Fairclough’s Ice Cream

I’ve been asked about Fairclough’s Dairy on Shepley St Stalybridge and whether I had any old photos. I don’t have pictures of the dairy but I do have a great picture of their ice cream van!


Fairclough’s was established in the early 1900s in Stalybridge and is currently run by Nicky Meola and his sons Bruno and Massimo. Their website is Faircloughsicecream.co.uk

One reader remembers being sent to the Fairclough’s van in Stamford Park for a treat and said that the ice cream was “the best he had ever tasted”. He also said that you could buy Fairclough’s ice cream from their dairy on Shepley Street where they had an outdoor serving counter. Another reader remembers horse-drawn carts taking ice cream from the dairy all over Stalybridge.

I found an article in the Manchester Evening News online with the tunes from local ice cream vans – Does this chime with you? – I found the tunes even more evocative than the old picture.

Does this bring back any memories for you?


Stalybridge Carnival

It’s the 39th Annual Stalybridge Carnival  28th June 2015. Let’s hope it’s as sunny as it was last year and everyone has a great day.  I love to see the carnival tradition continuing and local schools taking part along with local groups businesses and the lovely Rose Queens. I always enjoyed the carnival as a child and wanted to be a majorette like the ones shown of this  video of Stalybridge Carnival by the Tameside Film Project and on the picture below.

Please leave a comment if you have any memories or photos of the Stalybridge Carnival that you would like to share and let me know if you recognise anyone on the photos!

Stalybridge pubs – The Waggon & Horses.

The Waggon & Horses, Mottram Road, Stalybridge

The Waggon and Horses is on Mottram Road, Stalybridge at the corner of Matley Lane and Mottram Road. The first and most obvious thing that jumped out at me when I saw this picture was the number of floors the pub has…last time I drove past there were only two….and there are clearly three shown here.

The History Bit…

The pub was originally built in 1663 as a farmhouse. It became a “Coach House and Tavern” called The Sandman Inn in 1789. (Waggon&Horses.com)

Up until a boundary change in April 1936 the pub wasn’t in Stalybridge, so it isn’t in any old trade directories etc. (Magee.R, 1991)

The photo below was taken in 1961 and the top floor was removed in 1978. (Waggon&Horses.com)

The Waggon & Horses, Mottram Road, Stalybridge
The Waggon & Horses, Mottram Road, Stalybridge

Market Street Stalybridge

This photo is of the very top end of Market Street, at the junction with Trinity Street/Waterloo Road. The building on the far left is the Boars Head Pub. Can anyone identify the shops in the centre and right of the picture?

Market Street - at the junction with Trinity Street and Waterloo Road (opposite the Town Hall)
Market Street Stalybridge – at the junction with Trinity Street and Waterloo Road

Below is a more recent picture of Market Street, this time you can see the Technical School and Central Girls School on Waterloo Road on the far right and a little further down Market Street. The bank in the centre of the picture is Martins Bank closed in 1970s when it transferred its business to the main TSB Branch on Melbourne Street. The Boars Head Pub closed in the 1980s and is now Gruber Garrett solicitors. (Valentine, S 2012) The shop on the right, Wrights, is now Thompson and Cooke Solicitors.

Market Street Stalybridge at the junction Trinity Street/Waterloo Road.

As always if you have any thoughts or memories about the photos to share please leave a comment below. Thanks, Steph/



Stalybridge Baths

Stalybridge "Old" Baths
Stalybridge Baths

From memory the “old” baths were on Corporation Street,  where Tesco’s car park is now. The architects were Henry Paull and George Robinson (who also designed The Old Baths in Ashton Under Lyne.)

The Public Baths were a gift to Stalybridge by Mr and Mrs Robert Platt.  The Foundation Stone was laid October 24, 1868, and they were opened May 7th, 1870. They cost £7,000 and Mrs Platt also presented an endowment for maintenance expenses. The Platt’s seemed like nice people from what I have read about them and they did a phenomenal amount for the their employees and for the town in general.

