Listed Buildings

Cattle and Horse Drinking Trough.

1879. Polished Cornish granite. It was installed on behalf of Miss M. Ashworth. It is a low elongated rectangular trough comprising two basins, one raised above pavement level the other positioned above it and set on two piers at either end of the lower basin. Spur stones protect the front faces of the piers. The front of the trough carries the inscription 


This trough was erected at the junction of the Manchester Road and the Audenshaw Road in Audenshaw, at a time when both cattle and horses were still regular users of public highways.
It is sited adjacent to a passenger tram electricity transformer (item 1478/4/43) with which it has group value.

St Stephen Church

Built in 1845 -1846 for the Church Commissioners the architect being E.H. SHELLARD. The chancel was added in 1900. Hammer dressed stone with a slate roof. It uses a three sided gallery plan with a central west tower, chancel and vestry. It is of Gothic revival design with six bay aisles (no clerestory) with weathered plinth, continuous source sill band and coped parapet above eaves band. Each bay has a weathered gableted buttress and a paired lancet window with colonnettes and hoodmoulds. Two doors below the gables are in the western most bays. Corner pinnacles. There is a five stage tower with shallow angled buttresses with nook shafts, west door, lancet openings, clock faces in front of a blind arcade, gargoyles and a broach spire with lucarnes. The later built chancel uses similar architectural vocabulary with a three Lancet east window with stained glass. The interior has a double chamfered nave arcade with heavy shaft rings to quatrefoil columns which support the arcaded gallery. There are arch braced roof trusses on moulded corbels. There is a twentieth century partition to adapt below the rear gallery. The pulpit and pews are of wood. There is a stone font and there are some stained glass windows.

See more about the History of St Stephens

The Audenshaw War Memorial

war_memorialFrom “The Otter” October 2004
Inside the gates of Audenshaw Cemetery comprises of a bronze statue of a soldier in battle dress, with both hands holding a rifle.  The statue stands on a square light-
grey granite pedestal with cornice. The names of over 140 servicemen who died in the First World War are inscribed on dark marble panels on the pedestal.  The principal inscriptions are placed at the base of the pedestal on all four sides and stone tablets around the base record the names of the dead of the Second World War.
Public meetings were held in the winter of 1918-
19 to discuss the erection of a war memorial in Audenshaw and the appeal for funds initially met with a good response.  Donations were given by individuals and businesses and were supplemented by money raised by events such as cinema shows.  
Designs were submitted for the proposed memorial and the commission was awarded to a London sculptor, Percy Bentham.  Six sites were considered for the memorial and the entrance to Audenshaw Cemetery was considered to be the most suitable.  When the service of dedication took [place in November 1920 it began with a procession of some 7,000 people from Coronation Square to the cemetery.  Councillor W. Richardson unveiled the memorial.  At the time of the unveiling an amount of £240 remained to be collected towards the £1,270 the memorial had cost and the organisers had intended to hold a collection at the ceremony but had overlooked the need to obtain permission from the police.  The Dukinfield firm of W. Hewitt and Son, monumental masons were responsible for the stonework.  The statue stands 183 cm high and the inscription on the memorial reads: 


The memorial is signed by the sculptor P G Bentham RBS

Audenshaw Lodge.


The date 1774 is inscribed on the left Gable. Flemish and header bond brick with graduated stone slate roof. There is a double central staircase plan with the two stories and it has later additions to left and rear. The central bay it is slightly advanced. Eaves cornice. Central 8 panelled door in pilasters and cornice head with overlight and a later larger classical surround. The plankings around bows are additions and have tripartite sashes curved on plan, sill bands and eaves cornices. Three first floor sash windows (16 and 12 pane) under flat gauged brick arches with stone keys, the centre scrolled (one window replaced by twentieth century casement). Gable chimney stacks. There is a small central dormer window. There are two bay nineteenth-century additions to the left. The interior has six panel doors and a staircase with turned up balusters and column newels.

The barn to the West of Audenshaw Lodge


Built in the 17th century but with some 19th century alterations. English garden wall bond brick with graduated stone slate roof. Stone plinth. Opposed cart and winnowing doors  with animal accommodation possibly stabling, in the east end. Tall elliptical arched wagon entrance now blocked has gauged brick arch and brick drip mould. Similar arch to a smaller doorway in the east and with a drip mould which runs continuously over two 2 light double chamfered stone mullion windows. Gable oculi. Raised lozenge and heart decoration in brick work. Two large 19th century openings in south side. Three tiers of slit vents on each elevation. Stone plinth and steeply pitched roof. A purlin roof on collar and tie beam trusses and with struts to the principals.


Former Transformer Pillar


A former transformer pillar at the junction of Audenshaw Road and Manchester Road.
The transformer pillar was built in about 1900. It is of cast iron and consists of a circular pillar on a 20th century concrete base topped by a street lamp. The face is split vertically into panels and horizontally into three stages. On the front it bears the Manchester coat-of-arms and a plate records the maker; the British Electric Transformer Company. Another plate records the restoration by Norweb  in 1983. Enriched cast iron panels are on the top stage. The conical top is above a bead and reel band. The structure is topped by a hexagonal lamp on a decorative spindle.

