Plinth puzzle – local historians ask for help to identify mystery object

A MARBLE plinth found in a Tameside garden is baffling local history buffs in Denton and Mossley.

Now, Correspondent readers are asked to help solve the mystery of why the object ended up in Mossley, what stood on top and to whom it was dedicated.

Enquiries by Denton Local History Society (DLHS) and counterparts in Mossley have drawn a blank.So, can you help unearth answers with some of the clues provided by DLHS?

The object, discovered in Highfield Drive, carries an inscription: “In kind remembrance from the Denton and Haughton Women’s Liberal Association.”

The garden where the plinth was found is in the former grounds of Abney Church, built by Mossley industrialist John Mayall. This church had no graveyard.

Mayall, described in some biographies as a ‘staunch Liberal’ lived at Highfield House which, like his original church, was later demolished. He died in 1876.

A new Abney Church was eventually opened on Huddersfield Road, Micklehurst, but closed in April 2017.

In the century before they were lumped together as part of the newly created and unloved Tameside moniker in 1974, Mossley and Denton were proud of their own distinct identities.

But for a short time, they shared an MP; not as now dominated by Labour but constituents voting for a Liberal Westminster representative – Austin Hopkinson.

Hopkinson served two terms (25 years in total), either side of a two-year stint by Labour’s Herbert Gibson.

Liberalism came to the fore in the late 19th century with the formation of the National Women’s Liberal Association in 1886.

Five years earlier Denton and Haughton Liberal Club had formally opened and in 1894 Denton Liberal Club marked Haughton becoming part of Denton Urban District Council.

A Haughton Green Liberal Women’s Association is recorded in 1889.

In 1893, its president was women’s education reformer Rachel Scott, the wife of Charles Prestwich Scott, one of the founders of Withington Girls’ School and one-time editor of the Manchester Guardian.

In 1900, Mrs Scott, who was on the School’s original committee, became President of the Lancashire & Cheshire Union of the Women’s’ Liberal Association. She died in 1905 aged 57.

So, was the plinth made to honour John Mayall, for the work of Mrs Scott or even Austin Hopkinson? Do you know anything about the Denton & Haughton Women’s Liberal Association?

Anyone with information can contact reporter Trevor Baxter by emailing

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