People and places of Middleton
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Your Letters

Just as in the local issues section, you can air your views here on the letters page. Letters can be about anything and not just your gripes. It's not all doom and gloom in Middleton, even if it seems that way sometimes! Let's have some happy letters about our town and its people too! E-mail your letters to colette@middletonia.co.uk.

I strive to respond to all emails, usually within the same day or the next day but not all emails or their responses are detailed here. Some comments received are placed on the relevant pages elsewhere on the site.

TalkTalk scam

Many readers will have no doubt been accosted by reps in some of the area’s shopping centres and bus stations, and the like, touting for business on behalf of the telecoms company TALKTALK.

As one of the inducements offered to prospective customers, is the promise of a £50 introductory discount, which takes the form of a waiving of the usual £50 connection charge, on signing up for any of their multi-bundle package deals.

I would strongly advise you not to sign up with this company, as the so-called £50 discount in nothing but a blatant con trick! I’ll explain...

Earlier this year, while in central Manchester, I was approached by a TALKTALK rep at the Shudehill bus station, and, needing a new internet service provider, I took up TALKTALK on their offer and signed with them, for a combined telephone and broadband package which included the £50 introductory discount.

Within a week of the service switch-on, I picked up the phone one morning to find that the line was dead. Contacting the “reporting faults” number from my sister’s land line (she happens to be a customer of TALKTALK, thus allowing for a free call) I was informed by an automated voice prompt that before I would be put through to the engineers’ department I must agree to be liable for any costs incurred over the repair should the fault be found to lie within my property; the standard charge , coincidently(!), just happens to be £50!

Well, not having been born the day before, I obviously refused to agree to such a preposterous arrangement, suspecting that the whole thing was nothing but a cynical scam designed to recoup the £50 discount, as I informed the company operator I eventually got through to, to that very effect.

As she informed me that the matter couldn’t be carried any further without my agreeing to the clause, ie. penalty charge (not mentioned in any contract, or the like, by the way), and which I was bound to incur, as the “fault” would inevitably be found to reside in my property, the situation was effectively stalled. So that was how things remained; and, after allowing them some two or three weeks to reconnect the phone line – as I was one-hundred-per-cent certain it had been switched-off by them in the first place – I cancelled the Direct Debit payments, and considering the contract effectively void, I re-registered with my original provider on newer, more advantageous, terms (involving dispensing with a phone line - see bottom of this message.)

As I stated, my sister was – and still is, as far as I know – a TALKTALK customer, and she informed me that she experienced exactly the same occurrence shorty after she joined them, so it certainly can’t be argued that my experience could be viewed as being a “one-off”; most definitely not!

I should point out that it was engineers from BT who installed the wiring for the broadband and telephone service at my property, a fact which leads me to conclude that they, too, must be involved in the scam, as it would no doubt be their engineers who will be returning to “discover” the fault. (Which will no doubt work something like this: the engineer will turn up at the property, make a pretence of checking the wiring, and while you’re not watching, tug a cable loose from its socket or plug, and exclaim that I must have accidentally dislodged it while vacuuming or some such. And after I’ve supposed to have bought this guff, he’ll nip outside – “just to check the junction box” up the road like, and when he’s out of my hearing, phones the exchange to tell them it’s now OK to switch the line back on! Cynical, am I being? Fat chance of my being wrong, anyway!)

I would like to be able to report that my experiences with TALKTALK are now all behind me, but, unfortunately, they aren’t – they have the audacity, still, to be hounding me for payments that they claim I owe them, for the service they themselves deliberately failed to provide! In fact, they have just instructed a debt collector to pursue me for them!

I fully intend to pursue a claim for breach of contract against the company, seeing as how they’ve resorted to these means – of employing a debt recovery agent – and this being the case, I’d be very happy to hear from any other readers who have had a similar experience with this outfit, as the more complaints there are of such behaviour by them, the better the chances are of bringing them to book (though with the reputations the regulators and watchdogs have for getting things done, and the partiality of the courts towards big business in this country, it may well turn into something of an uphill struggle!) All the same, I can be contacted at:


(Sorry, I don’t have a landline phone – I’m not popular enough with all that many people that they should want to trouble to phone me!)

Thanks for you time and interest.

Mike Harris,


Hello Collette.
With the good news of the rejection of planning permission to build on Scowcroft only days old, a morning walk was spoiled by the sadly familiar sight of newly dumped rubbish. I would like to urge anybody who sees anyone fly tipping in this vicinity to get as much information as possible, ie vehicle type and reg, occupants, photo if possible, time and date and report it to RMBC. although the area has been given a reprieve as to the future of Scowcroft, this unsightly crime will no doubt have a judgmental effect on its future.
Yours sincerely

Hello Colette,
I was doing some research for a friend and came across your website. I couldnt find the answer on your website, so I was wondering if you could tell me if there were any cotton mills on Stanycliffe Lane, Boarshaw? Thank you very much for your help.
Kind regards,
Becky Carter.

Hi Becky, the answer is not to my knowledge. The whole thoroughfare from Oldham Road to Rochdale Road is actually split into three lanes if you look at a Google map. It starts with Hilton Fold Lane which turns into Green Lane up to a mini-roundabout near the crem. Only that section from there to Rochdale Road is Stanycliffe Lane which isn't really that long.

There was an ancient Hall called Stanycliffe Hall on the corner of the lane with Rochdale road but as far as I'm aware, before the current houses and estates were built, it was still pretty much open countryside. There were some prefabs built nearby during the war but I don't think there were ever any mills of any kind in that particular area.

There was however, and still is, a mill called the Cromer towards the other side off Hilton Fold Lane. This is now more of an industrial site with various firms using the building but it was once a cotton mill known as the Cromer Ring Mill. Many of the local ladies would have worked here back then so maybe this is the mill you are looking for?

Over the other side of Rochdale Road in the grounds that is now part of the college, there are the remains of a real ancient mill, more ancient than a cotton mill. It would have been for something else but I haven't really done any research on that one yet. Hope this helps!

Hi Colette, Thank you for spending some of your time researching this query, me and my friend are very grateful and this has helped with our research.
Kind regards,

Hi Colette,
Greetings from sunny Oldham. I've just been having a look at your website and agree with a lot of what you have to say. I've started my own blog http://oldhamuk.blogspot.co.uk/. It's only really of interest if you're from Oldham but there's the odd bit of nostalgia to liven it up. As well as history I try my best to have a dig at the council who continue to destroy the town. Please drop by and say hello..I'm sure we've got a lot to chat about. Incidentally, I managed the Poundstretcher in Middleton until November last year and know Middleton quite a bit. I've even got Raining Stones on DVD and that was filmed in Midd!
Bye for now

Thanks Steve, it looks great! I'd recommend it to any Middletonian's with links to Oldham.

Hi Colette,
I would like to inform readers of the ecological threat to wildlife in the Scowcroft area with the proposed planning and building of housing. The area is ideally suited to a vast array of wildlife and fauna particular to this area. Since the demolition of the Rex mill, the area has become a wilderness to the plants, trees and animals in this tiny corner of Middleton. It may be of interest to those with such interests that it is home to a pair of breeding Sparrow Hawks, the woodland is awash with all bird types including the common Woodpecker, Blackcaps, Bullfinches as well as the more common garden birds.

