Issue 45


To mark our 25th Anniversary the Society held an exhibition over three days at the Festival Hall,Denton.

The Civic Mayor of Tameside (Councillor Margaret Downs) opened the event, and was accompanied by her Consort Mr.Downs and Councillor Martin Wareing who made a speech.

The Mayor was introduced to relatives of two Denton batting families — John and Barbara Howe, and John and Harry Greenhough; and she must have enjoyed the event as she and her husband stayed for most of the afternoon.

The central part of the exhibition focused on "Then and Now"- photographs of the four main roads leading from Crown Point; so there is now a comprehensive record of the centre of Denton in 2003.
Around the hall were displays on Denton Golf Club, Hatting, Denton Personalities, the Tithe maps of Denton and Haughton, Denton Pubs, an ongoing project recording the inscriptions on the gravestones at the Methodist Church ,Two Trees Lane,(undertaken by Gerry Cartwright), a display of domestic life and children's pursuits of the past and a photographic record of the Society's pusuits over the twenty five years.
Frank Brown displayed his excellent model of Denton Hall and surprised us all with a great new model of Arden Hall. We knew that he was working on something special, but he had kept it a secret until the exhibition. He also showed detailed scale drawings of both halls.
There were displays of mementos and photographs of the Eastwood family and the Howe family.

THE Café had excellent sandwiches and scrumptiuos cakes (I can vouch for them), served by fetching waitresses whose efforts were appreciated by members and visitors alike.

Greswell Infant School put up a display "All About Denton" and Russell Scott Infant School exhibited models of the buildings on Wilton Street and model hats made by the children; there were photograph albums and school log books to peruse at leisure.
The Scouts had an interesting stand on the history of scouting in Denton and a video of the Millenium Camp.
The Carnival Committee also mounted a photographic display on the history of Denton Carnival.


Hats Off To Wilton Street

The new book "Hats Off To Wilton Street" was ready in time for the Exhibition which helped the sales enormously. Members of the society wrote about various buildings on Wilton Street and Jill Cronin added to this and compiled the book, which has been critically acclaimed as being excellent. It must have interested people as the first edition is almost sold out.
As Chairman of the Society, I felt so proud and honoured to represent our group when I looked around at the opening ceremony and saw all the marvellous displays — all new after twenty five years of exhibitions, quite a feat. After the twentieth exhibition we wondered how we could better it — I think we did.
I wish to thank members, their families and friends who helped to put on such a great exhibition, it took a great deal of effort and you were all generous in giving of your time and labour, everyone giving of their best. Thanks to the sandwich and cake makers, you did well we had ample.
It was good to have other groups involved, it gave a broader scope to the exhibition and let others see what we do.
Everyone said that the costumes added an extra flavour to the show. All in all I think we had an enjoyable weekend after all the hard work,and everyone who helped or participated in any way deserves a big THANK YOU

Jean Marlon

And "Thank You" Jean, for working so hard to ensure that
everything happened as it should, making the weekend so enjoyable and successful.
Am I the only family historian to find six ancestors who all died in the workhouse?

A typical workhouse dining hall like that for my great-great grandfather Mark Brannigan. Men were kept in one wing, women in another and their children were in separate quarters.
Picture Source

Mark and Bridget Brannigan, my great-great grandparents, both died in the workhouse at Hoole, Chester, and so did Mark's brother Philip and Philip's wife Catherine and their son Patrick
Jahn, Mark's grandson died in the workhouse at Ashton-under-Lyne.
In 1881, the Ashton census shows there were 772 inmates, the oldest a blind charwoman aged 89, and the youngest among 175 children included in that figure, just two weeks old and very likely born there.
There was a teenager, 17, with two younger brothers, ten and seven, the youngest one blind, all from Stalybridge; a deaf and dumb mother age 29 from Droylsden with her five year old son; a widow age 26 with her three young sons, all under eight, born in Droylsden; a blind mother age 34 from Ashton with her husband and ten-year-old daughter; two brothers from Denton, one deaf and dumb.
Inmates came from across the area: Audenshaw, Denton, Ashton, Dukinfield, Hyde, Stockport, Gorton as well as further afield.
The grim reality of life in Ashton's workhouse and the tragic lives of many of the inmates are graphically illustrated. A boy of seven in charge of his five-year-old brother and a five-year-old with his seven-year sister; a four-year-old abandoned or orphan child, also blind.

