Harry Rutherford's
Festival of Britain Mural

Thursday, 30 June 2011

The Swanns Of Godley.

The Swan family are mentioned in Thomas Middleton's book on Old Godley, which I will quote from at the end.

Two brothers William (b.1828) and Samuel (b.1831), William was a world class wrestler and Samuel was the strongest man in Cheshire. William often wrestled in a field behind their home while Samuel controlled the crowd, he was by all accounts a very large man who could lift a horse.


Samuel Swann & daughter Emma


Hannah (Shaw) Samuels wife


Emma Swann married Joseph Robinson (sr)     


Emma & Joseph with their children – Robert, from Green Farm on Green Lane, Hyde. Nellie,Ruth, Joseph (jr) & Maggie. 


This is a watercolour of Green Farm painted in 1884


This is General Gordon from Green Farm he sired many a foal in the district, holding him is Joseph Robinson (jr).


Hardy Robinson stood at the back of the donkey with Joseph Robinson (jr) owner of the donkey.

Taken on Mottram Old Road


This is taken on Queen Street rec around 1934/5 where the Carnival used to begin and end The mounted policemen are Basil Townsend and Eric Robinson (no relation to the Robinsons of Green Lane) The boy in the middle who won the fancy dress contest at the carnival is Ivor Robinson great grandson of Samuel Swann who is now himself a great granddad. 
Ivor lived and worked on Green Farm and we have him to thank for all the photos and information.

From the book of Old Godley Thomas Middleton writes the following:

A notable family connected with the township of Godley  is the Swann Family, of Green Side. The best known members of the family were the two brothers, William Swann (born about 1828) and Samuel Swann (born in 1831).
These were the son’s of Joseph Swann, farmer, of Greenside, and they had an elder brother named Robert. Their mother’s maiden name was Smith, and she came from Britomley Mill.
William Swann became one of the most noted wrestlers of his time: indeed, it is said that at one period of his career he was the most successful wrestler in the world. The farmhouse at Greenside was formerly used both as a publichouse and a farmstead by the father of William and Samuel.
Wrestling matches took place in a field behind the house, and were often attended by great crowds of sightseers. People travelled miles to witness the contest, and old inhabitants speak with pride of the great excitement which the meetings caused. The aforementioned old inhabitants also tell in glowing terms the story of William Swann’s victories, and of how his brother Samuel paced round the ring during the combat, and by the strength of his own right arm kept back the mob, in order that fair play might be secured for wrestlers.
Samuel Swann, or “Sam Swann,” as he was commonly called, was the strongest man of his day in Cheshire. He was literally a giant, and was of enormous chest measurements. Sam Swann was one of those men who did know the full measure of his own strength. He could grasp a pint pot in one hand, and crush it to fragments by the force of his grip. He could take up a potato or an apple and squeeze it into pulp until the fruit ran like butter between his fingers. He treated the strongest of horses as mere playthings, and it was “woe betide” a refractory colt if Sam Swann held the reins. Stories of his feats of strength are numerous. Men tell how he could lift a horse shoulder high. He has been known to take his horse from shafts, place his head under the beast, and stand upright with the animal on his shoulders. When out carting, if the wheels stuck in a rut, or the horses failed to pull the vehicle over some obstacle, Swann would put his shoulder to the back of the cart, and lift it clear of the obstruction. It is said that on one occasion, when he had loaded a cart brim-full of some heavy material, one wheel suddenly came off. Without hesitation Swann lifted the loaded cart, held it firm with one hand, and fitted on the wheel with the other.
Another tale is that he was once accosted by a constable, who threatened him with arrest for some imaginary piece of misconduct. Swann happened to be riding in his cart at the moment, and without more ado he leaned over the side, took the constable by the collar, hoisted him into the vehicle, and drove off with him to the farm, where he regaled the terrified officer with some good home-brewed and cheese. There is another story to the effect that Swann on one occasion met a troublesome fellow in the room of an inn.  The two got at cross purposes, and to settle the matter Swann, without more ado, took hold of his opponent, and lifted him up with such force as to send the unfortunate man’s head clean through the ceiling.
As was to be expected, Samuel Swann was a great acquisition at public meetings, in case of disturbance. In my time there have been some noisy election meetings in Hyde, and it has been found necessary to put the “chucking out” process in operation. I can remember that the mention of Sam Swann’s name invariably had a very quietening effect upon a rowdy audience.
Mr Swann was a Tory, who believed in maintaining the constitution. And he maintained it by physical force if necessary. The Tory party looked on him as a safeguard against disturbances at their meetings. He could make “rings” round a gang of roughs, and there was no need to call the assistance of the police.
Samuel Swann married Hannah Shaw, of Godley, by whom he had a family of fifteen children. After his marriage, he kept the “New Inn,” John Street, Hyde, for a time, and afterwards went to the Chapman Arms, Hattersley, of which his father had become the landlord. From here he removed to the Pinfold Farm, Hattersley, then he took a farm at Godley Green, and finally purchased “Abbotsford,” to which place he retired some years before his death. Mr Swann was overseer for Godley for upwards of 33 years; he was widely respected, and on his retirement from office was presented with a portrait of himself, a handsome timepiece, a pair of bronzes, and an illuminated address, all of which were subscribed for by the ratepayers of Godley. Samuel Swann died in 1897, in his 67th year. It should be mentioned that during his term of office (around 1866-7) as overseer, Mr Samuel Swann investigated the Mottram Charities, particularly with respect to the claims of Godley, and by his action on this matter the township greatly benefited. Mr Swann continued to divide the charity money every Christmas among the widows and deserving poor of Godley township up to the time of his death.

