Hyde Name Origins.

The name "HYDE" is derived from the hide, a measure of land for taxation purposes, taken to be that area of land necessary to support a peasant family. In later times it was taken to be equivalent to 120 acres .
March 2014
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Tuesday, 20 July 2010

The Mechanics' Institute

Historically, Mechanics' Institutes were educational establishments formed to provide adult education, particularly in technical subjects, to working men. As such, they were often funded by local industrialists on the grounds that they would ultimately benefit from having more knowledgeable and skilled employees. Such philanthropy was shown by the likes of Robert Stephenson, James Nasmyth and Joseph Whitworth, luckerly for Hyde we had Benjamin Goodfellow. These first Mechanics' Institutes were used as 'libraries by the adult working class, and provided them with an alternative pastime to gambling and drinking in pubs...

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Tall Building In The Background

Hyde Mechanics' Institute was founded in 1850. It was built on the former site of Hyde Lane Independent Chapel, which was purchased by Mr. Benjamin Goodfellow (the founder of an engineering works on Mottram Road).

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Mr. Goodfellow financially supported the Institute during its early years when its position from a monetary standpoint was anything but promising, and on several occasions he defrayed the deficiencies in its funds. The old building was succeeded by the fine building in the pictures above in 1861. Part of the expense of the new building was met by a public subscription and a series of Penny Readings helped to wipe off the debt of £1,200 with which the building opened. The Mechanics' Institute played an important part in the development of old Hyde, particularly in the education of general knowledge among the working classes. In 1894 it was transferred to Hyde Corporation, and became the precursor of the Technical School and Library.

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Mechanics' Institute Medals

PRESIDENTS OF THE HYDE MECHANICS INSTITUTE.
1851-2 BENJAMIN GOODFELLOW, Esq.
1853 EDWARD CLARKE, Esq.
1854 JOHN TAYLOR, Esq.
1855 DR. FREDERICK TINKER.
1856 DR. THOMAS ALCOCK.
1857 THOMAS HOWARD, Esq.
1858 THOMAS THORNELY, Esq.
1859 JOSEPH HIBBERT, Esq.
1860 JOHN SIDEBOTHAM, Esq. .
1861 THOMAS THORNELY, Esq.
1862 THOMAS MOTTRAM, Esq.
1863 JOHN ALCOCK, Esq.
1864 JOHN BROOKS, Esq.
1865-6-7-8-9 & 1870 THOMAS ASHTON, Esq., J.P.
1871 THOMAS THORNELY, Esq., J.P.
1872 JOHN ALCOCK, Esq.
1873 GEORGE B. GOODFELLOW, Esq.
1874 JOHN BROOKS, Esq.
1875 CHARLES HIBBERT, Esq.
1876 PETER GREEN, Esq.
1877 WILLIAM BERRY, Esq.
1878 JOHN C. HIBBERT, Esq.
1879 HERVEY SMITH, Esq.
1880 EEV. W. H. LOWDER, M.A.
1881-2-3-4-5-6-7-8 T. GAIR ASHTON, Esq., J.P.
1889 ALDERMAN PETER GREEN (Mayor).
1890-1891 DR. F. H. TINKER.
1892 T. GAIR ASHTON, Esq., J.P.
1893 THOMAS BROWNSON, Esq., B.A.
Taken in part from 'Annals of Hyde' By Thomas Middleton.

Most of the surnames above can still be found around Hyde today... either as Street names, or in the phone book... What gets me is the date all this was going on... the thoughts behind it... how men with money were trying to better the working classes... I'm sure it must have been met with resentment by some.
I came across the following information about Benjamin Goodfellow, if anyone had an appropriate surname it's this chap.. ;o)
Benjamin Goodfellow was not only one of the industrial leaders of Hyde, but ranked with the most noted British engineers of the nineteenth century. Beginning life in a humble way he became foreman mechanic at Ashton’s mill, Flowery Field, and whilst occupied there his genius showed itself in the invention of Metallic Piston Packing for steam cylinders. Mr. Thomas Ashton then helped him with a loan, which enabled Mr. Goodfellow to commence business for himself. He took a small works in 1838 until his trade established, and then he built extensive works in Mottram Road, Hyde, where as an engineer and boilermaker, he carried on trade with practically every country in the world. Anxious to place educational facilities within the reach of the poorest, Mr. Goodfellow founded the Hyde Mechanics’ Institute in 1850; and in many other ways proved a great benefactor for the our town.
Mr. Goodfellow built a large mansion known as ‘Lumn Bank’ which was later used as St. Thomas’ vicarage, it stood in extensive grounds off Mottram Road, and he resided in it until his death in 1863, at the age of 51. He was a man of enterprise and exceptional ability, Mr. Goodfellow left his mark on the history of his time.

Taken in part from ‘The History Of Hyde’ By Thomas Middleton

Thanks To Eric Downs for the Two views of The Institute.
Much Appreciated !

11 comments:

Tom said...

I was looking for something today on Google to do with another post.. while looking a date jumped out at me and had me thinking... The date was June 25 to June 26, 1876 ... 26 years after the opening of Hyde Mechanics' Institute... Lieutenant George Armstrong Custer was defeated and killed at Little Bighorn... I wondered how long after the event it would have been read and talked about in Hyde.... it really made me think about the dates I've come across while working on the blog and the dates of such historic events happening across the world... The Mechanics' Institutes with their reading rooms would have been the 'Sky News' of their day..

Lizzy said...

Where was it, the end of Union Street?

Tom said...

Hi Elizabeth
Yes it was, look at thesecond picture... across the road you can see where the line of the shops jut out a few feet.. thats still there now.

imac said...

Most interesting Tom.

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ian... said...

Same with the first pic - if you have a nose on googley streetview, the rooflines of the terrace match also.

Looks like it was quite an imposing building, as the Library still is.

Hydonian said...

Great info there ,Tom.
Talking of reading rooms - I was in the library today.....passed a nice few hours away.

Terry said...

Very interesting. For the record, Benjamin Goodfellow was my Great great Grandfather. His grandson was named Thomas Ashton Goodfellow in recognition of the generosity of the Ashton who lent the original money.

Tom said...

Hello Terry
Thank you for the information... it must be nice to have such an ancestor, I think the Ashton's were a fine bunch.... I can't recall a bad thing being wrote about them... and when you think of what there did for the town they must have thought a lot of the area and the people.
Feel free to send anything of interest into the blog Terry... we are always on the look out for information, and of course pictures.

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