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The Lancashire and Cheshire                
Antiquarian Society

Founded 1883

Charity Registration No 1105708

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Conference 11 May at the Friends Meeting House, Mount St, Manchester

The speakers and talks are:

Full details: New Research in the North West

Rob Drummond Manchester Voices - exploring the accents, dialects and identities of people in Greater Manchester June 12 2.00 pm Zoom

How does the way we speak relate to who we are? Are there really significant differences between the accents and dialects of people across the ten boroughs of Greater Manchester? Do we even relate to the idea of ‘Greater Manchester’, or do our voices and attitudes suggest older loyalties to Lancashire and Cheshire? These are just some of the questions that were addressed in the Manchester Voices project, the largest sociolinguistics project of its kind examining the spoken language of people across Greater Manchester. The findings uncover a deep and complex relationship between spoken language and our sense of identity, and offer unique insights into how very aware many people are of the way they use language. The findings also demonstrate that accent diversity is alive and well across the region, even if some cherished dialect terms are beginning to fade away. In this talk, Rob will discuss the process and outcomes of the research, and explain why knowing more about how language works is valuable for everyone.


On 3 April, Joanna Williams gave a talk: The Great Miss Lydia Becker: Suffragist, Scientist and Trailblazer via Zoom

Lydia Becker was brought up near Manchester in a middle-class family as the eldest of fifteen children, she broke away from convention, remaining single and entering the sphere of men by engaging in politics. Lydia addressed innumerable audiences, not only on women's votes, but also on the position of wives, the abuse of women, and their rights at work. She battled grittily to gain academic education for poor girls, and kept countless supporters all over Britain and beyond abreast of the many campaigns for women's rights through her publication, the Women's Suffrage Journal. Steamrollering her way to Parliament as chief lobbyist for women, she influenced MPs in a way that no woman, and few men, had done before. In the 1860s the idea of women's suffrage was dismissed as ridiculous and unnatural. By the time of Lydia's death in 1890 there was a wide acceptance that the enfranchisement of women would happen, sooner or later.

On 6 March, Andrew Hobbs gave a talk about the History of Cheshire Life and Lancashire Life

These two familiar magazines began publication in the 1930s (for Cheshire Life) and 1940s (Lancashire Life) and attracted a massive readership. They tell us a lot about county identities, social class, people’s sense of place and attitudes to the countryside while giving us a picture of the changing nature of the “county set”.

On 21 February. Lucy Evans gave the Morris Garrett Memorial lecture: “A True Lanky: the Life and Circles of William Edward Armytage Axon (1846-1913)”

Lucy has written a biography of W E A Axon, an important figure in the history of the Antiquarian Society and an almost unbelievably prolific writer and social reformer. Lucy has tracked down over 1000 books, pamphlets, articles (including many in our Transactions), obituaries, poems, translations, stories and dialect pieces so anyone interested in the history of Manchester will have come across him at some point! He came from a difficult background, born illegitimate he was adopted by the Axons and was self-taught, including learning many languages, and had many jobs including as a librarian at Manchester Central Library and a journalist for the Manchester Guardian.

On 24 January Brian Groom  spoke about his new book titled Made in Manchester: The story of a city that shaped the modern world. This was a historical narrative of Manchester’s history of sport, music, literature and ideas, an account of the city from Roman times to the eras of Emmeline Pankhurst, Anthony Burgess, Oasis and New Order.

History of the Society Exhibition - During September there was a display of items relating to the history of the Society and some of the people associated with it at Manchester Central Library. The Library holds a full set of Transactions.

On Wednesday 6 December Catherine Nevell spoke about ‘The New Learning: Schooling in the North-West during the long Sixteenth Century’ on Zoom, based on her Ph.d research.

Terry Wyke, the Manchester historian, led a walk round St Ann’s Square in Manchester on 17 September for the Society as part of the Heritage Open Days events. The group was able  to visit St Ann’s Church and see the brass name plates indicating ownership the pews by Manchester’s elite. Terry then traced the evolution of the square from upmarket housing to smart shops with stories about the square’s landmarks such as the Cobden statue, Boer War memorial and the Exchange building.

On Wednesday 13 September a small group was shown round Central Library by Jane Parr of Manchester Local Studies and Archives, and enjoyed the chance to see the stacks and some interesting items form the archive collection. The group were especially interested in the records of Prestwich Hospital and the Goad fire insurance plans with their detailed information about the occupiers of property in the city centre.

On 9 September 2023 Mike Nevell led a group round Park Bridge, between Ashton-u-Lyne and Oldham, on a very hot day. Park Bridge Ironworks was a thriving family business for nearly 200 years and exported iron all over the world. Now it’s a picturesque rural hamlet, the remains of the ironworks and other buildings being left as “recognisable ruins” as an early example of conservation of the industrial past. This walk was jointly arranged with Tameside Local History Forum and was part of the Heritage Open Days events.

On Tuesday 6 June 2023 Mike Winstanley, a “retired” Senior Lecturer in History at Lancaster University, spoke about Edwin Butterworth, Lancashire’s forgotten historian (1812 - 1848). Well-known in the Oldham area Edwin and his father James are largely forgotten elsewhere. Edwin was also a reporter for the Manchester press and worked for Edward Baines on his History of Lancashire (1836).

On Tuesday 9 May 2023, our President, Mike Nevell, talked about Park Bridge at the Tameside Local Studies and Archives Centre. Park Bridge, an industrial hamlet near Ashton, was well known for its ironworks which supplied rivets for the Eiffel Tower (among other things!).

