Saturday, 2 November 2013

Droylsden Remembered

Although born in Bradford, Manchester (now known by the ridiculous name of Eastlands), from the age of 9 to 23 I lived in Droylsden. Droylsden had a nickname of 'The Silly Country'. The reason being that the town's folk supposedly used to bring a pig to the annual carnival and sit it on the wall next to them. Droylsden grew as a cotton town from a population of 1,552 in 1801, 11,087 in 1901 and to 23,172 in 2001. The population peaked at 26,363 in 1951.

As kids we used to be regulars on a Saturday afternoon at The Palace Cinema, known to us all as 'The Bug Hut'. Flash Gordon and William Boyd as Hopalong Cassidy were the usual entertainment at the hut. Trips to Ashton Baths during the school holidays were taken, if finances permitted. Sometimes we hopped over the local off-licence wall to 'borrow' and take back beer bottles for the small deposit on them. That is until we were eventually caught by the owner. After the swimming session it was a choice of getting the bus back to Droylsden or buying a meat and potato pie and walking back. The pie always won.

Other swimming venues were the River Medlock at Cinderland Bridge and even the canal at Littlemoss. A day out at these places with a bottle of water and a jam butty was considered normal then. Bike rides to Hartshead Pike and Manor Park in Glossop seemed long expeditions at the time. Lees Park was our preferred location for games of football and cricket. There used to be a small playground with swings, a roundabout and a slide between Oldham Street and the Lees Park end of Luke Road.

I lived in the Moorside area of Droylsden not far from The White Hart pub. This venue was visited regularly by the Police, especially at weekends, when the Chester's Bitter, or fighting beer as it was commonly known, began to take effect. The area often stunk from the pigswill at the nearby Sam's Farm. We often went train spotting at Droylsden Station and use to build rafts on the canal at the aqueduct over the railway line. The Medlock Valley was another adventure playground.

Of course football played a big part of our lives, especially playing for the school team at Moorside. Our opponents in the league were from the Manor Road, Manchester Road, Fairfield Road Junior Schools and Lumb Lane and Poplar Street schools from Audenshaw. We also played against teams from Ashton but I cannot recall the names. We won the league in the 1956-57 season and I was fortunate to be picked for the Ashton Boys team.

I wonder if any TC readers remember any of the following?

The Moorside Trotting Stadium, Riley's Store on Market Street, or the large Co-operative Store at the corner of Market Street and Manchester Road. On Market Street itself, the Quality Shop, the Maypole, Hugh Fays or was it Fay Meadows? The Herbalists shop, Nutts Hardware, Howards Butchers, the chip shop near the traffic lights. Further up Market Street, Bill Williams Woodyard, Shans Drapery and the 'White Shop'. On Fairfield Road, Ruth's Bookshop, where you could view all the Christmas Annuals before the event and hint at what you would like for a present.

The factories, works and offices – Christy's Mill on Manchester Road, the CWS Drug Works on Greenside Lane, Saxon Mill on Medlock Street and Saxon Street, Courtaulds Dyeworks at Greenside Lane, Marchingtons Dye Works at the bottom end of Hart Street, Lintafoam at Saxon Street, Sharna Ware at the old Lumb Mill, GC Pies on Baguley Street, Ridings on Market Street and of course, perhaps the most well known of all, Robertson's Jam Works on Ashton Hill Lane. Remember the tokens on the jam jars, collected in order to obtain a metal golliwog badge? A definite no no in this crazy world of the PC brigade.

The 215 and 216 trolley buses that ran from Ashton to Manchester, the Mayne's limited stop bus, the 'Flying Pig' bus from Droylsden to Ashton via Littlemoss. Droylsden Station was a major line for Manchester commuters until it fell victim to the Beeching axe. The old Council Office buildings at the Toll Bar, during the days when all areas had their own urban district councils, rather than the present TMBC gravy train.

Of course Droylsden has always been well served with pubs and clubs (some now closed) – the Salisbury Conservative Club, Droylsden Labour Club, the British Legion Club, Fitzroy Social Club, John Street WMC and St Stephens Catholic Club.

