Saddleworth Historical Society




Unless advised otherwise all talks will be held at Saddleworth Museum normally starting at 7.30pm.

Refreshments are provided after the talks.



Wednesday 14th June 2017

The Annual Village Talk

Greenfield: The Making of a Saddleworth Village

Michael Fox

This presentation will be held in Boarshurst Band Club, Greenbridge Lane at 7.30pm.

Please note the CHANGE OF VENUE.

Wednesday, 12th July 2017

Halifax Reformation Stories and the 1611 Bible

David Glover



All talks will be held at the Saddleworth Museum starting 7.30pm


Saturday17th June 2017

Summer Outing: all-day Visit to Burton Agnes Hall, East Yorkshire

Information to be advised mid-May.

Thursday 29th June 2017

Todmorden Town Hall: The People’s Palace

Illustrated presentation by Robin Hodgson.

Thursday 31st August 2017

The Royal Mail – 500 Years and Still Delivering

Illustrated presentation by Julian Somerville






There is no programme until the winter series of lectures starts.  However, members may be interested in the First GM Archaeology Festival on 22 – 25 June, with events across GM, plus at the Forts on 24th June including test pits, tours and geophyz.


New PublicationS


The Legacy of Alan Petford.

Book Launch – Saturday 20th May 2017

Of special interest at the present time is the publication by the South Pennine History Group of a new book – a tribute to the late Alan Petford..  The book covers a wide range of topics and chronologies, based on recent research carried out by fourteen local historians, and is lavishly illustrated, produced in full colour and is hardback with approximately 400 pages.

Few published histories exist for the South Pennines, yet beneath this apparent scarcity much new research is being carried out by local historians.  This book makes some of these new findings available and is the first for many years to present aspects of the historical past across the South Pennines.

Ranging in time from the 1200s to the 1900s, essays from a group of expert authors examine a range of historical topics in Saddleworth, the Calder Valley, Shipley, and Marsden.  Topics covered include territorial divisions, population history and settlement expansion through to the evidence in probate documents of how people lived and the nature of farming and textile work.  Studies on dams and railways showcase industrial history while essays on the design and layout of libraries and licensed premises illuminate our cultural history.

Three chapters explore aspects of Saddleworth’s history.  The development of Saddleworth from its origins as a seignorial forest in the twelfth century to its emergence at the end of the seventeenth century as a place poised for future economic growth and population expansion is described by Mike Buckley in a comprehensive account of its history prior to the dawn of the industrial era.  In another chapter Victor Khadem narrates the story of Samuel Bottomley, an eighteenth century Saddleworth clothier and innkeeper who, despite his humble origins, became Saddleworth’s first literary figure by writing Greenfield, a poem, an epic story of prehistoric giants and nymphs.  The essay describes how Saddleworth was then being seen in a new light: its landscape ‘sublime and beautiful’, ‘romantic and picturesque’, replacing the earlier perception of a ‘remote, moorish and mountainous place unfruitful and barren’; a place of economic misery.  The folklore behind the poem is explored and some interesting conclusions reached that the story may well have its roots in prehistoric fact.  In a third chapter Liz Paget uses the evidence of seventeenth century wills and inventories to explore domestic linen production in Saddleworth.  Although of secondary importance compared with woollen cloth, she reveals that small scale linen production was taking place in many households and that this sometimes went beyond providing merely for domestic needs.

All members are invited to attend the launch in the Saddleworth Museum at 3.45pm on Saturday 20th May when this new publication, illustrated in full colour, will be made generally available.

All proceeds from the sale of the book will go to the Alan Petford Memorial Fund.

ISBN: 078-0-9933920-1-6




Copies of this book now are/or will be available very soon from Amazon

A Victorian Society is a book about early photography and photographers, told against the backdrop of life in what was to become the most productive cotton spinning town in the world.

In 1867, when photography was still in its infancy, a group of photographers from Oldham and district met at the Hare and Hounds Inn, Yorkshire Street, and founded the Oldham Photographic Society.  Some of these men were those who provided the early photographic studios in the town.  The photographic portrait had formerly been accessible only to the wealthy but now it was beginning to be affordable by all but the poorest in society.  One evening each week, the early photographers of Oldham met to share knowledge and to collect photographs in their album, which has mostly lain unseen in the society’s archives for over 100 years.  This new book, A Victorian Society, contains more than 300 black and white photographs and illustrations, many of which are published here for the first time.

