Category Archives: Ashton-under-Lyne Blog

Easter Day – John 20:1-18

Mary Magdalene is in the Garden of the Tomb – mourning the loss of the person who turned her life around. The one who loved her when no one else did. The one who brought her healing when she was filled with demons and mentally disturbed. The one who gave her dignity. The one who made her feel loved and accepted. But now he was gone, Jesus is gone, he is dead. Nothing can bring him back.

And what makes it worse for Mary is that someone has removed his body, stolen his body. She no longer has somewhere to go, somewhere to express her grief, somewhere to place her memories. For her, this theft, this desecration, is the greatest of cruelty – it brings despair.

At Easter we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. So easily, we rush past Good Friday and the long hours of Saturday, we rush past the pain of death and mourning and move as quickly as possible to the resurrection. It is uncomfortable to stay too long with death, with the cross – we prefer to think about new life, new hope – about resurrection.

The story of Mary in the Garden of the Tomb reminds us of the pain of grief, but it also of the need to allow grief to run its course. However much we long for the darkness to pass, for the feelings of anger, of guilt, of despair to go away, we cannot just brush them under a carpet of false hope. Nor can we talk glibly of the Christian hope of resurrection without experiencing the reality of loss.

If we are not careful, as Christians, we become so concerned to emphasise resurrection hope that we forget that it has always been a hope borne through the pain of death and loss. Resurrection can only follow death and loss – just as it did on that first Easter morning. Our resurrection hope is not just a general hope of resurrection, nor is it just about heaven, nor is it a denial of the reality and power of death,.

Christian hope of resurrection is specific and personal it relates to me and those I love. It is not an abstract, general, hope of resurrection.

Christian resurrection hope does not deny the reality and power of death. It is, in fact, is born in the midst of death, Calvary precedes Easter, and in a very real sense over this Easter season we are called to feel something of the power of death, to struggle with the disciples through death, through the uncertainty and fear for the future that Jesus’ death left them with. It is, in a very real way, intended to be a struggle for us to move through Good Friday into Easter Saturday and then on to Easter Day and ultimately, finally, resurrection hope. Hope born out of death.

Christian hope is for now as much as for the future, the impossible is possible with God, new things can be born out of the shell of the old, new things can spring to life, the phoenix can rise from the ashes of despair. We can be renewed, made new, have new life now, as individuals and as communities. This too is resurrection hope.

Mary Magdalene discovered resurrection hope not through dismissing her grief and putting on a brave face, but rather in her grief – Jesus himself drew alongside her, he reached out to her with one word of comfort – “Mary.” Hope, real hope, was born from the darkness of despair. This was no false dawn that would fade, this was a new day in which the brightness of the sun would warm Mary’s heart.

In some words that have at times been very special for Jo and me. Isaiah promised Israel:

“When you pass through the waters I will be with you, and through rivers they shall not overwhelm you.” ‘I will stand with you’ says Isaiah, speaking for God, ‘I will stand with you in the pain, … you are not alone’.

For Mary, resurrection still meant loss – Mary could never have Jesus back as she had known him. “Do not hold on to me,” he says. “Do not keep clinging onto me.”    Mourning and grief are about letting go – letting go because we have confidence that we can trust our loved ones to God – letting go because we cannot hold on to them, letting go because we also trust in God’s love for us.

Jesus resurrection does not deny death, it fulfils it. Jesus resurrection assures us of all God=s promises not to leave us or forsake us – neither in life nor in death will he let us go. He draws near to us in darkness and despair, he speaks our name and gently draws us to himself where true hope begins.

Palm Sunday and Holy Week (Mark 11:1-11)

palm-sunday-31

One of the early experiences I remember well is watching Doctor Who. I always sat on the settee, with a cushion close at hand – and when things seemed to be getting to frightening I’d bring the cushion up to my face and peep over the top. If things looked really bad I’d hide behind the back of the settee – peeping out occasionally – with my imagination running riot!

I’ve carried this forward into adult life – some friends and I went to the cinema to watch Braveheart. The film has some very graphic and dramatic battle scenes. I was unaware of how I was responding. Each time an axe hit someone’s torso I was apparently jumping in my seat. At one point, I looked along the row of friends to find that they were all watching me rather than the screen.

I always get engrossed in what I’m watching on TV or at the cinema – and I find that I can usually anticipate the story line. My imagination works overtime – and if I’m not careful when I am watching TV, I find that the anticipation has got the better of me – I’ve got up from my seat and left the room. Before I even realize what I’m doing, I am in the kitchen putting the kettle on to boil!  In some things we watch on TV it is easy to get ahead of the action, anticipate what is going to happen and react accordingly.

We have a similar, but greater, problem with Holy Week and the Easter story. We can anticipate everything that is going to happen. It’s not that the plot is predictable or easy to anticipate – for us it’s the problem of hindsight.

We know that Palm Sunday’s jubilation was followed by the despair of Good Friday. We know that the seeming failure of Good Friday was quickly overtaken by the triumph of the first Easter Day. Hindsight is supposed to be beneficial – but in the case of the Easter story it robs us of the possibility of living through the events as they happened.

img_mouseover3What was going through the disciple’s minds as they came into Jerusalem on that first Palm Sunday? What was Jesus feeling as he rode into Jerusalem on that donkey? Our danger is that knowing the outcome we minimize the intensity of the events and feelings of Holy Week because we know it turned out OK in the end.

What was Jesus feeling as he entered Jerusalem knowing what the week ahead would hold? Was he was already feeling that overwhelming sense of loneliness that comes when we are completely misunderstood.

How many times had he told his disciples that he was going to Jerusalem to die? How often had they failed to hear what he said?

Palm Sunday dramatizes for us the chasm in understanding which existed between Jesus and everyone around him – his disciples and the happy shouting crowds. … Jesus was alone. Really alone – no one understood what he was doing – no one grasped what was about to happen!

When we talk of Christ’s suffering – we think primarily of the Cross. We miss the agony of the anticipation, the loneliness of the last week of his life. The shame of abandonment and torture. … And because we miss his anguish we minimize the significance of many of the events of that last week. With the benefit of hindsight we rush on to the resurrection – to the good news.

1dc2b2a68ab7fd0b323a3e9778c579faAs Jesus repeatedly talks about his death his disciples remain at best confused, at worst oblivious to what he is saying. And the loneliness Jesus felt in the crowd of Palm Sunday, gets replaced by the loneliness of the garden of Gethsemane. Only he can walk this road. No one will walk it with him!

When we grasp this, we will begin to be able to believe that Jesus understands our loneliness. … He knows the loneliness of the cell for those in solitary confinement; those condemned to die for their faith. But more than that – he feels the dark loneliness of depression; he is with us in the loneliness of the hospital bed; he knows the loneliness of watching other people=s pain; and he knows the loneliness of being misunderstood. It=s not just that he cares – he knows what we go through. He is the one that has gone before – he is the one who calls us on – in spite of the darkness or the pain – to continue to serve, to continue to love, to continue to hope.

So, as we live through this Holy Week, lets not get to far ahead of the plot anticipating the final outcome. Let’s rather to the best of our ability stay with the story watching and feeling it unfold. For then, perhaps only then, will we really begin to understand how much God loves us.

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The Micklehurst Loop – Part 3A

The Canal Lock adjacent to Woodend Mills

While I was writing the second article about the Micklehurst Loop I was contacted by Keith Norgrove. He sent me two pictures which came from a cycle ride along the Huddersfield Narrow Canal Towpath in 1963, one of which was relevant to the length of the Loop covered by my first article. The second image showed the Canal with a view of the Micklehurst Loop including a train climbing towards Diggle with the Saddleworth Moors behind. [1] As far as I can tell, this location is adjacent to the Woodend Mills North of the centre of Mossley.

This picture was taken in 1963 by Keith Norgrove while he was on a cycle ride along the Huddersfield Narrow Canal towpath. The photograph predates by some years the renovation work which took place on the canal. At that time the lock alongside the Woodend Mills in Mossley has been allowed to become nothing mush more than a weir on the canal. This view of the old Micklehurst Loop is no longer available because of tree growth, but the Canal has been fully renovated. It has outlasted the Micklehurst Loop and now carries pleasure craft up to the tunnel at Diggle, (c) Keith Norgrove. [1]

Woodend Mills – were built by 1848 by Robert Hyde Buckley, close to his father’s mills. [8] These buildings made up an integrated cotton mill, built in several phases. Historic England say that they are “a near complete example of a first generation integrated cotton mill site, where both weaving and spinning processes were planned from the outset. Before this the two processes had been done on separate sites.” [3] 

The close association of mills in the immediate area can be seen on the aerial image below. The lock in the 1963 image above can be seen in front of Woodend Mills.

The layout of the mills as seen in 1947 from the air to the South. Winterford Road Bridge is on the right of the image. The lock in the 1963 photograph is immediately in front of Woodend Mills. [2]

An extract from the 25″ OS Maps showing Woodend Mills and the probable location from which Keith Norgrove took the 1963 picture. [4]

The lock adjacent to Woodend Mills. This picture is taken from a similar location to the one from 1963. The route of the Micklehurst Loop is hidden in the trees ahead. The Moor still looms large. [5]

Mossley Gas Works

Two additional pieces of information on the Gas Works:

First, from an email discussion forum

David Beilby on the IndustrailRailwaySociety@groups.io email discussion group quotes the following from a booklet on the inauguration of the new works by the Rt. Hon. The Earl of Derby K. G. on 22nd June 1931 about the Gas Works which feature in Part 3 of these articles about The Micklehurst Loop.

“The original gasworks was built by the Stalybridge Gas Company in 1862 and located alongside the canal. … In 1884 an agreement was made for the Corporation of Stalybridge and the Mossley Local Board to jointly purchase the company. The Mossley Local Board became Mossley Corporation when Mossley became a Borough in 1885 (and lost its status of being in three counties – Lancashire, Cheshire and Yorkshire). In addition to Mossley the works also supplied much of Saddleworth with gas as well. In 1925 the Borough’ Gas Engineer reported that the best way to improve the plant and increase output was to move to a new site, with rail access also removing the need to transport raw materials and by-products by road to Mossley station.” [6]

He also mentions that the booklet contains “details of a 2′-0” gauge line which was used to move excavated material from site to a central loading point whence it was conveyed by an “Breco” aerial ropeway to the tipping site, the ropeway being 720 yards long. The booklet notes that the railway was worked by petrol locomotives. No contractor is mentioned , despite many suppliers of equipment being acknowledged. It would seem the work was project managed in-house, certainly much of the design work is credited to the gas department.” [6]

“For information, the retorts were horizontal. … It was believed the cubic capacity of these retorts was the greatest in the world at the time. The works were, later, extended. This was anticipated at the design stage as the end wall of the retort house was built using corrugated asbestos.” [6]

“Wagons were unloaded using a rotary wagon tippler supplied by Messrs. Strachan and Henshaw of Bristol which had the patented “Whitehall” clamping mechanism.” [6]

Second from the Saddleworth Historical Society Bulletin

There is an article about the Gas Works in the Summer 1996 edition of the Saddleworth Historical Society Bulletin (Vol. 26, No. 2, p1-5). Sadly, the scanned .pdf of that edition of the bulletin on their website omits two of the 5 pages of the article. [7] The article is by Jeffrey Wells and includes a sketch plan of the Gas Works site. [7: p4]

Mossley Gas Works Sketch Plan, (c) Jeffrey Wells. [7: p4]

References

  1. Keith Norgrove is a contributor to the RMWeb Forum under the pseudonym ‘Grovenor’. Keith’s two pictures (one of which is included here) were a response to my articles about the Micklehurst Loop on that Forum: https://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php?/topic/161854-the-micklehurst-loop, accessed on 15th February 2021.
  2. https://britainfromabove.org.uk/en/image/EAW010809, accessed on 22nd February 2021.
  3. https://historicengland.org.uk/services-skills/education/educational-images/woodend-mill-manchester-road-mossley-8435, accessed on 25th February 2021.
  4. https://maps.nls.uk, accessed on 31st January 2021.
  5. http://www.penninewaterways.co.uk/huddersfield/hnc1.htm, accessed on 7th March 2021.
  6. https://groups.io/g/IndustrialRailwaySociety/topic/mossley_gas_works_locomotive/80968586?p=,,,20,0,0,0::recentpostdate%2Fsticky,,,20,2,0,80968586, accessed on 2nd March 2021.
  7. https://www.saddleworth-historical-society.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/vol26no2-2.pdf, accessed on 8th March 2021.

