The Society exists to research, record, preserve, display
and publish the memories , memorabilia, buildings and town of the people
The Society has an archive of printed material, including documents, maps
and photographs, plus oral history and objects. Members meet once a month
to hear a speaker and once a month at workshops to research, prepare exhibitions
and deal with enquiries. The current committee, membership details, "A
Background History" & "The first 30 years" both by
Allan Arrowsmith are below, we hope this gives you some insight to our
Nearly thirty years ago, Denton was changing rapidly. The
M67 was about to cut a swathe through the town from east to west and whole
streets, as well as important buildings, were being demolished. Among
these were hat factories, Christ Church and Russell Scott schools, public
houses, Russell Scott’s family home and many more.The task of recording
all these was overwhelming and so, in June 1978, a small group met at
the Festival Hall and Denton Local History Society was born.
Although the group was small, commitment was high. As well
as recording all the motorwaywork, the society was asked to exhibit at
Denton Show that same September. So began an annual contribution to the
At the same time,word came in that the last portion of Denton
Hall was being vandalised and the fabric robbed. A long fight began to
save the site and the remaining East Wing of the old hall. The next two
years saw the society carry out an archaeological dig on the site, as
well as recording the building, before it was removed to Alderley Edge,
piece by piece. Some years later a final dig was carried out by Greater
Manchester Archaeological Unit before the site was developed.
From the first it was decided that the society should not
just be a group which met to listen to speakers, but a working society
with an archive and collection of exhibits. Workshops have always been
held monthly, so that members can carry out their own research and prepare
for exhibitions and the society archive is open to other researchers.
Outings, guest speakers, public meetings, school talks and exhibitions
have all been high on the agenda. The society is proud of its increasing
number of maps and books about Denton and Haughton and the surrounding
Recent years have seen further considerable development
around the town which has kept members busy. In the early 1990s the area
of Debdale Vale, including the two golf courses and reservoirs with their
old farmhouses and other buildings, was to be developed as Kingswater.
The society researched and recorded the area and produced a booklet called
Kingswater. Crown Point North, a large shopping mall,was built around
the Wilton Street area, formerly the main hatting centre of the town.
That development included also the demolition of Wilton Street Unitarian
Chapel as well as factories and houses.Much recording had to be done there,
helped by the fact that the developers gave their full cooperation. The
results of our research were two signage boards provided by the developers
and our book Hats Off To Wilton Street.
Two coats of arms and a decorative pediment from local
hatworks were saved and displayed in the new development. To the south-east
of Crown Point, a Morrison superstore displaced other business premises,
and some of the terracotta embellishments from the front facade of Booth
and Moores’ hatworks, erected in 1862,were incorporated into the
new building. Francis Kirk and Son Ltd, Mill Furnishers, who had traded
from part of that site since 1868, had to be re-located.Morrisons worked
with us to reproduce early photographs of that area and beautiful glass
windows etched with scenes of hatting processes. Starting in 2006 and
culminating in June 2007, the society undertook research into the history
of Victoria Park,Denton, in readiness for the grand re-opening of the
bandstand restored to its original state. Based on our research, two signage
boards were erected in the park itself and school packs were produced.
On the occasion of the re-opening members turned out in period costumes,
since the park originally opened in 1913.
For those of us who were there at the start in 1978 and
many who have joined us since, life has never been the same. A very busy,
but enjoyable thirty years. The society is in good heart, although storage
for our archives has always been a problem, which Tameside MBC and our
District Assembly are currently trying to help us to resolve.
Attendance at meetings when we have a speaker is usually
between twenty-five and thirty people, and they and members ‘in
exile’ in other parts of the country and abroad, receive The Dentonian
on a quarterly basis.
We miss the many friends who have made a significant contribution
over the years but are no longer with us and we look forward to the next
Denton Local History Society
Document published by in the Tamside Alive History Issue
Full issue can be viewed at here