P h o t o B l o g

Friday, 30 May 2008


A view along Market Street in Stalybridge from the site of the old Town Hall. This street has not changed as much as other parts of Stalybridge. Some of the scenes in the film "Yanks" were filmed around here, because it was comparatively easy to make the streets look like a town in the 1940s!

Thursday, 29 May 2008

Hindu Temple

The Hindu Temple adjoining the Shree Bharatiya Mandal on Union Road, Ashton. The mandal (left) is a social centre for many members of Ashton's Indian community.

Wednesday, 28 May 2008

Lych Gate

The Lych Gate on the Oldham Road side of Christ Church, Ashton.

A Lych Gate is a gate covered by a roof at the entrance to a churchyard. Traditionally it was where a corpse awaited burial and the priest would come out to the Lych Gate to conduct the first part of the burial ceremony.

Tuesday, 27 May 2008

The Price of Muffins

Someone asked how much muffins cost these days. Well, the going rate in Stalybridge is 19p each or 6 for £1.10!
Other delicacies on display for the delight of discerning shoppers include vanilla buns and slices, home-made scones, meat and potato pies, mince and onion pies, cheese and onion pies, winberry pies and apple pies.
And what's that lurking at the back? That's right - fresh tripe!

Monday, 26 May 2008

It's a Long Way to Stalybridge

An interesting public sculpture outside the former Market Hall in Stalybridge, entitled "Jack Judge accompanied by a WW1 soldier".

The plaque reads:
"Inspired to compose the famous marching song 'It's a Long Way to Tipperary'. He was the first to sing it publicly in 1912 at the Grand Theatre in Stalybridge, the town of its conception. Unveiled 16th December 2005 by Councillor Frank Robinson."

The plaque is carefully worded to avoid controversy by saying that the song was conceived in Stalybridge, rather than composed there, as is widely believed. This is because there is a rival claim from Oldbury, Staffordshire, which is where Jack Judge lived.

However, there is a story that while Judge was staying in Stalybridge, performing at the Grand Theatre, someone bet him that he couldn't write a song and perform it that night. He went off and wrote it and won the bet. [Read more]

Another story about the song is that it was originally going to be "It's a Long Way to Connemara" but Judge changed this to Tipperary just before the performance, because he thought more people would have heard of Tipperary!

Sunday, 25 May 2008

Making Brass

The former Borough Brass Works on Blandford Street.
These days, the occupants (one of whom was watching me from a window) make their brass from supplying "Superior Ornamental Steelwork, Fabrication and Welding Services".

Saturday, 24 May 2008

The Nag's Head

The Nag's Head, on Bow Street opposite the Market Hall, dates back to 1835. It became "Sloans" in 1985 and more recently became the "Chute Bar". The front window has been replaced with folding doors.

Across Market Street is "The Bedroom", the former "Pitt and Nelson" pub that featured in yesterday's photo. In the background can be seen the tower of the Parish Church. There is a legend that a secret tunnel ran between the Pitt and Nelson and the Parish Church.

Friday, 23 May 2008

Pitt and Nelson

The former "Pitt and Nelson" pub on the corner of Market Street and Old Street.

It was one of the oldest pubs in Ashton, dating from 1685, when this corner was the junction of the roads from Manchester and Oldham.

It has had a few changes of name over the years, originally being "The Smithies Arms", then "The Grapes" and "The White Hart". It became the "Pitt and Nelson" in 1807, shortly after the deaths of Admiral Lord Nelson and Prime Minister William Pitt the Younger.

The "Pitt and Nelson" closed its doors in 1989 but has since been re-born as "The Bedroom" night club.

Thursday, 22 May 2008


Another change on the fringe of Ashton Town Centre, with the construction of this new Aldi store between Dean Street and Wellington Road.

As seen in the photo, it is just across the road from the massive Ikea store. It seems to be one more step towards making Ashton look just like everywhere else!

I don't know whether this replaces the Aldi store at Waterloo or whether that one is still open.

What with Aldi, Ikea, Lidl and Asda it seems that modern stores in Ashton have got to have names 4 letters long!

Wednesday, 21 May 2008

Blandford Street

Yesterday's photo showed how old houses at the junction of Blandford Street and Bentinck Street have been knocked down and replaced with a new building.

However, turning and facing the other way, a whole terrace of houses on Blandford Street have been given a new lease of life, with the brick fronts of the houses having been re-faced.

The site opposite the houses, which had been a school playing field, is now a community open space.

Tuesday, 20 May 2008

After the Bulldozers

On 15th May, I posted a photo of the corner of Blandford Street and Bentinck Street before the bulldozers moved in. I was asked what is there now. This photo shows you.

The building is Lomas Court, sheltered residential accommodation for disabled people, and is a replacement for the nearby Katherine House, which has now closed.

The one way sign and the telegraph pole can be seen in both photos!

Monday, 19 May 2008

Kay's Yard

Situated on Newmarket Road, in the Taunton area of Ashton, is this modernised cottage which bears the name "Kay's Yard". The cottage is almost opposite Taunton Sunday School.

I would be pleased to hear if anyone knows the origin of the name, and who "Kay" might have been!

Sunday, 18 May 2008


Another picture from Friday evening's Whit Friday Band Contest. Members of Adamsons Band wait their turn to play at Top Mossley.

Today (the Sunday following Whit Sunday) is traditionally the day of Ashton's Whit Walks, but this year's procession will not take place until June 15th.

Saturday, 17 May 2008

Whit Friday Band Contest

Blackpool Brass perform at the Whit Friday Band Contest at Top Mossley. Similar contests were held at the Broadoak Hotel and Hurst Cross in Ashton, and at other locations, including Stalybridge, Dukinfield, Lees and in many of the Saddleworth villages. Bands from around the country tour as many contests as they can, taking part in a marching contest and performing a set piece.

