Harry Rutherford's
Festival of Britain Mural

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

The Hyde Rooters Club

The following is an article from the North Cheshire Herald of 6th September 1985. The article is about the Rooters Club which was based at the old Hare & Hounds pub which was on Fernally Street. There is a souvenir picture card associated with the article but unfortunately it is too poor to copy.

In the not too distant past, youngsters rummaging in drawers or asking that one question too many would be severely told by grandparents: "You should be in the Rooters Club."
Persistent nosiness was always associated with a band of men who made it there business to find things out. They "rooted" for information no matter how trivial. They called themselves the Hyde Rooters Club.
Over the past few weeks, memories of the Rooters, have been awakened following the discovery of a membership card by one of our readers.
It transpires that the club was formed in the early part of the century by a group of men who liked nothing better than ferreting out facts.
It was a strange society with members only known by pseudonyms which referred to their trade or characteristics.
A carpenter was immediately nicknamed "wood spoiler", a musician squirmed under the name "Pit Rat" and so on.
The club seemed to have disbanded in the thirties. It started life in the Hare & Hounds, Fernally Street, Hyde later moving to the Star, on George Street.
Under mysterious circumstances the Hare & Hounds closed on December 31st, 1913 much to the sorrow of the Rooters and landlord Mr Joseph Wright.
Old Joe was so upset that he threw a special party for members, giving every Rooter a specially designed souvenir card lamenting the passing of the club.
One of the cards was discovered recently by Mr Jack Harrop, of Mottram Road, Hyde, who passed it on to us.
On the back of the card is "Th' Rooters Farewell," a dialect poem lamenting the passing of the pub, written by SSC. It runs for 11 verses, and here are the first three.

"It's hard lines said owd Sand Rat, when he yer'd this house o' Joes
The Hare and Hounds on Fernally Street this year would have to close
For as president o'th Rooting Club he felt his time had come,
When he must forfeit power an' place he'd held o't Middle Drum.
This Rooters chief it's my belief, there's none could excel,
In rooting or reporting he did so very well,
But this last bit o news he'd yer'd it nearly drove him mad,
There were none that sit in't room but whur sorry for th'owd lad.
His bosum pal inquisitive, he then got up an said,
There were lots of houses here in Hyde they might have took instead.
He thought the licensing justices a great mistake had made,
In closing down a place like this while doing such a trade."

But close the pub they did, and the Rooters in their familiar grey trilby hats with dark silk bands moved to the Star.
They apparently enjoyed themselves once they had settled in and soon began the serious business of factfinding.
Whether it was the height of mountains, length of rivers, or the more down-to-earth tasks of collecting gossip and finding out who was going out with suchabody's wife, they did it with relish.
When Hyde Rooters club disbanded and why the Hare & Hounds Closed, seems lost in the mists of time.

I was given the above postcard many years ago and was told it was the Hare & Hounds on Fernally St, but comparing it with the faded  picture from the North Cheshire Herald article, there are some differences. I cannot find the landlady Sarah Jane Whitehead from my records.

If anyone has any information or documentation  on the Rooters Club such as the souvenir cards or photographs or information about the Hare & Hounds, please get in touch with the blogsite.
Thanks Paul


Ghost of Red Pump Street said...

John Edwin Oldham, of 33 Newton Street, was the founder of the Hyde Rooters Club. It came about quite simply. The licensee of the “Hare and Hounds” in Fernally Street had bought an old piano, and one of the customers enquired how much it had cost. He was told not to root so much. Thereupon, a master printer who frequented the house left, returning later with a stack of “rooting” cards. From that day the Hyde Rooters Club prospered and became the means of raising thousands of pounds for local charities.
Another of the original founder member of the old Hyde Rooters Club, was Alfred Banks (Talky to his friends); of Mottram Road. Mr. Banks was a Foremen Moulder at Goodfellows’ foundry, which originally stood where Morrison’s is now located. A native of Dukinfield, Alfred Banks was ten years old when he started as an office boy at Astley Pit. It was his duty in 1874 to tag the names of the dead who were brought to the surface after the explosion. When he moved to Hyde, he started to frequent the Hare and Hounds in Fernally Street, which in those days was the meeting place of several well known sporting figures in the district. During this time he struck up a friendship with Joey Nuttall, the famous Swimmer, who was coached by the licensee, Nathan Lee.
Ann Bradley was the landlady of the Hare and Hounds in the 1880’s. The house was then taken over by Nathan Lee, who was the landlord until 1901, and then Samuel and Thomas Bradley (Ann Bradley’s two eldest sons); took over the premises until the place closed.

Tom said...

What a great comment from 'The Ghost' Paul will be pleased when he read this.

Hyde Lad said...

Well I could not have asked for a better response than "The Ghost", thanks a lot.

Hyde Lad said...

Well I could not have asked for a better response than "The Ghost", thanks a lot.

Anonymous said...

Great story, When reading it I found out that Alfred Banks was my Mothers Granddad, all the details fit him into my family website, sadly I have no photo of him, nice to know that he had a nickname of (Talky to his friends)
I would like to see the piece from the Newspaper etc., if anybody has more information on the Rooters and of course Alfred Banks I would like to here from you. Regards Bryan Langton