H is for Hyde

This is a continuation of last week’s post, moving from the village of Gee Cross to the town of Hyde that it is now part of. Hyde is one of the towns in the far north east of Cheshire known as the panhandle because of the way it sticks out, surrounded by the counties of Lancashire, Derbyshire and Yorkshire as you can see from this 1840 map. Here are a few photos with a Hyde or H connection — click to enlarge.

This is all that remains of the Hyde Lads Club building. It sits somewhat incongruously on the Travis Street car park. The inscription commemorates Thomas Hughes, author of Tom Brown’s Schooldays, who used the building when he was a county court judge between 1882 and 1896.

I went to Hyde Grammar School pictured above and now Clarendon Sixth Form College. It was built in 1909 and the photos show the parts that I remember. New additions surround them and the sports field where I learned to play rugby and failed to master tennis is now the main Hyde Police Station.

One of the recognisable alumni of Hyde Grammar School is the rather irritating tv and radio personality, Timmy Mallett, who was a couple of years below me. I don’t remember him from then, but he probably tells you all you need to know about our academic standards.

There are remnants of the old town, like this doorway on Hamnett Street which I think is part of the Bike and Hound pub. On the right are some fly-blown posters at the empty Astoria Bingo Hall next to the bus station which used to be owned by the Cordwell family who now run several amusement arcades in the town. Tom Cordwell was a mate of mine at Hyde Grammar.

Red brick is quite a predominant theme in the Victorian buildings about the town. Above left is the old Hyde post office built in 1899 and now an early learning centre, while right is the town’s library.

Bringing things up to date is a photo of the Hatton Health and Fitness Centre on the corner of Market Street and Dowson Road. It is owned by two-time IBF and IBO light welterweight champion and local resident, Ricky ‘The HitmanHatton. It was officially opened by Muhammad Ali last year, bringing the traffic to a halt on an emotional day as the photo below from the Telegraph report illustrates.

ABC Wednesday Round 7

H is for Heron by the Pedalogue

History of Hyde United at Old Hyde

Henry Saviour of English Witches by Lyn

Heron in Northenden by Gerald

Hinky Pinky at Day by Day

Nobody’s prefect. If you find any spelling mistakes or other errors in this post, please let me know by highlighting the text and pressing Ctrl+Enter.

36 comments… Add yours
  • Leslie 8th September 2010

    Fascinating history of Hyde. I must try to visit there next time I’m in England. 😀

  • rog 8th September 2010


  • rog 8th September 2010


    ROG, ABC Wednesday team

  • Polly 8th September 2010

    Thanks Leslie — we’ll look forward to seeing you.

  • Polly 8th September 2010

    Hi Rog,
    I’m not sure what the problem with the comments might be. Are you using OpenID or Wordpress, or simply logging on?

  • Yorkshire Pudding 8th September 2010

    Above all, H is for Hull City. I’m frankly amazed that you didn’t at least include this in your end list.
    Regarding the old county boundaries, why the hell did anyone think it was okay to alter them?

  • Wendy S. 9th September 2010

    I remember reading “Thom Browns Schooldays” so this post was a real treat. I also love the Victorian times, so your photos and words were wonderful!

  • Melvyn Bowler 19th December 2010

    Good to see someone agrees with me about the appalling education that some of the teachers of Hyde Grammar School delivered. I was there from 1953 to 1958, and had some of the most incompetent teachers that one could imagine – Stevenson, Entwhistle, Seelig and Saxon immediately come to mind.
    Had a look at Hyde town centre through Bing maps – it looks horrible. All character has gone, with the market just hanging on.
    And all the factories have gone – what do Hydonians do for a job these days?
    And why did they destroy the old Flowery Field Junior School buildings. They would have made a lovely memorial to post war education. Now the area is a concrete wilderness.
    I see the old Rowing Club has gone, which was illegally transferred to St Georges Church. So much for the church looking after the grounds and war memorial.
    At least Werneth Low is still there.

  • Mr Parrot 19th December 2010

    The only name I recognise from your list of teachers is Saxon, or should that be Saxton who taught French? There were quite a few from the Jimmy Edwards school, like Doc Berry (Latin) and Cousins the headmaster who retired when I’d been there for a year.

