Please note, all links open in a new tab or window
Again sorted into broad headings:

Churches General
Church Websites
Coal Mining

Cotton Industry
Trade Unions


Pathé News
Lottery funding has put 3,500 hours free to view clips from 60 years of Pathé cinema newsreels. An excellent site. The British Universities Newsreel Database is an index of 160,000 newsreels from 1910 - 1979.

Victorian Times
A general social history site that gives an insight into what life was like in the 1800s.

Victorian London
Although this site focuses on the capital, much of the information in the Victorian Dictionary is generic.

Victoria County Past
This project has been chronacling the history of England's counties since 1889.

How Much is it Worth Today
An online currency converter that will tell you today's purchasing power of any sum from 1600 onwards.

Working Class Movement Library

A collection of book, periodicals, pamphlets etc on the labour movement since the late 18th century. Includes history pages, such as felt hatting and the union label.

Local Heritage Initiative

A £25 million ten year project to support local heritage initiatives, including an online video library.

Vision of Britain
A useful site funded from Lottery money that paints a social picture of the UK based on information from the censuses from 1801 to 2001.

Mining Deaths
A database of 90,000 mining deaths from 1850 to 1914.

Newspaper Archives
The British Library is developing an online newspaper archive which makes interesting general reading. Please note that it only supports Explorer 5 for Windows and Mac users and others are not welcome at the moment!

England at Work
This project has created a digital image resource illustrating England's industrial heritage. Photographs have been selected which illustrate a variety of industrial themes: including agriculture, coal mining, railways, textiles, tin mining, transport, windmills and social history.

Manchester and Lancashire Bookshop

Mail order genealogy and local history books, including the excellent range from Neil Richardson.

Handwriting 1500 - 1700

An online course to help decipher old English handwriting.

A Historical Survey
Published in 1905 and written by General Secretray, David Charles Cummings this covers the years from the foundation of the Society of Boilermers in 1834 to 1904. Available as text, to read online or as a PDF (23Mb) and other farmats.

Voices of Postwar England
Cammell Laird boilermaker James Carroll's account of his first day at work.
Sea Your History
The Royal Navy site has sections on boilermaking and rivetting.

Boilermakers Throughout History
Photographs of boilermakers from the US I think.

Making and Remaking the Boilermaker
An account from the Newcastle Steelworks 1915 - 1985.
Pennine Waterways
Useful guide to the waterways in the area, including a virtual tour of the Ashton Canal.

Canal Junction
A comprehensive guide to canals in the UK and their history, including the Ashton Canal.
Portland Basin Museum
Excellent free museum on the social history of Ashton, based in the renovated Victorian warehouse.

Jim Shead's Waterways
An encyclopedia of the canals and rivers of England and Wales, including historical data, provided by Jim Shead, waterways writer and photographer.

Inland Waterways Association
Campaigning for the conservation, use, maintenance, restoration and development of the inland waterways including Ashton.
Church Crawler
Find a Church
Search for church contact details by town.

Glossop Churches
Old and new photos of churches in Glossopdale with some background information, construction dates etc.

Church Plans Online
The Incorporated Church Building Society was founded in 1818 to provide funds for the building and enlargement of Anglican churches throughout England and Wales. It was the principal voluntary society for promoting the building and restoration of churches throughout the most active period of church building since the Middle Ages.

The Parish Clerk
The Parish Clerk by Peter Hampson Ditchfield published in 1907 details the duty of the post.
Church Websites
Churches have been among the slowest institutions to have a presence on the web, but that is changing. Here is a list of links to some of the churches mentioned on this site:

St Michael and All Angels, Ashton

There has been a church on this site since before the Norman Conquest.

Christ Church, Ashton

Consecrated in 1848 to serve the hamlet of Charlestown.

Albion United Reform Church, Ashton

Built in 1895 following a tradition if independent worship since 1780.

St Mark's Church, Dukinfield
The church of my childhood. Also includes St Luke's where my parents were married.

Manchester Cathedral
There is evidence of an early Saxon church on the site from the Angel Stone, which was discovered embedded in the wall of the original South Porch of the Cathedral in the 19th century, and which has been dated to around 700.
Brookfield Unitarian Church, Gorton
Not the church's website, but a short history and memorabilia site by Robert Siddall.

Hyde Chapel

The first church built in Hyde, its history dating back to 1708.

Flowery Field Church, Hyde
Opened in 1878 thanks to the generosity of the Ashton family.

St Mark's Church, Bredbury
No historical detail of this church which became a separate parish in 1846 serving Bredbury and part of Brinnington.

Chadkirk Chapel
A beautifully restored 14th Century Chapel set in the heart of Chadkirk Country Estate and Local Nature Reserve.

St Paul's Church, Compstall
Built in 1841 funded ny local mill owner, George Andrew.

St Michael and All Angels, Mottram
There is evidence of a church on the site since 1225 and the present church dates from the end of 15th century.
Coal Mining

National Coal Mining Museum
Located at Caphouse Colliery near Wakefield, the museum is well worth a visit — and it's free.

Durham Mining Museum
Lots of information covering mining in the north east.

Coalmining History Resource Centre
The UK's largest and most comprehensive website concerning the history of coalmining - including a searchable database of over 164,000 recorded accidents and deaths.

