Cheetham and Crumpsall Heritage Society
I came across an old cassette recording of a meeting of the Local History Study Group which used to meet every week at Crumpsall Lane Primary School during the 1980s.
In this recording we are having one of our regular 'general chats' in which everybody threw in their 'three pennorth'
It was as a result of these discussions that the first ideas of creating the 'From The Green' books came about.
Given that the discussion was free and easy, there are times when two, or sometimes more, people are talking at the same time!
However there are some interesting offerings from some of the members.
If there are any snippets that trigger any memories or if you have any information about any of the points covered, please let me know! I'd be particularly interested to know about the 'aircraft flying low over Lansdowne Road' which is mentioned early on.
(The old chap who often speaks, quietly to me (Martin Gittins, the group 'tutor') is Eric Hargreaves whose memoirs are immortalised in 'A Crumpsall Childhood'
MARCH MEETING - Monday 9th March, Ukrainian Cultural Centre, 31 Smedley Lane, Cheetham, M8 8XB.
We are delighted to welcome a new speaker to the group. Graham Walker is bringing his highly entertaining and somewhat unusual presentation 'The Ballad of Billy Unsworth'
'Cpl. William Frankland Unsworth was born in Ordsall, Salford in 1881.
He left home shortly after his father passed away and joined the Lancashire Fusiliers.
He served in the Boer War and, on his return, he married Bella, worked in Trafford Park and lived with his new family back home in Ordsall
This is his story'
Using photographs and historic documents Graham will reveal the unusual events which befell Billy next. He will also perform the song 'The Ballad of Billy Unsworth'
Information about future meetings will be posted as it becomes available. You can also check on our Facebook Page 'Cheetham and Crumpsall Heritage Society'
For further details please contact Martin Gittins 07760 430 577 or email
2015 - BEGINNINGS
The Cheetham And Crumpsall Heritage Society was formed as a result of a chance meeting between Martin Gittins and Torange Khonsari at ‘The Spring Fling’ at the Ukrainian Cultural Centre, Smedley Lane, Cheetham in April 2015.
Torange was, at that time, the Artist In Residence at the Manchester Jewish Museum and had been working on a project at Cheetham (Elizabeth Street) Park. Martin, a local historian, voiced an interest in the possibility of starting up a Local History Society for the Cheetham/Crumpsall area, having previously run an evening class at Crumpsall Lane School for a number of years in the mid 1980s.
Martin met again with Torange and discussed the possibilities. A second consultation took place at The Manchester Jewish Museum where the idea was further investigated with contributions from Max Dunbar and Alex Cropper (at that time Alex Grime!)
It became known the Manchester Histories team at Manchester University would be interested in forming a liaison, with the intention of supporting and developing the proposed group as part of a new initiative, ‘Hidden Histories and Historians’ They would offer expertise, connections with other groups and individuals and a small start-up fund to enable the group to establish itself properly.
It was agreed that the group would be formed. Posters were put up in a few local places and a date was set for the first meeting.
June 29th 2015
First meeting with Torange Khonsari, Artist in Residence at the Jewish Museum, discussing what the new Group might do, how to advertise ourselves, where and when to meet
July 13th 2015
Talk about Cheetham Textile trades in Cheetham given by Torange Khonsari, followed by a meeting for the Group. More discussions about the way forward, followed by a “Show and Tell” where several members brought an item relating to local history and talked briefly about it.
August 3rd 2015
Talk on the founding of the Manchester Shechita Board (the body overseeing the production of kosher meat) by Dr. Yaakov Wise. This should have been followed by a second “Show and Tell” session, but we ran out of time!
September 7th 2015
Discussing how to assist the Jewish Museum with their Open Day in Cheetham Park.
September 20th 2015
Talk followed by a walk to Cheetham Park where the Jewish Museum had a publicity table and an evening concert.
October 5th 2015
November 2nd 2015
December 7th 2015
Talk by David Govier, of Archives Plus at Central Library. David gave us a full and fascinating insight into the vast range of resources which have been centralised under one roof with the refurbishment and extension of Central Library, bringing together Sound Archive, Film Archive, Records Office and other departments as ‘Archive+’
Also short talk by Dr. Yaakov Wise on the meaning of Chanukah (a Jewish festival). Followed by doughnuts!
