The Chorlton History Group meets on the first Thursday of each month starting at 1.30pm, at Wilbraham St Ninians Church, Chorlton. Cost of £2 includes tea & coffee

For further information ring Helen Hibberd Co-ordinator at Chorlton Good Neighbours on 881 2925 or email

 History Talks Programme  February – July 2019

Thursday 7th February: George Hastings – 17th Century Quaker life in the North West

Thursday 7th March: Graham Phythian – South Manchester “Outside the box”

Thursday 4th April: Dolores Long – Manchester Men and Women and the Spanish Civil War

Thursday 2nd May: Michael Billington – A short history of Flixton, Urmston and Davyhulme

Thursday 6th June: David Willars – Manchester’s Victorian decorative glass industry

Thursday 4th July: Linda Carver – The history of one architectural gem within the Victorian heritage of Ancoats

Some past talks:

Thursday 4th September 

Janet Bradshawe “sweet memories” 
Remember sherbert dips and flying saucers?

seet shop


“Celebrating Chorlton Library reaching 100 years old” Thursday 2 October

Learn the history & development of our own local library. Talk given by a library staff member

Libraries, Manchester Public Libraries, Chorlton Library 1951

Chorlton Library in 1951

Thursday 6 November

Jean Bailo Blue Badge tourist guide will be talking about the history of some street names in Manchester


Thursday 4 December

The Eddie Stobart Story told by Sheila Dale

Sheila will be talking about the history of The story of a successful trucker!

eddie stobart

Chorlton – Past, Present, Future                      Thurs May 1st 1.30pm  

Prof. Chris Phillipson, Dr. Tine Buffel and Rebecca Bromley

In this May session of the Chorlton History Group, members were invited to attend a discussion relating to the past, present and future of the Chorlton neighbourhood. Professor Chris Phillipson and colleagues from Manchester University are very interested to hear your views, to form part of a research project which focuses on growing older in Chorlton. Chris Phillipson will present a brief overview of the project and background to the research, which looks at the challenges and opportunities involved in developing age-friendly neighbourhoods. An age-friendly neighbourhood is a place that supports residents in terms of participation, health and security, to make a neighbourhood a good place to grow older (World Health Organization, 2007). In order to ensure that our research project is framed by relevant questions, we are conducting group discussions with local residents or people who know the area to identify the range of concerns and issues which people have about Chorlton. Therefore, after prof. Phillipson’s presentation, we would like to invite the members of the history group to form smaller groups of six to eight people to discuss your ideas the past, present and future of Chorlton. One of the researchers will facilitate the conversation. Discussions could include:

  • Your memories of life in Chorlton
  • Changes that have taken place in the neighbourhood, and how they have affected you, or your friends and family
  • How you see Chorlton as a place to live now
  • How would you like to see the neighbourhood develop in the future

Victorian dress of the middle and working classes”   Margo Singer  Thurs Apr 3rd 2014, 1.30pm

Margo Singer is the author of “Textile Arts: Multicultural Traditions and Textile Surface Decoration”. Her talk covered the development of fashion and textiles in the mid 19th century during the time of Elizabeth Gaskell’s novels. The talk looked at the mid-Victorian tyranny of fashion by examining the origins of corsets and the crinolines.  The talk went on to look at the fabrics and dress of the urban classes in Manchester – both millworkers and seamstresses. Margo also examinde the textiles and fashions of middle class dress. The talk included lots of references to contemporary dress as found in Mrs Gaskell’s novels as well as a wide range of slides, illustrations, contemporary items of clothing and textiles and reconstructed dress.

Thurs Feb 6th 1.30pm                    Alistair Lyall The Flying Scotsman

Alistair Lyall’s interest in locomotives dates back to 1937 he saw from a nearby hill in Glasgow the first high speed train, the Royal Scot on the Glasgow to London line


Streamlined Coronation Scot train on the London-Glasgow route in 1937.


The Metropolitan Vickers site in 1955

Alistair’s was a non-technical review of railway developments in Manchester through the eyes of a traction engineer. In particular, Alistair looked at the role played by Metropolitan Vickers (‘Metrovicks’) and its successors at Trafford Park. He was well placed to do this as he started off as an apprentice there in the 1950’s and went on to become assistant chief engineer in GEC Traction and then a sales manager. Towards the end of his talk he also give his views on modern rail developments from electrification, to the Metro system and to the proposals for HS2

Alistair’s talk was told in the context of the rise and fall of Metrovicks in Trafford Park from its inception in 1899 to the demolition of the main building in 2002. At one time this 130 acre site employed 23,000 and produces “The wheels the world runs on “(1935 review)

Thurs Mar 6th 2014 1.30pm      Roy Chapman BSc (Hons), FCILT, MIRO

“The Lost Railways of South Manchester”


Chorlton Station, 1955


Roy Chapman  (on the right), together with Coun. Keith Whitmore and the Colonel of the Regiment welcomes the arrival of “The Lancashire Fusilier” steam locomotive at Bury (Bolton Street) Station to launch the Poppy Appeal in 2010

After service in the Royal Air Force, Roy Chapman worked for British Rail for over 15 years, occupying supervisory and management posts in operations, planning, public relations, training and project management. The work took Roy throughout the UK, from Manchester, to Chester, Middlesbrough, the West Midlands, London, Crewe and Warrington. Roy then undertook consultancy for British Airways, Government agencies, local authorities and the privatised rail industry. He also organized successful railway, bus and aviation transport ‘themed’ exhibitions and conferences on transport and regional development. A lifelong railway enthusiast, Roy has contributed to transport training material, is a co-author of three railway books, has contributed to a number of reports on transport issues, and is an occasional writer of journal articles on transport and business management. Roy is currently Rail Services Planning Officer at Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM).