Cotton Industry
The Cotton Industry
Many members of my family worked in the cotton industry of south east Lancashire. Here you will find information about life in the mills.

Spinning the Web
Funded by New Opportunities money and produced by Manchester City Council, this site tells the story of cotton and its importance to north west England.

Cotton on Film
The BBC's contribution to the recording of the cotton industry, inlcuding fascinating clips, such as the closing of Reddish Mill in 1958, not far from where I live, and Fred Dibnah demolishing one of the chimneys.

Cotton Town
The rise and decline of the cotton industry in Blackburn and Darwen.

King Cotton
Cotton and the American Civil War.
Cotton Industry in Ashton
A history of why cotton was so important to the town. You can also buy Ian Haynes book, Cotton in Ashton, through the Tameside local government site.

Quarry Bank Mill

Very much worth a visit for anyone interested in learning how the cotton industry developed and to see how mill worked. It is very much water, rather than steam-powered, but a hands on experience.

Cotton Times
A useful cotton industry resource, including helpful pages explaining Lancashire dialect.

The Open Door Website
A brief history of the cotton industry with links to key inventors, such as Kay, Hargreaves and Arkwright, plus a useful timeline.

GMCRO Education Pack
Greater Manchester County Records education pack about the cotton industry, a PDF of 1.3Mb.
The Hatworks
Based in Stockport, this is the UK's first and only museum dedicated to hatting, a major industry in the area in the 19th and 20th century.
Tameside History
A section of the local government website on the history of Denton.

Hatting and Trade Unionism

Reference to hatting in Denton and the use of the 'union label.'

Old Ordnance Survey Maps
Ordnance Survey makes old maps available online with a database that can be searched by address or postcode. Electronic copies of the maps can also be bought online. Modern Orndance Survey maps are also available on their main site. Alternatively, they can be found at Multimap, along with aerial photographs, with a facility to overlay the two. There are also links to many old maps from around Lancashire and Cheshire on Rootsweb.

Godfrey Edition Maps
These reprints of old Ordnance Survey maps can be very useful. They are quite detailed and can even help you identify an individual house.

Victorian Town Maps
An interesting range of high quality reproduction maps including Ashton and Stalybridge in 1849 and Hyde in 1871. Available flat or rolled, mono or colour.

Bodleian Library Map Room

An interesting site to visit. There is a non-frames version, although this does not appear to have been updated since 1998.

Cheshire Tithe Maps Online
Excellent website if your ancestors owned or rented land or buildings in Cheshire with this searchable database of tithe maps, old OS maps and contemporary maps and aerial photos.


Modern maps with links to aerial photos.
Contemporary and historic information on the town, including old maps.

John Speed Maps
More old maps.

Scots Maps
Maps of Scotland from 1560 to 1920, and Ordnance Survey town plans 1847 to 1895.

Baedeker's Guide Books

Maps and town plans from around Great Britain from about 1910, inlcuding Manchester.

Old and interesting maps of England, Wales and Scotland.

Picture Cheshire
A collection of digital images created from original material -photographs, slides, negatives etc - held at the Cheshire Record Office and in Cheshire libraries.

Picture the Past
This project is jointly managed by the local authorities of Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham, and Nottinghamshire with financial assistance from the Heritage Lottery Fund

Peakland Heritage Gallery

A collection of images from the Peak District.

Tameside Image Archive
Currently over 20,000 images are available online, you can purchase copies with a credit or debit card.
Lancashire Lantern
Life in Lancashire in all its many aspects – people, buildings, streets, transport, architecture, customs, traditions, celebrations and much more.

North West Film Archive
The Archive cares for over 32,500 items from the pioneer days of film in the mid 1890s to video production of the present day.

Historic Photos of Stockport
Stockport Central Library has an extensive collection of historic photographs which are available to view at the Heritage Library. You can see a sample of these historic photographs of the 1900s and 1960s.
Dukinfield Wagon Works
This site is dedicated to the Great Central carriage and wagon works at Dukinfield. Opened in 1910 on a 30 acre site situated close to the main line from Manchester to London. The site opened with lots of new machinery plus some old ones from Gorton Works. When opened it was one of the most modern in Europe.
Glossary of railway terms
From Absolute-block working to nothing under Z!

The Railways Archive

A free online archive of documents charting the development of Britain's railways.
Trade Unions  
TUC History Online
Joint project with London Metropolitan University to make trade union history more accessible.

Trade Union Ancestors
A resource for family historians.

Trade Union Timeline
A potted history from Google.

Chartist Ancestors
What did your family do in the revolution? Chartist Ancestors lists many of those who risked their freedom, and sometimes their lives, because of their participation in the Chartist cause.

Dedicated to the workhouse — its buildings, its inmates, its staff and administrators, and even its poets. Includes the full text of the 1601 and 1834 Acts.

Rossbret Webring

An expanding repository of information that
includes workhouses, asylums and other institutions. Includes a photo and floorplan of Ashton Workhouse.

Workhouse Children

Many mill owners would solve their workforce problems by buying children from the workhouses.
Contemporary and historic information on the town, including old maps showing the workhouse.

The Union Workhouse

A Study Guide for Teachers and Local Historians by Andy Reid. Costs £10.95, although I haven't read it, so can't recommend. This is an Amazon link and you may have your preferred supplier.
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