Searching the Archives – a final poem

I wanted to write something about the trade unionist Eva Gore-Booth and her partner, Esther Roper, for my final piece as Writer in Residence. When I went searching for a reference using one of the index cards, however, I couldn’t find what I was looking for. I could have asked someone, but thought the mystery of it might be more interesting than what I found out. 


Gore-Booth, Eva

A memorial window to her, unveiled in the Round House, Ancoats, by Miss Esther Roper.

See F942.7389 M138 Vol 2 p. 236


Gore-Booth, Eva








A memorial window to her

Gore-Booth, Eva


unveiled in the Round House, Ancoats, by Miss Esther Roper, Rev Charles See

Microfiche Newspaper cuttings

[farewell sermons]

Nov 20, 22, 23 1905, Roper, Rev Edward

18381876 see also in 234 R1 Roper, Henry

F942.7389 M119, vol. 3, p. 172

M119 F942.7389 M138, vol 2.


Gore-Booth, family of Salford, tree and notes

F942.7 M10 p. 30, 31, 32, 33


North West Labour History No 28


Female trade

unionist and


Gore-Booth, Eva unveiled by Roper, Rev Esther, David, Rosalie

friends who don’t answer back”

Oh! I Do Like To Be Beside The Seaside!

Following the success of our Bee Box the Archives+ team set to work on our latest object handling resource. This time we were feeling all nostalgic about sea side holidays so we decided to repurpose two old suitcases that just happened to be lying around (the things you find in an archive, honestly!).

In typical Archives+ style we started out with a mild obsession – this time instead of bees it was donkeys. Thanks to the Documentary Photographic Archive (DPA) held here at Central Library we have an amazing resource of family photographs dating back as far as 1840. As you would expect there are plenty of photographs of family holidays, group outings and day trips, such as the gem below.

A row of men sitting on donkeys at Blackpool, n.d. (GB124.DPA/813/32).

Our volunteer Caroline set to work digging through the DPA, archives and special collections relating to holidays and pastimes and put together themes including camping, postcards and holidays abroad. She also wrote interpretation for each of the themes. We then passed all of the images and text to Caroline Coates, a community artist who has done lots of work with Archives+ and Manchester Libraries. She set to revamping the suitcases and creating photo albums for each different theme.

Take a look at the finished suitcases, below, and there are more photographs on our Flickr stream.

Suitcase - Object Handling ResourcesSuitcase - Object Handling ResourcesSuitcase - Object Handling Resources

We launched the suitcases at our Saturday Spectacular with our usual variety of fun craft activities and we’ll be making the most of them during the summer at Central Library and at events at other venues. Keep an eye on the Archives+ website to see where we’ll be.

Of course, no seaside themed event would be complete without donkeys and this time we excelled ourselves with donkey colouring sheets, a donkey cut out which was hand drawn by Caroline Coates and coloured in by people at the event, and last but not least our very own donkey which was kindly given to us by the Bridgewater Hall.
Saturday Spectacular May 2015

Elizabeth Gaskell’s House

To say thank you to the wonderful volunteers who give their time to support the Greater Manchester Archives and Local Studies Partnership (GMALSP) we held a celebration event at the beautifully restored Elizabeth Gaskell’s House in Manchester. This was our second visit to ensure as many volunteers got to take part as possible.

Portrait of Elizabeth Gaskell 1854 Rev. William Gaskell, Minister of Cross Street Chapel, 1828 - 1884

Elizabeth Gaskell lived at the house with her husband William Gaskell, who was Minister of Cross Street Chapel, and her 4 daughters from 1850 until her death in 1865.  During this time she wrote some of her most famous novels including Cranford and North and South. The house continued to be occupied by the Gaskell family until the death of Elizabeth Gaskell’s daughter Meta in 1913. Manchester Central Library Special Collections includes a Gaskell collection so it was wonderful to hear more about the lady herself, and her husband, who was a very important figure in Manchester.

