Harry Rutherford's
Festival of Britain Mural

Friday, 31 August 2012

Nelson and Queen Street views

Playing Out


Here a great picture sent in by my good friend Gianni (Jon) Zazzarino riding his bike on Nelson Street. Over his shoulder can be seen a gable end which is at the top of Travis Street.


Here he is again, this time on Queen Street near to the James North Factory. Note the walkway from one part of the factory to the other.
I can remember when I, too, had knees like that.


Still on Queen Street, but across the road now, and more of the Norths Factory can be seen. Jon tells me this bike could well have been bought from Oldham's on the corner of Nelson Street and Market Street. 

Thursday, 30 August 2012

St Mary's School Class Photo's

Two more class pictures from St Mary's school with stood on the corner of Talbot Road and Bradley Green Road. I like to think Colin Critchlow for his continued support and for sharing his family pictures.


St Marys School, Newton 1925


St Marys, Newton class of 1946/7

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Trip To Blackpool

Thank you to Colin Critchlow for sharing this excellent picture of his Nan and Auntie on a day trip to Blackpool with ladies from Talbot Road Chapel in the 1930's


Looks like they were enjoying themselves.

I should think many of us have family photo's like this, and if like Colin you would like to share them please send them in. It is a great way to see how the fashions changed... 

Tuesday, 28 August 2012


 Sara Jones recently contacted us with these photos and this message...

"Hi there, I have a glass bottle ANDREW AND ATKINSON with original stopper
please could you tell me anything you might know about it..I dug it up from a victorian tip 
in Tintwistle, Derbyshire about 18 years ago..
Many thanks. "



If anyone has any information on these brewers please contact us.

Many thanks, Sara ! :)


