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Archive Photos

St George’s Church, Cocker Hill

I have grouped together here old photos of the area. The majority of the old photos below are available to view and buy from The Tameside Image Archive.

St Georges Church, Cocker Hill

Above is either the first or second St Georges Church, Cocker Hill. The first church was built in 1776, the second sometime after 1778. The Bridge in the foreground was built 1707 and replaced in 1824. Which dates the scene as between 1778 and 1824. I suspect the photo is the first Church as a photo I have of the second seems to show a slightly different roof.

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The second St Georges Church in close up.

Above is the second St Georges Church in detail.

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Second Old St Georges, with surrounding buildings

The above shows the same Church and the surrounding buildings. Wakefield Road Baptist Church is on the top left which means that the picture is was taken after 1848 when it was built.

St Georges, Stalybridge

This picture shows the Third St Georges Church, Stalybridge. This dates the picture as some time between 1888 and 1968 when the Church was demolished. Also note the viaduct in the background. The picture below shows the demolition of the viaduct.

Demolition of the viaduct

Demolition of the viaduct

St Georges, Stalybridge coloured

This picture of Cocker Hill caught my attention it is in colour but not a colour photo though. The colours must have been added later as the  Weavers Cottages in the middle ground are shown as red brick when they are actually all local stone.

Bohemia Cottages

The above shows Bohemia Cottages at the foot of Cocker Hill. The people on the photo interest me; did they know the would be in the picture? I guess they would not have believed that people would still look at the photo today. 25/03/13 – I have found out more about the photo since I put it on here. I was posed and part of a series showing workers of the area. There was no such thing as a quick snapshot when it was taken!

Bohemia Cottages April 2010

Whit Walks, Cocker Hill/Stamford Street

The picture above is taken from Stamford Street and shows the Whit Walkers walking down Cocker Hill.

The building on the left is now Thompson and Cook solicitors as you can see on the up to date picture below. The pub in the centre was the Star Inn. In between the two were a set of steps. A friend remembers the steps from her youth “We had to go up these steps when we came out of Stalybridge to get to our house on Hall St. When we were kids they were always known as the Starrin steps” The Star Inn has since been demolished.

Below are two pictures taken in 2013, the whit walkers in this case are coming down Stamford Street rather that Cocker Hill and are from New St Georges Church.

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Whit walkers 2013 – St Georges Church

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Whit Walkers 2013 – St Georges Church

Cocker Hill/Stamford Street

The picture above was taken looking down Cocker Hill towards Stalybridge Town Hall. The cobbles on Cocker Hill are still there but the majority of the Town Hall has now been demolished.

Books

Listed below are the books about Stalybridge and surrounding areas and/or the Industrial Revolution that I have used for my research.

Two into One Will Go – Paul Denby ISBN 0 9515993 0 5

Two Into One Will Go by Paul Denby is a fantastic book containing the full history of both old and new  St Georges Church Stalybridge. The book is great, it details the history of both churches from the building of the original St Georges Church on Cocker Hill back in 1775 to the amalgamation of both congregations in the 1980’s. It is a fantastic resource for anyone interested in the history of Cocker Hill or Stalybridge in general.

The book is out of print and difficult to obtain nationally, however, the Curate at New St Georges Church has confirmed that they have a number of copies for sale  at £2.95 and he suggested obtaining them from the Church after the Sunday Service at 12.15pm. (The service starts at 10.45  if you want to attend.) Paul Denby has also allowed New St Georges to put a link to his book on their website. Two Into One Will Go – Paul Denby

Stalybridge Pubs 1750 – 1990 – Rob Magee ISBN 1 85216 061 6

This lists all the pubs in Stalybridge, gives a brief history of each pub, and provides a full list of their licensees.

Reminiscences of a Chief Constable – William Chadwick ISBN?

William Chadwick was Chief Constable of Stalybridge 1862 – 1899. I got most of the information for my post on  body  snatching from his book. I can’t find an ISBN for it; the reprint I own was  produced by The Longdendale Amenity Society.

Bygone Stalybridge – Samuel Hill. ISBN?

I love this book. It is a fascinating read about Stalybridge from when records began until 1907 when it was written. It is probably this book that got me most interested in local history. Given that the book is now over 100 years old it is surprisingly easy to read. One of the things I find useful are the list of names the author provides; eg, names of the heads of Stalybridge families, various list of manufacturers, householders, special constables, members of institutions etc. It is great book to have a look at and see if you can find anyone listed you are researching. I can’t find an ISBN for this. The copy I own was published by the author himself; there have been later reprints.

I have just found a website with the full text of Bygone Stalybridge by Sam Hill.

Five Thousand Acres of old Ashton – Winifred Bowman – again no ISBN

No references to Cocker Hill at all which is surprising as it was inside the boundary covered by the book. Cocker Hill was then part of Ridgehill and the Lanes in the Hartshead district. The book goes back to Roman times and has great descriptions of  Parish Councils, the development of the roads, schools and early industries. Great if you are researching Ashton Under Lyne or Tameside in General; less use if you are only looking at Stalybridge.

The  bridge over the River Tame at Stamford Street, or rather the bridges as there have been at least three, were significant in helping me date pictures of the area.