It has its own natural water reservoir which feeds numerous ponds and streams, each with frogs/toads/newts. What was a brown site is slowly being taken back by nature and with a little management, could become a small haven of tranquility in a already built up area.

No doubt local residents have objected to the proposed development. What will happen to Scowcroft farm, although rumour says it is council owned? Scowcroft is also popular with roaming Deer that wander around this part of Middleton. It offers a vast array of wild flowers and fauna which in turn support many kinds of insects, moths, butterflies, so making valuable food for birds and other amphibians and mammals. No doubt the river will suffer greatly from being so close to a housing estate, with fly tipping and effluent from the houses seeping into the river, thus affecting the ducks and pond life. Water always seems to fascinate people, they like to throw anything in!
Best Wishes,
Stephen McMahon.

Hi Collette
I too remember a thriving Middleton, three cinema's, a fantastic central gardens with public toilets , a busling market near Middleton baths that would match Bury and Oldham abeit not of the same size. A UCP tripe shop, a great butchers where the man behind the counter would slice some cornbeef and give it to every child that came in the shop. The original Tommy's chip shop in a terrace house, a pet shop at the bottom of Wood street, a Woolworths, Langley Labour Club. I do not see the big deal for changing things or places, i am this weekend visiting Ledbury in Hereford it's a jewel in England's crown. People go to visit because it has never changed for hundreds of years, it has character. But in a way we are all guilty of letting greedy developers and politicians get away with it.
Great site,
All the best, Trev

Read more of Trev's memories 'here' in the Nostalgia section.

Dear Collette,
After a long time trying to find information on Rena, my namesake, this afternoon I decided to try Rudolf and up came your fascinating tale. My mother worked with Rena and was wondering if you could connect me with one of the persons that seemed to know about her. I have pics and really don't know who they are. Could you help me? Believe it or not, I live in Cuba!
Thanks, Rena Perez (Grossman)

Dear Colette,
Over 40 years ago, whilst walking around a market, I bought an old leather-bound bible with a brass edge and clasp which I felt was an interesting item and of great historical interest. I have carefully kept this bible and looked after it as best I could. Inside, there is a label with the writing..
Middleton Church Sunday School
Mary Baron
Christmas Day, 1864
I know this is a long shot in the dark, but I thought that perhaps, out there somewhere, a relative of Mary Baron might like to be reunited with this bible. I live in Spain (Malaga) and therefore I only have the internet (thank God for internet) to help me in my search. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Kind Regards
Sonja Bryce

Hello Colette,
I came across your Middleton site when researching the Pott name. I read Mr N. Tattersall's Nostalgic story of his early years i Alkrington and the mention of his maternal grandmother nee Pott and a vegetable shop in Liverpool. My Pott family started in Newton Heath and some stayed around the area but my gt. grandad moved to Liverpool and worked as a butcher there. I wonder whether Mr Tattersall would like to correspond my email if possible to clarify family history details. I would appreciate your help in this matter.
It is a great site, full of interest and topics of concern, such as the REAL Lancashire site. I fully agree with the sentiments expressed regarding the shrinking of counties. Many thanks.
Averil Page

Hi Colette, Thank you for passing on my message to Neil and just to let you know we are now in communication with each other - 'we being cousins'. Thanks again.
Kind regards,


I have read about George Booth and Lowbands Farm. George Booth is my great-grandfather (I have his gold pocket watch !) I understand that there is to be a museum celebrating the founding of the Co-operative movement. Is it to be at Lowbands Farm. I would be pleased to hear from you if you know anything about this or could give me a contact.
Yours sincerely,
John Booth

Dear Colette,
I have read your article on the Schwabe family with great interest. Right now I am putting the finishing touches on an essay dealing with the eldest son of the officer and MP George Salis Schwabe, Maurice Schwabe (1871-1915), who was involved in the Oscar Wilde scandal, as you may know. I made some startling discoveries about Maurice, who was the family's black sheep, I fear. Another son made a more satisfying career: i refer to Sir Walter Schwabe K.C. who died in 1931 aged 58 (see the obituary in The Times, 22 April of that year).

Needless to say I wish to include your article in my bibliography, and should be grateful if you would be so kind as to provide me with your full name (which I did not come across on your website). Would you please send me this information?
Believe me, yours very sincerely
Caspar Wintermans
The Hague, The Netherlands

Hello Colette
Just wanted to make contact with a quick mail, to tell you a little about myself and family. I lived on Stanycliffe Lane until 1969/70 when at the age of 10 my mum, dad and sister, Heidi, left to live where I am now near Morecambe, in the village of Hest Bank I was born at Woodfield Maternity home in Werneth Park Oldham. My grandfather was Fred Megert from Switzerland who had Megerts confectioners in Middleton gardens ( Went on to be Tommy Thompsons chippy) His daughter Elza,my Mum. His other daughter(twin) was Joyce, both worked in the shop. His wife Clara was my grandmother of course. We left soon after my grandfather passed away in 1968

My dad was Harold Tomlinson. He worked on Sufffield Street for, I think? Gainsborough Engineering. His Mum ran the Brunswick Arms at Middleton junction over the war years. She was from the Cowap family. My cousin was Peter Cowap, the musician ,who I believe has a blue plaque on the Boars Head pub?

I wonder if any of your readers have any memories of my Grandad and his confectioners shop?

If you need to ask anything more please mail me...
I have enjoyed delving in your website
Best regards
Paul Tomlinson

More can be read about Paul's family 'here' in the Nostalgia section.

On your section about Alkrington Hall (http://www.middletonia.co.uk/peopleandplaces/alkringtonhall.html ) there is a comment on it’s history saying, “bought by developers who in the early to mid 1990's restored and converted the Hall into three luxury private dwellings”. It was actually converted into 4 properties, the hall is 2 homes and each wing is also a home. Alkrington Hall East, Alkrington Hall East Wing, Alkrington Hall West and Alkrington Hall West Wing. Alkrington Hall West is for sale at the moment for £750,000 with Savills.
Andrew Parker

Hi Colette
Saw the photo of the swimming cert and looking through some material that I am doing for family research came across this Labour Certificate. It was issued on the 22 aug 1919 ,my mother Evelyne Amy Smethurst was 12 years old, born on 22 aug 1907 and allowed her to leave school to work in the mill. That would have been CPA or Swchabes. I wonder what todays kids would do .
Regards Frank Jackson
Perth ,western Australia

Hi Collette. My name is Martin Davies and I am setting up a new exciting Rock school right here in Middleton, employing young tutors to teach children and young adults aged 7 – 17 guitar, bass, drums and keyboards. I am a Middletonian myself, have been a musician for some 25 years and currently am in the resident band at the world famous Cavern Club in Liverpool, and have been for 3 years now. My business is very much community based and I hope to put something into the community by offering parents of children something new, confidence building, socially rewarding, educational and fun! I would very much like to advertise in Middletonia. If you would be kind enough to give me a ring on 07563914940 we can discuss things. A link to my website is attached. Thanks, kind regards, martin (Davies) Branch Manager.