    Hyde is pretty grim these days as a shopping centre. We were there on Thursday and couldn’t believe how few stalls there were on the market just before Christmas. But as you say, they can’t take Werneth Low away. Yet.

  • Kevin 13th March 2011

    I have to disagree with Melvyn regarding the teaching standards at HCGS, on the whole the teachers were excellent. However, I wasn’t too fond of Stevenson.
    Hans Seelig died about 18 months ago I was in touch with him by old fashioned snail mail a few years ago.
    For those who may be interested, I’ve posted some home movies by George Wain on my You Tube channel, including school trips from the late 1950s, and 1960.
    You just might spot yourself or someone you know. There are films of the sports day, football team (with a young Fred Whyatt), and Cross Country, (with a young Geoff Barnes), all from 1946/1949. Also features Dr Couzens, Bert Collis, Killer Cane

    • Abby Barnes 17th April 2014

      Hi this may be a long shot. Do you have any pictures of Geoff Barnes or able to point him out to me. Thank you in advance

      • Trevor Rowley 18th April 2014

        Abby, if you try the following I think you will find Geoff Barnes

        “Hyde Grammar School The Staff of 1959” on the Old Hyde Blogspot


        where he makes an appearance at 2:54 as the chap with the bald head.

        He’s on the film of the 1946 sports day at


        where he wins the race at 1:59 then poses for the camera

        You can also see him on You Tube on “Hyde Grammar School Trip to Spain 1957” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1TkCbCLRWHM

        where he appears at 1:07 1:19 2:05 3:42 4:23 4:49 7:40 7:46

        I hope this helps.

        • Abby 31st January 2016

          Hi thank you for your help, I have only just seen your reply.. I think it must be a different Geoff Barnes 🙁 thank you

      • Alison Ward 9th November 2014

        Hello Abby. Geoff Barnes is my father – now 86 and in good health. Are we related? If you want more info contact me on a.j.ward@btinternet.com. Alison Ward (nee Barnes)

        • Abby 31st January 2016

          Hi Alison,

          There must be 2 Geoff Barnes’ from hyde by the looks of it 🙂 thank you anyway

  • Trevor Rowley 6th July 2011

    Sad that Melvyn has such a “downer” on the teaching quality at HCGS. I was perfectly happy with most who taught me (1956-1961) and have good memories of Hans Seelig as my form master and music teacher for part of that time. I thought he was perfectly charming and always had encouragement, even for those who didn’t want to learn. Happy days for me.

  • Mr Parrot 7th July 2011

    It’s an odd thing, but while thought HCGS was an okay place to spend my adolescent days, I have a friend who was there at the same time who absolutely hated it. Must have been my positive thinking!

  • Trevor Rowley 8th July 2011

    If you were to trawl through the internet for Hans Seelig, you would find some interesting pieces on him (and even by him) relating to his time as Chairman of the “Club 43” – seemingly an organisation founded in 1943 and to meet and cultivate the emotional and cultural needs of Jewish emigres to the UK. He is featured in a number of articles in the journal of AJR (the Association of Jewish Refugees) in which he talks of his time on arrival in the UK with his parents and subsequent settlement in Oxford. An interesting letter (2009?) to a newspaper in Berkhamstead/Hemel Hempstead, allows a friend to add some finer points to an obituary which had been printed the week before – quite a chequered life and clearly one which most of us weren’t aware of. His time at HCGS is described by the friend as having been at “a school in the north of England”. His task was clearly to drag some of us ignorant little oiks into the land of music, culture and good taste – he might have achieved it with some of us. A lovely man of whom I have only the best of memories.

  • Ian 8th July 2011

    I didn’t start at HCGS until 1964, so I would have missed Hans Seelig I’m afraid. He sounds an interesting character judging from his obituary.

  • Trevor Rowley 12th July 2011

    Whilst not wishing to overburden this site with references to Hans Seelig, but your readers may also be interested in a little audio piece which can be found on the internet. At one stage, HS was also the Vice Chairman of the Bedfordshire Progressive Synagogue and, as part of their fortieth anniversary weekend in December 2008, he was interviewed by a representaive of BBC Three Counties Radio where he reminisces about his part in the Kindertransport of 1939 (he actually came to the UK from his home in Germany through Sweden). He sounds sharp and alert and it makes fascinating listening, perhaps only saddened by the fact that six months later he had passed away.

