Canal tragedy, shops are made from old hall and IMPS are happy campers
THIS week we publish part two of our Whitsuntide feature, which we show some previously unseen photographs courtesy of Mrs Helen Stubbs, who is the youngest daughter of the late Christine PearseJones.
Christine was informed that the annual whit walks were due to be phased out, so with this in mind she captured images of walks dating around 1969. Other photographs featured date from the 1950’s. Special thanks to her daughter, Helen for making these photographs available.
Bygone days reader and family friend Mike Stringer dropped in last week to have a chat. We had often spoke about a relative of his family who lost his life in 1951 by drowning in the canal at Mills Hill.
Last year we located the actual report which was published in this newspaper at the time of the incident. It was a tragedy when Harvey Stringer, age 13 of Elm Street lost his life in a part of the canal known as the ‘Iron Donger’. The name Donger comes from the noise which emanated from the bridge when the old steam engines passed over it.
From what was published at the time we find that Harvey had had a swimming lesson the previous week, this being his first attempt at this new sport, and being good at most sports he was excited at learning a new skill, following his lesson he spoke of nothing else.
The tragedy began following the break up of his school for the Whitsuntide holidays, this would mean that he would have to wait two weeks before he could attend the Baths with his school. Harvey and three of his pals decided to have a dip in the canal, Peter Holt of Elm Street, Leslie Howarth, also of Elm Street and Harvey Whitworth, Marsden Street, Middleton Junction, went along to the canal near Scowcroft Bridge, which is located not far from Mills Hill Bridge.
None of the four boys could swim, but in choosing a narrow part of the canal they could plunge in the water and reach the opposite bank, Peter was the first to accomplish this. We find that Harvey, who was good at running and other sports, found that if he took a good push off he could easily reach the opposite bank. Peter slipped as he was diving and hit the bottom of the canal. Seeing him floundering Harvey Stringer jumped into the water to help him. In the excitement the other boys on the embankment managed to pull Peter to safety, but when they looked round Harvey was nowhere to be seen, he had disappeared.
A message was sent to a nearby public house, the Gardeners Arms, where a call was made to Chadderton Police. One of their patrol cars was in Laurel Avenue when the call came in, on route to the canal an off duty officer joined in the rescue, this was Sgt Duxbury who was doing some gar- dening at the time at his Laurel Ave home.
Arriving at the spot where Harvey was last seen Sgt Duxbury jumped in and found the boy at the bottom of the canal. Harvey was brought out of the water where he was given artificial respiration which we are informed lasted an hour, but without success. Young master Stringer, one of a family of seven was in the scouts, attending Wade Street, Middleton Junction.
He was to attend a scout function the following day to be presented with a cup which he won for running. RECYCLING Old Hall Street has quite a bit of the old hall about it. Mr Henry Robinson who built the shops in the area of Old Hall Street and Manchester New Road used materials from the old Middleton Hall which was being demolished.
The back door of a jewellers shop, remembered by some people of a certain age, as ‘Swinburne’s’ had the back door from Middleton Hall.
Other items from the hall were a set of six chairs, which were low and small and described as occasional chairs, found at a house at Mount Rd. One of the shops was once the lodge to the hall, being a single story building, had two upper floors added later. This could well have been Horridges shop.
It was Whitsuntide 1909 when a correspondent wrote to a number of newspapers claiming that a Roman Road never passed through Rhodes, or Middleton. He had read a report which documented the Roman Road from Manchester, but he was having none of it.
He claimed that it was only a footpath which existed from Blackley, not making any reference to Lever Bridge, the path ran past Wood Cottage from the direction of the former White Lion in Blackley.
It was known that marching Roman’s would choose high ground which was firm to avoid their vehicles from being bogged down. Next week we publish the details of one of the oldest routes into town.
GLOBAL SOUP AWARD
At one time we associated Whit Week as having been blessed with glorious weather. As a child I remember it being very hot weather each year.
Wearing new clothes with shirts that made your neck sore, which were stiffened with starch, and trying not to turn my head during the witnessing of the whit walks. The best part was that relatives and friends would give tokens of money for your wearing of your new clothes.
These were the days when you only had new clothes once a year. Hand me downs or the jumble sale was the normal way of being clothed.
We find that during the mild weather of the 1930’s there was a competition to produce a recipe for the most nutritious, least expensive and easiest vegetable soup to make. This contest was world wide.
The competition was judged by two of the most famous chefs, who decided that the best soup was one made by a British Army cook based at Aldershot. Staff Sergeant Brown of the Army School of Cookery competed with over 600 cooks and housewives from all parts of the world, and won.
Now here is the best bit, he came from Middleton. The moonraker’s creation was backed by the Savoy Hotel, London, who offered the prize. It was announced by the vice-chairman and managing director, Mr G. Reeves-Smith, that all three winning entries came from Staff-Sgt Brown.
He said, “The winning recipes fulfil every requirement in being nutritious, simple, tasty and inexpensive. The total cost of ingredients, in quantities enough to serve eight people, would be only one shilling (five pence today), for the cauliflower cream soup, one shilling and ten pence (9p) for the minestrone,
Long St, 1950’s. Christine with her eldest daughter, Gillian. Middleton
Harvey Stringer, who lost his life in the canal
Wood Street showing the