Hope you are well. I was wondering if you had contact details for local historian Danny Hardman, I am desperate to get in touch with him to do an article on his latest research. Thanks for your time.
Saiqa Chaudhari
The Bolton News

Dear Collette,
I wonder whether you would be prepared to include information about the Middleton Musical Society (Founded in 1772) on the Middletonia.co.uk site, please? The main contact person would be me, the Musical Director, Graham Marshall on 19796 642139 or email pizzicatoman@sky.com. I do hope you can find space for us.
With every good wish.
Graham Marshall
Vice-Chairman North West Composers Association

Hi, Just to say great info about the The Schwabes. I'm a textiles tutor in Coventry and have an end of bolt piece of Fabric from the company, so it's great to be able to pass on just a bit of the history connected to this piece of fabric. Please find attached a photo of the bolt stamp, you are welcome to use it on your website, if you would like Please attribute to the Jane & Peterson Cobbett Patchwork Collection.
All the best
Peterson & Jane

Hello Collette
I hope you dont mind me writing, you may remember me (Alan Ogden) who was in contact with Ray when he was doing his history on Lowbands Farm, and he always said that I was the person who got him interested in all this. He did give me a copy of this which I am again reading. (red backed book) As you probably remember I am very interested in the history of Middleton Junction and Jumbo, Bradshaw Hall and soforth. I have just found your web site about Middleton which is excellent. Thought I would make myself know again.
Best Wishes.
Alan Ogden

Hello Colette,
i hope you are well and enjoying life to the full, i was wondering (tried not to get lost) lol... if i can place an advertisement on your website about the website i have made, Hopwood Radio, also is there any prices i need to consider before sending you the details for you to place on to the Middletonia website. Feel free to take a look at the website: www.hopwoodradio.co.uk (still working hard on the site its self) just to try and get as much information i can onto it, as these things take time and patience.
Jimmy Carter

Hi Collette,
Please can you edit our caption as we are not a day care centre, we are a homeless day centre for people that are homeless or under the threat of homelessness and for the disadvantaged of Middleton.
Thank you Collette
John Crosby

Good Morning
I have just come across your site whilst browsing for information about Tonge Hall. I was very impressed by the site so I didnt just stop there and had a good nosey around and came across the Hobbies page. I am myself a volunteer at Heaton Park Tramway at the Middleton Road side of the park and just wondered if I could put some information about us together for this section.
Thank you

Details can be found 'here' in the Hobby section.

Hi Colette
Apologies for the delay in getting back to you, we have only just opened the doors and have now got a number of things scheduled. We are providing free I.T Drop In sessions and a weekly job club for Middleton residents, we are also taking part in this year's Age UK's Itea & Biscuits which commences next Monday 19th September. During this week we are offering a variety of activities, I have attached a schedule for the week that outlines the activities. Could you add this to your website? I appreciate that this is short notice but it has been a race against time with just opening. I will also forward you the flyers for the job club and I.T Drop In session's - however I will have to send these through seperately as for some reason my webmail doesn't like me sending more than one attachment.
I hope you can support us at such short notice!
Kind Regards
Debs Drew
Project Coordinator – Get Online Middleton
Groundwork Oldham & Rochdale

Dear Colette,
I am the Church Warden at Holy Trinity Church Parkfield and I am writing to ask permission to use your article about Joel Halliwell who was awarded the Victoria Cross after the 1st World War. We wish to use your article as part of a display in Church during the Heritage Open Days on the 8th, 9th, 10th and 11th September. Holy Trinity Parkfield and the original Parkfield school were Joel Halliwell's local Church and the school he attended as a child.

Holy Trinity has eight brass plaques which are fixed to one of the columns in Church they have the names of all the parishioners of Parkfield Parish who fought in the war and all the men who won medals, together with the medals they were awarded. It is a very fitting memorial for these men. We know that Joel Halliwell is a very important part of the history of Holy Trinity Parkfield and we would like to include him in our celebration of the 150 years of the Church.
Please would it be okay for us to display your article during these Open Days?
I await to hear from you in due course.
Kindest regards,
Louise Jackson
Church Warden, Holy Trinity Parkfield

Dear Colette,
I wonder if you could please include Holy Trinity Parkfield (Archer Park) and All Saint Rhodes (Manchester Old Road) on the Middletonia webiste. There are two places where I think they needed to be added on:
1. Places of Worship
Holy Trinity Parkfield: http://www.holytrinityparkfield.org.uk/
All Saints Rhodes: http://www.allsaintsrhodes.org.uk/

2. Chronicle of Events
Holy Trinity Parkfield was built in 1862
All Saints Rhodes was built in 1864
The Middletonia site is very good and very helpful too. Well done to you and your team for the good work.
Many thanks.
Best wishes,
Revd. Marcia Wall
Rhodes & Parkfield Parish

Hi Colette,
Thanks for your kind reply and compliments about my suggestion. Feel free to post any comments of mine. I visited Hopwood Hall several years back on one of the Heritage Open days and was impressed by the rich decor and furnishings, oak woodwork, etc. When I saw a recent internal photo I was very disappointed in how it's been left to deteriorate.
Regarding the costs of refurbishment I would have thought these could be mitigated by using volunteers possibly from English Heritage/National Trust or in coordination with them.
I see what you mean about new buildings, not to mention all the new metal railings!!!
regards, Phil

Hi Collette,
Thanx for recognising me in the picture of our little band of supporters of the Middleton branch whos aim along with Peterloomassacre.org are trying to raise awareness of our campaign to lobby for a permanent, explanatary and respectful monument to this profound event.
Peterloo was a critical event in Middletons past, and the number of people killed and injured, but because ultimately it changed public opinion to influence the extension of the right to vote and give us the democracy we enjoy today. We've discovered that we are part of a long tradition, people have been demanding a fitting memorial for well over a hundred years! Let's make it happen. Currently the only public memorial is a plaque on the side of the Radisson Hotel, formerly the Free Trade Hall. An 1842 obelisk-style monument to the event in Ancoats once existed, but deteriorated so badly it was demolished by 1888.
A 1951 mural in the former Free Trade Hall (sold to the Radisson Hotel chain, who have converted the building into a luxury hotel) still exists in an upstairs corridor, but it, sadly, is as strikingly 'airbrushed' as the plaque, showing washed out, blank banners, protesters apparently viciously fighting amongst themselves, and the cavalry coming to the rescue. We want to see a permanent statue in a prominent position within St Peter's Fields. Such as the proposed design from 1819 of a yeoman on horseback trampling peaceful protestors.
The call for an appropriate public remembrance isn't without precedent. It's been going on since the 1830's! In a 2006 Guardian newspaper poll 269 voted for a greater memorial to this battlefield of democratic martyrdom second only to The Putney Debates. (The Guardian was formed as a direct result of the massacre, and ran a piece 'Battle for the memory of Peterloo' on our campaign).
If Manchester continues to ignore this profound event from it's own history, it's hard not to wonder what would the people who lost their lives on the day make of our collective desire to forget them? Manchester City Council have now committed to a new memorial to Peterloo. We continue to lobby for a memorial that isn't of a meaningless or abstract nature.
number of people killed and injured, but because ultimately it changed public opinion to influence the extension of the right to vote and give us the democracy we enjoy today. We've discovered that we are part of a long tradition, people have been demanding a fitting memorial for well over a hundred years! Let's make it happen. Currently the only public memorial is a plaque on the side of the Radisson Hotel, formerly the Free Trade Hall. An 1842 obelisk-style monument to the event in Ancoats once existed, but deteriorated so badly it was demolished by 1888.
A 1951 mural in the former Free Trade Hall (sold to the Radisson Hotel chain, who have converted the building into a luxury hotel) still exists in an upstairs corridor, but it, sadly, is as strikingly 'airbrushed' as the plaque, showing washed out, blank banners, protesters apparently viciously fighting amongst themselves, and the cavalry coming to the rescue. We want to see a permanent statue in a prominent position within St Peter's Fields. Such as the proposed design from 1819 of a yeoman on horseback trampling peaceful protestors.
The call for an appropriate public remembrance isn't without precedent. It's been going on since the 1830's! In a 2006 Guardian newspaper poll 269 voted for a greater memorial to this battlefield of democratic martyrdom second only to The Putney Debates. (The Guardian was formed as a direct result of the massacre, and ran a piece 'Battle for the memory of Peterloo' on our campaign).
If Manchester continues to ignore this profound event from it's own history, it's hard not to wonder what would the people who lost their lives on the day make of our collective desire to forget them? Manchester City Council have now committed to a new memorial to Peterloo. We continue to lobby for a memorial that isn't of a meaningless or abstract nature.
I was wondering if sometime in the future you could help in promoting the walk, and or other events which will endear our cause to hopefully more supporters.
Many thanks,
Yours sincerely
Steve McMahon.
PS Congratulations on your Web page.

