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Lees is a village in the Metropolitan Borough of Oldham, Greater Manchester, England,[1] which lies amongst the Pennines east of the River Medlock, 1.8 miles (2.9 km) east of Oldham, and 8.2 miles (13.2 km) east-northeast of Manchester. Historically on the Lancashire side of the ancient county boundary with the West Riding of Yorkshire, part of Lees is known locally as County End. Another part of Lees is called Hey and another part is called Crossbank. Hey and Crossbank were once separate village's until the Lees Urban District was set up and included those village's within the urban district.

Lees
Lees high street.jpg
Lees village centre
Lees is located in Greater Manchester
Lees
Lees
Location within Greater Manchester
Population4,545 
OS grid referenceSD955045
Metropolitan borough
Metropolitan county
Region
CountryEngland
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Post townOLDHAM
Postcode districtOL4
Dialling code0161
PoliceGreater Manchester
FireGreater Manchester
AmbulanceNorth West
EU ParliamentNorth West England
UK Parliament
List of places
UK
England
Greater Manchester
53°32′17″N 2°04′08″W / 53.538°N 2.069°W / 53.538; -2.069Coordinates: 53°32′17″N 2°04′08″W / 53.538°N 2.069°W / 53.538; -2.069

Lees is believed to have obtained its name in the 14th century from John de Leghes, a retainer of the local Lord of the Manor. For centuries, Lees was a conglomeration of hamlets, ecclesiastically linked with the township of Ashton-under-Lyne. Farming was the main industry of this rural area, with locals supplementing their incomes by hand-loom weaving in the domestic system. At the beginning of the 19th century, Lees had obtained a reputation for its mineral springs; ambitions to develop a spa town were thwarted by an unplanned process of urbanisation caused by the rise of textile manufacture during the Industrial Revolution.[2][3]

Lees expanded into a mill town in the late-19th century, on the back of neighbouring Oldham's booming cotton spinning. The former Lees Urban District, an area of 0.4 square miles (1 km2),[4] had eleven cotton mills at its manufacturing zenith. People from Lees include Helen Bradley, a 20th-century oil painter.

Contents

HistoryEdit

 
The Industrial Revolution brought cotton spinning to Lees in the form of eleven textile mills, changing the character of the village completely.

The settlement dates back to the 14th century and is thought to have been named after former retainer of the manor, John de Leghes.[2][3]

Lees was one of the localities which, on 16 August 1819, sent a contingent of parishioners to the mass public demonstration at Manchester, now known as the Peterloo massacre.[5] In the week before Peterloo (an assembly demanding the reform of parliamentary representation), weavers in Lees had paraded through the village with a large black flag adorned with the slogans "no Borough Mongering, Taxation Without Representation is Unject and Tyrannical," and "Unite and be Free, Equal Representation or Death". The growing unrest in the village prompted one alarmed inhabitant to write to the Home Office.[6]

In the late-18th century, a natural chalybeate spring was discovered in the locality, and by the-early 19th century the village gained a reputation for these "fashionable" mineral springs.[3] In the early 19th century, water from Lees Spa, had become fashionable to drink, so much so, that it was bottled and sold around the country. In the month of August 1821, 60,000 people visited Lees Spa.[3] Ambitions to develop Lees into a spa town – "Lancashire's very own Harrogate"[3] – were thwarted by an unplanned process of urbanisation caused by introduction and profitability of textile manufacture during the Industrial Revolution.[2][3] The Industrial Revolution brought cotton spinning to Lees in the form of eleven mills, which by the late-19th century, had changed the character of the village completely.[2]

Lees has grown in size recently in terms of both amenities and residential population, in its role as a commuter village for people working in Oldham and West Yorkshire. It is home to commercial and distribution companies. The main street is notable for the number of public houses in close proximity.

