Royton Local History Society
14th Jan. 2008 - Ron Needham ‘A Cameraman’s Tales’
Another speaker joining us for the first time is Ron Needham, an ex-professional photographer, now retired and living in Royton.
His talk begins with an interesting and amusing insight into his life as a photographer, followed by a showing of his short film entitled "Lost in the Zoo." This 16mm colour movie film, lasting about 20 minutes, was shot at Belle Vue Zoo during the 1950’s. If you, like me, often visited Belle Vue around this time then this film will surely bring back many poignant memories of those bygone days.
11th Feb.2008 - Doug Ashmore ‘Royton Hall ....... the story so far’
Tonight we are invited to look at the results of the ‘Royton Lives Through the Ages’ community digs, which took place during the summers of 2005/6 on the site of the old Royton Hall. We can admire photographs of the excellent archaeology and the finds which were uncovered........... some of which posed more questions than answers!
This illustrated talk is sure to bring back lots of happy memories for the many volunteers who took part in the project and there is bound to be a laugh or two as well if the right questions are asked of Doug.
10th March 2008 - John Doughty ‘Noted for Fresh Air and Fun’
Hands up those of you who have been to Blackpool for a holiday. Most of you? I thought so.
Tonight we will hear how an 18th century village, named after a peat stained (black) pool, became the most famous seaside resort in Britain. We will be finding out why it was such a favourite holiday destination and what made it so popular.
Please bring your own sticks of rock, candy floss and ‘Kiss Me Quick’ hats along on the night!
14th April 2008 - Norman Bishop‘History of Cloggs’
Are you old enough to remember people wearing cloggs? Perhaps you even wore them yourself. This evening Norman Bishop will tell us all about the history of cloggs, from Roman times right up to the present day.
12th May 2008 - Margaret Curry‘Cotton Wool Country’
The ‘Cotton Wool Country’, referred to in the title of this talk, is the traditional wool and cotton manufacturing areas of Lancashire and Yorkshire. Tonight Margaret Curry returns with an illustrated talk about the history, people and landscapes of the gritstone area of the South Pennines.
We look forward to being entertained once again by one of our most popular speakers.
9th June 2008 - Michael Clarke ‘The Toastmaster’
The presence of a Toastmaster at an event brings a certain amount of style and dignity to the proceedings, but what exactly are their roles and origins? ‘Please be upstanding’ for tonights visitor who is the ideal person to tell us. Michael speaks from his personal experience of having been a professional Toastmaster for many years ......................................................"Cheers!"
2008/9 PROGRAMME of SPEAKERS
8th Sept. 2008 M. Lawson & M. Johnson
‘Chadderton’s Claims to Fame’
When Chadderton Historical Society first published a leaflet on ‘Chadderton’s Claims to Fame’ it contained only a dozen or so entries. Over the years a great many more interesting facts have been discovered. This evening’s illustrated talk, by Society members Michael Lawson and Mark Johnson, will look at a selection of the more unusual ‘Claims to Fame’ and ‘Fascinating Facts’. Did you know that a Chadderton resident carried out the last official hanging in the UK? What was AL 63, and why was it important during the Second World War?
All will be revealed this evening!
13th October 2008 Morris Garratt
Tonight’s talk is about Samuel Bamford who was born in Middleton in 1788 and is best remembered today for his account of the event known as ‘Peterloo’. He was twice imprisoned by the authorities and became a well-known radical whose Diary contained some caustic comments about some of his contemporaries.
10th November 2008 Margaret Curry
‘Beatrix Potter - Industrial Inheritance’
This illustrated talk looks at Beatrix Potter’s family background, mainly in the Manchester area, and her childhood and life in London until the time she bought ‘Hill Top’ in the Lake District.
Although there are a few references to her children’s books and to her lesser known scientific and archaeological work, this talk is mainly about her life up to the age of 39, rather than about ‘Peter Rabbit and Friends’.
8th December 2008 Peter Watson
‘Green Men and Little People’
These have been seen! Historical facts, anecdotes and artefacts litter this light-hearted talk about folklore given by our old friend Peter Watson. It should make for an entertaining evening which will be rounded off with the usual festive refreshments.
12th January 2009 Raymond Rush
‘Toys and Games’
Back by popular demand is Raymond Rush who tonight will revive your childhood memories. Raymond says that this will be a practical evening when everyone has a chance to play with, and talk about, the hundred or so items that will be passed around for all to enjoy. Most are originals, others modern developments of what you wished you once had!
