This page contains links to information about well-known or interesting people who came from or are associated with Ashton under Lyne.
Born in Ashton in 1941, Geoff Hurst grew up in nearby Denton. He became a footballer who played for West Ham, Stoke City and England. He scored three goals in the 1966 World Cup Final and so helped England to win the World Cup 4-2 against Germany. He is the only player to have scored a hat-trick in a World Cup final. He scored 252 goals for West Ham and 37 for Stoke.
Born in Ashton in 1845, Arthur Brooke worked in his father's tea business, distributing tea throughout the area. In 1869 Arthur opened a shop in Manchester selling packaged tea under the name Brooke Bond and Co. There wasn't any Mr Bond - that was added to make the company's name sound better! The Brooke Bond company now makes PG Tips tea.
Hannah Mitchell was born on a farm in Derbyshire in 1871, but lived in Elizabeth Street, Ashton, from 1900 to 1910. She campaigned to widen the horizons available to women at that time. In 1895 she married Socialist Gibbon Mitchell and was active in the Women's Social and Political Union and the Women's Freedom League. As a pacifist she opposed involvement in the First World War. In 1924 she was elected to the Manchester City Council.
Margaret Beckett was born in Ashton in 1943. As a child she lived on Wilshaw Grove and attended St Mary's School. She studied Metallurgy at the University of Manchester. In 1974 she became MP for Lincoln and later for Derby South. She became Deputy Leader of the Labour Party during opposition, standing in as Leader of the Opposition for three months, following the death of John Smith, until Tony Blair was elected as Labour Party leader. She has held government posts such as Leader of the House of Commons, Trade and Industry Secretary and Foreign Secretary.
Kate Bradbury was a well-known and respected Egyptologist. She was born in Dukinfield in 1854.
At the age of 28 she moved, with her parents and younger siblings, into Riversvale Hall, Ashton-under-Lyne, on the banks of the River Medlock in what is now part of Daisy Nook Country Park.
She collected ancient Egyptian artefacts, studied hieroglyphics and accompanied her friend, Amelia Edwards, on lecture tours, delivering the lectures herself when Amelia became ill.
In 1896, at the age of 42, Kate married Francis Llewellyn Griffith, a lecturer on ancient Egyptian language, and they lived at Riversvale along with her father, Charles, and his second wife. Kate helped Francis to translate ancient Egyptian texts.
After just five years of married life, Kate was taken ill and underwent an unsuccessful operation. She and Francis went to live at Silverdale on the Lancashire coast in an attempt to aid her recovery but she died in 1902 at the age of 48.
George Formby Senior
George Formby Senior, father of the world-famous ukulele-playing George Formby, was born in Ashton in 1875 as James Booth. He was a successful comedian and music-hall star in his own right. He chose the name Formby after seeing a train with that destination.
Actor Brian Wilde was born in Ashton in 1927, but moved away and went to school in Hertfordshire. He played the prison warder "Barraclough" in the Ronnie Barker series Porridge. He also played "Foggy" in Last of the Summer Wine, alongside "Clegg" and "Compo", for 9 years. He died in March 2008.
Although born in London and spending a couple of years in Canada, actor and musician Elyes Gabel grew up in Ashton and Stalybridge, attending St Ann's and St Damian's schools. He played Doctor "Guppy" Sandhu in BBC's Casualty for 3 years as well as parts in other series, such as Waterloo Road. He plays the starring role of Walter O'Brien in the popular American TV drama series Scorpion.
Ronald Fraser was born in Ashton in 1930. He was a well-known actor who appeared in many films and television series (including Swallows and Amazons, Pygmalion and The Flight of the Phoenix).
Amanda Barrie was born in Ashton in 1935 as Shirley Anne Broadbent. She is a film and television actor, having appeared in Coronation Street, Bad Girls, Doctors, Carry on Cleo, etc.
A J Harris
Andrew Harris was born in Ashton in 1973. He was a professional cricketter, playing for Derbyshire and England, taking more than 400 wickets in over 120 matches.
Mark Robins was born in Ashton in 1969. He played football for Manchester United from 1986 to 1992. He then played at other clubs, including Norwich, Leicester, Walsall, Rotherham and Sheffield Wednesday. He went on to manage Rotherham and then Barnsley.
Eli Whalley lived on Currier Lane and had a factory at the side of the Ashton Canal at Whitelands, which was the last to produce Donkey Stones. These were bars of scouring material used in mills to give a non-slip surface on greasy steps. It became fashionable for women to give their front doorsteps the same treatment. The blocks were made from sandstone, cement, bleach and water, mixed to a paste then allowed to harden. The materials were originally brought to the factory by canal boat. Eli Whalley produced his "Lion Brand" stones on the site until 1979.
