I can offer a range of talks, some of which are linked to guided or self-guided walks, on a range of subjects including the history of Crumpsall, Cheetham and other parts of North Manchester. The Peterloo Massacre, The Middleton Pace Egg Play and other Easter Traditions and, given reasonable notice, The Early History of St. Chad's Cheetham, Manchester's Catholic Mother Church.
Further, non-history-related talks are also available.
Below you will find brief outlines of each talk/walk and links to the accompanying books where available.
To find out when walks or talks are taking place, or to book a walk or a talk for a group email firstname.lastname@example.org
SMEDLEY, THE FORGOTTEN SUBURB
The small area of Smedley, which can still be seen identified on maps, but which is rarely referred to by name, was home to some fascinating and famous individuals. This talk tells their stories and explores the area with a particular focus on Smedley Lane itself. (Also available as a guided walk - see below.)
YORK STREET, THE STORY OF CHEETHAM HILL ROAD
As the name suggests, this arterial road heading north out of Manchester was originally the first part of the route to York. As Cheetham developed as a town in its own right the name of the road was changed to reflect this fact. Using a series of descriptions written over a period of about 100 years we delve into the buildings, the businesses and the people who have created the diverse and fascinating district that we see today.
DISCOVERING CRUMPSALL PARTS 1 AND 2
Two talks which together cover the whole of the Crumpsall area as described in the series of books 'From the Green'. The whole of these texts are also brought together in the book 'A Crumpsall History'
The why, when and where of the bloody massacre of 18 citizens on the streets of Manchester. On 16th August 1819 a gathering of some 60,000 workers from all around Manchester gathered to hear the inspirational orator Henry Hunt. They were charged upon and brutally dispersed ion the most shameful day in Manchester’s history. This talk explains how the events came about and what happened on the day and, finally, asks the question what if?
ODDMENTS AND ODDITIES - PARTS 1 & 2
For many years I have been collecting images of things that look odd, out of place or downright strange, including many signs which often leave the reader more bewildered than informed. Have you ever seen a bad translation of some important information in a foreign country? Do you appreciate the humour of people who create signs for pubs and restaurants? Do you ever wonder how someone managed to get one simple job so badly wrong? Well this talk is right up your street. A fast-paced presentation with over 200 slides romps through the silliness and stupidity that can be found all around us, as well as asking the simple question 'WHY?' You'll leave with a whole new outlook on life!
FROM THE GREEN (see below for details of each individual walk)
A series of guided or self-guided, circular walks, each one being less than 2 miles in length and all of which start and finish at Crumpsall Green. Using historical records, photographs and maps the walks explore how Crumpsall, once an area only fit for use as rough pasture became one of the most desirable suburbs of Manchester. Each walk is accompanied by a booklet including all the necessary directions to guide the walker, at their own pace around the route.
The content of these walks can be combined in various ways to create illustrated talks varying from 45 minute to 90 minutes. In addition, guided walks by the author are held occasionally throughout the summer. Details on website www.all-things-considered.org click on the image on the home page for details of forthcoming walks.
SMEDLEY, THE FORGOTTEN SUBURB
This walk explains the content of the book of the same name and is available as an illustrated talk as well (see above)
RED BANK RAMBLE (UNDER DEVELOPMENT)
A new self-guided circular walk which takes the reader from the heart of Angel Meadow, a little way out of town describing stories of deprivation and starvation, industry and endeavour and finding out about the lives of the great and the good as well as the ‘ordinary’ people upon whose labour the great city of Manchester was built.
THE SONG OF THE IRWELL (UNDER DEVELOPMENT)
The River Irwell which both divides and unites the twin cities of Manchester and Salford was once described as The Hardest Working River in Europe. It was also one of the most polluted rivers and one which has been at the centre of our history since the time of the first Roman settlement. This self-guided walk gives just a glimpse into that history in a walk of about 3 miles. Starting where the River Medlock becomes the water supply for the Bridgewater Canal and ending by the side of the River Irk as it joins the Irwell this is a fascinating insight into the three rivers of Manchester. (the guided walk includes a short refreshment break at the iconic Eagle Inn on Collier Street.)