Mineral and Beer Bottling in Hyde
First, regarding the stone Botanic Beer Jar. The Botanic Beer and Mineral Water Company was started in 1889/90 by father and son, John Tetlow (Unemployed Hatter) 64 Stockport Road, Gee Cross; and George Naylor Tetlow (Cotton Weaver), 131 Back Lane, Hyde. Their bottling plant was in Townsend Street, just off  Lumb Road. The company traded under the name the Tetlow Bros, although they were father and son. By 1895 the company was in financial difficulty and on June 13, 1895, Edward Lawton, Trustee, of 13 Brown Street, Manchester, was appointed by the court in Ashton under Lyne to run the company until it was out of debt or liquidated. George Naylor Tetlow thereafter moved to Blackpool.
Secondly, Thomas Middleton got it wrong when he said Andrew and Atkinson was formed about 1868. The founder of the Andrew's "Water Mineral and Bottling Company” Ralph Andrew, was at that time the landlord of the Bank Field Inn on Mottram Road.  It was in the mid 1870's that Ralph Andrew in partnership with his son (William Thomas Andrew) and his nephew (William Henry Andrew),  set up his beer  and mineral bottling plant on the corner of Lilley Street and Mottram Old Road.
Thomas Middleton may have been confused with the Mineral Water Manufacturing Company of Andrew and Shepley. Founded in the late 1860’s by John Andrew and David Shepley, the company traded from their bottling plant in Cheapside until the partnership was dissolved in 1879:- The London Gazette, March 7, 1879.
     We the undersigned, hereby give notice, that the Partnership heretofore subsisting between us the under  the name of Andrew and Shepley, Cheapside, Hyde Mineral Water Manufacturers and wholesale bottlers of Ale, is hereby dissolved by mutual consent. The business will be hereafter carried out in the name of Shepley and West, at the premises at Cheapside, to whom all accounts due and payable to the said firm of Andrew and Shepley, must be paid, and who will discharge all accounts owing by the said firm. – As witness our hands this 26th day of February, 1879.
                                                                                     John Andrew. David Shepley.
At the same time, the late nineteenth century, there were a small number of other mineral bottling companies in Hyde. William Coulthard’s  Gee Cross Water Mineral Company, Higgins and Broadbent on Tower Street, Hyde;  John Holland, was bottling mineral water at his plant on Mottram Road; Edwin Wilkinson 88 Mottram Road, and John Frederick's Cheetham's was bottling mineral water at his premises at 17 Knight Street, he later moved to Oldham, where he continued manufacturing Mineral Water. But foremost among the Brewing and Mineral Water Companies in Hyde during the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, was the Hyde, Denton, and Glossop Mineral Water Company. It is hard to determine when the company was formed, but it was certainly bottling mineral water before 1890 at its bottling plant in Simpson Street, near Hyde Central Station. John Aldred was the Chairman of the Company F.J. Houltfitth was the Secretary, and Frank Oldfield the works manager.
        However, since its formation sometime in the late 1880's, till its demise around 1930, the Hyde, Denton, and Glossop Mineral Water Company had a much checkered history.
         At an Extraordinary General Meeting of the Company, duly convened, and held at the offices of the company, Simpson Street, Hyde, on 28th of October 1891 the following special resolution was duly pass; and at a subsequent Extraordinary General Meeting of the Members of the Company, also duly convened, and held in the same place, on 12 of November, 1891 the said Special Resolution was duly confirmed:- "That the Company be wound up voluntarily, and a new Company formed; giving the present shareholders the privilege of taking up shares at a rate to be decided.
                                                                               John Aldred, Chairman.
The Hyde, Denton and Glossop Mineral Water Manufacturing Company finally turned off the lights two years later.
             Notice is hereby given, that  a General Meeting of Members of the Hyde, Denton, and Glossop Mineral Water Manufacturing Company Limited will be held at 12, Victoria -buildings in the city of Manchester, on the 14th day of November, 1893, at three o'clock in the afternoon precisely, for the purpose of having an account laid before them by the liquidator (pursuant of section 14), of the said company has been conducted, and the property disposed of, and the hearing of any explanation that may be given by the liquidator - Dated 10th day of October 1893.
                                                             William Nabb, Liquidator.
Charles Creese bought the business, lock stock, and barrel and renamed it "The New Hyde, Denton, Glossop Mineral Water Company." He immediately moved operations to 3 Cheapside, Hyde.
      Charles Creese was born in Ashton- Under- Lyne in 1880, the son of Frederick and Elizabeth Creese, landlords of the Friendship Inn, Old Street.  Charles Creese  married Jane Ogden at Ashton in 1901, shortly after they took over the running of the Commercial Hotel, 3 Commercial Brow, Hyde. By 1906 he had left the Commercial Hotel and moved into new premises at 30 Commercial Street, here he opened a grocer and beer retailing business. By 1923 he had moved into better premises at 126 Market Street, selling wines and spirits.
However, by 1929 the New Hyde Denton, and Glossop Mineral Water Manufacturing Company had run into debt. At an Extraordinary General Meeting of the company, duly convened, and held at 3 Cheapside, Hyde, on Tuesday, the third day of December, 1929, at 11.30 in the morning, the following Special Resolution was passed. “That the Company be wound up voluntarily, and that Arthur Scott Chartered Accountant, of 3 Corporation Street, Hyde, Cheshire, be appointed Liquidator for the purpose of winding up the company.”
                                                      Charles Creese, Chairman.
The last notice I have found regarding the New Hyde, Denton, and Glossop Mineral Water Manufacturing Company Ltd, reads:-
Notice is hereby given in pursuance of Section 236 of the Companies Act, 1929, that a General Meeting of the Members of the above Company will be held at The Brewery, Cheapside, Hyde, in the County of Chester on Friday, 25th day of April, 1930, at eleven in the morning precisely, for the purpose of having an account laid before them and to receive the Liquidator’s report showing how the winding up of the Company has been conducted and the property of the Company disposed of, and of hearing any explanation that may be given by the Liquidator; and also of determining, by Extraordinary Resolution, the manner in which the books, accounts, papers and documents of the Company, and of the Liquidator thereof, shall be disposed of:- Dated the 19th day of March, 1930.
                                                             Arthur Scott, Liquidator.
The bottling plant in Cheapside was taken over by Walker and Humphray’s in January 1930.
Shortly after the liquidation of his company, Charles Creese moved to Gregory Avenue, Romiley. In 1934 he was a Councilor for the Godley Ward; he died in Bredbury in 1952.

                                                     Jeffrey Stafford.

Monday, 27 August 2012

Mayor of Hyde


A rather splendid postcard of Alderman John Blackwell J.P. 
He was the mayor of Hyde in 1904/05.

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Daisyfield United Methodist Free Church

Daisyfield United Methodist Free Church whit walks.circa 1956 Whit Walkers walking around the corner from Ashton Road onto Bennett Street. daisyfieldcirca56 Photobucket  

Many thanks to Colin Critchlow for this photo! :)

Saturday, 25 August 2012

The History of St Georges Church

 Here is a brief history of St Georges Church as found in the Annals of Hyde which was written by Thomas Middleton.