9th February 2009 Geoff Oliver‘The Munich Air Disaster 1958’
I'm sure you’ve all heard of this tragic event but do you know the full story? This talk describes the series of events leading up to the disaster, the disaster itself, and the aftermath including investigations which made air travel safer for us all. This is not a talk about Manchester United, although of necessity it does include some football information. It's about an aviation incident which would probably be largely forgotten nowadays had it not involved a high profile football team.
9th March 2009 John Doughty
‘Noted for Fresh Air and Fun’
This talk was scheduled to take place last March but had to be cancelled at the last minute. Tonight we will hear how an 18th century village, named after a peat stained (black) pool, became the most famous seaside resort in Britain. We will be finding out why it was such a favourite holiday destination and what made it so popular.
20th April 2009 Glen Atkinson
‘Building the Big Ditch’
Although this is Glen Atkinson’s first visit to us he comes highly recommended by Newton Heath Historical Society. Victorian ‘magic lantern’ slides (complete with lantern) illustrate his talk about the construction of the Manchester Ship Canal from Pomona to Eastham.
11th May 2009 Michael E. Clarke
‘My Experiences since the 1950s’
Michael returns to complete his talk "My Eight Decades Experiences" which he started in May 2007! This is because there was so much interaction between him and the audience last time he only managed to get to the 1950s!
As we enter the 21st century faced with, amongst other things, a barrage of technological miracles to mesmerise many of the "over sixties", we move away from the values of yesteryear ...... those values taught to us in our homes and our schools when we were young.
This talk is a recollection of arguably better times.
8th June 2009 Jack Morris
‘The Other Black Beauty’
I’m leaving you to guess what this talk is about but will give you some clues to ‘whet your appetite’ ...............
By the time he was 21 years old Jack owned his own business and at one time produced two and a half tonnes of this per week. A national competition led him to meet many T.V. stars. He became famous in 1970 when he won a gold medal for Great Britain in a French competition.
Think you know what it’s about? Come along tonight to find out if you are right. P.S. Don’t have a big tea!!
Monday 14th September - Geoff Oliver
100 Years of Byron St. School
Byron Street School was opened in 1907 and tonight's presentation is a DVD, made in it’s centenary year, commemorating 100 years of educating Royton's children. It includes historic photographs and the recollections of former pupils dating back to its earliest days.
Sadly Byron Street School (renamed Royton Hall Primary School) closed it’s doors in July 2009 for the very last time. The pupils have amalgamated with those from the former Highbarn Junior School and now enjoy classes in newly built premises on Highbarn Street.
12th October 2009 - Mike Buckley
Architecture and Heritage in the Borough of Oldham
Councillor Mike Buckley, Oldham Council’s Heritage Champion, takes a look at historic buildings and architecture across the Borough.
9th November 2009 - John Robinson
Once a famous whaling centre and home to Captain James Cook as a young man, now a bustling tourist resort and busy fishing port. Where is it? Whitby, of course, but did you know it is also THE place to find amazing fossils. This talk is about the history of Whitby and the incredible fossils that have been found there.
John will be bringing some samples to illustrate his talk and will also have some fossils for sale if you want to purchase your own little piece of history.
14th December 2009 - Glen Atkinson
“What the papers said.”
Glen made his first visit to us last April when he spoke about the building of ‘The Big Ditch’ (the Manchester Ship Canal). His talk was both informative and humourous and enjoyed by all those who attended so, for this Christmas meeting, we have invited him back again to entertain us.
Tonight he intends to take a light-hearted look at the incredible antics reported in the Victorian local newspapers.
Of course, this fun evening would not be complete without festive refreshments to round off the night.
11th January 2010 - Ken Darwen
Towneley Hall is a grade 1 listed building set within the 284 acre Towneley Park in Burnley. For over six centuries it was the residential home of the Towneley family, who lived there from the 13th century to 1902. The present house, which dates from the 14th and 16th centuries, is now owned by Burnley Borough Council and houses a museum, with period rooms containing 16th/17th century oak furnishings, and an art gallery.
There is lots more to learn about the history of this magnificent building and no one better to tell us than tonight’s speaker Ken Darwen, the Museum Manager, who will be revealing the true splendour of the Hall and it’s grounds.
