Denton Local History Society


Selected articles from back issues of the Dentonian magazine and other intersting links

  1. History of Denton Place Names and Street Names Beat Bank, Stockport Road

  2. The Woofendens of Dane Bank Part 1

  3. The Woofendens of Dane Bank Part 2

  4. The Woofendens of Dane Bank Part 3

  5. Sturtevant Engineering Co Ltd

  6. Re-opening of the Bandstand in Victoria Park June 21 2007

  7. Denton Police Station

History of Denton Place Names and Street Names Beat Bank, Stockport Road

By Peter J Whitehead

Beat Bank straddles Stockport Road and it lies between Beight Bridge over the river Tame at its southern boundary and the neighbourhood of Yew Tree Road at its northern boundary. Beyond the northern boundary was the hamlet of Burton Nook on the west side of Stockport Road. Burton Nook included Denton Colliery (Ellis Pit) but the origin of this name is a mystery.

On the east side of Stockport Road the extent covered by Beat Bank included the hamlet of Beat Bank itself which incorporated Leather’s Fold, after a family of that name, a farmstead, a row of miners’ cottages by the river Tame and Shaw Street. The origin of the name of this street is a mystery. The hamlet was an isolated coal-mining community and the miners worked at Hulme’s Pit alongside the river Tame. By 1939 the hamlet was practically abandoned but the barn belonging to the farm and the surrounding farmland was used by Benjamin Phillips of Yew Tree Farm, The farmstead, known as Beat Bank House, was occupied by three sisters, namely Lena Leather (b. 9 July 1893), Jane Alice Leather (b. 29 August 1895) and Evelyn Leather (b. 16 July 1897). Evelyn was a shop assistant in Stockport.

  This street plan shows how the area appeared in 1939 Miner’s cottages on Hulme’s Lane, near Stockport Road, c. 1910. In the background, top left, is Beat Bank House at Leather’s Fold in the hamlet of Beat Bank. The building behind Beat Bank House is a barn. Stockport Road is off the picture, to the left.

On the west side of Stockport Road was Bight Bank Farm which later became known as Yew Tree Farm. The original farmstead was a typical timber-framed building probably dating back to the time of Elizabeth I. This was demolished in 1899 to be replaced by a brick-built, two-storey house that was demolished in c.1974. (See front cover ).

On the east side of Stockport Road, by the site of Hulme’s Pit, the river Tame starts to meander, or bend, as it flows through Reddish Vale on its way to join the river Goyt in Stockport to become the river Mersey. Reddish Vale was formed during the Ice Age and rivers flowing through glacial valleys tend to meander. It is the meandering, or bending, of the river Tame that gave Beat Bank its name. The spelling of the name Beat Bank was variable and it could be Beat, Beet, Beight or Bight. The word, bight, derives from the Old English word, byht, meaning a bend or angle and this is of Germanic origin. The English word, bight, means a curve or recess in a river, coastline or other geographical feature as well as being a loop of rope. The word, bank, means the land sloping down to or alongside a river or lake. An early reference to Beat Bank is in 1645 when the land was owned by the Hulton family of Little Hulton near Bolton.

During World War II the derelict cottages at Beat Bank were used by ARP wardens to practice rescuing trapped people from bombed houses. Similarly, a squad of Home Guard dug a small redoubt as a defensive fortification in the event of the enemy approaching Denton from Bredbury. This was sited immediately to the south of Beat Bank House to give it a clear view over Stockport Road and Beight Bridge. This squad was commanded by Arnold Edward Thorley who was a director of Turner, Atherton & Co Ltd of Turner Street, Denton, manufacturers of hat making machinery.

Nothing now remains to record the former existence of the hamlet of Beat Bank except for stone walls flanking the entrance to the lane that once led into the hamlet on its southern side from Stockport Road but one has to know where to look. On the northern side of the hamlet this lane connected to a second lane called Cow Lane that led to Hulme’s Wood and gave access to Hulme’s Pit.

  This street plan shows how the area appeared in 1939 Miner’s cottages on Hulme’s Lane, located at Hulme’s end, early 20th century. This view is looking across the River Tame from the Bredbury side of the river.

( Holme’s Lane is an alternative spelling that was sometimes used for Hulme’s Lane ).


Although most people will know that Denton was once famous for its hatting industries, some may not be fully aware of the vast contribution made by the Woolfenden family of Dane Bank; but perhaps the story should be told from the beginning.

The earliest reference to hat making in Denton dates back to the sixteenth century when local farmers first learned to make felt. This could be made from animal hair, wool or rabbit fur, where the hairs were rubbed together in varying directions and with the application of warmth and moisture, they firmly bonded or matted together. Having no further skills in this industry, most of this ‘felt’ was then sold to merchants in Stockport or Manchester where it was further processed into hats.

Many years were to pass before Denton people, working in their own homes, began to carry out further experiments in felting. Various liquids including beer, spirits and resins and a variety of processes were tried out to strengthen, stiffen and shape the felt. Eventually they succeeded in making their first hats, and during the eighteenth century these family businesses became known as cottage industries. By 1800 there were four such industries in Denton and their numbers were rising steadily.