The Micklehurst Loop – Part 1D – Some Miscellaneous Items relating to the area around the Staley and Millbrook Goods Yard.

The Staley and Millbrook Goods Yard in the 21st century, (Google Maps).

Since publishing the first three articles about the Micklehurst Loop. I have had a trickle feed of comments, particularly about the Staley and Millbrook Goods Yard. This short addendum to the first article seeks to bring those items together in one place. It is the fourth addendum to that first post. [1][2]

The adjacent satellite image extracted from Google Maps satellite images shows the Goods Yard and notes some of the key features still on the site in the 21st century. For more comments, please see the notes which follow.

I visited the site again on 5th March 2021 and wandered around among the trees for over an hour.

There is an excellent survey of the Staley and Millbrook Goods Yard and the Hartshead Power Station on the website http://www.28dayslater.co.uk. A number of superb photographs have been collated there. [7]

Further Images of  BEA No. 2 0-4-0ST ‘BEANO’

Gerv Wright has kindly sent me two further images of BEA No. 2 0-4-0ST at the end of its working life in 1977 being prepared for and being transported off site. ‘Beano’ was its nickname!

BEA No 2, Jan 1977 (c) Gerv Wright. [3]

BEA No 2, Hartshead, Jan 1977 (c) Gerv Wright. Of additional interest in this picture is the backdrop. The view is taken from the Micklehurst end of the site In front of the good shed is the coal conveyor still apparently at its full extent. Also visible, to the left of the picture, is one of the lighting towers which feature later in this post. [3]

Yard Lights – Concrete Lighting Columns

An on-line acquaintance, Ben Hampson, sent me an image of the Goods Yard via a Facebook group, ‘The History of Mossley (Tameside)’. [4] That image is an excellent view across the site of the Goods Yard when it was still in use and shows three concrete lighting towers as well as the fireless loco in operation. At the back of the scene, the coal handling facilities, the conveyor and the goods shed can be seen peeking out of the gloom. Ben sourced that image via Gary Taylor on ‘The Real Mossley’ Facebook group. [10]

The Staley and Millbrook Goods Yard min operational days. Of interest are the lighting columns and the fireless locomotive, the goods shed, the coal handling facilities and the coal-conveyor, copyright unknown, sourced via Ben Hampson and Gary Taylor from ‘The Real Mossley’ Facebook Group. [11]

A visit to site on 6th March allowed me to see the three towers shown on the above image. These next three photographs were taken on 6th March. They show the towers and give an excellent idea of the appearance of the Yard in 2021!

This is tower No. 1 as identified on the satellite image at the start of this post. The small body of water can be made out immediately beyond the tower. (My photograph – 6th March 2021).

Tower No. 2 on the satellite image above. This photograph is taken from the top of the bank to the South east of the old yard and looks down on the Yard. (My photograph – 6th March 2021).

This photograph shows Tower No. 3 which is close to the remains of the engine shed. The photograph is again taken from the bank above the Yard, (My photograph – 6th March 2021).

The Engine Shed

Ben also asked why I had not included anything in previous posts about the Engine Shed which accommodated the two shunters which worked the site. My only excuse is that I walked past it without working out what it was. So, on 6th March a took a bit of time to pick it out and take photographs.

Reddit.com carries a monochrome photograph of the fireless loco exiting the engine shed, which appears to have been sourced from the Transport Library. I am not certain of the copyright position on this image, so was not planning to include it here, however, when I copy and paste the link it automatically embeds in this post. Clicking on the image takes you directly to the source. [6][8]

Hartshead Power Station owned two locomotives for shunting the yard accessed via the Micklehurst Loop, both are mentioned in the text above. I believe that the 0-4-0ST stands on one of the lanes giving access to the engine shed which is off this image to the left, (c) J. Sutherland. [9]

The next few images are pictures taken on 6th March 2021 which show the engine shed as it is is the 21st century.

This first panorama shows the site of the engine shed from the bank above the old Goods Yard close to the lighting tower (no. 3 above), (My photograph – 6th March 2021.

This second panorama shows the site of the engine shed from track-bed level, (My photograph – 6th March 2021).

A closer shot of the Engine Shed from track-bed level. The churned ground in the foreground is typical of much of the Goods Yard site, which appears to have been used recently as an off-road vehicle playground, (My photograph – 6th March 2021).

Demolition of the Chimneys and Cooling Towers at the Power Station.

A short section of the video below (from 15 minutes to 17 minutes into the video) shows the demolition of the Cooling Towers and Chimneys of Hartshead Power Station. [12]

References

  1. Previous posts relating to the first length of the Micklehurst Loop can be found at: https://rogerfarnworth.com/2021/01/31/the-micklehurst-loop-part-1 https://rogerfarnworth.com/2021/02/05/the-micklehurst-loop-part-1a https://rogerfarnworth.com/2021/02/15/the-micklehurst-loop-part-1b https://rogerfarnworth.com/2021/02/18/the-micklehurst-loop-part-1c-including-hartshead-power-station
  2. Other articles relating to the further lengths of the Micklehurst Loop can be found at: https://rogerfarnworth.com/2021/02/21/the-micklehurst-loop-part-2 https://rogerfarnworth.com/2021/02/22/the-micklehurst-loop-part-3
  3. These images were sent by email on 25th February 2021 and are included by kind permission of Gerv Wright.
  4. https://www.facebook.com/groups/1469097430050445, accessed on 5th March 2021.
  5. https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10157847336918314&set=p.10157847336918314&type=3, accessed on 5th March 2021.
  6. https://www.reddit.com/r/trains/comments/ieer3s/steam_locomotive_coming_out_of_an_engine_shed_at, accessed on 7th March 2021.
  7. https://www.28dayslater.co.uk/threads/hartshead-power-station-and-the-millbrook-sidings.126098, accessed on 7th March 2021.
  8. For further information on copyright issues, please see: https://rogerfarnworth.com/2019/12/16/copyright.
  9. A check on the copyright of these images on the J.W. Sutherland Collection Site (http://sutherland.davenportstation.org.uk) has been undertaken – they are free to use provided the photographer is credited.
  10. https://www.facebook.com/groups/296935657118919, accessed on 7th March 2021.
  11. https://www.facebook.com/groups/296935657118919/permalink/2508654999280296, accessed on 7th March 2021.
  12. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=PXDtZgymfa8, accessed on 16th March 2021.

 

John 2:13-22 – Jesus in the Temple.

Have you ever experienced what it is like to be an outsider? The first time I went to Uganda in 1994, I had people’s warnings ringing in my ears. “Be careful travelling on the buses.” … “Everyone’ll be out to get what they can from you.” “Don’t walk around on your own at night.” I also had had my own fears about going to a different culture. And, yes, I did feel like an outsider. I was white, everyone else was black. I was treated like an oddity because I was different. A reversal of what many black and Asian people felt in coming here.

You may have experienced something like this – perhaps joining a new club, going to a new job, or a new town/city, going to the hospital for the first time. Unease in unfamiliar surroundings is something many of us experience. Often it isn’t helped by the way that those in the know, those who already belong, behave.

What would it have felt like as a Gentile coming into the temple in Jerusalem for the first time? An unfamiliar place with strange customs. It can’t be too hard to imagine some of the confusion and uncertainty that any Gentile must have felt.

The temple had its barriers even at the best of times – there was the Holy of Holies at the centre – where only God and the occasional male priest could go, next, separated by a richly embroidered curtain was the Holy Place where offerings to God were left by the priests (all of whom were male), next was the court where the altar sat – Jewish men were welcome here – then there was an outer court where Jewish women were allowed, and out beyond this – in the outermost court of the temple Gentiles were permitted. The temple system reinforced these divides, both gender and nationality. A place that was intended to proclaim God’s welcome had become a place where barriers obstructed access to God.

No doubt the Temple was a place of familiarity and comfort for those who attended regularly, particularly Jewish men. Everything had a structure and a place – it was somewhere safe and secure. But those very structures created barriers for others and a hierarchy of access to God. Rather than seeing the different outer courts as places of welcome for the outsider, Jews began to see those courts of lesser significance – and the Gentile Court, rather than being a place for worship, had become a place of business. The place where Gentiles could worship had become a market place.

In our reading, Jesus erupts into this outer court, turning over tables and setting animals and birds free. And his comment in Mark’s version of the story reinforces his concern for the outsider; “It is written,” he says “God’s house will be called a house of prayer for all nations.” The temple, says Jesus, is not to be a barrier to worship but a place of worship. The way the temple is run, the way things are done, needs to draw in the outsider.

Later, Matthew’s Gospel tells us that, at the moment of Jesus death, the curtain in the Temple was torn in two from top to bottom – opening the path for everyone directly into God’s presence. No longer could anyone justify barriers which restricted access to God.

The Jews had allowed their place of worship to become a place that created barriers between God and those who came seeking him.

These short verses In John’s Gospel seem like a window into what it was like in the temple in Jesus’ day. But they are not a window, they are a mirror allowing us to see what we are like, they are a direct challenge to us:

How open are we to welcoming the outsider? Are we as welcoming as we think? What barriers do we place between God and those who seek him? Are we no better than the temple authorities?

How hard is it for new people to get their heads around our liturgy? How keen are we to have people in our services who don’t know what to do? What do we do to help those who are new? In a lot of our churches you can tell who is new … the regulars pick the seats at the back of church. I’m not sure why we see those as the best, but we hardly ever sit on the front row, do we. Often a guest will come into church and see the front seats clear and chose to sit there – anywhere else they’d be the best seats! It is only once the service starts that they realise their mistake – which bit of paper am I supposed to look at now, which book, do I stand or sit at this point in the service? Our guests end up feeling embarrassed. …. Is it any surprise that they choose not to return?

What happens after our services? Who talks to whom? Who seeks to include the outsider? One of our previous suffragan bishops, told a story about his wife Early in his ministry in the Diocese of Manchester he attended one church to preach and his wife went with him. At the end of the service she went to get her coffee and was very politely served and then she stood to one side, quietly drinking her coffee, and no one spoke to her.

When the Bishop introduced her to a few people, one woman said, “If only I’d known you were the Bishop’s wife, I’d have come over to talk to you.”

I wonder whether she had any real idea what she had just said about her own, and her church’s, attitude to the outsider.

How do we respond when children are noisy? How do we cope if someone sits in our regular seat? Do you have baptisms in your main church service? If so, what do you feel about Baptism families? Are we quicker to comment that they are bound not to return – rather than to welcome them, understanding just how alien the service must feel to them? How welcome do we make people feel? Are we really as helpful and welcoming as we=d like to think we are? We need to try to imagine what a newcomer sees and feels as they enter our buildings.

These short verses in our reading challenge each of us to take a step back to look at we do in God’s church, God’s temple. To try to look at what we do through the eyes of the outsider.

Jesus gave priority to the Gentile, to the outsider. He explodes in anger over the ugly barriers that religious people had created almost without thinking.

If nothing else, these short verses in our reading demonstrate that Jesus longs that we and all his followers will give priority, not to our own hopes and desires, but to those of our community and the wider world. Priority to drawing them into relationship with God.

The Micklehurst Loop – Part 3

I am indebted to Alan Young for a number of the images in these articles about the Micklehurst Loop. This is his drawing of the Loop which appears at the head of his article about the Loop on the ‘Disused Stations‘ website. It is used with his kind permission, (c) Alan Young. [7]

During January 2021, my wife and I walked the majority of the length of the Micklehurst Loop from Stalybridge to Diggle. This was the goods relieving line for the main Stalybridge to Huddersfield railway line. It had been hoped to alleviate congestion by making the mainline into a 4-track railway but the geography mitigated against this and a route on the other side of the Tame Valley was chosen instead.

