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The Lancashire and Cheshire                
Antiquarian Society

Founded 1883

Charity Registration No 1105708

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2023 saw the 140th anniversary of the Society which was celebrated by a special edition of the Transactions, a very successful book launch at Manchester Central Library and a display at the library relating to the history of the Society. We were very grateful to everyone who attended the book launch and contributed to the anniversary celebrations and special volume which created very positive feedback.

Thanks are due to Steve Collins for the bumper edition of Transactions which was published as a hardback with a distinctive cover to mark our 140th.

We are also grateful to Sue Peebles who has taken on the role of Publicity Officer and has already raised our profile via the book launch and the organisation of a meeting with other old established societies in the north west which is planned for March. We hope it will allow us to work on some of our common problems. Sue has also bravely agreed to take over the website and is in negotiations with a web designer.

Nick Mansfield kindly agreed to take over as our representative on the revived Manchester Conservation Areas Panel after Charles Walker, our previous representative, was forced to give up after many years service.

We had a programme of Zoom lectures which covered  Mary Quaile, Park Bridge, Edwin Butterworth and Schooling in the 16th century. A guided walk of St Ann’s Square and a visit to Manchester Archives were our contribution to Heritage Open Days. We were represented at Salford Local Histories Festival - where two of our Council members, David Lannon and Lawrence Gregory, received the Mullineux Award for their book on the clergy of the Salford Diocese.

A full set of Transactions has been sent for digitisation and will eventually be added to our website. In the meantime a list of the main articles in volumes going back to 1883 is available.

A new initiative for 2024 is the award of research grants for local projects, please contact secretary@landcas.org.uk for details.

We are also planning to hold our postponed conference on new research which will be at the Friends Meeting House in Manchester on Saturday 11 May 2024, it will be free for members and more details will follow.


As we have returned to holding our AGM in February the period covered by this annual report is shorter than usual.

We held a series of Zoom lectures which included Alan Crosby talking on Life and Death in Manchester in the mid 1790s, Michael Lambert talking on Family Poverty and the Welfare State in Cheshire and Ian Mitchell showing a collection of old photographs of Manchester and the Wirral.

Mike Nevell led two well attended walks for us, one around Warburton and one at Park Bridge in Ashton-u-Lyne.

We had a stall at the Manchester Histories Festival at Gorton Monastery.

Mike Nevell and Diana Winterbotham revived plans for the Castles conference which had been disrupted by the pandemic.  This was held at the Grosvenor Museum in Chester in October 2022 and Mike was able to organise a range of speakers covering the last decade of research in the archaeology of castles in Lancashire and Cheshire. We did not attract as many delegates as we hoped but those who did attend enjoyed a wide ranging series of lectures.

Volume 114 of Transactions is at the printers and we hope it will be out in the next month or so. Steve Collins has assembled the usual range of articles and book reviews.

2023 is the 140th anniversary of the Society which we hope to mark by a conference promoting new research, a special edition of Transactions, and a range of visits highlighting the wide remit of the Society. We are also investigating the possibility of research grants for Lancashire and Cheshire historians and archaeologists.

We have benefitted from the input and ideas of our new Council members and from our President’s knowledge and involvement with the wider world of archaeology, but we still desperately need new members of the Society and appeal to you all to try to recruit new people! We also need a volunteer to take over the running of the website.

2021 AGM

The 2021 AGM was held on 6 October 2021 by Zoom and the report for 2020-21 is below.


Members will be sorry to have heard recently of the death of Morris Garratt which occurred on September 5th.  Morris will be chiefly known as the long serving Secretary of the Lancashire and Cheshire Antiquarian Society (L.C.A.S.), but during his membership he held several other offices. He joined the Society in 1975 and became Secretary in 1979, a position which he held for 34 years until 2013. While continuing the work of Secretary he added those of Editor, or sometimes Assistant Editor, of the Transactions of the Lancashire and Cheshire Antiquarian Society. He was elected President of the Society for 2012-16 and on the occasion of his 80th birthday in 2017 his contribution to the Society was recognised by his election as an Honorary Vice-President.

Morris was born at Warrington in 1937, and grew up at Thelwall nearby, attending Lymm Grammar School. After working at Stretford Library for a time he took up a post in Stafford. In 1962 he married Eileen Hill, who will be remembered by many of our members, but sadly died earlier this year. In 1969 they returned to Cheshire, settling in Cheadle Hulme.  Morris then took up an appointment at Middleton Library, where he stayed, holding various posts until his retirement.

His work with our Society continued, adding the task of organising meetings and excursions on many occasions, and for a time he was Treasurer and Membership Secretary. He also became a committee member of the Lancashire Local History Federation and represented the L.C.A.S. on the committee of the Cheshire Local History Association, to whose journal, Cheshire History, he was a contributor. He chaired the Middleton Civic Association, and with Eileen was a member of the Friends of Bramall Hall and Park. He wrote several books and articles, including Samuel Bamford: portrait of a radical, and books on Middleton and Stockport; he was a member of the Stockport Local History Society.