In 1819, a young man by the name of Joseph Woolfenden, the son of a farmer, came to Denton and acquired ‘Dane Shot Bank Farm’ - also known as ‘Dane’s Head Bank Farm’ at the time. It covered the area now occupied by the housing estates of Thornley Lane, Windmill Lane, Dane Road, Kent Road, Anson Road, Windsor Road, Delamere Road etc. (The street plan below shows how the area developed in 1939). The fields covered forty-six acres and included a large farmhouse and several out-buildings.

  This street plan shows how the area appeared in 1939

This street plan shows how the area appeared in 1939

Joseph, originally from Bury, was forty-three years old at the time, married to Mary and they had eight children. Note that he did not buy the farm, it was only available to rent. It was many years later before the family actually owned it. So the old farmhouse, built in the eighteenth century, became their family home. It was sited on Windmill Lane and it is still there today. The picture below was taken in the early twentieth century but surely gives a good indication of its appearance when the family first moved in.

Windmill Lane and the Entrance to High Bank. The three houses lie to the left of the carriageway.

As time went by, Joseph proved to be very successful with his cattle and poultry, but his crops did not fare so well. As the local rabbit population became acquainted with his crops, they raided them in ever increasing numbers. So Joseph and his two farm labourers were obliged to set traps for them. One day, as he was handling the dead rabbits they had caught, he remarked what beautiful fur they had and what a waste it was destroying them. So he started experimenting with the fur as others had done before him. Eventually, he met with success. In the early 1820s, Joseph and his family started making hats in their home. Their five eldest children, who had previously helped on the farm, would then be between fourteen and twenty-three years of age. So their schooldays (and farming) were over, and under their father’s instructions, they were then learning a new trade. As they mastered these new skills their efficiency improved and their new income augmented the farm income. This was vital because of the size of their family. By this time there were eleven of them – the parents and nine children. Obviously this meant more to feed and clothe but they then had more cheap labour for their business. Their output steadily increased and by 1830 they were making the hats in an adjacent workshop in addition to the farmhouse. The processes would probably be similar to those described in such books as ‘Denton and the Archaeology of the Felt Hatting Industry’ by Michael Nevelle, ‘Looking Back at Denton’ by Alice Lock, and my book ‘About Denton’. The town then had at least twenty-five such industries, making it the third largest hat making centre in the North West. It should be noted that although Joseph was the one who first instigated hat manufacturing into his family farming business, he never relinquished his grip on farming.

By this time, his eldest sons and daughters were married and had started families of their own – see family tree. The old farmhouse was no longer adequate, so they moved out and obtained new homes for themselves. Unfortunately, there are no records for that period to show just where they went to. So, Joseph developed his new industry from scratch and built it up into one of the largest and most successful hatting industries in Denton and the North West. He became very well known and held in high esteem and yet he allowed his sons to run the business and claim credit for it. In the census returns for 1841 and1851 it simply states that he is a farmer. It was also during this period that the total output of hats in Denton and Haughton together, reached a record two thousand dozen per week. This was said to be partly due to a steady increase in the population which had reached a total of almost seven thousand people. Unfortunately however, this euphoria did not last. Due to problems caused by the Corn Laws and workers going on strike for higher wages, it led to many people losing their jobs. Thus the hatting sales slumped and put many people out of work. There came about a great depression which lasted right through the 1840s to the early 1850s. But in spite of this, in 1848, Joseph, together with several other well known hat masters, made a generous donation towards the building of Christ Church School on Manchester Road (where the motorway now runs). Sadly, he died in 1853 at the age of seventy-seven. This must have been a terrible loss both to the family and the general community.

Considering the rest of the family, it is not clear where they had been living. The 1841 and 1851 Census Returns just give their names and state that they lived in Dane Shot Bank (or Dane Shut Bank). But this is not a street, it is an area. The title ‘Dane Shot Bank’ commemorated the Danish chief who was shot there by bow and arrow (see my book ‘About Denton’). This unpleasant name was finally replaced by High Bank in Dane Bank and really refers to the high ground on the south side of Windmill Lane. So it was rather amiss to simply state that they lived in Dane Shot Bank, especially as there were no houses in this vicinity, except for a few newly built ones in the area now known as High Bank. The wealthy Woolfendens had them built specifically for their growing family. The 1851 census names the numerous family members in three separate houses and one such home also had three servants living there. This surely indicates wealth and large houses, but they would obviously need more than just three houses, or four counting the Windmill Lane house. Perhaps there were more and perhaps they had been living in them since the 1830s. Clearly this is when they were first needed, but they were not mentioned in the early records.