The pubs I remember are, the 5 Ways Inn, Railway, Butchers Arms, where the elderly Sarah and her sister served the locals. The Beehive where in the mid 60's the landlord Les served the best pint of Wilson's Bitter in Manchester. His hotpot curries went down well on a Saturday night too. The aforementioned White Hart, the Kings Head with Stan on the piano at weekends. The now notorious and closed down Cotton Tree, Church Hotel, Moss Tavern, Astley Arms renamed The Lazy Toad, Buxton, Strawberry Gardens, Bush Inn, Sundial, Gardeners Arms, Yew Tree, Jolly Carter, Half Way House, Hadden Hall, Pig On The Wall named after the silly country carnival story, Commercial and the Royal Oak.

Here is a link to a website with photographs of some of the clubs and pubs mentioned.

For the history buffs this link about Droylsden may be of interest.

This wonderful article was researched and written by Bill from Walks in Tameside. It makes fascinating reading and I would like to thank Bill for taking the time and effort to prepare the article and for sharing it with us.

Although not from Droylsden myself this article brought back many memories. Whereas the kids in Droylsden referred to their local cinemas as 'The Bug Hut' we used to call ours 'The Flea Pit' and when beer bottles were being returned for deposits in Droylsden, we were returning empty Corona bottles for the same reason. Then there were the bogies we used to make from old prams, and what about..........nah, I better stop. This is Bill's article and once again - thanks Bill. Tameside Citizen


John Ward said...

The good old days. Not perfect by any means but in essence the basics of what makes a country 'good' were massively more prevalent: Patriotism; unity; homogeneity; respect; decorum; reverence for the traditional (i.e. normal) family unit; decency; maintenance of standards (i.e not 'tolerance' of every form of deviancy and vile lifestyle for tolerance's sake); common sense; the courage to express an honest opinion, instead of going with the flow because it's easier like nowadays; moderation; honesty.
All these basic, civilised values were ingrained in the vast majority of British people and ENFORCED by a PUNISHMENT based criminal justice system, inflicted on the small number of miscreants. British people's BEHAVIOUR made the country what it was. For instance simply check out the crime rate from 1950 and compare it to now.

Thanks Bill, good article.

Where your loyalty LIES said...

The Ashes starts shortly and I notice England's next fixtures are seven tests against Sri lanka and India in England next year. We can look forward to large scale demonstrations of Norman Tebbit's 'cricket test' as 'British' Sri Lankans and Indians cheer heartily for...Sri Lanka and India.
Makes you wonder what would happen if Britain ever got in a REAL conflict with such nations. Good job there's only a few of them here isn't it...

SerpentSlayer said...

My Dad comes from Bradford, my mums family from Droylsden.
I've heard endless talk about how both places used to be and rarely for someone my age I can hear enough.
Talk of shops on every corner for everything you could need, all family run, friends and family all within streets of you, pubs run by popular landlords, uncles, fathers and sons going to work in the same factories, people popping by to chat and helping each other out.
To me its like a utopian fantasy story, every bit as gripping as the sons of Viking raiders inevitably found the tales of their fathers.
It keeps me going, knowing that the present is a blip and not how all should be. It gets my older relatives down, knowing their England is lost, but to someone who never knew an England beyond the childhood bubble of Droyslden's relative homogeneity, it gives me hope that there will be an England again one day where life is about the living and not the scraping by in a hostile and isolating environment.

SerpentSlayer said...


old git said...

Aye young Serpent Slayer, things were a lot better in the old days. It was like a different world compared to the heartless greedy world we now live in.

Alf Garnett said...

My granddad called them the bad old days and he came from Droylsden ? he was chief engineer at evie brothers ? good old George Hindley died 96 and not that long ago

Golliwog advert not politically correct said...

Golliwog advert not politically correct

Bill said...

I remember Bradford very well. Before they pulled down all the slums in the 60's, it was full of shops. On Ashton New Road from Mill Street to Every Street shops and pubs covered both sides of the road.

It was said by my uncles that you could not walk down one side of the road from Grey Mare Lane to Every Street and drink a half pint in every pub.

The major employers were Bradford Pit which closed in 1968 and Richard Johnson & Nephew who supplied wire for the first transatlantic cables. Walking past the wire works when the doors were open was like a scene from Dante's Inferno.

@ Alf
The company were based in Clayton and were called Eva Brothers, here's a photograph of the derelict forge.

Bert Morgan said...

Alf are you related to Myra by any chance?

Taylor, the Russians don't give a toss what you think said...

