Harry Rutherford's
Festival of Britain Mural

Sunday, 8 August 2010

Hyde In War Time (1914-16) Page13-14



When the refugees arrived arrangements were already in hand for housing and maintaining them. Practically every church in the borough, and private individuals, took a share in this excellent work, and vied with each other in providing the most comfortable and cosy homes for the guests whom they had promised to support, and, when one reflects on the thoughtful consideration and admirable enthusiasm evinced by all sections of the community in this self -sect sacrificing work, of the anxious planning and scheming so that nothing should be wanting from the newly-furnished households, one thrills with pride in being connected with such a glorious effort of practical Christianity.

The total number of refugees was 137, all Belgians except two, who were of French nationality. They were provided for by the following at the addresses named:-
ASHTON ROAD U.M.C. Married couple and two children = 4. At 1 Turner Fold, Newton.
BARON ASHTON & MISS ASHTON. Man and two daughters; woman and two daughters = 6. At 32 Well Meadow, Flowery Field.
COMMITTEE OF ASHTON BROS‘. MANAGERS ; Man, wife, three daughters, and another Belgian = 6. At 20 Mulberry Street, Flowery Field.
MR. VAN AALTEN TOWN HALL BUILDINGS: Married couple, and three children = 5. At Werneth Hall Cottages Gee Cross.
MRS. JOSEPH ADAMSON'S COMMITTEE: Married couple and three daughters = 5. At 290 Mottram Road, Godley.
GEORGE STREET U.M.C. & HOVILEY BROW PRIMITIVE METHODIST CHURCH: Married couple and three children = 5. At 24 Union Street, Hyde.
GEE CROSS WESLEYANS; Married couple and daughter = 3. At 5, Elm Grove, Hyde.
HYDE WESLEYAN CHURCH; Married couple, daughter and son-in-law = 4. Housed at 16 Port Street, Hyde.
HYDE P. S.A.; Mother and daughter = 2. At 22 Croft Street, Hyde
HYDE CHAPLE, GEE CROSS; Married couple and 7 children = 9. Slater's Farm, Gee Cross.
HYDE ST. GEORGE'S; Mother (whose husband was a prisoner of war in Germany) and nine children = 10. Town Hall Buildings, Hyde.
HYDE Y.M.C.A. Married couple and son = 3 At 3 Port Street, Hyde.
HOLY TRINITY, GEE CROSS; Married couple and boy = 3. Joel Lane, Gee Cross.
JOEL LANE PRIMITIVE METHODIST CHAPEL; Married couple and one child = 3. At 299 Stockport Road, Gee Cross.
MR. T. KERFOOT, POLE BANK; Man, wife, mother-in-law, and two children = 5. At 3 Harrison Street, Gee Cross.
MUSLIN STREET U.M. CHURCH; Married couple and five children = 7. At 120 Muslin Street, Newton.
St. MARY'S, NEWTON : Widow, married couple and two children = 5 At 36 Shaw Hall, Newton Hall.
NEWTON WESLEYAN CHURCH; Man and his stepsister = 2 Commercial Brow, Newton.
ROSEMOUNT PRIMITIVE METHODIST CHURCH, NEWTON. Married Couple and one child; a young man; married couple and two children;: another married couple; a young woman = 11. Rosemount School.

ST. JOHN‘S, GODLEY : Mother, three sons, daughter-in-law, and grandchild = 6. Highfield Farm, Godley.
SLACK MILLS Married couple and two children = 4. Ash Fold, Gee Gross.
ST. THOMAS’S CHURCH: Married woman (husband a prisoner of way in Germany), her two childen, and her two sisters = 5. At 24, Fairbrother Street, Hyde.
ST. PAUL’S NEWTON: Members of for different families; in all 12. Hamilton House, Water Street, Hyde.
ST. STEPHEN’S CHURCH FLOWERY FIELD; Married couple and two children, married couple and one child = 7. St. Stephen’s Institute.
UNION STREET CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH; Married couple and two children = 4. At 45 Fairbrother Street.
MISS WHITWORTH, BONNYFIELDS, GODLEY; One young woman. Bonnyfields Farm.