It is not until the 1861 census however, that we see a proper address. It states that no.5 High Bank (a large house) was the home of Joseph (junior) age 53, his brother James and their sister Ann and her husband. The 1871 census confirms this and also states that their brother Elias and his wife and family live at no. 2 High Bank. The information in the following returns is also brief, but states that their brother Henry Leyland Woolfenden and his family also live at High Bank. In 1881, James and his wife Ann employed 150 workers in their hat works, still lived in High Bank but now had a house of their own. And Elias, 60, his wife Elizabeth and their daughter Eugenie still live at no.2. The 1891 census confirms that the above people are still in situ and in 1901 and 1911 Mrs. Elizabeth Woolfenden, (then a widow of 59) lived at no.6 with her son James. This last census also states that Elias is 90 years old and still lives at no.2 with his daughters Margaret, Alice and Eugenie, and grandson Ellis, and their house has eight rooms not counting bathroom or scullery. The reason for supplying all these details is to try to solve a mystery which will shortly unfold.

To provide access to this high-class estate, a private carriageway was laid at right angles to Windmill Lane, and three large houses were built along the east side of it allowing ample space for gardens. Brick walls were built to each side of the carriageway running along Windmill Lane, thus adding some degree of privacy. Two ornamental wrought iron gates barred the entrance to the estate and these hung from large stone pillars set back from the lane. The pillars were engraved with the words High Bank. The walls curved around to meet the pillars and thus create a very impressive entrance. Fortunately, these features still exist today as shown in the recent picture below. When finished, the houses accommodated most of the family, though some were obliged to live elsewhere. Those houses are still there today, as shown in the pictures which follow. They are numbered 1, 3 and 5, but where are numbers 2, 4 and 6 which should surely be to the west side of their carriageway?

Windmill Lane and the Entrance to High Bank. The three houses lie to the left of the carriageway. To be continued


  This street plan shows how the area appeared in 1939

The Woolfenden family of no.2 High Bank in 1884 with their horse and buggy on the Turning Circle at the end of their carriageway. From L. to R: Eugenie, her father Elias, his brother James and their nephew Joseph with Black Bess.

  This street plan shows how the area appeared in 1939

Partners of Joseph Woolfenden & Co and their sons in the grounds of High Bank

  This street plan shows how the area appeared in 1939

Number 1 High Bank in 1910 Note worker’s cottages on Dane Shot Street and factory chimney behind them.

  This street plan shows how the area appeared in 1939

No. 1 and no. 3 High Bank in 2018 (with modern windows)

Returning to the main story – the founder, Joseph Woolfenden (snr), died in1853 as stated earlier. The tenancy of the land was then signed over to his two youngest sons James and Elias.

The farm had then reduced in size from forty-six to thirty acres, but still maintained a good output of produce. The reason for this development was probably because more of their land was being set aside to allow for future growth of their hatting industry. The eldest son Thomas, aged fifty at the time, was then in charge of the farm and employed thirteen men and a boy. He still lived at the farm-house with his wife and their three sons. Meanwhile his four brothers – Henry, Joseph (junior), James and Elias were the partners running the hatting business. This trade was slowly recovering after the great depression, but the Woolfenden brothers, like their father before them, were quite resourceful fellows. They simply went back to their experiments again and eventually learned how to make silk hats for gentlemen. These were very tall and elegant and started off a new fashion. Trade began to pick up again and it was probably this which led to the revival of the felt hats. They were known to be both warm and waterproof. So once again the Woolfendens began to prosper. This was the generation which had the two storey extension built on the west end of the farm-house in 1861. It provided them with much needed space and evidently led

  This street plan shows how the area appeared in 1939

Recent picture of Farmhouse showing extension – which now serves as a garage and an extra bedroom

to them making huge profits. For, only twelve years later, the four brothers were able to expand their business considerably and have their first purpose made factory built. This was a large three-storey brick building ideally

  This street plan shows how the area appeared in 1939

The front of the Hatworks built 1873. The dirt street around it is Dane Shot Street and the buildings to the right were erected in the 1890s. Further to the right lies Joseph Street.

situated between the farm-house and the railway, yet quite close to Windmill Lane. A cast iron beam over a large doorway bore the sign J.W. & Co. 1873, and this sign remained throughout the entire life of the building, long after the factory had closed. So they then had ample accommodation for their wool-forming, hardening, planking and fur blowing processes. As it happens, the 1870s heralded the age of mechanization in the hatting industries and the larger building provided the required space for this.

The machinery came mostly from Turner Athertons on Ashton Road and Joseph Oldham’s (later Oldham’s Batteries) on Hyde Road. This extra space had a ‘knock-on effect. It meant that warehousing was then under the same roof as the body-making departments, but more than that; it provided the necessary facilities for taking on a larger workforce. But there was a problem. Denton West End was very sparsely populated. Since public transport was non-existent and working class people had no transport of their own, it would amount to a long walk to work for any future employee. So the management had a row of terraced houses built just to the north of Windmill Lane leading up to the factory. They only had back yards instead of gardens but that was to be expected in those days. Of course, working class people did not own their own homes. They merely rented them. Moving home in those days was quite common and seamed to present no problems. It was referred to as ‘flitting’. So people moved in, the workforce expanded and the business grew considerably.

  This street plan shows how the area appeared in 1939

A group of employees in 1875. In the lower right corner (wearing white blouse and black bow) is 16 year old Evangeline Salkeld. She later married James Henry Woolfenden (seen in one of the pictures).