It would be hard to find a member of our Society who has done so much over so many years for his own and other societies as Morris. We will miss his energy, his resourcefulness and the unfailing warmth of his friendship.

A full appreciation, together with a bibliography, will appear in the Transactions of the Lancashire and Cheshire Antiquarian Society due for publication later this year.


Volume 112 has now been published, and copies are available; enquiries to stevecollins009@gmail.com. The list of contents can be found here


The 2020 AGM was held by zoom meeting on Thursday 22 October. The annual report for 2019 can be consulted below.


For the first time we are able to offer either the full volume or individual articles in the Transactions to buy online in electronic format. All are listed on the Transactions  page with easy payment via Paypal.


The society now has a facebook page


New gallery re-displays world-renowned Egyptology collection

Bolton Museum's new gallery, 'Bolton's Egypt', was opened, and a Preview held, at 6 p.m. on Friday, 21 September 2018. The opening was performed by Professor Joann Fletcher and Doctor Margaret Mountford. The Gallery showcases the world-renowned Egyptology collections, their history and their collectors.     

This exciting venture, announced in the Spring of 2017 and completed on schedule was made possible through financial support from Bolton Council, Mr Edwin Davies, CBE, and DCMS/Wolfson Museums and Galleries Improvement Fund. The Preview was sponsored by the Museum's  partners in the redevelopment, Leach Studios, Willmott Dixon and W M Dyer Electrical Contractors.

Ian Trumble, Collections Access Officer for Archaeology, Egyptology and Archaeology, has been available to give talks to interested audiences in the area on the subject of the Egyptology collections and their history, and the designs for the new Gallery. He can be contacted at ian.trumble@bolton.gov.uk or 01204 332245.


The society’s stall at the Manchester Histories Festival, June 2018


These are the new rules  agreed at the 2017 AGM.

This is the existing constitution.



It is with great sadness that the Council must report the recent death of Morris Garratt. Morris had been a member of Council for over forty years, during which time he occupied at different times all the major offices including a four year term as President and a long and distinguished spell of over thirty years as Secretary. Indeed, Morris was virtually synonymous with the Antiquarian Society, and it is difficult to describe adequately his vast contribution to the Society’s work and activity. The Council wishes to express its warmest appreciation and thanks for his work over so long a period. No one was more deserving of receiving the honour of being appointed a Vice President of the Society, an accolade receiving unanimous and enthusiastic support throughout the Membership. Having stood down from the role of Treasurer and Membership Secretary earlier in the year, Morris was looking forward to continuing his involvement as a Member of Council. It is a matter of considerable regret that we can no longer call on his wide knowledge and experience in the management of the Society’s affairs. Morris was a very well-known and highly respected figure in Local and County historical circles and will greatly missed.

Otherwise, events of the past year, both for the Society and the world in general, have been dominated and fashioned by the COVID 19 Pandemic and its consequences. In accordance with Government restrictions and guidelines, the Society was forced to adapt its familiar programme of activities in order to continue to operate in the changed environment. The Council was forced to cancel, on two occasions, its intended Day School on Castles to be held in Chester which Past President Diana Winterbotham and Council member Mike Nevell had spent many hours arranging. As face-to-face meetings were impossible, the Society was forced to hold a virtual Annual General Meeting by means of the ZOOM facility. Council meetings had to be conducted in the same manner. Although unfamiliar to most and in some ways less satisfactory than the normal routine, these means enabled the Society to continue its business and we are indebted to Council member Lawrence Gregory whose technical expertise enabled the Council to use this medium successfully.

The effects of the new operating environment were not all negative, however.  The impossibility of holding traditional public lectures encouraged the Council to try  a series of free online lectures delivered by ZOOM. The first was delivered by Mike Nevell who spoke about archaeological activity taking place on the Bridgwater Canal. The success of this experiment led to other lectures during the year. In May, Denise Bates spoke about the redoubtable Female Miners of 1842. Bill Cooke explained why Warrington, his adopted town, came to be called the Athens of the North and an old friend of the Society, Norman Redhead, lectured on the Roman Forts of Castleshaw. These talks attracted good audiences and were well received, suggesting they should remain a permanent part of the Society’s future activities. Another new venture was the introduction of guided historical walks, made possible by the easing of the COVID restrictions. Terry Wyke led a party around the All Saints district of Manchester and Mike Nevell guided a group on some features of The Bridgewater Canal at Worsley.