Ryecroft Hall

ryecroft_hallA private house now used as offices for Tameside MBC. Rectangular stone construction (Ashlar) with a slate roof. The large L shaped house has 4 X 7 bays with two storeys (plus attic level). Projecting plinth, with continuous bands at the first floor and eaves level and coped parapet which is raked over the principal gables. Bays 1 and 4 are slightly advanced and gabled. Entrance porch in bay 3 has enriched doors beneath a Tudor arch, diagonal buttresses and a pierced parapet. Windows generally have two or three lights with double chamfered mullions and transoms and hoodmoulds. Other windows include square and canted bays (the later with a castellated parapet) and oriels at first floor level.. There are ornate finials to the gables. The roof is steeply pitched. Many of the original internal features survive,
Ryecroft Hall is built on the land bought from the Earl of Stamford and Warrington in 1849 by James Smith Buckley. The Earl owned much of the land around Tameside and the estate is still a major landowner.

Ownership details from a leaflet produced by the Society’s  for  visitors to the Hall

James Buckley and his brother Abel were cotton manufacturers owning Ryecroft and Oxford Road Mills near St Peter’s church Ashton, the Buckley’s were a very rich family, and as you look around Ryecroft Hall you will see James intended to live in some style.
The Hall took several years to build, with all the necessary comforts of a Victorian gentleman; a library, large dining room, study, billiard room, ball room as well as sitting rooms bedrooms and servants quarters. The outbuildings had stables and coach houses. Many of the rooms still have the original wood panelling and very ornate ceilings which are still in existence.
James Buckley had died in 1851 with the hall still unfinished and it was inherited by his son also a James, who then sold it to his brother William Smith Buckley who lived in the luxury of the hall until his death in 1877. In 1885 the hall was passed on to Abel Buckley, William’s cousin. (Another Abel!)
Abel lived at Ryecroft Hall for 22 years, he was an extremely rich man having interests in collieries, hotels and banks as well as retaining interests in cotton mills the start of his wealth. . He was a Congregationalist and gave large amounts of money for the building of the Albion Chapel in Ashton. (Was it built to be taller than the nearby Parish church, there was a lot of religious rivalry in the nineteenth century)
In 1908 Abel died and the Hall was owned by his sons until February 1913 when it was sold to Austin Hopkinson. He was another rich man this time making his money from engineering. He built the Delta works in Audenshaw to produce coal cutting machinery which he had invented and developed.
He served as a local Councillor and was MP for the area from 1918 until 1945 with just one short break. He was a generous man and was very innovative and liberal in dealing with his work force at the Delta works.
During the Great War 1914 – 1918 the Hall became a Red Cross hospital.
In 1922 the house and grounds were given to Audenshaw, and it served as the administrative centre and social centre for the Urban District until the formation of Tameside MBC in 1974.


Aldwyn School Audenshaw

In 2007 Aldwyn County Primary school will combine with The Hawthorns on a new site within the present Aldwyn complex and so will begin a new phase in the Aldwyn story which began in the early nineteen fifties:

It began on 7th September 1953 when the area was in the care of Audenshaw Urban District Council and for education came under Lancashire Education Committee, Division 24. Two schools began on the present site, an Infant and a Junior School:  Aldwyn County Infant School with initially 102 children; Headmistress: Miss I.G. Marsden and four staff, and Aldwyn County Junior School with initially 138 children; Headmaster: Mr J. Taylor and 5 staff.

Until the late sixties trains still went along the low embankment which ran along the eastern boundary fence of the school and in my memory they just seemed to fade away.
During the life of the school it saw the massive concrete pipes of the water link from Haweswater to Manchester go down into the ground below the school field from north to south – Let’s hope that the builders of the new school buildings know about that!!
And so the schools began; The first really interesting entry in the school log book, of interest to both schools was as -follows:

‘Oct. 29th, 1953 – The school heating apparatus began to function today for the first time since our opening.’

And then ‘May 12th 1955. Today was the Official Opening Ceremonies of both schools attended by members of the Audenshaw Urban District Council and representatives of the Lancashire Education Authority and the Inspectorate and other local dignitaries”. (They all signed the book).

And again ‘September 20th 1957. (Juniors) A flu epidemic reduced the school attendance drastically – only 143 present out of 220.’