Stalybridge "old" Baths - Close up of the detail on the stonework over the door
Stalybridge “old” Baths – Close up of the detail on the stonework over the door

From the Stalybridge yearbook 1904 I can see there were two large swimming pools and also 20 individual private baths as most of the houses in Stalybridge at the time did not have bathrooms. In fact as late as 1980 my gran’s old terrace didn’t have a bathroom…just an outside toilet and a tin bath that could be brought inside and used on special occasions…

The chimney looks massive, apparently it was pretty scientific for its day as the smoke-shaft was constructed with a hollow chamber round the central smoke flue which ventilated the baths and swimming pools; not quite air con but pretty good for the 1800’s.

The old swimming baths were replaced by Copley Recreation Centre on Huddersfield Road and the building was then demolished.

A few quotes from a recent social media post will give you an idea of what a visit to the baths was  like. Do you remember…”having to wear a swim hat” “walking through the foot bath” “wire basket clothes hangers with a number on for your clothes”  “Swimming Galas” “Oxo and crackers” “dodgy chicken soup” “biscuits from the Market to eat on the way home”….

Please leave a comment if you have memories of Stalybridge Baths you want to share.

Stalybridge Old Baths in the distance. Photo taken from Trinity Street Bridge.
Stalybridge Old Baths in the distance. Photo taken from Trinity Street Bridge.


Stalybridge Pubs – The Wharf Tavern

The choice of pub photo tonight is a pretty easy one for me, because I’m heading there now myself. I really like the Wharf Tavern, the staff are friendly, they serve real ale and they let local groups book and use their “small” and “large” rooms for free. I’ve been to the Wharf’ for many WI Reading group evenings, I’ve been to see a banjo group rehearse, I’ve looked at local history presentations and tonight I’m heading off to a launch party with friends from Stalybridge Together! 

The pub looks little different today in 2015 than it did when this photo was taken. The only major difference now is that the pub has been now extended into what looks like a shop on the far left of the picture. I love that the gorgeous stained glass in the lower windows and the internal doors, the pub is worth a visit just to see them, but you might as well have a pint whilst you are there!

The Wharf Tavern 77-79 Caroline Street, Stalybridge
The Wharf Tavern 77-79 Caroline Street, Stalybridge

For those interested in History…

Again from Rob Magees book Stalybridge Pubs 1750-1990…

The Wharf Tavern was originally a beerhouse and was opened in 1850. It was taken over by Gartsides Brewery in 1922. Bass Charrington took over as Brewery in 1967 and in 1981 it became a free house.

Richard Grainger was licensee from 1960 – 2010 and his family still run the pub today, perhaps that is what makes it so friendly.



Advert from the mid 1880s for John Heginbotham, Dealer in Wines and Spirits.



I’ve not much to say about this, its a self explanatory advert for Heginbotham’s from the 1880s. Whilst it is not a photo I wanted to post it as soon as I found it as it belongs with the pages about Heginbotham’s Brewery and the Albion Inn. I’ve yet to find photos of the Kings Arms or the Hare and Hounds mentioned in the advert but I will put them on here if I find them.

Stalybridge Pubs – The Albion Inn

After my post on the Heginbotham’s Brewery, Stalybridge I thought it appropriate to post a picture of one of their pubs – The Albion which was 47-49 Market Street, Stalybridge.

The Albion 47-49 Market Street, Stalybridge
The Albion Inn, originally on Rassbottom Street Stalybridge (later renamed Market Street)


For those into History…

According to Stalybridge Pubs 1750-1990 by Rob Magee…

The pub was first mentioned in 1832 when Ralph Woolley was the licensee.  Mr Woolley was a wine, spirit and porter merchant.  The address was the Rassbottom Street and changed to Market Street with the completion of the Market at the base of the Town Hall.

Around 1890 John Heginbotham, brewer and wine and spirit merchant, bought the pub.

In 1914 the Albion and the Heginbotham’s Brewery were bought out by Robinson’s of Stockport. They remained with the Robinson’s Brewery until it closed some time after 1965.

Rob Magee’s book has a full list of licensees and a few stories about the pub from newspapers of the 1800’s.

The Albion Inn, Market Street. Stalybridge
The Albion Inn, Market Street. Stalybridge


The Albion Inn, Market Street, Stalybridge


After closing as a pub the building housed Richard Boyes & Co Printers. The building was demolished and rebuilt with flats to the upper stories in the 1990s (?).

47-49 Market Street prior to demolish ion and rebuild.
47-49 Market Street prior to demolition and rebuild.

The ground floor is now half pharmacy and half Tame Computers.  

