Saturday, 24 October 2009

Whittaker's Whim


About a hundred years ago in the old quarry below the Werneth Hotel on Stockport Road was found what was known as Frederick Whittaker's Whim.

I've been unable to find much out about this, but it is mentioned in an obscure, rambling spoof poem by James Leigh
...
Just take a walk up o'er Werneth Low, and there you will behold
That grand and noble structure at the foot of yonder hill
An ever lasting monument of architectural skill.

We then besieged the palace of King Frederick the Great.
That tumble-down old building on the Back Bower Estate
But not a Godl(e)y soul we found in that ungodly place,
So we razed the building to the ground and left of it no trace

We then marched through the city of Gee Cross, but, strange to say,
The city's ancient glory has long since passed away;
The only ancients that we saw, beside old Freddie's whims
Was Robin and his brother Jam, the famous Gee Cross twins.

We halted on Mount Pleasant, and as we gazed around
We felt that we were standing upon historic ground,
For the foot of Treacle Hill stood gloomy, dark and grim,
The ruins of a temple, His Majesty's first Whim.

Each warrior bowed his crested head above Stone Pit wall,
And thus each one soliloquised upon the city's fall.

Oh, city of the ancients, we gaze upon you now,
Shorn of thy former glory how desolate art thou;
Thy Market Hall, without a roof, is crumbling to decay
Thy public park and pleasure grounds have long since passed away

But soon we noticed that the sun was sinking in the west,
And weather it was time or not, of course the sun knew best,
But we ourselves were very weary, though only half-past nine,
The heat is so oppressive in that Oriental clime.

We sought a refuge for the night at Doorbar's famous inn
...
Stone Pit is a reference to the reservoir now used for fishing and Doorbar's is a reference to the Grapes Hotel.

Now the old quarry is full of modern houses which you can see on Hyde Daily Photo and the quarry wall can be seen on Hyde DP Xtra.

1 comment:

  1. My understanding is that Whittaker's Whim was a 5 story building built against the wall with 3 stories below Stockport Road, and the top two stories fronting onto Stockport Road.

    Again, my understanding is that it was replaced by the original 2-story stone-built factory used by G B Moores for the dressing of chamois leather.

    Hence, in the days of G B Moores and his son G F Moores, the property (accessed from Stockport Road opposite Back Bower) was known as "Glen Chamois".

    Neville Richards

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