84 Plymouth Grove, Manchester. The Home of Mrs Gaskell (1810-1865) from 1850-1865 before its restoration

Following a Heritage Lottery Fund Grant and support from other funders the house was restored and reopened in 2014. It has been a labour of love for Manchester Historic Buildings Trust which was established in 1998 with the sole aim of restoring the Grade II* listed building. They have worked tirelessly to recreate the rooms as they would have been in the 1860s, ensuring that as many items of furniture and decoration are from the period as possible, including commissioning specially woven carpets, having curtains and shawls printed from an 1850s design and utilising specialist paint techniques.

Visit to Elizabeth Gaskell's House

The house is now open to visitors and comes highly recommended. It is staffed by volunteers who give their time generously and are very knowledgeable about the house and the Gaskell family. There’s also a lovely little tea room serving delicious cake. To find out more about the house visit their website.

Visit to Elizabeth Gaskell's House

Victory In Europe Day

This week marks the 70th anniversary of Victory in Europe Day; in May 1945 the armed forces of Nazi Germany surrendered marking the end of World War Two in Europe.  Winston Churchill addressed the nation with this news on the morning of 8th May 1945 which sparked celebrations throughout Britain, Europe and America. VE Day continues to be celebrated and we have added some material to the virtual archive wall, in the Archives+ exhibition, using Manchester Libraries, Information and Archives and Greater Manchester County Record Office collections and some footage from The North West Film Archive, to show you how Manchester celebrated VE Day in 1945.  The crowds at Piccadilly celebrating VE Day In addition to the material we have in our local images and DPA collections, which can be accessed via the local images website, Central Library have a number of books in the Local Studies section which are filled with memories of people living in Manchester at the time of the war, including their recollections of VE Day.

VE Day-0002

There are also a number of oral history recordings which give an insight to what is was really like to be a part of the celebrations.

On Wednesday lunchtime at Central Library, The North West Film Archive are hosting a spotlight session which is focused on the ‘Calling Blighty’ films made in 1944-45 in the Far East, which feature servicemen and women sending messages home to their family and friends. The North West Film Archive have, in their collection, the films showing the messages that servicemen and women from Greater Manchester and wider North West areas sent home to their loved ones.

VE Day003

Even if you don’t think you can help with the Calling Blighty project, make sure you come and have a look at all the other material on offer at Central Library this week!

New HOME for Library Theatre Company

One of the most anticipated events of Manchester’s 2015 calendar is almost here.  The former Library Theatre Company are getting ready to open their first show in their new home, cunningly called HOME.

To mark the occasion we’ve created a little homage to our old friends on our Virtual Archive wall using some Library Theatre posters and photographs from our collections.

The Offshore Island Library Theatre Poster

We are sure the company will continue their reputation for excellent theatre and challenging their audience.  This collection of reviews from a November 1965 production of Entertaining Mr Sloane shows that they have never been afraid to push boundaries.

Entertaining Mr Sloane Reviews

If you’re passing by, pop in and take a quick look at our HOMEwarming selection.  All the images are taken from the Library Theatre collection held in Central Library.
Library Theatre Virtual Archive box

The Siege of Manchester

In the year we celebrate the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta, I thought it would be a good opportunity to explore the role Manchester played in another landmark constitutional event in British history, the English Civil War.  Although 17th Century Manchester was only a small market town with a population of no more than 5000, in 1642 it was one of the first to witness the violence which would soon plunge the entire country into conflict.

In the previous decades, Manchester had experienced an influx of Flemish merchants to work in the town’s burgeoning textile industry.  This helped to give the town a strong mercantile and puritan character.  Over the course of 1642 tensions had been heating up between King Charles I and his Parliament and across the country people began to choose sides.

Map 1: A Plan of Manchester and Salford, c.1650

This period of uncertainty is well documented in the Central Library Archives.  A collection of broadsides from the time tell the story of the lead up to war.  One document is a “humble petition” of baronets, esquires, ministers, gentlemen, free-holders, and others peaceably affecting in the County Palatine of Lancashire;

Beseeching your Majesty to return to your great Councell (the representative body of your Kingdom).

The King, who had moved his court to York, issued a response on the 11th May.  It stated that the petition;

Is grounded upon misinformation and being grieved and highly offended to see how his good people have been, and are abused by false rumours and intelligences.