8th February 2010 - Doug Ashmore
Doug and his wife Marjorie tried and failed to find Hadrian’s Wall on a visit to Northumberland in 2008. Not to be defeated they set off again in 2009 armed with more information and found exactly what they wanted and much, much more. They found the Military Road and all was revealed - accomodation for 500 - 1500 soldiers with a hospital, baths and latrines for the men, in fact all the mod. cons. a good Roman had come to expect. In tonight’s illustrated talk Doug and Marjorie hope to share their experience of Hadrian’s Wall with you.
8th March 2010 - John Fidler
The Glen Mill
Originally a cotton mill which ceased production in 1938, this Oldham mill was used as a Prisoner of War camp during the Second World War. Tonight’s talk about the Glen Mill includes it’s origins, how it reflected the rhythm of the war and the conditions inside the camp. We will also hear some prisoner’s recollections, before concluding with the final days of the mill.
Although this is John’s first visit to our society, he is much in demand as a speaker and comes highly recommended by a number of other groups.
12th April 2010 - Derek Slater
Another new speaker to our society is Derek Slater who will be taking a light-hearted look at the main characteristics of popular nineteenth-century theatre. He will also be taking a look at some individual plays and the way they reflected the social conditions of the time.
10th May 2010 - Ray Hoerty
Manchester’s Hidden History
An alternative look at Manchester’s history - the stories and personalities connected with the City’s street names. Ray , also making his first visit, is a Registered Tour Guide so hopefully should be able to find us at Downey House!
14th June 2010 - Margaret Curry
Beatrix Potter - Lakeland Legacy
The ever popular Margaret Curry returns again this evening with part 2 of her Beatrix Potter story. Part 1, expertly told to us in November 2008, took a look at Beatrix’s early life.
Tonight we will learn about her marriage and permanent residence in the Lake District, the farms and other properties which she bought, her success as a farmer and sheep breeder, her involvement with the National Trust and finally, her legacy to the Trust - still the largest single bequest from any donor.
September 13th 2010
Have you ever had an X-ray image taken of any part of your body? If the answer is "No" then you are very lucky, If the answer is "Yes" have you ever wondered how these machines work? This illustrated talk explains the events leading up to the discovery of X-Rays in the late 1800's, who the major players were in the discovery and the development of the first X-Ray machines. It goes on to describe how X-Rays are produced with a basic outline of how the machines work, their development from the early days to the present digital era and how they are used. Our speaker is a retired X-Ray engineer who spent 40 years roaming around the country installing, repairing and servicing medical and industrial X-Ray machines.'
Wednesday 29th September 2010
The A.G.M. will take place at Downey House. It will follow a short E.G.M. which will start at 8.00pm. All members welcome.
October 11th 2010
This talk was due to take place last January, unfortunately the terrible weather forced us to cancel the meeting. Let us hope we have better luck tonight! Towneley Hall is a grade 1 listed building set within the 284 acre Towneley Park in Burnley. For over six centuries it was the residential home of the Towneley family, who lived there from the 13th century to 1902. The present house, which dates from the 14th and 16th centuries, is now owned by Burnley Borough Council and houses a museum, with period rooms containing 16th/17th century oak furnishings, and an art gallery. Just recently the hall was host to the TV programme Antiques Master. There is lots more to learn about the history of this magnificent building and no one better to tell us than tonight’s speaker Ken Darwen, the Museum Manager, who will be revealing the true splendour of the Hall and it’s grounds.
November 8th 2010
Born in Royton in the 1930’s John Cleary, author of the book ‘A Class Innings’ and President of the Central Lancashire Cricket League for the past five years, recalls his early life in the town. The days of the ‘knocker-upper’ and rag puddings, ration books and liquorice sticks, Royton ‘Wakes’ and the ‘Bug Hut’ (Pavilion cinema).
November 19th 2010
On Friday November 19th 2010 celebrate Lancashire Day at Downey House with traditional Lancashire entertainment and a potato pie supper.
December 13th 2010
We’ve been promised that this will be a talk with a difference! The subject is ‘Tudor Times’ -but not as we know them. Forget the splendour of Hampton Court and St. James’s Palace, Henry the VIII and all his wives. Tonight, Joan will be giving us an insight into the underworld and low-life abounding in Tudor times.
January 10th 2011
Tonight Pat Abrams will tell us about her life as an E.W.O. for over 30 years, recalling both the serious and the funny side of the job. Obviously the work evolved quite a lot during that time but it was always interesting and extremely varied. If, like me, you are not sure what an E.W.O. is, then I’ll tell you - it’s an Education Welfare Officer and if you are still not clear does ‘the old school board’ ring any bells?