The schools worked well together for twenty eight years, and they amalgamated in September 1981, when the school became non-streamed as it has remained since, through good and bad times to reach its current healthy position in the present educational environment.
For my own part I spent 1963 to 1988 at Aldwyn – wonderful days, wonderful colleagues and wonderful children at a vibrant happy school, buzzing with a variety of activities in all aspects of the curriculum, with parental trust and co-operation and the out-of-school and sports’ activities adding to the overall ethos.
We had a fine support cleaning, welfare and kitchen staff, an obliging and diligent caretaker and a wonderfully caring and supportive board of managers as they were then known – keen hardworking and strictly non-political, adding to the school’s strength and success through their efforts and interest. These were the days of the 11 plus selection process and the numbers of those achieving entrance to Audenshaw and Fairfield steadily increased with the growth of the school.
The children came through the period of political ping-pong successfully until things settled down again.
Over the years Aldwyn became all-round contenders in the local schools’ sporting programme, acquitting itself well at football, cricket, cross-country and athletics, skittleball and swimming. The school was for years the home pitch for Association Football, with Ashton and District Boys and then Tameside Boys playing there at under1l level. This only came to an end when the Football Association, in its ignorance, killed off Association Football (that is, Inter Association) at under 11 junior level.
The Annual School trip for 36 children in the top year became an established feature of the School Year: first to Great Hucklow and then to the Isle of Wight and Torquay, by train and then later by Mayne’s Coach. It is interesting to note the price for the children and what they got for their money. They saved up for the £36.00 travel and board and then saved again so that each one could have 2/6d (12½p) per day spends with an extra 5/- (25p) for presents! And they managed believe it or not!!
The itinerary for the Torquay trip saw them visiting Brixham by boat, treading the picturesque Bishop’s Walk, Cockington village, Fingle Bridge, glorious Dittisham with its plumb orchards bordering the river Dart, the atmospheric Berry Pomeroy castle (reputedly Britain’s most haunted), the Aircraft museum, Kent’s Cavern and the Model Village, Oddicombe, Rabbacombe and Meadfoot Peaches And, probably best of all, a day with the Navy at HMS Drake at Plymouth (fascinating  – execution Dock, the Ropewalk, a frigate and an aircraft carrier and watching two tough teams vie against each other in the Gun Carriage Race practice sessions for the Royal Tattoo later in the year).
I often wonder how much that itinerary would have cost one in those days, let alone now!
To round off our stay, it became a tradition for the boys and girls to stage a last-night concert (with an MC.) in the hotel grounds with the principal guests being our host and hostess. Evenings saw little groups rehearsing in corners of the garden and, believe me, on the night it knocked the X-Factor into a cocked hat!!
Little memories·: Elaine Klawza stepping out of her immoveable boat into Ventnor’s Boating Pool to do her Humphrey Bogart “African Queen” act.
Richard Foden and David Woodhead composing their remarkably singable “Isle of Wight anthem
A little angelic member of the party just about to board one of her Majesty’s frigates at Plymouth, asking Mr Dugdale,” Sir, do you think I look like a spy?”
Sir: No, I don’t think so,
Kate Well, perhaps a mince pie!
Enough of memories
In the last twenty years, Aldwyn has seen cloakrooms converted into computer rooms, a splendid library room, run lovingly by Derek Lomas, ex-librarian and caring governor, the whole school carpeted cosily, additional support staff, new teachers and the facilities to allow up to two dozen children with special needs into the school atmosphere, much improved toilet facilities and fencing around the school buildings, regrettable but unavoidable in the current climate.
Living in the locality has allowed me to keep in contact with ex-Aldwynians in their future careers. That they all remember life at their Junior and Infant school with pleasure and affection is most rewarding.
Aldwyn will always be a good school. It is in good hands and with another phase in its life fast approaching will settle to continue to give a sound grounding to some of the best young people in Tameside. My very best wishes to all who have and will play a part in its future and my sincere thanks to the school for what it has meant to me during my working life and the years since.

Alan Millea. 1963 – 1988.


According to Alan Rose in his ‘The Heritage of Red Hall Methodist Church, Audenshaw, 1782-1982’, the first library of any kind was the Red Hall Sunday School one. It certainly went back to 1860, as in the early 1980’s a M.Ed dissertation was written by a P. Hermon entitled ‘Red Hall Methodist Sunday School library, 1860-1880’. This dissertation was essentially statistical, but included a copy of the library’s rules, and a copy of the 1879 catalogue. The Society has not seen the dissertation.
Alan Rose states of the 1879 catalogue that it showed about 700 books were then available, not all for children. The child­ren’s titles tended to be of the ‘improving’ variety.
The library continued until the Sunday School moved into its new building in 1909, this building was a Sunday School only, not a day school as well. The library books were then sold off.
As regards to public libraries, the story can be traced back to 1913. The 1892 Public Libraries Act allowed all urban local authorities to run libraries, but they could please themselves. Audenshaw ‘adopted’ the Act in 1913, but instead of starting a library they made an agreement with the Ashton-under-Lyne council that Audenshaw residents be allowed to use Ashton’s libraries. This agreement lasted until 1926 when the Audenshaw Council surrendered its library powers to Lancashire County Council under the terms of the 1919 Public Libraries Act. Incidentally it was the first Urban District in the country to do such a thing.
Lancashire County Council wasted no time in setting up a lib­rary service for Audenshaw’s residents. A County Branch library was opened in the Y.M.C.A. premises on Denton Road in 1926. The lease was ended in 1936 and a library was opened off Guide Lane on Providence Road. These premises were used until the purpose built Denton Road branch was constructed at the end of the Thirties.

The YMCA, Denton Road. The words Audenshaw Public Library are on the window to the left of the door

There was a public library in Ryecroft Hall after the Hall was taken over by Audenshaw UDC in 1922. The library room of the Hall when a private residence, was converted to a public library and this was run by Lancashire County Council with facilities for borrowing books from anywhere in the County. The library room in the Hall still has its original fittings but perhaps it goes un-noticed, the room is now a Local government office.
Lancashire built a new library at the Junction of Denton Road and Stamford Road which was opened on 29 June 1940 by Austin Hopkinson. The library was of the style of the thirties with rustic brick and iron window frames. The present Droylsden Library is bigger but similar in style.



