Broadbottom Community Association

History Project

1940 - 1980

War & Post War


Four Broadbottom men were killed in action in the Second World War.


Sam Higginbottom      Born on the 26 December 1917, he was killed in action 10 September 1943. He enlisted in the army on 15 February 1941 and was posted to the 10th battalion Royal Welch Fusiliers, then a Territorial Battalion. Sam married Miss Gladys Hancock on 20 September 1941 at Gorsey Bank Methodist Church. Gladys gave birth to a son, also Samuel on 8 July 1942. Sam was killed in the Italian port of Tarnto when HMS Abdiel was hit by a mine.


Harry Norman 1917-1942 He was evacuated from Dunkirk in 1940; then was captured during the German offensive on Tobruk while acting as driver for a medical officer. He was killed while being transported in an  Italian ship on the way from Tripoli.July 1945

Arthur Wilcox  Born in Sheffield, he lived in the village for 5 years, working for the railway. He died 23 July 1943.

Neville Davies   Born in Liverpool 10 June 1910, killed in action on 22 March 1944

Warhurstfold Bridge     (Gladys Yarwood)

 Arthur Peacher

Bernard Lyth

Gladys Yarwood

After the war houses were gradually modernised, with fireplaces replacing the old ranges, and in the 1950s, with the introduction of mains sewage indoor bathrooms were added. Tom Shufflebotham and Tom Parry remember tins baths and outside toilets until the 1960s. Modernising was not always easy: Gladys Yarwood recalls how difficult it was getting modern wallpaper to stick over years of whitewash. She made herself an ambitiously large rag rug in preparation for setting up home. As her mother warned, it proved to be so heavy that it was hard to get over a washing line to be beaten clean without breaking the line.


The streets were still largely stone setts, though New Street was dirt.  It was paved in the 1960s.  Gladys remembers the street as a playground where children could run about and dig. These were the streets and these were our nurseries.  The photograph (right) of Graham Yarwood on New Street was taken the night before the street was tarmaced. Washing was hung across the streets, but had to be moved to let delivery vans through. If you didn’t move your washing, it ran the risk of being dirtied.  Children in the 1950s could still play football on the main road without risk of much traffic. Memories of childhood in the village at this time are very warm, with a sense of freedom and closeness, with room to play, good facilities in the shops and plenty for children to do, playing out or taking part in sports.

Many people remember the village as rather run down and dreary until the 1970s when there were grants for renovation.

May 1957 ‘The Weaving of the Green’ ( Clare Hussell )

Because of the mill closures, there were plenty of houses for rent in the village. Over the next 25 years, the population of the village gradually shifted in composition though it remained at around 1,000 between 1950 and 1970. It had fallen by nearly a half since 1911.

Most of the cottages in the core of the village were bought by a Kate Russell from Oldham in the 1930s, who rented them and then gradually sold them off. The empty Broad Mills burned down in 1947. A wood yard was then based in one part of the site.

During the war some families came to the village to escape the bombing. Some returned to Manchester after the war ended, but others settled.  Evacuees from Openshaw were sent to the village during the war.  Ida George remembers watching their arrival on the train as she sat on a wall below the station, with their gas masks and labels round their necks.  They were assembled outside the Conservative club at the bottom of the Gibble Gabble to be allocated.

 Gladys Yarwood’s widowed mother brought her four children here from Bolton during the war to escape the bombing because she knew there were houses for rent.  The family settled in New Street and when Gladys married Tom Yarwood, they rented and then bought another house on New Street and over time set about modernising it.   

Some of the people who lived or moved here had long family connections with the village, like Joyce Winterbottom, whose grandfather had lived here and whose father was born at ‘New York’ on Long Lane.  Bob Parry’s mother moved from 16 Spring St to number 14 when she married.  Arthur Peacher married into a local family in 1947; his wife’s grandfather had built the row of houses at West End.  In the late 1950s, Bernard Lyth and his wife Elsie bought a house on Old Street; they had been visiting Elsie’s relations in the village on the train from Manchester. ‘We fell in love with the place.’  Bernard and Elsie bought their house on Old Street in 1958 for £150.  It needed completely renovating and this was done over years with the help of family

Working lives 


After the war, although the mills had largely closed in Broadbottom, there was still work in mills in Charlesworth and Ashton. People were travelling further afield to wokk though there were still plenty of businesses and shops in the village. Arthur Peacher went into hatting in Denton.  Gladys Yarwood worked at the Kinder Lee mill at Chisworth; her husband Tom worked for a while in mills and then settled as village postman.  Bernard Lyth worked at Crossleys in Ashburys.   John Winterbottom started work as an apprentice decorator at Buckley’s, a village business, for 15/- a week in the 1950s, raised to £1 after a year. He was expected to push the cart with the ladders and paint uphill and down and sent up ladders to paint the gutters on top of the tall Co-op building.  Tom Shufflebotham became an electrician in the 1960s and he and Bob Parry remember how many of their contemporaries learned a trade and set up in business themselves.  Mr and Mrs Bone came to the village to take up farming after the war, working hard, moving through cows to pigs then chickens as profits fluctuated.
Thomas Andrew Barker            
Thomas Barker is remembered by many people in the village. Born in Warslow, Staffordshire in April 1881, he moved to Broadbottom as a young man and lived there the rest of his life. He lived at several addresses in New Street, dying in June 1977. He worked on the team that built the brick piers to strengthen the railway viaduct. His great nephew, Eric Lyne remembers how intimately Tommy knew the wildlife in the area and would take him down to Bothams Hall wood to see where badgers and birds’ nests could be found.  (photo courtesy of Eric and Vida Lyne)


The Railway

Until the 1960s the railway through Broadbottom ran steam trains and went onto Sheffield and Marylebone in London. It was a busy, noisy presence in the village. There were goods trains passing through at night with fish and mail. There was still coal coming in down the ‘shunts’ underneath the railway arches.  Joyce Winterbottom recalls that the Royal train went through occasionally and the schoolchildren were assembled to wave flags as it passed. The station was often packed with people travelling in and out of Manchester for work and leisure.

 Railway viaduct with steam train (Gould family)

Broadbottom Station 1950s (Gould family)


Some streets, Brick Street and Bottom Street, were demolished in the 1970s and Old Street might also have been swept away but was reprieved after a vigorous local campaign. Houses and shops were cleared opposite Temperance Street and created a small green.

Hill End House was empty. Village children like Joyce Winterbottom remember getting into the house to play, and going into the great ballroom with mirrors around the walls. Hill End House was demolished in 1970 to build modern houses. Only a lodge is left and parts of the garden walls.

Gradually the population of the village changed, with more new families moving into the village over the 1970s. The Community Association was formed and a carnival started in the late 1970s. The picture on the right shows a carnival float passing Lymefields Mill.

The village is always changing and evolving. Over the years the numbers of shops have reduced so that now there is only the post office and village store; there are only two pubs when once there were over a dozen pubs and beer houses. Chapels have closed. Most people work outside the village. We still have our school and facilities for children have become more structured with our pre-school and toddlers' groups. New houses are still being built, though in small numbers.  There is less informal communal life than there was once, when most people had fewer choices and less money. We have to continue to build and develop communities within the village.

 Hill End House derelict in the 1960s. (Joyce Powell)

Old and  new carnival float passing Lymefield Mill 1980s (Gould family)







Graham Yarwood outside New Street  - (Gladys Yarwood) - Brick Street can be seen in the background

Lower Market Street 1960s (Gladys Yarwood )





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