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Spring 2016

Manchester Region History Review

Your FREE Manchester History Magazine

Angels or Villains? Remembering Stockport's Teddy Boys

Manchester's Sound New sound archive arrives in the City

Love Laughs at Locksmiths The extraordinary story of forbidden romance in a small Lancashire village that took the nation by storm.


What’s On: Spring 2016 Tuesday 5 April 2016: An illustrated talk: Home Sweet Home’: Reflections on Turn-of-the-Century Interiors with Stuart Evans, design historian and researcher. Cost £8.00. Friends Meeting House, 6 Mount Street, Manchester, M2 5NS Wednesday 20 April 2016: Ian Sanders - World War Two Invasion Defences in the North West of England. Room 307, 3rd Floor, Geoffrey Manton Building, Manchester Metropolitan University, Oxford Road, Manchester (map here). All welcome. More info at http://www2.mmu.ac.uk/hpp/mcrh/seminars-talks-and-conferences/ Thursday 21 April: 2016 An illustrated talk: Thomas Witlam Atkinson (1799-1861): A Forgotten Victorian Architect and Artist with John Massey Stewart, writer, freelance lecturer and photographer. Cost £8.00. Friends Meeting House, 6 Mount Street, Manchester, M2 5NS Saturday 7 May 2016: Granada 60th Anniversary Conference. More info at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/granadalandconference-tickets-21487430483 Wednesday 18 May 2016: Geoffrey Shindler - The History of Lancashire County Cricket Club: Trials, Tribulations and Success Room 307, 3rd Floor, Geoffrey Manton Building, Manchester Metropolitan University, Oxford Road, Manchester (map here). All welcome. More info at http://www2.mmu.ac.uk/hpp/mcrh/seminars-talks-and-conferences/ Thursday 26 May 2016: An illustrated talk: a joint event with the Manchester Modernist Society: The Northern Roots of Unwin and Parker with Dr Mervyn Miller, leading expert on the early Garden City movement. Cost £10.00. Friends Meeting House, 6 Mount Street, Manchester, M2 5NS


Welcome to the Submit Your Articles, News and Views We welcome contributions to the new Manchester Region History Review. We would be delighted to receive your articles, edited dissertation excerpts, reviews, press releases, news, listings of events, exhibitions, projects and more. If you would like to contribute to the Manchester Region History Review, or you would like to discuss an idea or proposal, please contact the Editor, Dr Fiona Cosson. Notes for Contributors: We suggest that features and articles should not exceed 2,000 words. Reviews and news items should not exceed 500 words. We welcome images and photographs to accompany your work (please ensure that you have copyright permission to reproduce any illustration). We welcome the use of hyperlinked signposting (to websites, audio or video content, etc) to enrich your writing and content. We encourage a variety of contributions and we are happy to discuss ideas and draft articles at an early stage. The next copy deadline is 30 April 2016.

Manchester Region History Review We are delighted to announce a new phase in the history the Manchester Region History Review. The Review now takes the form of this free online open-access magazine, published quarterly. The new-look Manchester Region History Review features articles and research, news, events and reviews about the rich history and heritage of our region. We hope that this new format of the journal will enable the Review to continue its wide appeal to its current readership, but also enable it to attract newer audiences, including those working, volunteering or with an interest in museums, archives, libraries, heritage and community projects; local, community and family historians and enthusiasts; academics, researchers and students. The free online open-access format of the Review means the Manchester Region History Review will be available to anyone, anytime, anywhere in the world. The Manchester Region History Review will continue its important role in supporting and presenting new thinking, research and scholarship about the history of the Manchester region. We hope you enjoy our new magazine.

Fiona Cosson Editor of Manchester Region History Review, produced by the Manchester Centre for Regional History at Manchester Metropolitan University


Love Laughs at Locksmiths The extraordinary story of forbidden romance in a small Lancashire village that took the nation by storm By Thomas McGrath

In the village of Astley, some ten miles from Manchester, Damhouse has existed as the manor house since the late sixteenth century. During the nineteenth century, the manor house was known as Astley Hall and it was very much a focal point of the village. The lives of the various families who have resided there have always proved to be of interest to the people of the township and sometimes a source of scandal and gossip. In 1840 after over a decade of neglect, the Durie family moved back to Astley Hall. Captain John Adam Durie had fought in the Napoleonic Wars; his wife Sarah Froggatt the heiress of the Astley Estate. They lived at Astley with their children; John, Mary Ann, Katherine, Elizabeth, Thomas and James. Later, Katherine inherited the manorial estate and history well remembers her bankrupt family who were forced to sell the estate in 18889. However her sister, Elizabeth, was at the centre of a national scandal in the late 1840s and this is her forgotten story. Elizabeth Durie Elizabeth Durie was born at Bandrum House, Fifeshire on 23rd March 1824. Two years later the family moved to