StGeorgesexterior7 StGeorgesexterior6

Friday, 24 August 2012

Newton Hall

 A postcard of Newton Hall.


Newton Hall is thought to originally have been a medieval manor house, a grade 11 listed building circa 1380. It was privately owned and restored by W. Kenyon & Sons. It is one of the few surviving cruck buildings in the region. 

 Carbon dating placed the construction of this hall to c.1370 and it survived because much later it was encased in a brick building having a blue slate roof.

A cruck frame is one where the structure of the building depends on two or more ‘A-frames’ which go from the top of the building down to the ground.  These frames are usually constructed of curved timbers (the cruck blades) using the natural shape of a tree and in many cases the tree is sliced long-ways down the middle so that whatever the shape of the curve the two sides are symmetrical.  The two beams are joined together at the top by a ‘collar’ or tie-beam.

Cruck barns probably evolved in Anglo Saxon times and the earliest archaeological evidence comes from 4th century excavations in Buckinghamshire.

The term crook or cruck comes from Middle English crok(e), from Old Norse krāka, meaning "hook". This is also the origin of the word "crooked", meaning bent, twisted or deformed, and also the crook used by shepherds and symbolically by bishops.

Thanks to Wikipedia

Thursday, 23 August 2012

A first for 37 years !




The last time there was a wedding at Amy Fuller’s local church, Harold Wilson was prime minister, the Bay City Rollers were in the charts and petrol cost 16p a litre.

Now 37 years on, Amy  and Des Whendero have become the first couple in a generation to say ‘I do’ at Zion Congregational Church in Hyde.

The ceremony also marked a number of other firsts.
It was the first wedding at the Peel Street church’s new building, and the first at which Pastor David Hardiman had presided since becoming a minister three-and-a-half years ago.
Payroll clerk Amy, 24, said: “We wanted to get married there as we go to that church and I have done since I was 12.
“At first, we didn’t know it had been so long and although I knew there had never been a wedding in the new church building it was only when they looked at the church records that we found out it had been more than 30 years.
“It was a great day, wonderful, with about 100 to 120 people at the church and David did really well!” It’s unlikely that the last wedding, back in January 1975, was much like Des and Amy’s.

Des, 32, who works at the Manchester College, is originally from Zimbabwe so the ceremony included some African traditions – including a few which were a complete surprise to the bride and groom.

Following the vows the minister addressed the congregation in Des’s mother tongue, Shona, to the delight of the groom and his family.
Pastor Hardiman said: “It was a complete surprise and it was all done by friends. My daughter asked a friend of hers from school whose parents are from Zimbabwe and they translated it for me and then another friend helped with the pronunciation.
“Listening back to the tape, Des’s reaction was ‘oh man!’ and his family went wild and no one was expecting it!”

Pastor Hardiman added: “I was surprised when I realised it had been so long since the last wedding, but in a way I understand as the old building, which was demolished in 1997, had fallen in to disrepair.
“We’re only a relatively small community but we do hope that there will be more weddings in the years as we have some active younger members like Amy and Des.

I don’t think we will have to wait another 37 years for one!”
Written by Kate Weir.

Zion Congregational Church....

....and as it used to look


We would like send Amy and Des Many Congratulations and wish them a very happy life together.

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

St Georges Junior School

Here is a photo of St Georges Junior School (circa 1948) sent to us by Roger Dyson.


He sent us the following accompanying email also.

"The ball point marks were put on by my sister years ago. I haven't succeeded in removing them. Will keep on trying.

 Names from memory:-
Beryl Barber, Gillian Broadbent, John Byles (Painter & Decorating Shop) Michael Cook ( Butcher) Me 3rd row 6 from left, David Carter, Brian Sharp, Simon Brindle 
(Doctors Son) Keith Shaw, Roger Bennett, Geoffrey Torkington John Archer, Judith Bradley or Bradbury, Gillian Ollerenshaw,
Fran Holden, Kenneth Hall, Geoffrey Pickford.Maureen Gledhill, ? Cook ( Fairground ride on the market.) Some of the First names might not be correct.
Hope the photo gets some response."

Many Thanks, Roger.  :)

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Whit Walks in Newton

Colin Critchlow sent us these fabulous photos.