Despite a challenging array of problems caused mainly by the pandemic, our Editor Steve Collins succeeded in bringing Volume 112 of the Transactions to publication in 2020. The edition was an interesting mix of articles and reviews with good coverage of both counties, something which has not always been possible in recent years. The volume also contained obituaries for Richard Hills and Michael Powell, the latter a Past President and strong supporter of the Society for many years. The challenges facing the Editor in producing the Transactions continue of course, but the Society remains committed to the regular publication of a volume of a high standard. In pursuit of this objective, the Council is considering ways to encourage a wider range of prospective authors to submit their work.

At the 2020 Annual General Meeting, Diana Winterbotham completed her three-year term as President and was succeeded by Geoff Higgins. Diana is to be thanked for providing characteristically calm and thoughtful leadership to both the Council and the Society during her period of office and her hard work on behalf of the Society was highly valued. Fortunately, she has continued to contribute to our activities through her role as an active member of Council and her support is greatly appreciated.

The Council is pleased to report that Lawrence Gregory took over the role of Treasurer and Membership Secretary when Morris Garratt stood down and he has already undertaken sterling work in re-organising and updating the Society’s financial procedures. Lawrence is also  leading our efforts to utilise social media to raise the profile of the Society. Our Facebook account has been used by an increasing number of people interested in various aspects of local  history. It is hoped that several who become acquainted with the Society through the Facebook account will go on eventually to consider membership of the Society and perhaps become contributors to our Transactions. It has also been an advantage that the Society’s website has been re-organised and developed by David French and the Council remains grateful for his technical advice and his efforts to keep the website updated.

Over the years, Terry Wyke has contributed a great deal to the Society’s work in many different ways. It is a great pleasure therefore to report that he has agreed to become a Vice President of the Society, an honour richly deserved and one which will be confirmed at the 2021 Annual General Meeting.

The coming months will continue to be challenging ones for all local organisations dependent upon the time, involvement and goodwill of officers and members. The Council remains confident that the Society can successfully meet these challenges with  the continuing support of its members, both individual and institutional.

Geoff Higgins



2019 marks the end of Diana Winterbotham’s term as President and we owe her grateful thanks for her leadership over the last three years, and her hard work in arranging day schools. This has been a very active three years thanks to her. We are very pleased that long-standing Council member, Geoff Higgins, is willing to take over as President.

Thanks to Steve Collins Volume 111 of the Transactions was published in 2019 and contained the usual varied range of articles and book reviews. Volume 112 is well in hand and Steve hopes to see it in print later in 2020. The whole of Volume 111, or individual articles, can be purchased in electronic format through our website (thanks to David French) - www.landcas.org.uk

Diana Winterbotham and Michael Nevell arranged a very well attended day school in Wigan  in October - Edge of Empire, Recording the Romans.  The event included expert speakers on recent developments in Roman excavations in the area, covering Ribchester, Roman Manchester, Chester, the rural hinterland and new theories relating to the location of Coccium. A walk round the archaeology of Wigan led by Ian Miller proved especially popular.

Members also enjoyed a trip to the newly opened Egyptian Gallery at Bolton Museum with a tour led by Ian Trumble, the Collections Access Officer for Egyptology and Archaeology. The impressive new displays highlight one of the most important Egyptology collections in the country.

Morris Garratt has continued his efforts to update the membership list despite illness. He has completed the list of individual members and will be starting on corporate members.

The website has continued to develop and David is investigating online payment for day schools and other events. Lawrence Gregory has started developing social media for the Society - his Facebook page has already attracted a lot of interest and led to increased bookings for the day school. Lawrence has also started a Twitter account for us.

Unfortunately we have had to move our collection of back copies of the volumes and offprints from the Salford Diocesan Archives, but the Manchester Transport Museum has very kindly offered temporary storage for the volumes. Thanks to George Turnbull for arranging this. Steve Collins has taken the offprints which are still available for sale via the website. We have given the Museum a donation of £100.

Following this move further archive material was deposited with Manchester Central Library to add to the Society’s archives already held there. Robert Stansfield has provided a summary of the catalogue of the collection - if members are interested they can contact the Secretary to consult it.

Thanks to David Lannon Council meetings are still being held in the Cloisters at Salford Cathedral and thanks to Mike Nevell and Norman Redhead rooms at Salford University have been available for public meetings.

Charles Walker remains our representative on the Manchester Area Conservation Panel and is now producing written reports which can be consulted on application to the Secretary.

As a special offer for the commemoration of Peterloo we sold copies of Volume 107 for 2011 (which contains Michael Powell’s article on some new sources for Peterloo) at a reduced price. A few copies were also taken by the Working Class Movement Library to sell to their visitors.

An article promoting the Society appeared in Volume  44 of North West Labour History.

Plans for 2020 include a full day school at the Grosvenor Museum in Chester on medieval castles in the north west to be held on Saturday, October 3rd, 2020. We are hoping that speakers will include Sarah Cattell, Norman Redhead, Michael Nevell, Richard Nevell and a tour of Chester Castle may be included.

Alice Lock


Previous annual reports