Kirkhill Mansion near Edinburgh. At the age of ten, Elizabeth and her family moved to Chester, where she was privately educated at a boarding school and upon the death of her maternal uncle in 1839 the family inherited the manorial estate and moved to Astley. There she lived a life typical of the wealthier classes; she enjoyed playing the piano, singing and riding. In January 1843 Elizabeth’s father died and a year later her mother, Sarah remarried to Colonel Malcolm Nugent Ross. However the marriage was an unhappy one and due to the marriage laws at the time, all of Sarah’s property including the manorial estate belonged to her husband. Therefore Colonel Ross lived in Astley and Sarah spent her time in Edinburgh.


Burgh Hall In the mid-1840s, Dr Joseph Seed obtained a licence to open his residence, Burgh Hall, outside of Chorley as a private mental asylum. He had the capacity for twelve female patients but it appears his first and only patient to be committed was Elizabeth Durie. In March 1847 two of the country’s leading physicians, one of whom was the distinguished Sir James Lomax Bardsley, declared the twenty-three year old Elizabeth a ‘lunatic’. They diagnosed her as suffering from monomania, a ‘love madness’, for example having a romantic obsession with men she was not even acquainted in. Therefore she was sent to Burgh Hall asylum as she was now of an unsound mind and unable to look after her own property, falsely reported in the press at the time as £3000 a year. Remarkably the letters Elizabeth wrote whilst at Burgh Hall survive in the Diocesan Court archives at York as they were later used as evidence in a court case. From Elizabeth’s early letters written in July 1847, a few months into her time at Burgh Hall, it is apparent that she does seem that she has a fascination with the prospect of marriage and she writes several letters to young gentlemen of such nature. For example one letter written to Mr Claiton [sic Clayton] of Clayton Hall near Chorley states:

Miss Durie’s best dearest love Mr Claiton...You must come immediately down or I can meet you down the lane for I can’t sleep or rest and that’s of you…Would you like me to married in white satin or blue satin or pink satin? I can have anything; I have money to throw away. However Elizabeth’s later letters to the family solicitor, Henry Mere Ormerod reveal her increasing awareness of her situation and her confusion at her isolation at Burgh Hall Asylum. One written on 15 November 1847: Miss Durie presents her compliments to Mr Ormerod that she is miserable in every way. From being from her mother and Colonel Ross and what is the reason of me being used in the manner I am, of being kept confine. I am quite well in health and spirits, I only want to be at my own home. Oh do not tease me as you do, life is but short. Oh dear me, when Mr Seed told me he got no remark, I really thought what could be the reason of it. To keep me confined in the manner you do, you must write to me to let me know what I am to do. I remain yours truly, Henry Ormerod Miss Durie PS. I can see the trains passing to Astley Hall and it makes me extremely melancholic, to get home.

BELOW: One of the letters Elizabeth wrote to the family solicitor Henry Mere Ormerod whilst at Burgh Hall (notice how she has listed her address as “Mad House”) Cause Papers in the Diocesan Courts of the Archbishops of York, 1300-1858. Borthwick Institute GB193, CHANC.CP.1849/1: Matrimonial (Annulment: Idiocy),1849 (letter 2)