Denton Road Library. Opened by Lancashire LCC in 1940 & closed by Tameside MBC in 1989

A portion of land at Ryecroft at the junction of Manchester Road and Lumb Lane was transferred from Audenshaw UDC to Lancashire CC in 1938 so that the County Council could build a second Library in Audenshaw. Because of the war this new library was not opened until 5 October 1966 (by County Alderman L. Ball), following which the library within the hall was discontinued.






St Hilda’s

Pictures of the original church in 1924

In 1863 St Stephen’s church opened a Sunday School in Hooley Hill led by the lay reader Mr Dyson. In 1879 this moved to a new building in Denton Lane (now Denton Road) in a position approximating to the present Community Centre. For many years this was known as the Branch school and became a day school as well as a Sunday school.

With the opening of Poplar Street school which was financed by the Lancashire Education Committee in 1913, the church day school was closed in 1914, but the building continued for many years as a Sunday school and mission church. The mission church then chose the name St Hilda, and in January 1924 a new district was created and in April Reverend E. B. Clarke took up his position as the first incumbent. Mr Clarke was a middle of the road Anglican. A piece of land was purchased at the junction of Denton Road and Ashton Road. A board was erected announcing the site of a new Church Saint Hilda’s. A temporary wood and asbestos church building was constructed on the present site of the church which was consecrated on 11 November 1924 by Rt. Rev. William Temple Bishop of Manchester.

The old school building at the other end of Denton Road was ultimately sold to a rubber factor of Pitt Street which used the building for storage.

Mr Clarke stayed until 1929 when he was replaced by Revd. F. A. C. Tidmarsh, who was a very high Anglican and had introduced various emblems in the church and had much to the irritation of the parochial council referred to Holy Communion as the Mass. In the interregnum the emblems were removed by the PCC. The vicarage was then a semi detached house on Shepley Road.

Mr Tidmarsh’s incumbency was very short and he was replaced by Rev. W. Rowland Jones. Mr Jones could be described as a character. His autobiography “Diary of a Misfit Priest” makes interesting reading; it is perhaps remarkable that he ever got a parish living having read his views on bishops. There was some politics in the appointment in that Mr Jones was an active labour party supporter. In his meeting with the ecclesiastical secretary at 10 Downing Street he was told “You are fortunate in your friends, Mr Jones. They have brought your name to my attention, and the Prime Minister has pressed me to write to you. This is a poor parish. There is no church, only a temporary wooden building. The house is not very good. You would be well advised not to accept it. There will be others if you can wait”

If you read Jones’ book you will realise offers of posts to him were few and far between, he needed to get the appointment. A somewhat heated interview followed with the Bishop of Manchester, who agreed perhaps reluctantly to licence him; he had not heard of Jones until he got the letter from the Prime Minister. Mr Jones described his churchmanship as simple Anglo-Catholic. He was an active socialist and wrote weekly articles for the Daily Herald. He spent his early years in the parish raising money for a permanent church building.

On 22nd May 1936 a Friday evening, the asbestos and wood church building was burnt down. Do we believe in Acts of God? A big money raising campaign was started the church being then described as Catholic Evangelical. This caused antagonism from a neighbouring evangelical parish and yet another stormy meeting with the Bishop of Manchester. In spite of all the difficulties; with money raised within the parish, donations from supporters and the insurance claim from the temporary church building, the foundation stone of the new church was laid by the Bishop of Manchester Rt. Revd. Dr Guy Warman on the 29th May 1937 and on 26th February 1938 the new church was consecrated. Up to this time the church ministers were referred to as Curate in Charge or Incumbent, but Jones now became the first Vicar.

The new building on consecration consisted of a chancel, three vestries and one bay of the nave.
After 22 years as vicar Fr Rowland Jones was succeeded in 1952 by Father Eric Parker, who served the parish for four years. September 1956 saw the arrival of Father Brian Bason who was welcomed as a ‘local lad made good.’ An old boy of Audenshaw Grammar School, he had studied at Leeds University and trained for the ordained ministry at the College of the Resurrection, Mirfield.  Father Bason became the longest-serving incumbent to date, with 33 years’ service (1956-89).

In February 1978, the ‘temporary’ parish hall next to the church was burned down by vandals. Built by German prisoners of war in 1944, at the invitation of Fr Rowland Jones, the wooden hut was the meeting place for the Scouts and other church-based organisations and used for a variety of social events during its lifespan. The hall known locally as the Shack had but recently been refurbished by a team of volunteers led by churchwarden and Scout leader Bill Marston. While it was heartbreaking to see the demise of a building in which so much time, energy and money had been invested, the vicar and parochial church council (PCC) agreed that St Hilda’s must now look to the future.

The church, built 40 years earlier, became a dual-purpose building. The seating in church consisted of wooden chairs rather than pews and so it was relatively easy to create a central space which could be used as a hall on weekdays The dual-purpose arrangement was made permanent in 1983 when a dividing screen was constructed, separating the nave from the chancel and sanctuary. The screen is opened for Sunday services, when the nave is set out in traditional style with rows of chairs. A nave altar is used for the celebration of the Eucharist and administration of Holy Communion.