John Taylor ‏@JohnWagTaylor 30 Oct

UEFA get really tough,draconian measures taken , the book thrown at the Russians ,they will never do it again,...

Alf Garnett said...

The pricks are at it again or should i say prick

Anonymous said...

Well Alf you can't take it, then don't give it out.

Is this done on your own time freedom of information said...

John Taylor ‏@JohnWagTaylor 42m

Tameside magistrates court ,I attend on a regular basis last week on Wednesday it was full of council tax cases...


Tatchell and Right Said Fred star battered by anti-gay thugs in Moscow Read more: Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook said...

Taylor wants really tough,draconian measures taken against the Russians.
So you won't be going over there to express the need for these really tough,draconian measures Taylor?
At least Peter Tatchell had the bottle to tell them to their faces Taylor, you need to get that thicker skin first I suppose?

Anonymous said...

What about inside the homes in the terraced streets,no baths,a good wash in the sink or if you were lucky a small tin bath in front of the coal fire.
No electricity power sockets,either my mother used the gas stove to heat the flat iron,or if in my mothers case in the early late 40`s when I had started work I bought her an electric iron which was then fitted with a bayonet
plug and plugged into the ceiling lamp socket (no ironing when it was dark)
so with the iron cable swinging about merrily it was surprising that no deaths occurred.
Ice formed on your bedroom window and if you were ill the oven shelf adjacent to coal fire was carried upstairs and stuck under the sheet.
A string across the bedroom alcove was your wardrobe and certainly no fitted carpets anywhere just a thin square of the first cheap carpet in the living room,whilst the parlour had a couple of polished wood items and for special events you went into the parlour.
We at least had electricity
for lighting whilst my gran 3 doors away in Levenshulme
had gas mantles which regularly shredded when poked with the lit spill,but I took her wet battery in the radio for recharging every month a to stockport road shop.
Bed blankets were always grey being ex army and a bit rough on the skin seeing no sheets were available.
The lav was in the backyard
and pieces of newspaper were what was used,but when a big snow fall occurred as it did in the 40`s you dug yourself a path extremely quickly down the backyard to the lavvy.
You never wasted food you cleared your plate which was small so that was no problem,and on your birthday a jelly was made with custard.
Christmas was sparse and a white toffee mouse and an apple in your school sock, and a couple of small toys and you king for a day.
Tough yes, but unusual not in our street in Levenshulme.

Anonymous said...

Levenshulme what's it like now?

Anonymous said...

MPs claim thousands for energy bills on second homes

Andrew Gwynne (Lab) – Denton and Reddish - £305.23
Jonathan Reynolds (Lab) – Stalybridge and Hyde - £439.81
David Heyes (Lab) – Ashton under Lyne - £257.85

These are the same hypocritical MPs who have failed to get a grip on soaring fuel and energy costs, rising food bills and pay freezes.
“But in the end it’s a moral decision down to them and their consciences.”

All info on the Manchester Evening News Web-site

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
Levenshulme what's it like now?

A Foreign Enclave


Leve Lad said...

Mr Hall, I was brought up in West Point in Levenshulme. Which part were you from?

Anonymous said...

Good article

Anonymous said...

Leve Lad

We used to think it quite posh up there, down Albert Road towards Kingsway.
Until my Army days I was brought up off Broom Lane behind the Wheatsheaf .
The houses are sill there around Tonbridge Rd,Doris Street,Watts Street etc
and the Germans came regular at night to find the Faries Aviation Company
opposite where KFC now are
Shrapnel bits were equal to finding gold then for us kids.

Leve Lad said...

Thanks Mr Hall, I once had a girlfriend who lived on Watt Street. I remember hearing about the air raid attacks directed at Fairy Engineering. I bet as a lad you played at the back of the UCP tripe works and at Jacksons brickie?

Anonymous said...

Leve Lad

In those days each street had its own gang and kids stayed in a tight perimeter
because mercy was not on the agenda.
You were ready to leg it pretty fast if you strayed.
I often think kids could run faster those days out of sheer necessity.
The brick works had plenty of ammo for the locals if you got near enough.
We were not thuggish but valued our own patch until
November when searching for wood became a very risky mission in other groups territories.

SerpentSlayer said...

