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Bypass plans on display

Picture of cars in a traffic queueThe plans for the Mottram to Tintwistle Bypass and Glossop Spur have recently been put on show so visitors could see the proposed route first hand.

A computer-generated graphic of the Bypass was part of the display put on by the Highways Agency to demonstrate the benefits it would bring to the area.

In a presentation to the Peak Park Forum in December the Agency reported that if the Bypass was introduced Mottram would see a 95 per cent decrease in traffic with a 98 per cent drop in HGVs, Hollingworth a 22 per cent decrease in traffic with a 91 per cent drop in HGVs and Tintwistle a 82 per cent decline in traffic with a 97 per cent drop in HGVs.

Subject to a public inquiry it is hoped work on the Bypass and Spur will start in 2007/8 with an opening date in 2009/10.

Executive Council Leader, Cllr Roy Oldham, said: "This Bypass and the Glossop Spur which we intend to construct at the same time will take a massive number of all vehicles, not just HGVs, away from the villages, and for me, the Highways Agency and many more it's the only credible way of doing it.

"Plans I've seen again recently, although they first appeared a couple of years ago now, which propose a trans-Pennine rail link just won't work. Apart from the pollution the vehicles would bring so close to the homes in Hattersley, it would also mean extra vehicles driving on the estate's roads near the station.

"The Department of Transport were required to show that they had considered potential alternatives and they found the Bypass to be the only realistic solution to the traffic problems in Mottram, Hollingworth and Tintwistle."

A new traffic lights system is to be installed at Mottram crossroads in an attempt to make crossing the road safer for pedestrians.

Currently people, especially mothers with children and the elderly find it difficult trying to cross the busy junction.

Now all the sets of lights turn to red at the same time meaning pedestrians can all cross while vehicles are stationary.

Cllr Oldham said: "The new traffic lights system will cause some extra traffic congestion until the Bypass and Spur Road are built. Finally having the means to safely cross the busy roads at the Mottram junction is great news, securing the Bypass and Spur would be even better."

News in Brief


How safe's your food?

Whilst on their routine inspection rounds, Tameside Council food safety inspectors have been identifying premises to recommend for food safety awards.

The awards are presented year-round to local shops, restaurants, cafes and bars to recognise excellent standards in food safety and hygiene.

Premises that have been chosen for an award are given a certificate and sticker to display in their window.

They have been instrumental in helping to raise the standards of food safety in the borough, and in 2005, 103 businesses received the award.

The awards enable customers to identify premises that have met strict food safety criteria, so they can be confident that their food is prepared properly in a hygienic environment.

Premises that hold the award, must re-apply for it every year, to ensure that their high standards are constantly being maintained.

The holders of the award are listed on the Tameside web site and these can be viewed at: www.tameside.gov.uk/foodsafety/awards

Sculpture

A striking sculpture has been unveiled at The Heys Primary School in Ashton.

And the pupils played an important part in the design. Sculptor Paul Margetts worked with them, asking them to describe and draw what the school means to them.

The end result is stunning but simple, showing a trinity of pupils, teachers and parents, reaching out to attain their goals.

Headteacher Adam Stevens said: "When we moved to the new school we wanted a symbol which reflected The Heys and the school's new era. We wanted something iconic that would add to the local environment.

"We are delighted with the sculpture Paul has created. The movement and fluidity of it give a sense of belonging and of everyone moving in an upward direction."

Sports success

Around 50 young people aged 14-16 took part in the Tameside Street Games tournament.

The young people, who attend the unit's community sports sessions across the borough, had the chance to compete against each other in football, basketball and cricket at Medlock Leisure Centre.

The event was organised by Tameside Sports Development Unit. Greg Whitfield from the unit said: "The competition proved to be a huge success. Six teams took part – with the Mossley team the overall winners."

Oddfellows Hall

Work has started on the restoration of Oddfellows Hall, situated on Stamford Street, Ashton. The hall is a listed building and the former local base for the Society of Oddfellows.

The outside shell will be restored and then new development will take place behind it. A planning application has also been submitted for the whole of this block to create more than 100 apartments and business units.

The council, aided by the Heritage Lottery Fund, has contributed to the cost of external restoration.

I.T.'s a big success

The 4th of March was a day to remember for the people and organisations whose achievements were recognised at the 2005 etameside Awards. Now in their 6th year the event recognises and showcases examples of excellence in a broad range of I.T. related projects and initiatives from across Tameside. At the prestigious ceremony, held in the Civic Hall at Ashton, 12 winners, from 9 different categories covering local business, community and voluntary sector, and Lifelong Learning received their awards.

Speaking at the event Councillor Margaret Oldham said "Tameside has an excellent National reputation in the field of IT. This is thanks in many ways to the hard work of the eTameside Partnership. I am delighted at the number and standard of entries we have had for this year's event. Every year it gets more and more difficult for the judges to pick out clear winners, and I think this is reflected in the number of joint winners we have seen tonight". She also thanked the sponsors, without whose help the evening would not be possible.