They are of the Whit Walks in Newton. The walkers are standing on George and Dragon Square on Bennett Street in the early 1960's. A huge crowd there as there always was on Whit Sunday.

Over to Colin...

" I managed to take these photos from my wife's parents bedroom window on Bagshaw St, Newton.
The Mayor and Mayoress were Mr and Mrs Leech."







As always, click the thumbnail to get a larger view of the photo.

Many thanks, Colin. :)

Monday, 20 August 2012

St Marys School

Here is a photo of St Marys School in Newton, taken around 1923.
It was sent to us by Colin Critchlow.

I like the way the teacher is keeping her beady eye on the class :)

Many thanks Colin. Much appreciated. :)

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Leigh Street revisited.

Here are three school photos from Leigh Street School.
I think that they were taken in the early 1960s.
They were sent in by Martin Leigh.

I loved the old school buildings - made of Accrington Brick. It's such a shame they were demolished. 
I liked the partition in the junior school that seperated classes 3 & 5 and the open fire in the first class in the infants. Does anyone remember the railings and the gate between the infant and junior school? The infant kids looked through in awe at the "big" kids.  
Great memories.



Mr Pakeman and Mr Renwick with the infant building behind..

Mr Renwick and Miss Degroote

If anyone recognises themselves, or indeed anyone else, please let us know so we can put your names on the post..

Many thanks, Martin. :)
(Thanks to Mike Brierley for help with the teachers names).

Saturday, 18 August 2012


We are delighted to share this wonderful account with everyone courtesy of  Gordon Burdekin.
Many thanks to Gordon & Stuart Green ( Theatre Royal) who sent it to us.    



The Theatre Royal was opened in Hyde in 1902, and was used mainly for musicals, plays and concerts, until these were replaced by “talking movies”, around about 1914, when a moveable screen was added. I believe there was once a circus, and the stage was strengthened underneath, to accommodate the weight of the elephants. The stage, at that time, was one of the largest in the North West, with a raked stage and a fly tower containing about 40 sets of lines (ropes), and large wing spaces each side of the stage, which were sufficiently wide enough to allow large “trucks” to be stored- these are large scenic pieces built onto rostra on wheels, which are then pushed into position during scene changes.

During the war period, the theatre was used for films, with Sunday night band concerts.  After the war, during the mid fifties, the theatre was again used for live shows, but this time, for a period of about 3 or 4 years, was used extensively for “weekly rep”, whereby a different production was performed each week, with a professional panto each Christmas, starring well known entertainers of the period, one of which was “The Dallas Boys”, I think this was possibly in the early sixties.

One of the better rep companies at that time were the “Frank H Fortescue Players”, many of whom went on to be well known through TV appearances. One of the actors in this company at that time went on to become Stan Ogden in Coronation Street.  I remember my parents telling me that in the fifties, the plays were very popular, and people used to have regular weekly seats, my parents included. I think the plays were also performed twice nightly.

In addition to the professional theatre, there were 3 amateur operatic societies who used the Theatre Royal for a week each, these being Hyde Musical Society, Hyde Light Opera Company and Romiley Operatic Society.

Hyde Musical Society performed their show around early to mid-March, followed by Romiley Operatic Society, usually 2or 3 weeks later, dependent upon when Easter fell. Hyde Light Opera Company performed their show in early October.

The first show I was involved with was Hyde Light Opera’s production of Kings Rhapsody in Oct 1967.  As a 14 year old, my job was “Call boy”, (they daren’t call people that these days!) where I had to run up and down all the stairs to the dressing rooms, calling the actors onto the stage. I was given this job by walking into the theatre one Saturday morning whilst everything was being delivered, and asking if there was anything I could do!

The next production after this, in March 1968, I was on the lighting crew, as I have always had a fascination for stage lighting design, and this show, if I remember correctly was Hyde Musical Society’s production of The Student Prince.  It has to be remembered that these shows were in the days before all the modern technology and computerised control boards.  The theatre had standard lighting of 3 compartment battens, and footlights, and a spot bar, I think there were probably 12 outlets on this spot-bar, but no actual lanterns, as these had to be hired as required. (The footlights were still used for films, and could be controlled from both the stage and the projection room.)