My dad remembers Richard Johnsons very well, he worked there for some time. I've seen pictures of it stretching over to the other side of the road.
My dad still mourns its loss, he is always looking at old photos and maps. He even goes to where it all used to be in his spare time, and it never fails to upset him. His younger brother is the same.
As Mr.Hall described, life wasn't as comfortable as it is today but I think we have lost more than it is worth by a longshot.
There just isn't any community anymore, as my dad says about it, "it's all gone", and he means all, shops, jobs, people, everything.

Leve Lad said...

We had similar territorial disputes in West Point and as you say there were clearly recognised boundaries which you crossed at your peril. Do you remember the convent on Claire Road? If you climbed the fence and went along the back wall next to the railway you could peep into the crypt. That was scary.

Matthews Lane, Levenshulme. said...

Before they came

Levenshulme March 1977 video click here said...

That's me in the blue denim at 4.07 walking on the pavement. Dave Jones from Ashton can be seen near the start and Frank Dawber from Hyde later on. The area where these brave patriots marched is now immigrant dominated and beyond salvation until the Establishment criminals who facilitated the invasion are tried and if found guilty removed from positions of authority and then imprisoned or executed. If people listened back in 1977 Britain could have been saved without bloodshed.

England, whose England? 1/2 said...

Only million or so made a stand, it's far too late now.

Anonymous said...

Looking at that film from the 70's it brings it home very clear.
We are finished as a nation the 70's were a great opportunity to make a stand and turn back the tide.

Violence mars Kosove election said...

So an ancient part of Serbia is stolen and handed to the Albanian Muslims by the globalist forces of the EU/NATO and when the Serbs decide not to participate in fixed elections which they can never win they get condemned. Wait until the break up of England gets under way. The majority ethnic group in marvellous multicultural melting pots of vibrance such as Levenshulme express a desire to declare independence. They are aided and supported by globalist interests who agree that the community leaders in the Caliphate of Levenshulme have every right to demand independence and with a Sykes–Picot style stroke of the pen a new nation is born. The immigrants are not the problem, they are the symptom. The real problem is the globalists and their bought politicians. Without the globalists and traitors this nation could be saved.

Anonymous said...

The system is fixed now, say the wrong thing and a foreigner can have you jailed.

Anonymous said...

Memories of having nowt seeing our streets bombed,weeping families no longer knowing where their kinfolk died,hungry malnourished kids with Rickets,TB,Polio,and real poverty in every street,we picked ourselves up learned skills,provided stable homes far superior than now,gave foreign aid,and played our part in creating a country provided by the workers in Engineering,Mills,Mines,
Health Care,Railway construction,Aviation,Car Industry and the Farmers plus of course numerous other hard working occupations where standards mattered.
No childrens allowance,Doctors who had to be paid for,no rent allowances by Landlords even when families were hungry,working hours and conditions much worse than now.
So having created a stability for our kids and homes we gradually improved,and taking our own responsibilities for any child born,what now is our reality situation ????
Councillors who gave their Free services for their local communities became greed ridden devious individuals elected far above their capabilities.
Members of Parliament eager to find loopholes to profit by seeking methods of duplicity with expenses and allowances.
Our sacrificed efforts in wars and factories were ignored and our freedoms were obliterated and our words now monitored in every aspect of our lives Telephones.Computers,Camera monitoring increases into our lives and our limited free time
activities kept on camera`s. for future use
So we built a society which we cared for,which observed the rules,and we had a pride in our efforts and the Country we created.
So in my opinion all immigrants should show a definite respect for our serving dead,those young men and women in battles and bombed streets who gave everything and WE should be treated with considerably more respect by those immigrants now taking advantage of our land,our services,our health care,our schools and universities,plus the skills taught by respected tutors,so too those immigrants who scorn our presence,increase our criminality,degrade or neighbourhoods,and dilute our religions,its you who should also be wearing a poppy for those remembered
with pride for their immense sacrifices throughout the 20th Century,and the abilities of those UK public who wanted to create better homes,and standards for our children.
Do not ignore our fallen one`s who paid the price to create a country which immigrants now wish to come to,and wear a poppy remembering those who died for the land you now want as home.

Anonymous said...

Just count the immigrants you see with a poppy ??

Anonymous said...

Some people think that the poppy is against them personally.

Anonymous said...

In America people have flags everywhere no one complains.
We sent all our young men to the Somme, and you can't have a flag or poppy outside.
There's something deeply wrong with this Country now.
Being British is now a crime, saying just off the boat and you are hauled in by the police.

golly gosh said...

