What a carry on

Terry – Who can remember the ‘toffee made with butter’ man? He must have shouted out that phrase a thousand times a day. Its a wonder he had any voice left.

“What a Carry On”

The Toffee Stall was a magnet for the ‘Cotton Mill Girls’ who left work at noon on Saturday and there was always a great deal of banter back and forward. They were the prettiest girls you ever did see,   and with such spirit.

Hi’ya lassies said ‘Toffee’ as two girls approached, both smoking.

One said “Let’s have some of that Cough Toffee; I’ve got a really bad cough!

“If you stopped smoking like a chimney pot, that cough would clear up” he commented.

“You shut your bloody mouth and mind your own business” was the curt reply.

“Ladies! Please, ” he reprimanded

“No,  listen love, what you need is your chest, rubbing with a ‘strange hand’ and Goose Grease”. Offering up his hand “Here’s my hand and I’ve got the Goose Grease as well.

“Shut up you silly Buger” the girl said “You would not be saying that if our Tom was here”

“Your Tom! Ha!  He’s worse than me. Salt of the earth he is, when is he coming home”

“This year sometime, they say the War is nearly over now” she said hopefully.

“That Bloody Croat” said Arthur, “He’s worse than ‘Kaiser Bill’, have you seen what he’s done to ‘Ancoats’? Half the street is gone. People killed. It is unbearable”. Then holding up aloft the pincers he said angrily  “ If I get my hands on him, I would cut the other one off”  snip! snip! snip! !he went waving the pincers in the air.

“What” said the girl…

Leaning over the stall, and cupping his hands over his mouth he whispered something to them.

They fell about laughing.  “Stop that! You’re making Philomena embarrassed” said one girl.

“Nonsense, you haven’t heard what her mother said to the Coal Man” when he was trying to diddle her out of a bag of coal .Her Mother swears like a trouper if you cross her, Doesn’t she” he said turning to me.

I nodded.

“She’s not a bit like her Mum, are you Princess?

I just smiled; I had no intention of copying such behaviour. “Let’s have a sing song”.

Oh! Oh! Antonio

He’s gone away,

Left me all alone io

All on my own io

I’d like to see him

With his New Sweet Heart

And, up will go Antonio

And his ‘Ice Cream Cart’.

Lots of people had now joined in and there was much clapping

“Listen girls I told Tom I would look after you so Bib and Tucker on and we will go out one evening!  You have my word that it will be only one Drink “

They looked at each other then said “Ok only one drink mind.  Next week then. .Ta Ra” and off they went still laughing.

When his favourite girls called he would sing;

“If you were the only Girl in the world”  and say “Come round here and give us a kiss”

“Don’t be a cheeky monkey” they would say or “Shut up you silly old goat”

and turning to me in mock horror he’d say“ Did you hear that! ..Me who’s  fit as a fiddle on Fynnons Salts!”

“Now Princess” you go for lunch and tell Sam I’m having double Steak Pudding and Chips.

“Would you like a sweet” I asked

“No Ta but some bread please”

By Philomena


PART 2, to Follow.

Terry – Who can remember the ‘toffee made with butter’ man? He must have shouted out that phrase a thousand times a day. Its a wonder he had any voice left.



Brimrod Lane Toll

Brimrod Lane Toll Gate and House

Brimrod Lane in 1935

Brimrod Lane Toll
Photo from Harold Howarth

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I cannot be sure if the Google View is the same place, it bears no resemblance anywhere on Brimrod Lane

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Haigh Square Newhey

Haigh Square Newhey

Photo’s of Haigh Square Newhey, by special request for Helen Aldcroft and Brian Gilbert.

Hope these are what you were looking for 🙂

Haigh Square Newhey
Photo from Harold Howarth

Photo taken 7th of June,1976.


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Gordon Harvey

Gordon Harvey

31 December 1858 – 6 November 1922

Gordon Harvey

Alexander Gordon Cummins Harvey was a Rochdale cotton manufacturer,merchant and Liberal politician.