I would like to thank Ivor for sharing part of his family history with us and hope that this post as done it justice. My thanks also go to Ceecee who helped Ivor in getting the information and pictures to us.                                                                 

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Adverts from a booklet called Map Of Environs Of Hyde


We have Dave K.A.G. to thank for this post... he as scanned the cover and the adverts from with this map... Some of the adverts are for businesses outside of Hyde... but we can forgive that as they are just as good and well worth a look. 

A. J. Austin's
Coal Merchant 
C. Bancroft
Decorator & Suppliers 
C. & E. Barber
Family Butcher
George Brownson Ltd.

J. Cooke
Motor Cycle Works
Sausages and Brawn
Herb Beers

W. Dent
Thomas Hargreaves 
Music Showrooms

Goodfellows & Co
General Mill Furnishers
WM Kellett
Clothiers & Outfitters
John H. Meal
Pawnbrokers, Jewellers & Opticians
Ridgeway's Nurseries
Scales & Sons Ltd, Footwear
A. B. Smith
Steam Laundry Swain Street Hyde
Ernest Travis Fruiterer, Fish & Meat Sales
Woods Ladies Tailors
What great adverts these are..... Dave is not sure of the date of the map.... he thinks it could be around 1910... he also points out the lack of phone numbers on most of the adverts and them that do, have very low numbers indeed like  Hyde 11x. What caught my eye was the advert for Deakins Herb Beer... which say "A post card and the 'lurry' will call.

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Cotton Mill Girls.

 This picture was sent to us by Dave.
It is of his Grandmother , Doris Higgins ,who worked at Aston Brothers.

Thanks Dave, great to hear from you ,as always.


You have a few pics of men at work in the cotton mills. 
Here is one of the girls at Ashton Brothers.  My grandmother, Doris Higgins, is centre front. She was a very clever woman and the teachers wanted her to stay on at school to train for teaching but necessity and her mother's mantra of "not getting above your station" condemned her to a life in the mill.  She started as a young girl of 12 and told us it was so and that every night she used to pray "Please God don't send morning, don't let it be morning".  What a sad prayer from a young girl.


Monday, 27 June 2011

The Gardens, Hyde Junction

We are delighted to show this article on here which was sent in to us by Dave Davis and hope you enjoy reading it as much as we did!

Thanks very Much, Dave - A very interesting piece, indeed!

A History Of The Gardens, Hyde Junction

By David Davies, former tenant.

I had the great privilege of spending the first five and most formative years of my life at The Gardens.  My world until the age of 5 was small, secure and enclosed.  The length of four houses and the same width.  The width measured by a roughly paved access road and on the opposite side the gardens to the houses.  It was named The Gardens.  The way in from the south being via a steep cobbled path or ‘brew’.  The steepness emphasised by the name the local postman gave to the house ‘kiss arse gardens’.  The way out to the north was through factory gates, the houses at one time being tied to Beeley’s Iron Works.  By the 50’s it had become Rhodes Oven Works, security had been less well kept and the houses, though’ still belonging to the factory no longer tied.  My granddad, at the top house was a wagon driver for Rhodes and ‘nanny’ Doris the cleaner.  Great granddad Ned (Papa) at the bottom house had been the night watchman until he retired.  This role being taken on by granddad George when the long distances became too much.

