Thanks to Morris Garratt, assisted by Fr. David Lannon, for a very interesting day looking at Catholic and Irish history in the North West, which took place at the Salford Diocesan Archives on Saturday 12 November 2016.
The session started with David Lannon, the Salford Diocesan Archivist, looking at aspects of religious belief in Elizabethan Manchester. He described the parishes of the greater Manchester area and the varying levels of persecution of Catholics in the period, often depending on the whims of the bishops and local landowners. David was followed by Lawrence Gregory talking about the Trafford family of Trafford. Lawrence described this colourful family through the generations to their collapse in the 1920s as a result of gambling debts He illustrated the talk with images of the lost halls of Trafford. Michael Herbert followed this with an account of the political history of the Irish in Manchester from the 1790s which was very much linked with developments in Ireland. Many second and third generation members of the community still regarded themselves as Irish.
After a lovely home cooked lunch provided by the ladies of St Augustine’s Church we heard Bernadette Hyland speaking about Mary Quaile, an Irish immigrant who seems to be largely forgotten today but who rose to become an important trade unionist, organising women workers through the Manchester and Salford Women’s Trades Council. David Lannon followed with an introduction to the Salford Diocesan Archives and there was a chance to see the wealth of material held there. The day finished with a look at the stunning modern church of St Augustine’s, designed by Desmond Williams Associates, with artwork by Robert Brumby.