Many excellent pieces of furniture were made by the Belgians, including sideboards and cabinets, and when a representative of the “North Cheshire Herald” visited the refugees’ workshop, early in January 1915, he found eighteen Belgium men and youths in the large room. One was operating a cirular saw; another was turning table legs; a third was engaged on some beautiful carving, whilst others were busy dovetailing, etc. This splendid scheme, which became known throughout England, and was “copied” in many parts of the country, was continued for a few months, until, with the great call for munition-making, the departure of more and more men for the British Army, and general improvement in trade, coupled with the scarcity of home labour, it was found possible, and even expedient, to divert Belgian refugee labour into the ordinary channels amongs us. It is hope, when the war is over, and the Belgians return to their own country, they take back with them furniture made by themselves whilst in England. One can well imagine how, generations hence, the young people of Belgium will deeply revere the chest of drawers, the table, or the rocking-chair made in England by their refugee ancestors during the Great War. What an honoured place such articles will occupy in Belgian homes - and, it may also be said, in English homes - fifty or a hundred years hence!

One of the articles made at the works was a lovely solid-oak cabinet, which was presented on Christmas Eve, 1914, to Miss Welch, daughter of the Mayor and Mayoress, by the Belgians in Hyde. On a table attached to the cabinet, the following inscription is carved in Flemish; - “Presented to the Burgomaster’s daughter, from the Belgian refugees.” This cabinet is now a highly- valued souvenir in Councillor Welch’s domestic castle, and will remain so for generations.


At St. Stephen’s Church Flowery field, on Monday, the 28th December, 1914, there took place a wedding of more then ordinary interest, for both the bride and bridegroom were Belgian refugees in Hyde. They were Anne Marie Schippers and Gustaaf Vervoorst. The Rev. F.H. Coveney, then Curate-in-Charge of St. Stephen’s, preformed the ceremony, and once more the services of Mr. Van Aalten were obtained as interpreter. The Mayor (Councillor Welch) accompanied the parties to church, and gave the bride away. Other Belgian refugees including to from Rosemount, with the Rev. H. Ross, Primitive Methodist minister, were at the wedding. After the ceremony, the bride and bridegroom were driven to Marple, where they were entertained by Councillor and Mrs. Welch at their home. In the evening, there was a reception at Rosemount School, Newton. In accordance with custom, the bride and bridegroom were given numerous wedding presents.


Hydonian said...

This is such a great book ,Tom. :)
Makes you proud to be a Hydonian when you read it!

Tom said...

While scanning the book and sorting the posts out it as allowed me to 'get into' the book, the story's really do fill me with a pride for our forefathers.. it also saddens me how times and attitudes have changed.
I never took to history lessons at school... but I'm sure if it had been taught from such a book, not just would we have learned of our country and towns history, but from a young age it would of helped to install a sense of pride and compassion. I've found myself more than once being ashamed at my lack of tolerance to others.
I noted in the list that some of Hydes 'disappeared streets are well mentioned in this post.

Hydonian said...

The Interpreter ,Mr. Van Aalten, was a Hatter ,Hosier and Gentlemans Outfitter who had a shop in Town Hall Building on Market Street!

Tom said...

I think we have a picture of him in our collection... should have noticed that... ha! my heads well muddled this week.

Tom said...

Comment sent in by E-mail from: DAVE K.A.G.

My great grandparents, Ned and Mary Anne Higgins of 2 The Gardens, Hyde Junction, took a single young man in from the Rosemount contingent.
When it was time for him to be repatriated he asked great gran "do you think a young lady would like a present of tea towels?" Thinking he was preparing to return home to a sweetheart she advised him it was not the best choice. They saw him off from Hyde Junction Station and on the way back met another member of Rosemount Church who asked "did you like your tea towels?" Being over 60 great gran never imagined she was meant to be the young lady. Goodness knows who got the tea towels.
Dave K.A.G.

Sue Lane said...

My maternal grandmother was called Florence Ann Booth and married my grandfather William George Lane. My father was James Edward born in 1914 and they lived at 13 King Street Hyde. I notice that you have a contributor called Fred Booth and there is a photo of Joshua Cheetham Booth on the site. I would very much like to trace my greatgrandparents as I know little about them. Can anyone help.

Sue Lane said...

My maternal grandmother was called Florence Ann Booth and married my grandfather William George Lane. My father was James Edward born in 1914 and they lived at 13 King Street Hyde. I notice that you have a contributor called Fred Booth and there is a photo of Joshua Cheetham Booth on the site. I would very much like to trace my greatgrandparents as I know little about them. Can anyone help.