Library and the Post Office in Stalybridge. At the time when many architects were designing churches in a style they believed to be a copy of Gothic Architecture, Medland was producing an inventive mixture of architectural styles and motifs. For example, St. Thomas' has brick buttresses and window surrounds with stone infilling. Most would have followed the convention and used stone with brick infilling. According to Pevsner, the roof is an example of his humour, having a quirky additional pitch to it. The proportions of the church are such that St. Thomas' appears to be quite a small building, whereas it is fairly large.

Also on show were this piece of crockery celebrating the 125th anniversary of the church in 1993.

See Hyde Daily Photo for a current view of the church.

Visit the church website.

A contribution to Inspired Sundays.

Friday, 16 August 2013

Turntable at Godley Junction

Photograph © John Philips and used here with permission.

Cheshire Lines tracks to Woodley and Stockport Tiviot Dale are on the immediate left, the G.C./L.N.E.R to Guide Bridge and Manchester beyond. This was the changeover point for trains from and to the C.L., to electric power. Hence the turntable in use. (Only one C.L. line passenger daily: the overnight from Marylebone divided here, with its Liverpool portion headed off down the C.L.)

Here is where trains heading for Fiddler's Ferry power station via Warrington Arpley would exchange locomotives. The whole point of the railway was to carry Yorkshire coal to Lancashire for burning in one way or another. Originally the trains were steam hauled but after electrification of the Woodhead line in the 1950s the class 76 electric locos would draw the train onto the branch and un-couple before running around and departing; subsequently, a diesel loco would appear and hook-on for the remainder of the trip. Freight services over Woodhead ended in 1981 and this line became redundant.

This photograph by Joe Lloyd is from the Hyde Cheshire blog. Here the Hattersley estate is visible in the background.

See how the remains of the turntable looked in 2007 on Hyde Daily Photo Volume 1 and in 2010 on Hyde DP Xtra.

Photographs of the overgrown turntable as it looks now can be found on Hyde Daily Photo and Hyde DP Xtra.

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

The Queens

The Queens always seems to have steady trade. It has been one of the more popular pubs in the town centre. It has links to the Moors Murders. In 1965 Superintendent Bob Talbot of the Cheshire Police used the pub as a base for all the officers when the search of the moors was taking place. Some policemen were housed here in a make shift dorm in the function room. The pub was used as the police station as the town hall was not big enough to hold all the staff the investigation needed.

The Queens was at one time a coaching house. There were provisions at the back for horses and it was only recently that the saddle hooks and feeding baskets were removed when alterations were done. Tom Wigley writing on the Hyde, Cheshire blog says "I know they were there in the 1980s when Brian & Joyce Hunter were the landlord and lady. I worked on the door here for a while, which was fun, and I also did the bar for two other landlords, but for me when I see or hear the Queens mentioned I am reminded of the fun and laughter shared with good friends when Brian and Joyce were the hosts."

Located in Clarendon Place it is now a Joseph Holt pub - according to the brewery website in the early 1900s it was known as "The Pineapple". Confusingly the gallery of photos on the site shows two images that are actually of the Queens Hotel in Macclesfield.

Note it is NOT the Queen's Hotel (with an apostrophe) but the Queens - the pub sign which can be seen on Hyde Daily Photo - features the six wives of Henry VIII.

See current photographs of the Queens on Hyde DP Xtra.

A contribution to ABC Wednesday.
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