The maps used in this sequence of articles are predominantly 25″ OS Maps from 1896 through to 1922 and have been sourced from the National Library of Scotland. [1] There are a number of websites which focus on the Loop which are excellent. The sites concerned are noted immediately below and the relevant link can be found in the references section of this page or by clicking on the highlighted text here:

  1. The most detailed treatment of the line and its stations can be found on the Disused Stations – Site Records website. The particular pages on that site which cover the Loop were provided by Alan Young. One page covers the route and pages covering each of the stations can be accessed from that page. [7]
  2. Particularly good for old photographs of the Loop is the Table 38 webpage about the railway. [9]

The first articles about the Micklehurst Loop can be found at:

https://rogerfarnworth.com/2021/01/31/the-micklehurst-loop-part-1

https://rogerfarnworth.com/2021/02/21/the-micklehurst-loop-part-2

There is a series of three addenda to the first of those two articles which include a series of photographs relating to the first part of the line from the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. These can be found on the following links:

https://rogerfarnworth.com/2021/02/05/the-micklehurst-loop-part-1a

https://rogerfarnworth.com/2021/02/15/the-micklehurst-loop-part-1b

https://rogerfarnworth.com/2021/02/18/the-micklehurst-loop-part-1c-including-hartshead-power-station

In my perambulations around the internet, I have also encountered a series of videos (on YouTube) which start from the Northern end of the line. 5 videos cover the length of the line in 2020 and a separate video covers some of the structures on the line. These videos are easily available on YouTube. This is the first [3] in the series:

Part 3 – Micklehurst Station to Chew Valley Road, Greenfield

We continue our journey travelling North along the Micklehurst Loop. We start from the site of Micklehurst Station. Our first picture shows the view back along the line that we have already travelled from close to the southern wall of the Micklehurst Station House. It looks back through the line of Micklehurst Viaduct.

A 21st century view South the location of Micklehurst Passenger Station, taking in the location of the Micklehurst Viaduct. The old line is shown approximately by the red line. We are standing next to the pavement on Station Road and Cheshire Street can be seen in the far distance. (My photograph, 22nd January 2021.)

An extract from Britain from Above’s image EAW010809. [2]

Our second image shows an aerial view of the line ahead in 1947, stretching away in the distance to the tunnel at …………………….. Micklehurst Passenger Station building can be seen to the right of the viaduct in the bottom-right of the image.

The next image shows that building in January 2021. The canopy that graced the lower portion of the building (the ticket office) was gone even as early as the late 1940s.

Protected by a five-bar gate immediately adjacent to the Station building, the linear walkway following the line recommences. We had to leave it further South as the Micklehurst Goods Yard is in private hands.

The passenger station building is also in private hands. The platforms were not adjacent to the station building as the railway was still on viaduct as it passed the back of the station house. A covered ramp led up towards wooden platforms a little distance to the North of the Station building. They were located in the position pointed to by the top of the chimney in the adjacent aerial image. Over a few tens of yards, the modern path rises from the road level to track-bed level and then  levels out to follow the track-bed.Micklehurst Station Building in January 2021. (My photograph 22nd January 2021.)

The railway walk continues. (My photograph, 22nd January 2021.)

The information board at the five-bar gate. (My photograph, 22nd January 2020.)

Looking back to the South along the back of the Station building towards Stalybridge. Note the blue brick construction of the back wall which would have been hidden by the Viaduct Wall. (My photograph, 22nd January 2021.)

The 25″ OS Map from the turn of the 20th century again. The station building just creeps into this extract on its bottom edge, the station platforms and shelters are shown. The line is curving to the Northeast through the platforms. Visible on the top-right of the extract is the accommodation bridge which carried a lane from Bottom Mossley to Micklehurst. [1]

A satellite image of the same area as in the 25″ Ordnance Survey Map in the 21st century. (Google Maps)

The next few images focus on the bridge shown in the top-right of the map extract above. The first comes from the aerial image above. [2]

The lane carried by the bridge has the name Winterford Road on the adjacent satellite image.

As can be seen in the pictures below, the bridge was constructed in blue engineering brick, like many of the structures and buildings on the Mickelhurst Loop.

The first picture shows the bridge at the time the Micklehurst Estate was being built after the Second World War.

The Micklehurst estate was under construction when this 1947 picture was taken. [2]

The same structure approached from the South in January 2021, (My photograph, 22nd January 2021).

Continuing to approach the bridge, (My photograph, 22nd January 2021).

South Elevation of Bridge, (My photograph, 22nd January 2021).

Northern Elevation of the bridge, (My photograph, 22nd January 2021).

If you plan to walk the route, it is worth knowing that there is an Allotment Café beyond the Mills which are encountered if you walk down Winterford Road towards the River Tame and the Huddersfield Narrow Canal. The Mills are shown on the next OS Map extract below. By the turn of the 20th century, Cheshire Side Mill was disused but Carrhill and Woodend Mills were active.

25″ OS Map Extract from the turn of the 20th century. [1]

Cheshire Side Mill had by 1916 been replaces by Milton Mill (25″ OS Map drafted in 1916, published in 1922. [12]

Cheshire Side Mill – was disused at the time the 1898 25″ OS Map was being drafted. However, by 1916 it had been replaced by Milton Mill

Carrhill Mills – were owned in 1891 by Nathaniel Buckley and Sons, and had 84,600 spindles. [4][5: p117]

Woodend Mills – were built by 1848 by Robert Hyde Buckley, close to his father’s mills. [8] These buildings made up an integrated cotton mill, built in several phases. Historic England say that they are “a near complete example of a first generation integrated cotton mill site, where both weaving and spinning processes were planned from the outset. Before this the two processes had been done on separate sites.” [6] 

Milton Mill – was actually built in 1892 but did not feature on the 1898 OS 25″ Map but was included on the following series as the small extract above shows. The Architects were A H Stott & Sons and the mill was built for the  Milton Spinning Co. Ltd.  [11][5: p118]

The layout of the mills as seen in 1947 from the air to the South. Winterford Road Bridge is on the right of the image. [2]

The area of Woodend in the 21st century, (Google Maps).

A lane used to run from the point where Winterford Road meets the Canal running in just North of an easterly direction. It was given the name Winterford Lane. It can just about be picked out among the trees in the satellite image above. It crossed the Micklehurst Loop on a bridge which has all but been erased from the map in the 21st century. It can be seen on the next aerial image extract in the top-right corner. Unlike its near neighbour the Winterford Lane Bridge has not survived, probably because it was a girder bridge rather than an arch.

Accommodation bridges over the line at Winterford on the north side of Micklehurst. [2]

Man marking Ordnance Survey minor control revision point on the parapet corner of the first bridge North of Micklehurst Station – Winterford Road Bridge. Winterford Lane Bridge can be seen beyond, (c) Manchester Libraries. [24]

This photograph shows the location where the modern footpath which follows the line of Winterford Lane meets the track-bed of the Loop line. (My photograph, 22nd January 2021.)

Beyond Winterford Lane, the Loop line curved gradually back to the North before encountering another accommodation bridge.

The images immediately below show that length of the track-bed in January 2021.

The line then began another gentle curve towards the Northeast. and passed under a series of three structures. First an arch bridge of similar construction to the first bridge out of Micklehurst Station. Then a  footbridge spanning the two track mainline and then a longer footbridge which spanned the running lines and the Gas Works sidings.

Looking North from the point that Winterford Lane crossed the Loop Line. (My photograph, 22nd January 2021.)

A little further North. (My photograph, 22nd January 2021)

An extract from the 25″ OS Map series from the 1920s. which shows Roughtown which sat on the valley side above the river to the West and Woodend in the Valley floor. Both the original mainline and the Micklehurst Loop can be seen. Stamford Mill sits at the centre of the extract. [1]

The same area as in the 25″ OS Map extract above. Stamford Mill has been replaced by Roughtown Court. The track-be of the Loop is marked with the read line. (Google Maps.)

Stamford Mill and Roughtown Mill as they appear on image EAW010809 from the Britain From Above website. [2]

Both Stamford Mill and Roughtown Mill were built and owned by Robert Hyde Buckley (c1813-1867) who was the youngest son of Nathaniel Buckley. [14]

The next map extract shows the two railway lines with Roaches Bridge in the bottom left quadrant and two further mills:

Bank Mill – which was owned by Nathan Meanock, Grace’s Guide tells us that it had 13,500 spindles, 128/328 twist and that pay day was the second Wednesday; [16] and

Union Mill – which was owned by Hilton and Hopkins and had 12,000 spindles, 3011/40′ twist and the same pay day. [16]

All three of the bridges mentioned in the text above no longer exist. The Mills here have gone and Mossley Gas Works are also long-gone, swept way after the change from Town Gas to North Sea Gas with the development of those offshore Gas fields.

A 25″ OS Map extract from 1894 which shows the location of the Roaches, Bank Mill and Union MIll. [15]

The same area in the 21st century, (Google Maps).The two bridges over the Loop which can be seen on the OS Map extract are no longer visible in the 21st century. One was substantial enough to provide farm access across the Loop, the other was a footbridge.

Not too far Northeast of Roaches Bridge (where the Roaches pub sits in the 21st century), was the site of Mossley Gas Works. The area was still known as the Roaches but the pub beside the Canal Bridge  was (and is) the Tollmache Arms. The first map extract below comes from the late 1800s. At that time the Gas Works occupied a single site to the West of Manchester Road between it and the River Tame.

25″ OS Map extract from the end of the 1800s. The Gas Works occupies only one site at this time and no sidings are provided on the Micklehurst Loop. [15]

An extract from the OS 1:10,560 series maps of the 1950s. The Gas Works have by this time reached their full extent and the sidings are shown on the Micklehurst Loop as well. [17]

The same area in the 21st Century, (Google Maps).

Spring Mill was owned by Buckley and Lees, Grace’s Guide says that it had 46,000 spindles, 30’/50′ twist. [16] It was positioned on the North side of the original Gas Works site as can be seen in the two map extracts above.

Mossley Gas Works – were first established in 1829 at Micklehurst, they belonged to the Stalybridge Gas Co. Ltd. In 1884, an agreement was made between Stalybridge Corporation and The Local Board of Mossley for the purchase of the Stalybridge Gas Co. and in 1885 the undertaking was divided between the two authorities and run jointly. [18]

By 1925 however, the works were too small and inefficient to satisfy demand and proposals were made for a new gasworks to supply Mossley Corporation. Objections were raised by Saddleworth UDC but were rejected in the House of Lords. The new site was at Roaches and required a great deal of leveling and alteration before the works could be built. The works at Roaches opened in 1931. In 1934 Mossley Corporation sold the undertaking to the newly formed Mossley and Saddleworth Gas Co Ltd. which was then absorbed by the holding company Gas Consolidation Ltd (Severn Valley Gas Corporation Ltd and Palatine Gas Corporation Ltd). In 1949, the undertaking vested in the North Cheshire Group of the NWGB. [18]

The opening ceremony in 1931 took place on 22nd June. The Works were inaugurated by the Rt. Hon. The Earl of Derby, K. G. [19]

A further enlarged extract from EAW010809 from the Britain From Above website. This shows the three bridges on the Micklehurst Loop alongside Mossley Gas Works and before the Line entered the Royal George Tunnel. [2]

Man marking Ordnance Survey minor control revision point with an arrow on the bridge parapet of the bluebrick bridge across the line which appears in the aerial image above. The Gas Works can be seen in the distance beyond the fragile looking footbridge in the nearer distance, (c) Manchster Libraries.[23]

An extract from photograph EAW035919 from Britain From Above website. This view looks from the Northwest across the top of Mossley Gas Works and the Gas Works sidings towards the Micklehurst Loop Line. The three bridges referred to above are evident over the line as it enters the picture in the top-right coming from Micklehurst. Note the small engine shed towards the top-right of the image, (c) Britain From Above. [13]

We have already established that all three of the bridges mentioned in the text above and shown in the images above no longer exist. These aerial images of the Gas Works are intriguing. A lot of detail can be picked out. The  image focusses specifically on the Gas Works.