Meanwhile, the eldest brother Thomas had died and the youngest brothers James and Elias, as joint tenants, took charge of the farm, assisted, of course, by the existing labourers. In 1887 James and Elias retired from hatting, having both reached their late sixties. The business was then passed on to their sons who became the new partners. These gentlemen – the third generation – soon proved to be as efficient and ambitious as their forefathers. In the early 1890s they built several more buildings including a boiler house and a large factory chimney which is seen in one of the pictures. These were grouped

  This street plan shows how the area appeared in 1939

behind and alongside of the first building and were then followed by two more

  This street plan shows how the area appeared in 1939

rows of terraced houses. Two new streets, at right angles to each other, were also made to provide access to the houses and also to the new factory buildings. The streets were named Joseph Street and Dane Shot Street which curved around to adjoin Windmill Lane. So once again the Woolfenden family was able to expand the business and employ many more people. For the benefit of these new tenants, an all purpose shop was built at the south end of Dane Shot Street and a public house called ‘The Dane Bank Inn’ (the original one) at the north end. This succeeded in creating a ‘close knit’ community.

  This street plan shows how the area appeared in 1939

This picture, taken in 1947, shows the back of the pub at the right, and the end building at the left is the back of Arnwell’s shop. This is where we bought our newspapers from in 1965, just after we got married. A narrow strip of land behind the houses served as a communal garden and this was fenced off from the railway with old sleepers stood on end.

To be continued in the next issue.


by F. Brown

At this juncture, I consider I should reveal the source of much of my information on the family. One Wednesday afternoon in March 2001, I gave a talk to The Civil Service Retirement Fellowship at the Festival Hall. The talk was entitled ‘Denton Hall and Medieval Life’ and, of course, I displayed my scale model of Denton Hall. After the talk, an elderly lady came up to me and said she had enjoyed the talk, and said, “You are obviously interested in these old manor houses.” I agreed I was and she said, “I have a beautiful painting at home of Arden Hall in Bredbury. I no longer want it. Would you like to have it? I said that I would. She told me her name was Pat Riley (see family tree in part 1) and she lived on Manchester Road. In due course Hilary and I went to visit her and she introduced us to her twin sister Margaret. They told us that their maiden name was Woolfenden and their family had been hatters. Over the next few years we visited a number of times and we became good friends.

  This street plan shows how the area appeared in 1939

Elias Woolfenden c1919 - age 60 c1884 – age 63 (left)
James Henry Woolfenden son of Elias and Pat’s grandfather (right)

One day, Pat told us that during the Victorian period, her family were farmers and that they were great friends with the family (next door) at Denton Hall Farm. These turned out to be my own ancestors, so the bond between us grew stronger. She explained that the two families often exchanged gifts. After my great great grandmother Dorothy Brown died in the 1850s, her family gave Dorothy’s coal scuttle cabinet to the Woolfenden family. This beautiful piece of furniture had been made and used at Denton Hall and later had been handed down through four generations of the Woolfenden family to Pat. I was quite

thrilled when she showed it to me, especially when I heard its story, and I saw the inscription ‘Denton Hall’ carved upon it. I then told the sisters that our history society would be very interested in learning more about their once famous family; so they told us about them and gave us newspaper cuttings and photographs of them. I asked them if they had a family tree to refer to. They said no, but they wished they had. I explained that I was interested in genealogy and with the information they gave me I could perhaps draw up a family tree for them. After a little more research, I drew the tree as shown earlier. It is incomplete in places due to lack of information and lack of space.

The two sisters, however, were very pleased with it, and in due course Pat gave me the Denton Hall cabinet. You can imagine how excited I was. She pointed out that neither of them had any family to leave it to, whereas I had; it was only fair, she said, that this precious heirloom should now be returned to the family from whence it came. Perhaps without realizing it, we had rekindled the ancient tradition of exchanging gifts between these two old families.

  This street plan shows how the area appeared in 1939

Returning once again to the main story, Woolfenden’s progress has been quite remarkable considering the vast competition from other local companies such as Wilsons, Moores, Greenhoughs etc. In 1840, a total of 24,000 felt hats were produced in Denton each week. Admittedly this was followed by the depression, but trade soon picked up again. By 1860, the North West clearly dominated the British hatting industry, and Denton’s output was greater than that of Stockport, Manchester or London. Even in the late 1920s our hatting industries still employed 3,700 people - almost half of Denton’s working population. Altogether, a total of 86 hatting firms have been recorded, though some were very small.

  This street plan shows how the area appeared in 1939

Both fashion and occupation dictated the appropriate headgear for men. Flat cap for a lowly type of work, bowler hat for foremen or higher class or those in the hatting trade, and top hats (silk hats) for management and aristocracy, or for special occasions and funerals. These, however, were eventually succeeded by the very popular trilby hats for all occasions. Needless to say, all the male employees in hatting wore hats. Any man visiting the factory, including delivery boys, had to wear a hat. Those not wearing one were met with strong language for not supporting their town and instantly turned away. Not only did Woolfendens sell their hats locally, but they also had a large export trade with representatives in the Far East, West Indies, Australia, New Zealand and Canada. In later years they also ventured into manufacturing ladies’ and children’s hats.