ReligionEdit

 
St Thomas the Apostle church

The parish church of St Thomas the Apostle, in West Street, Leesfield, lies in the Archdeaconry of Rochdale, the Deanery of Oldham East and the benefice of Leesfield, St Thomas. The Priest in Charge is Revd Edith Disley, assisted by Revd Ruth Farrar.[7] It was founded in 1846.[8]

The church has a Sunday School and hosts meetings of the Mothers Union, Rainbows, Brownies, Guides, Beavers and Scouts. It has an active group of bell ringers.[9] The church a seating capacity of 600 and a three manual organ. Four of the numerous stained glass windows are by the Belgian stained glass artist, Jean-Baptiste Capronnier.[10]

The Roman Catholic church is St Edward's, on Spring Lane. The parish priest is Canon Eugene Dolan.[11] The parish was founded on 1 April 1872.[12]

The parish also has a Christian Brethren Congregation and a Zion Methodist Chapel.

GovernanceEdit

Lees (or Hey) was within the Knott Lanes division of the parish and township of Ashton-under-Lyne, and hundred of Salford. In 1859 a Local Board of Health (at first known as Lees-with-Crossbank, subsequently as Lees) was established for the Lees area. This area was in the Ashton-under-Lyne poor law Union.[1]

Between 1894 and 1974, Lees constituted the Lees Urban District, in the administrative county of Lancashire; the Local Board became the Lees Urban District Council.[1] As the district was situated entirely between the County Borough of Oldham and the West Riding of Yorkshire, it constituted an exclave of the administrative county of Lancashire. In 1911 part of the urban district was added to the civil parish of Crossbank, but in 1914 Crossbank was absorbed into the Lees Urban District.[1]

In 1974 the Lees Urban District was amalgamated with six other local government districts, to form the newly created Metropolitan Borough of Oldham within the metropolitan county of Greater Manchester.[1]

The Saddleworth & Lees area committee meets regularly to discuss the progress of the villages.

GeographyEdit

The village consists of a small cluster of shops and businesses on either side of the A669 Lees Road, surrounded by some terraced houses and some small estates. Lees is separated from the main conurbation of Oldham by a small amount of green belt land in the valley of Leesbrook, on either bank of the River Medlock.

A part of Lees is known locally as County End; Springhead in Saddleworth forms a contiguous urban area with Lees, though the border between the two forms part of the ancient county boundary between Lancashire and the West Riding of Yorkshire. Crossbank is an area of Lees.

TransportEdit

Lees is accessed on the roads on the A669 from Saddleworth and Oldham. Along this road, there are frequent buses running towards Oldham and Manchester on First Greater Manchester's 180 and 184 services. Other destinations which can be reached from Lees on the bus are Huddersfield, Hyde, Middleton, Mossley, Saddleworth and Stalybridge.

Lees railway station closed in 1955, followed by the complete closure of the line in 1964.[13] There was also a small engine shed east of the station.

Notable peopleEdit

Notable people associated with Lees include Springhead-born Annie Kenney, one of the first suffragettes to be imprisoned worked at Lees's Leesbrook Mill.[2] Annie's younger, Lees-born sister Jessie Kenney was also a campaigner for women's suffrage in the United Kingdom. By the age of 21 Jessie was the Women's Social and Political Union's youngest organiser.[14] Laurence Chaderton, one of the original translators of the Authorized King James Version of the Bible was a native of Lees. Disgraced former MP Phil Woolas lives in the locality.[15]