January 11th 2016
Visit to the Archives at Central Library with David Govier. We were given the ‘Grand Tour’ of the public and private parts of this wonderful resource. We were able to see and handle rare documents, maps and press cuttings, as well as being given an I sight into how archives are collected, stored and made available for research.
February 1st 2016
Meeting with representatives from the Manchester Histories Festival, (Hidden Histories and Historians) Claire Turner and Danny Callaghan, who are guiding the Group as it grows and develops. We decided that a good way to broaden the appeal of the group would be to develop a programme of events including talks and visits.
March 7th 2016
'Synagogues, Sweatshops and Strangeways’ – a talk by Alex Cropper.
Alex shared her detailed knowledge of the local area referring in particular to the trades and Industries of Cheetham Hill and the way the Jewish Community gradually moved ‘Up The Hill’ towards Prestwich and Whitefield building new synagogues as they went, and leaving the old ones behind to be utilised in many different and interesting ways.
April 9th 2016
Visit to Transport Museum, Boyle Street. George Turnbull gave us the benefit of his vast knowledge and a guided tour of the transport museum, showing us the range of vehicles contained there, from the only remaining Manchester Horse Tram, to the prototype of the Metrolink tram, and including his very own Double Decker Bus!. Tea and biscuits completed the day.
May 3rd 2016
Discussion and planning meeting at MJM. a small group of attendees laid some plans for the coming months, including attendance at the Manchester Histories Festival.
May 9th 2016
Planning meeting for the forthcoming Histories Festival. We decided to have a range of photographs on display, a table full of other photographs, postcards booklets and maps on the table and a supply of information leaflets to hand out to prospective new members. This was to be our first concerted recruitment drive.
May 19th 2016
Tour of Museum in the Ukrainian Cultural Centre, Smedley Lane, followed by a planning meeting for the Histories Festival.
Larysa Bolton, intrigued and entertained us with details of the costumes, culture and history of Ukraine as displayed in the small museum, run by the Ukrainian Women’s Association in Manchester.
Afterwards we looked through the materials people had brought to be used on our stand at the Manchester Histories Festival Celebration Day
11th June 2016 Taking part in Manchester Histories exhibition at the Town Hall. Made some useful new contacts and took details from a number of potential new members
July 4th 2016
Talk by David Blood (Friends of Heaton Park) linking with the Somme Commemoration events in Heaton Park. David gave a very detailed and entertaining account of the role of Heaton Park in the preparations for the first World War and how it then became a recuperation centre for men returning, injured from the front.
10th 2016 July
Tour of Heaton Hall. We were joined by two new members for this tour, given by David Blood. It was so good that it overran and we had to be left to our own devices as David went on to (belatedly) start his next tour.
July 12th 2016
Consultation meeting at Jewish Museum with Architects, to discuss plans and have our ideas considered
July 16th 2016
Small stall and display at the Open Day for Collyhurst Hall Archaeological Dig. Sveral potential new members and some very useful contacts made.
August 2016 - No meeting
September 5th 2016
Selection of design for business cards and discussion about publicity.
October 6th 2016
Some members visited an exhibition at Central Library celebrating the 150th Anniversary of Philips Park Cemetery
October 10th 2016
Talk by Dr Yaakov Wise about the International Brigades and their connection with Cheetham Hill
October 16th 2016
Visit to photgraphic exhibition at Salford Museum and Art Gallery.
November 7th 2016
Talk by Martin Gittins about the rich and varied history of 'Smedley - The Forgotten Suburb'.
November 10th 2016
Some members visited Alkrington Hall for an exhibition entitled 'A Cargo of Curiosities' celebrating the collecting of Lord Lever, a past owner of the hall.
December 12th 2016
January 9th 2017
Meeting cancelled due to illness of guest speaker, Nigel Barlow.
February 13th 2017
Talk by Nigel Barlow, author of 'Around Manchester' covering some of the unusual and little known history of the suburbs, including Newton's Heath, Ferranti's involvement in Hollinwood and some of the lost rivers.
First meeting at our new 'home'The Ukrainian Cultural Centre, Cheetham. – general discussion and looking at a collection of books and maps
Meeting cancelled. We were unable to secure a speaker for this month
May 8th 2017
Andrew and Dorothy Walker visited us and gave an enlightening talk about Tait McKenzie and Heaton Hall
Talk by Paul Hindle about the history of tolls roads, with particular reference to North Mancheter
2nd July 2017
Tricia Neal produced a stall for an event by Friends of Herristone Park, at which she advertised the groups and showed examples of her postcard collection.
