Saturday, 12 December 2015

Mrs Sykes, the Diggle Hotel and more than a bit of complicated history

I am still looking for a photograph of Mrs Sykes of the Diggle Hotel, if only to identify a young man from a picture postcard dating to 1910.

The Diggle Hotel, 2015
But what started as a story about that picture postcard, has by degree turned into a quest to uncover the life of Lauretta Lilla Sykes, and in the process plunged me deep into the history of Diggle in the 19th and early 20th centuries, and by extension drawn me back the Diggle Hotel.*

And as they say this is one of those stories which will run and run.

Away from Diggle with the 6th Manchester's, 1910
The postcard is unique in that it shows a group of Volunteers from the 6th Manchester’s at a training camp in the spring of 1910 and amongst them is Gordon Radcliffe Sykes aged 21, son of Mrs Sykes and the nephew of Frederick Radcliffe.

And because it was addressed to Mrs Sykes at the Diggle Hotel that seemed a good place to start.

Mr and Mrs Sykes were there running the pub from 1891 and I rather think from a little before that.

They had been married in the November of 1887 and may have there well into the middle of the last century.

James Sykes died in 1939 and Lauretta in 1951 and with a bit more digging it should be possible to find out when they gave up running the pub.

The Diggle Hotel, date unknown
What I do know now is that her connection with the Hotel goes back to 1861 when aged just 9 months she was living there with her mother who was the sister of Frederick Radcliffe who the licensee.

And it becomes even more complicated because a decade later Lauretta was living with her parents close by in the home of James Broadbent whose sisters were working in the Hotel in 1861 and in 1881 she is listed as a householder sharing her home with her servant Amy Sykes aged 62.

With Janmes and Lauretta in 1900
At which point I shall pause and ponder on the connections between the Radcliffe, Platt, Broadbent and Sykes’ families and  just how much each of these families are embedded in the story of Diggle.

But that is for another time and while I am still no nearer knowing what Mrs Sykes looked like I am a bit closer to the business they ran because there on the walls of the pub are some posters from the 1900s.

They were sent to me by Lynn Shaw who along with her husband and family have been running the Diggle Hotel since September.**

Picture: the Diggle Hotel, 2014 and poster advertising the place in 1900 courtesy of Lynn Shaw and detail from the picture postcard, the 6th Manchester's 1910 at West South Downs Camp, from the collection of David Harrop

* Mrs Sykes, her son in the 6th Manchester's and the Diggle Hotel ....... part 1 a picture postcard,

**The Diggle Hotel, Station Houses, Diggle, Oldham, Lancashire OL3 5JZ, 01457 872741
Local family takes over historic Saddleworth pub thanks to funding from RBS,  Aimee Howarth, Saddleworth Independent,  HTTP://SADDIND.CO.UK/LOCAL-FAMILY-TAKES-OVER-HISTORIC-SADDLEWORTH-PUB-THANKS-TO-FUNDING-FROM-RBS/

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