Our everyday lives often revolve around places named after people and places that we know nothing about. Many of our roads, parks and other important community places are named after historical figures or long-forgotten politicians. If you dig into these names, though, you find lots of fascinating stories about our shared heritage.
One name that is very prominent in Reddish is Houldsworth. There is, of course, the famous Houldsworth Mill and Houldsworth Square right in the heart of the town and right in the middle of that square is the Houldsworth Clock, which is celebrating its centenary this year.
The Houldsworth in question was Sir William Houldsworth, an MP (although I’m certainly not expecting a Gwynne Square anytime soon!) and industrialist. In the 1860s, the Houldsworth family built the mill in Reddish – at the time the largest cotton mill in the world – and soon after, Sir William built Houldsworth Model Village for his workers to live in. Much of the model village has now gone, although some houses still remain including – appropriately enough – on Houldsworth Street.
Houldsworth eventually left Reddish to look after his country estate in Ayrshire in Scotland, where he died in 1917. His legacy lives on though – three years later, in September 1920, the people of Reddish unveiled the Houldsworth Clock.
History is, of course, more than just the story of great men and women and their achievements, and there’s so much more to the history of Reddish than Sir William Houldsworth. The thousands who worked in the cotton spinning and engineering industries of Reddish, and hatting industry of Stockport are the real bedrock of our community’s story, but I’d encourage you all to look into the names of streets and other public places to see what stories they have to tell.