There was a Strand switchboard, which, as far as I am aware, is still in-situ, bricked in behind the wall which separates the two cinemas.  This controlled the footlights, the spot bar, and the three battens, along with the dip sockets in the stage floor.  This switchboard was on a platform about 10 or 11 feet above stage level, in the stage manager’s corner.

Additional lighting had to be installed, usually some front of house lanterns, then a couple of extra spot bars and a flood bar lighting the backcloths.  It was also necessary to install additional dimmer boards, and these were usually placed on the platform next to the old strand board.

If I remember correctly, we used to hang about 12 to 16 lanterns on each of the spot bars, including the theatre spot bar, and about 8 lanterns were placed front of house on stands in the balcony, and then about a dozen floodlights on the flood bar at the back to light the backcloths, sometimes called a cyc bar (cyclorama), as they were usually used to light what is called the cyclorama, or sky cloth, at the back of the stage.  All of these then had to be coloured up, and cables run to the switchboards, and then focused.

The scenery, all lighting equipment, sound equipment, props and costumes were all usually delivered to the theatre on the Saturday morning prior to the show.  The stage crew and lighting crew were usually at the theatre on the Saturday morning, and everybody usually worked as one team getting everything in, and sorting it out.  If there was time, a start would be made on hanging some of the back cloths, but we always had to be out of the theatre for 12, and the stage area left totally clear, so the screen could be moved after the evening’s film.

The cinema screen would be moved on the Saturday night after the film finished, and this was on a large wheeled frame, and it was rolled to the back of the stage and placed against the back wall. The very large sound box, which was behind the screen, also had to be moved, and this was also placed at the back of the stage.  These were usually placed right against the back wall, and an old back cloth, or drapes, was hung in front of the screen to protect it.  A gap was usually left between this back cloth, and the final backcloth, in order to facilitate a passage across the stage.

If it was a complex show scenery and lighting wise, we would sometimes work for a couple of hours on Saturday night, but normally, we just started about 7 or 8 on Sunday morning, and there would be a few hours frenetic activity.

All the lighting and scenery would be hung on Sunday morning, and then the lighting was set and coloured, and all the other scenery sorted, and all the various sets put up and tried, in readiness for the afternoon’s rehearsals.  We normally finished for lunch about 12, then back in for about 2, for technical rehearsals, and dress rehearsal in the evening, ready for opening on Monday night.

Even though my main interest was lighting, I sometimes had to work on the stage, if there was a shortage of crew, but it was actually very worthwhile, as it gave me the opportunity to learn general stage craft.  One of the first jobs I remember having to do on the stage was brace and weight boy, which meant that, on a scene change, if flats were used, I had to put brace and weights in place to stop the scenery falling over.  As there was quite a steep rake to the stage, I also had to put wedges under some of the flats, to keep them vertical, and to stop them falling over.

I was also taught how to “run” 18 foot flats singlehanded, and also how to “throw” a cleat line and how to tie it, so that the rope could be released quickly with a single pull, as some of the sets had to be struck very quickly. Another aspect of stage craft included learning all the various knots used for hanging back cloths and lighting bars.

At this time, the Theatre Royal was managed and run by the Breakey family, which consisted of Florence Breakey (manager), Albert Breakey (chief projectionist and resident stage manager), and Reene Breakey (Albert’s wife) who ran the ticket office. When live shows were on, and the bars were open, these were run by Albert’s brother, Gordon. There was also a senior projectionist, Arthur Wilde, who has been involved with the theatre for about 50 years, and I believe that he still goes in on a daily basis, to check the place over, as a caretaker for the present owners.

Albert had been involved in the Theatre Royal virtually all his life, including the period in the fifties when the theatre was on weekly rep, as he was in charge of the lighting in those days.  He usually operated the strand switch board, which was operated by individual dimmer levers, all grouped on to a series of wheels, which could all be locked and controlled with one master wheel. The board contained what were known as “sunset” dimmers.

Albert was very experienced, and taught me a lot about stage craft, and became a good friend over the years whilst I worked with him. What Albert didn’t know about stagecraft wasn’t worth knowing, and I certainly remember on many occasions, if there was a shortage of stage crew, he would do the “cue” on the switch board, slide down the ladder from the board, run round the stage, cleat up a complete set of flats, and then go back on to the switch board, in time for the next lighting cue.

