Crowd scene at fairground rides at Belle Vue Gardens, Manchester, 1968
(Photo: Marshall Collection / Chetham's Library online archive)
17th September: Michael Ogden - ‘Hotels in the Sky - History of Zeppelins’
15th October: Julie Bagnall - ‘What to do with 323 Postcards’
19th November: Judith Atkinson - ‘A 1920s Bleaching, Dyeing and Weaving Mill’
10th December: Brian Selby - ‘Belle Vue’
21st January: Robert Humphrey-Taylor - ‘A STORM over Mellor
18th February: Anne Woods - ‘Adlington Hall’
18th March: Ann Hearle - ‘Early Water Power in Mellor & Ludworth’
15th April: Diana Leitch - ‘The Towers Estate’
‘A 1920s Bleaching, Dyeing and Weaving Mill’ with Judith Atkinson
The society has been in holiday mode for the last two couple of months, dreaming of airships and postcards. But it is now time to come down to earth and return to work in the mill. In November, Judith Atkinson will return to the Society, having relived the story of the Manchester Ship Canal, in March 2015. This time Judith will describe the operations that took place at the Burgess Ledward mill at Wardley, near Walkden. As with the meeting of last month, ‘What to do with 323 postcards’ the basis of November’s presentation is a ‘discovered’ album. Judith retrieved an old volume of photographs, destined for destruction, showing in graphic detail all the operations taking place at the Burgess Ledward mill, in the 1920s, and converted these old prints into digitised images. This bleaching, dyeing and weaving Mill dates from the 1860s. At its peak in 1922 it had a dyehouse and 1,500 looms. Decline came in the late 1950, weaving ceased in 1968. An industrial and social facet of the Roaring Twenties is to be revealed, a common experience of millions of workers during that era, not least in Marple.
above: The interior of Burgess Ledward's Wardley Mill
The question posed by Julie Bagnall was what to do with 323 postcards and she regaled us this evening with the many and various things she had done with them.
Her first task was to justify to her husband why she had bought this dog-eared album at a car boot sale in 1992. He was told it was none of his business and when he enquired about the price that was a confidential matter. However, the album was squirrelled away for a couple of years on the basis of “out of sight, out of mind.”
When they next saw the light of day, Julie decided to count them, which is how she came to the total of 323. But they were not all postcards. Most were, either used (written and posted) or unused, but there were also pictures and some clippings....
‘Hotels in the Sky - History of Zeppelins’ with Mike Ogden
In the opening presentation of the season, using both photographs and film of the period, Michael Ogden told us of the fascinating story of a lost technology, and a long forgotten way to travel the world
During the early years post the First World War, very few thought the aeroplanes would ever develop into a safe, efficient and affordable way to travel long-distances. The first airliners had only a short range – 500 miles at most – though that was probably plenty for the passengers because they were uncomfortable, cold, noisy, far from reliable -- and not very safe either.
What a contrast with airships, especially Zeppelins! They could cruise for thousands of miles, carrying more passengers in far greater comfort than aeroplanes. They had kitchens and toilets and, on trans-ocean flights, cabins and showers as well. They were a little slower than airliners but, more importantly, they were two or three times faster than the ocean liners they were competing against.