On 25 April 2023 Bernadette Hyland talked about Mary Quaile, a Manchester trade unionist. Bernadette is an activist and writer whose interests include women, class, culture and history. Her publications include Northern ReSisters Conversations with Radical Women, Dare to be Free and the blog Lipstick Socialist. She has transcribed the minute books of the  Manchester and Salford Women’s Trades Council which have been donated to the Working Class Movement Library and are also available on a website. Mary Quaile (1886 1958) became involved in trade union activities while working at the Clarion Cafe in Manchester. In 1911 she began working for the Manchester Women’s Trades Council and rose through trade unionism to sit on the General Council of the TUC. She was involved with the General Strike and had trips abroad including to the Soviet Union. Bernadette is a founder of the Mary Quaile Club which was set up to hold discussions on working class history.

On Tuesday 24 January Paul Newman, Archives and Local Studies Manager at Cheshire Archives, talked about the exciting new plans for archives in Cheshire. A huge Heritage Lottery Fund grant has been approved to create two new centres in Chester and Crewe allowing better preservation of Cheshire’s collections, the expansion of learning and outreach activities and the improvement of research facilities.

On Tuesday 21 February the Morris Garratt Memorial Lecture featured Andrew Walmsley talking on 'The Mexico Disaster and the St Anne's Lifeboat Monument: Identity, Memory and Nationhood' which was based on his PhD research into this striking piece of public sculpture. The monument has been an important part of the landscape at St Anne's since its unveiling in 1888 and the talk explored its significance over time. At various times it has been an important symbol for the promotion of this seaside resort, a focus for local belonging, and an embodiment of nationhood in a local setting.

On Sunday 8 May 2022 Terry Wyke led a walk round Manchester statues. Public statues have been in the news, so this was an opportune moment to look at them again and be reminded of the historical contexts which led to the commissioning and siting of some of the city's most prominent statues and monuments. Not all public memorials and statuary have survived so consideration was also be given to those many memorials which have been removed. We began in Piccadilly Gardens considering the statues raised on Joseph Paxton's esplanade before making our way towards Albert Square via St Peter's Square.

On Wednesday 13 April 2022 Melanie Giles talked about Bog Bodies.The well-preserved bog bodies of northern Europe have fascinated archaeologists, poets and film-makers, yet their discovery often concerned the communities who found them. In this talk, Dr Melanie Giles (University of Manchester) shared the latest thinking about the phenomenon: explaining the science behind their preservation and the challenges this creates for museum curators, as well as discussing the ethics of displaying such remains. She situated them back within the bogs, mires and mosses from which they came; asking us to think differently about these landscapes and what they meant to prehistoric communities, as well as interrogating different ideas behind their often violent death and deposition in the bog. Amongst the cauldrons, weapons and foodstuffs also ‘offered up’ to the bog, she argued that some of them take their place as part of powerful exchanges with sacred entities but that others represent the ‘right place’ to inter those executed for crimes or dying mysterious or troubling deaths. Ending with the tale of Manchester’s own bog head – Worsley man – she tried to unpick the life and death of this bog head, whose story must be placed within that of the Roman occupation of northern Britain.

On Wednesday 9 February 2022  Professor Nick Mansfield of UCLAN spoke on Thomas Ferriar, Mancunian South American liberator. St Ann’s Church in central Manchester contains a memorial to the Ferriar family. This includes Thomas Ferriar (1785-1821), who was mortally wounded while commanding the British Legion at the crucial battle of Carabobo, under the eyes of Simon Bolivar – ‘the Great Liberator’. This victory secured independence from Spain for Venezuela. Ferriar’s statue figures prominently in the Campo Carabobo national monument. Why did a Mancunian play such a prominent part in the South American liberation movement?

On Wednesday 2 March 2022  Brian Groom, a former senior editor at the Financial Times and editor of Scotland on Sunday, spoke on Northerners, from the Ice Age to the Present Day, based on his forthcoming book Northerners, A History. He laid out the dramatic events that created the north - waves of migration, invasions, battles and transformative changes wrought on European culture and the global economy, with a focus on how the north's people have shaped Britain and the world in unexpected ways.

Walk round All Saints Manchester, Saturday 31 July 2021

On Saturday 31 July 2021 Antiquarian Society members enjoyed a walk round All Saints in Manchester led by Terry Wyke. From Grosvenor Square to All Saints.

The making and remaking of  a Georgian Square showed us the origins of the area now transformed by the MMU campus. Though planned as an upmarket address fr the prosperous encroachment by industry from the city centre soon changed the type of people who were living there, but there were imposing public buildings - All Saints Church, two Presbyterian chapels, the Chorlton-on-Medlock Town Hall and the Manchester School of Art. Terry also showed us the mile marker used by cab drivers to establish the distance to the city centre (now preserved in the School of Art) and the remains of an old synagogue hidden behind Oxford Road.

Walk at the Bridgewater Canal, Sunday 22 August 2021

On Sunday 22 August 2021 Mike Nevell led a walk at the Bridgewater Canal. We met at the Bridgewater Monument on Worsley Green in Salford in brilliant sunshine to go round the village. Mike described the recent excavations on the Green and we saw the surviving workers housing around the village, the canal infrastructure including the grain warehouse, dry docks and the lime kiln. Mike was able to explain the rather strange sculpture at Worsley Delph where he described recent conservation work. It was an illuminating account of the transport system of the Industrial Revolution.


Other past LCAS events include:

Edge of Empire: Recording the Romans; Wigan, 5 October, 2019

Visit to Bolton Museum, 9 May 2019

Keeping up with the past; 12 May 2018

Catholic history day; Saturday 12 November 2016

Visit to Wardley Hall; Thursday 3 November 2016

Manchester in the Age of Mrs Gaskell; Saturday 28 November 2015

Visit to Clayton Hall;  Saturday 9 May 2015