Father Bason was succeeded by the present incumbent, Father John Kershaw in November 1989. Father John, as he is known to his parishioners, moved into the new vicarage which had been built within the church grounds, five years previously. The house replaced the previous St Hilda’s Vicarage, 100 yards away at 209 Ashton Road, Denton, which was sold and converted into flats.

Bridge Street Chapel


A full account of the history of the church can be found in “Goodnight To You All”, by Eileen Perfect

Copies of which are available to read in Tameside Archive Library




Wesleyan Chapel

Hooley Hill (Wesleyans) Methodist Church 1796 –2004 by Ralph Smethurst former Steward of the Church

Original interior of Chapel

To set the scene, it is recorded by James Butterworth in his book on the ‘Parish of Ashton-under-Lyne’ that Hooley Hill was a very populous village connected with Guide Lane. Itcontained about 250 houses, and allowing six per dwelling, gave a total population of around 1,500 inhabitants. On Shepley Road stood Shepley Hall, which was described as an “elegant mansion with extensive gardens and pleasure grounds bordered by perennials and hot houses”. With that exception, one might say that the people of Hooley Hill were on the whole rather poor.

Chapel in 2014

The Wesley Methodist Society was formed in Hooley Hill in 1786 by a group of members from the Red Hall Methodist Church, Audenshaw. The reason is unknown but could well be the fact that the Red Hall Church had left the Wesley tradition and joined the New Connexion Branch of the Methodist Church. Whatever the reason they had started something that would be a source of Christian Fellowship and Education for over 200 years.

The first meetings were held in the houses of the members as work began raising money to obtain suitable meeting rooms. Nowadays we would say they wanted to get onto the building ladder, I suppose. Well they soon obtained a cottage and loom house (weaving place) and with the dividing wall removed this became what they called the “Preaching Room”. It was on the corner of Nelson Street and Print Street which is now Guide Lane. So the Wesleyans, as people called them, could start to plan for the future. It is recorded that a few earnest men, members of the newly formed Methodist Society, seeing the deplorable state of ignorance and lack of education displayed by the children of the village, decided to conduct a Sunday School.
Original School 1855 – 1901

The first-meeting was held in 1797 and so in 10 short years they had moved from housemeetings to owning their own Church and Sunday School where they started the teaching of children, which continued until 1950 with great success. The number of scholars increased rapidly with children coming from as far away as Stalybridge, Houghton and Dukinfield. Soon the premises were found to be much too small and in 1806 a new purpose built Chapel and Sunday School was built. Then a large cottage adjacent to the Chapel was converted for school use with the girls taught upstairs and the boys downstairs.

The first recorded attendance figures tell us that on January 26th 1817 17 teachers and 234 scholars attended. Two years later the numbers had increased to 22 teachers and 424 scholars. Obviously parents wanted their children to learn of God’s Love as well as learning the 3R’s. At this time the following classes were held: –
  • Bible Class
  • Alphabet Class
  • Spelling Book
  • Class Reading made Easy
  • Testament Class
Final upper-floor service area

It was not, however, plain sailing for the officials and teachers who had many obstacles to overcome. One of these was the narrow-minded Church folk who objected to children being taught on the Sabbath Day. Eventually they got over this by starting evening classes on 2 nights in the week specifically to teach the children to read and write. Could this have been one of the very first night schools in the country? Whether it was or not, this was the start of organised teaching in Hooley Hill and was further reinforced by the building of a new school building in 1855. This building was then replaced in 1901 by the two-storey school which was in use until 1950.

Sit back now while I pick out some items from the Minute Books of history: –


  • The first Hooley Hill Wesley Methodist Church opens its doors. It is recorded that the teachers would collect rushes to place on the dirt floor.
July 18th 1819: 
  • New school occupied for the first time.
February 13th 1820: 
  • Teachers and children reminded of their mortality taken from the death of King George III.
  • Female teachers appeared on the register for the first time. Before this only men could take official positions.
February 21st 1824: 
  • At a Sunday School meeting it was agreed that slates be bought for use of the writers now beginning to write. Agreed that boards with pegs be put up for the bays to hang hats on. (200 pegs).
May 10th 1824: 
  • Agreed that the girls take off bonnets when writing.
  • Agreed that the men teachers proceed to the White Hart Hotel for a meal after the Whit Walk. The lady teachers would take afternoon tea in the schoolroom. Quite right!

September 7th 1828:  

  • This morning a meeting took place and James Dickenson was called up, charged with having thrown stones at the fruit trees behind the school. He was dismissed on his acknowledgement and with a promise of better behaviour.

May 23rd 1832

  • Plans for Whit Friday. There shall be 350 cakes for the scholars and milk as last year. There shall be 500 circulars, 500 hymn sheets and 50 post bills printed. 
I could find many more examples which, in hindsight, you would find amusing, or perhaps would make you shed a tear, but at the time they were very serious business. On many occasions a meeting would commence at 7.00pm, adjourned at 10.30pm to come back the next night again. I don’t suppose they would have missed Coronation Street or Sports Report would they?
In closing, may I remind you that since the first child went on the register in 1797, many thousands have learned the Love of God in Christ Jesus and received the elementaries of education here at the Hooley Hill Wesley Methodist Church and School. The buildings on Guide Lane are now closed, but the fellowship and teaching goes on. The Church has now joined with Bridge Street United Reformed Church and Red Hall Methodist Church to form ‘Trinity Church’ on Audenshaw Road, Audenshaw. A warm welcome awaits you if you wish to pop in and see us.
Thank you for your interest. God Bless.