Over the years, the family contributed well to the social, religious and public life of the district. James (snr.) was a member of the local board, Thomas was chairman of the Denton Urban District Council, Joseph, (son of Henry) was a member of the Board of Guardians for over thirty years and he and James Henry were church wardens at Christ Church for over quarter of a century. These gentlemen were also Freemasons.

It was not until 1886 that brothers James and Elias were able to buy the 46 acre estate of Dane Shot Bank Farm, at a cost of £3,300. They had previously rented it. So the Woolfenden family finally owned it and the adjoining land on which stood their factory and their workers’ cottages.

As the partners retired or died, their places on the board of directors were taken by their sons, and eventually by their sons’ sons. The last generation was the great-grandsons of the founder. So this was four consecutive generations of the family. It would be too tedious to state all their names but it is interesting to think that as they sat around the conference table, they were all brothers, cousins or second cousins to each other. It was one of the very few firms in Denton which had been kept entirely in the family for over a century.

In 1905, James died and left his share of the estate to his niece and nephew Eugenie and Robert Woolfenden. Eventually, the firm had to close down, and in 1935 it was sold for £6,550 to the Dane Bank Estate - for building on.

When America entered the war in 1942, their troops (known as G.I.s) were shipped to England for a few weeks prior to being posted to Europe. Some came to Dane Bank and Woolfenden’s old hat works was stripped and re-furbished to house them. The local girls used to congregate and flirt with them. The ‘Yanks’ supplied them with chewing gum and nylon stockings which were otherwise unobtainable. When the Americans moved out, they were replaced by Italian POWs (prisoners of war). They were treated well and allowed out each day to walk around the town. I often saw them and spoke to them. There was no danger of them escaping to return home. Their war was over and they were very grateful.

The gradual decline in the hatting industry accelerated in the post war years due largely to the advent of the motor car. As cars became more affordable, the need for head protection was reduced. This sounded the final death knell for the industry and bare heads became the fashion. The abandoned cottages were demolished in the early 1980s and just to the north of them modern houses were built. These are seen in the aerial photo shown below. The factory is still standing and Windmill Lane runs down the centre and under the railway bridge. (It is in the shade and looks blue)   This street plan shows how the area appeared in 1939

The factory buildings were finally demolished in the late 1980s and the cast iron beam with Joseph Woolfenden’s initials on it was carefully removed and is now incorporated in an old barn in the village of Llangarron in Wales. It may well serve for another century. In 1981 I converted our dining room into an ‘olde worlde’ room by fitting mock timber beams. I naturally took these from the old cottages as they were being demolished. I shall always be grateful to ‘The Woolfendens of Dane Bank’.


In the 1870’s, Mr. B.F. Sturtevant, of Boston, U.S.A., had the genius to foresee the enormous field open to anyone who could “ put air to work ”, efficiently and initiated investigations into fan technique.

From the researches and experiments he designed and developed a range of fans of various types, each suited to a particular duty and thus began a new industry which developed into an important branch of engineering.

The data compiled by Mr. Sturtevant was made available to Mr. G. A. Mower, who, in 1884, founded the British company. At that time, fan engineering as we know it, did not exist in this country, or in Europe and was only in its infancy in the U.S.A.

For many years, Mr. Mower imported his fans from the Boston works of Mr. Sturtevant, but losses around the time of the Great War, forced manufacture in the U.K., firstly in a small London works and later, by sub-contract, at the Denton premises of Progressive Engineering Company, Vinery Works, Town Lane, Denton.

Fan construction in the early days.

This led to a greater degree of independence and in 1923, the connection with Sturtevant, Boston, was broken. In 1924, Progressive Engineering moved from the Vinery Works, to the former Lever Bros. hat works, in Acre Street.

Rapid progress was made in the design and installation of complete plants, such as Plenum heating and ventilating, dust exhausting, timber drying, forge-blowing and smoke exhausting etc., instead of merely supplying fans for the purchaser to use as best he could, which had, theretofore been the usual practice.

Amongst other applications initiated by the British company, were the use of fans for Induced Draught, Gas Boosting and Water Gas Plant blowing.

The introduction of the Multistage fan type vacuum cleaner, specially designed for industrial use, revolutionized earlier ideas in vacuum cleaning and Sturtevant Turbine Vacuum Cleaners came into world-wide use.

Sturtevant had been incorporated as a limited company, in this country, in 1899, and in 1929, set up a new trading company, Progressive Engineering Co. (1929 ) Ltd. The entire operation became public in 1944, when the name ‘Progressive’ was dropped. Earlier fans were all of the paddle-bladed type, but, in 1912, the multi-vane, ( or forward- curved ), impeller was introduced.

In the late 1920’s, the company was appointed ventilation consultants to the Mersey Tunnel ( Queesway ) project, and a backward curved fan was developed, thus, in the 1930’s, Sturtevant had a range of radial, forward and backward curved bladed fans, for general industrial and process heating and ventilating applications. The company did not confine itself to fan engineering, but became actively engaged in the the design and construction of crushing and grinding plant for special purposes, such as the manufacture of fertilizers and the preparation of hydrated lime etc., it’s plants and systems being adopted in many parts of the world.

