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Archives for Family History at Tameside Local Studies and Archives Centre

Ashton-u-Lyne, Audenshaw, Denton, Droylsden, Dukinfield, Hyde, Longdendale, Mossley, Stalybridge.

Did your ancestor have a business or trade, pay rates, have the vote, go to a local Photograph of one of our volunteers handling archive materialschool, serve as a councillor or work for the council, have a house built, own a property or serve in the Manchester Regiment? If so you may be able to enrich your family tree by consulting archival material.

This guide aims to describe some of the archival material held at Tameside Local Studies and Archives Centre which may be particularly useful to family historians. It does not list printed primary source material which might also be of interest. We also hold microfilm copies of original documents held elsewhere and a large collection of back files of local newspapers. A brief guide to our printed book collection is listed in the Tameside BibliographyLink to Adobe PDF file and staff are always pleased to advise on all our collections.

Council Records

We hold the records of all the constituent local authorities which went to make up Tameside in 1974 - the boroughs of Ashton-u-Lyne, Dukinfield, Hyde, Mossley and Stalybridge and the UDCs of Audenshaw, Denton, Droylsden and Longdendale - and their predecessor authorities (apart from a few records for some of the Cheshire authorities which are held at the Cheshire Record Office). These collections vary from town to town as some produced more records than others and some preserved their records better.

Council records include a lot of material which is useful to family historians. If your ancestor worked for the council there may be wages records and many of the more prominent officials were mentioned in council minutes and annual reports. An ancestor who was a councillor or mayor will be well recorded, corporation manuals (always listed at /297) will show what committees s/he attended and minutes will record the meetings attended. These records will establish dates which will allow you to search the newspaper reports of elections and other events. News cuttings books may also be available. We also have a fairly good collection of photographs of past mayors and civic events.

Council records also include information about people who paid rates to support council services. Rate books that survive from the mid 19th century, although there are gaps in our holdings for all the local towns. They usually record the owners and occupiers of property, though only the head of the household will be listed. There will be information about the property - whether it was a house or cottage, whether there was some kind of workshop or shop - so rate books are a very useful source. Rates were collected separately for council services, the poor law union and, in the earlier period, for highways, the police and other local services. They are often big heavy books and are all handwritten, so patience is required to search them. You need to have a fairly good idea of your ancestor's address before using them.

Voters lists also include information about ordinary citizens, although the right to vote for all men and women over 21 (except peers, criminals and certified lunatics) was not introduced until 1928. Changes in the right to vote were taking place throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries and have to be borne in mind while using the records. (Guides explaining changes to the voting system are available in the Local Studies and Archives Centre). Usually only the head of the household will be listed, and the lists are in address order. Our collection dates from the 1840s for Ashton, but there are a lot of gaps in coverage especially for the early period. Voters lists are perhaps best used for the periods between census years and after 1901.

In 1875 the Public Health Act led local councils to take more control over new building in their towns and this led to the deposit of building plans in council records. As well as telling us about the builders and owners of houses, plans are very useful in showing us how our ancestors lived - the exact layout of the houses, sanitary arrangements etc. Unfortunately they are very difficult to use. They are in number order and we only have the original indexes which require long searches for a reference number, but the plan itself may not have survived (There are no indexes for Denton). Many early plans are on tissue paper which has become very brittle over time and they are now too fragile to be used. (We hope we may be able to get outside funding to digitise this collection but it will be a mammoth task to sort them). Holdings date from:
1880s (Ashton),
1894 (Audenshaw),
1899 ( Denton),
1927 (Droylsden),
1860s (Dukinfield),
1880s (Hyde, early plans arranged in street order),

1911-1946 Longdendale (a few random plans)
1950s (Mossley),
1868 (Stalybridge),
(A useful guide to these records is SM Gaskell Building Control (1983).

Part of the same movement to improve living conditions in industrial towns was the setting up of Medical Officers of Health. They produced many interesting records which are invaluable in getting a picture of how people lived in the past. Included are records of deaths, births, infectious diseases and inspections of premises but most useful are the Medical Officer of Health Reports (catalogued at /880). Few of these records list individual names, the Medical Officer of Health was interested in birth rates, death rates and ways of improving health. But the reports tell us about life expectancy, the types of diseases which were most prevalent, the unhealthy parts of town and some include unexpected information about the weather and unemployment levels. Our holdings include
Ashton (1874 - 1905, 1924, 1931 -1936, 1939, 1945 - 1972),
Audenshaw (1907 -1928),
Denton (1912 - 1926, 1928 - 1943, 1945 - 1972),
Droylsden (1952 - 1960, 1968, 1970 - 72),
Dukinfield (1901 - 1972),
Hyde (1883, 1893 -1905, 1920 - 1942, 1945 - 46, 1949, 1951 - 1962, 1966 - 1969, 1971),
No holdings for Longdendale,
Mossley (1953 - 1972, excluding 1962),
Stalybridge (1929 - 1972).