Member of Parliament for Rochdale 1906–1918

Gordon Harvey (as he was usually known) was born in Manchester and was the son of Cummins Harvey, a partner in the cotton yarn and cloth manufacturing firm of Fothergill and Harvey. Gordon Harvey himself went on to become the head of an important firm of cotton spinners, manufacturers and merchants with mills at Littleborough and offices and warehouses in Manchester.

In politics Gordon was a solid Liberal and was Chairman of Middleton Division Liberal Association, Harvey was elected to Lancashire County Council in the year after its creation and was later made an Alderman of the county. He remained chairman of the county education committee up until the time of his death. He also served as a Justice of the Peace in Lancashire.

Gordon Harvey Rochdale MP

Despite taking the anti-war side Harvey still managed to come within 19 votes of beating the sitting Conservative MP, Clement Royds. At a later date, Harvey was eventually elected as MP for Rochdale at the 1906 general election, beating Clement Royds by nearly 1500 votes. Clement Royds was a prominant local banker who had held the seat since 1895.

Harvey was obliged to stand down from Parliament during the 1918 general election because of a disease in his throat, presumably cancer. He underwent two operations as a result but lost his fight with the disease and died in Windermere aged 63.

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Jessie Fothergill Blue Plaque

Jessie Fothergill Blue Plaque

Jessie Fothergill 1851-1891

jessie fothergill blue plaque
Photo By Neil Myers

Novelist who captured the lives of working people in the local cotton mills in the 19th century. Lived for some years in a house near-by.

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New England Furniture shop, Todmorden Road, Littleborough

Enid Stacy Blue Plaque

Enid Stacy Blue Plaque

Enid Stacy 1868-1903

Enid Stacy Blue Plaque
Photo By Neil Myers

International and local speaker and writer on the welfare of working people and women’s right to vote lived in Calderbrook Vicarage and worshipped at St. James with her husband the Reverend Percy Wildrington.

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St James Church, Calderbrook Road (right gatepost)

The Royal Oak Blue Plaque

Royal Oak Blue Plaque

Royal Oak Blue Plaque is now “Black” for some reason?

Royal Oak P.H. Late 18th century.

Royal Oak Blue Plaque
Photo By Neil Myers

An original posting inn with stables and large land holdings, used by the famous dialect writer Tim Bobbin as the base of his work “a view of the Lancashire Dialect”. G. Stephenson, the railway engineer, is said to have lodged here during the construction of the railway.

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Church Street, Littleborough

Red Cross Street

Red Cross Street

Red Cross Street viewed from what is now the centre of the dual carriageway.

Red Cross Street
Photo from Harold Howarth

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Elizabeth Macpherson gee have never seen a road sign ‘no waiting this side today’!

Rochdale Past, Present & Future. well spotted, I had not noticed

Lorraine Myers Is that falinge flats you can see at the back being built? Wow really changed

Barbara Codd Is it were brick croft is now

Rochdale Past, Present & Future. yes

Debbie Lloyd The person walking would be stood in the middle of St Marys gate! Brickcroft is were the women in the white coat is!

Diane Foster I used to go to school there were they built the “Bricky” on was St Mary’s School.

Joyce Jones Coincidentally, they have just pulled the flats down which they were building in this photo.

Rochdale Past, Present & Future. and the Salvation Army that was just out of shot to the left….. all gone

Lilian Mullane Pity can’t see reg or colour on the Cortina Estate I think it was my Dad’s he used to park there.

Mark Smith Must be around 1970. We were one of the first to move into Vaynor on Sheriff street when I was 10. Posh modern flats !!!!!

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Boggart Lane Bridge

Boggart Lane Bridge

Boggart Lane Bridge, this photo was taken by the site engineer in June 1934,—W.H.G.Mercer who then became Borough Surveyor in 1948.