During the winter of 1946/7, a Fordson tractor was used to drive the line shaft during the power cuts and load shedding at that time. Health and Safety!?

In the 1930’s, Electrostatic Precipitation equipment was introduced, for the elimination of grit and dust from the combustion gases in power stations. This equipment was also widely used in cement works and other large industrial plants, where the removal of fine dust was essential, on either hygienic or commercial grounds.

Other Sturtevant Engineering activities provided a comprehensive, advisory, design, manufacturing/contracting and installation service in the following fields: Air filters, driers and drying systems, dust control systems and pneumatic conveying, ( including the systems once used in large stores for the conveyance of money from the counter to the cashier’s office and back ), gas cleaning, industrial vacuum cleaning, process engineering, covering batching and blending plants, lime hydration, crushing, grinding, screening and separation plant, and laboratory machinery. Also, turnkey or package deal projects.

Various expansion projects were undertaken at the Denton works, the latest being in the late 1950’s, when the London ( Bankside ) works was closed. The head office remained in the capital and the company also had a works at Nottingham, E. Reader & Sons Ltd., which was mainly involved in the production of vacuum cleaning equipment.

An aerial view, 1949. Considerable expansion had already taken place, but more was to come in the 1950’s. It was hay-making time at Grange Farm, now the site of St. Thomas More School. Some of the old cottages around Chestnut Street remain. Notice the air-raid shelters, bottom left, in what is now part of St. Mary’s school playground. An old Dentonian, Mr. Charles ‘Charlie’ Foden a relative of Maggie Foden , one of our distance members, once told me that the land centre right, where there is now a playing field, was once the site of a slate works!

In 1965, Drake, Gorham Scull Ltd., acquired control of Sturtevant and in 1968, the company was split into two divisions – the manufacturing division, based at Denton and the projects division, based at Head Office in London. Sturtevant Engineering Holdings Ltd., was formed in 1975 and the Denton based manufacturing division became Sturtevant Engineering Products Ltd.

Due to the problems faced by the engineering industry generally, over the years and the recession, the company ceased trading in 1983. Denton Local History Society acquired a large amount of material, mainly photographic, from the firm and an exhibition to mark the centenary of the founding of the firm in 1884, was staged in Denton Library.

Above, fan components loaded ready for dispatch to Lady Windsor Colliery. Mr. Joe Silver, Painting and Packing Dept. foreman, standing, on trailer.


Re-opening of the Bandstand in Victoria Park June 21 2007

Photos kindly donated to the society by Peter Whitehead.

To the citizens of Denton, our bandstand is a very important structure and well deserves it status of a Grade II listed building.Over the years, it has been the means of providing a great deal of pleasure to many local people. Although its appearance and condition have varied between many successive bouts of renovation, it has always remained in regular service and in recent years, has contributed to the park's entry in the 'Britain in Bloom'competition.

Since, howevesthe veryfunction of the bandstand is to create a venue for the bands, its storycan-not be told without mention of the many bands which have played on it so7r the years.Although it was not built until the early 1900s, the need for a bandstand existed long before then.

Denton's very first band was formed in 1818 and began playing in public for various celebra-tions.The townspeople, and especially the hatter Joseph Howard, had subscribed generously to the appeal for funds. They were able to buy a set of instruments, music paper and instruction books for a grand total of 5210.The big drum was duly painted with the title 'Naughton & Denton Band'. Haughton, however, was at that time, a separate town and the Dentonians, who outnumbered the Haughtonians, objected to this and no the name was eventually changed to 'Denton & Haughton Band'. It was very popular and played for many years. Up until 1869, it led the Saint Lawrence's Sunday School Scholars'Walk at Whitsuntide.

But since 1859 it had a rival.This was the Baxendale's Band, named after their small factory at the top of Taylor Lane. As they went from strength to strength, they had to move their headquarters; first to the Bowling Green Inn and then to their own Band Institute on Ashton Road.They needed a new name and so they called themselves the Denton Original Band.Thisdistinguished it from the Denton & Haughton Band and indicated that it was the original 'all Denton bane As its popularity grew, it eventually eclipsed its old HAI. Its greatest achievement came in 1900 when it won £75 and the 'One Thousand Guinea Chaenge Cup' at Crystal Palace, having competed against entrants from all over Great Britain and the continent. There was much rejoicing in Denton at the time and this was the first band to play on our new bandstand in about 1908. The band had many assignments and a new custom started in 1900. Whenever a member left the band to go and fight for his country, he was given a great'send-offi He was marched from his home to Denton Station by the entire band and a procession of well-wishers. The band played patriotic marches and hundreds of people turned out to watch.

In the early 1900s, the hafting industries presented the band with a beautifully crafted mace which was proudly carried by the drum major when marching. The top of the mace was adorned with a model of a bowler hat to symbolize what Denton was famous for. Over the years, the mace led many processions but, alas, the mace is now lost.