It appears from her letters that Elizabeth was told by her mother and her step-father that Astley Hall needed renovations, hence her removal to Burgh Hall. Elizabeth it appears quickly became aware that she was being held at Burgh Hall against her will and her anger is expressed in a letter in May 1848 where she refers to Colonel Ross as “a damned infernal blaggard” and she write of her mother; “and the old bitch wants flogging till she can’t stand. The infernal bitch of hell.” Elizabeth also wrote to Doctor Bardsley but it appears she received no reply. Ellis Norris Burgh Hall Asylum was also the home of Doctor Joseph Seed, the proprietor of the asylum and his family and servants. The Hall was often visited by several acquaintances of the Seed family including Samuel Potter and his servant Ellis Norris. Ellis Norris was born in Coppull, Lancashire in 1828 to Peter and Margaret Norris, his father was a farmer and a cow dealer. Ellis worked for the Potter family in Bickacre as a groom for the horses. Ellis began a romance with Dr Seed’s cook, however when she rejected him, he turned his affection to Elizabeth instead. By early 1848 he was already making clandestine visits to Elizabeth at night time. He would climb up to her window using a ladder which he would ladder which he would later hide in a disused coal pit. The Elopement On the night of Friday 17th November 1848 Elizabeth escaped from Burgh Hall Asylum. Elizabeth opened her bedroom window, threw down her bonnet and climbed down a ladder to Ellis who was waiting for her with a cloak and shawl. The couple walked to Yarrow Bridge together; Elizabeth was said to have asked whether Ellis “intended to make a fool of her, or to marry her?” He replied “to marry you, most certainly, as I would play the fool to no lady.” He had already secured a licence for marriage six weeks before the planned escape. He offered her his arm, which she refused saying “no, you shall not run away with me, but I will run away with you.” The eloping couple secured transport in a carriage. They travelled to the Boar’s Head near Wigan but decided to walk through the toll gate to avoid detection. On reaching Wigan they loaned a chaise and horse from the Victoria Hotel, under the pretence their vehicle had broken down. They then travelled to Warrington and onto Chester. They married on Sunday

morning at St. Oswald’s Church, the couple both claiming their residence as Liverpool. Their time together was limited, on the next day, Monday morning; Sargent Heatherington arrested them at their lodgings in Chester. The main scandal was that couple had already consummated the marriage. Elizabeth and Ellis were taken back to Chorley, Elizabeth being sent back to the asylum. Ellis taken to the police station but later released to find cheering crowds awaiting him. He gallantly vowed to get his wife back and his brother claimed he would rather part with every cow in his possession than see his brother fail in this quest. A costly court case over the custody of Elizabeth subsequently followed between Ellis Norris and Dr Seed. Ellis lost the case, as Elizabeth had been recaptured before fourteen days and therefore was still under the guardianship of Dr Seed. Ellis was then imprisoned in Lancaster Castle in 1849 for four months due to debt. The taboo nature of the couple’s romance along with their different positions in society and Elizabeth’s supposed mental illness caused sensation on a national scale. The story of their escape and elopement can be found reported in newspapers across the country from the Glasgow Herald to the Berkshire Chronicle which reported “Love laughs at locksmiths”, the press sympathising with the couple. The taboo nature of a couple’s romance which crossed the class boundaries of the era, along with Elizabeth’s supposed mental illness, at a time when ‘insanity’ was at the forefront of the public imagination in the novels of the Brontë sisters, caused sensation on a national scale. A second scandal The seemingly doomed romance does not end here. In October 1849, Elizabeth made it into the national press again, when she re-escaped from Burgh Hall! On Sunday evening whilst the Seed family attended church, Elizabeth was left alone with Dr Seed. At 8pm he left her for half an hour to write a letter. He sent a servant to check on her twice, the first time she was reading but the second time she was missing. With help from an unknown accomplice, Elizabeth cut the sashes of the window and removed part of the window frame. She then descended some sixteen feet to the ground and without bonnet or shoes escaped detection and fled to Yorkshire.


The police immediately searched every house in the neighbourhood, including Ellis Norris’ rooms. He reportedly knew nothing of his wife’s escape having believed she drowned. The next day Samuel Potter dismissed him from his employment and this caused a great sensation in the locality. On Wednesday a reward of £10 for information was issued and police branches in Manchester and Liverpool were contacted by telegraph but to no avail. It is not known how Elizabeth managed to escape or who her accomplice was. However on 29th October 1849 at Pennistone, Yorkshire Elizabeth and Ellis married for a second time. As more than fourteen days has passed, the situation regarding Elizabeth was again taken to court in November 1849. Elizabeth’s mother, Sarah, had tried to declare the marriage void based on her daughter’s insanity. The Ecclesiastical Court at York could not deny the second marriage, firstly it was discovered that a strange, G.W.M, not a family member signed Elizabeth’s entrance papers at Burgh Hall Asylum and she had not been appointed a guardian in her father’s will or by the Court of Chancery, which raised the validity of her place in the asylum. Furthermore, she was legally an adult as she was over the age of twenty one and therefore her marriage to Ellis Norris was accepted and Elizabeth finally escaped the imprisonment of the asylum where she clearly did not belong.