An extract from another photograph (EAW035924) from the Britain From Above website. This image focusses on Mossley Gas Works. [10]

This first extract shows the Gas Works Locomotive maneuvering wagons under the coal lift at the plant. [10]

The Gas Works were located North of Mossley along the Tame Valley and situated on either side of both the Huddersfield Narrow Canal and Manchester Road. The site was bounded on the West by the River Tame. Closer inspection of this image is feasible with membership of the Britain From Above Website. Although a little blurred it is possible to focus-in enough (as can be seen in the adjacent image) to be able to observe the Works Saddle Tank Locomotive at work placing wagons beneath the coal lift. In the extract immediately below two different types of tank wagon are visible, there are plenty of private owner wagons. Of interest too, is the complexity of the internal point-work – a double-slip takes centre stage in this image. The boundary fence between the Micklehurst Loop and the private coal sidings of the Gas Works can also be seen.

Another extract shows some interesting detail. The site boundary can be picked out, a double slip is visible on the internal Works railway and, in 1951, plenty of private owner wagons and two different types of tank wagon. [10]

I believe that the Gas Works Loco was an 0-4-0 ST locomotive but I was unable to find any details or pictures beyond the glimpse visible in the aerial photograph above. David Beilby on the IndustrailRailwaySociety@groups.io site says: “My father worked there and I remember the loco well – being a small green saddle tank it inevitably got nicknamed “Percy” by a youngster such as myself. In fact it was a Peckett 0-4-0ST named “Roaches”, works no 1822 of 1930.” [42]

Photograph EAW058239 from the Britain From Above Website, shows the Gas Works site from the West with the River Tame in the foreground. [20]

The next feature on the Micklehurst Loop after Mossley Gas Works was the Royal George Tunnel. Both the next images are taken from the same photograph on the Britain from Above Website. [21]

The Southern Portal of the Royal George Tunnel on the Micklehurst Loop was very close to the Gas Works. [21]

The Royal George Tunnel Southern Portal – the portal and Winwalls we made of blue engineering brick, like other structures on the Line. [21]

Looking towards the location of the Royal George Tunnel Portal from a point alongside the location of the old Gas Works. The path climbs from the cutting floor at track-bed level up to meet Huddersfield Road ahead. (Photograph by Joanna Farnworth on 15th January 2021.)

This picture gives a better impression of the level difference. It is taken from close to Huddersfield Road and looks back towards Micklehurst. (My photograph, 15th January 2021.)

The Royal George Tunnel was named for the pub which stood over it at the junction between Manchester Road (A635) and Huddersfield Road/Well-i-Hole Road (B6175). The tunnel was 140 yards (128 metres) long. Immediately at its Northeastern end, the A635 was carried over the Line on a simply supported span.

A further extract from the OS 1:10,560 series maps of the 1950s. The Royal George Pub and Tunnel are in the bottom left of the extract. The Goods Shed which features towards the top right was Friezland Goods Shed. [17]

The same location on the 25″ OS Map series from the middle of the 20th century. [22]

The same location in the 21st century. This time it is a satellite image. With the closure of the line it was possible to realign the A635 to remove the tight bends which kept it close to the tunnel mouth. (Google Maps.)

Just to the North of the Loop, on the West side of Well-i-Hole Road close to the farm was Royal George Mill. It belonged to R R Whitehead and Brothers Limited. They traced their origins back to the seventeenth century, when their farming ancestors began to act as woollen merchants.  In 1822, William Whitehead joined his brothers, John Dicken and Edward at Oak View Mill, also in Greenfield. In 1837, William’s four sons, Ralph Radcliffe, James Heywood, Francis Frederick and John Dicken, established a partnership under the name of R R Whitehead and Brothers to carry on business as woollen manufacturers and general traders and moved into the Royal George Mills, Greenfield. [32]

They specialised in the production of felts produced from wool, and also in the manufacture of flags. In 1932, they became part of Porritts and Spencer of Bury, who were, in turn, taken over by the Scapa Group in 1969. In 1980, further amalgamation took place with Bury Masco Industries and Cooper and Company, both of Brynmawr, South Wales. These concerns later closed. During the twentieth century, the Royal George Mills specialised in producing two types of felt; Taper Hammer Felt and Technical Felt. Taper Hammer Felt was used on the hammers in pianos, and the Royal George Mills were renowned for it throughout the world, exporting to Japan, Korea, China and Germany. Technical Felt was used throughout industry in a wide range of machinery. Work at the Royal George Mills gradually decreased throughout the 1990s and they finally closed in 1999. The site has been developed into housing by Wiggett Homes. [32]

A view from the East on the A635. Man marking Ordnance Survey minor control revision point with an arrow on the corner of the parapet of the bridge which took the A635 over the Micklehurst Loop. In this image the road bridge can be seen crossing the railway just in front of the higher tunnel portal parapet. The Royal George Inn is in the background, (c) Manchester Libraries. [24]

An enlarged extract from the 25″ OS Map above which shows the arrangement of the tunnel portal and the road bridge at the Royal George Inn junction. [22]

Looking South from the bridge over the path to Manchester Road. both this and the next picture are taken at the subway to the East of the Royal George Inn junction, (c) Manchester Libraries. [25]

Looking North from the bridge over the path to Manchester Road, (c) Manchester Libraries. [26]

25″ OS Map extract from 1950s. [22]

The two photographs above are taken at the East end of the parapets of the subway bridge shown in the top-right of the adjacent 25″ OS Map extract. [22]

On the South side of the Loop Line and also of Manchester Road was Dacres Hall.The hall is a former working farm, the vicarage of Bartholomew Dacre, who was vicar of St George’s Church in Mossley. He had to make a living from the farm since his stipend wasn’t nearly enough to keep his family. Years later, a local industrialist and self-taught amateur architect, Tom Shaw, acquired the property and the hall came into being. [33]

Just a short distance further along the Micklehhurst Loop and Manhester Road from the entrance to Dacres Hall was the Friezland Goods yard and Goods Shed/Warehouse. The next few pictures focus on that site.

Man marking Ordnance Survey minor control revision point with an arrow on Manchester Road (A635) in Friezland. In the background, Friezland Goods Shed appears out of the mist, (c) Manchester Libraries. [27]

A 21st century view of the location of Micklehurst Goods warehouse from a similar position to the image immediately above (15th August 2015, Google Streetview). The site is now occupied by the Oldham & District Riding Club’s Friezland Arena.

Man marking Ordnance Survey minor control revision point a little further to the East on the A635, (c) Manchester Libraries. [28]

Friezland, railway goods warehouse. The photograph is taken looking from the West at the NorthWest corner of the Goods Shed, (c) Manchester Libraries. [29]

Man marking Ordnance Survey minor control revision point close to Friezland Goods Shed. The picture is taken looking to the West from a point directly opposite the Goods Shed along the North side of the MIcklehurst Loop. The signal box is visible in the middle-distance, (c) Manchester Libraries. [30]

Passing the location of Friezland Goods Yard on 22nd January 2021. (My photograph.)

Following the track-bed of the mainline of the old Micklehurst Loop as it ran alongside the Friezland Goods Yard. (My photograph, 22nd January 2021).

These next two pictures were taken on 22nd January 2021 as we walked away from the Royal Goerge Inn along the old line. They must be at approximately the location of the old Goods Yard.

We passed the Oldham & District Riding Club’s Friezland Arena on our right.

it was not far beyond this point that we had to leave the old track-bed as it would have sat on the now demolished Friezland Viaduct.

Off to the left of these pictures, the River Tame swings closer to the route of the line and sits almost immediately next to the Viaduct ahead, before swinging away once more to its confluence with Greenfield (or Chew) Brook.

The Hudderfield Narrow Canal which once followed the route of the old Loop Line very closely has been carried over the line of the River Tame on an Aqueduct to the West of The Royal George Inn and now follows the Northern flank of the Tame Valley running close to Friezland Church and then on into Uppermill beneath, first the B6175 and then the A6051 (Chapel Road).

Not much further Eat of Greenfield Station on the mainline, the Canal passes to the North side of Frenches Wharf Marina.

25″ OS Map extract which shows the Good Shed, Viaduct and Station at Friezland in the 1950s. [31]

This satellite image shows the same area in the 21st century. The redline is an approximation to the route of the Loop, (Google Maps)

Dacres (or Friezland) viaduct on the Micklehurst Loop line, demolished at the end of 1970. The footbridge in the distance is at Friezland station. Although the station closed in 1917 the building (obscured by the telegraph pole) still stands in 2020, (c) Manchester Libraries.[35]

This picture shows the Southwest parapet pilaster of the Friezland Viaduct. The image immediately above shows the Northwest pilaster of the Viaduct. The building in the distance is the passenger station building at Friezland Station, (c) Manchester Libraries. [36]

The public footpath dropped off the embankment of the old railway and followed the valley floor, meeting Waters Edge and Croft Edge before crossing Greenbridge Lane (Google Streetview.)

The footpath following the old line crossed Greenbridge Lane at road level and then continued along the path visible ahead which probably is below what was the platforms of Friezland Station. (Goog;e Streetview.)

Man marking Ordnance Survey minor control revision point with an arrow on Friezland Viaduct. This picture is taken close to the Northeast pilaster at the end of the viaduct parapet and shows the location of Friezland Station in the 1950s. The station house still stands, as does the footbridge buit it appears that the platforms have been removed, (c) Manchester Libraries. [37]

Alan Young has a photograph of the station footbridge on the Disused Stations website. It can be seen by clicking on this link: http://disused-stations.org.uk/f/friezland/index.shtml [34]

Man marking Ordnance Survey minor control revision point with an arrow on the Southeast pilaster of Friezland Viaduct. The photograph is taken looking along the Loop Line to the West, (c) Manchester Libraries. [38]

A 25″ OS Map extract from the 1950s shows the length of the old line from Friezland Station to Chew Valley Road. [44]

 

The same area in a satellite image in the 21st century. Firezland Passenger Station still stands, much altered, as a private home. It can be seen just below the red line at the bottom left of the image. (Google Maps.)

Frioezland Railway Station building. (Google Maps.)

The adjacent image shows Friezland Station Building from above. It is in private hands and has been altered significantly. The facia’s have been painted. Alan Young has photographs of the building on the Disused Stations Website which were taken in 2015. [34]

There was a viaduct at each end of Friezland Station as the image below shows. Friezland Viaduct, of twelve brick arches and 187 yards long, was to the West of the Station. Greenfield Viaduct  was longer, it was a 16 brick-arch viaduct of 242 yards length with a large span over Chew Brook. Very soon after leaving the Greenfield Viaduct trains would have crossed another arch bridge of brick constriction which spanned Chew Valley Road. [43]

Friezland Station sat between two viaducts. In this view from across the Tame Valley the erstwhile Friezland Viaduct can be seen on the right. The Greenfield Viaduct creeps onto the left of the pciture. The wooden platforms and shelters of the Station are at the centre of the image. This image is included here courtesy of Alan Young. He comments: “Looking south-east towards Friezland station from a point close to Greenfield station c1910. Friezland station is seen between Friezland Viaduct (right) and Greenfield Viaduct (left), with the rear of the down platform shown clearly. The waiting room block and down platform are both constructed of timber. The footbridge connecting the platforms is visible in front of the station building, which adjoins the up platform. It is assumed that this platform was also of timber construction, like all others on the Micklehurst Loop. Left of the station, the large building with the chimneystack is Haybottom’s bleaching mill. The desolate heights of Saddleworth Moor provide a dramatic backdrop.” The photograph comes from the Peter Fox ‘Old Saddleworth’ collection.  [34]

There were three mills close to the Micklehurst Loop, situated either side of Chew Brook. Haybottom’s Mill, Bentfield Mill and Andrew Mill.

Haybottom’s Mill – was a bleaching mill. It was immediately adjacent to Friezland Station. I have not been able to find any further details about the mill.

Bentfield Mill – was at different times a cotton mill and a woolen mill. Notes: Built originally at as a woolen mill in around 1790, it was rebuilt as a Cotton Mill by Robinson Brothers in 1868. It reverted to wool in 1892. Chew Brook Drive and its housing is built on the site.

Andrew Mill – appears on the 6″ OS Map extract below. I have not been able to find any further details about the mill.

