Historic sites uncovered on Heritage Open Days

HISTORIC sites around Hyde and Denton opened their doors to give a special insight to the public during Heritage Open Days.

From churches with ancient architectural features and towers to graveyards which are home to war graves, there was a host of history to uncover.At Hyde Town Hall, an intriguing tour was given by local councillor Jim Fitzpatrick to look at how and when it was built.

Visitors were able to go into the council chamber, mayor’s parlour, police cells, court room, grand hall and clock tower.

Cllr Fitzpatrick had many interesting facts and figures to share and spoke about the history of the building and the area.

He explained how on February 18, 1881 permission was granted for Hyde to become a corporation.

Elections were held and Hyde had its first councillors and aldermen, with 24 electing Thomas Ashton as the first mayor.

One of the first things they did was to agree a new town hall for Hyde. The design was put out to competition and was won by J W Beaumont.

The building started in March 1883 and the mayor laid the foundation stone on June 30, 1883.

It was completed by the end of 1884 and the opening was in June 1885 by the second mayor of Hyde Edward Hibbert in front of a crowd of 20,000.

Cllr Fitzpatrick also explained some of the town hall’s more recent history, including that Moors Murderers Ian Brady and Myra Hindley were held in the police cells and tried in the court room.

The grand hall was used for the dance hall scene in the Hollywood film ‘Yanks’ where a fight breaks out when a black GI dances with a white girl.

The tour finished on the balcony above the staircase, which also featured the film as American soldiers are about to throw the black soldier over the balcony when the Military Police arrived just in the nick of time.

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