The first house as you came up the brew was the most modern and the biggest a red brick house, Number2.  Despite it being the most recent it still only had an outside lav and no bath.  Hot water was provided via a large set boiler in the back kitchen.  When I was born Ned and Mary Anne Higgins lived there (Papa and Papa’s nan).  Ours was the next house, number 1! A tiny two up two down with back kitchen, the walls were rendered with cement.  Outside lav about ten yards form the door and adjacent to the outhouses for number 2.  The out houses, sheds, midden and lavs formed one block.  The lavatory was a broad board seat on a brick stanchion with a large galvanised bucket to collect the cess.  This could be removed from a small door at the side of the privy and once a week a corporation cart would come to take the contents away.  It was freezing out there in winter so one did not linger and up to a certain age the ‘po’ could be used and emptied out in daylight.  No toilet rolls, squares of newspaper, punched and hung from a string.

The living room to numbers one and two had an old-fashioned iron range fireplace with a selection of trivets and an oven.  The oven was no longer suitable for cooking it having been superseded by a gas oven but it was a handy place for drying washing and warming clothes and bedding.   Off that we had small dining room heated by a gas fire and beyond that the kitchen, simply equipped with the oven, a gas boiler and mangle for washing and the brown slop stone sink.  The window above the sink looked out over a small makeshift garden onto the privy wall.  I think the opposite wall had a back door but I do not remember using it.  I think it led into Grandma Beswick’s back yard.  She lived in the adjoining house, number 3 and the reason for a door into a neighbour’s yard was that at one time this had been one house. During its history this property had been an Inn.

About 1850 a large coaching inn was added and built in such a way as to extend the house already standing in that the front bedroom now extended into the new property.

Two double bedrooms had fireplaces that were no longer serviceable so in the worst of the weather the chill was taken off them by a “Beatrice” paraffin heater placed at the top of the stairs.

The security was nothing to do with gates and cul-de-sacs.  The boundaries were never really defined except that within the square that was the Gardens we had complete freedom to roam and visit any of the houses as they were all occupied by our extended family.

This family connection started in 1885 when another house was built and the first occupant was my great great grandfather Thomas Higgins.  There would be Higgins’s at The Gardens until the houses were condemned in 1956 due to the lack of inside toilets and baths.

Early beginnings, gardens and the inn

The start of the oral history of the gardens comes from one George Eaton of Atlanta, Georgia, USA.  In the year that Dukinfield was given its Charter of Incorporation Eaton was prompted to record his living memories.  He sent them to the Ashton Reporter   and it was published in four parts between May and June of 1900.

The opening explanation from The Reporter is as follows:
A long manuscript has been handed to us by the gentleman in Dukinfield to whom it has been addressed, the writer having desired that the reminiscences contained in it should be published in the Reporter. It was not originally intended for publication. It was merely written as an easy pastime at idle moments when he was in the humour, and given in the form of a letter to his friend. We give the first portion this week, and other parts will follow in due course: —
Exposition Mills, Atlanta, G.A., U.S.A.
George Eaton recalls – “About where the top end part of Beeley’s boiler works stand there was over sixty years ago a small boilermaking works, and at the top end of the works a house stood close to the works; close by the end of the house was a footpath to the top of the bank, and that ran past that small apology of a pleasure garden to Bennet-lane. In the year 1837 old Johnson Brook-road, with its banks and braes, and trees, brook, and dingle, was a true type of an English country lane. From those houses in Newton Wood the nearest houses would be one near to the workshops of the company and near to the canal, the house near the boiler works, two old houses at the top end of the lane, but as they stood on the other side of the brook they were in Newton, and not a long distance from the Cotton Tree Inn.”

With grateful acknowledgement to Ian Rhodes who published this in his “Rhodes Family History” http://www.rhodesfamily.org.uk/

You will see from the map below dated 1873 that the gardens are still intact.


The Census records give further information.  In the 1841 Census there is a house listed off Johnson Brook Road as Newton Wood and the occupants are an agricultural labourer and his family, Moses Tunnacliffe.

The 1851 Census list an address “Foundry Brow” off Johnson Brook which could well be The Gardens.