Red Hall Chapel

The present church building will probably be demolished in 2007, and a new building opened with the name Trinity Church used for the previously independent churches Red Hall Methodists, Guide Lane Methodists and Bridge Street United Reformed Church.

The Red Hall manor house was taken over by Robert Thorneley and his two brothers in 1771.

In 1775 Methodists Meetings began in Red Hall.

1777: Red Hall society named in Manchester Methodists Circuit Accounts

1779: the Sunday School was opened in Red Hall.

1782: the building of the original Chapel commenced.

1783: the Chapel was opened

1786: John Wesley visited the Red Hall Society

1786: Red Hall in the Stockport Methodist Circuit

1797: Red Hall leaves the Wesleyan Church and joined the Methodist New Connection.

1804: Red Hall part of the Ashton MNC Circuit.

1876: The original Chapel submerged under the Reservoirs and the new Chapel built with the compensation.

1907: the Methodist New Connection becomes part of the Methodist United Church.

1907: Extensions to the church and in

1909: the Sunday School building is opened.

1932: the MUC becomes part of the Methodist Church

Mr Alan Rose wrote a history of Red Hall Methodists Church in 1982. The Society has reproduced this book and added a chapter by Mrs Lena Slack and some photographs. The first chapter of the book can be viewed here Early Days


Saxon Farm

The society has a number of files compiled by Harry Baxter who worked hard to record facts about Audenshaw and was instrumental among many other things in persuading the council to look after the Trough.

Harry wrote the following about Saxon Farm:

“Saxon Farm was demolished in 1957 as part of the expansion of Jackson’s brick works quarrying for Clay.

In 1957 I was 14 years of age and crossed the Brickyard as it was called-5 days a week from Groby Road North to Popular St School, I passed the Farm on my way and during demolition of the farm the labourers found many items of historic interest. I remember being shown large heavy copper pennies, which I believe were nicknamed waggon wheels.
I have seen old photos of Saxon farm, also called Stelfox farm as is the Lane leading to the farm off Guide Lane . The whole of the Clay Quarry was later filed with municipal rubbish then landscaped”

Butterworth in 1823 wrote the following:

“Stelfox Farm, held by lease under the baronial proprietor by — Stelfox, Esq. of Crowley Lodge, near Budworth, in Cheshire. It is at present in the occupation of Mr. Thomas Percival, and contains sixty acres, Lancashire measure. The outbuildings are extensive, with a spacious yard, and an ancient oak spreading its branches on the south, behind which is a large orchard. Over the door in front of Mr. Percival’s house is inscribed N.S.S., 1719. These are evidently the initials of Nicholas Saxon and Sarah his wife, by whose family the estate had long been possessed, as it appears by the assessment of 1618, that Nicholas and Henry Saxon, at that time, possessed a considerable extent of land in Audenshaw. Returning through this solitary lane, and taking the direction of the main road towards Manchester, we pass a regular series of modern-built brick cottages, relieved betwixt each cluster, by a momentary glance at the farms and cottages which enliven the township of Droylsden, in the parish of Manchester, which are contrasted in the distance by the peat hill and barren moss of Ashton. These continued ranges of humble dwellings which margin the Manchester road for a mile or more, are denominated collectively the village of Audenshaw.”

High Ash farm

From Harry Baxter’s memoirs 2000
This farm was just a few hundred yards from my home on Audenshaw Road.  The rear of the building and the field of the farm backed on to Sidmouth Street, and Edward Street.  In the field was a large pond, just off the Sidmouth Street, I remember cows grazing this field and being herded down Audenshaw Road on to Groby Road North, to graze on fields off Slate Lane, it seems incredible now with the amount of traffic we have now. The farm was demolished in 1983

From James Butterworth, 1823
High Ash, is so-called from a tall tree of that species, which formally spread its branches over the ancient habitation that stood there.  The present erection is a farmhouse, in the occupation of Mr James Hurst, and contains 36 acres under lease to Mrs Stopford of Denton.
The old mansion of High Ash was erected in the year 1444, and consisted of large and spacious rooms, wainscoated with wood, and appeared to be finished for some distinguished family, for on pulling it down in 1814, and removing several coats of plaster from the walls, there were discovered several excellent paintings by a masterly hand, of figures large as life, and colours in good preservation, amongst which were the arms of Henry VI, richly emblazoned form the head of the apartment, also our Saviour, and several Romish priests and kings, some of which are still preserved and in the possession of Mr Daniel Howarth of Audenshaw house.