Most of the shows were stage managed by John Booth, and I recall that he became resident stage manager in about the late 1960’s, which meant he was responsible for the safe operation of everything on the stage, on behalf of the theatre. For many of the shows, he was also the society’s stage manager, and kept that position until he became the first manager of Romiley Forum when it opened in 1971. I do remember that people such as Sam Beckett and Norman Croker also stage managed for Hyde Musical Society.

One of the more memorable productions I remember working on was the Northern Amateur Premier of Oliver, which Hyde Musical Presented in March 1970.

The society had purchased a very large set which was very similar the original set used in the West End production, and the lighting was also designed in a similar style.  The set was a very large wooden construction, on several levels, part of which revolved.  There was also some flown scenery, which had to be flown in to meet up with the set as it revolved.

The lighting was the biggest rig I ever recall seeing in the Theatre Royal and again, as this was pre the electronic dimming age, lots of additional lighting boards had to be installed, and I can recall seeing all of these lined against the prompt side stage wall, with all the cabling from the lighting bars dropping down the back of the stage.  About 6 or 7 people had to operate these boards. If the production was mounted now, a computerised control board with about 200 dimmers would be used, and probably about twice as much lighting.

 For “Oliver”, we started work on the Saturday evening about 10, after the films had finished, and worked through the night, until Sunday morning, when we all had a break and went home. We then returned just after lunch, in time for the technical rehearsal and then the dress rehearsal.
This would be on a Sunday evening, with performances commencing on Monday.  There would be a show every night, with a matinee Saturday afternoon.

After the final show on Saturday, we had to do everything in reverse, all the backcloths having to be lowered, and then rolled, and then all the rest of the scenery had to be loaded onto the scenery wagon, which would arrive outside the dock doors about 11 ish.  All the lighting had to be removed and again loaded onto the van which had arrived from the lighting hire company.

Props and costumes also had to be loaded up, and the stage left completely clear, in readiness for the screen being put back.  We usually finished in the early hours of Sunday morning, but always managed to have a pint in the theatre bar before we finished.

As can be imagined, there were many characters involved back stage on these shows, some of whom had been doing the stage work for many years, even in the professional theatre days.

There was usually a team of men, probably about 4 or 5, who worked in the flies above the stage, and the chief fly-man was Arthur Wheatley.  He was a very knowledgeable man, when it came to all the practical and safety elements of flying, but he also had a very dry sense of humour.  He was usually assisted by his son Ken, and several other men, including, if I remember correctly, Brian Nicholls, who had all worked together for years.  This was a very heavy and dirty job, as there was no counterweight flying system at the Theatre Royal, it was all hemp rope.  If a particularly heavy piece of scenery was being flown, such as a French flat (this is several flats fastened together and flown as one piece of scenery), it was sometimes hung on two adjacent sets of lines, to distribute the weight, and one of these sets of lines would occasionally be dropped over the fly rail, down to the stage, so the stage staff could help in lifting it out.  These days of course, with counterweights, and even motorised flying, anything can be lifted out.

There was also an old stage carpenter by the name of Jim Kellett, who always turned up with his bag of tools, and if anything needed sawing or repairing, the cry always went up, “where’s Jim, he’ll fix it!”  (This was long before Jimmy Saville coined the phrase.)

The Theatre was entered by the stage door, and the first room on the left, after going through the door, was the stage door keeper’s room.  There was always someone there checking your stage pass as you went in.  From this, there was a short corridor, at the end of which was a small dressing room, which was usually occupied by the principal ladies.  On the right hand side was a sliding fire door onto the stage, and people were also not allowed to smoke beyond this point (nor on the fly floor). There was also a large props room at the far back corner of the stage.

On the left side of the corridor, a set of stairs led down to the cellar under the stage, where you could clearly see all the brick buttresses which had been built may years before to strengthen the stage.

The area at the bottom of the stairs was the tea area, where every- one had their interval cuppa, and also the make- up area,

From the corridor near the stage door, there were also stairs leading up to the other dressing rooms which I think were on 3 levels, but I cannot remember for certain.  At the top of this stair case, on the third level, was access to the fly tower.  Again, there was a large sliding fire door.  On entering through this door, it was very quiet and dark, and all that could be seen was about 40 sets of ropes coming down from the grid above the stage. The grid is so called because it is above the stage, and contains lattices going both up and down and across the stage.  Across the stage, attached to these lattices, are usually 3 sets of pulleys, as there are usually 3 ropes to make up what is called a set of lines.  The ropes then come across from the stage, and are fastened on large cleat hooks onto the “fly rail”, which runs the length of the stage.