Council records also include burial records for the municipal cemeteries which we do not hold (not all burial registers are included yet as there are over 300,000 records).

Search the Burial Records - over 50,000 Burial and Cremation Records from Tameside MBC cemeteries - Ashton (Hurst), Audenshaw, Denton, Dukinfield, Droylsden, Hyde, Mottram and Mossley.

School Records

Useful school records include admission registers, class registers, log books and photographs, although they also suffer from large gaps in holdings. All our school records have reference numbers beginning with ESR.

Admission registers list names and sometimes date of admission, date of birth, parent's name, address, previous school, whether exempt from religious instruction and date of leaving etc.

SomeTameside school admission records are available on  these are:

Denton Trinity Wesleyan 1890-1913
Denton Methodist 1871-1876
Denton Central 1881-1921
Denton & Haughton National 1901-1937
Denton St Lawrence 1876-1904
Stalybridge Canal Street Wesleyan Jun 1904-Jan 1913
Hob Hill Primary 1871-1929
St John’s Dukinfield 1891-1918
Ashton Parochial 1893-1914
Ashton Grammar 1908-1920
Millbrook St James 1890-1939
Droylsden Manchester Road Primary 1912-1921
Hollingworth Council Infants 1904-1917
Hollingworth National 1874-1904
Hollingworth Public Elementary 1886-1901
Hollingworth Council 1909-1919

Class attendance registers often include date of birth, address and, of course, a record of attendance.

Log books are diaries kept by the head teacher. They concern themselves with the day to day running of the school and pupils are rarely mentioned unless they are being punished or there is some other problem with absence or with their parents. They can be a useful source of information about teachers and they make interesting reading as they tell us so much about the daily life of our ancestors.

Photographs are often unidentified so can be difficult to use.


The mechanics institutes were an important form of adult education in the 19th century and the students were often also involved in some of the running of the institute, so the records are a good source for names. Documents include committee minutes, correspondence, accounts and annual reports. We hold records for the mechanics institutes in:
Ashton (MI/1, 1825 - 1939),
Hyde (MI/3 and 4, 1838 - 1893),
Droylsden (MI/5, 1853),
Stalybridge (MI/2, 1864 - 1933)

Business Records

The survival rate for business records is quite low as preserving material is not usually a priority when a business is closing down. In particular the cotton mills in this area have left little trace as many closed in a period when the importance of their records was not widely recognised. Business records which are most likely to survive are financial records, trade catalogues and shareholders minutes, but we do hold some wages records, workplace newsletters, workpeople's committee minutes and photographs which include information about employees.

Our main collections of business records include:
Ashton Brothers Hyde (DDAB,1925 - 1961),
Ashton Savings Bank (DDB, 1884 - 1947 subject to 100 year closure, but including early depositors records),
Cedar Mill, Ashton (DDCM, c 1904 - c 1926),
Fletcher Mill Ashton (DDFM, 1831 - 1939),
T H and W Greenup, Droylsden (DDGR, 1869 - 1980s),
H Kershaw and Co Mossley (DDKM, c.1852 - 1976),
Newton Mill Hyde (DDNM, 1895 - 1976),
Park Road Spinning Co Dukinfield (DDPRS, 1891 - 1930s),
Stayley Mill, Stalybridge (DDAM, DDSM, 1871 - 1970),
Victor Mill Stalybridge (DDVM, 1904 - 1977)
Waddicor and Co Ashton (DDW, 1927 - 1981).

We also have some early canal company records on microfilm. We have a microfilmed copy of a minute book kept by the Oxford Mills Workpeople and Tenants' Committee (1887 - 1931). We also hold other smaller business collections.

Trade Union Records

As the cotton industry contracted in the late 1960s and 70s the unions tended to amalgamate, and the bigger unions took over the records of smaller ones. This helped the records survive and an Archive Retrieval Project run by the Manchester Studies unit led to the deposit of union records in local repositories. Because members played a part in running unions there is likely to be more material listing names.