A extract from the 6″ OS Map published in 1909. [45]

Man marking Ordnance Survey minor control revision point with an arrow on what I believe is Greenbridge Lane on the North side of Greenfield Viaduct (confusingly identified as
‘Friezland Viaduct’ on OS plans)  looking to the West, (c) Manchester Libraries. [39]In this image, also used here courtesy of Alan Young, we are lLooking north-east circa 1906 towards Greenfield Viaduct (confusingly identified as ‘Friezland Viaduct’ on OS plans) on the Micklehurst Loop (between Uppermill and Friezland stations). The Mill which can be seen behind the Viaduct is Bentfield Mill, a cotton and woolen mill. The photograph again comes from the Peter Fox ‘Old Saddleworth’ collection. [34]

Man marking Ordnance Survey minor control revision point with an arrow on Chew Valley Road in Greenfield. The photograph looks Southeast along the Northern pavement of the road with the arch-bridge which carried the Micklehurst Loop visible in the background, (c) Manchester Libraries. [40]

Corner of Greenfield Conservative Club, converted to housing in 2019. The bridge visible carries the Micklehurst Loop line over Chew Valley Road. This view is also looking to the South east but on the opposite side of Chew Valley Road, (c) Manchester Libraries. [41]

Greenfield Viaduct. [46]

We finish this length of the Micklehurst Loop at Chew Valley Road in Greenfield.

In concluding, we see a couple of older postcard images of Greenfield Viaduct, the second of which looks along Chew Valley Road towards the Southeast, and a 21st century Google Streetview image of the point at which the Loop crossed Chew Valley Road.

Old Postcard Image looking along Chew Valley Road to the Southeast. Greenfield Viaduct appears on the right side of the image, there is then a short section of embankment before the arched bridge over Chew Valley Road. Bentfield Mill sits behind the Viaduct. [47]

Chew Valley Road at the point where the Micklehurst Loop crossed the road by means of an arched bridge. The trees sit where the bridge abutments once sat! (Google Streetview.)

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  34. http://disused-stations.org.uk/f/friezland/index.shtml, accessed on 28th February 2021.
  35. https://www.timepix.uk/Collection-galleries/OS-Revision-Points-in-Greater-Manchester/1940s-1950s-Middleton-Oldham-and-Rochdale/Lees-Grasscroft-and-Greenfield/i-kwZDcNm, accessed on 28th February 2021.
  36. https://www.timepix.uk/Collection-galleries/OS-Revision-Points-in-Greater-Manchester/1940s-1950s-Middleton-Oldham-and-Rochdale/Lees-Grasscroft-and-Greenfield/i-bzz4Xws, accessed on 28th February 2021.
  37. https://www.timepix.uk/Collection-galleries/OS-Revision-Points-in-Greater-Manchester/1940s-1950s-Middleton-Oldham-and-Rochdale/Lees-Grasscroft-and-Greenfield/i-56HVnR6, accessed on 28th February 2021.
  38. https://www.timepix.uk/Collection-galleries/OS-Revision-Points-in-Greater-Manchester/1940s-1950s-Middleton-Oldham-and-Rochdale/Lees-Grasscroft-and-Greenfield/i-xG963VC, accessed on 28th February 2021.
  39. https://www.timepix.uk/Collection-galleries/OS-Revision-Points-in-Greater-Manchester/1940s-1950s-Middleton-Oldham-and-Rochdale/Lees-Grasscroft-and-Greenfield/i-Khdh2v9, accessed on 28th February 2021.
  40. https://www.timepix.uk/Collection-galleries/OS-Revision-Points-in-Greater-Manchester/1940s-1950s-Middleton-Oldham-and-Rochdale/Lees-Grasscroft-and-Greenfield/i-sqpQVTp, accessed on 28th February 2021.
  41. https://www.timepix.uk/Collection-galleries/OS-Revision-Points-in-Greater-Manchester/1940s-1950s-Middleton-Oldham-and-Rochdale/Lees-Grasscroft-and-Greenfield/i-GB6pX6v, accessed on 28th February 2021.
  42. From an email on the  IndustrialRailwaySociety@groups.io email group on 28th February 2021.
  43. https://www.railforums.co.uk/threads/micklehurst-line.143325, accessed on 25th February 2021.
  44. https://maps.nls.uk/geo/explore/#zoom=17&lat=53.53553&lon=-2.00878&layers=168&b=1, accessed on 28th February 2021.
  45. https://maps.nls.uk/geo/explore/#zoom=17&lat=53.53403&lon=-2.00540&layers=6&b=1, accessed on 1st March 2021.
  46. https://picclick.co.uk/Greenfield-near-Uppermill-Oldham-Ashway-Gap-352652407476.html, 28th February 2021.
  47. https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/313086782469?mkevt=1&mkcid=1&mkrid=710-53481-19255-0&campid=5338722076&toolid=10001

The Micklehurst Loop – Part 2

I am indebted to Alan Young for a number of the images in these articles about the Micklehurst Loop. This is his drawing of the Loop which appears at the head of his article about the Loop on the ‘Disused Stations‘ website. It is used with his kind permission, (c) Alan Young. [7]

During January 2021, my wife and I walked the majority of the length of the Micklehurst Loop from Stalybridge to Diggle. This was the goods relieving line for the main Stalybridge to Huddersfield railway line. It had been hoped to alleviate congestion by making the mainline into a 4-track railway but the geography mitigated against this and a route on the other side of the Tame Valley was chosen instead.

The maps used in this sequence of articles are predominantly 25″ OS Maps from 1896 through to 1922 and have been sourced from the National Library of Scotland. [1] There are a number of websites which focus on the Loop which are excellent. The sites concerned are noted immediately below and the relevant link can be found in the references section of this page or by clicking on the highlighted text here:

  1. The most detailed treatment of the line and its stations can be found on the Disused Stations – Site Records website. The particular pages on that site which cover the Loop were provided by Alan Young. One page covers the route and pages covering each of the stations can be accessed from that page. [7]
  2. Particularly good for old photographs of the Loop is the Table 38 webpage about the railway. [12]

The first article about the Micklehurst Loop can be found at:

https://rogerfarnworth.com/2021/01/31/the-micklehurst-loop-part-1

There is a series of three addenda to that first article which include a series of photographs relating to the first part of the line from the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. These can be found on the following links:

https://rogerfarnworth.com/2021/02/05/the-micklehurst-loop-part-1a

https://rogerfarnworth.com/2021/02/15/the-micklehurst-loop-part-1b

https://rogerfarnworth.com/2021/02/18/the-micklehurst-loop-part-1c-including-hartshead-power-station

Part 2 – Staley & Millbrook Goods Yard to Micklehurst Station

We continue our journey North along the Micklehurst Loop. We start from the Staley and Millbrook Goods Shed which is still standing and which is covered in the articles above. The old loop is still closely following the River Tame and the Huddersfield Narrow Canal. On the map extract below the original Staybridge to Huddersfield line can be seen on the left of the map extract.

An early 25″ OS Map Extract showing the length of the Loop immediately North of the Staley and Millbrook Goods Shed. [1]

The next map extract is from the 1:25,000 OS Map series and was published in 1951. It shows the Power Station and the much extended railway sidings.

Map extract from the 1:25,000 OS Map series which was published in 1951. The earliest arrangement for coal transfer which bridged the canal and river and stopped to the West pf the Loop is shown. Built later and at a higher level a conveyor bridge spanned across the sidings and the river and canal, extending to coal transfer faculties which were constructed on the Northeast side of the sidings. The map extract below shows the new arrangements. There are photographs of the location taken soon after closure on this link:: https://rogerfarnworth.com/2021/02/05/the-micklehurst-loop-part-1a.  [2]

An extract from the 1964-65 1: 1,250 OS map. This shows the coal transfer facilities at their fullest extent. This is an extract from an image on the Disused Stations Website and is used here with the kind permission of Alan Young. [3]

The satellite image below shows the same area in the 21st century – woodland has encroached into the area around the goods shed to the South of extract. One remaining length of the coal transfer conveyer bridge has also remained in place, and can be seen immediately to the Northwest of the shell of the goods shed. The remainder of the coal transfer facilities have been removed.

Google Maps satellite image (21st century).

A long-distance view of the goods shed and coal conveyor taken from the footway on Wakefield Road, (My photograph 21st February 2021).

Two telephoto views of the coal conveyor and goods shed, taken from Wakefield Road on the West side of the Tame Valley, (My photographs, 21st February 2021).

The view South from alongside the Good Shed in 2021shows how much the woodland has encroached around the Goods Shed in the years since closure. (My Photograph, 18th January 2021).

The view North from the same point, looking along what was the old track-bed (My photograph, 18th January 2021).

The satellite image, a few images above, shows the alignment of the old railway in red with the relative locations of the remaining span of the coal conveyor and the shell of the goods shed.

Underfoot the ground along the track alignment was in parts waterlogged  but we managed to follow it Northwards in January 2021. A couple of images of the site from January 2021 show just how much the woodland has encroached across the site. These pictures were taken on my mobile phone camera.

Heading North from Staley & Millbrook Goods Shed, the old Loop line curved gradually round following the contours of the East side of the Tame Valley. It first curved a little to the West before swinging back to the Northeast.

Opposite Black Rock on the West side of the Tame Valley, there was an accommodation bridge carrying a lane above the Loop. It can be seen towards the bottom of the first OS Map extract below. It appears to have given access to the land between the Loop and the Canal. It appears close to the lettering “Crows i’th’ Wood.”

The accommodation bridge appears on both map extracts below but seems no longer to be in place in the 21st century.

We walked along this section of the line and found no evidence of the bridge or its abutments.

25″ OS Map extract showing the accommodation bridge just to the Northwest of the ‘Crows i’th’ Wood’ lettering. [1]

An extract from the 1:25,000 OS Series maps published in 1951. The accommodation bridge shows up more obviously on this extract. [2]

Google Maps Satellite Images extract (21st century).

Slightly further up the Tame Valley there were two Cotton Mills – Weir Mill and Scout Mill – both sat on the West bank of the river. Adjacent to Scout Mill was the hamlet of Scout just a short series of terraced houses also sitting on the West bank of the River Tame. Two tunnels were named after the hamlet, one on the main Stalybridge to Huddersfield Line, the other took the Huddersfield Narrow Canal under an outcrop which was used as a quarry. The Micklehurst Loop sat away to the East and after passing under an accommodation bridge curved round through a cutting. That bridge can be seen at the bottom of the map extract below.

25″ OS Map extract. [1]The South facing elevation of the accommodation bridge across the valley from Weir Mill, (My photograph).The same bridge looking from the North (My photograph).The Loop remained in cutting for some distance North of the accommodation bridge (Photograph – Jo Farnworth)

After the length of cutting the line passed onto an embankment for a short distance before crossing a lane which shows up most clearly on the 1:25,000 Map extract below. The line continued Northeast on embankment.

An extract from the 1:25,000 OS Series maps published in 1951. The extract is centred on the Canal Tunnel – Scout Tunnel. [2]

The next image is the only one that I have been able to find of an ‘action shot’ featuring the railway bridge which crosses the lane in the top right of the map extracts when it was in use. It appears on the Google Maps satellite image below as a single abutment on the South side of the lane.

Alan Young notes this bridge as being over a track near Kershaw Hey. He believes that the photograph was taken in the 1950s. Alan Young says: “The Micklehurst Loop continued to carry passenger traffic long after the local stopping trains were withdrawn and closure of the intermediate stations before the end of the First World War. Here, an excursion train to North Wales is seen between Micklehurst and Staley & Millbrook stations, with the warehouse of Micklehurst goods station in the distance, top right. No.45201, a Fowler-designed ‘Black Five’ 4-6-0 locomotive,” is in charge of the train. … “In the distance No.49668, a Fowler-designed 7F 0-8-0, is held with its load of empties at the signals at the southern end of Micklehurst goods yard.” The photograph is included with the kind permission of Alan Young, (c) K. Field. [23]An extract from Google Maps satellite imagery showing the locations of the two Mills and the Bridge referred to in the text.

The next two photographs are taken from the farm track close to the bridge abutment.

The remaining bridge abutment. The view is taken looking to the South towards Stalybridge, (My photograph).

Looking forward along the line towards Micklehurt Station from the same location as the photograph above, (My photograph). The Canal is down to the left of the picture.