The large faded golly in the picture has a mischevious look about him.

Red Horizon said...

@ Violence mars Kosovo election, that's the problem, once you've been comprehensively outbred, democracy is your worst enemy as a people. The remaining option, if you want to survive, is violence.

Up Yours said...

Can anyone explain why the taxpayer should contribute hundreds of pounds to MP's fuel bills? They should stay in a large, subsidised government apartment block when in London and when in their constituencies should PAY THEIR OWN BILLS.

Police push MEP off the street said...


Anonymous said...

These 3 local MP`s listed claiming fuel costings should be shunned in our society.
As we approach remembrance
day for our dead we should perhaps also think about these 3 greed ridden local bast---- and think YES WE WILL REMEMBER YOU,WHEN YOUR READY FOR RE-ELECTION.

tonydj said...


That's me playing the drum at 0:51

We may not have won the fight, but at least we tried. It is better to have fought and lost than never to have fought at all.

Juggernaut said...

It's not over yet. NEVER SURRENDER!

Anonymous said...

My Mum and aunties worked at Robertsons for short periods of time. You could smell oranges in the air around Droylsden when the factory was making marmalade.
I remember Nutts - there was another hardware shop on Market St on the Toll Bar side but I don't know the name.
Hugh and Fay's grocers shop ... you could buy bacon sliced for you, loose tea, and cheese and butter cut from a large block into a small pat for you. I can still recall the aroma of that shop now. The owner had sandy coloured hair. In the late 60's- early 70's there was a butchers shop next to or very close to Nicols pet shop. The butcher was a jolly man - remember him calling me 'sonny boy' - as I was a girl with short hair (probably in shorts - at least I hope so!) I wasn't too happy about that!
I've just finished reading the John Higson, Notices of Droylsden book and he mentioned a cobbler called Thomas Mather from the early 1800's - there was a shoe shop and cobblers called Mather's across Market St where it bends to lead onto Fairfield Rd. I wonder if they were his descendants?

Anonymous said...

Doddy's Trot was what my Dad called Moorside Trotting Stadium - don't know why. Remember going upstairs with Mum at the Toll Bar - Did they sell shoes up there? Then walking to the back of the upstairs floor where I think there was some sort of savings club counter.
Near where the Barberesses are now there was a ladies underwear shop, and further down was a dry cleaners.

bobby barron said...

my grannie, doris eynott, worked in the canteen at the English Steel works, Droylsden, from the late 1940s until the late 60s. She lived near the English Steel in Buller Street. Does anyone remember her? Her sisters also lived in Droylsden. Lilian Clayton lived in Market Street, Emily lived near the Moss Tavern where she used to sing and play the ukulele, another sister Winifred Aldred lived nearby and used to run a grocery shop in the district during World War Two.
Does anyone remember or have heard older relatives refer to any of these things.
During the late 1950s and early 60s I used to visit Droylsden and stay with my grannie. I remember the women scrubbing their doorsteps with coloured donkey stones obtained from the rag and bone man who swopped his cleaning stones for old clothes given by local families.

Anonymous said...

I too remember the shops in Droylsden selling butter and cheese from a large block.
I used to stay in Buller Street, Droylsden with grannie Doris Eynott who worked in the English Steel works canteen, at the opposite end of her street near the Robertson marmalade factory.
My auntie Emily, regularly sang and playedthe ukulele in the Moss Side Tavern, Droylsden.

Doreen said...

Lived in droylsden from birth to age 22 when i married And moved to bacup. I remember all the market st shops n favoĆ¹rite street was queen st with old fashioned shop, even then on the corner. Dr pratt durgery was my favourite building. Bellclough rd we were the first tenants of 66. Medlock vale and shaky bridge on way to daisy nook were wonderful. Last time i was in droylsden, they had demolished my school n built an academy

Anonymous said...

Great article I was born at Queen Street Bradford and move to my Grandads at house Lumb Lane Droylsden in 1948. I have been to all those mentioned plus going to Stubbs mineral works the old Blacksmith shop collecting old betting stubs at the Trot. I fell in the cut many times at the swing bridge at piggy Newtons. We used to get Damsons from the goods yard at Droylsden station left over from Robertsons goods wagons. Digging for piggy nuts in the Medlock vale. What memories Thanks for the great article. David