Info from Julie Whitworth

Boggart Lane Bridge
Photo from Harold Howarth

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This is the bridge near the entrance to Morrisons on Kingsway. It is quite confusing but as Gordon Monks pointed out on our Facebook Page

Gordon Monks My thoughts are that it’s the bridge over Kingsway, with the original stone arch bridge being replaced by the present girder bridge. The layout of the side panels of the bridge is the same as seen on Google Maps’ Street View. The southern bypass (Queensway, Kingsway and Albert Royds Street) was constructed, at least in part, on the line of existing roads and lanes, which may explain the need to reconstruct the bridge, as it wasn’t suitably aligned or wide enough.

Rae Mills Happy days in Rochdale in 60- 70-80s

Andy Cooper Kingsway. Definitely

Darren EvesI can’t go along with that although the bridge looks the same, the road layout doesn’t. Kingsway was built straight prior to that the road went through at an angle, the earliest map of kingsway I have shows a straight road with nothing either side of the bridge.
Bogart Lane Bridge before Kingsway
Boggart Lane Bridge before Kingsway
Bogart Lane Bridge after Kingsway
Boggart Lane Bridge after Kingsway from Darren Eves
Darren Eves Still confusing looking at the 1936 map there are no houses on that side of the map, but this road could match!
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Stump Pie

Stump Pie

Pastries – Savoury Double Crust Pies

A pastry case filled with minced meat with suet, sugar, salt, herbs and spices and whole eggs, dried fruit “a good quantity”, baked. Served with white wine vinegar and sugar (WM 1658, Wooley 1672)

Stump Pie

Original Recipe in WM 1658;

To make a Stump Pye.
Take a Leg of mutton, one pound and a half of the best Suet, mince both small together, then season it with a quarter of a pound of Sugar, and a small quantity of salt, and a little cloves & mace, then take a good handful of Parsly half as much Tyme, and mince them very small, and mingle them with the rest; then take six new laid Eggs and break them into the meat and worke it well together, and put it into the past; then upon the Top put Raisins, Currans and Dates a good quantity, cover and bake it, when it is baked, and when it is very hot, put into it a quarter of a Pint of White wine Vinegar, and strow Sugar upon it, and so serve it.

Kindly posted and made by Colette Wren

It is reported in ‘The Gentleman’s Magazine, and Historical Chronicle’, (v97, Part 1) of 1827 that stump pie

“formed a prominent dish at a certain period at the feasts of the Knights of the Garter”.


Rochdale Past, Present & Future. OMG how lovely was that, wow amazing!! its like a cross between a Tagine and an Eccles cake, sounds strange, looks strange but was gorgeous

Elizabeth Macpherson Is it similar to what ‘mincemeat – xmas’ used to be? Did you use ‘mutton’ + what weight? Please.

Elizabeth Macpherson how much would a leg of mutton weigh?

Colette Wren got mixed mince from world wide mostly mutton got 1 kilo and made 2 huge pies.xxxx.

Colette Wren if you go worldwide on milkstone road and ask for a kilo of mixed mince works out the same as a leg of mutton is £2.50 a

Rochdale Past, Present & Future. a massive difference from white wine vinegar and white vinegar, glad I checked first. Off to get some 🙂

Rochdale Past, Present & Future. Thank you very much Colette smile emoticonloads left

Colette Wren told you I don’t make small pies lol .xxx.

Colette Wren did you have it the olden days way and wash it down with a pitcher of ale ?

Rochdale Past, Present & Future. I had it with green beans and Guinness but would go well with fresh cream & Brandy

Rochdale Past, Present & Future. very filling too, warms you up 🙂

Rochdale Past, Present & Future. 6 good portions in the pie I had, going to have to freeze some and my in-laws are having some tomorrow 🙂

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Parish Church Vicarage

Parish Church Vicarage

Parish Church Vicarage, built in 1726.Later this building became a Museum and is now used by Rochdale Business Bureau.

Parish Church Vicarage
Photo from Harold Howarth


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Gillian Kerr My dolls house ( would be antique now..still have it.) used to belong to the vicar Harry Nightingale’s daughters. Our mum used to clean there. I loved going with her and ” exploring”. Amazing rooms and stairways. Brings back memories.