The final two pictures at this ;location are monochrome images from the OS Survey in 1952.

Man marking Ordnance Survey minor control revision point on the Micklehurst Loop at the bridge South of Micklehurst Good Shed. The shed can be seen in the picture, (c) Manchester Libraries. [26]Man marking Ordnance Survey minor control revision pointon bridge wingwall South of Micklehurst Goods Yard in 1952, (c) Manchester Libraries. [26]

Weir Mill: was a Cotton Mill. Its owners were listed as ‘cotton spinners and manufacturers’ in the 1891 Mossley Directory. [8]

 

Weir Mill in 2007 © Alexander P Kapp and licensed for reuse under Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0). [5]

Weir Mill in 2007 © Alexander P Kapp and licensed for reuse under Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0). [6]

A view of Weir Mill in the 21st century from Manchester Road south of the Mill. (Google Streetview)

A view of Weir Mill in the 21st century from Manchester Road to the North. (Google Streetview)

Satellite Image of Weir Mill, (Google Maps).

I have not been able to find any older pictures of Weir Mill, so the final image of the mill is a modern satellite image. In 21st century the mill is tenanted out to a number of different organisations, including: The Vault [11]; Pampered to Pawfection Dog Spa Ltd [13]; Weir Mill Ranges [14]; Masquerade Tattoo Studio [15]; North of Winter; Twenty Five Yards Ltd.

Scout Mill: was also a Cotton Mill. It was owned by John Mayall of Mossley along with Britannia, Southend and Bottom Mills. Together, these mills had 420,000 spindles, they are listed in the 1891 Mossley Directory, and noted by Grace’s Guide as follows: 32’/60′ twist. Pay day second Wed. Telegrams, “Mayall, Mossley.”[9][10] It is shown in its prime in the monochrome image below.

Scout Mill sits in the foreground of this image with the mainline from Stalybridge to Huddersfield entering Scout Tunnel adjacent to the Mill. Close to the Mill, is the small hamlet of Scout and immediately above that, the large Micklehurst Goods Shed on the Micklehurst  Loop can be picked out on the far side of the valley. Also visible in this image is a tram running down the centre of Manchester Road and a horse and trap heading for Mossley, (c) Tameside Archive Library. [4]

The image above is significant for the view it gives us of the Goods facilities in the middle distance. The large Goods Shed is typical of those built along the Micklhurst Loop . The builders clearly anticipated a significant volume of goods traffic from the mills in Mossley.

The adjacent image is an early photograph showing Scout Mill from the river bank a little to the right of the edge of the image immediately above. Scout tunnel on the mainline can be picked out centre-top in this image. The foot bridge which appears in the foreground of this image can be seen on the 25″ OS Map extract above. [9][10]

The next three images show the site of Scout Mill in the 21st century. All are from Google Maps/Google Streetview. Modern structures seem to pale into insignificance alongside those built in the past!

A view of ‘New Scout Mill from just to the South along Manchester Road. The tunnel portal is just visible above the modern buildings and to the left, (Google Streetview).

The same buildings but this time from just to the Northeast on Manhcester Road, (Google Streetview).

Satellite image of New Scout Mill, (Google Maps).

Having explored the buildings in the Tame Valley South of Mossley we return to our walk along the Micklehurst Loop.

To the north of the erstwhile bridge over the lane the route of the line entered thick undergrowth and then encountered the boundary fence of R. Plevin & Sons (wood processing and recycling company). which now occupies the site of the Micklehurst Goods Yard. [17] Our walking route was, as a result, along the towpath of the Huddersfield Narrow Canal. In fact, along the length shown in the next monochrome image.

Man marking Ordnance Survey minor control revision close to Micklehurst Goods Yard on the Huddersfield Narrow Canal. The Goods warehouse/shed and the signal cabin are visible, (c) Manchester Libraries. [26]

We walked along the towpath of the Huddersfield Narrow Canal. The embankment and retaining structures on the right are those which supported the Loop Line and the Micklehurst Goods Yard above the canal. The location is just to the North of the monochrome image above, (My photograph, 18th January 2021).

Man marking Ordnance Survey minor control revision point on Huddersfield Narrow Canal towpath, (c) Manchester Libraries. [26]

The next extract from the 25″ OS Maps from close to the turn of the 20th century shows  Scout Mill and its hamlet of terraced houses in the bottom left. It shows Scout Railway Tunnel on the mainline (to the left of the image) and the sidings to the south of Mossley Station on that line. Across the River Tame and the Canal the widening of railway land has allowed the construction of Micklehurst Goods Shed with a Signal Box to the West immediately adjacent to the Canal. The railway was significantly above the Canal at this point

An extract from the 25″ Series of OS Maps from around the turn of the 20th century. [1]

The next length of the line North of Micklehurst Good Shed. [1]

Micklehurst Goods Shed in 2021. This photograph was taken from the closed gates of Plevin’s yard on Sunday 21st February 2021, (My photograph). This shows the gable end of the Shed that is visible in the aerial image below.

Micklehurst Goods Shed again, this time from inside Plevin’s Yard, (c) Alan Young. Alan comments: “The former Micklehurst goods warehouse, looking south-west in October 2015. It is constructed of the sombre blue engineering brick used by the LNWR for most of the major structures of the Micklehurst Loop, although red brick was preferred for the passenger station buildings. Part of the gable end of this warehouse is of red brick, perhaps evidence of repair. The warehouse is … is flanked by modern buildings. On the western elevation a wooden structure projects from the upper storeys which probably contained a hoist.  [23]

The next two images show OS Survey points being marked at Micklehurst Goods Shed in the 1950s. The second includes the signal cabin which sat above the Canal.

Man marking Ordnance Survey minor control revision point at Micklehurst Goods Shed in July 1952, (c) Manchester Libraries. [26]

Man marking Ordnance Survey minor control revision point at Micklehurst Goods Shed in July 1952, (c) Manchester Libraries. [26]

The next three images show the location, in February 2021, of the bridge where Holland Street/Crown Hill passed under the railway. These are then followed by the aerial images referred to above.

The remaining abutment of the Holland Street bridge taken from the Northeast, (My photograph, Sunday 21st February 2021).

The same bridge abutment from the North West, (My photograph, 21st February 2021).

The railway embankment continued North alongside Cheshire Street, (My photograph, 21st February 2021).

An extract from an aerial image showing Micklehurst Goods Yard. The bridge which is shown being crossed by the Loco No.45201 is in the very top right of this 1947 image. Most of this area is now a part of Plevin’s yard. The image is shared courtesy of BritainFromAbove.org and is from their image reference EAW010807. [16]

A second extract from Britain From Above’s aerial image No. EAW010807. The mill is Brunswick Mill. The line continued North from Micklehurst Goods Yard and onto a viaduct. [16]

Micklehurst Passenger Station Building appears at the bottom of this extract. By 1947, the platforms which were further to the North of the Station Building (off the bottom of this image) had been removed, as had the canopy which was on the road side of the ticket office (the lower section of the building). [16]

The The site of Micklehurst Goods Yard in the 21st century, now occupied by R. Plevin & Sons (wood processing and recycling company) [17] (Google Maps).

The line continued North. Thismodern staellite image shows the length to Micklehurat Passenger Station, (Google Maps).

These three images, all taken from on aerial photograph show the line in 1947, surprisingly devoid of moving traffic. The last of the sequence shows the passenger building of Micklehurst Station devoid of the canopy which cover the entrance to the ticket office. The station platforms which had been removed by 1947 were sited North of the building – off the bottom of the image.

Alan Young on his pages about the line on the ‘Disused Stations’ Website [23] carries two pictures taken by Jim Davenport which show:

  • a northbound goods train passing the Goods Yard in the 1950s with a Stanier-designed Class 8F 2-8-0 locomotive No. 48552 in charge; and,
  • A southbound freight, also in the 1950s, pulled by a Fowler F7 0-8-0 locomotive No.49662. The mill in the background of this image is Brunswick Mill.

The line North from Micklehurst Good Yard continued across the westerly extension of what is now Crown Hill which at the time was called Holland Street. The unmade road beneath the bridge provided access to a parcel of land between the canal and the railway which was at one time used as an iron foundry. The road parallel to the line on its East side was (and is) Cheshire Street.

Access to Plevin’s modern site is gained from the junction of Crown Hill and Cheshire Street.

Cheshire Street was flanked on its West side by the railway embankment and on its East side by terraced housing, which is still present in the 2020s. The Micklehurst Loop was carried over Egmont Street adjacent to its junction with Cheshire Street by the first span of a viaduct.

Brunwick Mill stood behind the terraced housing on Cheshire Street. It is long-gone and its site has been redeveloped as a housing estate.

Brunswick Mill was a cotton-spinning mill constructed in 1886/1887. It was finally demolished in 1990. [19] Its location can be picked out on the extracts from the 25″ OS Maps both above and below. The housing estate which sits on its site is known as ‘The Spindles’.

Mossley had a significant number of mills which we cannot cover in any detail in this article. However, Southend Mill, River Mill and Albert Mill also stood close to this length of the Loop Line and can be seen on the OS Map extracts on the opposite side of the Huddersfield Narrow Canal.

Southend Mill and River Mill sat adjacent to each other between the River Tame and the Canal. They were owned by John Mayall (along with Bottom Mills just further to the North).

Albert Mill was slightly further to the Southwest along Egmont Street, on the West side of the River Tame.

The River Tame and the Canal threaded their way through what was a heavily industrialised town. Many of the mill buildings have gone. The first monochrome image after the extract from the OS Maps below, gives an impression of what the Micklehurst and Mossley area was like in the early to mid-20th century. The Loop line can be seen at the centre of that image.

A further extract from the 25″ OS Maps published at around the turn of the 20th century. Micklehurst Station is visible in the top right with its platforms extending off the top of the extract. [1]

AN 1890s view of Micklehurst looking from Mossley along the line of Micklehurst Road. Brunswick Mill can be seen to the right beyond the railway. [22]

Two images on the Table 38 Steam Railways Webpage show the arched viaduct span over Micklehurst Road. I cannot be sure of the provenance of those images and so note them here:

  • Part of the viaduct over Micklehurst Road, looking West with Station Road on the right just before the span. This picture appears to have been taken as a record of one of the Whit Walks processions; [20] and,
  • The same span looking East. [20]

The images below show the Southern half of the Viaduct carrying the Loop Line.

This excellent view of Brunswick Mill is an extract form an aerial image from 1947 available on the ‘Britain From Above’ website. It shows the railway viaduct with its first span across Egmont Street. [18]

An enlarged view of the railway viaduct taken from the same image. Egmont Street enters from the bottom right, Cheshire Street runs on the far side of the Loop Line, between it and Brusnwick Mill. Micklehurst Road enters from the bottom left. [18]

The Northern half of Micklehurst Viaduct taken from the East. Another etract from a Britain From Above aerial Image (EAW010805). [21]

The next couple of images show the junction between Cheshire Street, Egmont Street and Micklehurst Road in the 20th century.

Egmont Street looking from the West at the remains of the abutment to the first span of the Micklehurst Viaduct. The blue brick wall is what is left of the bridge abutment. The road to the right, immediately beyond the abutment wall is Cheshire Street, (My photograph, 18th January 2021).

Looking from the West again, this time along Micklehurst Road towards the location of the Viaduct. An arch span carried the Loop over this road just beyond the New Bridge Inn where the trees are visible on the left side of the road. Station Road goes off to the left just after those trees, (My photograph, 18th January 2021).

We finish this leg of the journey at Micklehurst Passenger Station. First with two images courtesy of Alan Young [23] which he sourced from Tameside Libraries Archives. These are then followed by two modern pictures of the station building which show it as it is today.

Micklehurst Station in 1911, courtesy of Alan Young, (c) Tameside Libraries. [23] Alan comments: “The station closed in 1907. The view is north-west across Station Road. The substantial brick villa is in the style used at all four of the Loop’s stations. In contrast the platforms and their associated buildings are of timber. The use of timber, rather than masonry, for the platforms and their buildings reduced the load that the embankment carried. A generous awning extends over the passenger entrance to the booking hall, with a more modest one over the door of the station house. The stairway up to the platform is covered, and awnings are provided in front of both of the platform buildings. The up platform building (right) was reconstructed after being severely damaged by a fire in 1893 thought to have been caused by a spark from a passing locomotive.” [23]

Micklehurst Station Platform Buildings seen from the West across the Tame Valley in around 1911, courtesy of Alan Young, (c) Tameside Libraries. [23] All Saints’ Church which is now a private dwelling (2021) can be seen behind the platform structres.