The 1881 census for Ashton's workhouse is available on CD and on the Internet and lists all the inmates by name with their details and status.
There were unmarried mothers with one, two, three or sometimes four children, one mother deaf and dumb, looking after her five-year-old child.
All terribly sorrowful to read however long ago it was. The handicaps of some of the poor inmates are clinically listed: lunatic 78, epileptic (like John Brannigan) 3, idiot 2, deaf and dumb 4, imbecile 39 and blind 39.
John, son of Thomas and Sarah Brannigan, my great grandparents, died in the Union workhouse at Ashton-under-Lyne on the 12th December 1893.
Born at Boughton, Chester on 16th August 1863, John was 30 when he died of epilepsy. The informant on his death certificate was not a family member but the workhouse Master, Thomas Davey.
The high incidence of blindness among workhouse inmates is thought to be due to xerophthalmia, a disease causing blindness particularly among workhouse children, and the lack of vitamin A in their diet.
Chester's workhouse held hundreds of men, women and children during the time the five Brannigans lived and died there. All five were from Knockaraha in Co Mayo, half a mile from Ballintubber Abbey, where Pierce Brosnan (James Bond) was married in 2001. They had fled to England to escape from the Irish Potato Famine.
They were all classified as pauper inmates meaning they were destitute, and in the 1881 census, Chester's workhouse had 626 inmate and casual paupers, the oldest of whom was 90. There were 203 children, the youngest just two months old.
I found the first record of the Brannigans at Chester's floole workhouse for 1882 in the Creed Register of Admissions and Discharges at Chester Record Office. Mark's brother, Philip and Philip's son Patrick, were admitted that year. They were destitute and Patrick, an Army pensioner, was also ill.
When Mark and Bridget's daughter, Ann died of tuberculosis at 18 Steam Mill Street, Chester on July 2 1883, Bridget left the workhouse to be with her daughter. We know from the death certificate she was with Ann when she died.
Three weeks after Ann died, Bridget, still destitute, was back in the workhouse with her husband Mark and on July 27 was admitted to the workhouse infirmary with bronchitis, which killed or contributed to the death of 11 members of my family including my father and gr-grandfather. TB killed another 13 family members, almost all of them in Cheshire.
Mark, my gr-gr-grandfather was working in the workhouse. Those who lived and worked at the House were required to work and assigned to work yards, but as a farm labourer and in his late sixties, Mark might have worked in the vegetable garden.



Village Life

VILLAGE life of the past was usually productive of a few individuals of uncommon type, and the eccentri¬cities of its old village characters
form many an interesting chapter in the - story of bygone Lancashire life.
Denton, in our grandfathers' days, pos¬sessed a number of these odd characterti, and the records of some of their whimsi¬cal sayings and doings have fortunately been preserved.
In Stockport-road there formerly lived a certain Henry Moorhouse who was a notable Denton character in his day. He was eccentric, ingenious, and was also a ventriloquist of no mean order. He acquired 'considerable fame for his dex-terity in the art of " kite-flying," or, as it was locally termed, " dragon flying," and on this account he received the name of the " Flying Tailor." On one occasion he made a huge kite, which was adver¬tised to ascend at Belle Vue Gardens, with the "Flying Tailor " ensconsed in a skip tied to the end of its tail. Thou¬sands of persons assembled to witness the tailor's disappearance in the clouds. But the aerial machine proved unequal to the strain; it broke in two. much to the dis¬appointment of the crowd, and the tailor's trip did not come off. One of the dis¬appointed spectators thereupon took paint-can and brush, and, making the round of the posting stations, proceeded to erase the " F " from the word " Flying" inscribed on the bills, thus altering the advertisement term into that of the "Lying Tailor."
It is also recorded that when Moor- house left home to attempt his' flight at Belle Vue he said to his wife, " Well, lass, it's either fifty pounds to-day or death for me." To which the practical spouse bluntly replied, "Well, either or rather will suit me."


The pattern of admission and discharge at their own request, presumably to try to find or take up work or just to try the alternative once again (for who would want to stay in the workhouse if there was any other possible alternative) was to be ongoing through 1884 and 1885 until their deaths in the workhouse and burials in pauper graves.
Life in the workhouse meant husbands and single men were kept in one wing, wives and single women in another and their children were in separate quarters. Every portion of food was measured or weighed. Inmates could request meetings with other family members, such as their children and the Master or Matron usually supervised these in the Committee Room.
The daily routine was dictated by daylight. They rose and went to bed early so as not to waste the ratepayers' money on candles or lamp oil.
Patrick died in the Chester Union workhouse on 30th October 1884 of chronic bronchitis. He had been re-admitted three weeks earlier from the family home at 6 White Horse Yard, Foregate Street, Chester where his wife, Margaret must have been unable to care for him and was left with their son Peter, 11.
Philip Brannigan died in the workhouse on 31st October 1885, aged 70. The cause was hemiplegia, which would indicate he was paralysed down one side, presumably after a stroke. Catherine, also 70, died in the House three months later on 21st January 1886, of old age.
We know from Mark's death certificate that Bridget was with him when he died. For this she probably would have had to have the Master's permission since husbands and wives were kept apart.
When Bridget died two years later, the informant on her death certificate was Robert Furney, the workhouse Master telling us she died alone. Bridget was buried in Chester Union Cemetery on 8th April 1889. Mark and Bridget had spent nearly 40 years in Cheshire. The first of their children to be born in Chester, Catherine died in 1850
aged three months soon after they arrived from Co Mayo to escape from the Famine.
The workhouse and the orphanage, tuberculosis and bronchitis, were a routine part of life for many thousands in those times as my family, like so many others, found to their cost.

