The Reporter published a photograph this week of minstrels from the Ormonde Street Chapel in Ashton. The question is, what was the big occasion? Click on the picture to see a larger version. Do you recognise anyone?


Did you or any of your relatives go to Christ Church School in Littlemoss, Ashton? Brian Knight is looking for photographs or other information to include in a website.

After adults were given higher level education during the 'Cotton Panic', parents began to demand education for their children. This resulted in the School Boards Act of 1870. Littlemoss did not have a school and children had to travel to Taunton, Droylsden or Ashton. The clergy and congregation of Christ Church decided to build a school through voluntary subscription and it opened in 1872. It was extended in 1924 and continued until the mid-1960s when it closed.

The school served the community in other ways and played host to many activities, including musical revues, minstrel troupes, operettas, whist drives, fund raising and weddings. The original leather-bound school log book is kept at the county records office in Preston. It covers attendance and absence records from 1873 to 1911, as well as school averages, receipts of funding, epidemics, school closures, visitors and holidays to mark occasions like Victoria's Silver Jubilee on 20 June 1887 and the King's visit to Manchester on 13 June 1905.

This information and photographs can be seen at Bryan's website which includes a poem to encourage contributions to school funds which begins:

Now dear friends, just list' to me
And do it with a smile,
We're trying to raise funds, you see,
To help us o'er a stile.

Bryan would be delighted to add more photographs and information which you can send to him at: via email

While the G8 meeting this weekend is dominated by the issue of third world debt, the Reporter of 100 years ago reminds us that poverty and famine is sadly not a new phenomena. The people of Hyde took the streets in a huge public demonstration to raise money for the Indian Famine Relief Fund. The Reporter wrote: "Without exaggeration it is the largest muster that we have ever seen in the history of Hyde. The whole town had the appearance of a huge carnival. It was indeed a great event and one respecting which all concerned in its organisation have every occasion to be proud."

The procession was led by a group of mounted policemen and they were followed by the Hyde Borough Band and the Mottram and Broadbottom Band. Behind them was a display by the fire brigade and a troupe of Morris dancers. Local tradesmen turned out in droves and the town's streets became a temporary marketplace as grocers, butchers and tobacconists set up stalls, giving some of their profits to the relief fund.

Local people organised a 'monster procession' and the Reporter said: "There were many monsters. Each seeming to vie with the other in their efforts to present the most grotesque appearance. All manner of persons were portrayed and on the whole, it was an excellent group. Cyclists attended too. One saw hundreds of 'wheelmen' all in different costumes passing in the procession. It was a magnificent sight. In total, the event has raised 493. Truly the people of Hyde have done their duty."

Samuel MASON, aged 13 and from Droylsden, was in deep trouble at Denton Police Court. He had been warned before about his stealing and could expect a more severe penalty when he appeared before the bench a second time. The court heard how MASON had gone into Benjamin LOZDEN's shop on Ashton Road. Assistant Jane POLLIT served him a ha'porth of cigarettes and later realised that money had gone from the till.

When charged by the police, MASON said: "I took seven shillings, bought two packs of cigarettes, but I don't know what happened to the other penny." When the constable said that he should be sent to prison, the lad pleaded: "Please sir, don't send me there. I will not do it any more." Instead, he was given twelve strokes of a birch rod and had hopefully learned his lesson.

Iris WILDE aged seven of Stockport Road Methodist School was crowned the very first Primary School Rosebud Queen at a packed coronation service.

In the 1950s, Esperanto was being touted as the universal language of the future. The Denton Esperanto Club of teachers and pupils from Denton Secondary Modern School set off for the Young Esperantists International Rally held at Konstanz in Germany.
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