The book first traces the early days of photography through the lives of the pioneers, in France and Britain, whose work led to the creation of the permanent photographic image, paving the way for all professional and amateur photography.

After the Lancashire cotton famine, the late 1860s marked the beginning of the most exciting period of Oldham’s history.  The author examines the rise of the town to become one of the most important cotton spinning and textile engineering towns in the world and follows its progress through phenomenal growth to eventual decline.

The Victorian age was the ‘Age of Invention’ and the Oldham Photographic Society reflects that through the stories of its early members, many of whom rose to prominence in the world of photography, commerce and manufacturing, some of their businesses achieving national and international importance.  Using genealogy sources and historic publications, the author researched the lives of many of the society’s Victorian members and brings them together in a social group not studied before.  Their stories give a real insight into their origins, successes, rise to fortune, sometimes failures and personal tragedies.

The book concludes with a guide on how to date old photographs.

ISBN-13: 978-1545379851

ISBN-10: 1545379858



Recently there was considerable interest in the discussions on a new statue to be erected in the centre of Manchester.  Of the many public statues already in place, it emerged that only one was of a woman, Queen Victoria, and this led to the decision to have the new statue of one of the Manchester suffragettes.

Back in 1905 Oldham Trades and Labour Council hosted an important meeting in the development of the Suffragette Movement.  The main speaker was Christabel Pankhurst, who spoke of the history of the attempts to widen the franchise, and demanded that women should get the vote on the same basis as men.  There was a resolution in favour of the extension of the franchise, with one man objecting, but more importantly was the presence at the meeting of a young lady born in Springhead in 1879  –  Annie Kenny.  She had worked in a mill and was well equipped to speak to working-class women and soon became a national figure.

More can be learned about this famous Saddleworth suffragette from an article in the SHS Bulletin, vol. 37 no. 1 Spring 2007 entitled ‘The suffragettes in Oldham and District 1905 – 1910’ by Paul Fryer.


Over the years the SHS has published a number of books – many of them no longer available, but you will find an enticing selection on sale at the Museum bookshop or at Society lectures.  I hope you will be tempted to buy, if not a book then one or more of the Local Interest Trails, which are helpful in seeking out special features of the Saddleworth villages.


Mapping Saddleworth I

Edited by Mike Buckley, David Harrison and Alan Petford.

Printed Maps of the Parish, 1771-1894.                                                                                   £19.95

Mapping Saddleworth II

Edited by Mike Buckley, David Harrison, VictorKhadem,
Alan Petford & John Widdall.

Manuscript Maps of the Parish, 1625-1822.                                                                             £19.95

Special offer – both volumes   £25.00

A History and Description of the Parochial Chapelry of Saddleworth

by James Butterworth, with introduction by Robert Poole.

A facsimile reprint of the original edition of 1828.                                                                  £13.95

Saddleworth 1914-1919

by K.W.Mitchinson.

The Experience of a Pennine Community during the Great War.                                              £9.95

Cherry Valley Chronicles

Edited by Maurice Dennett.

Letters from Thomas Buckley of Millbury, Massachusetts, USA
to Ralph Buckley, his son of Dobcross, Saddleworth 1845-1875.                                             £9.95

Passage through Time

by Bernard Barnes.

Saddleworth Roads and Trackways – A History.                                                                       £6.95

Denshaw: A History of the Church and Village

by Mike Buckley                                                                                                                        £7.50

Monumental Inscriptions in St Chad’s Old Churchyard

Edited by Mike Buckley                                                                                                           £12.50

Saddleworth from the Air

Edited by Barri Jones.                                                                                                                 £5.95

The Huddersfield Narrow Canal

A compilation of essays on the construction and history of the canal.                                      £5.95

With Ammon Wrigley in Saddleworth

by Sam Seville, edited by Bernard Barnes                                                                                 £6.95


No 2                          Uppermill and its environs

No 3                          Greenfield and Dovestones Reservoir

No 4                          The Huddersfield Narrow Canal

No 5                          Grasscroft

No 7                          Delph

No 8                          Grotton and Lydgate

No 9                          Dobcross

No 10                        Diggle

No 11                        Castleshaw                                                                                          £1.20 each