Hi Colette
I have just started my own business and would like to advertise on your web site. How do I do it please?
Great Site
Kind regards

Hi there...
Just to ket you know someone in your area is providing a live stream of your community radio system. Everything that is broadcast over your radios is being heard over the internet live! They have also published the frequencies that your system uses and how to go about jamming it....

I thank you for your concern and making us aware that our radio system was being monitored. We are a registered neighbourhood watch organisation and none of our transmissions are confidential, that is why we do not use any form of scrambling, we do indeed want as many people as possible to be aware of potential troublespots and antisocial behavour in our area. On the subject of jamming as I feel sure you know this activity is illegal and a copy of the article on transmission 1 has been forwarded to Ofcom who are passing it on to the police for investigation.
May I thank you once again for your concern in this matter.
Kind Regards
Les Pye.

Reading your very interesting piece about the Schwabes family I have a write-up which was in Memories of Middleton some time ago by a cousin of my father's who lives in Chester but was brought up at Rhodes Cottage. Later they lived at Woodville on the corner of Kings Drive and Manchester Old Road. If this is of interest to you I can send you a copy
Bob Pedley

The story can be found 'here' in the Nostalgia section.

have you see the group on facebook old middleton shops and pubs might get you some business and lots of memories

Hi there,
I was wondering if it would be possible to advertise our group on your website? We have just been given the go-ahead to advertise one of our projects .....Firstly just a little bit about our organisation ...
CHOICE Middleton aims to Create Hope and, Opportunity through Involvement and Community Empowerment.
We aim to:

Encourage local residents to get involved in volunteering, mentoring and help create a more cohesive community
Engage with marginalised adults, developing their skills, confidence and employability in an informal, comfortable environment
Foster trust between local people, businesses and the statutory agencies
Use innovative methodologies to engage with the hard to reach
Reduce misconceptions about youth and older people through intergenerational work
Promote opportunities for involvement by creating hubs of expertise that can be accessed by decision makers

We have been awarded funding to allow us to set up a “Youth Policy Network” to allow young people (18-25 years) to influence local decision makers and play a positive role in the design, delivery and evaluation of services that they receive in Middleton.
Aims of the project:

To involve young people in the design, delivery and evaluation of services that they receive
Break down barriers to involvement for young people
Increase skills, confidence and employability prospects
Proactively seek opportunities to engage with decision makers
Reduce negative pre-conceptions about young people through positive publicity

What will the Network do?
The Network will meet on a monthly basis and young people and local decision makers (Local Authority, Councillors, housing associations, GP consortia, local businesses, national policy makers and other stakeholders) will meet over a meal to do the following:

Develop strategic responses to new policies
Respond to national and local consultations
Talk to decision makers in a relaxed environment, where they can input their ideas, issues and priorities for the area
Encourage young people to represent the network on local forums and boards to ensure the views of young people are best represented
Circulate regular newsletters to young people and agencies in Middleton and the surrounding boroughs, encouraging young people to have a voice in service delivery, and informing organisations of the outcomes of our research, consultations and information about policy and youth

We would encourage local people aged 18-25 to get involved in the Network and have their voices heard! Participants will gain new skills and have a chance to have their voice heard by volunteering with this project! Time commitment is 2 hours per month in the evening and an evening meal and travel expenses will be provided for attendees.
We would also like to encourage local decision makers and businesses that would like to meet with the group and get young peoples views and ideas, to get in touch with the group.
If you would like to find out more then please contact the group via e-mail, chair@choicemiddleton.co.uk.
We have more exciting projects that we hope to be able to tell you about once the funder has given us the go ahead so will let you know as soon as we do!
Please let me know if you need any further information
Kind regards
Lorna Bustard

Hello, having just read the article on the Middletonia website, it greatly saddens me that our heritage is being decimated by mindless morons. My wife and I have now been watching the slow progress since the dreadful act which all but destroyed Tonge Hall. Unfortunately we did not even know of its existence until after the fire. I actually contacted English Heritage offering what little help I could, unfortunately their response was as it was not of a monetary nature, they would “file” my interest. Although, as mentioned above as my funds are very limited, if there is any practical work that can be done, please do not hesitate to ask.
Chris & Linda

I was wondering if you could help. I need to get in touch with whomsoever is in charge of middleton community training centre, 111a long street. The telephone (0161 3453876) is not being answered and i was wondering if you had an alternative contact number or postal address for this premises.
I would very much appreciate your assistance.
Kind regards
Mudassir Ibrahim

Hi Colette,
I will be launching a business networking meeting in Middleton next Wednesday 29th June in association with www.network13.eu. It is designed for local business owners to meet and promote their services without having to commit to costly annual subscriptions. The fortnightly meetings will be held at The Wilton (Premier Inn near junction 19 M60), the cost is £13 and that includes a full English breakfast. Is this something that you would be able to promote on your site? I can prepare a press release and follow up will a article and photos after the first meeting?
Kind Regards
Lucy Parker

Hi Colette,
I was told about your website by Jacqueline Beastly from Voices 4 Wellbeing. I was hoping you may be able to put details of my Middleton Memory Wellbeing Café on your website. It is a 2 hourly, monthly support group for people living with Dementia, their carers, family or friends and anyone who is worried about their memory or wants to find out more about Dementia.
I have attached my flyer for your perusal, if you would like to contact me for more information please contact me on the details below. I am out of the office a lot but if you leave a message and a phone number I will get back to you when I can.
Thank you very much for your time.
Kind Regards
Tania Taylor
Development Worker
Alzheimer's Society

hello- i am doing a report on the arndale centre for BBC's The One Show and wondered if I could have a quick chat? what's the best number for you? In brief i am looking into doing an item of The One Show about the 50th anniversary of the opening of the first Arndale Centre and using that to look at the Arndale Centres around the country, how they changed city spaces and changed the way we shopped and also why they seem to have fallen out of favour. that's the basic gist of it as it stands.
with best wishes

Hello Colette,
We work with the Middleton Shopping centre and later this year they will be celebrating their 40th birthday. We are currently putting together some pictures etc for a display in the centre. We have already spoken to the Middleton Civic centre, the Middleton Guardian plus a few other people. But I was wondering if you could help us out as well?