N.B.This is not a circular walk. It begins at Castlefield tram stop and ends at Victoria station where a return tram can be taken.
A HISTORY OF COLLYHURST AND HARPURHEY
As Manchester expanded, each main road out of the city developed its own unique character. Collyhurst and its neighbour was very much a place of habitation rather than business which, in turn , led to a large number of churches, schools, pubs, cinemas, and even theatres along Rochdale Road. What it lacked in grand buildings it made up for in a wealth of characters and institutions which became well-known throughout the city.
A HISTORY OF BURY NEW ROAD
In its early stages Bury New Road cuts through an area notorious as 'The Counterfeit Centre of Manchester'. But it wasn't always like that. Strangeways had a grand house and a serpentine lake long before it had a prison and Boddington's Brewery. The rag trade claimed all the land between the road and the River Irwell and countless small sweatshops kept the country provided with waterproof clothing and caps. Farther away from town the Racecourse was a centre of social activity, as was Kersal Moor which saw huge political meetings and even naked running races in its day. All this and more can be heard about in this talk.
SONG OF THE IRWELL
This talk traces the story of Manchester's greatest river, and includes tales of drownings, dramatic rescues, ill-fated boat launches, devastating floods and other stories of Europe's hardest working river.
KRAZY KRISTMAS KUSTOMS
From carving radishes to child-stealing monsters, Christmas is not all about hanging up your stocking and waiting for Father Christmas to call, This talk delves into some of the stranger, funnier and more frightening traditions associated with the Christmas Season around the world.
A SONG AND A STORY
Many songs tell a story. In this talk a selection of great yarns are explained in detail and then sung, with guitar accompaniment. 50 years of playing and singing in folk clubs means that Martin Gittins is well-equipped top deliver an interesting and entertaining talk and a chance to join in a few choruses along the way. This talk can be tailored to fit any time slot from 30 to 90 minutes
From The Green - 1
A GUIDED WALK INTO THE HISTORY AND HERITAGE OF CRUMPSALL. (WILTON RD. HOLLAND RD. CRUMPSALL LANE)
This circular walk of about 2 miles starting and ending at Crumpsall Green will explore what Crumpsall may have looked like a hundred and fifty years ago, and how it has changed in the intervening time.
On the way discover ancient boundary walls, imagine former farm buildings and grand houses and locate the sites of significant buildings long-since gone.
The walk, starting and finishing from The Cleveland Hotel car park, takes about 2 hours, at a leisurely pace and at the end there is an opportunity to view some old photographs and maps of the places visited, and to slake the thirst at The Cleveland Hotel.
From The Green - 2
A GUIDED WALK INTO THE HISTORY AND HERITAGE OF CRUMPSALL. (MIDDLETON ROAD, WILTON POLYGON, RECTORY ROAD)
The second walk in this series explores the south side of Crumpsall Lane, visits the site of an ancient toll gate and sees how the agricultural appearance of Crumpsall gave way to the houses of wealthy merchants with their grand gardens.
Once again this walk is easily completed within two hours, and starts and finishes at the Cleveland Hotel car park.
From The Green - 3
A GUIDED WALK INTO THE HISTORY AND HERITAGE OF CRUMPSALL. (STATION RD, SEYMOUR RD, THOMAS ST. CRAVENWOOD RD)
'The Flicks', A castle, and broken biscuits from Woolworth's; The Egertons, The Wiltons and Earl Grey; The cemetery that disappeared and the grave of England's greatest archer all in a two hour stroll.
As with all the walks 'From The Green' begin and end at The Cleveland Hotel car park.
From The Green - 4
Book 4 in this series covers Ashtree Road, Moss Bank, Crescent Road and the Abraham Moss Centre.
From The Green - 5
Walk number 4 covers Crumpsall Park, Crumpsall Hospital and the area around Cleveland Road.
Away From The Green
In order to complete the story of Crumpsall this final walk will covers the areas further away from The Green, from Smedley Lane, along the Irk Valley to the bottom of Delauneys Road.