Aftermath The 1851 census reveals what happened to Elizabeth and Ellis as they settled into their new life together. The census records the couple and their baby son living in the small village as Coppull, as lodgers in the house of a wheelwright, poor but seemingly happy. The census also reveals that despite her fall in social position, Elizabeth remains tied to her aristocratic heritage. Her occupation is recorded as “Lady” and her child has been given the family names, Thomas Froggatt Durie Norris. Unfortunately Thomas died in infancy but they went on to have three more children; Catherine Stark Froggatt Durie Norris born in 1852, Sarah Froggatt Durie Norris born 1854 and John Adam Durie Norris in 1856. Sadly Elizabeth died a month the birth of her youngest son in January 1857, aged 32 years. The obituary of Elizabeth Norris was published across the country; she was referred to as “the heroine of Burgh Hall”. It noted she had fulfilled her duties as a wife and mother “in an exemplary manner” and had “won the esteem and sympathy of a numerous circle”. Ellis Norris died later in 1872, leaving their younger children to be raised by their paternal grandparents in Coppull. Elizabeth and Ellis were a couple that were clearly very much in love with each other, defying almost every social convention at the time to enjoy their short few years together.

Burgh Hall, 1976 (Image 33597, Chorley Archives: D41 C01)

References: Newspapers -The Berkshire Chronicle, Glasgow Herald, Preston Chronicle , Manchester Times, Morning Post, The Daily News, Liverpool Daily Post. Archival Material - Lancashire Archives, WCW1140B/26: Archdeaconry of Chester Probate Records; James Wilde Durie, 1845 Baptism records: Parish Church, Coppull, 1851-1856 - http://www.lanopc.org.uk/ Cause Papers in the Diocesan Courts of the Archbishops of York, 1300-1858 Borthwick Institute GB193, CHANC.CP.1849/1: Matrimonial (Annulment: Idiocy),1849 http://www.hrionline.ac.uk/causepapers 1841 Census (Norris Family), Class: HO107/527/11; Piece: 527; Folio: 8; Page: 9;Census Returns of England and Wales, 1841. (Kew: The National Archives,

1841) http://www.ancestry.co.uk/ 1851 Census (Norris Family), Class: HO107; Piece: 2263; Folio: 416; Page: 13; GSU roll: 87288; Census Returns of England and Wales, 1851. (Kew: The National Archives, 1851) http://www.ancestry.co.uk/ 1871 Census (Norris Family), Class; RG10/4199, Piece: 4199; Folio: 89; Page: 22; Census Returns of England and Wales, 1871. (Kew: The National Archives, 1871) http://www.ancestry.co.uk/ ‘Volume Five: Lunacy’ in ‘Reports from Commissioners: Fourteen Volumes. Session 18 November 1847 – 5 September 1848. Vol. XXVI’, (London: House of Commons, 1849) p.81 Unpublished Material- Thomas McGrath, Damhouse: A History, (Manchester Metropolitan University: Unpublished Thesis, 2015)


MANCHESTER'S

SOUND When news broke in December 2014 that the North West Sound Archive would close, it seemed that the future of sound archives in the region was doomed. But the North West Sound Archives are about to experience a new lease of life. Based in Clitheroe Castle and for years a staple of the oral history scene, the North West Sound Archive collected and cared for over 140,000 items, and making it perhaps the largest sound collection in the United Kingdom outside London. The regrettable closure of the NWSA has, however, given a new lease of life to sound archives in the region. The receiving repositories of Liverpool, Lancashire and Manchester, have taken to their new challenge with gusto, and there are exciting plans afoot to work with the new sound archives in their respective new homes. Here in Manchester, the Greater Manchester Country Records Office have taken on the collections relating to the Manchester region, creating the Greater Manchester Sound Archive. The Manchester collection includes 50,000 catalogued items plus many uncatalogued collections, takes up about 170 shelves in the archive strong rooms in the basement of Manchester Central Library, and is made up of a range of formats, from wax cylinders, 78 shellac discs, LPs, reel to reels, to cassettes, minidiscs, CDs and USB sticks.


So what's in the collection? You'll find oral histories, local radio recordings and music. The oral histories include stories of places, dialects, communities, immigration, war, pastimes and industries around Greater Manchester. Some projects target places, for example the LifeTimes Salford archive and the Tameside Oral History Project. Others tackle themes like the Oldham Cotton, Curry and Commerce project and the greenroom oral history project. The musical recordings include John Barbirolli recordings, the works of the local classical musician Thomas Pitfield and a small number of live folk music recordings from the massive Paul Graney Memorial Folk Music Archive. There is also a huge BBC Radio Manchester collection, as well a range of other local radio recodings.

