'History through objects' - Hannah Barker - April 2022

FITT main banner draft 03 1 scaledDr Hannah Barker introduced us to a completely new branch of history - understanding the thoughts and beliefs of large sections of the populace at any one time by examining and analysing the artefacts they used and enjoyed in their everyday life. She used a project, she is working on with colleagues from various institutions, to show how this can be carried out and the results that can be gleaned from it.

Read more:  'History through objects' - Hannah Barker - April 2022 

A Favourite and Ideal Holiday Resort - Anthony Burton (March 2022)

canal boat 2There’s no denying that life was hard in the mills. Twelve hour days and six days a week was a hard régime but it did have some lighter breaks as Anthony Burton described in his thoroughly researched talk about Marple as “a favourite and ideal holiday resort” - not Anthony’s words but a description from a contemporary newspaper. So why was “Stockport’s Vale of Tempe” (another extravagant and somewhat fanciful comparison) the destination of choice in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century?


Read more: A Favourite and Ideal Holiday Resort - Anthony Burton (March 2022)

'Norbury Colliery' - David Kitching (Feb. 2022)

NorburyNorbury Colliery was full of surprises as David Kitching explained in his popular talk. With many more visitors than usual, it obviously attracted a wider audience from our area, not just the history buffs.
So what were the surprises? For a start Norbury Colliery was a lot older than we had thought. The first record dates from 1704 so coal was being mined here in the seventeenth century. It was also much bigger than it appears today. Now it is on one site, around Jackson’s Dairies, but in its prime there were three separate collieries. As well as the one we know at Norbury there was also one adjacent to the old High Lane station, just off the A6 on the Middlewood Way and a third colliery at Middlewood itself. Finally, we discovered that these collieries had their very own canal and very own railway, albeit not a very big canal and only a short-lived railway.

Read more:  'Norbury Colliery' - David Kitching  (Feb. 2022)

New Mills and Hayfield Bombing - Frank Pleszak (January 2022)


There cannot have been many occasions when the Methodist Church in Marple displayed two large swastikas on either side of the chancel, but our January meeting was one of them. Admittedly, they were only there momentarily as one of the illustrations for Frank Pleszak’s talk about the bombing of New Mills but they brought to life a largely forgotten incident which happened almost eighty years ago.

Frank started his talk by emphasising that, despite his name, he is a born and bred Mancunian. His father was Polish so, as a slight diversion, he very briefly related his father’s adventures in getting to England from a village in what is now Belarus. When the Russians invaded he was imprisoned in a Siberian gulag about as far from Europe as it’s possible to get but despite that he managed to make his way to Europe to fight with the Polish forces in Italy. A fascinating tale but if we want to know more we will have to go to another of Frank’s talks or buy his book. (Details on Frank’s blog. link )

Read more:  New Mills and Hayfield Bombing - Frank Pleszak  (January 2022)

Rose Hill Station: a history - Craig Wright (Dec. 2021)

Rose hill staition Xmas timeIt rained all day and, as evening approached it rained even more. Nevertheless, a hard core of history buffs together with some railway enthusiasts as guests, made up an audience of over seventy people to listen to Craig Wright talk about Rose Hill station. An impressive turnout in the middle of a pandemic. First, he had to prove his credentials to a dedicated audience. Craig comes from a family that has been involved in railways from his 2x great grandfather onwards. The progenitor of the tradition was originally an agricultural labourer who had recognised the tide of history, left his job and walked to Derby where he got a job with the growth industry of that era. He rose as the railways grew and finished his career as a station master.[click Derby Station 1906]

Rose Hill Station, Santa is on his way (click on image to see the 1954 station)

Read more: Rose Hill Station: a history - Craig Wright (Dec. 2021)

Significant Manchester Women - Andrew Simcock (Nov. 2021)

Pankhurtst StatueThe November talk was the story of a statue. Not just any statue but the statue of Emmeline Pankhurst, the iconic figure symbolising the fight for universal suffrage. And how fitting that she should be commemorated in Manchester, the city of her birth. Andrew Simcock took us through the various stages from conception to completion after introducing himself as a Manchester councillor for Didsbury East.

Read more:  Significant Manchester Women - Andrew Simcock (Nov. 2021)

Antarctica - Andy Smith (Oct. 2021)

antar 28Andy Smith began his talk on Antarctica by listing some superlatives for the seventh continent; perhaps we should examine some of them:

the coldest
No dispute there. The average temperature at Halley Research Station is -6.6⁰C - and that’s in summer! In winter the average is a chilly -28⁰C. And Halley Research Station is on the coast. If you want to know inland temperatures they would typically be -20⁰C in summer and, in winter, a bracing -60⁰C.

the driest

Read more:  Antarctica - Andy Smith (Oct. 2021) 

Bentley Boys - David Skillen (Sept. 2021)

Flappers1920s 58a346bd3df78c4758d56c59It is always a little tense preparing for the first meeting of the year. Have we forgotten anything after a three month break? Will the new season be as good as last year? Will there be as many members? And the first meeting of the year this time was different from usual. It was the first meeting after eighteen months, not just three months. To cap it all we had a subject that was rather different from the usual programme - The Bentley Boys. Yes, it was history. It was a story of the Jazz Age, the Roaring Twenties, when “Anything Goes”. Would our members be interested in this aspect of history?

Read more:  Bentley Boys - David Skillen (Sept. 2021)