 I don’t know the date of the first bridge; however I understand there was a bridge prior to 1621 as it appears in a list of bridges in the Macclesfield hundred.  It must have been there some time before that as it was reported as being somewhat in decay at the time. 

The current bridge was built in 1824 and includes the date stone from the 1707 bridge. Not as pretty as the previous one is it?

1707 Bridge

  

1824 Bridge

 

Stamford Street Bridge April 2010

Stamford Street Bridge April 2010

 

Close up of the 1707 date stone

 
Everybody runs down Cocker Hill
Come along! come along! left, right, left!

Old folk, young folk, step with a will

Merry as a shuttle weaving warps and weft.

Everybody runs down Cocker Hill

The parson, the miller, the milk maid too;

The soldier lad, to the goose step drill;

Everybody runs, so must you.

Everybody runs down Cocker Hill

Women with Asthma, men with gout;

Fat men, thin men, step with a will

Short girls, tall girls, slender, stout.

Everybody runs down Cocker Hill,

Everybody laughs; nobody minds;

Age slips away; childhood still

Isn’t so far away, everybody finds.

Everybody runs down Cocker Hill

A slug would, a thug would, so would a hare;

Restore circulation if you feel you’ve a chill

Keeping pace with everybody there.

Everybody runs down Cocker Hill

Dress a la mode or scantily;

Don’t visit Switzerland running up a bill

Toddle or Waddle here cantily.

Everybody runs down Cocker Hill,

Years slip away like a loosen’d cloak:;

Grandsires race with boyhoods’ skill

Without a wheeze, a sneeze, or coke!

Everybody runs down Cocker Hill,

Come along! come along! right, left right;

Head up, chest out! Step along, until

Jolity imbues you with gladness and delight.

From Woodfield Memories – A Platt – Tameside Local Studies Library

I loved this poem when I found it; I love that the author, Sam Hill, seems to love the area as much as I do and I love the dialect it is written in. It is thanks to my Grandad that I can understand it all and hearing words like “booside” and “scholars” reminds me so much of him.  I find it best to try to read it aloud and then you can get the sense of it even if you struggle with some of the words. 

Old St Georges, Cocker Hill

 

 The Church is all gone now, but the Churchyard is still there and you can still “linger and wonder and ponder quite fierce” while looking down on Stalybridge. I often do. 

Noan far fro’ this clod ther stands an owd church
Th’ yard wo’s are grown hoary and grey,
Loike a stern sentinel up on his perch
Guardin’ the realms of decay.
I wurn’t yersterday ‘ut th’ foundations wur laid,
Wi’ that bed o’ hard rock for sil;
Theer theawsands o’ th’ owd un’s han’ knelt, sung, an’ prayed,
I’ that Little Reawnd Church up o’ th’ Hill.

Aw’ve known that owd church sin’ fost aw knew owt;
Within th’ seawnd of it bell aw wur born;
As a lad, aw’ve climbed th’ wo; carin for nowt,
T read th’ owd inscriptions so worn.
When th’ gates han’ been fast, an nob’dy’s bin nee,
When th’ booside’s bin quiet an’ still,
Aw’ve linger’t, and ponder’t, and wonder’t, quite frce,
By that Little Reawnd Church up o’ th’ Hill.

Ther’s lots o’ owd folk at aw knew sleepin’ theer,
‘ Neath th’ shadow o’ th’ sacred owd pile;
Ther’n restin’ till doom’s-day, witheaut any fear;
Ther’s some on’em rested a while.
Ther waitin’ till th’ day when ther’ll be a big sheawt,
When Gabriel’s trumpet shall trill  -,
That reckonin’ – day ‘ut they tell’n us abeaut
I’ that Little Reawnd Church up o’ th’ Hill.

Th’ owd shepherd, ut watches o’er th’ flock ‘ut goes theer,
Aw’ve known him o’ th’ days o’ mi life,
Loike an old pilot, his boat he can steer –
It’s seldom ther’s bother or strife.
He’s noan quite as nimble as he’d use’t to be,
But he goes to his work wi a will;
Long may his owd face be seen beamin’ an free,
I’ that Little Reawnd Church up o’ th’ Hill.

Every Whit-Friday aw look for th’ owd brid
When aw goo watchin’ th’ scholars I’ th’ teawn;
He’s one o’ th’ old stagers, fast nearin’ “the strid” –
Th’ owd mower keeps switchin’ um deawn.
Aw loike watchin’ th’ scholars, ther’s no deaubt o’ that;
Sweet feelin’s it seems to instil,
For it’s grand just to see ‘um com’ marchin’ full bat
Fro’ that little Reawnd Church up o’ th’ Hill.

Aw conno’ do mich wi’ a romancing tale,
An’ yo’ munna’ be hard on mi rhyme;
Aw loike for t’ yer those ‘ut weather ‘t loife’s gale
Tell things ‘ut  wur wanst on a time.
Aw’m preawd o’ th’ owd landmark, it’s seldom aw miss
To let my porr een ha’ ther fill –
Aw look up fro’ th’ bridge, wi’ a feelin o bliss,
At that little Reawnd Church up o’ th’ Hill.