Listen Online Archives+ on SoundCloud

You can listen to over 5,600 of these sound recordings on cassette, CD and mp3 at Manchester Central Library and at libraries and museums around Greater Manchester. Or if you’d rather stay at home, there are hundreds of sounds from the collection online on SoundCloud, www.soundcloud.com/archivesplus

You can listen online to (click to listen):

• • •

• • •

Gallipoli survivors at the Fusilier Museum Manchester Second World War memories Fenner Brockway, born in 1888, a member of the Manchester Independent Labour Party Eddie Grandidge who played bass guitar in the Middleton Baths jazz band Joy Hawthorne, the first nurse at Crumpsall Hospital to stay in work after being married As I Went Out Very Late One Night, a folk song sung by Ivan Fryman from the Paul Graney collection

Archives+ are working hard on collections development, digitisation and research with other local authorities in the region, the Heritage Lottery Fund, the British Library and colleagues at Manchester Metropolitan University and the University of Manchester. So watch this space… For more information, please see www.archivesplus.org/news/greatermanchester-sound-archive

This article was reprinted with kind permission from Archives+ www.archivesplus.org/news/greater-manchester-sound-archive


Scum, gangsters, rapists, lazy, unskilled, cruel and ignorant with no manners, we all carried flick knives and coshes. These- and worse- descriptions were used by the media to describe the young people that were involved in the phenomenon of the Teddy Boy. They were the first teenagers to have a culture of their own and we would change the way people thought about young people in Britain. The Teddy Boy were, according to most academics, first seen in London around the early 1950s, though this is challenged by Ray Ferris and Julian Lord in their book Teddy Boys a concise history (2012) who contend it “was happening all over the country almost simultaneously.” Unfortunately I do not have any photographs of the gang I belonged to; in fact I do not remember anybody in the gang owning a camera. Most of the photographs of the first Teds seem to be taken by the media, to enhance their reports on how unruly and vicious we were. I first became aware of Teddy Boys during 1954, and it was not long after that they became an everyday sight in every town and city in England. The lads in the gang I belonged mostly grew up together in the Offerton area of Stockport, or were of the same age group. During 1954 we were members of Dialstone Lane Youth Club and that is, I recall, where we first came together

which was mainly skiffle. This was the first music that we jived to, and the first record I heard of the new sound was Lonnie Donegan’s Rock Island Line. Other skiffle groups included Chas McDevette’s Skiffle Group featuring Nancy Whiskey, and The Vipers; this was contrary to popular belief that Teddy Boys appeared at the same time as Rock ‘n’ Roll which came to prominence around 1955. We used to meet at Rubens Café on Turncroft Lane, and play the music on the juke box. We would order a meat and potato pie with gravy and Rueben would let us stay for a couple of hours.

Rubens café became our HQ so to speak, where we would meet, during the week sometimes and where we usually planned our weekend, what time and which dance hall we would go on Saturday night, usually with a pub nearby that had a friendly landlord because nearly all of us were


There were several ways that you could find out what music was popular; Radio Luxemburg, the top twenty in the NME, Top of The Pops and both on radio and television, and word of mouth. It’s worth remembering that, at first, the BBC banned the playing of Rock ‘n’ Roll, the reason for this is a mystery- maybe they thought it would corrupt young people. We use to go down town into Stockport, usually on Saturday afternoon to walk up and down Princess Street, looking in clothes shops. We would visit music shops, the most popular being Neil & Hardy’s that stocked all the latest record releases. My dad bought our first record player from there, it was great. It played 33rpm and the new 45rpm records. Saturday night was the main evening when we would all meet, either in a pub or in the choice of dance hall. There were four main dance halls we use to visit on Saturday night; Stockport Town Hall pictured on the left, Rex dance hall which was above Burtons tailors on Prince Street, Marple Baths, they use to erect a dance floor over the pool and a dance hall on Wellington Street, as well as many other dance halls and youth clubs in and around the Stockport and Manchester area. We often ended up in fights usually with other gangs of Teddy Boys and occasionally with people who resented the presence of the Teddy Boys and would usually find some trivial thing; looking at their girlfriend, dancing with her, staring at them and other excuses to start trouble, although we were just the same. One dance that was very provocative was the creep, a kind of Teddy Boy formation dancing. We would line up in single file, hands in pockets and you do the creep. Sometimes when we entered a dance hall you could feel, a kind of sixth sense, the tension that something was going to happen, and it usually did. A result of the fighting were a few cuts and bruises but nothing serious, I personally never saw a flick knife or cosh being used, nobody in our gang carried any weapons of any sort.