February 14th 2011
You will probably remember Glen’s remarkable illustrated talk about the building of the Manchester Ship Canal “Building the Big Ditch”. Tonight he returns to tell the saga of how each of the seven bridges built at Barton between 1670 and 1960 fell down during construction.
March 14th 2011
John’s first visit to us was last March when he spoke so interestingly about the ‘Glen mill prisoner of war camp’. This time his talk is about the murder, in Hollinwood, of an elderly lady at Christmas 1830 and, more importantly, how it was dealt with at the time.
April 11th 2011
This illustrated talk follows the history of popular motoring and includes, amongst others, ‘3 wheelers’, the Model T, motorcycles and sidecars and the Morris 8. Were you the proud owner of any of these? If so, this will be a trip down memory lane. If not, then the ever popular charabancs and coaches are also included.
May 9th 2011
The story of a local barber who turned his hand to execution and the tales of the local people he hanged.
June 13th 2011
30,000 years ago Stone Age hunters carved figures in mammoth ivory. From these beginnings, cave art developed to reach its zenith about 15,000 BC. This talk traces the development of cave art and attempts to explain the mystic background to the creative activity of the Stone Age hunter.
September 12th 2011 John Morrison
HISTORY OF FOLK MUSIC
Tonight John Morrison will be describing how early sources and then more contempory sources influenced the evolution of folk music through the ages.
The A.G.M. will take place on Wednesday 28th September 2010 at Downey House at 8.00pm. All members welcome.
October 10th 2011 Freda Millett
SCATTERED HOMESLocal historian Freda Millett is visiting us tonight to talk about her latest book ‘Scattered Homes’ which tells the story of these homes which existed in Oldham and other towns before the Children’s Act of 1947. This Act changed, for the better, the welfare of children, especially those without parents.
November 14th 2011 Ray Hoerty
KINGS, QUEENS, BONES and BASTARDS
Royalty is very much in the news nowadays and Ray will provide an entertaining look at Royalty throughout the ages. Be prepared for many fascinating, but also some very shocking, stories about past Royals.
December 12th 2011 Anne Ashton
MEDICAL MAGIC and MYSTERY
What did we do before modern medicines were invented? How were illnesses treated and wounds healed? Anne will take us back to those dark days when herbs, potions and even witches spells were used to try and cure our ancestor’s ills. She may even have an old cure for indigestion, which may be needed as the evening will be rounded off with our usual festive refreshments!
January 9th 2012 Michael Higgins
WATERLOO to PETERLOO
It is August 1819, four years after the Battle of Waterloo and the Napoleonic Wars, and unemployed soldiers, weavers and artisans are planning a protest meeting in Manchester. The burning issues are rising food prices, depression in the cottage handloom weaving trade and voting reform. But why are they undergoing secret military drilling on Tandle Hill and using the language of the French Revolution? How will the Manchester authorities, without a police force and only a handful of local yeomanry cavalry and volunteer constables to call on, keep order if thirty to sixty thousand protesters march into town? The only recourse is to call in the army, many of whom are also Waterloo veterans. Will they be able to prevent the looting, rioting and injury that such a large meeting on St Peter's Field promises? The answer is 'the Peterloo Massacre' - an iconic event in local and national history.
February 13th 2012 John Cleary
PROUD TO BE A ROYTONIAN
Following on from his highly entertaining talk about his ‘Boyhood Memories’, local author John Cleary returns this evening with more stories about his experiences working in Royton and beyond.
March 12th 2012 Roger Ivens
COAL MINING in ROYTON
Did you know that Royton Park, opened on 22nd June 1911, was built on the site of the former Royton Colliery which closed in 1901? Roger Ivens, the archivist at Oldham Local Studies Centre, takes a look at the history of coal mining in Royton with reference to the surrounding districts, in order to provide a picture of an industry that on the surface has almost completely disappeared.
April 16th 2012 Michael Clarke
IT IS NOT POLITICALLY CORRECT
Michael is finding that 72 years of learning and accepting the British way of life are being buried under the ‘Jobs Worth’ politically correct brigade. Should he be offended if someone asks for a ‘gingerbread man’ in a confectioner’s shop, just because he once had red hair?