From the Reporter, the 25th March 1983.
A prominent landmark in Audenshaw Road, Audenshaw High Ash farm, which nestled beside Red Hall Methodist Church, and was tenanted by the Worthington family for almost 100 years, has been demolished, but the memories linger on.  Yarns of when the horse and cart was a common form of transport, and Audenshaw was a rural area, were recalled by members of the Worthington family some of whom travelled from as far away as Shrewsbury, Stourbridge and Cumbria at a family reunion on Saturday at Trough house.  Modern houses now replace the old High Ash farm cottage and feels members of Red Hall church in which the Worthington family were members also have happy memories of the farm. Following the Whitsuntide walks, in years gone by, it was the custom many children to gather at the farm for milk and buns and later play games there.
Mr Graeme Worthington, who farmed at High Ash, said Saturday it will was a real and enjoyable occasion.  References were made in speeches to the old days, but we all realise there had to be progress.  The farm was originally tenanted by his grandfather, the late Mr Alfred Worthington, the oldest tenant farmer on the Stamford estate.  He commenced work as a farm boy and was paid the humble sum of 50 shillings a year for his services.  Mr Graeme Worthington said that originally there were some 70 acres of farmland were gradually land was gobbled up the building development.  This Alfred Worthington was followed at the farm by his son Charles, and then by his sons, firstly Graeme and finally Albert.

Shepley Farm

Shepley farm house was built in the second half of the 19th century and was part of the Shepley Hall estate.  The farm house stood next to the much older Shepley Hall, which was demolished in the1930’s. The farm house was demolished in the year 2000 in spite of great efforts by Harry Baxter to prevent this happening.  The farm was a very picturesque building; a country picture in the middle of urban sprawl.  It is this aspect that Harry felt was very important to keep and which was ignored by the authorities.  Harry found support from local Audenshaw councillors, but Tameside MBC approved the destruction and the site is now occupied by 16 semi-detached houses.

An account by Mr Phillips the tenant farmer of Shepley in 1990.
“I remember Shepley Hall before it was demolished in the 1930s it should never have been pulled down if it had survived another 30 years or so it would probably have become retirement home as it happened the site was a desirable one new houses overlooking Tame Valley.”  Asked after 50 years or more what he remembers of the Hall’s appearance, “I was impressed by its windows they came right down to ground level.


The map of the district in 1885 shows Hooley Hill to have been a pleasant semi-rural area with several plantations amongst the houses and a woodland strip along the mill race below the hall, the hall’s grounds with an orchard extended down the valley almost to Shepley Bridge.



From Butterworth 1823
the elegant mansion, and anciently recorded estate of Shepley Hall, formerly the residents of a branch of the family of the Assheton’s, of Ashton under Lyne, is modern built, and laid out in a handsome manner with extensive gardens, and pleasure grounds, bordered with perennials, and a range of hothouses for the production of foreign fruits, exotics, etc.  The present proprietor has very extensive printing works adjacent thereto.  The interior of the house is adorned with a large collection of paintings, by the first masters, both of the ancient and modern schools, whose pictures are suspended by guilt chains, from similarly strong gilded rods, through the different rooms.  John Law, Esq is the present proprietor.

Kings Road Farm

Kings Road Farm (by George Walker)

The farm was accessed from Audenshaw Road via a private road named Kings Road on the Manchester Corporation Water Works estate.

The farm was situated on the east side of Kings Road on a narrow strip of land beneath the side of No.3 reservoir.
The property consists of an imposing farm house standing on the edge of Kings Road, and the farm buildings formed a courtyard design. Kings Road was built as an access road to Debdale at the time of the construction of the reservoirs before the building of Kings Road Farm.

The farm was built around 1890, and appears for the first time on an OS map of 1895. The house was a large family house with two large rooms at the front and a large kitchen, with a large scullery /cellar at the rear.
There were four large bedrooms and a bathroom on the first floor, and on the second floor two more medium size bedrooms.

The rear of the house has a walled yard with a wash house, coal store and outside toilet.
Behind these outhouses lay the very long stable, shippon barn building.
This is a narrow building, approximately 20 feet wide and over 200 feet long.
At the left end of the building were the stable for the horses with four horse stalls, and a large loose box for sick animals.

There was a brick dividing wall separating the stable from the shippon section, and this part held 40 standings (stalls) for cattle, and ran the whole length of the building in a continuous line, broken only by the corn, proven store with a large pit for brewer’s grains to be stored, this being in the centre of the building.
In the corn store was the staircase leading into the lofts above,
The lofts stretch the full length of the building, and when filled with hay would hold between 60 and 70 tons of hay for winter fodder.

This building was not a natural Lancashire barn building, and some opinions have been that it may have had a different use by the MCWW before it became a farm property. The top of the yard was squared off with a brick garage, and facing the long barn an open ended storage shed. Alongside was a midden store with concrete base and next to this a double yard pig sty. The boiler house stood next to this, and an open fronted vehicle shed, which were all of brick and slate. Finally completing the courtyard rectangle was the dairy building which contained the facilities for milk processing.

There were some 70 acres of land to the farm, of which 22 acres were reservoir embankments, these were for grazing only. In the 1930’s Mr John Bradley and his family tenanted the farm, by 1943 Mr George Walker and his family took over the tenancy.

A major setback for the Walkers occurred in 1961 when Manchester Corporation Water Works took 50 acres of land from the farm and allocated the land to Fairfield Golf Club for a 9 hole golf course, because Fairfield had lost a 9 hole course when the Wright Robinson School was built on it.
This left the Walkers with no option but to look for another farm, as Kings Road Farm could no longer sustain a milking herd.