July 9th -2017. - VISIT TO CLAYTON HALL
The hall was, for many years, one of the homes of the Chethams (Crumpsall Old Hall and Turton Tower being two others) Beryl, Lynn and the other unpaid volunteers are doing a remarkable job at the house and we would thoroughly recommend a visit for anyone who had not been before.
Everyone was very impressed: first with the building and its history and secondly with the wonderful volunteers who made the day special; their attention and helpfulness could not be faulted. They were keen to share their obvious love for the building but also very open to hearing the information that some of our members had to offer, particularly about the two Crumpsall Halls connected with the Chetham family.
August 2017 - NO MEETING.
Our member Hannah will be giving us a talk on The Blackley Deer Forest.
October 28th 2017.
Visit to Chethams' Library and school. An excellent guided tour by the wonderful Jonathan Schofield, who brought Medieval Manchester to life for us.
We learnt that the building was erected 1421 to accommodate a college of priests for the Cathedral and is built of sandstone. The Library was established under the will of Humphrey Chetham (1580-1653), a prosperous Manchester textile merchant, banker and landowner. Chetham also made provision for a school for forty poor boys, which today is a specialist music school of world renown, and for five chained libraries to be placed in local churches.
Our speaker will be Andrew Walker talking about Seymour Egerton of Heaton Hall and his band of entertainers "The Wandering Minstrels".
December 11th 2017
Festive Frolic featuring Martin's Magical Mystery box (also known as a lucky dip, with added features), Gittins' Grub, a Quizzical Quiz and Members' Mayhem (bring an item of interest or a seasonal anecdote to share)
January 14th 2018
Visit to Ordsall Hall, Salford. Guioded tour, and time to look around at our leisure. The whole house and grounds are wonderfully restored and givce a really good idea of life in Tudior times.
February 12th -2018.
Member Martin Gittins gave an illustrated talk by way of a preview of Chapter One of his forthcoming book 'York Street, The Story Of Cheetham Hill Road'
The talk described the changing face of Cheetham Hill Road between the beginning and middle of the 19th century, using extracts from T. Swindells 'Manchester Streets and Manchester Men' and a description by an unknown author which was published in the Manchester free Gazette around 1975.
Martin also discussed his 'case' for the existence of a Roman Temple situated near the junction of Cheetham Hill Road and Smedley Lane.
March 12th- 2018
An unusual evening, courtesy of member George, who showed us a TV film about a 1933 murder in Cheetham Hill. The BBC investigated whether "a one-eyed vagrant" William Burtoft murdered Frances Levin in her home on Cheetham Hill Road in 1933
April 12th 2018.
Talk by Eddie Morris about many and varied subjects including local cinemas and dance halls; highways and byways of Cheetham and Broughton; and some of the shops in the Hightown area of Cheetham. All very interesting and enjoyable.
April 22nd 2018
Visit to Turton Tower with an excellent guided tour. Turton was one of the homes of the Chetham Family and was extensively altered and re-modelled over several generations. An excellent visit.
May 14th 2018.
No Meeting this month.
June 11th 2018.
Our member Hannah gave us a talk, about George Augustus Lee.
"Born 1761, died 1826. In 1792 he became a partner in the Salford Engine Twist Company's mill at Salford. The established partners were George and John Philips, Peter Atherton, and Charles Wood.
1797 Address: 39 Broken-bank, Salford. By 1807 the business had become Philips and Lee. Lee ran it until retirement.
1826 He died at his house at Singleton Brook, near Manchester. George Augustus Lee was a major motivating force behind the development of gas lighting apparatus. He had an avid interest in technology, and had introduced a series of technological innovations at the Salford Mill. These included one of the earliest applications of cast iron frame 'fireproof' construction, steam heating, and gas lighting.
After an initial installation of gaslight at the Soho Foundry in 1803-1804, Boulton and Watt prepared an apparatus for the cotton mill of Philips and Lee in Salford, in 1805-1806. This was to be B&W's only major sale of gas lighting until late 1808."
Hannah's version was much more entertaining and you can still hear her talk by visiting her website https://www.mixcloud.com/Hannahs_Bookshelf
and listening to "A Helping of History" from 9th January 2018.
July 9th 2018.
