Stories from the Societies

This is a new series where each story will be on
the website for 2 month to be followed by the next.
Societies are encouraged to bid for space.

Rochdale Gramophone Society


The Society was started by Mr Frank Walkden who was then living in Milnrow. He had an EMG gramophone which had a huge horizontal horn. He and two friends met over a glass of beer in the Commercial Hotel and it was proposed to try to form a gramophone society. They canvassed a group of friends and advertised in the Rochdale Observer. The response was one, a Miss McCormick from Balderstone, who joined and remained a member until her marriage.
The first meeting was in the Drake Hotel in November 1931. On the night of the first meeting the EMG gramophone, which had been ordered, had not arrived. The railway people had failed to deliver it in time for the meeting and Mr Walkden had to run up to the Fishwick Street sidings to collect it. There was a right to-do in persuading the night staff to allow him to take it away, but they did and the waiting members had an exciting time trying it out.

Jack Tattersall joined in 1952 and over the intervening years held, at different times, the posts of Chairman, Secretary and Treasurer. In 2001 he was elected as Honorary President of the Society in recognition of his many years of work and support. Sadly Jack died in 2016 having completed 62 years of continuous membership of the Society.

Jack Tattershall

These days the music is almost all played from CDs but some programmes feature DVD presentations. The original EMG gramophone mentioned above was finally sold on Ebay about 15 years ago for £1200.

Although the Society's membership has shrunk to only 9 members there is still an active programme of 22 meetings each year. One of the current members, Roy Smithson, has been a member for over 60 years.

Roy Smithson

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