May 14th 2012 Margaret Curry
TALES of TWO CITIES
One of our favourite speakers, Margaret Curry, makes a welcome return to us this evening with her talk ‘Tales of Two Cities’. This talk covers two thousand years of history in central Salford and Salford Quays, Roman and early medieval Manchester.
June 11th 2012 Robert Bishop
LOCAL PLANTS and WILD FLOWERS
Being a local history society we tend to concentrate on the man-made structures in our town but unfortunately many of the old buildings no longer exist and we now have to rely on photographs and people’s memories.
September 10th 2012 Geoff Oliver
History of Royton
Over a number of years the RLHS Chairman, Geoff Oliver, has been making a film about the history of our town looking at the everyday lives of Roytonians in farming, industry, transport, religion and education. Helped by Frances Stott, who did the initial research and scripts, Michael Higgins and Pat Abram, the film has now grown to be over 3 hours long! Tonight we can enjoy a sample of this production as we are taken back to the ‘good old days’ in Royton.
September 24th 2012
Annual General Meeting
Commencing at 8:pm
October 8th 2012 John Fidler
A Failsworth Pole or Two
Failworth’s most notable landmark is its ‘pole’ but have you ever wondered why it has one? Or when it was erected? Or who put it there and for what reason? Tonight John Fidler pays his third visit to our society and will answer all these questions, and many more, about the origins of this local landmark.
November 12th 2012 John Morrison
History of the Police Force
This evening’s talk covers the period from the early 1800's, when there were no police forces, to the present day and describes the social and economic conditions and their influences on policing down the years. To give the subject a local context we shall see a snapshot of the history of Oldham Borough Police Force from its inception in 1849 to its amalgamtion, 120 years later, with the surrounding Lancashire Force.
December 10th 2012 Doug Ashmore
Our Vice chairman, Doug Ashmore, is going to entertain us this evening with a selection of humorous, and the odd poignant, Lanky poems by Lancashire writers plus a few monologues as well - so come prepared for a laugh! Of course, this funevening would not be complete without our usual festive refreshments to round off the night.
January 14th 2013 Ian Etchells
Sir Thomas Tyldesley 1612-1651
A tale of one of the finest knights in all England and his involvement in the English Civil Wars. He was born in Woodplumpton, near Preston, and became a true supporter of the monarchy only to be killed in action at the Battle of Wigan Lane on 25th August 1651.
February 11th 2013 Michael Lawson & Mark Johnson
One of the best known valleys in Chadderton is Slacks Valley in the Whitegate area. Today it is very difficult to identify the actual valley for over the years it has altered beyond all recognition from its original rural appearance. It has been home to the Rochdale Canal, the Manchester to Leeds railway, a ‘secret’ airfield, Chadderton Power Station and the Broadway Business Park to name but a few. Find out more about this truly ‘versatile’ valley from our friends at Chadderton Historical Society.
March 11th 2013 Glen Atkinson
“Well, I Never Knew That!”
Glen Atkinson returns once again to entertain us with some amazing facts. This illustrated talk is about world firsts in inventions and achievements from the City of Salford! I can’t reveal any more but at the end of the evening I guarantee we’ll all be going home saying “Well, I never knew that!”
April 8th 2013 Peter Braun
Dunham Massey Hall and its Families
Set in a magnificent deer park, Dunham Massey Hall in Cheshire is a Georgian mansion which was used as a military hospital during the First World War. Formerly the home of the last Earl of Stamford, it has been owned by the National Trust since 1976.
Tonight’s illustrated talk is full of stories and anecdotes covering the history of the Hall, including the family's royal connection (and disconnection!!) and a Victorian romance and scandal.
May 13th 2013 Jan Dawson
Food our Ancestors Ate
This evening Jan will take us on an exploration of three centuries of British food ................... including a look at what a ploughman really had for his lunch, what there was to eat in the workhouse and why did a lot of sailors get head injuries – were they caused by something they had consumed?
June 10th 2013 John Doughty
The Lancashire Witches - A not guilty verdict
In the year 1612, nineteen ‘witches’ were tried for their lives at the Midsummer Assizes in Lancaster. Thomas Potts, the Clerk of the Court, wrote a detailed account of this notorious trial. Tonight John’s illustrated talk will question whether or not these unfortunate people were just innocent victims caught up in a pattern of persecution and intrigue.
R.L.H.S. Speakers for 2013 / 2014
R.L.H.S. Speakers for 2014 / 2015
R.L.H.S. Speakers for 2016 / 2017