Born at Springhead, Saddleworth, near Oldham in 1879, (then in Yorkshire), Annie Kenney is best known as an outspoken suffragette and companion to the Pankhursts in the early 1900s. From the age of 10 she had been a cotton mill worker in Oldham. In 1905 she joined the Women’s Social & Political Union after hearing Christabel Pankhurst deliver a speech on women’s rights in Oldham. From the outset she was an active campaigner, creating uproar at a Liberal Party meeting in Manchester’s Free Trade Hall in 1907 when she stood up and demanded votes for women. She and Christabel were forcibly removed, and jailed. They were the first suffragettes to be imprisoned for the cause. Later, as a leading WSPU speaker, Annie moved to London, and was jailed on numerous occasions for her protests and outspoken views. By 1913 she had become a major organiser in the west of England, and in 1914 she went to America to start the womens’ suffrage movement in the USA. She was married to John Taylor and had a son who flew in the RAF during the Second World War.
Ellen (Nellie) Wilkinson MP
Born Ellen Cicely Wilkinson in Coral Street, Ardwick in 1891, Nellie was a diminutive and spirited local girl who grew to be a distinguished Trades Unionist, Member of Parliament and Cabinet Minister. Having attended Ardwick Higher Grade School and then Stretford Secondary School, Nellie was known as “Miss Perky” on account of her vibrant personality, self-evident intelligence and quick wittedness. She trained to become a teacher at Manchester Day Training College before winning a scholarship to Manchester University. After this she started work for the Amalgamated Union of Co-operative Employees (later to become USDAW), and became the national women’s organiser. By 1923 she had become a local city councillor, and had a brief flirtation with Communism.
In 1924 she became MP for Middlesborough, which included the Jarrow Constituency, and actually took part in the Jarrow Hunger March to London. She was to become the Labour Party’s second ever female Cabinet Minister and was to introduce the Hire Purchase Trading Bill, before going on to be appointed as Minister for Education. She died in 1947 at the age of 56 after a bad bout of asthma, from which she had suffered during the whole of her life. See more of Ellen Wilkinson HERE.
Mitchell Henry was born at Ardwick in 1826, the son of a local merchant, and is best known as the founder of the Manchester Evening News newspaper. He was educated in London and at University College Cambridge where he read for a degree in medicine, eventually becoming a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons. Upon the death of his father in 1862 he returned to his native Manchester to run the family firm, but by 1868 he had decided to enter politics – he was particularly keen to champion the cause for a better health provision for the poor. After a somewhat shaky start and poor poll positions, he stood as an independent candidate in the first General Election after the Reform Act. Better funded and publicised opposition candidates prompted him to found the Manchester Evening News , helped by a senior employee of the Manchester Guardian , which he intended more as an organ for political self-promotion than the long-lived newspaper which it was to become. The first evening edition appeared on 10th October 1868 and cost �d (a ha’penny, or half of one old penny). In the event, Henry withdrew his candidacy from the poll, and it was to be another three years before he was elected Member of Parliament for the County Galway constituency of Northern Ireland. He went on to sell the MEN to John Edward Taylor and his brother-in-law Peter Allen, who already owned the Manchester Guardian. Henry’s parliamentary career ended in 1886. He died in November 1910 at his home in Leamington in Warwickshire.
Arthur Balfour MP, PM
(1848-1930) Arthur James Balfour was born in 1848 in East Lothian, Scotland and was educated at Eton College and Trinity College, Cambridge, before he entered the House of Commons in 1874 as Conservative Member of Parliament for Hertford. By 1878 he had become private secretary to the Marquess of Salisbury, (his uncle), who was Foreign Secretary in Benjamin Disraeli’s government – Arthur went on to succeed his uncle, who had long been his political champion and mentor. He was also a renowned philosopher, with respected publications such as “A Defence of Philosophic Doubt” , ” The Foundations of Belief” , and “Theism and Humanism” to his credit. In the General Election of 1885 he was elected as MP for the East Manchester constituency. Lord Salisbury, now Prime Minister, appointed Balfour as Secretary for Scotland. He went on to occupy several other government posts during the next few years including Chief Secretary of Ireland in 1887, First Lord of the Treasury in 1892 and leader of the House of Commons in 1892. In 1902 Balfour became Prime Minister where he was to preside over the introduction of the 1902 Education Act and the ending of the Boer War. However, Tariff Reform caused a serious rift in his government and he felt obliged to resign in 1905. The subsequent General Election in 1906 saw a massive Liberal Party landslide victory. Balfour remained leader of the Conservative Party until 1911. In 1912, Lloyd George appointed him as Foreign Secretary, and consequently was responsible for the Balfour Declaration in 1917 which was instrumental in the move to create the state of Israel as a national home for the Jewish people in Palestine. Balfour left Lloyd George’s government in 1919 but later served in the Conservative government of Stanley Baldwin. He died in 1930.