Francis Thompson, born in Preston in 1859, was a renowned poet, known as 'the poet of Catholicism'. He lived on Stamford Street in Ashton between 1864 and 1885. Read more about Francis Thompson.
H V Morton
Henry Vollam Morton was born in Ashton in 1892 but moved at a young age to Birmingham, where his father became editor of the Birmingham Mail. Henry followed his father into journalism, at first in Birmingham, later working for the Daily Express. He became famous for his reports on the opening of Tutankhamun's tomb, even though another journalist had supposedly been given exclusive rights. He later gained popularity as a travel writer, with around 40 books to his name. He went to live in South Africa in his 50s and died in 1979.
Read about Henry Vollam Morton's mother, Constance, who was known by the name "Cousin Maggie" and, for a while, was a well-known character in the town. Click here to read.
Simone Perotta was born in Ashton in 1977 where his father, Franco, ran a wine bar. Simone attended St Ann's Primary School for a short time before his parents returned to Italy. He was a member of the Italian team that won the football World Cup in 2006.
Prophet John Wroe
John Wroe, a self-styled "Prophet" from Bradford, founded the Christian Israelite Church. He announced that Ashton under Lyne was going to become "The New Jerusalem, where the chosen would gather at the Apocalypse. In 1825 he Church erected four buildings to be "gatehouses" of the New Jerusalem. One of the is thought to have been the former Odd Whim public house on Mossley Road, now converted to apartments. In 1831 Wroe fled from Ashton after a scandal involving seven virgins. He went to Wakefield and later to Australia, where the Christian Israelite Church is still active.
Bill Sowerbutts was born in 1911 in a house on Ashton Moss and became a market gardener, with a stall in Ashton Market. In 1947 he was a panellist in the first programme in the long-running radio show "Gardeners' Question Time", which was recorded in the Broadoak Hotel. Bill was one of the regular panellists for around 30 years and became a household name, taking part in over 1500 programmes.
Robert Sheldon was MP for Ashton under Lyne for 37 years from 1964 to 2001. He was at one time the Financial Secretary to the Treasury. He was a Privy Councillor from 1977 and was the much-respected Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee from 1983 to 1997. He became Baron Sheldon, of Ashton-under-Lyne following his retirement from the House of Commons. Ashton's new northern by-pass is named "Lord Sheldon Way" after him.
Simon Hoggart was born in Ashton in 1946. He was well known as a broadcaster and journalist, writing for the Guardian and the Spectator. He was chairman of the Radio 4 programme "The News Quiz" and appeared on BBC TV's "Grumpy Old Men". He died in January 2014.
Radio and television presenter Stuart Hall was born in Ashton on Christmas Day, 1929, the son of a baker, and lived in Hyde and Glossop. He presented BBC TV's Look North/North West Tonight for 25 years. He presented "It's A Knockout" with Eddie Wareing and was also the first host of TV's "A Question Of Sport". For many years has been a football reporter. He claims that, in 1958, he made up a radio commentary on a game between Sheffield Wednesday and Leicester City because the fog was too thick for him to see the players! In 2013 he was imprisoned for sexual offences and stripped of the OBE awarded to him the previous year.
Raymond Jones was born in Ashton in 1886 and attended St Ann's School. He later studied at the Heginbottom School of Art (now the Central Library, Ashton) before going to the Royal College of Art in London. In 1911 he joined the Studio at the Academie Julian in Paris. He travelled around Europe and, while visiting Venice, his drawings of buildings were so accurate that he was arrested as a spy! From 1913 he exhibited his work as Raymond Ray-Jones. He was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Painter-Etchers and Engravers in 1914. After his sudden death in 1941, his work was shown for the last time in 1943 and he has now fallen into obscurity.
Born in Ashton in 1921, Henry Cockburn was a professional footballer who played for Manchester United and England. He represented his country 13 times.
Born in Ashton in 1957, Trevor Ross was a professional footballer who playing for a variety of teams, including Arsenal, Everton, Sheffield United, Bury, Hyde United and Altrincham. He briefly managed Ashton United.
Born in Ashton in 1944, Gordon Taylor was a professional footballer who played for Bolton Wanderers. He went on to become Chief Executive of the Professional Footballers' Association.
Bert Whalley was born in Ashton in 1913. He was a professional footballer at Manchester United. Under Matt Busby, he became first team coach at United. He was killed in the 1958 Munich air disaster.
Born in Ashton in 1870, Harrington Lees became an Anglican priest. In 1921 he was appointed Archbishop of Melbourne, Australia.
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Visit the Local History index page to find out about more about places and events in Ashton.