For further information, please visit www.tameside.gov.uk/etameside/awards2005

Discover Tameside's Heritage

Stability is the word that springs to mind when considering Tameside's political landscape since 1945. For the last 60 years there have been no parliamentary by-elections, no seats have changed hands, and even at council level there has been very little change since the late 1960s.

Tameside Council, founded in 1974, has been under Labour control for more than a quarter of a century, with Roy Oldham as the UK's longest-serving Council Leader.

Picture of Joseph Raynor StephensBut it was not always so. The Ashton constituency, a product of the Great Reform Act of 1832 has had a very eventful history, while the other Tameside constituencies have also had their fair share of radical politics, controversy and colourful characters.

The famous Chartist, Rev Joseph Rayner Stephens, contested Ashton in 1837 but polled only 19 votes out of a total of 457 cast, trailing in far behind the winner, Charles Hindley (Liberal), who received 237 votes. The Conservative candidate, J Wood, polled 201 votes.

In 1886, the voters of Ashton produced a tie, with John Addison (Conservative) and Alexander Rowley (Liberal) both receiving 3,049 votes. It used to be the tradition to announce the result of elections on the steps of the town hall and after the first count, Addison had won by eight votes. As the police struggled to keep control a recount took place, and it was eventually declared that the candidates had tied, and that the election had been decided on the casting vote of the Mayor, James Walker, who had chosen his fellow party-member.

Picture of Max AitkenReports tell us that while Addison was making his victory speech, a young man to his right insisted on bellowing for cheers at the most inappropriate times. Addison became so annoyed, we are told the word "demmit" escaped him unawares and he gave the offender "a smack i'th'earhole". This caused the young man to apologise, but he quickly resumed his shouting.

Ashton's MP from 1910 until 1916 was the Canadian millionaire Max Aitken, who is best known as owner of the Daily Express and for making the paper what it is today.

Aitken was parachuted into the constituency by the future Conservative Prime Minister Andrew Bonar Law within months of arriving in Britain. Aitken promptly won it from the sitting Liberal MP, AH Scott, and was soon knighted.

He then went on to play a key role in bringing about the collapse of Asquith's Liberal administration in 1916, leading to a Coalition Government led by Lloyd George but with Bonar Law as his number-two. For this, Aitken was elevated to the peerage as Lord Beaverbrook, despite the reservations of King George V, and stood down as an MP.

During the Second World War, Beaverbrook was appointed to several Government posts by his friend, Winston Churchill.

Ellen Wilkinson is nowadays remembered as a reforming Education Secretary in Attlee's Labour Government of 1945, as it is thanks to her that the school-leaving age was extended to 15, and that school meals and free school milk were introduced.

However, there was uproar when she was selected to fight Ashton in 1923 because, although she was standing as a Labour candidate, she was a card-carrying member of the Communist Party and nicknamed "Red Ellen"

The 1923 general election was fought against fears of a Communist takeover. Only a few years before, the Bolsheviks had seized power in Russia and killed the Czar and his family. Communist groupings had been strong in Eastern and Central Europe in the aftermath of the First World War and had briefly taken control in Hungary and parts of Germany.

Picture of Ellen WilkinsonEllen, a Manchester councillor, was unbowed. And when challenged about her beliefs at a meeting at Victoria Street School, she admitted to being a Communist, but added: "I'm not standing in this election as a Communist candidate, I'm standing as a Labour Party candidate. But if you don't want to vote for someone who stands on the left wing of the party, then the only thing to do is vote for the capitalists. All this Communist thing is merely a red herring."

She came third in the election, which was a very close contest, but entered Parliament the following year, having resigned from the Communist Party. In 1935, she was elected MP for Jarrow.

In 1924, Ashton came close to having Winston Churchill as its MP. At the time he was without a seat in the Commons having lost Dundee in 1922, and the following year he unsuccessfully fought the Abbey division of Westminster.

At the end of April, 1924, Ashton's Conservative MP, Sir Walter de Frece, announced that he was thinking of standing down because his wife (the music hall star Vesta Tilley) was ill and he was struggling to cope with his workload.

The Conservative Association reacted quickly, and a meeting was held at the old Stamford Street club on May 8. The minute book states: "An interesting discussion followed in which it was unanimously resolved that we invite the Rt Hon Winston Churchill to become the Anti-Socialist candidate for Ashton-under-Lyne."

Picture of Winston ChurchillHowever, upon hearing of this, Sir Walter launched an attack upon Churchill, who was a largely unpopular figure in Britain at that time. He was blamed for the failure of the Gallipoli campaign in 1915 and many Conservatives also disliked him because, as Unionists, they disagreed with his part in the partition of Ireland in 1922.

Eventually, Sir Walter was replaced by Charles Homan, a man who lost the seat in 1928 because he was declared bankrupt. However, Homan's 1924 leaflets carried a message from Churchill: "I send you my most cordial wishes for success in the fight you are making to secure from the electors of Ashton-under-Lyne a decisive repudiation of the Russian Bolshevik interference with British domestic concerns.

"A suitable Government with a solid majority, British in spirit and sentiment, and progressive in policy, is vital indeed at the present time.