Broadside: To The Kings Most Excellent Majesty

By 28th May the dispute had escalated further with Parliament issuing an order to the Sheriffs, Lord Lieutenants and Deputy Lieutenants in Counties like Lancashire.  It stated;

Whereas it appears that the King seduced by wicked councell intend to make warre against the Parliament and under the covor of a guard to secure his Royall Person, doth command troops both of horse, and foot, to assemble at Yorke.  All of which is against the laws of the Kingdom, lending to the dissolution of the Parliament and destruction of his people.

The summer of 1642 saw the scramble across the country for arms and gunpowder by both sides.  Despite Manchester’s pro-parliamentary stance, the County of Lancashire was dominated by the staunchly Royalist James Stanley, Lord Strange, son of the Earl of Derby.

James Stanley, Lord Strange and his wife Charlotte de la Tremouille, painted by Anthony van Dyck c. 1630s.

Having quickly taken command of the supplies of other northern towns, such as Preston and Lancaster, Lord Strange turned his attention to Manchester.  Strange’s efforts were resisted by the town’s inhabitants who declared their support for Parliament and refused to hand over the munitions.  When Strange entered the town with a small group of cavaliers, on 15th July, a scuffle broke out leading to what is commonly seen as the first casualty of the conflict, a local weaver named Richard Perceval.  Following the incident, a stand-off ensued as Strange raised troops to retake the gunpowder and weapons by force.

As Lieutenant General of Lancashire, Lord Strange issued a declaration on the 17th August;

To raise forces of horse and foote soldiers to attend his Majesty.

He warned those who might oppose him;

Faile not as you tender his Majesties service, and will answer contrary at your perils.

On the 16th September, Parliament issued a warrant for Lord Strange’s arrest under the charge of treason, despite his continued loyalty to the King;

Whereas the Lord Strange, having continued a long time, and still remaining in actual rebellion against his Majesty, and Parliament is for the same impeached of high treason by the House of Commons, in the name of themselves, and all the commons of England.

It ordered;

All sheriffs, and other of his Majesties subjects are hereby required to do their best endeavour for the apprehension of said Lord, and the bringing him up to the Parliament, there to receive condigne punishment according to his demerits.

Lord James Strange, 1642

By September, Lord Strange had amassed enough men to retake the town and didn’t anticipate any serious difficulties because of Manchester’s complete lack of fortifications.  Fortunately for the defenders, a German military engineer, John Rosworm, assisted in building makeshift defences just in time before the arrival of Strange’s men.

Marching through Salford, Strange’s men attempted to cross Salford Bridge (near where the Victoria Bridge now stands) in order to reach Manchester town centre.  They were immediately greeted by musket fire from the other side of the River Irwell and stopped in their tracks.  For the rest of the month the defendants were able to hold off against the Royalists forces.  At the start of October, Lord Strange learned of the death of his father and finally decided to abandon the siege to claim his inheritance and title as the new Earl of Derby.

An 18th century picture of Old Salford Bridge which much of the fighting centred around. Manchester Cathedral can be seen in the background.

Manchester’s resistance to the Royalist forces did not go unnoticed by Parliament who made a declaration on 6th October;

In commendation of the inhabitants of the Towne of Manchester, for their valiant resisting the late Lord Strange, and now Earle of Darbie, And to incourage them in their valour which they have showed for their owne defence, and to endeavour to suppresse or apprehend the said Earle, or any of his complices, assuring them of allowance and payment for all disbursements or losses in that service.

In 1649 Charles was tried and executed and the monarchy was abolished in favour of a republic.  James Stanley would eventually be captured and executed in Bolton following the failure of Charles I son, Charles II, to overthrow Oliver Cromwell’s new Commonwealth in 1651.  Out of the turmoil of the Civil War Manchester was one of many places which prospered.  In 1654 it was rewarded with its first Member of Parliament, Major General Charles Worsley, though this would be short lived. In 1660 on the restoration of Charles II, Manchester was once again deprived of its MP and would have to wait almost two further centuries to achieve political representation.

Charles Worsley of Platt, First Member of Parliament for Manchester c. 1654.

Further information about Manchester in the 17th century can be found on

Images can be found on the Archives+ Flickr page and the Manchester Local Image Collection.

This blog post was written for Archives+ by one of our volunteers as part of our Heritage Lottery Funded project.