Chris Higginbottom Worked on that building about 40 years ago when it was being restored

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The Butts Avenue

The Butts Avenue

The Butts Avenue, leading to Bull Brow

The Butts Avenue

Jen Taylor Looking a little like York?!

Gordon Monks The Grapes (extreme left) closed! (I don’t know why, but the Grapes always had a bad reputation in my youth.)

Bev Hughes I remember that shop!

Kath Parrington Bull brow has been painted it looks neat, nice and bright x

Warren Ballantyne My mum used to run this shop selling second hand furniture in the 90’s, it was quite busy at the time I don’t know how she managed I look in sometimes when going to la mancha, its tiny inside.
Have to agree about rates in this town its as if the council are trying to suffocate any chance of a thriving business, if a multi million pound firm like Mac Donald’s cant remain in this town what hope has any ambitious new start up got Rochdale doesn’t have a brilliant track record when it comes to supporting new business 25 ten boutique is one example of a successful business that crumbled under the pressure of ridiculously high rents.

Marilyn Shaw Well there must be a problem with the valuation officer’s if they think the buildings in Rochdale are worth more than the likes of Bury. Something not right.

Julie Robinson Still doesn’t answer why Burys rates are so much lower

Warren Ballantyne Seems artificially high business rates are the problem which doesn’t seem to be a problem isolated to Rochdale alone.

Julie Robinson Shall we all get in touch with our local council. This should have been sorted out years ago I think k its to late now

Warren Ballantyne Im guilty of being synical towards rochdale like many other people in this town but im tired of being ashamed of my home town this page does a good job of reinstating a bit of nostalgia and pride and its good to see recent investment in our town i.e new transport links, new shopping centre but watching the local economy crumble and to find out the decline is assisted by government is disheartening. Maybe our local m.p can answer some of our questions.

Nigel Lancashire With pages like this, people always rush to Rochdale’s defence, seemingly wilfully blind to the slow death the town is experiencing. If Rochdale’s rates are killing it, why don’t those who have power and profess to love Rochdale not tackle the problem? In the main, today’s Rochdale Council and the people in grey suits who are there ensuring ‘business as usual’ as councils come and go don’t care as long as they are OK – exemplified by the ridiculously ugly and expensive new premises they’ve built with our money that they believe is more important than spending it first on a town dying from indifference. Talk about fiddling while Rome burns…

Meg Barlow In what way has it improved?

Julie Anne McGrann Bull brow has been painted now, looks great and the floor is a lot better than it is in this photo, with hanging baskets on the Italian restaurant opposite Bull Brow 🙂

Rochdale Past, Present & Future. I do hope somebody can explain this anomaly that it crushing our town

Gordon Monks Is it the rateable value that’s set by central government and the actual rate (based on that value) set by local government? That’s the way it used to be.

Julie Robinson I thought the rates were set by the government. Why are bury rates so low do they subsidise them

Nick Barton Are they much lower in Bury? They cannot subsidise them, they are set by the same Valuation Office and the problem has been primarily identified as a north / south issue.

Paul Jones This shop is still there although a little damp inside, have been making some inquiries about renting this but the rates are ridiculous..

Rochdale Past, Present & Future. how much were the rates Paul Jones

Moira Garrod The rates in Rochdale have killed the town. I can’t believe after all these years it’s still the same. The multiples won’t entertain these costs let alone independants. Very sad they can’t see the wood for the trees.

Paul Jones Neil you would not believe the rates mate. A shop this size is over 12 grand a year just for rates. The same size shop in Bury would be under 4 grand….Rents are the same, so high in Rochdale it’s farcical..It’s as if it’s a deliberate policy bu the Council to kill off the Yorkshire St area in favour of the new development….

Kath Parrington Paul a little Antique shop would be great, Simon has his office on Cheetham street/ st Mary’s gate , give him a ring, i’m sure people would enjoy a shop like this x

Kath Parrington Why don’t we stop knocking Rochdale, and try to support people who are trying to improve !!

Nick Barton Rates are not set by the Council, they are set by the Valuation Office on behalf of the government. The Council have a duty to collect the rates, but no control over the amount. Rents are not set by the Council either, suggesting that either is some kind of Council led conspiracy is bonkers!