The artist Helen Bradley was born in Lees in 1900.[16]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c d e "Greater Manchester Gazetteer". Greater Manchester County Record Office. Places names – I-L. Archived from the original on 18 July 2011. Retrieved 17 June 2008.
  2. ^ a b c d e Manchester City Council. "Oldham Towns; Lees". spinningtheweb.org.uk. Retrieved 5 January 2007.
  3. ^ a b c d e f "The Oldham Boroughs: Lees". visitoldham.co.uk. Archived from the original on 23 May 2008. Retrieved 25 June 2008.
  4. ^ "Lees UD: Area (acres)". visionofbritain.org.uk. Archived from the original on 26 October 2012. Retrieved 24 June 2008.
  5. ^ Marlow, Joyce (1969). The Peterloo Massacre. Rapp & Whiting. p. 118. ISBN 0-85391-122-3.
  6. ^ Epstein, James A. (1994). Radical Expression: Political Language, Ritual, and Symbol in England, 1790–1850. Oxford University Press. p. 75. ISBN 978-0-19-506550-3.
  7. ^ Church of England Church List for Lees, at anchester.anglican.org Archived 24 February 2013 at Archive.today
  8. ^ "St Thomas the Apostle, Leesfield – Church of England" at genuki.org.uk
  9. ^ "St Thomas Leesfield Church" at leesfieldparish.blogspot.co.uk
  10. ^ "History of the Churches" at leesfieldparish.blogspot.co.uk
  11. ^ [1]
  12. ^ [2]
  13. ^ An Illustrated History of Oldham's Railways by John Hooper (ISBN 1-871608-19-8)
  14. ^ Crawford, Elizabeth (1999). Women's Suffrage Movement: A Reference Guide 1866–1928. Routledge. pp. 319–320. ISBN 978-1-84142-031-8.
  15. ^ Woolas, P. (27 July 2007). "Letters to the editor; Woolas lives locally". Oldham Evening Chronicle. p. 6.
  16. ^ Whittle, Stephen. "Originals: Helen Bradley". helenbradley.co.uk. Retrieved 26 June 2008.

External linksEdit

GalleryEdit

 
Daffodils near the old Lees Railway Station tunnel.
 
Bear statue on the Medlock Valley Story Trail
 
Bollard near the Lees Library
 
Warrington Street
 
Postbox on the High Street
 
Lees sign that features St Thomas' Church
 
Old bank in Lees
 
View of the High Street near Countys End
 
View of High Street with The Red Lion at the end of it.
 
High Street looking towards Stamford Street.
 
High Street bollards.
 
View of Acorn Mill with an old bollard on St John Street.
 
Rear sign on The Red Lion.
 
High Street with some shop signs out.
 
The Catholic church of St Edward in Lees.
 
Lees Library Community Hub 2019
 
Hartshead Street and Rhodes Hill in Lees.
 
A cottage on Knolls Lane in Lees
 
Willows Cottage on Hartshead Street
 
Telephone box on St John Street next to Lees Village Service Station.
 
The old railway line which is now a path.
 
View of High Street opposite The Swan
 
Flowers at County's End in Lees
 
The square behind the junction of High Street and Elliot Street.
 
Lees Post Office sign on the High Street.
 
The Swan on the High Street.
 
View from the square in Lees towards Legends Pub
 
The tower of St Thomas' Church In Lees
 
View of Lees with Farm Fileds.
 
Co-op in Lees
 
Christmas lights on The Red Lion
 
Lees War Memorial in the Cemetery
 
Lees Library and the Sign
 
Lancashire Sign at County's End in Lees.
 
Some shops on Thomas Street.
 
The welcome sign of Lees.
 
Lees and nearby Springhead from the air
 
St John Street bridge over the former site of the Railway Station
 
Acorn mill on St John Street
 
High Street and Stamford Street
 
High Street from Thomas Street
 
Stamford Street view of the buildings on High Street
 
Lees Library with St Thomas' Church behind.
 
Holly Cottages in Hey, Lees
 
A barber pole from one of the barbers on High Street.
 
Beckett Street in Lees
 
The back of the Grapes pub in Hey, Lees
 
Lees in the rain at night
 
Houses on St John Street opposite Springhead Football Club
 
Angel Inn Lees
 
England Flag in Lees
 
England Flag in Lees at the Square
 
England Flag in Lees at the Square
 
Sheep and Lambs in Lees
 
Bus Stop on Lees High Street
 
Cow in Lees
 
View of Lees from Oldham Golf Course
 
St Agnes Church Lees
 
Cows in Lees