If you have anything to add please leave a comment. Thanks.

Heginbotham’s Brewery, Stalybridge

Stalybridge had a brewery in days gone by, obvious really, all those mill operatives would have needed a pint our two after a hard days work.

I have a poster on the wall in my kitchen advertising “Heginbotham’s Fine Ales & Stout”. To be honest I could do with a large pint of their fine ale now…


Heginbotham's Brewery, Stalybridge
Heginbotham’s Brewery, Stalybridge


Heginbotham’s Brewery supplied a number of pubs locally including the Albion Inn, 47-49 Market Street in Stalybridge. The brewery went into liquidation in 1914 and was bought by Robinsons of Stockport.

Heginbotham’s Brewery, Stalybridge


From this picture it looks to me like house in the foreground is on Grosvenor Street and the brewery was therefore around where the Melbourne Street Carpark is now. What do you think?

And….I have to say the camper van/mini bus in the picture looks fab!

Thankfully Stalybridge has a brewery once again; TicketyBrew. They are based near the train station and most importantly are stocked in the world famous Stalybridge Station Buffet Bar so commuters can have a well earned drink as they return to Stalybridge after a tough day in the big city.


Clinic, Old Street Stalybridge

Stalybridge Clinic, Old Street Stalybridge.

In my memory the old clinic was always a little run down with flaky blue and white paint but it looks pretty good here. It looks as though it would have been nice to work in with all the windows overlooking the river. The entrance was described as Old Street Stalybridge and is shown on this picture, with the carpark at the side, however  I remember walking in to an entrance at the top of the building on Stanford Street.

The Clinic was built in the 1960’s and closed in 2004 when the staff moved into the New Clinic on Waterloo Road in Stalybridge.

The Clinic was demolished in the last couple of years and the site is privately owned and I understand flats will be built there once the housing market picks up locally.

Site of the Stalybridge Clinic, Old Street, before it was built. see the Side of the Town Hall in the background
Site of the Stalybridge Clinic, Old Street, during building. Side of Stalybridge Town Hall in the background
Stalybridge Clinic, Old Street. Side of Slaybridge Town Hall in the background
Stalybridge Clinic, Old Street. Side of Stalybridge Town Hall in the background, the Clinics Riverside location is clear on this one.
Stalybridge Clinic, Old Street. Side of Stalybridge Town Hall in the background. This was taken later than the previous photos. The Trees have grown and the exterior of Stalybridge Town Hall had been cleaned.


My only memories of visiting the clinic were “parent craft classes” in 1999 when I was pregnant with my daughter and taking her there to be weighed after she was born. What about you?



Stalybridge Pubs – The Talbot

As it is Friday night I thought a photo of a pub would be appropriate! This is the Talbot Hotel that was on Market Street. It has now been demolished and the space used to extend the Central Hall which currently houses Cosmo Bingo. The Talbot is the first pub I can remember “getting in” when I was still at school. The pub was a world away from the fun pubs of Vegas Town when we went in and was to my 16 year old eyes a bit dull.  I’m guessing we were in fairly early evening before most people were out.

The Talbot Hotel - Market St Stalybridge
The Talbot Hotel – Market St Stalybridge

For those interested in History…

*The Talbot was originally built as a family home for the Mellor Family (around 1800) and was converted to a pub, called the Coach & Horses, in 1823. The name changed to the Ashton Hotel in 1830. I’m not sure when it changed name to the Talbot but I understand it was mentioned as the Talbot in a newspaper report of 1865.

The address was originally 55 Rassbottom Street (1835) then 77 Market Street (1854) and 74 Market Street (1871 on-wards). Mad isn’t it changing address whilst not moving…

* I took the history bits from Rob Magees book – Stalybridge Pubs 1750-1990

The Talbot Hotel – Market St Stalybridge

What are your memories of the Talbot Hotel? When did you go in? Please leave a comment below. Thanks/





The Old Fish Market – Trinity Street, Stalybridge

The Old Fish Market – Trinity Street, Stalybridge

The Old Fish Market, Trinity Street, Stalybridge

The Fish Market was built opposite the Victoria Market Hall in 1881 at a cost of £1600 – Bargin! The  decorative stone on the roof matches that on the Market Hall. In this photo you can see the decorative stone triangle in the centre. This stone triangle is no longer there. Does anyone know why or when it was removed?