Anything you have any pictures, maps or newspaper articles on the area before it was built or as it was being built I'd be extremely grateful. We are planning a trip to the local library soon and hope to find some bits and bobs there too.
Many thanks,
Catherine Hankinson
Account Manager
Pixel8 Limited

Hi - I was looking at the website you have put up regarding Hopwood Hall. How sad! I have to be honest here in that this enquiry is "commercial" (along with my personal interest in seeing anywhere historic being restored), but I would like to know who is doing the restoration work so that I can contact them. I would be most grateful if you could reply - just the name, no need for you to write a long note!! -
Thank you very much
Kind regards
Simon J. Arrowsmith
Technical Adviser - EverEdge UK

Dear Colette
I write to you on behalf of Esporta-The Lancashire Health & Racquet Club in Middleton. I am the Children’s Services manager and responsible for all the children’s activities throughout the club. As part of our Corporate and Social Responsibility commitment for the future we are looking to partner up with a local community group/Charity to put some great projects together for local children that have less chances to take part in sport and activities out of school because of the ever increasing financial constraints parents are feeling in the current economic climate.

We have some fantastic idea’s and have partnered up with a leading sports development and health promotion organisation who have a good track record of putting together successful funding applications for such projects.

We at Esporta wish to engage with the wider local community in partnership with an organisation like yours and help their children take part in physical activities. This will impact on their health, meeting the need to improve health in the local area and tackle the high levels of childhood obesity the area also suffers.

The programmes will also meet objectives outlined by Rochdale's Children's Trust Board and counter deprivation and narrow the gap between the most disadvantaged and others. They will help to meet the stated targets of: safe and happy upbringing; children and young people to accept responsibility; make positive choices; participate in a wide range of opportunities and experiences; to have high aspirations for their own futures and to enjoy and achieve at every level. (Rochdale Borough Children and Young Peoples Plan 2010-2011)

I believe that together we can have a huge impact on the children and young people of Middleton over the forthcoming years and would like to arrange an initial meeting to discuss the ideas that we have. Please could you give me some available dates for a meeting, preferably at Esporta so you can look around our wonderful facilities.
Kind Regards
Shelly Gowers
Children's Activity Supervisor

Dear Colette
I am a local photographer from Oldham, presently working on a project with Pride Media and a group of young people from Langley making photographs of prominent buildings and things of historical interest to Middleton. The aim is to produce a tour guide to further enable local people to know what is in there town and the fascinating history of buildings. There will be no profit made from the brochures produced we also aim to produce a small exhibition, maybe a short run book and have an open event to launch the brochure and photographic exhibition

We have lots of reference from buildings visited but with your permission please could we also use some of your written web text regarding Edgar Wood, Middleton Parish Church of St Leonard and other interesting facts relating to Middleton? I don’t know what we will use in reference as of yet but if ok we will forward you text when we have and you will be invited to the events relating to the project and given credit for your contribution.
Many thanks, Peter Walker

Hi Colette
I am the Project Coordinator (Groundwork Oldham & Rochdale) for a new project called 'Get Online Middleton' - Uk Online have funded this year long project and there are 51 centres Nationally that have received the funding, there are eleven centres in the North West and the project leads are called Community Capacity Builders (I have attached more information about CCBs). We are now in the third week of the project and are now progressing forward with a number of things. I have attached some brief information about Community Capacity Builders, Groundwork Oldham & Rochdale and the project. Also attached are the marketing materials for the project. I hope this outlines in brief what the project is - would it be possible for us to arrange a meeting to discuss further? This would also enable me to update you on progress to date.
Kind Regards
Debs Drew
Project Coordinator – Digital Inclusion ‘Get Online Middleton’
Groundwork Oldham & Rochdale

As a result of this contact, Middletonia is now a Partner of the ‘Get Online Middleton’ initiative, with Groundwork Oldham & Rochdale.

Have just found your most interesting site on Middleton. I hope you do not mind me writing to you but I am in need of assistance from somebody living in Middleton who could spend two minutes looking at an easy to find stone at St. Leonards Church. The result could provide you with something to put on your site!

I visited Middleton about eighteen months ago and found a stone placed there which had come from Langley Hall. Looking at it, I was not able to work out what it was. However, from photographs I took, I think I have deciphered what it might be but need a second opinion.

If you think you could spare the time, I will send you what I have written up on it as a guide, or maybe, if you are too busy, you might be able to find someone with a few minutes to spare.
Thanking you in advance.
Best wishes,
Peter Langley in Ireland.
The initial letter that led to Peter's fascinating article 'here'.

I would like to introduce myself as the practice manager at Dr Stockton & Thompson's general practice, located on Clough Street off Boarshaw Road. I have been reading your middletonia website with great interest and wanted to contact you to discuss how we as a local GP practice can look to provide health information and support to the residents of Middleton through your site. I note that there is a wealth of information on there but perhaps little in the way of health services and care in the local area.

I thought it would be best to provide a little bit of information about our practice. We are a new practice who have recently located to the Boarshaw area and currently serve an increasing list size of 2900 residents from Middleton and the surrounding area's. I wanted to suggest whether you would feel able to devote a page on your website for our practice to provide information about health promotion and health related services in the area. We could also look to utilize this space to improve awareness around things like, smoking, lifestyle, pregnancy and other information for improving the health of the Middleton residents. We currently have a patient leaflet, newsletter, website, facebook page, text messaging service and information in house to try and provide information to the residents of Middleton around these aspects of healthcare and feel that the addition of using your community website would further benefit these residents.

If you are in agreement we would be looking to manage and update this page ourselves as I am sure updating this website does take a lot of your time. If you are interested perhaps you could contact me to discuss further?
Kind Regards
Warren Tuite
Practice Manager

I came across your website by accident while googling a book about Middleton. I was especially interested when I saw the article on F. Wagstaffe's Bakery. My mother was born in Middleton and her surname was Wagstaff (without an E). Her father was William and I believe he had a brother called Lancelot and a sister called Ada and I think she also mentioned a brother called Fred. She cannot remember much else as she said that her father had fallen out with his family so wonder if, indeed your grandfather was my grandfather's brother. I am keen to do a lot more research into our family history - this has been made a lot easier with the internet. My mother is keen to try and find a photographic image of Irk Bank House which is where she lived and which is no longer in existence. I did get her a book of Middleton and she did manage to find a photo of her godfather and also her sister's ex boyfriend. I did order the second selection from Smiths before Christmas but have just received an email saying that they had cancelled the order, hence why I have been trying to find another one.
Best Wishes Kathryn Cooper

Hi Collette
I recently met with a gentleman aged 54 who referred to our service with the help of his brother. Stephen has mild learning disabilities. He is a pleasant gentleman who can communicate very well, is well presented and who since the death of his father has found himself stuck at home most of the day whilst his brother works.