Our main collections are:
Hyde branch of the Amalgamated Building Trade Workers (TU/2, 1894 - 1959),
Mossley Branch of the Amalgamated Society of Engineers (TU/4, 1881 - 1964),
Felt Hatters and Trimmers Union (TU/11, 1884 - 1895),
Journeymen and Felt Hatters (TU/13, 1868 - 1893),
(we also have papers of Fred Worthington, a long time secretary of the hatters union, DD233),
Hyde Branch of the Friendly Society of Iron Founders (TU/5, 1914 - 1918),
Hadfield and Glossop District of the Loom Overlookers Association (TU/9, 1907 - 1976),
Dukinfield, Hyde, Ashton and Mossley branches of the National Association of Local Government Officers (TU/14, 1930 - 1972),
Hyde Overlookers Association (TU/8, 1877 - 1976),
Ashton Branch of the Amalgamated Society of Painters and Decorators (TU/7, 1887 - 1971),
Park Road Mill shop Dukinfield (TU/15, 1925 - 1943),
Amalgamated Friendly Protection Society of Tape Sizers (TU/1, 1862 - 1971),
Dukinfield, Ashton, Hyde and Longdendale branches of the Teachers Association (TU/17, 1905 -1981),
Amalgamated Union of Textile Workers (southern area) (TU/3, 1886 - 1971),
Hyde and Dukinfield branch of the Amalgamated Association of Warehouse Workers (TU/10, 1929 - 1974),
Weavers and Winders Association, Ashton and district, (TU/6, 1895 - 1970)
Ashton, Stalybridge and Dukinfield Trades Council (DDTC1929 - 1959).

Manchester Regiment Records

We hold regimental records (MR/) for the Manchester Regiment (and its forerunners the 63rd and 96th Regiments) from 1758 to 1965. The collection does not include information about individual soldiers, but about the regiment as a whole. Most useful for family historians are medal rolls, rolls of honour, photographs and war diaries (which will give useful background about where a soldier served and what actions he may have experienced). For more information visit our Family History Using Military Sources guide.

Church Records

We hold microfilm copies of parish registers - see our guide Family History At Tameside Local Studies and Archives Centre but we are not a diocesan record office so cannot hold original documents relating to the Church of England. We have some useful printed sources such as parish magazines and we do have some Sunday School records for St George's Hyde (PR/ HYD).

We can hold original documents (such as deacons minutes, Sunday School records, correspondence, social club papers and so forth, ) for nonconformist chapels and the collection includes:


Wakefield Road Stalybridge (NB1, 1815 - 1965),
Cross Leech Street Stalybridge (NB2 1815 - 1961),
Dukinfield, Ashton and District (NB3, 1893 - 1967)


Abney, Mossley (NC3, 1856 - 1978),
Albion, Ashton (NC2, 1818 - 1990),
Dukinfield (NC5, 1864 - 1873),
Mottram (NC6, 1891 -1979),
Ryecroft Ashton (NC1, 1849 - 1960),
Stalybridge (NC4, 1831 - 1980).


Ashton New Connexion (NM2, 1844 - 1913),
Alexandra Road Ashton (NM3, 1911 - 1941),
Queens Road Ashton (NM8, 1846 - 1866),
Ashton Methodist Circuit (NM10, 1961 - 1979),
Oldham Road Ashton (NM13, 1921 - 1927),
Red Hall Audenshaw (NM14, 1868 - 1894),
Ogden Street Broadbottom (NM11, 1961 - 1981),
Edge Lane Droylsden (NM9, 1881 - 1980),
Hurst New Connexion (NM4, 1849 - 1961),
Queens Road Hurst (NM15, 1934 - 1962),
Hallbottom Hyde (NM1, 1831 - 1865),
Waggon Road Mossley (NM7, 1882 - 1975),
Grosvenor Street Stalybridge (NM5 1839 - 1842),
Bennett Street Stalybridge (NM6, 1866 - 1954),
Booth Street Stalybridge (NM12, 1913 - 1960).


Dukinfield, monumental inscriptions (NMO1)

Pleasant Sunday Afternoon Brotherhood

Ashton (NPSA2 and 3, 1861 - 1981),
Hyde (NPSA1, 1894 - 1983).