The December meeting of the History Group was held on  Thurs Dec 5th at 1.30pm  ‘A Journey in Jazz :  From New Orleans to Chorlton’ by Eddie Little

This was  light-hearted look at the international popularity of  melodic Jazz which took us on a journey from Basin Street, New Orleans to Wilbraham Road Chorlton via Kansas City, Chicago, New York, Harlem, California, Cuba, Paris and London. eddie 01

Eddie gave a great talk which included several video clips of some of the most historic figures in jazz in actioneddie 02

Some of the audience at the Jazz talk

Talk on Nov 7th 2013 was by Bernard Leach on the History of the Disabled Peoples Movement in Manchester disability talk02

Bernard Leach giving the talk

stoke m 1985 edit 2 photo of the disabled people (many from Manchester) protesting about the participation of a South African team outside Stoke Mandeville hospital in1985.  transport 01

This is a 1950’s photo of members of the disabled drivers association

town hall 01

Bernard Leacha demonstration outside Manchester Town Hall demanding full access for disabled people in 1986

transport 02

Invalid tricycles in a race

======================================================= The Meeting on October 3rd 2013 was on “The NHS in Mcr: past, present & future of GPs” at talk by Martin Rathfelder, Socialist Health Assoc. It included memories of older people’s recollections of their local doctors in the days before the NHS. Martin gave a talk about the development of primary health care since the first World War, including the important role played by GPs since the development of the National Health Service. He then talked about possible future directions for the central and south Manchester Clinical Care groups. Chorlton and Whalley Range are mainly in the central CCG with Mauldeth Road providing the boundary and with Chorlton Park being in the south Manchester CCG ppt 02 The National Insurance Act 1911 provided for a National Insurance Insurance scheme with provision of medical benefits for workers

The History Group’s meeting in September was by John Mather on the History of Greater Manchester’s Swimming Pools John says  “The publicity surrounding the restoration of Manchester’s Victoria Baths inspired me to find out for myself if any other architectural gems remained. And so I set myself a challenge – to swim in every public swimming pool in Greater Manchester chorlton baths

Swimming Practice at Chorlton Bathsvictoria baths

Victoria Baths 1919

The July meeting of  the Chorlton History Group on Thurs July 4th 2013  was  on “The National Health Service in Manchester: its past, present & future” by Martin Rathfelder, Director of the Socialist Health Association

The July session marked a departure for the History Group. Occasionally we will hold sessions where we depart from the normal format of a history talk and instead discuss important contemporary issues. In this case it will be the NHS. The focus of this session was hospital care, and we will follow this up with the Thurs October 3rd meeting dedicated to looking at Primary Care – GPs, Clinical Care Groups. In future we might also look at mental health care issues. Bernard Leach started by giving the historical context of hospital care in Manchester using Park Hospital and Manchester Royal Infirmary as case studies. This was followed by Martin Rathfelder talking about the current situation regarding the central and south Manchester Healthcare trusts In between the two parts of this presentation, we asked people for their first memories of being in or visiting hospital and also what contacts have they had in the last month with the health services. The NHS and its future is important to us all and this was an opportunity to have a series of sessions that look at different aspects of healthcare in some depth and in a way that enables us all to become better informed. nye bevan at park hospital Aneurin Bevan at Park Hospital, Urmston, on 5 July 1948, when it became the first hospital in the world to offer free healthcare to all nhs 1948 leaflet

The Leaflet about the NHS that every household received in 1948

The June meeting of  the Chorlton History Group on Thurs June 6th 2013 at 1.30pm was  a talk by Bill Williams on “The origins of the Manchester Jewish Community” . More details at
Jewish tailoring workshop circa 1910
The meeting on Thurs May 2nd 2013 was not the expected talk by  Roy Chapman on “The Lost Railways of South Manchester” as he was ill. However, Andrew Simpson stood in at the last moment and gave a really interesting talk on “Chorlton in the 1830’s”

chorlton station02Locomotive 73000 passing through Chorlton Station, 1955

9 Lives

April 4th 2013: Janet Bradshaw, “Nine Lives”, the history of Tatton Park. See a summary of her presentation at

Thursday Mar 7th 2013:  Eddie Little: ‘The First Flight to Ireland’ by a North West Aviator lorraine02        Robert Lorraine

February 7th 2013 we held a celebration event for CGN’s own World War 2 veterans, see a video of this on the CGN blog at  Publicity of this event included a big report in the Manchester Evening News on 18-02-13

arctic convoy report001


May 2012, Bill Williams gave a talk on “Black History in Manchester”


bills pics002

June 2012, Gurbir Singh:gagarin001 When Yuri Gagarin visited Manchester. CGN regular, Joyce Baines revealed that she worked in the Trade Union offices which Gagarin visited where she shook hands with him. She kept her entry ticket for the day which is reproduced above. See: Gagarin video


Gagarin's visit to Manchester - History Group talk     Lights, Camera, Drizzle


1954 longfordhall


July 2012, Richard Bond from the Friends of Longford Park gave a talk  on the history of Longford Park




August 2013 Chris Lee, a film and culture historian from Salford University,gave a talk and showed excerpts from Manchester film companies. The talk was called “Lights, Camera, Drizzle: Manchester, England and Film”.  see  video of his presentation:“Lights, Camera, Drizzle”Good Neighbours on the Frank Randle day in Blackpool