  • Tanie kwatery 14th March 2012

    Generally I do not learn article on blogs, however I wish to say that this write-up very pressured me to try and do so! Your writing taste has been amazed me. Thanks, very great article.

  • Trevor Rowley 15th April 2012

    Felt I should just add this directly to here to make it easier for any future readers. It’s a fitting tribute to a really lovely man who probably never got the credit he was due when he was responsible for some parts of our education all those years ago.


  • Melvyn Bowler 9th November 2012

    I haven’t been back here for many years, and was surprised to see so many replies to my original comments. Obviously different people have different experiences, but I recall that –

    Stevenson was more interested in what we wore and how we tied our tie than in teaching us.

    Entwhistle used to play the game of hands on the desk, then he would belt you across the face. No chance of stopping him.

    Saxton used to spit all over me, and then empty my desk by throwing all my books around the classroom.

    Many nice things have been said about Seelig, and I am sure they are true. But trying to introduce us to classical music by way of Stravinsky put me off classical music for many years.

    There were good teachers there – I immediatly think of Mr Collis and Mr Bottomley , as well as others, but in the main I found that appearances were more important than substance.

  • Trevor Rowley 9th November 2012

    Ah, yes, Mr Stevenson, a bit of a bully in most people’s book during my time at HCGS. As for his obsession about how we tied our ties, he was absolutely against the Windsor knot (brought to popularity by the Duke of Windsor) which, in the mid to late fifties, was the knot most favoured in the UK by those bastions of teenage fashion, the Teddy Boys. Heaven help you if you tried to sneak past him wearing the dreaded Windsor knot. He would address the assembled masses in the yard as if he was dealing with disgruntled allied POWs in Colditz and took great pleasure in hauling boys out, one by one, to the front of the assembled masses where they were made to remove the dreaded Windsor knot and replace it with the “all dads’ type” knot.

    Mr Saxton’s nephew was in my class (Jackson, came from up Gee Cross as I recall) but it didn’t stop us taking the micky out of Mr S. As was the tradition back then, come the warmer months of summer, Mr Saxton always favoured the lightweight, light coloured, linen jacket. He would meandre up and down the aisles, rambling away with his French or RE lecture. A classssmate flicked ink down the back of his jacket, then tried to say, “Sir, You’ve got ink down the back of your jacket.” Mr Saxton rebuked him for his troubles and anyone else who proceeded to try it on. You can’t please everybody.

  • wilber 9th February 2013

    Memory dims but if this is the same Melvyn Bowler as who once upon lived in the prefabs/steel-houses on Carter/Dow Street then be a-good-lad and drop an me an ‘e’. Wilber

  • Melvyn Bowler 10th February 2013

    Hi Wilbur
    I think my memory is dimming as well, cause I cannot remember a Wilbur from that street, only Darrell, Brian, Peter, John, Ken and Douglas.
    Tell me more.

  • Wilber 10th February 2013

    My memory must be most dim as only a Brian and a Peter comes to mind from Carter Street…Souter/Sowter and a Chapman sadly all the others have gone in time to ‘the vast invisible’.
    Please confirm if MB did live on Carter it was halfway down with prefab-end to road?

    PS: Have (family) pics of Carter and Dow of this time

  • Melvyn Bowler 10th February 2013

    Hi Wilber

    I think you mean Brian Furlong and Peter Chapman (who lived next door to me – No 7). The others lived at the top end in the steel houses. I am guessing you must have lived in Dow street, but do tell me more. Would love to see your pics.

  • Trevor Rowley 8th February 2018

    I spotted a small article in the 11th January 2018 Tameside Reporter newspaper,

    “Taylor Wimpey Homes have officially submitted plans to build 79 homes with associated landscaping and car parking. The new homes are earmarked for the former Hyde Clarendon Sixth Form Centre on Clarendon Road, Hyde.”

  • Melvyn Bowler 22nd June 2018

    Thanks for the information Trevor. It would interesting to find out what my feelings were if I saw HCGS as a pile of rubble. I still feel sad and outraged at the tearing down of Flowery Field Infant and Junior School where I was from 1947 to 1953.