By 1919, when they celebrated their Diamond Jubilee, they were meeting in a dining room at the Market Place but moved later to the King's Head and then in 1973 to Denton Cricket Club on Egerton Street. In 1979, following a fire in their bandroom, the band folded but from this, came the Crown Point Band and the Oldham Batteries Band. The latter name was derived from their venue which was Oldham Batteries'Sports and Social Club but,as some members came from the former band, it soon regained its title of the Denton Original Band. In the 19905, it again reformed and adopted the title of Denton Brass.This is still with us today and they practise in their room at the Silver Springs Hotel Ashton Road.

In addition to the local bands, many others from all parts of the UK have played on our bandstand over theyears, and still do.They cover alrypes,such as military bands and especially colliery bands. BeforeWorldWar II, brass band concerts tookplace there every Sunday aftemoon and evening during the summer months. Listening was free but there was a collection box there if anyone wanted to give anything. But people had to pay the park attendant if they sat down on the folding seats provided. Since there were no transistor radios or televisions in those days, these bands were popular with old and young alike as they provided virtually the only music most people ever heard. Every town was proud of its bandstand and almost every park had one.ln the 1920s,when my parents were in their teens,they regularly used to listen to the bands and dance to them. Thanks to Tameside Council, our popular bandstand has once again been restored to its former glory.The restoration work, which included repainting, re-roofing and new steps,was completed in spring 2007.Hopefully bands will continue to play there regularly throughout each summer.

Frank Brown.

Denton Local History Society


by F. Brown

from Issue 70 of the Dentionian

As most of our members know, our local band has recently celebrated its 150th anniversary. It is a wonderful achievement and their members have every right to feel proud, but I cannot help but see another side to this. I hope they will not take offence if I tell this little anecdote.

One day, when I was a boy, I was watching my father working and he said, "Do you see this hammer son? It has now been in the family for three generations." I said, "Gosh! It must be very old." He said, "Yes, and in all that time it has only ever had three new shafts and two new heads, but it's the same hammer." Well I know it's not very funny but it's a similar situation with the band. They have changed the instruments, the music and the uniforms several times. The band name and the venues where they rehearse have also changed and, of course, they are not the same people who started it all, but they are 'the same band'. I hope they see the funny side of this and realize that I admire the band, and as I said, no offence is intended.

In June this year they asked the D.L.H.S. to prepare an exhibition for them to be used in their 150 year celebration. This took the form of a big Band Concert which was held at Hyde Town Hall on Sat. 4th July. (Denton didn't have a venue that was big enough). Frank Rhodes, myself, Jean and Jill assembled the exhibitions we had prepared, accompanied by several other members of our society who were also invited. The band played well, the hall was packed and everyone had a wonderful evening.

The same display boards were set up again in the alcove in the library for the month of September and were also used in the September Show on 19th and 20th at the Festival Hall. The theme this year (2009) was a display of all our recently acquired artifacts under the title of 'Look What's Turned up'. A detailed account of this, together with a photograph of us, appears in the current Tameside Reporter.

The event also coincided with the re-opening of our meeting place Room 10 after Tameside Council had kindly renovated it in answer to our requests for a new layout. Thanks to all those members who worked so hard over the months emptying the room, bringing things from the Nurse's Home and finally reinstating everything back into room 10.

The opening ceremony was preceded by an excellent performance from the junior section of The Denton Brass in their meeting room. Councillor Brenda Warrington congratulated them and then, followed by our local MP Andrew Gwynne, other guests and our members, she walked to the door of room 10 and made another short speech. She then cut the ribbon across the doorway and declared our room open. We all went inside and were pleased to hear our guests admiring the interior. This was followed by drinks of wine and a buffet lunch.

Later, we went down to the Pennine Lounge where, once again, our guests gave praise on our displays including the band story. We could sum up by saying it was a very successful day and thanks to all who took part.

For the benefit of members who didn't have the opportunity to see the Band Exhibition or the September Show, here is a repeat of The Band Story.

The band was first formed in 1859 by Thomas Baxendale who later founded the Alpha Mill. This was the large cotton mill off Manchester Road near the railway. At first, the band was known as `Baxendale's Band' and their headquarters was his original small factory at the top of Taylor Lane. Since early days they met up with stiff competition from other bands in neighbouring towns and even one in Denton. This was the 'Denton & Haughton Band' which had formed in 1818 and until then had been the only local band we had; though, of course, Denton and Haughton were two separate townships at the time.

Baxendale's Band went from strength to strength and soon had to move its H.Q., first to the Bowling Green Inn, then to their own Band Institute on Ashton Road. They needed a new name, so they called themselves the 'Denton Original Band'. This distinguished it from the 'Denton & Haughton Band' and indicated that it was the original all Denton Band. As its popularity grew, it eventually eclipsed its old rival. Its greatest achievement came in 1900 when it won £75 and the 'One Thousand Guinea Challenge Cup' at Crystal Palace, having competed against entrants from all over Britain and the colonies. There was much rejoicing in Denton at the time. The cup was kept safely at Denton Town Hall and a security of £1000 had to be given for its custody. It was at this point that they changed their name to 'Denton Original Prize Band'. They then ranked with the highest class bands in the country.