Micklehurst Station Buiding in the 21st century. It stood on the Micklehurst Loop constructed by the LNWR in 1881 and opened in 1886. The passenger service only lasted until 1907. The station platforms were on the embankment at the right side of this image. The area has been re-landscaped since the viaduct was removed.© Gerald England and licensed for reuse – Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0) . [24]

The old Micklehurst Station Building viewed from the North, the station platforms were of to the right of the picture at high level.  © David Dixon and licensed for reuse – Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0) . [25]

References

  1. https://maps.nls.uk, accessed on 31st January 2021.
  2. https://maps.nls.uk/geo/explore/#zoom=17&lat=53.49994&lon=-2.03927&layers=10&b=1, accessed on 9th February 2021.
  3. http://disused-stations.org.uk/s/staley_and_millbrook/index.shtml, accessed on 9th February 2021.
  4. https://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/incoming/gallery/nostalgia-mill-town-bustling-commuter-10617920, accessed on 10th February 2021.
  5. https://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/479677, accessed on 10th February 2021.
  6. https://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/479680, accessed on 10th February 2021.
  7. http://disused-stations.org.uk/features/micklehurst_loop/index.shtml, accessed on 25th January 2021.
  8. https://www.gracesguide.co.uk/Weir_Mill_Co, accessed on 10th  February 2021.
  9. https://www.gracesguide.co.uk/Scout_Mill,_Mossley, accessed on 10th February 2021.
  10. https://www.gracesguide.co.uk/1891_Cotton_Mills_in_Mossley, acccessed on 10th February 2021.
  11. https://www.facebook.com/Thevaultmossley, accessed on 10th February 2021.
  12. http://www.table38.steamrailways.com/rail/Micklehurst/micklehurst.htm, accessed on 24th January 2021.
  13. https://www.facebook.com/pamperedtopawfection, accessed on 10th February 2021.
  14. https://www.gunmart.net/shooting-advice/news/manchester-airguns-are-pleased-to-announce-their-new-indoor-range, accessed on 10th February 2021.
  15. https://mossley-greater-manchester.cylex-uk.co.uk/company/masquerade-tattoo-studio-26872680.html, accessed on 10th February 2021.
  16. https://britainfromabove.org.uk/en/image/EAW010807, accessed on 20th February 2021.
  17. https://www.plevin.co.uk/our-sites/mossley-manchester, accessed on 20th February 2021.
  18. https://britainfromabove.org.uk/en/image/EAW010801, accessed on 21st February 2021.
  19. https://www.uktextilemills.com/brunswick-mill, accessed on 21st February 2021.
  20. http://www.table38.steamrailways.com/rail/Micklehurst/micklehurst.htm, accessed on 21st February 2021.
  21. https://britainfromabove.org.uk/en/image/EAW010805, accessed on 21st February 2021.
  22. https://www.facebook.com/TamesideCouncil/photos/looking-back-mossleyan-1890s-view-of-micklehurst-showing-the-railway-arch-over-m/10157158843343376, accessed on 21st February 2021.
  23. http://disused-stations.org.uk/m/micklehurst/index1.shtml, accessed on 20th February 2021.
  24. https://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/4835693, accessed on 10th February 2021.
  25. https://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/2463584, accessed on 12th February 2021.
  26. https://www.timepix.uk/PAGES/Top-Line-navigation-pages/n-5PX4Wc/About, accessed on 11th February 2021.

The Micklehurst Loop – Part 1C – Including Hartshead Power Station

Just a few days after I completed addendum 1B about the first length of The Micklehurst Loop and particularly about Staley and Millbrook Station and Goods Yard, I came across some photographs of the locomotives used at the Staley & Millbrook sidings on behalf of Hartshead power station. I found them on a Facebook post but can also be found free to share on the site set up by the Friends of Davenport Station on behalf of J.W. Sutherland’s widow (http://sutherland.davenportstation.org.uk). [3]

I was also sent two pictures by Keith Norgrove which came from a cycle ride along the Huddersfield Narrow Canal Towpath in 1963, one of which is relevant to this length of the Loop. [2]

And finally, James Ward has sent me three monochrome pictures which can be found at the end of this addendum. I have included one of these pictures as the featured image for this article.

My first article on the Micklehurst Loop can be found using this link:

https://rogerfarnworth.com/2021/01/31/the-micklehurst-loop-part-1

the first addendum, on this link:

https://rogerfarnworth.com/2021/02/05/the-micklehurst-loop-part-1a

the second addendum, on this link:

https://rogerfarnworth.com/2021/02/15/the-micklehurst-loop-part-1b

Huddersfield Narrow Canal Photograph of Hartshead Power Station

Keith Norgrove cycled the towpath of the Huddersfield Narrow Canal in 1963 and took this photograph:

This photograph is taken from the Canal towpath at a point some distance closer to Stalybridge. The coal conveyor can be seen crossing the valley from the location of the Staley & Millbrook Goods Yard. The roof of the GoodsShed is visible close to the coal conveyor. The north-light roof of Spring Grove Mill can also be picked out on the right side of the image, (c) Keith Norgrove 1963 [2]

Hartshead Power Station Locomotives

The series of three pictures below appeared on the Facebook Group ‘The History of Stalybridge’ in May 2020. I only found them on 16th February 2021. [3]

The post on the Facebook Group included the following words credited to Geoff Ward:

“Preparations for a power station at Heyrod began in 1916 when 26 acres (110,000 m2) of land were purchased. The station was opened in 1926 by the Stalybridge, Hyde, Mossley and Dukinfield Transport and Electricity Board. The station began operation with three Metropolitan-Vickers 12,500 kW turbo-alternators generating at the local SHMD supply frequency of 40 Hz. Later that year the station’s output was changed to the nationally agreed standard of 50 Hz. In 1935, a major expansion of Hartshead began with the first of three new Metropolitan-Vickers 30,000 kW generating sets being commissioned, followed by the second set in 1943 and the third set in 1950. The station’s concrete cooling towers were constructed in the 1940s.

Coal was delivered to the plant at Millbrook railway sidings on the Micklehurst Line, situated on the opposite side of the Huddersfield Narrow Canal. The sidings were built in 1932 and had space to hold up to 130 12-ton wagons. Coal was fed into a hopper underneath the sidings before being transported on an enclosed conveyor belt which emerged high above the valley to cross the River Tame and canal before entering the station at a high level. The station was closed on 29 October 1979 with a generating capacity of 64 megawatts. It was demolished during the late 1980s, although part of the site is still used as an electrical substation.” [3]

Hartshead appears to have owned two locomotives for shunting the yard accessed via the Micklehurst Loop, both are visible in this photograph of the Staley and Millbrook Goods Yard, (c) J.W. Sutherland. [3]

Lookin North from the Staley and Millbrook Yard. Coal trains entered the Yard full from the South along what was once the Micklehurst Loop and empties were returned to the South. (c) J.W. Sutherland. [3]

The Hawthorn Leslie fireless 0-6-0 (HL3805/1932) was fed with steam from the power station and was much cheaper to run that the saddle tank, (c) J.W. Sutherland. [3]

The Transport Library has 2 monochrome pictures of each of the locomotives in the images above for sale in a digital format. The pictures were taken by Horace Gamble. [5]

0-4-0ST Locomotive: BEA 2

The Saddle Tank shown in two of the photographs above was built by Robert Stephenson & Hawthorn. Its Works No. was 7661 and was numbered BEA (British Electricity Authority) No 2 in service in the yard opposite Hartshead Power Station. It was an 0-4-0ST Locomotive. It shared its duties with a large fireless locomotive which can also be seen in the photographs above.

“Because the fireless was cheap to run (there was a good supply of steam from the power station boiler), it was preferred as the working engine, and so No. 2 was used as the standby, and also whenever the power station boiler was shut down, as there would be no supply of steam for the fireless.” [4]

“The sidings were built in 1932 and had space to hold up to 130 12-ton wagons. Coal was fed into a hopper underneath the sidings before being transported on an enclosed conveyor belt which emerged high above the valley to cross the River Tame and canal before entering the station at a high level.” [4]

When the Micklehurst line was closed to traffic in October 1966 the short section of line between the Millbrook sidings and Stalybridge remained in use until the power station closed in 1979. At this time the locomotive was transported to the Embsay & Bolton Abbey Steam Railway where it sits awaiting restoration.

The 0-4-0ST being loaded onto a low-loader transport for the trip to the Embsay & Bolton Abbey Steam Railway in the late 1970s, included by kind permission of the photographer, © Gerv Wright. [4]

The same locomotive awaiting restoration in 2010, included by kind permission of the photographer, (c) Mick Cottam. [4]

Hartshead’s Fireless Locomotive

This locomotive can be seen in the photographs of J.W. Sutherland above. It was a Hawthorn Leslie fireless 0-6-0 (HL3805/1932). The photo of this loco for sale on the Transport Library site was taken in 1967. [5] A picture is also included in ‘Industrial Locomotives & Railways of the North West of England’ by Gordon Edgar. [6]

“A fireless locomotive  ……. uses a reciprocating engine powered from a reservoir of compressed air or steam, which is filled at intervals from an external source. They offer advantages over conventional steam locomotives of lower cost per unit, cleanliness, and decreased risk from fire or boiler explosion; these are counterbalanced by the need for a source to refill the locomotive, and by the limited range afforded by the reservoir.” [6]

They were most often used, for industrial rail yards where either:

  • a conventional locomotive was too noxious or risky, such as in a mine or a food or chemical factory; or
  • where the source of air or steam was readily available, as here at Hartshead Power Station,

“A fireless steam locomotive is similar to a conventional steam locomotive, but has a reservoir, known as a steam accumulator, instead of a boiler. This reservoir is charged with superheated water under pressure from a stationary boiler. The engine works like a conventional steam engine using the high pressure steam above the water in the accumulator. As the steam is used and pressure drops, the superheated water boils, replacing the used steam. The locomotive can work like this until the pressure has dropped to a minimum useful level or the water runs out, after which it must be recharged.” [6]

A Further 3 Photographs from James Ward

James Ward has shared three photographs with me of which he says: ” I don’t know how you would feel about including them on your website uncredited, as unfortunately, obtaining proper permission could prove impossible. My Dad thought they came from the colleague of a family friend, but when I contacted our family friend, he was struggling to recall this. If there are any further developments, I’ll let you know.” [7]

James Ward also comments that here is still a very small remnant of the unusual solid sleeper fence (shown in MLL2 and MLL3) in situ.

These photographs are shared here on the basis that James mentions. Neither he nor I can credit the photographer. Should anyone know better, please contact me and they will be properly credited or removed if the copyright holder wishes.

They appear to show a sequence of pictures of the same train leaving Stalybridge along the Micklehurst Loop most probably heading for the Staley and Millbrook Sidings for Hartshead Power Station, and then returning with the engine operating tender first, This probably means that the correct chronological sequence of the pictures would be MLL1, MLL3, MLL2

In one of the pictures the octagonal form of Old St. George’s can be made out on the horizon. I do not have a date for these images. But the smog appears thick over Stalybridge!

Photograph MLL1: provided courtesy of James Ward. James comments:  This picture is taken “looking WSW towards the centre of Stalybridge.  The Loco is an 8F according to my Dad.  The platelayers hut to the south of the line is marked on the 25″ OS Maps.  Just beyond this, the parapet of the Knowl St viaduct is visible.  St George’s Church is just about discernible above what I assume are full coal wagons, on their way to the power station.”

Photograph MLL2 provided courtesy of James Ward. James comments: “Looking SW towards the centre of Stalybridge.  Coal wagons having been emptied at the power station(?).  There is a clearer view of the Stalybridge skyline, including St George’s Church.  The railway boundary is marked by an unusual solid fence made from railway sleepers, a few sleepers-worth of which is still in situ.”