    The woman board duster throwing champion who was our music teacher before Seelig tried to intyroduce us to classical music with an excerpt from a second rate opera by Smetana called The Bartered Bride. Which I thought was ridiculous the time, and still do. Seelig tried the same with The Rite of Spring, which for a 50’s rock n roll era was simply incompetent.
    I have been a lover of classical music ever since I stood outside Tchaikovsky’s house in Russia in 1963, and listened to the Serenade for Strings, whilst watching the golden autumn leaves drifting down from the trees. When I got back to London I immediately started to explore the music, and have been doing so ever since.
    But I regret, once again, the pure incompetence of my Hyde Grammar School teachers, in teaching.
    Fortunately I ended up in Australia, where I was able to pick up on my education which had stopped in 1953.
    Don’t get me wrong, I accept my responsibilty for the 5 wasted years at Hyde Grammar, but that does not excuse the poor quality of teaching of those such as Stevenson, Saxon, Seelig and Entwhistle, and the support by Cousins of that teaching.
    However, this is just to perhaps get a conversation going again on this blog. My life has been surprisingly productive considering those 5 wasted years, so perhaps they were not wasted, but rather the school taught me other things that have influenced my life.
    I ask myself, would I fit in Hyde now, and I have my doubts.
    But as a child living in Carter Street with a field and a tip at the top of the street, it was pretty good.
    I recommend to all those of my age to read “Stranger at the Door”, which has made my childhood much more understandable.
    Best wishes to all of us still alive.

  • Trevor Rowley 26th June 2018

    Sounds like you weren’t meant to stay in the UK, Melvyn. Was it really so bad for you in the mother country? I went into a butcher’s shop in my locality today. His front window has been taken over by publicity material for the England World Cup “push.” The St George flag was everywhere, as you might imagine. He also had a tee shirt on display with the message emblazoned across it, “Born in England, live in England, die in England.” I pointed out to him that he might end up dying on a holiday in Benidorm. It made him smile.

  • Trevor Rowley 28th October 2018

    Well, it had to happen didn’t it? I had heard that building had commenced on the former site of the old Grammar School and, sure enough, as I drove up Clarendon Road, on my way home last Thursday, there was the evidence for all to see. The main school building has now been reduced to an absolute mountain of bricks, cement, twisted ironwork and rubble and looks like the set for a film remake of the American atomic bomb blast of Hiroshima. The “Top Field,” normally reserved for athletics and cricket and usually kept in pristine condition, is a building site, complete with mud, cement mixers, newly-built houses and a site manager’s office. We are told that this is the imaginatively-named Clarendon Woods. God help us.

    • Mr Parrot 29th October 2018

      They had just started the demolition that last time I drove past a few weeks ago. And as far as I know, they never did deliver on their promise to publish photos of the old school.

      • Trevor Rowley 29th October 2018

        Some years ago (about four or five) I attended a reunion afternoon at the (Clarendon) sixth form college for former pupils of the defunct grammar school. It was quite enjoyable being able to chat to former pupils and compare experiences and memories. Strangely, I didn’t recognise a single soul from my year. There were boxes of pupils’ individual record cards in boxes. We asked if we could take our own cards away with us – the staff from the sixth form college more or less insisted that we take them as otherwise they would just languish in some cellar. I took several for former schoolmates and gradually was able to distribute them. There were masses of photographs on display – mostly sports teams – and an array of trophies. Goodness knows where these will have now ended up. It would be a crying shame if they were allowed to just disappear.

        By appointment, I returned a few weeks later and was able to recover a few more record cards for old school chums and finished off by wandering along various corridors inside the school – which allowed me a peep through the windows in the (sadly locked) doors of two of my form rooms – both just off the main hall. Everything looked just as it had done all those years before.

        I’ll make some enquiries about whether or not there is still some sort of archive of photos etc.

        • Mr Parrot 31st October 2018

          I hope that there are photos since the only ones I have are in my memory!

          Those old school records must have been fascinating. My mum worked in the careers counselling bit of the council and found the report on my future potential. Apparently, I wasn’t expected to amount to more than an admin pen-pusher. Well, I showed ’em!


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