The first clear record in the census is of a Botanical Gardens on the 1861 census listing William Hinchcliffe, Inn Keeper as living there (RG9/2992) along with his wife Elizabeth and children, Lavinia, Robert, Martha and Elizabeth. On the 1851 Census Hinchcliffe is listed as a tailor living on Muslin Street (Talbot Road).

By 1871 there is no record of The Botanical Gardens but there is a Publican, Joseph Oldham at Johnson Brook.

It is possible that this was part of the Newton Hall estate which was cut off from the main estate with the building of the Manchester Sheffield railway in 1841.  This might explain why in 1841 the houses are occupied by an agricultural worker, by 1851 a coal miner and as the work of the railway progresses, taking a branch of the Manchester – Sheffield railway from Hyde Junction into the centre of Hyde by 1858 then becomes an Inn.

Until 1867 there was a small workshop and foundry on Johnson Brook Road owned by a man named Rains.  Thomas Beeley, a former employee of the local boilermaker’s Daniel Adamson, took this over on 1 May 1867.  Beeley slowly acquired all the land from Johnson Brook Road to the Manchester – Sheffield Railway line developing the factory, brick yard, kilns and taking on the Inn and developing it into houses for his workers.

The 1881 census now records the houses as Beeley’s Houses and at number one resides Wright Arnfield, Grocer, along with his wife Ellen and children William, Hannah, Joseph and John.  There is now another house 2 Beeley’s Gardens and William Wright, night watchman lives there with his wife Jane and children Henry, Elizabeth and Mary.

By 1886 the area had been surveyed again and you will now see that the old inn has been divided, a yard marked out by a brick wall and the stables built on.  The new house, Number 2 is now shown on the map.


The actual gardens have now disappeared, the factory extended and the chimney and a crane erected on land formerly taken up by gardens.

The 1891 census now list the address as Hyde Junction Gardens and the occupants are at number one William Bains, (Ancestry.com lists him as William Davids – a misreading) his wife Harriett and nephews George Morton and John Sedery.

Thomas and Mary Higgins are now at number two with their children Elizabeth Ann, William Edwin, Sarah Jane, Thomas, Alice Higgins now Corfield and John Bailey, lodger. This was the start of a dynasty that would occupy and enjoy The Gardens until they were condemned in 1957 and finally demolished in 1968.

At number 3 is Wright Arnfield, Coachman with his wife Ellen, son William, also a coachman and other children Annie, Joseph, John, Tom and Elizabeth E.

By 1901 Thomas Higgins, his son Thomas and Alice and John Corfield and family are at number 2, William and Helen Noble and children William, Alice and Annie are at number 3 and at number 1 we have Wright Rowbotham, carter, his wife Elizabeth and children George, Lily Ann and Florence S.

Doris Higgins, my grandmother, was born at 2 The Gardens in 1899. Doris Married George Davies from Sandbach and they lived at the gardens until the houses were condemned.

The numbering was strange.  The picture below shows the factory after it had been extended and the boiler house added.  The larger house to the left of the chimney which is pebble dashed was the former Botanical Gardens.  This was divided when the detached red-brick house was added.  The red brick was number 2, the smaller part of the pebble dashed building number 1 and the larger part number 3.  Some years later the smaller part was again sub-divided leaving the numbering as:- Detached red brick number 2; first cottage number 1; second cottage number 3 and the larger part of the pebble dashed building number 4.  The dividing left rooms of odd proportions as number 3 had a very long bedroom at the front which went over the alleyway and into number 4.


The oil painting below shows the entrance to number 1 now by the side of the house.  The window above the front door of the house on the right belongs to the cottage coloured yellow.


Access to The Gardens was from Johnson Brook Road via a steep, narrow cobbled path or “brew”, walled in at either side.  The gradient was recorded by the local postman in the 1940’s who dubbed it “kiss arse gardens” in that one had to walk single file and the hill was so steep that this defined the relationship between the person behind and the one in front.
Access from Bennett Street was a path across the field, roughly following the line of the railway.  In the 1940’s, William Edwin ‘Ned’ Higgins single-handedly built a brick road some 220 metres long by 3 metres wide to connect The Gardens with the start of Carter Street.  It was robust enough to carry the lorries delivering bricks and machinery to Beeley’s.


The Gardens are just visible in this aerial photo from Tameside Archives, top centre.