The film Blackboard Jungle was shown at the Plaza Cinema Stockport, and most of what the media said was true, dancing in the aisles. I never saw the slashing of seats, but did see some seats damaged mainly because of people standing on them and singing Rock Around the Clock. I must admit I got thrown out for dancing in the aisle, but went back next evening to see it again, and nobody recognised me. I think that Rock Around the Clock film really started the youth of the day to express their selves more and become more independent, no more ‘seen and not heard’. It scared the adults, and the media fueled this by reporting everything bad about young people and most significantly, the Teddy Boys- most of which was completely untrue. They reported that we were ignorant, unskilled lazy lay-abouts. In fact, all of our gang were either skilled or apprentice workers and all were fully employed, as were most of young people because jobs were easy to get, even apprenticeships, if you had a good school leaving report. The original Teddy Boy would pay upwards of 20 pounds for a tailor made-to-measure jacket, which was a lot of money then. Some young lads were only earning 3pound 10 shilling a week and, like me, they would have to work overtime to pay for it. The drainpipe trousers I purchased, off the peg, from Burtons Tailors, the shirt and Slim Jim tie bought from Greenwoods. The crepe sole shoes, I remember, only had half inch thick soles and not the two inch soles; these became a feature of later Teddy Boy cultures as did brightly coloured jackets. I joined the navy and, returning home on leave in early 1960, the Teddy Boy image had virtually disappeared. My mates had changed to a different style of dress, it was now light normal length jacket, normal width trousers and broad ties with winkle-picker shoes. Though fashions had changed, the phenomena of youth subcultures, fashion and music, was here to stay.

Further Reading on Teddy Boys: Fowler. David, ‘The First Teenagers: The Lifestyle of Young Wage-earners in Interwar Britain’ (Routledge, 1996). Osgerby. Bill, ‘Youth in Britain since 1945’, (Blackwell, 1998). Savage. Jon, ‘Teenage: The Creation of Youth Culture’, (Viking, 2007).


Historic discovery amongst the ashes at Quarry Bank

ARCHAEOLOGISTS have unearthed a mystery at Quarry Bank that dates back more than a century. As the team working on the Upper Gardens restoration project dug down, they discovered a collection of shoes buried amongst dirt and cinders. The items were made from leather and were found in a rubbish pit along with pottery and bottles. “Needless to say it got our imaginations working overtime,” said Jamie Lund, an archaeologist with the National Trust. “It was an amazing discovery and we wanted to know who the shoes belonged to and why they had been buried.”

Various theories were considered including whether there had simply been a clear-out or whether the shoes might have belonged to the children who used to keep the garden wall stoves burning through the night. However, there were further clues amongst the ashes that now point to a different conclusion.Pieces of leather were also recovered from the pits and it is thought these are evidence of a Quarry Bank gardener who moonlighted as a cobbler.

“We think one of the gardeners might have been supplementing his income fixing shoes for people from Styal village,” said Jamie. “Maybe he threw away the Work on the site of the new gardeners’ store was ones that were beyond repair. Rubbish is a great progressing smoothly when the archaeologists noticed giveaway because people throw things away and never three regular-shaped pits emerging from the excavation. expect them to be found. It gives us a pure and unbiased view into the life of someone who was living and Workmen immediately stopped digging to allow further working at Quarry Bank.” exploration. On investigation the three pits were found to contain numerous boots and shoes, with the majority Leather experts will be examining the boots further and appearing to be children’s sizes. Initially it was thought the best pairs will be sent to conservators at the they may have belonged to young mill apprentices as University of London. It is hoped they will then be sent they used to live nearby. back to Quarry Bank to be displayed. Meanwhile, visitors will be able to see the Upper Garden project progress “However, the age of the pottery and glass that was also throughout 2016 when it reopens in February. found appeared to be late Victorian or Edwardian and was therefore deposited some 50 or 60 years after the “We were expecting 2016 to be a great year in the Apprentice system had ended in 1847,” said Jamie. gardens, but this kind of discovery gives us even more reason to be excited about the project,” said General “I suspected we had found a rubbish burial site, which Manager Eleanor Underhill. “Who knows what else we may have been in use for some time. It could have might find as the team continue their work.” suggested the gardeners had the task of removing and burying rubbish from both the mill and the village and Find out more at this plot, just near the walled garden, was used for that http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/quarry-bank purpose.”