Stephen would like information about various activities/opportunities within the locality of Middleton to help him build up a social network and engage in meaningful activity. Previously Stephen worked undertaking house clearance work and he is aware of health and safety issues when undertaking physical activities. He enjoys gardening, walking, would do cooking (he has help with fine motor control such as peeling and chopping, otherwise he takes responsibility for cooking full Sunday lunches at home for 3) and is physically fit and healthy.

I have introduced him to the Lighthouse Project already and think the walking group at Alkrington woods will appeal to Stephen but I am wondering if you can signpost Stephen to other suitable mainstream opportunities within Middleton. I would appreciate any information you can give to us.
Thank you.
Kathryn Rennie
Employment Officer
Rochdale Employment Development Service

Hello Colette, have just found your add, I am not very good at PC work, perhaps you can help me? I am Frank Cooper, and I live on Hollin Estate, I run a little fund raising organisation known as FRIENDS you may have heard of us, anyway I run lots of small events and stuff to raise funds for all different charities, could you help me with advertising? I also help other people with their fund raisers, you can find me on face book, would you be kind enough to have a look at my wall, and then maybe get back to me Tel 0161 652 3321 I did not do the wall myself, I had help with that,
Hope to hear from you soon
Frank @ FRIENDS.

Again, as happened previously down the page, I tried replying to you at least twice Frank with no reply back, nor could I find your Facebook page. I would love to help promote your work if I can, after all, that's what the website is for! Please get back in touch if you see this. The Editor.

Hi Colette,
My name is Sandra and I have recently visited your website, which I find very interesting. I moved to Middleton (Langley) when I was 3 years old. Got married when I was 19, then moved to Moston. I came back to Middleton in 1999 when I got divorced and have lived back here ever since.

I have recently broken up with my partner and have taken into the spare room onto the computer (which I did not use much before). I have discovered the Heaton Park Ramblers from your website and have gone on a couple of walks with them and I am trying to get back into making friends with people after cutting myself off.

I am getting in touch with you to ask if you need any help with anything at all to do with our Middleton community, I work full time but I am willing to spend evenings helping in any way that I can. Please get in touch if there is anything I can assist with.

A much appreciated offer of help Sandra, thank you! The Editor.

Colette thank you so very much for your lovely reply it was so very much appreciated and gave much pleasure to my dads family when I forward it to them in Australia, they came back with a bit more info which is detailed below I dont know if this is of interest
Thank you for your time
Best regards Tina

Hello, my name is Bruce Welsh and I am presently writing an encyclopaedia of 60's UK groups. I was doing some research on a group called Ivan's Meads when I came across this wonderful website. I am striving to ensure the accuracy of information before committing it to paper and have been very fortunate thus far to have made contact with members of groups and family members who have been extremely kind and helpful in helping me to clear up any bits of conflicting information or to fill in the many blanks as I try and put the pieces of this puzzle together. I would be so very grateful for any information you may be able to provide, or alternatively forward this note along to someone who may be able to provide information on the following.

I have seen information that says the band was formed in and hailed from Manchester. Was the band actually formed in Middleton, and is Middleton part of Greater Manchester?

Is it true that the Band's manager was Mike Maxfield, former lead guitarist of The Dakotas?

Lastly, how would I go about getting permission to use the photo that is on this great website?

Again, my sincere thanks for any information you might be able to provide, and I look forward to hearing from you.
Very Best Regards
Bruce Welsh
British Columbia

Hope Danny was able to help you, Bruce. The Editor.

Hi Colette,
My name is Martyn Cummings, an amateur photographer living in Middleton. I came across your site whilst researching content for a book project im doing. This will be my second book to be released, the last one was merely a portfolio of my work that featured many pictures of middleton and the surrounding areas. This time I want to concentrate more on the Middleton people dont normally get to see, such as basements, cellars, bell towers etc. I have just got the green light to photograph Middleton Parish church next week and Im looking for permission to photograph other Prominent Middleton buildings. Im writing to you in the hope that you may have the relevant contacts for buildings such as Alkrington Hall, Hopwood Hall, Middleton Methodist Church, and other buildings of interest. Maybe a feature in the book about Tonge Hall or Hopwood Hall could raise awareness of the plight of these awesome structures?
Any help you could give me would be very much appreciated
P.S. Great site :)

Hello Colette
Let me start by introducing myself, I am Victor Chinn and I now live in Penrith. I was born in Oldham 05-09-1941 at Boundry Park Hospital. (just born there) We were living at 53 Union Street until around 1949-50 then we moved to Grove Road Boarshaw. One of my sisters still lives on Hollins Estate and my other sister lived in Hulbert Street before moving to Radcliffe a few years ago.

Anyway the purpose of my enquiry; My sister is into ancestry, and is getting on quite well with it. We keep in touch over the internet and she was asking me, Where was Hannah Street in Middleton? I think it was possibly where the Arndale Centre is. near Jackie Booth's field. Am I right?

I used to work at the Middleton Co-op ( Furnishing Dept ) which was purpose built in 1959-60 in Manchester Old Road with the beautifull gardens in front I spent many a happy lunch-time there. And then in 1964 I went to work for John and Brian Whitehead, who had opened a record shop known as Central Records now Susan Travis' florists. I hope you can help me.
Regards, Vic Chinn.

Hope the map I sent helped, Vic! The Editor.

Hi Colette.
Just a quick note to compliment you on your website. I am in the process of starting up a community website for Middleton in Leeds. I was trawling the net looking for ideas when I came across your site. I have to say that I am well impressed and if ours comes half way near as good as yours I'll be well happy! Feel free to publish this on your site and if you don't mind, once ours is up and running I'll put a link on it to your site.
Best wishes
Tony Austwick

The Middleton, Leeds community website can be seen here

To Mr. Taylor of Middleton, just enjoyed your tale of the train in the street and "who dun it." But wrong; it was not you, you were but an observer." Because the culprit was Driver Vinnie Turner of Bacup Loco Shed, the last I heard of Vinnie he was in an old person's home in Todmorden Road Bacup. One of my own claims to fame is that all of my railway books are officially endorsed by my favourite supporter Queen Elizabeth II, and I was the sixteen year old youth who ran away down both Broadfield Bank and the Lickey Line with fully loaded goods trains, no laughing but, my driver Harry Taylor also of Bacup, fell off the engine at Broadfield (and for Harry's benefit I use the words fell off, that is not quite accurate, but perhaps a little kinder than jumped off.) I did stay on the engine myself, despite being ready to abandon ship as it flew down Broadfield Bank completely out of control, and despite never having driven anything faster than a pedal bike previously, I did stop the 600 ton plus coal train, a few feet away from the buffers in Bradley Fold loop line, thanks to the signalman; who had very competently taken my train, my Guard and myself off the main line just before we crashed into a passenger train in our path.
Harold Philbin
A reminder of Mr Taylor's memoirs of working at the Stations in Middleton in the 'Nostalgia' section.

On the page about Tonge Hall (http://www.middletonia.co.uk/peopleandplaces/tongehall.html), there is a black and white photo. I wondered if you knew when it was taken, and if you had a larger copy of the photo? My mum was born in Tonge Hall and I stayed there almost 20 years ago, and have always been fascinated with the building. I have visited since the fire and am saddened to see it in such disrepair. Please, if you wouldn't mind sending a better copy of that photo, I'd really appreciate it.
With thanks,

Hello Collette
I have been reading your website and it is most interesting. I too run a web site called Lanky Beat www.lankybeat.com and I'm always on the lookout for new additions to this new site. I hope you will take time to log on as I feel we could possibly link particularly to the 1960's Middleton Band's Page.
Beat wishes
Bill Hart

All done Bill! The Editor.