Paul Jones Could you therefore explain how the rates in our town and those of Bury are so different?

Paul Jones Harrods rates are £189 per sq mtr, Shop on Yorkshire st £375 per sq mtr….Care to explain?

Nick Barton I suspect the rates are not very different from Bury when you start to look more closely. Was it the rates or the rateable value in each example? Did the Bury shop benefit from small business relief, which many businesses in Rochdale also benefit from? No denying rates are a big issue, but is not just a Rochdale problem, as I have said, they are not set locally.

Paul Jones As of Today the figures are that Rochdale shopkeepers pay on average 40% more than our local neighbours, this does not include any discounts for small business, this is comparing like to like. One of the latest to close on Yorkshire Street was the fish and chip shop on the right that used to house Gregg’s the rateable value of that shop was 39k, actual yearly rates payable were over 18k and the rent for that shop was 10k a year. Outgoings before any utility bills of 28 thousand a year, rates are tied to the rents payable, be it a council owned property or in private hands, as rents fall rates go up to cover the shortfall. this is a government set system, however there are still many buildings in and around Rochdale that are in council hands, and in those cases they do set the rents and offer discounts for new businesses at reduced rates. This in turn drives up the rates payable, this anomaly was to be looked at this year by the ConDems, however this planned reform was shelved by the Govt, am sure the MP for Rochdale is part of this coalition being a Liberal…One of the few winners in this are M&S on Yorkshire St, they in fact own the building they are in and therefore do not pay rent, if this were not the case I have it from the horses mouth itself that M&S would pull out in rapid style. As the post above stated a shop on Yorkshire St is rated at £395 per sq mtr and Harrods of London are rated at £189 per sq feet, those figures are correct as of yesterday…If anyone could explain this divide between the south and the north I would love to be in on that discussion…I do not wish to turn this into a political debate but it is quite obvious that this part of the country is being monetarily raped by this Govt, and previous ones I might add……

Nick Barton I agree rates are a problem, but I don’t think you understand the issue in the article. Lower rents don’t make the rates rise they just change the ratio. I suspect the MP would rather not be referred to a member of the government, as he is a member of the Labour Party.

Paul Jones Is he, I always thought he was a Liberal lol, my mistake…Re the rates, the figures quoted are correct and the differences between areas are indeed vastly different, where rents are falling in Rochdale and remaining fairly constant in other areas there is a marked difference in the rates payable…And guess where they are higher? Where rental income is falling…You would tend to think that in the more affluent areas of the country the rates would be higher, this is not the case. Rents are higher in those areas but the rates are less…..It is not the ratio that is different..The rate charges for each square foot of floor space is higher here than say London and the South East…..To regenerate areas that are suffering the rates have to be significantly less to encourage the take up of premises in the retail sector. The system we have works in exactly the opposite way…

Nick Barton I am going to try and get my hands on the university of Liverpool report.

Paul Jones

Stephen Sparky Spark The road is still the same tho

Julie Anne McGrann no the road is better now, it is flagged and has cobbles at the sides 🙂

Jackie Kershaw If you don’t apply for small business rates relief you wont get it..! In Todmorden there are huge rates discounts for small businesses. I have a feeling that Rochdale council are keeping very quiet about this but I seriously don’t think they want new businesses in the town until they have Yorkshire Street and the new buildings done. Imagine the up evil for new businesses when they start building upper walk ways and the glass domes on it. Best to have as little disruption from tenants as possible glasses emoticon I think that is the general plan and I like it. I hope I haven’t given away their little secret plan, I could have been put in the Stocks for that a few years ago but seeing has the Stocks are STILL in a state of disrepair they will have to pay for my silence lol

Joyce Jones Sorry Jackie – Stock been repaired now! Ha!! Also, the high rents killed the market – that’s why it’s like it is now – wood – trees spring to mind!!

Joanne Watchorn Remember the cafe on left was the Lincoln Green. Many a happy time in there with college friends.