If Those Walls Could Talk:

84 Plymouth Grove By Tom McGrath The noted nineteenth century author, Elizabeth Gaskell spent much of her adult life in Manchester. In 1850 Elizabeth, her husband Reverend William Gaskell and their daughters moved into a large house on Plymouth Grove, which was then on the outskirts of the city. Fortunately and often by some small miracles, this house has survived into the twenty first century. Moreover it has recently been painstakingly restored for the public to enjoy.

The Gaskell Family William Gaskell (1805-1884) was a Unitarian Minister and came to the Cross Street Chapel in Manchester in 1828, a position which he held until his death. In 1832 he married Elizabeth Cleghorn Stevenson (1810-1865), the youngest daughter of a Unitarian Minister. Elizabeth was born in Chelsea, London but later lived in Knutsford, Cheshire which she would use as the inspiration for her novel, Cranford (1851-53). The couple settled in Manchester and had six children together: a daughter (1833), Marianne (1834 – 1920), Margaret Emily (“Meta�) (18371913), Florence Elizabeth (1842 -1881), William (1843-44) and Julia Bradford (1846- 1908). William and Elizabeth were both extremely philanthropic individuals and did a great deal during their lifetimes to support the working classes of Manchester. Elizabeth even used them as the characters in her novels, which include Mary Barton (1848), Ruth (1853), North and South (1854/55) and Wives and Daughters (1865). She broke social conventions at the time by writing about issues such as poverty, illegitimacy and the role of women. However her books proved to be a success and she was a celebrated author.


Internally the house is quite large and comprises of twenty rooms. There was a morning room, study, drawing room, dining room, seven bedrooms, Kitchen, servants hall, wash house, servants rooms and a coach house. There was also a large garden which Elizabeth enjoyed immensely, “without a bonnet”. As well as pleasure gardens with flower beds, the Gaskell’s also kept chickens, pigs and a cow.

Plymouth Grove In 1850, after the success of Elizabeth’s first novel, the family moved to 84 Plymouth Grove (historically known as 42 Plymouth Grove). The house was built around 1838 by the architect Richard Lane, on land owned by William Occleshaw who was a manufacturer of lead and rolled pipes. One of the first residents at Number 84, according to the Rate Payers books was a Mr Henry Nicholls. Plymouth Grove was part of a middle class suburban estate, which was away from the growing city centre. Elizabeth Gaskell wrote in the 1850s that the house was ” a beauty” and Charlotte Brontë described the house as “a large, cheerful, airy house, quite out of the Manchester smoke“. The house was built in a classical style and this is shown in the decorative front porch with Grecian style columns and the giant pilasters with lotus capitals on top. The sash windows have 12 panes and externally they are adorned by floating cornices. The house is brick built but with a stucco rendering, throughout the twentieth century the house was painted pink and it became known as “the pink house”, however during the restoration it was re-painted in its original stone colour.

The house cost the Gaskell’s £150 a year to rent in 1850, which at the time was a huge cost and half of William’s yearly wage. The family employed several domestic servants to care for them and the house including a cook, several maids, gardener, washerwoman and a seamstress. One maid, Ann Hearn, stayed in employment at Plymouth Grove for over fifty years. As William and Elizabeth Gaskell were prominent members of nineteenth century society, the house was a epicentre of activity. Many nineteenth century ‘celebrities’ visited the Gaskell’s including Charlotte Brontë (who hid behind the curtains in the drawing room to avoid meeting other guests), Charles Dickens (who called at 10am, “Far too early” Elizabeth noted), Charles Hallé (who taught Meta Gaskell the piano), John Ruskin, Harriet Beecher Stowe and Charles Eliot Norton.

84 Plymouth Grove: 1913 – today In 1913 Meta Gaskell passed away and the house and contents were sold at auction, despite a bid to preserve the building due to its connection with the Gaskell Family. The local authority rejected plans to turn the house into a museum stating “The house belonged to one of the ugliest periods of architecture and was of no value beyond its connection with the Gaskell Family”. By this point in the early twentieth century, the city of Manchester had expanded rapidly and caught up with the Gaskell’s. Plymouth Grove was no longer a fashionable middle class area on the outskirts of the city, in fact opposite number 84 were rows of working class terraced houses.


The house was purchased by Charles William Harper, a manufacturing chemist. He lived at 84 Plymouth Grove with his wife Annie Maria and their children; Charles, Lilian, Constance and Eileen. The Harper’s lived at Plymouth Grove for many decades, Charles William Harper died in 1959 and his daughter’s left the house in the 1960s. Fortunately, at a time when many historic buildings were demolished in a frenzy of redevelopment, the building had been given a Grade II* listed status in 1952. The University of Manchester purchased the house in 1968/69 and it was used as accommodation for the International Society. They relinquished the property in 2000 and in 2004 it was bought by the Manchester Historic Buildings Trust. The house was in a poor state of repair and it was suffering from structural damage. After fundraising attempts the restoration work started in 2009. Unfortunately the project suffered a major setback in 2011 when lead was stolen off the roof causing £250,000 worth of damage.