During the first 50 years of the twentieth century The Gardens would be tenanted by
Thomas and Mary Higgins (nee Bennett) and family.
William Edwin and Mary Ann (nee Dixon) Higgins and family.
Sam and Dorothy Beckett, long time leaders with Rosemount Chapel.
The Winterbottoms, the Beswicks.
Albert and May Ryder
Arnold and Mary Davies (nee Leah)
Alan and Kathleen Davies (nee Lowe)
Sid and May Booth

After Beeley’s the factory was Rhodes’s Oven Works then George Corner and Son.  It has now been split into industrial units.

All that is left now (2008) is the brick wall that was built for extra security for the factory when the houses were vacated in 1957 and the back wall of the former number 2.


This wall can be seen on the Google earth image just in front of the single white car.


The postcode for the factory is SK14 4RB


Sunday, 26 June 2011

Arch In Stone Work = Puzzle


I asked if anyone had pictures of the reservoirs and the area around them... Eric Downs sent in two pictures one of which is shown above... both his pictures have been used in an other post. The above picture got mine and Paul's attention as you can clearly see a Arch in the Stone Work... 


This is how it looks now


The Arch is across from the properties above.... so if you are in the area glance across and spot the Arch.


Above is a section of a 1875 map. Both reservoirs are shown and so are the cottages called Diamond Row. Underneath where it says Cloughgate is a wiggly line... that is the stream which run through Gower Hay Woods. Paul and I wonder if the arch was a 'run off' of the reservoir that was culverted under Acorn Lane ( Stockport Road ) towards join the stream.     


The 1910 map above shows the area went through some changes from the 1875 on... King Edward Road as now been started, Acorn Lane as now been renamed Stockport Road. Paul and I would just like to know if anyone can shed some light on what the Arch was for.
Updated by Dave Williams 
28th June 2011

Close Up Of The Arch


I've attached here a close-up photo I took of the arch yestoday, and also a part of the 1871 map showing the 'wiggly line' which you mentioned and which leads to - is that another reservoir or just a pond? It appears to be in that part of Gower Hey Wood which you drop into from the end of King George Road - not the bit that always used to get flooded, that's a lot nearer the old railway line.

Dave Williams

Tour of Britain or Milk Race 1990

Hyde's Annual Cycle Race was called the Tour of Britain or "Milk Race"
The Tour of Britain, known for many years as the Milk Race, has its origins in a dispute between cyclists during the Second World War. The British administrative body, the National Cyclists Union (NCU), had feared since the 19th century that massed racing on the roads would endanger all racing, including early-morning time -trials and, originally, the very place of cyclists on the road.
A race organised from Llangollen to Wolverhampton on 7 June 1942, in defiance of the NCU, led to its organisers and riders being banned. They formed a new body, the British League of Racing Cyclists (BLRC), which wanted not only massed racing but a British version of the   
"Tour De France".


The cyclists are just going past what used to be Redferns Rubber Works on Stockport Road. James North can be seen in the background.


The sponsor of this stage of the Race was David Tuson who used to have a car showroom on Chapel Street.

Milk Race ?

The Cyclists are seen riding up Stockport Road over the railway bridge near the Clarkes Arms.


Photobucket Photobucket

Why it was known as the "Milk Race"

The Milk Marketing Board (MMB) was a sales monopoly for dairy farmers in England and Wales. A semi-professional cyclist from Derby, Dave Orford, asked the MMB to pay for "Drink more milk" to be embroidered on the jersey of every semi-professional, or independent, rider in the country. The MMB could then advertise that races had been won because of the properties of milk and the winner would receive a £10 bonus as a result.

Orford met the MMB's publicity officer, Reg Pugh, at the board's headquarters in Thames Ditton, west of London. Orford said: "At the end of the discussion he stated that the MMB would prefer to sponsor a major international marathon. So the Milk Race, the Tour of Britain, was born, starting in 1958 and lasting for 35 years, the longest cycle sponsorship in the UK ever.

The first two races were open to semi-professionals but from 1960 until 1984 it was open only to amateurs. From 1985 until 1993 the Milk Race was open to both amateurs and professionals. After 1993 the Milk Race ended as the MMB was wound up because of European monopoly laws.

Milk Race going up Lilly Street.
Milk Race going up Stockport Road near Smithy Fold.

Thanks to Eric for sending us these lastest two photos !