Friday, 16 May 2008

Mossley Whit Walks

The annual Whit Walks take place in Mossley on Whit Friday (the Friday that follows Whit Sunday). After a service of witness in the Market Place, members of all the churches process through the town accompanied by marching brass bands.
The town has a holiday feel for the day, with many businesses being closed and the pubs doing brisk business. In the evening, the Whit Friday Band Contest takes place. Whit Friday is celebrated in this way in Mossley and around the Saddleworth area.

Thursday, 15 May 2008

Before the Bulldozers Came (2)

A photo taken in March 2002, showing the corner of Blandford Street and Bentinck Street, near Holy Trinity. The corner shop has closed and is looking in a sorry state. None of the buildings seen in this photo has survived. Neither, sadly, has my trusty motor car, making a guest appearance here.

Wednesday, 14 May 2008

Chew Valley

Time to get out on the hills again! Following the popularity of the moorland views seen in February, I thought I would share this photo looking down Chew Valley towards Dovestones Reservoir, Greenfield. This scene is only around 7 miles from Ashton but you would hardly think so!
behind the walkers you can see the narrow roadway that winds up to valley to Chew Reservoir, at the head of the valley, 470 metres above sea level.

Tuesday, 13 May 2008

Stalybridge Station Clock

I was going to use this image for the City Daily Photo theme day on "numbers" but didn't register in time!
The photo shows the arrival of a Trans-Pennine Express train bound for Huddersfield and Leeds. The station clock bears the name of famous clock manufacturers Joyce of Whitchurch.
All is not quite as it seems, however, for the real station clock was removed and in now in the Railway Museum at York. Apparently this led to such an outcry that a replica was made and now hangs here outside the Buffet Bar.

Monday, 12 May 2008

Dukinfield Town Hall

Less than a mile from the centre of Ashton is Dukinfield Town Hall, and it is here that the stone carved rooftop figure (shown yesterday) can be seen.

Dukinfield is Ashton's very near neighbour, just across the River Tame, as well as across the former county boundary in the historic county of Cheshire.

The Town Hall was built in 1901, 2 years after Dukinfield became an urban council. It is built in bands of Accrington brick and cream stonework and boasts an imposing clock tower.

Sunday, 11 May 2008

Rooftop Guardian

This fearsome looking stone creature is one of a pair that stands guard from the rooftops of a building, less than a mile from the centre of Ashton. But where is it? The answer will be given tomorrow.

Saturday, 10 May 2008

Houses in Mossley

We are staying in Mossley for the next photo, which shows one of Mossley's stone-built terraces of houses. This is Lorne Street in Top Mossley. The small forecourt gardens at the front of the houses made them something to aspire to for those in neighbouring streets whose front doors opened onto the pavement. The charm of the houses is reduced by the "architectural acne" of the ubiquitous satellite dishes that sprout from the stones.

Friday, 9 May 2008

Canal in Mossley

Another trip over the hill to Mossley today with this view of the Huddersfield Narrow Canal in Mossley. As you can see, it is looking from the side of Lock 17w. There are recently-built houses on both sides of the canal here. A short distance ahead, out of view, the A635 Manchester Road crosses the canal next to the Tollemache Arms.

Thursday, 8 May 2008


The decorative ironwork over the entrance to the Memorial Gardens in Ashton. The design includes the coat of arms for the town.

Tuesday, 6 May 2008

No cats to be seen!

Another view of the display of spring flowers seen in the small gardens at the top of Penny Meadow, known to some as the Cats' Park. (I was hoping someone would tell me why!)
The road layout is confusing here. The bottom part of Mossley Road, running down to the by-pass, is behind the camera. The houses on the right are on the top part of Crickets Lane. To the left is the top part of Penny Meadow, with the terraced houses of Caroline Street running off at an angle.

Monday, 5 May 2008


The children's roundabouts on Ashton Market. The two rides stand in the corner of the open market ground near the entrance to The Arcades mall and are popular with some of the younger shoppers.

Sunday, 4 May 2008

St Michael and All Angels Parish Church

Yesterday's photo of carved stone heads was taken outside Ashton's Parish Church of St Michael and All Angels. Today's photo is looking upwards from almost the same spot, towards the fine tower with its gargoyles stretching far outwards. Although the present church building dates back to the 15th century (replacing an even earlier church) most of the outside of the building was re-constructed in Victorian times. It is possible that the carved stone heads replaced earlier weather-worn heads, such as can be found at Mottram church.

Saturday, 3 May 2008

The Guardians of the Door

These carved stone faces keep watch on either side of a tudor-style arched doorway. but where in Ashton is this to be found? The answer will be given tomorrow.

Friday, 2 May 2008

Oddfellows Hall

The Oddfellows Hall, on the corner of Booth Street and Stamford Street, in Ashton, was the Ashton Civic Society "Building of the Year" for 2007. The hall was built in 1855 as a meeting place for the Oddfellows organisation. The Grade 2 Listed building was empty for a long time and part of it collapsed in 1998. Fortunately it was brought back to life by Rockpark Ltd, who have re-designed the interior to accommodate retail space and 16 apartments and duplexes within the original Victorian shell. The same developer is planning to build new apartments on the adjoining site.

Thursday, 1 May 2008

Ashton's Most Exclusive

"Ashton's Most Exclusive Nightclub" reads the lettering. This makes me wonder what some of the other nightclubs are like! The building, next door to The Oddfellow's Hall on Stamford Street, is awaiting development. Neighbouring buildings are to be demolished and a scheme involving new shop units and apartments is to be built. It is understood that the building pictured will be included but its facade will be preserved as part of the new development.

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