Colin Brannigan


Frederick Horsfield the Lancashire poet, born December 1900, in Angel Street Denton. He was the youngest of three sons born to Joseph Horsfield and his wife Sarah Brassington.
The family of Brassington's came from Acre Street, facing Victoria Park. Of the three sons, Jack, the eldest was a member of the Navy during the First World War. The second son, William (Bill), was a soldier in Palestine during the First World War.
Frederick Horsfield was in a bomber command during the Second World War. However, before entering the forces he owned a grocer's shop in Broomgrove Lane Denton. He married Nellie Kellsall in St George's Church Hyde, they later had two sons Derek and Ronald. Derek unfortunately died a few days after his birth in 1928.
Frederick was educated at St Anne's School Denton and was a active member of the group "St Anne's Players". He also produced and acted in many plays for them. Frederick wrote a number of poems and had a considerable number of them published. One book called "Lancashire Poems", containing many of his poems written in local dialect was accepted by King George V into the Royal Library at Buckingham Palace.
The Horsfield family was an old, well established family in Denton, Fred's Grandfather John, owned a gentleman's outfitters shop, facing Denton Market in the mid 1800's. Other members of the family moved to Haughton Green.
In later years after, the 1945 war, Frederick began work at Oldhams Batteries. He died in 1956, aged fifty six, he was cremated at Duckinfield Cemetery and the burial service was held at St Anne's Church, opposite his former school. The firm Oldhams Batteries provided three cars so that all employees could easily attend the service.


A Monument Of Love

WELL friends, awm spakin' once agen
Awm skewer yo' winna' mind,
Bur shanna say so very much.
Fer words aw conna find.
Aw think aw must be hafe asleep,
Aw've nobbur just fun' eawt,
Abeawt this Rooters club in Heighd
Yo'll understond no deawt.
An' heave it were aw'll try to tell..
I happened 't co' in th' Star—
An' one o't Rooter chaps coom in
A-sellin' cards at th' bar.
"Just read," he said, "an' if yo' please
Awd like to sell yo' one,
An' if there's owt yo' want to know
Yo'll find it printed on."
Aw wondert what the heck it were,
A verse an' balance sheet?
Bur when he'd praytched his little piece
Of course aw said, "0' reet."
" Thowd Rooters club! Thowd Rooters clubl
An does tha mean fert say,
Tha's never yerd o't things we'n done
An' th' brass we'n gan away?
Fer fifty year or maybe more
This club's bin goo'in on
Wi stale a penny here an' theer
An' tuppence when wi con.
Then if wi see a poorly lad
Or one thats deawn an' eawt,
Wi awlus try to help a bit
Bur rarely mak a sheawt."


An' some o't things this laddie said
They fairly made mi think,
In feckt they meighthert mi that much
Aw let him sup mi drink.
An' then he took mi in a room An' towd mi't sit mi deawn Between a two thri other folk
Awd seen before in th' teawn.
Aw didna ax no questions . . . neaw,
O'that there were no need
They'n books an' pappers everywhees
Fer onnybody't read.
Of O' the rootin' tootin' crew,
There's nowt they dunna know,
Five shillin' him. some flowers her,
An' doctor's bills an' O'.
Aw'll bet we'n monny a thankful heawse,
In Heighd an' Denton, too,
That spakes a quiet word betimes
Fret club that's pood'd 'em through.
O'er hill an' dale its arms stretch eawt,
A monument o' love,
A kinder thowt could scarce be sent
From him who reigns above.
Awm rayther preawd aw bowt that card,
Fer tak this tip awf me,
Awl' be a tooter while aw live,
A Rooter till aw dee.
An' if yo'd like a happy thowt
Save up an' jine this club—
It built a church in every street,
A pulpit ... IN A PUB.