Turn Right at Mottram Roundabout - Episode 39

Wed 19th April 2017 | General
By Stewart Taylor

Our destination in Episode 38 was Charnock Richard.

The photo shows the refreshment facilities at the pitchside on a cold but sunny winter’s afternoon.

The quick link asked what links a footballer who made 115 appearances for Crewe Alexandra between 1996 and 2002, one of three English kings and this club?

The footballer is Phil Charnock and there were three kings of England called Richard. Hence, Charnock Richard.

“Time and tide wait for no man” is an ancient proverb. The origins are not entirely clear although some references attribute it to Geoffrey Chaucer which dates it to the 14th century. This post-dates the lifetime of King Canute (990 - 1035) who, legend has it, tried to turn back the tide.

As is often the case, modern day understanding of things is not entirely what was intended at the time. Indeed, the legend of King Canute as it relates to the tide indicates that Canute was explaining the futility of trying to turn back the tide in a reference to the inevitability of time.

This comes from the idea that the words “time” and “tide” were simply derivations of the same word – Germanic – both meaning time.

Readers will be wondering why the opening paragraph this week seems to have no relevance to the general subject matter of these sometime lyrical pieces but, as ever perhaps, all will become clear. We travel this week to a market town which is the oldest continually habited town in the county. Some describe this town as the home of tower clocks.

The reason for this description lies in the establishment in the town of the firm of clockmakers who moved premises to this town from a nearby village in 1790. The company holds the disputed claim of being the oldest tower clock makers in the world with origins going back to 1690. The company were responsible for many famous clocks housed in clock towers around the world.

We have referred in previous Episodes to the Royal Exchange Building in Manchester and, here again, we can see an example of supporting local industry as the clock in the clock tower at this imposing building was supplied by this firm. The company was sold to a fellow clockmaker in 1964.

The history of the development of clocks in the town is a highlight of a visit to the local Heritage Centre. Other exhibitions feature the life and times of a couple of notable people associated with the town – Randolph Caldecott and Edward German.

However, the Heritage Centre has very limited opening hours so careful planning is required to schedule a visit here.

Devotees of antiques programmes on daytime TV will be aware of Christina Trevanion who is a partner in a firm of auctioneers which now occupy the impressive clock factory which was the final home of those legendary clockmakers. This is a superb red brick building, built in 1904, which, not surprisingly, features a clock in its façade.

On the broader front, the town hosts a regular Friday morning market and a monthly farmer’s market featuring a wide array of local produce and products. There are a number of arts based societies in the town along with a range of sporting activities including walking football sessions held at the Civic Centre Sports Hall.

As with many of our clubs, the one we are visiting today has seen players on its books move on to play at higher level. One such was Stuart Mason who, in a playing career spanning over 20 years, went from this club to feature prominently for two local football league sides. The club began just after the Second World War and having started in local leagues gained much success in its first three decades.

A change of policy to use only local players proved to be somewhat misguided as results declined to such a level that the policy was quickly changed and more success was to follow. The club joined the NWCFL relatively recently but did not have the best of fortunes in their first season.

However, the tide has now turned and with consistently good attendances at the ground it is hoped that the current momentum can be built on to underpin future good times. Incidentally, the ground is less than a mile from the local railway station so ideal for a “train away day” as many groups of supporters like to experience from time to time.

But to go back to the theme of time and, notwithstanding television programmes which involve such, don’t we all wish we could turn back the tide (time) sometimes and re-visit the enthusiasm of youth with the wisdom of older age – just a thought!

Quick link - What links this club with a gritstone pillar located on a hill close to Wirksworth in Derbyshire?