In 2012 the Heritage Lottery Fund awarded a grant of £1.85 million and today the house is open to visitors. It has been restored as it was in the late 1850s / early 1860s and many of the carpets, wallpapers and fabrics are reproductions of original patterns. As the photographs above from my visit show, the team at Elizabeth Gaskell’s House have done an amazing job. Many items associated with the Gaskell Family have been donated from private individuals, the Rylands Library and Whitworth Art Gallery. Elizabeth Gaskell’s House is a ‘hands on’ museum and visitors are encouraged to read the books on the shelves, sit at the dining table and play the piano. There is also a tearoom in the cellar and a revolving exhibition upstairs, later in February 2016 it will focus on the restoration of the building. Once an entry ticket is purchased, there is free entry for the following 12 months. Therefore anyone who is interested in history, literature, architecture or interiors ought to visit Elizabeth Gaskell’s House at 84 Plymouth Grove, as it is one of Manchester’s hidden gems. Further Reading on 84 Plymouth Grove • http://www.elizabethgaskellhouse.co.uk • http://www.gaskellsociety.co.uk

This article was reprinted with kind permission from Tom McGrath’s blog,

www.ifthosewallscouldtalk.wordpress.com


Sixty Years of Granadaland May 2016 marks 60 years since Granada Television began transmitting to ‘the north’. It was to become the only commercial television company • to never lose its franchise and was described by the New York Times as ‘the finest television • company in the world’. The company was founded by Sidney Bernstein and • became famed for its innovation, radicalism and quality programming, producing some of the most memorable and remarkable programmes of the era • from its Manchester base. They included Brideshead Revisited, Seven Up, The Jewel in the Crown, World in Action, What The Papers Say, Johnny Cash at St Quentin, Disappearing World and, of course, Coronation Street. To commemorate this milestone the Manchester Centre for Regional History at Manchester Metropolitan University is holding a one-day conference of talks, films and discussions on Saturday 7th May 2016 at Manchester Metropolitan University’s Business School from 9.30am to 5pm. • Gordon Burns will introduce the day of talks and panel discussions on what led to Granada TV being described as ‘the best TV company in the world’. • Steve Morrison, former Granada Chief Executive and now Rector of the University of Edinburgh, will deliver the keynote speech. • Legendary Entertainment producer Johnnie Hamp

will talk about Granada’s ‘rock and roll’ years, from Jerry Lee Lewis to the Beatles and beyond. Former Granada Programme Director and later BBC Trustee David Liddiment will chair a discussion panel on Coronation Street and other notable dramas. Award winning documentary director Leslie Woodhead will review his work on World In Action and Disappearing World. Panel discussions will also cover Factual and Regional programming with panel members including expresenter Trevor Hyett, and former Scottish TV Director of Programmes, Sandy Ross. There will also be discussion of Granada’s legacy to the identity of the region and how it has contributed to Manchester’s position as the second biggest hub for creative and digital content in Europe including Cat Lewis, CEO of Nine Lives Media and Vice Chair of PACT. Stephen Kelly and Judith Jones will talk about their oral history of Granada, the starting point for this conference, and their work with the Manchester Centre for Regional History at MMU. Bob Dickinson will share his memories of the inimitable Ray Gosling.

MMU has, for the past two years, supported a major oral history project focused around Granada. Former Granada researcher/producer Stephen Kelly and former production assistant Judith Jones who initiated the project, have recorded over 100 interviews with former staff members. See more at www. http://granadaland.org or to book tickets, see https://granadaland.eventbrite.com

The Manchester Region History Review is published by the Manchester Centre for Regional History at Manchester Metropolitan University. Copyright © 2016 Manchester Centre for Regional History. All rights reserved. www.mmu.ac.uk/mcrh

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Manchester Region History Review (Vol 1 Spring 2016)  

The Manchester Region History Review is published by the Manchester Centre for Regional History at Manchester Metropolitan University. www.m...

Manchester Region History Review (Vol 1 Spring 2016)  

The Manchester Region History Review is published by the Manchester Centre for Regional History at Manchester Metropolitan University. www.m...

Profile for mcphh
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