My name is Barbara Heltschl. I'm from Austria and I am searching for my grandfather Norman Tattersall, who lived in Moston and had a brother named Harold. I've read the article on Alkrington Memories and so I hope you can help me to contact Neil Tattersall. Hoping you can help me
hello Colette, thank you very much for all your help and for your e-mail. now I have the hope to find out more about my grandfather. my father norbert is 91 years old now and he would be very pleased to know something about his father.
kind regards

Dear Colette,
I am clearing out my parents home and came across the full scale working drawings for some stained glass windows designed by my father, Harold William Critchley, and which were made and installed by AT Free & Son for the RC Church, Windermere Road, Middleton. The architect's drawings were made by W&J.B. Ellis and are dated June 1957. If you would like the drawings I'll send them to you.
Yours sincerely,
Paul Critchley

Many thanks Paul for these interesting drawings which you kindly dropped by. The drawings have been passed on to Middleton Library Local Studies dept for safe-keeping and for future interest. The Editor.

Dear Collette, Editor.
I've just began looking around this Middletonia website which I first heard of by seeing a small paper ad on the window of the YMCA shop in Middleton. Read your introduction about yourself and this website. Remarkable it is how similar your thoughts, feelings and experiences about this country and this town are. I grapple with this 'should I run away, or should I stay and improve things' often. It's one of the crux matters and recurring questions of my years, days and weeks now. In fact, it's not far from me at all times, this question.

I've been staying and fighting recently :

Joined Middleton Litter Watch.
Now attend: The Middleton Township Meeting.
Purchase the Middleton Guardian, from local independent trader/s as a matter of principle, each week, usualy the day before it is officialy out.
Report litter, graffitti, chewing gum to the council.
Removed some graffitti at my neighbourhood using one of those brillo pads, the ones that have pink soap in.
Joined: Middleton Litter Watch.
Founded: Springvale Action on litter and graffitti.
Applied: to be on the Middleton area panel.
Joined: The Middleton choir.
Performed: in the Middleton's got talent competition in Middleton Gardens last year, our song about Middleton.
Seen: some improvements and good developments reported in the town.
Invited: others to the Township meeting with good response.
Made a point of reporting witnessed things to the Police.

I have some good ideas for the town, and things I plan to do in it/for it. I'd very much like to talk with you in person, on the phone.
John Harvey

Thanks for this interesting email John. I replied to this three times and never got a reply from you. Perhaps something kept failing but maybe you will see this comment here and get in touch again. The Editor.

"A Fairy Story"

Once upon a time we had a grand little market town, complete with town hall, three cinemas, gas and electric show rooms and a lovely central gardens area complete with fountain, seats and flower beds. Folk would travel from Manchester and beyond to sit around and admire what we had then.

The town was run by Aldermen (of various colours) who loved to look after the interests of the town and everything was good. There was no lack of money in those far off days, as today, where councils bleat about costs and cuts!

Then came the stern Baron to reign over us (Rochdale) and things started to deteriorate. Now we have a giant ogre to dictate over us (and we all know who that is!), and Middleton will become a concrete jungle (as it is now), with an added massive tarmac jungle. The ogre is also about to invade Morton Pits with its 'Arkwrights' open all hours shop, when there is already a tidy, efficient shop at the corner of Ash Street adjacent to it! A further kick in the teeth is that this ogre is closing the very depot on Stakehill that services these monstrous operations (What a carry on! It's becoming a tragic play, not a fairy story).

Are the councillors and MP proud of what they are doing to the town? It's all about greed and money.

To top this saga, it is proposed to develop the land to the north of Langley Lane, which if done will finally connect us up to Heywood! Perhaps the thought now is not to change the towns name to Tesco Town, but to Heyton or Middlewood?

For Gods sake let us fight to protect this very, very precious 'Green Belt Corridor' between the two towns. Come on councillors and MP...do something that you are paid to do and look after things.

If all this is progress then I'm a Dutch man.

Art Van Damn

Hi Colette
I read your article with some interest, especially the bit regarding the Edgar Woods fountain, do you know if there any remnants of it survive? And yes, the fountain is a monstrosity! In fact Middleton centre is probably the worst town centre in the northwest! Regarding Tonge Hall, it is very upsetting to see it in such a state. I blame the make up of Rochdale council, i.e, no interest whatsoever in OUR heritage/history etc. In fact it would probably suit them if the whole thing was burnt to the ground, one less headache for them to worry about!!
Wayne (Middleton)

The Edgar Wood Fountain was moved from the centre to Queen Street off Oldham Road in 1925 and was finally demolished in 1960. Incidentally, this was the 100th anniversary of Edgars birth. Unfortunately, the 60's and 70's were decades of modernisation and even the Middleton council back then would not have given the same consideration to items of interest as they do today, so I doubt any of the fountain was preserved. It probably ended up as hardcore under one of the many estates being built at the time. So much must have been lost forever during those ignorant years of people's idea of progress. If anybody knows otherwise, please let us know. The Ed.

Hello Colette,
Just stumbled across your website.... and as a fellow Middletonian it brought a smile to my face. A great idea. I think the layout can be improved but that will come with time and money. I think you could add a section and call it "Middletonians round the world". Where people that have moved away can let you know what and where they are up to. I'm sure that this would be greatly supported.... some of us already do it through Facebook etc... but would be nicer through your page. I live in Almeria, Spain for example.

Also, a "Reunions" page for schools and work places. There is something being organised currently which I will try and get some information to you if you are interested. You could do "Job swaps" where people that live in Miggy and travel outside to Heywood or Bolton for example... might be able to swap someone doing a similar job.... just a thought.

You could do a "Where are you now" section for people looking to find family and frends. You could "Photo and Video Gallery" of people and events in Manchester, even links to youtube stuff. Anyway, going to recommend your site to my family...Good luck, will help and input where I can.
Steve Parky
Formerly Grasmere Walk, Middleton, Langley
Steve's details can be found in Middleton expats in the Nostalgia section

Hi Colette
I think your article is fairly accurate with regards to The Blue Plaque Day. It has been the same since it's inception. The Boars overflows every year, but that is where the Blue Plaque is mounted so that is where the day has to be.

My gripe has always been that Lees' Brewery make a fortune on the day and will not accommodate either the musicians playing or the crowd attending. A few more staff on the bar, a proper Zimmer Frame Park, (this would create a bit more room in the sessions room) and refreshments for the players would be a small contribution that would create a bit of relief, although I believe the Landlady does provide some sandwiches these days.

I should have warned you about the early start though it is necessary to claim your seat at 12pm, something to think of next year. Regarding the concert itself, Bill Tapp would have recored it and will be selling the DVD shortly, keep your eye on The Manchester Beat website.
Dave Turnbull
The article in question is 'here' in the Archives'

my friend has just moved to middleton and we were looking for days out and found your website, just a comment really, i live in urmston(trafford)and we have a similar site to yours, we can sell things, advertise clubs etc,local photos, but the most popular bit is the forum ,where we all chat,i get loads of local info(and gossip) off the other users,we have a banter,a good moan. good luck with yours.
Tracey B, Urmston

Thanks Tracey, this e-mail came through the very week I was working on my own forum which is now online. Hope it proves as popular! The Editor.

