MP TURNS SUPRESLEUTH to fathom the case of the ‘missing’ village green.

Although Haughton Green in Denton, has a green at the heart of the old village – called the Tommy Todd – it wasn’t apparently registered as a village green according to the Register of Town and Village Greens held by Tameside Council.

However, Denton’s MP, Andrew Gwynne, had recently uncovered some vital clues online which suggested that Tommy Todd had actually been officially registered as a village green using legislation introduced in 1965 to formalise historic greens and common land.

Andrew’s intervention led to a formal investigation, with enquiries made to national government and to the Lancashire and Greater Manchester County Record Offices to help piece together the missing bits of the jigsaw.

And the evidence has now been uncovered:  Tommy Todd was indeed registered as a Village Green using the provisions in the Commons Registration Act 1965, on the request of the former Denton Urban District Council to Lancashire County Council in February 1967, and the entry in their Register of Town and Village Greens, being undisputed, became final on 1st October 1970.

Andrew Gwynne MP said

“I don’t know why Tameside’s Register of Town and Village Greens was incomplete. I guess it was the consequence of a lot of local government reorganisation.  Originally Lancashire had been the Commons Registration Authority, and in 1974 the records will have transferred to the new Greater Manchester Council. When it was disbanded in 1986, the records should have transferred to Tameside, and that could be how the records for Tommy Todd became lost.”

“Haughton Green is quite an ancient settlement. Haughton itself was once a completely separate township to Denton and covered all the east-side of modern Denton, not just Haughton Green.  Haughton Green was the largest settlement in that township, and actually takes its name from the fact Haughton’s village green is located at its heart.”

“There is still so much history around Haughton Green village and Haughton Dale, and I am working alongside the local Councillors and residents to have that heritage recognised and protected by Tameside Council.  The recognition of the village green should just be the start of a very exciting project to record and preserve the heritage of historic Haughton in future years.”

Councillor Claire Francis added

“I am grateful for the work Andrew Gwynne MP and the officers at Tameside Council have undertaken in order to rediscover the records protecting our old village green. Haughton Green village retains so much of the historic charm of yesteryear, and it’s great that Tommy Todd can again be added to the list of protected village greens and common land in Tameside, and the land kept safe for posterity.”

NOTES:

  • Haughton was a separate township to Denton.  It covers an area on the east of the modern-day town of Denton, from the border with Audenshaw in the north to Haughton Green and Haughton Dale in the south.
  • Denton and Haughton were amalgamated in 1884 to form the Denton & Haughton Local Board, which became the Denton Urban District in 1894, and a part of Tameside Metropolitan Borough in 1974. In 1884, Haughton’s village green was known by the name of  ‘Betty’s Park’.
  • Tommy Dodd was a large stone plinth and gas lamp, which stood at Denton Market Place.  When Denton and Haughton were amalgamated in 1884, it was decided to move Tommy Dodd to Betty’s Park, Haughton Green, as a symbol of unity (see the photograph at the top of the page).  Local wags, and the media, dubbed the event as ‘the marriage of Tommy Dodd and Betty Haughton’.
  • Tommy Dodd was dismantled in 1905, as it prevented sport from being played on the green.  However, the name lives on – ever since, the green has been known as Tommy Todd (a corruption over time of Tommy Dodd).
  • Tommy Todd was formally registered as a village green in 1967 and this was finalised in 1970.

 

Left: The Village Green (Tommy Todd) today

Below: Rediscovered – The Village Green registration document

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