PETREL' OF POLITICS
Mention of the local elections last
week drew memories of Norman COCKER
who followed in the long line of radical
politicians from the Ashton area.
He died on 28 April 1934 and was described
as a fierce socialist and disciple
of Karl Marx and was one of
the first Labour councillors of Ashton.
He was regarded
as one of the most forceful
speakers in the Socialist movement.
He sat on Ashton Town Council for
Portland Ward (now West End) and
was called the Stormy Petrel
for his strong opinions.
According to his son
Norman who lives in Denton, his
dad always described himself as
a democratic socialist. "He
never claimed to be a communist
even though the socialist party
had fused to form the Communist
Party in 1920. As his obituary said
he was regarded as a wild man and
a visionary. He devoted his life
to uplifting his fellow man.
Clearly yet another
in Ashtons tradition of radical
BAYLEY has sent in a photograph
of his class at St Marks CofE
Infants School on Wharf Street in
Dukinfield, taken during the First
World War. He recognises a few people
Fred HOLLAND, Tom FITZGERALD,
Oswald BARNES and his fancy,
Irene JACKSON. Click on the photo
to see a larger version.
18 May 1900
Going to hell on a handcart? This
could have been the case in Hyde a hundred years
ago. The only ambulance was hand-drawn and one
Cllr FILDES proposed that the Watch Committee
might think about speeding things up if a horse
"Serious accidents were occurring
and it had been requested by a number of working
men to bring the matter forward. There was such
a horse-drawn ambulance at the Ashton Moss Colliery
at a cost of £57. Cllr SHAW seconded.
"Cllr SHERRY said he made enquiries
as to what horse ambulances were much in use or
not and in one Lancashire town of 100,000 inhabitants,
the police, through their own exertions had bought
one and it had been used only once in four years.
"It would be exceedingly seldom
such a thing would be required in Hyde. They have
an excellent hand ambulance which answered all
purposes. It would be a needless expenditure.
Only two people voted in favour.
Political radicalism of the parsimonious
Surely to be of interest to some
of you out there was the opening of a new Unitarian
Chapel in Ashton this week in 1900. "The Unitarians
of Ashton have long been without a sanctuary of
their own, but the consummation of their hopes and
desires was brought about on Sunday in the opening
of a new temporary school chapel in Richmond Street."
Said the Reporter.
"Whatever their ultimate hopes
and aspirations may be, the present structure
is one that the Unitarian body might well be proud
of. The new structure with its galvanised iron,
lagged with stained and varnished wood is capable
of holding 350 persons and was demonstrated at
Sundays special services when there was
a crowded attendance.
"The interior of the building
was decorated with flowers while the walls were
adorned with two costly pictures of the late Dr
James MARTINEAU and the Rev W M GASKELL, the well-known
The fifth Mossley Agricultural
Show was held this week a hundred years ago and
was "a distinct advance on anything previously
achieved by the society. Not only were the entries
twice as numerous, but the stock exhibited was not
in a few cases good enough to show anywhere.
"Without doubt however, the
future of the show was a fine exhibition of dogs.
Some of the winners were among the best animals
in their class in the country. There was also
an excellent exhibition of poultry equal to the
exhibition already commented on and also pigeons,
rabbits and other of the live appendages of a
The circus was in town this week
in 1900 and very popular it was too. "Hyde
appears to be a profitable field for enterprising
circus owners judging by the large crowds that have
flocked to the structure near the fire station since
the opening last Saturday.
"The visit to the town of Mr
TRANSFIELD two years ago and the up-to-date shows
he then provided gave every satisfaction and in
planning a return visit, he has done so fully
confident that he will be well patronised. His
stay on this occasion will not be so long as his
first visit, but he is determined to spend neither
time nor expense in providing a nightly bill of
fare that should suit all tastes."
18 May 1950
The shock result of the local elections
50 years ago was the shock defeat of Hydes
first woman mayor, Mrs Marjorie BAYES in the Werneth
Ward. She was knocked into third place behind
Dr D LIVINGSTONE for the Conservatives with 2794
votes and Mr I HARWOOD with 2492. Mayor HAYES
got a mere 1845.
"Moving a vote of thanks, Cllr
D I LIVINGSTONE said: To say I am pleased
at the result is putting it mildly. But at the
same time, what has been still more pleasing is
that the result has been a good one. The
Mayor interviews by the Reporter in the counting
room after the declaration of the Werneth Ward
results, declined to comment.
"Labour gained three seats
and the Conservatives two," said the Reporter.
"The only independent member of the council,
Cllr Mrs M BARTON was retained in Newton Ward.
The glitz of Hollywood was replaced
by more culturally cerebral fare at the new Scala
Cinema in Hyde which showed the first foreign film
in the town, Les Enfants du Paradis
this week in 1950. "It is planned to show regularly
films other than British or American. This will
give discriminating filmgoers a chance to decide
for themselves whether these films are among the
best as critics saying that they are."