Photograph MLL3 provided courtesy of James Ward. James comments: this picture is taken “looking NE towards Millbrook.  This might well be the same train as in MLL2, and taken just before. The signal post to the SE of the line is marked on the 25″ OS Maps as ‘S.Ps’.  The picture gives a close up view of the top of the sleeper fence.  The Huddersfield Narrow Canal to the left of the railway with Hartshead Power Station cooling towers just visible as shadows on the far left of the picture.”

References

  1. https://maps.nls.uk, accessed on 2nd February 2021.
  2. Keith Norgrove is a contributor to the RMWeb Forum under the pseudonym ‘Grovenor’. Keith’s two pictures (one of which is included here) were a response to my articles about the Micklehurst Loop on that Forum: https://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php?/topic/161854-the-micklehurst-loop, accessed on 15th February 2021.
  3. https://m.facebook.com/groups/405881989841095/permalink/917279782034644, accessed on 16th February 2021. (A check on the copyright of these images on the J.W. Sutherland Collection Site (http://sutherland.davenportstation.org.uk) has been undertaken – they are free to use provided the photographer is credited).
  4. https://preservedbritishsteamlocomotives.com/robert-stephenson-hawthorn-works-no-7661-bea-no-2-0-4-0st, accessed on 16th February 2021.
  5. https://thetransportlibrary.co.uk/?route=product/search&search=Hartshead+Power+Station%2C+Stalybridge&category_id=64&page=1, accessed on 16th February 2021.
  6. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fireless_locomotive, accessed on 16th February 2021.
  7. Email from James Ward on 16th February 2021

 

The Micklehurst Loop – Part 1B

Just a few days after I completed addendum 1A about the first length of The Micklehurst Loop and particularly about Staley and Millbrook Station and Goods Yard, I heard from James Ward who recollected some photographs taken by his father of the demolition of the Spring Grove Viaduct. On 11th February 2021, he sent me copies of those photographs along with permission to share them here.

My first article on the Micklehurst Loop can be found using this link:

https://rogerfarnworth.com/2021/01/31/the-micklehurst-loop-part-1

and the first addendum, on this link:

https://rogerfarnworth.com/2021/02/05/the-micklehurst-loop-part-1a

In his emails, James Ward also provided links to some photographs on the ‘Timepix’ website. These, at present, are predominantly photographs of the Greater Manchester Revision Point Collection undertaken by/on-behalf-of the Ordnance Survey in the early 1950s and are held by Manchester Libraries. The introduction to the ‘Timepix’ website makes it clear that all of their watermarked images are free to download and share. [3]

Some of these pictures show locations close to the Staley and Millbrook Station and Goods yard. These are shared on this page below those taken by Stephen Ward, James’ father.

The Demolition of Spring Grove Viaduct.

The pictures below are taken from Grove Road/Spring Bank Lane in 1991 by Stephen Ward. I have maintained the numbering of the photographs as they were given in the email attachments from James Ward. It was only possible to take pictures of the work from public land and the highway. No trespass over the demolition site was possible. There are signs in these pictures of the growth of vegetation around the line of the Micklehurst Loop, growth, which in the 2020s has swamped the remains of the railway.

Key to photographs taken by Stephen Ward in 1991, imposed on the 25″ OS Map from the turn of the 20th century. [1]

Photograph GRV1; Spring Grove Viaduct Demolition in 1991, this photograph is taken from the East along Grove Road (c) Stephen Ward [2]

Photograph GRV2; Spring Grove Viaduct Demolition in 1991, this photograph is taken from the West from close to the Huddersfield Narrow Canal. The larger road span is visible and the first two arched spans of the viaduct to the North, (c) Stephen Ward . [2]

Photograph GRV3; Spring Grove Viaduct Demolition in 1991, this photograph is taken from the Northwest  from the Old Spring Mill access road between the railway and the Canal, (c) Stephen Ward . [2]

Photograph GRV4; Spring Grove Viaduct Demolition in 1991, this photograph is taken from the East on Grove Road. Had the old station building still been standing it would have just been visible on the left of the image, right next to the abutment wall, (c) Stephen Ward . [2]

Photograph GRV5; Spring Grove Viaduct Demolition in 1991, this photograph is taken from above the location of the old Station House on the East side of the viaduct abutment in the foreground. Part of the Spring Grove Mill is visible on the right of the picture. The Goods Shed and the remains of the coal conveyor can be seen on the horizon, The top of the arch which provided pedestrian access to the platform closer to the Canal can be seen in the left foreground, (c) Stephen Ward . [2]

Photograph GRV7; Spring Grove Viaduct Demolition in 1991, this photograph is taken in the early evening from the East on Grove Road. One street light has just come on. The over-road skew-arch bridge is now gone and the view West down Grove Road to the hills behind is no longer interrupted by the railway structure, (c) Stephen Ward . [2]

Photograph GRV8; Spring Grove Viaduct Demolition in 1991, this photograph is taken from the West, close to the Canal. Both the road-span and the adjacent arch have been demolished and much of the brickwork has been cleared, (c) Stephen Ward . [2]

Photograph GRV9; Spring Grove Viaduct Demolition in 1991, this photograph is taken from Grove Road. Had the old station building still been standing, it would have filled the image. We are looking Southwest across the location of the building at the remaining length of surviving viaduct abutment in the gloom of early evening. The pedestrian access to the West side of the line can be seen above the chestnut-paling fencing, (c) Stephen Ward . [2]

Photograph GRV10; Spring Grove Viaduct Demolition in 1991, this photograph is taken from the East on Grove Road, also late in the evening. The white painted wall is the end of the surviving buildings of the old Spring Grove Mill, (c) Stephen Ward. [2]

The Ordnance Survey Greater Manchester Revision Point Collection from the early 1950s.

The following pictures were taken to record Ordnance Survey work and have the incidental benefit of being within the landscape we are interested in.

Key to the Manchester Libraries Ordnance Survey Photographs below.

The first picture can be precisely located as being at the North end of Spring Grove Viaduct above the buildings of Spring Grove Mill which can be seen in the photograph.

Photograph ML2: North end of Spring Grove Viaduct showing the East face of the structure which flew over the Spring Grove Mill, buildings of which can be seen in the image. Map Square SJ9799, © Manchester Libraries. [3]

The Huddersfield Narrow Canal was a hundred metres or so to the East of the viaduct and the next two pictures show locations either side of the point were Grove Road/Spring Bank Lane crossed the Canal.

Photograph ML3: Electricity sub-station, east side of the Huddersfield Narrow Canal and North of Grove Road. The coal conveyor for the Hartshead Power Station is also visible. The railway, the station and the Mill are about a hundred metres off to the right of the picture. Map Square SJ9799, © Manchester Libraries. [3]

Photograph ML4: Opposite Electricity sub-station, east side of Huddersfield Narrow Canal, South side of Grove Road. This view looks back towards Stalybridge. The railway, the station and the Mill are about a hundred metres off to the left of the picture. Map Square SJ9799, © Manchester Libraries. [3]

Photograph ML5: Man marking Ordnance Survey minor control revision point on the corner of the Good Shed at Staley and Millbrook Yard. Staley Hall can be seen on the horizon, (c) Manchester Libraries. [3]

Photograph ML6: Man marking Ordnance Survey minor control revision point on the coal handling facilities in Staley and Millbrook Goods Yard. The conveyor which transported coal across the Micklehurst Loop, The Huddersfield Narrow Canal and the River Tame can be seen in the background, (c) Manchester Libraries. [3]

References

  1. https://maps.nls.uk, accessed on 2nd February 2021.
  2. Photographs taken by Stephen Ward. They are supplied by his son James Ward and reproduced here with their kind permission.
  3. https://www.timepix.uk/PAGES/Top-Line-navigation-pages/n-5PX4Wc/About, accessed on 11th February 2021.

The Transfiguration – 2 Kings 2:1-12; Mark 9:2-9; 2 Corinthians 4:3-6 (and Colossians 1:15-20)

The Transfiguration.

Our Lectionary ensures that we encounter the Transfiguration twice this year. On the Sunday Next Before Lent (14th February 2021) and on the Feast of the Transfiguration (6th August 2021).

The lectionary readings set for 14th February 2021 are:

2 Kings 2: 1-12, 2 Corinthians 4: 3-6; and Mark 9: 2-9.

The first of these readings is the story of Elijah’s transfiguration in the moments before his death. In 2 Corinthians, Paul talks of a kind of transfiguration in our hearts as we see Christ revealed in his glory. Mark’s short account of the Transfiguration, places Jesus, Moses and Elijah together at the top of a mountain.

Not in 2 Corinthians but elsewhere in the letters attributed to him, Paul struggles to impress on us the nature and importance of  Jesus as God’s Son. In Colossians 1:15-20, Paul writes:

Christ is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; for in him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or powers – all things have been created through him and for him. He himself is before all things, and in him all things hold together. He is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that he might come to have first place in everything. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, by making peace through the blood of his cross.

Paul and others like him were doing Christ-centered theology for the first time. They had met with the risen Jesus, some had lived alongside him for at least three years, and they were all struggling to put into words and ideas the reality of what they had encountered.

Paul talks, in that letter to the Colossians, of Jesus as the image of the invisible God, as someone in whom the whole Godhead dwells bodily. … He has begun to realise just exactly who Jesus was and is, and it excites him. And in that passage from Colossians it’s as though, words tumble out as Paul realises just what it all means. We can almost feel his longing that his readers will understand too.

The story of the Transfiguration (Mark 9:2-9) is part of the same kind of process going on for Peter. Up to this point, he has seen Jesus healing, he has felt his own poverty and sinfulness alongside the richness of Jesus character, he has listened to Jesus speaking, he has seen his wisdom and listened to his parables and gradually it has become clearer to him that Jesus is more than just a special person, but try as he might he can’t get his head around it all. In the verses immediately preceding our Gospel reading he has hesitantly voiced what is inside his head. “You are the Messiah, the Holy one of God,” he says to Jesus.

But ultimately he still isn’t sure what he means … and then comes the Transfiguration. He sees Jesus and Moses and Elijah together and he believes he’s worked it out. He places Jesus on the highest pedestal that his mind can comprehend. Jesus is the equal of Moses and Elijah, perhaps the greatest prophet ever. And for a Jew, that was saying something!

And Peter wants to build booths, small shrines, little churches. His leader, his master, is in his mind the equal of Moses, the equal of Elijah. This needs to be marked.

And then he hears God speak: … “This is my Son, my Chosen, listen to him.” Listen only to him.

Peter discovers that he has not gone far enough. His own mind just was not big enough to comprehend who Jesus was, who Jesus is. The truth was just so much bigger than he ever thought.

And we are left with the same revelation – Jesus is bigger than our own ideas of him. God is beyond our comprehension and we will only begin to understand God, to relate to God if we relate to Jesus. And we will only do that if we allow ourselves to see God’s revelation of Jesus. The lesson of the Transfiguration is that creating our own image of Jesus, of God, achieves little. All it does is bring God down to our own level. And depending on our own perspective we create a Christ who is meek and mild, or a Christ who is white rather than a Jew, a red-haired handsome specimen of humanity; or perhaps we might create Christ as the freedom fighter, the revolutionary, the liberator, or we see him as the social reformer.

“No,” says God, “Jesus is bigger than all of this – he is my Son. You can’t pin him down. You can’t domesticate him. He is there to challenge you, to save you, to draw the best out of you. Listen to him.”

We are intended to be dazzled by the light of Jesus face. To be drawn to him, and to see the world fade into dimness. And in that encounter, God expects us to be changed, to be renewed, to be challenged, to be shaken out of our present categories, our concepts of the way things are.

By meeting with Christ, we begin to understand God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit – but more than that – we are challenged to move out with hope into our world, believing that God’s kingdom in Jesus is all that other’s really need, looking to bring that kingdom into being, looking for the signs of God’s presence in the world around us. Longing to serve our Lord, longing to be changed still more. Longing to be Transfigured in our encounter with Jesus.

For as Paul says in our reading from 2 Corinthians:

It is the God who in creation said “Let there be Light!” “Let light shine out of darkness,” who has also shone into our own hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the Glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.