Local History Group


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.

Working along with the ongoing 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, Burnard 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:

 

  • Local History Group – Wartime Items April 27, 2017 Over 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 This 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 We 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
  • A Working Life at Withington Hospital February 28, 2017 From 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 Antoinette Hunter, illustrated with an array of her personal photographs, newspaper cuttings and excerpts from books and articles. In describing the development ...
  • Chris Makepeace at Burnage Library February 7, 2017 A full house greeted our guest speaker Chris Makepeace this afternoon, and they were rewarded with a wonderful talk about the value of photographs in understanding our history. Illustrated with a reel full of seldom seen images, we were given advice on examining and dating photographs. What buildings were in the background- were some of these recently erected or subsequently demolished? What about the public transport- were the trams driven by horses or electric? Examine hair styles and fashions for further clues! He continued describing the variety of ways in which photographs have given us a fuller appreciation of the past, including insights into working lives and early depictions of the Mancunian slums. Impressing on us the value of our own photographs, he ...
  • Local History Group – Festive Quiz December 15, 2016 Our local history session this week featured a quiz, focusing on the figures and events which have shaped Manchester, images of lost buildings and streetscapes- with some Burnage history thrown into the mix too. Add lots of tea, biscuits and mince pies and you have a very congenial way of gearing up for Christmas: Our winners even received a prize… congratulations to Barbara, Joyce and Sheila: Why not come along next time and have a look?  
  • Bernard Burke talks to Burnage Library November 4, 2016 We’ll be joined on Tuesday afternoon by Bernard Burke, author of Where has the Time Gone? He’ll talk us through his life growing up in Burnage and: Starting work on his 16th birthday at Manchester Town Hall, then 2 years National Service with The RAF in Germany before becoming a Police Officer in Stockport, followed by six years in business before embarking on a 30 year career in Independent Television, starting as a casually employed driver to become part of the management of Thames Television Outside Broadcast’s Division based in London. All are welcome and the talk is free to attend!  
  • Local History Group – Duchess of York Hospital October 11, 2016 Today we explored the story of the Duchess of York hospital on Burnage Lane. Looking at a number of old Manchester Guardian articles, photographs and historic maps, we followed its progress from a terraced house on Clarendon Road, Chorlton-on-Medlock to Oak Field House, Slade Lane and finally its familiar home at Cringle Hall. Articles were found describing the hospital’s expansion, its acquisition of neighbouring buildings and the development of a greater number of services. We then looked at two annual reports from 1939, taking a special interest in the donors to the hospital. These ranged from prominent members of local families, Behrens and Simon for instance, large companies such as Refuge and Metropolitan-Vickers, along with numerous small community organisations and individuals, all co-operating to support this ...
  • Volunteers’ trip to London Road Fire Station August 9, 2016 Last week a group of volunteers and members of the local history group gathered outside Piccadilly station, overlooking the London Road fire station and the Edwardian warehouses of the early 20th century. Met by our guide, Sue McCarthy, we were given the background to the station’s construction and walked around the building’s exterior.   After sheltering from the intermittent drizzle, we entered the station’s courtyard: From here we entered the Engine Room where the fire engines were stationed, ready for service. We were much impressed by the tiling (less so by the additional layer of paint!), and the overall level of craftsmanship was superb. Tales of the firemen flying headfirst down the poles, stopping as close to the ground as they dare, were among the ...