Jerome Caminada was a former engineer of Irish-Italian descent who joined the Manchester City Police in 1868, and established a national reputation as the region’s leading criminal detective. At that time, Manchester had an 800 strong police force and the City was a hotbed of poverty, illness, deprivation and crime. A staunch Roman Catholic and family man, Caminada lived in Denmark Road in Moss Side. Soon after joining the police force, he rapidly made his name as a detective and was transferred to the Detectives Department (the forerunner of the CID). In 1872 he was promoted to sergeant and in 1888 was made an Inspector. His thirty year career saw him deal with every conceivable type of crime and developing a reputation as the Manchester’s prime thief-taker, to such an extent that there were many threats on his life.Knowing he was a marked man, Caminada always carried a pistol, and had cause to use it on numerous occasions. Throughout his career, Caminada arrested and had thousands of people imprisoned. He virtually cleaned upthe streets of Manchester, having closed some 300 pubs and beer houses because of the poor quality of the drinks or the lewd behaviour which was common in such places. He also maintained an extensive network of informants and would customarily meet with them in St Mary’s Church in Mulberry Street , also known as “The Hidden Gem”. He rose up the ranks to become the first Detective Superintendent in Manchester, and retired on a handsome pension. In retirement he worked as an estate agent, a private detective and also made an abortive attempt to get into local politics. His died as a result of a bus accident in North Wales in 1913. He was 69 years of age.
Sir James Anderton
(Born 1932) James Cyril Anderton, born 24th May 1932, was the outspoken, controversial policeman who rose to become the youngest ever police chief in Manchester’s history. Wigan born and bred, Anderton was proud of his Lancashire working class roots. He was educated at St Matthews Church School and later at Wigan Grammar School. Later, at Manchester University, in 1960 he gained a Certificate in Criminology. After leaving the military police in 1953, he rose steadily through the ranks of mainland forces (including Chief Superintendent of the Cheshire Constabulary, Assistant Chief Constable of Leicester & Rutland and Deputy Chief Constable of Leicestershire), until by the mid-1970s he had become Chief Constable of England’s largest provincial police force, Greater Manchester Police. In 1986-87 he was President of the Association of Chief Police Officers; from 1979-81 he was President of the Association of Christian Police Officers. A strict believer in the concept of duty, and a lay preacher, he was never afraid to become embroiled in political controversy. Such controversies included the Stalker enquiry in Northern Ireland, (John Stalker was his deputy at GMP), the use of CS gas in the Toxteth riots in 1981, or his controversial and outspoken views on AIDS. Despite frequent brushes with his superiors, and a less than happy relationship with the chairman of the Greater Manchester Police Committee, he was well liked and respected by officers on the force, who could always rely on his backing; he was regarded as a “copper’s copper” by most. His personal Christian beliefs, his fearlessness in expressing them and his hard-line moral stance made him the scourge of the liberal left and frequently brought into question his suitability to run Greater Manchester Police. In some ways Anderton was a paradoxical figure – regarded by many as probably Greater Manchester’s most popular senior officer, and by others as the very worst. He retired in 1991 after 38 years as police officer. He is still known as an public speaker, has extensive interests in local charities, is a supporter of the Salvation Army and spends time working with young offenders in the Northwest region. James Anderton is married to Joan Baron, currently lives in Sale, and has one daughter.
Dame Kathleen Ollerenshaw
(Born c.1912) Probably Manchester’s most famous woman of modern times, she had been born into the celebrated Timpson family in Withington, South Manchester in 1912. Her grandfather, William Timpson had founded the shoe empire which bore his name by opening a shop in Oldham Street in Manchester in 1870. Profoundly deaf from early childhood, Kathleen was an exceptional girl who would let nothing stand in her way. She was to serve as Conservative Councillor for Rusholme for 26 years, was to become Lord Mayor of Manchester (1975-1976), was made a Freeman of the City and was an advisor on educational matters to Margaret Thatcher’s government in the 1980s. In her youth she had been very athletic, having played hockey for Oxford University and for the County of Lancashire. A witty and energetic personality, she loved music, and was the prime motivator in the creation of the Royal Northern College of Music. She also sat on many educational panels, including the boards of Manchester University and the Metropolitan University of Manchester. As a renowned mathematician, she published many scientific and academic papers, of which her “Magic Squares” paper is probably best known. She was married to Colonel Robert Ollerenshaw, who was a distinguished military surgeon, a pioneer of medical illustration and had been High Sheriff of Greater Manchester from 1978 to 1979.