Mr George Walker Jnr. remained at Kings Road still managing the milk rounds in Audenshaw, and utilising the remaining 20 odd acres of embankments grazing beef cattle. In 1995 he relinquished his tenancy with United Utilities, as the M60 Manchester Outer Ring road began to swallow up the remaining land at Kings Road Farm. Thus ended 52 years of occupancy by the family, and in 1997 the farm was demolished.

Debdale Farm

Debdale Farm (by George Walker)

The now converted and modernised farmhouse and buildings are situated off Kings Road just 100 yards along Corn Hill Lane.

The property is contained in a rectangular area of 1 acre of land, with the farm house on the left of the yard entrance, and on the right is what was a shippon building for cattle with a hay loft above.

On entering the yard, to the left lay a long pond, and at the top of the yard was a long building used probably as the stable and proven store for feeding stuffs.

In the middle of this barn on the right hand side was a large doorway some 15 feet high where horse drawn wagons could be backed in for the purpose of unloading hay into the lofts on each side of this doorway.

This building appears to have been older than the shippon building, having old original hand cut roof beams.

The dating of the farm is not specific as it appears on the Yates 1786 map as a part of a large farming estate; however it is later named on an OS map of 1875.

The farms acreage might have been around 50 acres up to the 1870’s.

The access to the farm originally would have been from Debdale Lane, prior to the 1870’s there was no Kings Road.

The Manchester Corporation Water Works constructed Kings Road as an access during the building of the reservoirs in the 1880’s.

In the late 1980′ s the now North West Water Authority sold off the properties on Corn Hill Lane, and a private developer purchased Debdale Farm house and buildings and converted them into separate dwellings. The pond was filled in.

During the course of alterations to the farmhouse the developer uncovered an early cruck frame.

Cruck frames are difficult to date as they were used in earlier times for construction up to around the 16th century.

This could lead to a possible time of construction for Debdale Farm.

This was probably a part arable and grassland farm, because of the shippon and stalls milk cows would have been a major source of income.

However it is reasonable to assume that not much farming would have taken place after the formation of Denton Golf Club in 1909, when much of the land at Debdale Farm would have been absorbed in the construction of the new golf course

Debdale Farm, the farmers(by Anthony Steven)

A look at the census returns from 1841 to 1901 shows that just two families occupied Debdale Farm over the period.  The Moss family are enumerated from 1841 to 1871 and it is assumed they left the farm sometime during the next ten years as the Higginbottom family are enumerated there from 1881 to 1901.  It seems likely that the Moss family farmed at Debdale Farm for some years prior to 1841 and some of the children were born at Debdale in the early 1830s though it should be considered that they may have been at another site in the area.
In 1841 William Moss is shown with his wife, 6 daughters and 4 sons.  The 1851 census shows him as a farmer of 44 acres employing 2 labourers and his wife, 7 daughters, 3 sons and a farm labourer are shown with him.  By 1861 he is a farmer of 50 statute acres employing 2 men and 1 boy.  With him are again his wife, 5 daughters and 1 son.  1871 shows him as a farmer of 48 acres employing 1 labourer and this time his wife, 3 daughters, 2 sons and a granddaughter are living at Debdale Farm.

Ten years later in 1881 the Higginbottom family are now at the farm with William Higginbottom a farmer of 70 acres employing 1 man, his wife Maria, 3 daughters, 4 sons and a domestic servant.  The next return in 1891 lists Maria Higginbottom, a widow, as a farmer and also her 2 daughters, 1 son, a visitor aged 3 years and a farm servant.  Maria Higginbottom appears to have died before the 1901 census on which William Higginbottom is enumerated as a farmer and listed with 2 sisters and a farm servant (boy).  Williams age and those of the 2 sisters identify them as the children of William and Maria.

Slater’s Directory of 1909 shows the occupant of Debdale Farm as Wm Higginbottom giving the possibility that only two families were at Debdale Farm for about 100 years.

Public Houses

Reported by Anthony Steven


Henry and Elizabeth Brown with daughter, Elizabeth.
Landlords of The Hanging Gate 1891 – 1902

This list of public houses in Audenshaw has been compiled from entries in Trade Directories and Census Returns and covers references from 1821.  It is not known whether this is a comprehensive list.  The names in brackets are alternative names by which the establishments were recorded.  The names of the licencees are available on request but do not cover the whole period in which the premises were operating.

  • Angel
  • Beaver  (Beaver Inn)
  • Blue Pig  (Blue Pig Inn)
  • Bull
  • Bull’s Head
  • Church Inn
  • Coach & Horses
  • Gate   (Cross Gate – Hanging Gate Inn)
  • Guide Bridge Inn (Guide Bridge & Railway Inn – Guide Bridge & Railway
  • Hotel – The Boundary)
  • Junction Inn
  • Mechanics Arms (The Hooley Hill)
  • New Inn
  • Pack Horse  (Pack Horse Inn)
  • Queen’s Arms  (Queen’s Arms Inn)
  • Red Lion  (Red Lion Inn – Red Lion Hotel)
  • Rising Sun
  • Rose & Crown
  • Royal Oak
  • Snipe   (Snipe Tavern – Snipe Inn)
  • Sun Inn  (Sun Inn & Old WhiteHouse)
  • Trail Hunt  (Trail Dogs)
  • White Hart  (White Hart Inn)