All progress in housing, unemployment and other social matters will depend upon this.

I am sure Lancashire will rally to the national flag."

Oswald Mosley has gone down in history as a man who wanted to be Britain's dictator, but in the 1920s he was seen as a young and exciting politician. Indeed, former Labour leader Michael Foot has described him as the only man who could have been a Labour or Conservative Prime Minister.

Having first been elected a Conservative MP, Mosley later dallied with the Liberals and then switched to Labour, winning Smethwick, Birmingham, in 1926.

When Labour took power in 1929, Mosley was made Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, but quickly fell out with the leadership. With unemployment at more than 2,000,000 he pushed for new, more vigorous policies and produced what was known as the Mosley Memorandum, calling for the state to do more to regenerate the economy.

This was rejected by Prime Minister, Ramsay Macdonald, and Mosley resigned his Government post and became the centre of a grouping known as New Labour which featured MPs such as Aneurin Bevan. However, Mosley resolved to go further and founded the New Party, a sort of early SDP which fought its first seat in April, 1931, in a by-election caused by the death of Ashton's Labour MP, Arthur Bellamy. A frenetic few weeks followed and Mosley's wife, Lady Cynthia, also a Labour MP, spoke to many packed meetings, yet it was noted at the time that many of the people attending were teenage girls who came to stare at her very stylish clothes.

When the result was announced, the large crowd on the market ground heard that Labour had lost the seat to the Conservatives with Allan Young of the New Party in third place with a very creditable 4,472 votes. Many Labour supporters blamed Mosley for the defeat, saying he had split the left-wing vote. He was unable to make a speech and it is said that it was the behaviour of the Ashton crowd that convinced him he should give up democracy and turn to extremism.

Between the war years, Tameside encompassed the curious Mossley constituency, which also took in Audenshaw, Denton, Droylsden, Failsworth, Lees and Limehurst.

It was dominated by the remarkable Austin Hopkinson, who was referred to on his death in 1962 as a scintillating star in the firmament of the area. Not only was he continually re-elected as an Independent, he was also an inventor, enlightened employer and a soldier.

He opposed the setting up of the Welfare State as something harmful to the national character, yet his employees were better paid and worked shorter hours than their counterparts, and in 1921 he introduced a profit-sharing scheme.

Born in Manchester in 1873, Hopkinson was the third son of Sir Alfred Hopkinson. He intended to take a commission in the Royal Engineers but was unable to do so after suffering a serious accident. Undeterred, he joined the Manchester Territorials and served in the Boer War for eight months before being discharged as permanently disabled.

At the start of the First World War he raised a troop of 65 horsemen and enlisted them in the Royal Dragoons, while paying their wives 8s 11d (44p) a week out of his own pocket. Hopkinson was wounded at Ypres, again discharged as permanently disabled, and then rejoined the Army as a private soldier and returned to the trenches in 1918. In 1939, aged 66, he joined the Fleet Air Arm.

His fortunes as an industrialist began in 1908 when he invented a revolutionary coal-cutting machine which he manufactured at the Delta Works, Audenshaw. This gave him enough money to live at Ryecroft Hall, which he later gave to Audenshaw UDC to be used as a council headquarters.

Hopkinson served as MP for the Mossley division from 1918 to 1929, and from 1931 to 1945. From 1917 to 1934 he was also a councillor, and was chairman of Audenshaw UDC in 1923-4 and 1928-9.

The 1916 by-election in the old Hyde constituency brought Tameside into contact with one of the more colourful figures of the late Victorian era, Horatio Bottomley.

Bottomley (1860-1933) was a financier, swindler, journalist, newspaper proprietor, populist politician and MP. He grew up in an orphanage yet founded the Financial Times in 1888 and was its first chairman. In 1912 he was declared bankrupt, forcing him out of Parliament where he had been a Liberal MP since 1905.

During the First World War, Bottomley established the patriotic journal John Bull, spoke on many recruiting platforms, pressed for a more aggressive attitude towards the war, and attacked anybody he considered less patriotic than himself.

In 1918 he was elected Independent MP for Hackney and then founded The People's League hoping it would be a great third party, which would represent the public against organised labour and organised capital. He created the John Bull Victory Bond Club, a forerunner of premium bonds, as a mechanism for small savers to lend money to the Government, receiving prizes rather than interest.

However, mismanagement sank the scheme in 1921 and Bottomley was charged with fraud and imprisoned.

In Hyde, he backed the candidature of Manchester accountant David Price Davies, who contested the seat as the representative of the National Union of Attested Married Men, which opposed the Government's plans to bring in conscription. Davies was also the local secretary of the National Liquor Trade Defence Association, which opposed the restrictions on the sale of drink, which had been imposed to aid the war effort by cutting drunkenness and keeping people at work.

Bottomley's political secretary was Price's agent, and Bottomley addressed several meetings in Hyde. Price also produced a newsletter called DP's Daily, copies of which are in the British Museum. However, Davies lost the election to Liberal candidate Thomas Jacobsen of the Newton printing family.

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Page last updated: 25 January 2010