Hon. Secretary:                               David Harrison         01457 875855      [email protected]


Membership Secretary (Acting):      David Harrison         01457 875855        [email protected]

15 The Grove, Dobcross, Saddleworth, OL3 5RR

Bulletin Editor:                                 Mike Buckley          01457 820015      [email protected]

10 The Square, Dobcross, Saddleworth, OL3 5AA

Publicity Officer:                              Charles Baumann     01457 876858      [email protected]


Programme Secretary:                     Victor Khadem         07712 260622      [email protected]


Newsletter Editor:                            Meg Langton            01457 872991      [email protected]

5 Higher Kinders, Greenfield, Saddleworth, OL3 7BH


Archives:                                          Neil Barrow             01457 876381      [email protected]


Christine Barrow      01457 874985

Lesley Brown           01457 875353       [email protected]

Livi Michael                                         [email protected]

Suzanne Prendergast                        [email protected]

Tony Wheeldon        01457 874387

The Newsletter Editor would be pleased to receive any letters or information/comments you might like to make at [email protected].



The Society is saddened to learn of the passing of the following member:

Mrs Lorna H Gartside, Hollingreave, Dobcross, Saddleworth

The Society is pleased to welcome the following members, both new and returning:

Duncan Anderson,          Diggle,                             Saddleworth

Jeremy Beutel,               Ithaca, New York,             USA

Pamela Blackshaw,        Delph                               Saddleworth

Eleanor Carney,             Carlisle,                            Western Australia

Ken Crosley,                  Spanish Fork, Utah           USA

Caroline Ellis,                Mansfield Woodhouse,      Nottinghamshire

Michael Fox,                  Greenfield,                       Saddleworth

Christine Gill,                Farnham,                          Surrey

Stephen Henthorn,          Bury St Edmunds,             Suffolk

Robert Isherwood,          Holsworthy,                     Devon

Brenda Kay,                   Dobcross,                         Saddleworth

Antony Kershaw            Didsbury,                         Manchester

John Lawton,                 Innaloo, Perth                   Western Australia

Lauren Massey,              Fairview,                          Dublin

Catherine May               Uppermill,                        Saddleworth

Sue Moore,                    Delph,                              Saddleworth

Suzanne Prendergast      Austerlands                      Saddleworth

Joanne Radcliffe-Mathews, Thornton Cleveleys, Lancashire

Richard Shaw,                East Horsley,                    Surrey

Roger Simpson,             Bramhall,                         Cheshire

Roderick Smith,             Oxford,                            Oxfordshire

Mr & Mrs A.E. Swan,     Thornton Cleveleys,          Lancashire

Sandra Wickham,           Halifax,                            West Yorkshire

Cari Wild,                      Chalfont, PA                    USA


A big thankyou to those members who have already renewed their subscription for 2017.

Action on the part of those yet to renew would be much appreciated.

Would all members, wishing to re-join for 2017, including those who pay via standing order or PayPal, please submit a form, duly completed to the Membership Secretary.

For those paying by standing order, please ensure that you are now paying the correct amount.

Setting up a Standing Order reduces costs and administrative time.

Yorkshire Bank, Ashton-under-Lyne, OL6 6AN

Account number: 52467179       Sort code: 05 02 14

Please reference your payment: SHS Member’s Full Name & Post Code




Saddleworth Historical Society

Registered Charity Number 505074

MEMBERSHIP Application Form 2017

(renewal membership subscription due 1st January 2017)

Could you please send application forms & payments to the Secretary:

David Harrison,

15 The Grove,


Saddleworth OL3 5RR.

Email: [email protected]

Family Membership (UK)                              £15.00 per year

Full Overseas Member                                    £25.00 per year

Email Bulletin Members                                 £12.00 per year

Students (EMail Bulletin)                               No charge

Please make cheques payable to; Saddleworth Historical Society.






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Please treat all membership subscriptions/donations that I pay to the Saddleworth Historical Society from April 2008 as Gift Aid payments.


Note:  If you already pay by standing order, BACCs or PayPal, please still send in an application form, including your current details.  Current email address required, essential if you wish to have access to members only areas of SHS Website. Thank you.



Would you like to learn more about the History of Saddleworth? Did your family originate from Saddleworth?