Martin Gittins led a guided walk around the 'Breezy Heights' of Crumpsall, discovering information about its history as a centre for bleaching and dyeing and its development into a desirable suburb with the coming of the railway. The evening ended with a chance to chat and look at photographs and maps in the comfort of The Cleveland Hotel. The content of the walk will soon be available as a booklet for a self-guided walk. Available from this website - visit the Corner Shop.
August 2018. - NO MEETING
September 9th 2018.
Martin Gittins led the second in a series of walks 'From the Green' - this time covering some of the great houses of Crumpsall Lane, a terrible tragedy and a link with the Duke of Norfolk. Once again we repaired to the Cleveland Hotel for refreshment and chat
October 8th 2018
Member Tricia Neal brought along a collection of photographs rescued from abandonment in a garage. They were part of the archive of the former Moston Photographic Society and, although mainly of that area, they were interesting from a historical perspective as many of the scene depicted were typical of North Manchester in general.
November 12th 2018.
Talk by Owen Hammond, a volunteer at Broughton House and a Military historian.
“Armed Forces Veterans in Greater Manchester – with reference to Broughton House”
December 10th 2018
Our year ended with a Christmas Party at The Ukrainian Cultural Centre. We had the usual festive nibbles, a 'Secret Santa' of sorts, and a few games of Christmas Bingo. Martin read 'The Twelve Days of Turkey' Tricia gave us 'Sam In The Trenches (the story of how he won the war with his mother's rock-hard Christmas Pudding) and Hannah finished the recitals with 'Christmas Eve In The Workhouse'
February 1st 2019
Instead of our usual monthly meeting scheduled for 14th January we instead had out first visit of the year. We went to Broughton House, at the invitation of our speaker from November, Owen Hammond, to see the buildings and visit the museum. This would be our only opportunity to see the older parts of Broughton House before a new set of buildings replaced the old.
February 11th 2019
Talk given by Crumpsall Local Historian Les Leggett about the history of the Wesleyan Graveyard which formerly existed in Thomas Street . He described how the original chapel had been smaller, and near to Sandy Bank and a newer one was then built on Thomas Street.
He explained the process by which the bodies were exhumed and re-interred, and that some people were not happy about the way this was dealt with.
March 11th 2019
Another excellent talk this month, this time from Daphne Dawson. She had plotted out a circular route around the Manchester area – a bit like the M60, but for pedestrians! She illustrated it with beautiful pictures of plants and places, including autumn leaves, trees in full blossom, stunning views from high up and strange buildings from low down.
We learned about an Archimedes Screw on the River Goyt; the clock that strikes 13 in Worsley; and the war memorial on Werneth Low.
March 24th 2019
We were guided around the historic area of Angel Meadow by Manchester Tour Guide Sibby. She described the horrific conditions in which people lived, and died and quoted from Marx and Engels and other commentators.. The group were treated to views of The 'Mighty River Irk' from various unusual angles and the whole tour ended up with a visit to The Marble Arch pub on Rochdale Road, which is itself a wonderfully historic location.
April 8th 2019
This month's speaker was Local Historian Les Leggett who gave a fascinating talk about the buildings and people of Cheetham Hill Road. Illustrated by over 50 photographs - many from his private collection - Les took us on a 'walk' from Manchester to The Half Way House, describing many of the fine buildings, past and present and relating iunteresting facts and stories about them.
May 13th 2019
We welcomed back a previous speaker, Owen Hammond - from Broughton House - who, this time gave us a short talk about a fatal crash which took place near Littleton Road on the banks of the Irwell during the Second World War, when a plane returning from Germany after a failed bombing raid crash landed, setting off the full 10 ton payload of bombs and killing the entire crew.
Member Martin Gittins also gave a talk 'The Irish and Peterloo' which he had delivered at the Irish World Heritage Centre the previous week as part of the commemorations of the bicentenary of The Peterloo Massacre.
June 10th 2019
We had a good attendance for our "Mix and Mingle" evening on Monday, when local artist Mary Burke showed us the contents of her tiny rucksack which she takes with her on "urban painting" trips! Her paintings of local streets, and in particular her "concertina" artwork of the whole length of Cheetham Hill Road, were fascinating. Thank you, Mary.
Martin provided information about our forthcoming visit to St. Leonard's and the Ring 'o Bells in Middleton, progress with clearing up St. Mark's churchyard, and the latest developments in the provision of a Peterloo Memorial, whilst Tricia brought along her local history display boards.