In my memory the Fish Market has always been individual shops as it appears to be in this photo. I think I can remember a pet shop in one, and a florist on the corner – what about you?

Trinity Street, Stalybridge

The Old Fish Market is on the right in this picture. Various dignitaries are in front of the Library on the right and the photo is looking up towards what is now Armentieres Square; I wish I knew what the event was! Please leave a comment if you have any ideas. Thanks.



Stalybridge Police Station

Stalybridge Police Station – 1970s

Stalybridge Police Station, Corporation Street, Stalybridge

From a quick Google around I understand that this particular police station was built in 1968 and the police ceased to use it in 2005 (S.Valentine 2012). Obviously an area the size of Stalybridge, with the number of pubs it had back in 2005, didn’t need a police station….

The former police station looks very different now; derelict and vandalized with the majority of the windows boarded up or smashed, BUT hope is in sight of a new beginning for the building. Planning permission has been granted for conversion to flats, hopefully nice ones as the building is within the conservation area and, although you can’t see it, it backs on to the river Tame.

What I haven’t managed to find out is; where was the previous police station? Did they have one? Or was it previously in the Town Hall?

Victoria Market, Trinity Street Stalybridge

Victoria Market Hall, Trinity Street, Stalybridge
Victoria Market Hall, Trinity Street, Stalybridge

The beautiful Stalybridge Market Hall, as I remember it; full of people inside and out. I grew up in Dukinfield in the 1970s & early 1980s and for me, a trip to Stalybridge on a Saturday afternoon was a treat, only allowed if, my room was tidy. We’d go to the library and change our books, have a wander around the Market Hall and buy whatever we needed; often books from the second hand book stall (anyone remember what it was called?) and then best of all a trip to the cafe for a cream cake. Another stall I remember fondly was a clothes stall on the outside Market, the buyer had great taste (in my young teenage opinion) I think it was called Fizz and sold clothes with the label “Honey”.

Obviously my memory is in colour…

For those interested in history….

The original Stalybridge Market was built in 1831 and was under The Town Hall (now demolished). Work on the Victoria Market (above) started in 1866 and the Market was formally opened 18 July 1868, by the Mayor of Stalybridge, James Kirk, Esq. The total cost of the Victoria Market was £8969.

From my understanding the Victoria Market then carried on happily until Tameside Council tried to “improve it” in the 1990s…

Perhaps it wasn’t Tameside’s Hubris or desire for a grand Civic Hall that closed the market, perhaps it is a story of the inevitable decline of regional shopping centers in general or perhaps it was a deal behind closed doors with TESCO…who knows what goes on in the ivory towers in Ashton…

Moving on to 2014 and we once again had the doors of the Victoria Market open thanks to MWL Events and their regular Handmade Market and also events like the Stalybridge Motorcycle show and the Tameside Beer Festival.

Here are photos of the beautiful interior taken during one of the regular Handmade Markets of 2014. Thanks to Katherine Brooks of MWL Events for these photos. I love the view of the ceiling in the second picture.

Stalybridge Handmade Market in the beautiful Stalybridge Civic Hall @MWL Events


IMG_3749 (1)
Stalybridge Handmade Market in the beautiful Stalybridge Civic Hall @MWL Events

Moving on to 2015 we had the sad news that the use of the Civic Hall is once again “under review” by Tameside. First Tameside Council planned to requisition it for offices, then Councillor Sweeton said: “We are thrilled that the Council have listened to the people of Stalybridge, who clearly value this space a great deal. We are delighted that much loved events like the Handmade Market, Beer Festival, Horticulture Show and bloodbank service will now be offered the chance to continue to run in the Civic Hall.” See Stuart Valantine’s excellent blogpost.  (I think there were issues with listed building consent to the alterations planned rather than “listening to the people of Stalybridge” ) but it was good news none the less. BUT now we find that the fabulous MWL Events cannot get confirmation from Tameside Council for dates we are told that the Hall’s use is once more “under review”…

I have to say – please don’t mess it up again Tameside – we love our Market Hall and want it used more, not less…

Victoria Market, Trinity Street Stalybridge. Also showing the rooftop of the British Restaurant, Trinity Street.
Victoria Market, Trinity Street Stalybridge.  Also showing the curved rooftop of the British Restaurant,              Trinity Street.