Local History Champions


We are a group of people who have been meeting each week to discuss the local history of Burnage and Levenshulme, and memories of our childhood and early lives.

You can view our new blog here

Some of our recent posts are shown below:

  • Lockdown Diary 10 – Dukinfield, Non-Conformism and Slavery
    by burnagehistory on June 24, 2020 at 10:37 am

    With this week’s blog and I’m cheating a bit as it starts with a trip I made with a friend during last year’s heritage open days in September, rather than during lockdown.  It looks at Dukinfield’s unique role in the history of English non-conformism, but it also takes us on a journey from Dukinfield to … Continue reading Lockdown Diary 10 – Dukinfield, Non-Conformism and Slavery →

  • Lockdown Diary 9 – The Lost Racecourses of Salford: Exploring Broughton
    by burnagehistory on June 11, 2020 at 4:43 pm

    Continuing last week’s sporting theme, this blog is about the lost racecourses of Salford, with a few digressions along the way.  Before the weather broke, I went on a very hot cycle ride to a part of Greater Manchester I’d never visited before – Broughton and Kersal.  The flatness of much of Manchester lends itself … Continue reading Lockdown Diary 9 – The Lost Racecourses of Salford: Exploring Broughton →

  • Lockdown Diary 8 – Skiing for Refugees in Reddish Vale
    by burnagehistory on June 1, 2020 at 11:03 am

    As the sun beats down on a glorious June morning I’ve chosen to write about something very unseasonal – skiing in Reddish!  At first it seems an unlikely story.  But looking at the incline of the slopes along the Tame valley you can see why two Norwegian students at Manchester University were inspired to stage … Continue reading Lockdown Diary 8 – Skiing for Refugees in Reddish Vale →

  • Lockdown Diary 7 – Medieval Heaton Moor: Moats and Field Systems
    by burnagehistory on May 22, 2020 at 3:21 pm

    Back to a more obviously historical theme this week.   When the lockdown relaxed I went for a socially distanced evening walk with Dave from the history group around Heaton Moor golf club.  I already knew about the site of Peel Moat, which Dave was planning to show me – but what we also saw was … Continue reading Lockdown Diary 7 – Medieval Heaton Moor: Moats and Field Systems →

  • Lockdown Diary 6 – Shelters and Common Land
    by burnagehistory on May 15, 2020 at 11:45 am

    Walking through the woods in Highfield Country Park and Reddish Vale, I’ve been struck by how this edgeland, at the margins between city and country, has become real shared space.    People walking dogs, families looking at nature, musicians playing in the open air… they are exercising their rights to the common land, in areas that … Continue reading Lockdown Diary 6 – Shelters and Common Land →

Working with the Burnage Memory Bank project, we have added our stories, photographs and experiences to the Burnage Memory Bank website, where they can be shared with others. The group also hosts a number of guest speakers, including the Rev. Dennis Nadin, the authority on the history of Burnage, Bernard Burke on growing up in Burnage and his career in independent television, Tony Longshaw on the rivers and streams of South Manchester, Myra Wood on her career at the Duchess of York Hospital, along with many others.

Our trips out have included a visit to central library, where we were given access to a number of resources on the history of Burnage.

Topics we have spoken about include Burnage Garden Village which was created in 1906, the building of the Council Estate just before the Second World War when people queued up to put their names on the waiting list for houses. We have also looked at the history of Burnage Library including the fire which destroyed the previous wooden property and the building of the present Library, the threatened closure by Manchester City Council and the way local people rallied round to save the Library.

We have uncovered a lot of interesting photographs of Burnage in previous days and have created a display with regard to the history of the Library.

We would welcome new members to our group. We meet on Tuesday afternoons between 2.00 and 4.00 p.m. at Burnage Library, on Burnage Lane. A cup of tea or coffee and biscuits are provided, toilet facilities are also available.

Why don’t you come and join us? We will make you very welcome!


Posts about our recent meetings:

  • Soapbox 2018 : Manchester Histories Festival June 14, 2018 Soapbox 2018 : Manchester Histories FestivalA big thank you to our fantastic local history group members, who gave a wonderful performance at All Saints on Saturday as part of the Manchester Histories Festival. The theme of this ‘Soapbox’ event was protest and democracy, and our re-enactment of a milk strike organised just over a hundred years in the Burnage Garden Village ago suited the occasion perfectly. Concerned by wartime profiteering and the high price of milk- and fearing for the health of their children- a group of women met at the Burnage Garden Village Hall and organised the action. Their determined resolution led to an agreement being struck with local sellers; the action was a success.   https://youtu.be/jcU9230gJNM    
  • Local History Group – Stockport May 8, 2018 Local History Group - StockportSacrificing the last of the long weekend’s glorious weather, our group gathered this afternoon to explore the history of Stockport- presented by group member Toni. Using photographs and articles gathered over the last few weeks, she took us on a journey around the town: covering its pubs, streets, prominent buildings and locations, and events of note. Few of us had heard of the town’s brief but violent riots in 1852, its castle, or the ski jump sited at Reddish Vale in 1960! Our swift tour was complemented by works of art from Lowry, along with videos on a hat works and the miracle of the Stockport Roses in 1947. With many of our group familiar with Stockport, either through work or as ...
  • Local History Sessions in 2018 May 1, 2018 Local History Sessions in 2018It’s been a great year so far for our local history group, covering exciting new subjects and welcoming back familiar faces. We’ve looked at Manchester’s pubs, theatres, cafes and restaurants, and famous visitors, while the centenary of the 1918 Representation of the People Act was marked with an exploration of Manchester’s role in both the suffrage and suffragette movements. A popular session was our look at Manchester’s ‘Showground of the World’ Belle Vue, with many in our group having fond memories of visits with their families. Our look at the films and television programmes filmed around Manchester sprawled across two afternoons, such was the wealth of material we found! It was a particular delight to welcome back Ali Ronan, who gave us a wonderful ...
  • Tony Longshaw at Burnage Library – The Blue, Black and Green Plaques of Manchester October 31, 2017 Tony Longshaw at Burnage Library - The Blue, Black and Green Plaques of ManchesterWe welcomed back Tony Longshaw this afternoon to complete some unfinished business, finishing our virtual tour of the commemorative plaques located around Manchester. Tony was an authoritative guide, talking us through all manner of sights, locations and historical figures, all while detailing the processes behind the plaques’ selection, manufacture and installation. Of particular interest were the plaques of ‘our own’ Louis Paulhan and the Daily Mail air race to Manchester; Ellen Wilkinson’s plaque in Ardwick; the fantastic Christian Science Church in Victoria Park by Edgar Wood; Sam Wild’s plaque not far away on Birch Hall Lane, and the ‘building within a building’ at the Church of St. Cross in Clayton. The ‘Shudehill Fight’ plaque on the Arndale Centre also raised a ...
  • Local History Group – Cinema Memories in Manchester October 6, 2017 Local History Group - Cinema Memories in ManchesterOn Tuesday we were delighted to hand over the floor to Bob McDermott- one of our group’s members- who talked us through his memories of  cinema and film in Manchester. His story began at the very beginning, with his father, a projectionist, hastily ending a showing to attend Bob’s birth- and being sacked for good measure! Journeying up from his old haunts in Withington into central Manchester, we stopped at each former cinema of note along the way. The discussion was complemented by old photographs, virtual tours around the areas on Google Street View, and videos of the cinemas in their glory days. It was wonderful to hear everyone joining in with their own recollections, demonstrating how much of an impression ...
  • Local History Group – Wartime Items April 27, 2017 Local History Group - Wartime ItemsOver the last few months, many of our group members have brought in items belonging to close family members from both the world wars. It made sense to devote a session to these items, bringing them to wider audience. More importantly perhaps, it encouraged individuals to present to the group as a whole, talking for a short time on a subject (such their father’s, grandfather’s or brother’s wartime service, or perhaps their mother’s work in wartime industries).   We were treated to a superb array of items. Joyce lead the way, bringing a huge number of wartime medals, newspapers (from both the front line and a VE Day copy of the Manchester Evening News) and personal letters from those serving overseas in Eritrea. Dorothy provided us ...
  • St. Margaret’s National School Archives March 28, 2017 St. Margaret's National School ArchivesThis afternoon we were joined by John Pollard, archivist at St. Margaret’s church on Burnage Lane, for a session focusing on the St. Margaret’s national school. John began with a presentation covering the history of the school until its closure in the mid 1930s, starting by giving us some background context to Burnage and its growth in the mid-nineteenth century from the census returns. Occupations changed significantly in this period, with a decline in traditional agricultural labour and weaving matched by significant growth in positions which serviced the needs of the new merchant houses: gardeners, coachmen and so on. We were given the background to the school’s formation, learning that the township of Burnage for a time belonged to the parish of St. Paul’s in Withington, ...
  • Railways and People – Eddie Johnson at Burnage Library March 7, 2017 Railways and People - Eddie Johnson at Burnage LibraryWe were taken back to the age of steam this afternoon, with Eddie Johnson talking us through a huge number his historic photographs of the railways. The focus was less on the great locomotives that powered their way across the country than the people who worked on, or whose lives were shaped by the railways. There were images of drivers, firemen, linesmen, navvies, station masters, porters, and passengers, with a fair few spotters too! Attention was drawn to the costumes of the people, with the marked divisions of class and wealth visible among the public, with seniority, rank and position clearly demonstrable among the railway companies’ workers. While focus was given to the immediate area around Manchester, showing 19th and 20th Century ...
  • Eddie Johnson – Railways and People, 2:00- 07th March March 6, 2017 Eddie Johnson - Railways and People, 2:00- 07th March
  • A Working Life at Withington Hospital February 28, 2017 A Working Life at Withington HospitalFrom the workhouse of the Chorlton Union to the largest teaching hospital in Europe, this afternoon we charted the fascinating development of Withington Hospital on Nell Lane. Beginning with a presentation on the workhouse, we looked at the utilitarian principles leading to their creation and the pioneering ‘pavillions’ designed by Thomas Worthington, constructed to Florence Nightingale’s specifications. Also covered was a look at the daily life of its ‘inmates’, along with Admiral Doenitz’s impressions of a submarine- made in a failed attempt to plead insanity while a prisoner of war. After a welcome tea break we were given a fascinating account of nursing life at Withington by Antonette Hunter, illustrated with an array of her personal photographs, newspaper cuttings and excerpts from books and articles. In describing the development ...