Coming out of the fly floor, back into the corridor, again there were 2 or 3 dressing rooms.  Next to these was a pass door into the gallery.

The gallery was used normally only for lives shows, but I do remember a few occasions in the early seventies, when some of the more popular films were on, such as the James Bonds, and Shaft, the balcony would be opened occasionally on a Saturday night, as these films were very popular in those days.  I do not remember the balcony being used on any other occasions after the demise of the live shows.

The projection room is at the rear of the gallery. The projection room housed 2 carbon arc projectors, which I think were Kalees, along with Westrex sound heads.  There were also 2 carbon arc follow spots which were used on live shows.  In addition to these, there was also a carbon arc special effects projector, which was used for making announcements, such as “will the owner of car.......”., This was in fact a “magic lantern” projector which was used for showing magic lantern slides.

This sequence of shows continued until early 1972, when the owners ( I think it was Stanneylands at the time) announced that the theatre was to be “twinned”, with a smaller cinema being built on the stage. This would be the end of live shows, with the last one being Hyde Light Opera’s “Annie Get Your Gun” in October.  Even though it was a superb show, as I recall, the last night was very sad with us not only having to clear the set, but also remove other fixtures and fittings which we had put there over the years, such as talk –back systems, and cue lights and all the extra switch boards and so on, and generally empty the stage, in readiness for the builders.

The builders moved in on the following Monday morning, and I remember seeing a large skip, into which all the remaining unwanted equipment was thrown. Films carried on as normal in the main cinema, with a soundproof wall being constructed behind the screen.  The smaller cinema, Royal 2, was then built on the stage behind this. Apparently, the design was such that it would be possible to convert it back into a working theatre.

In the mid seventies, I was asked by Albert if I would like to work with Arthur a couple of nights a week in Royal One, as a part time projectionist, to which I agreed, whilst Albert ran the projection room in Royal 2.

At that time, Royal One was still using the carbon arc projectors, and small reels of film which ran for about 20 minutes each, therefore changeovers being necessary between projectors to ensure continuity in the films.  My job was to rewind each reel of film after it had come off the projector and also thread up the next reel, and also to change the carbon rods in the projectors, and also to occasionally check that the carbons were burning correctly, as the quality of the picture on the screen would have been affected if they had not been burning straight.
Royal Two had a Xenon arc projector, with a long player unit, whereby all the reels of film were joined together, and run as one continuous programme.

By the late 70’s, the projectors in Royal One were replaced by the same equipment as in Royal Two and also a modern sound system.  The old projectors did however remain in situ, but I don’t know if they are still there to this day, and were certainly there up to the building closing completely.

Then, in 1977, the Yanks arrived!

A film company arrived in the town to make the film Yanks, which was directed by John Schlesinger.  Their activities were centred around Hyde Town Hall, where the ballroom scenes were filmed, and also the Mayor’s Parlour in the Town Hall, which was used for a Children’s party scene.  It took several weeks to film these sequences, and the centre of Hyde looked like a USA Army base for weeks, as all the extras, many of whom were recruited locally, all wandered around town dressed in USA Army clothing, complete with GI style haircuts.

The Town Hall is only across the road from the Theatre, and a production manager from the film company called at the theatre one day, and asked if they could show the “rushes” daily, to check what they had filmed on the previous day.  Albert agreed to this, and I was present on a couple of occasions, to see John Schlesinger and the other members of the production team sitting in Royal Two each day to see what they had filmed (without sound of course),  and I did have the pleasure of meeting John Schlesinger.

The small tins of film, containing the rushes, direct from the processing labs, minus the sound, were handed to Albert, and off he went up to the projection room. I remember Schlesinger shouting up to him, “When you’re ready, boy!”  Albert must have been at least 20 years older than him!

I continued to work with Arthur and Albert for 2 nights a week until 1982, when I decided it was time to move on, as by then, as I was also very involved with the Festival Theatre in Hyde (next door to the Theatre Royal.)

I seem to recall that in the early 70’s, there were a couple of one night charity shows, organised by Hyde Round Table.  I think they were compared by Stuart Hall, who lived locally, along with some singers and musicians. There was also a fashion show as part of this, and I remember us having to build  a dressing room in the corner of the stage, for the models to do there changes in.  I think there may have been a singer called Sheila Buxton, who used to be on Radio 2 at the time.