Ashton, (NS1, 1896 - 1963)

Sunday Schools

Dukinfield Union (NSS1, 1948 - 1975),
miscellaneous (NSS2, 1911)

Unitarians and Free Christian Churches

Richmond Hill Ashton (NU3, 1909 - 1974),
Dukinfield Old Chapel (NU2, 1924 - 1972),
East Cheshire Union (NU1, 1791 - 1975),
Hyde Chapel (NU4, 1875 - 1928).

We also have some nonconformist registers on microfilm, see our guide Family History at Tameside Local Studies and Archives Centre.

Hospital Records

Many hospital records are confidential, only administrative records over 30 years old and patients records over 100 years old can be consulted. We have records for:
Ashton Infirmary (DDH1, 1858 - 1972),
Hyde Isolation Hospital (DDH2, 1888 - 1948),
Aspland Maternity Home (DDH3, 1920 - 1933),
Denton Hospital Fund Committee (DDH6, 1923 - 1951).
Patients and staff records are often the least likely to survive, most collections are strongest for financial records.

Stamford Estate

The Stamford Estate, which covered Ashton and Stalybridge, took on many of the functions of local government in the early period. Most of the estate records are still in private hands, but documents for the Altrincham part of the estate are held at John Rylands University Library. We hold some plans (DDS, 1800 - 1961) which may list some tenants' names.

Private Deposits

We hold a wide range of small collections deposited by local people over the years (usually catalogued under the prefix DD). They cover many local organisations such as clubs, societies, co-operative societies, political parties, Citizens Advice Bureaux, relief committees, family papers. These collections may produce material directly relevant to a particular family but they also have a role in helping us understand our ancestors' world - a book of herbal remedies (DD196) tells us how ill health was dealt with, a teachers' diary (DD86) tells us about middle class leisure activities, family letters (DDL) tell us about the way extended families supported each other financially, a cycling club records (DD127) show us how sport and politics were combined - all this helps us understand the beliefs and attitudes of the past.

Unique Materials

Archival material is unique and irreplaceable, there are no other copies anywhere in the world so we have to try to protect documents from damage or loss. This is why all archives are on closed access - you cannot browse the collection, only look at lists of material. Most lists are on paper, but we have started listing archives electronically and hope to have the index on our web page soon. We further protect material by asking users to fill in slips for each document they use. This means we have a record of its use and helps us return it to the right place on the shelves. Researchers should only use pencil when consulting archives to reduce the possibility of marking them by accident. Only three documents are produced at a time to help keep track of what is in use and only staff can do photocopies. We ask users to handle documents with care and return them to the desk after use. Sometimes we may have to refuse to produce a very fragile document, but we will usually arrange for it to go for specialist repair as soon as possible so that it can be used. Researchers are asked to sign in before consulting archives as a way of showing that they agree to these rules.

Archival material is listed very differently from the way books are catalogued. Collections of material are kept together so that users can get a sense of the organisations which produced the records. Each document has a specific catalogue number, (usually made up of letters and numbers). It is important to make a note of this for the documents you use so you can find them again if you need them. If you quote from them or use them in evidence in written work you need to give their catalogue numbers.

Useful Addresses

Cheshire Record Office, Duke Street, Chester, CH1 1RL
Telephone Number 01244 602574 Email Address Website:

Lancashire Record Office, Bow Lane, Preston, PR1 2RE
Telephone Number 01772 533039 Email Address Email contact form on  Website: Link to External Website

GMCRO, 56 Marshall Street, New Cross, Manchester, M4 5FU
Telephone Number 0161 832 5284 Email Address Website: Greater Manchester County Records Office Webpage Link to External Website

John Rylands University Library of Manchester, Oxford Road, Manchester, M13 9PL
Telephone Number 0161 306 6000 Email Address

The National Archives, Ruskin Avenue, Kew, Richmond, TW9 4DU
Telephone Number 020 8876 3444 Email Address Email contact form on Website: Link to External Website

Manchester Archives and Local Studies, Central Reference Library, St Peter's Square, Manchester, M2 5PD
Telephone Number 0161 234 1980 Email Address Website: Link to External Website

Advance booking is necessary for microfilm-readers. Please note that archives will not be produced within thirty minutes of closing time and that all archives must be returned fifteen minutes before closing time.

Important: Please include your name and postal address when you send us a message as this will help us provide a full response to your enquiry.


Contact information

Send us a message
0161 342 4242
Tameside Local Studies and Archives Centre
Cotton Street East
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