There was time for everyone to have a general natter and a good time was had by all.
June 14th 2019
A group of 9 members enjoyed a pleasant afternoon yesterday when we visited the Parish Church of St. Leonard's, Middleton. We were treated to a guided tour by Local Historian and former undertaker Geoff Wellens whose knowledge of the history of the church was impressive.
Sadly, we weren't able to go up the 'wooden steeple' but nevertheless we poked our noses into lots of nooks and crannies during the 90 minute tour.
Afterwards we went to pay our respects at both the grave and the monument to Sam Bamford and then Martin explained the story behind the strange collection of clubs hanging from the beams in The Ring O' Bells pub which are the clubs brandished by Beelzebub in the annual Middleton Pace Egg Play.
8th July 2019
Our guest speaker this month was Lavinia Tod whose subject es the fascinating story behind some of the common words and phrases we use now which derive from Tudor times.
Did you ever wonder why we say “sleep tight” as we tuck the little ones up? Or look for somewhere “off the beaten track” when booking a holiday? Perhaps you “went the extra mile” for your employer, but still “got the sack”.
Lavinia's talk was a real eye-opener and her knowledge of the period helped to make the whole talk entertaining as well as enlightening.
12th August 2019
Rob Hargreaves and Alan Hampson will gave us a great talk about Elijah Dixon, Manchester's "forgotten reformer". He played a key role in the Blanketeer's March of 1817 and was arrested and imprisoned. Everybody in Victorian Manchester knew of Elijah Dixon - very few do today. Their book is available on this website, from The Corner Shop.
9th September 2019
Thanks to the 20 people who turned out last night to accompany me on a stroll around Crumpsall, looking at some if its history, including the birth place of a local historian! Despite the fact that it got dark a bit earlier than expected we didn't lose anyone on the way round. Thanks also to those people who kindly bought copies of the accompanying book 'From The Green - 3 (Available from The Corner Shop)
14th October 2019
We had a great talk from our member Hannah last night, describing the gradual development of houses and roads in Crumpsall which moved from empty meadows to busy streets. Gradually, bits of land from large estates were sold off for building and the estates shrank in size. The area around the second Crumpsall Hall (NOT the old one where our Humphrey was born!) was destined to be a cemetery, but following a change in local government, it became the park which we still enjoy today on Ash Tree Road.
11th November 2019
Member Martin Gittins delivered an illustrated talk on the early history of St Chad's Church, the Roman Catholic mother church of Manchester. This traced the story from the earliest beginnings in a house by the banks of The Irwell to the present Neo-Gothic church which stands on Cheetham Hill Road.
Along the way he mentioned some of the characters who had been instrumental in bringing the Catholic faith back to the city.
9th December 2019
Christmas Party at the Ukrainian Cultural Centre.
13th January 2020
Manchester Tour Guide Sibby (Elizabeth Sibbering) delivered an excellent talk about the History of Workhouses. As well as describing the general history pf the development of these infamous institutions, she gave us an insight into our own local establishments the new Manchester Union and the Prestwich Union buildings which, together, now form part of North Manchester General Hospital.
10th February 2020
This month's guest speaker was Roger Foss a retired actor (he played Tinker in an early TV adaptation of the Dick Barton stories) and theatre historian who gave a fascinating talk, at some length, about the role of the theatre during The First World War. Despite losing many of the members of their companies and front of house staff, most theatres managed to carry on for the duration of the war and this talk, accompanied by some wonderful pictures, showed how they did it. Roger managed to find some illustrations of many of the theatres which used to stand on Oxford Street in Manchester in those days.
9th March 2020
Our guest this month was Graham Walker who brought us the fascinating and, in parts, harrowing story of Billy Unsworth. Billy was a Salford lad who had served in the army during the Boer War and, despite his age at the commencement of the First World War he was 'persuaded' to join up once again resulting in him seeing action in the Gallipoli Campaign.
The evening was rounded off with Graham's rendition of his own song 'The Ballad of Billy Unsworth'.
The story of Billy is soon to be turned into a book and published locally.
13th April 2020
This month, the regular meeting date falls on Easter Monday and so there was no meeting. Members were, instead, invited to go to Middleton to witness the annual Middleton Pace Egg Play.
Due to the Coronavirus Pandemic all future meetings were cancelled until further notice.