`send-off'. He was marched from his home to Denton Station by the entire band and a procession of well-wishers. The band played patriotic marches and hundreds of people turned out to watch.
In 1906 Mr. Albert Parke, a Denton Hat Manufacturer, presented the band with a beautifully crafted ebony mace which was proudly carried by the drum major when marching. The head of the mace featured a solid silver bowler hat to symbolize what Denton was famous for, and over the years the mace led many processions. By 1919, when they celebrated their Diamond Jubilee, they were meeting in a dining room at the Market Place but moved later to the King's Head, and then in 1973 to Denton Cricket Club on Egerton Street. In 1976 they formed a second band known as the `B' band. Initially this was for training young members to reach the required standard for transfer to the 'A' band; but it eventually became recognized for its own merits. Following a fire in their band room in 1979, which destroyed their music and some of their instruments, they temporarily disbanded. A short time later they obtained a new venue at Oldham Batteries' Sports & Social Club along Hyde Road. The bands were then re-formed; the 'Denton B Band' kept its name and the 'A' band became 'Oldham Batteries Band' but not for long. Because some members came from the former band, they soon changed their name back to 'Denton Original Band' but didn't include the word 'Prize'. The mace was then re-presented to Mr. Ted Harrison, musical director of the band, by Mr. Dennis Holden, managing director of Oldham Batteries Ltd. to mark their new sponsorship.

Due to an industrial recession in the 1980s, Oldhams were forced to withdraw their sponsorship of the bands and moved them into the foyer at their Edward Street entrance. It seems that this was not satisfactory for soon afterwards the 'A' Band moved into the building of the Co-op Bank in Amelia Street off Ashton Road and the `IV Band moved to Egerton Park School.

In 1991 the Denton Original Band came second (out of 25) in the 'North West Area Finals' held at Blackpool. This was considered to be a wonderful achievement as it qualified them to enter the 'National Finals' held at Wembley where they came 10th out of 32. Following this success they were approached by many other bands who tried to poach the members for their own bands.

In 1993 vandals broke into the premises in Amelia Street and set the building on fire causing the loss of music, instruments and uniforms. Being also without a venue, the old 'A' Band folded once again but did not re-form. Sonic time later, the `B' Band, which had once been the junior section of the old band, moved their venue to the Denton West End Working Men's Club in Grosvenor Street and were then known as the 'Crown Point Brass'. Fortunately, some items of the original band, including the precious mace, still survived and led by their popular conductor, the late Jack Hansford, they continued to be one of the leading bands of the Manchester district. They moved again in 1999, this time to the Silver Springs Hotel on Ashton Road and they also changed their name to 'Denton Brass'.

In time, the band became a victim of its own success, because it eventually outgrew the size of the band room. Thus in 2005 they moved to a large room at Denton Library in Peel Street where they now share the first floor with the Denton Local History Society who have written this story and assembled this exhibition. Pi Brown.

Denton Police Station.

Work is scheduled to begin on this fabulous, historic building in March 2006. Situated close to the countryside, The Old Police Station is within easy reach of the M60 and is just a 20 minute commute to central Manchester, 15 minutes to Stockport and just half an hour from Sheffield.

It’s easy to say that Denton Police Station is an historic building, but here’s the proof, cut and pasted from the web site of Greater Manchester Police Museum…

Greater Manchester Police Museum in Newton Street is to get a major new attraction, thanks to a Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) grant of £126,500. The grant, announced today (Wednesday 16 July), will help to relocate an original 19th-century courtroom from Denton Police Station to the museum, contributing to the city’s tourism and regeneration. The courtroom at Denton Police Station dates from 1895, and is the only one of its type in the North West.

We’re delighted to have acquired such a famous landmark. Our plan includes the restoration of the original building. In fact, one lucky purchaser will enjoy the unique benefit of the courthouse's beautiful ceiling. Add to that the creation of a new, sympathetic terrace fronting Market Street, and we think you'll agree that this development is indeed a local landmark. Work will take 9 months to complete and will begin in March 2006. We're ready now to offer apartments for sale ‘off plan'.

Interest in this development is already considerable and we would urge parties to stake their claim now. Pre-release information will be published in ‘One Step Ahead’, our electronic newsletter - sign up! And finally…

A funny thing happened on the day surveyors arrived on site to conduct a technical survey, soon after our acquisition of the building was completed. The holding cells were still intact, and one unfortunate chap managed to get himself locked in one… And, according to the First Law of Sod, it was the only cell for which we did not have a key...

Within an hour, a team from The Manchester Evening News was on the scene and the following day the incarcerated individual found himself prominently featured in Britain’s leading regional newspaper. To add to his dismay, the story was then picked up by the national newspapers. The Daily Mirror, The Star, The Sun; The Daily Express and the Daily Mail all featured the unfortunate’s day of misery in clink.

It was the volume of interested phone calls we received from members of the public as a result of this coverage that led us to believe that Denton Police Station will be our fastest selling project to date.

Images and text last updated 2006.

Website now defunct.