Other projectionists I recall were Dennis Roylance, who had previously worked at the Gaumont in Manchester, and I believe he has only recently died, and also Ron Brocklehurst, in the mid 70’s, and also John Booth and also Eric Parker.

Ashton Operatic Society and Dukinfield Operatic Society also performed their yearly shows around the same time, usually With Ashton it was the week following Hyde Musical in early March, and Dukinfield performed in October, usually a couple of weeks after Hyde Light Opera.  These shows were performed at what was then known as the ABC Cinema in Ashton Under Lyne, later to become the Tameside Hippodrome, and usually utilised mainly the same stage staff from both theatres, so when we had finished “getting out” at the Theatre Royal, we would then go over to Ashton to start work there.

Anyway, that’s another story........

Gordon Burdekin
October 2010.

Friday, 17 August 2012

Prefabs in Gee Cross

A few weeks ago we spoke about the prefabs and steel houses that were built after the end of WW2 . Someone mentioned the ones that stood behind the Grapes pub in Gee Cross and Ken Smith very kindly sent us this newspaper cutting and some information about them.
Over to Ken -
"Looking through the blogs recently I came across a request for information regarding  the prefab estate constructed behind the Grapes Hotel shortly after the end of WW2.
I lived on the estate with my parents from its first occupation until September 1952, when I joined the RAF as an Aircraft Apprentice, with just one short break during 1951 when our house burned down!
I enclose a newspaper cutting from the time which may remind some of your readers of the occasion.
Incidentally, I now live on the plot of land almost immediately opposite that of the house that burned down !!"

Thanks very much for sharing , Ken. Much appreciated ! :)

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Coal Shed Tobogganers

Another terrific photo from Tony D.
It is so evocative of a more innocent age.

Over to Tony for the description...

"This the last, although I never know, of my 'steel house' collection.  The trained eye can just see it, it's roof is centre picture in Pimlott Avenue 
These 'steep' hills, as they'd seemed to my child's mind had various runs with various degrees of bicycle fear about them.  They are still there although now so mildly landscaped. They border Johnson Brook Rd in foreground and Markham Street to the left. 
We kids would  'borrow' a sledge like this one, one from  a half section of a corrugated steel coal shed, a steel house piece of property and just about the right size for four of us junior tobogganers to fit on! "


Thumbnail to larger view.

Many thanks, Tony. PLEASE keeping sending them in . They are wonderful ! :)

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Air Raid Shelters.

We recently received this email from David Mills who is looking for any information or photographs of air raid shelters around Hyde.
If anyone has any info, please contact us :)

Over to David,

"Hi There,

I now find myself checking the Hydonian blog everyday as it brings back so many memories to me and the site/content is excellent.

I was wondering if you had managed to find anything on Air Raid shelters in Hyde, as these  intrigued me as a kid in the late sixties/early seventies.  I remember there being two or three at the back of the scout hut on Dukinfield Road and also one in the woods (we used to call Jackson Woods/blue dye woods) between Flowery Field House and Dukinfield Road.  I heard there was one in Hyde park/woods, but we never found this.
I expect these Air Raid shelters were provided by Ashton Brothers for their workers, but there must have been lots of Air Raid shelters and I was wondering if any still exist or if there was an inventory in existence?
Going through your blog, and the topics, you just can't believe what has happened to Hyde and what's been taken away, particularly the motorway and the houses and shops that went.
I am sorry, I don't have any photos, but I am sure somebody has! "

Here are a few photo's courtesy of John Hopwood.

Queen Street Air raid shelters located next to (and under?) the James North Bowling Green.




Many thanks, John :)

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Hydes Town Team.

We recently received this email from Gill Anderton. It is regarding a group who wish to get Hyde Town Centre back to its prosperous days of old.

Over to Gill...

"There is a meeting to be held at Hyde FC Social Club, Walker Lane on Wednesday 22 Aug at 6pm.  They want to set up a Hydes Town Team (as suggested by Mary Portas' Review) to help revive towns like ours who are seeing ever more empty shops, and want to bring back the community into the town centres and help them prosper again.
If you know any business person who would be interested, please let them know.
(See Mary Portas Review on Google).
A postcard of Hyde in the more prosperous days of the 1960's.



hyde 1970s
The 1970's

Thanks for letting us know,Gill ! :)