One of the things I like about local history is the way it draws people in.
People who have no historical training, possibly finished school well before their 15th birthday would fight shy of claiming that they are historians, nevertheless are driven by curiosity and a sense of belonging to research, record and write about their community in the past.
In doing so they add to our knowledge and in the opinion of my old friend Ian Meadowcroft make a vital contribution to the work of all historians.
So it is with Mr N. Fife, who in the late 1970s wrote about the history of Chorlton. It was hand written and to my knowledge has never been published.
Like other historians of the township he draws on the work of Thomas Ellwood who wrote 25 articles for the South Manchester Gazette in the mid 1880s but also brings his own deep knowledge of the place. Tucked away on one page is a description of the old water pump which served the Renshaw and Bailey families who lived in a farmhouse on Beech Road. It was still there in the 1970s but has long since gone.
There is also an account of the archaeological digs carried out in the parish church by Angus Bateman and his team in the late 70s and early 80s. It remains one of the only descriptions of those excavations, and until the discovery of Angus’s own reports provided the only detailed picture of what was uncovered.
Picture; page from the manuscript “A Time to look back and think” by N.Fife from the collection of Tony Walker