I came across your site from doing a Google search while doing my family genealogy and found your information on Harbord Harbord or Lord Suffield. This gentleman would be my 4th great Grandfather as his daughter Katherine Harbord of Suffied married Jack Petre and his son John Berney Petre married a commoner but the marriage was suppose to be annulled but I have not found documentation of the marriage or annulment but I do have documentation proof they did have children one being named Berney Seymor (Petre) my great grandfather. I have found my quest very interesting in finding out about my family history.
Mr Stewart Addley, Canada
More details can be found in 'here' in the People and Places section'

Can anyone out there explain why it has become necessary to close or narrow every main road through Middleton centre at the same time? In case the morons in their ivory towers haven't noticed, Middleton is on the main route between Rochdale and Manchester and a major route between north Manchester and Oldham.

The shambolic planning or should I say lack of planning bears all the hallmarks of Rochdale council but I may be wrong.

I would suspect it is all to do with making Middleton into 'Tesco Town' and I am sure that if anyone bothers to proffer an explanation to the people of Middleton (which I doubt) it will be along the lines of "You cannot make an omelette without breaking eggs". The problem is that if you strangle the chicken, there won't be any eggs.
Joe from Midd

Hello Colette
Love the website, think it's a great idea and good for Middleton.
After reading yours and other letters in the Middleton Guardian in response to Mr Gordon Roberts' attack on Middleton and his reference to Hopwood college, I felt the need to make comment about Rochdale Council and the way they sold off the Middleton Hopwood Campus, leaving the old Hopwood Hall completely landlocked and falling into ruin.

I have lived on Langley estate For 53 years and have studied at Hopwood's Middleton campus several times over the years. I along with many others feel that what the council are doing (which is practically nothing) to preserve the old Hopwood Hall is criminal. If this building stood in the centre of Rochdale instead of the outskirts of Middleton I feel sure it would have been brought back to its former glory and be a well used building.

I have attached a small piece on the recent history of Hopwood including the old Hopwood Hall. The pictures attached are mine so no copyright issues. I hope you might be able do something on your website to highlight the situation that Hopwood Hall finds itself in and the total neglect of this building by Rochdale Council. (Out of sight out of mind it seems). I am sure if the good people of Middleton could see for themselves the neglect this building has suffered under Rochdale Councils control more pressure could be applied to help save it.
Good luck with the site
Best Regards
Dennis Horner
Mr Horner's articles kindly sent in can be found in 'Local Issues' in the Community section and also in the Local History section under 'Prominent Families'

Dear Colette.
Via your web address in the Guardian, I have just come to browse on your very good site. Not been through it all yet but am sure I will enjoy it.

Loved your article "About the Editor" and agree with all you have written. Who sold us out to Tesco? I, like you do not remember any voting on it and it has ruined the town. I liken it to say who got the brown envelopes from Tesco? because someone has. We can only blame those we voted in. If one has to live with an impairment, getting around town now is a complete failure. I've not been to Mr Lords for my meat for a couple of weeks now, nowhere to park near his shop. Did those who were 'bribed' by Tesco consider things like this? I think not. I do not and will not shop at Tesco at all.

Finally I am not Middleton born, like yourself but moved to Middleton Junction after I came out of the Royal Navy in 62 and was the signalman at Middleton Junction West Box and used to put trains into Middleton, plus, was on duty when they brought the last train out of Middleton Station. The signalman at Middleton at the time was Mr (Billy) Garret a porter signalman, but he was then ready for retiring and had been signalman at JcT West Box and taught me well.

I wish you a great success with your website Colette and it will be. I have told my friend who is coming down to view it after and she has some stories to relate being a Proctor from Middleton.
Going back for another browse.
Best Wishes
Malcolm Taylor
Read some of Mr Taylor's memoirs kindly sent in of working at the Stations in Middleton in the 'Nostalgia' section.

It's Chantal here - Manager of YMCA Middleton... It was great to meet you the other day & I Just wanted to let you know I've checked out your website & am very impressed! You've obviously spent time & worked hard on it & it shows. Keep up the good work & I hope to see you again soon.
Regards & Best Wishes from

Just visited the website and it's great. I used to live in Middleton and enjoyed visiting the site. You have a good structure about it. It's easy to navigate with interesting content.
Mr Trevor McCormack, Manchester

Came across your web site by accident and its bloody marvelous, keep up the good work didnt know Middleton had anything like this. Must admit at first it seemed so professional that I thought Rochdale Council were involved but reading on I know what you think of them. Have read your personal comments, so what can I say YES I agree with all your sentiments along with many others I hope. This website is so fantastic it deserves a lot more publicity, havent you ever been approached to go on local tv news ?
Well if my Radio Homenet scheme develops as I hope, I feel sure that we can possibly work together to provide the good townsfolk of Middleton with an exeptional information service. Its been a real pleasure looking at your site.
Mr Leslie Pye, Middleton
Radio Homenet details can be found in here in the News section

Congratulations on your website. I'm just a few years older than you and I grew up in Middleton. The worst thing that happened to the place was the building of the Arndale centre in the 70's - ripped the heart out of the town.
I was back there a few weeks ago for the first time in ten years and if anything its gone further down hill. I was sad to see all the litter in the gardens below the church, and the town centre has been completly butchered. Middleton has a very interesting history and ought to be a vibrant place.
I wish you luck in your efforts to save Tonge Hall and put a bit of pride back into the place
Mr H Thorp, Cheshire

Good website town should use
Lords Butchers, Middleton

Just a note to say it's the first time I've seen your web site, and I like it, you've put so much work in to this and it shows, and you are so right people have had enough of how the country is going in general, it's an all round thing who do you trust in big business? can you trust the so called political party's. the country is now a complete mess, and run just for the few, those with the money and power full of greed and always wanting more and more.
It's a good site keep up the good work, I for one will be calling back to it on a regular basis.
All the best.

I would just like to congratulate you on your very interesting and informative website. I can see a lot of time and effort has gone into it. I wish you every success in the future. It is obvious you feel feel passionate about Middleton and I hope you will soon hear from like minded people. Good Luck.
GW, Hyde

The article is fantastic! You have a knack of how to put things. I truly couldn't have given it its true justice as you have done.
A.B, Chadderton

Keep up the good work. It's taking shape nicely. I must admit to having a chuckle at the jokes page......The only thing is... I don't know any clean ones!
A.B, Chadderton

It works and it's brilliant! You've done a fantastic job. Take a bow.
Mr M.Mason, Crewe

I've read loads and wow! The effort you've put in is really amazing. Your enthusiasm shines through! You're hard to get hold of these days but I can see why. Really can't believe how good the site is!
Mr G. O'Gara, Manchester

Fantastic! Well chuffed for you, you clever sod. And your speech is bang on. You have been busy. 'Tesco Town' yeah that sounds appropriate and I call Middleton Gardens a bullring! It wants shifting. They could sell cattle off in there! Great and well done and I hope it's a resounding success for you. I will be on it now til I've seen it all. Brill!
I.B, Middleton

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