Posted on January 24, 2011 by


“Ladysmith Barracks 1845 – 1958: A Local History”

THOUSANDS of people driving along Mossley Road, Ashton-under-Lyne, must have looked at the old Ladysmith Barracks gate arch and wondered what it is and why it is there.

Others will remember passing through, perhaps with a shudder and a sense of foreboding, as they prepared to start their National Service in the 1940s and 1950s.

Today, the arch overlooks a busy road and a modern housing estate, but it is one of the last links with Ashton’s proud military heritage. For many years it gave entry to the home of the Manchester Regiment and commemorates the siege of Ladysmith in the Second Boer War.

Thanks to Robert Bonner, an ex-officer of the Manchesters, the story of the barracks is available for the first time. He has recorded the history of the base from its establishment in 1845 to its closure in 1958.

Until Capt Bonner undertook his research, little was known of the reasons for creating a barracks in Ashton.

During its early days it accommodated troops used in the suppression of industrial unrest which affected the cotton towns which were later brought together to create Tameside.

In 1881 the barracks became the depot and headquarters for the Manchester Regiment and recruits were trained there for the Second Boer War (1899-1902), the two world wars and other conflicts such as the Malayan Emergency.

“Ladysmith Barracks – 1845-1958” is the perfect gift for anyone who has connections with the Manchester Regiment and/or Ladysmith Barracks, as well as people with a general interest in the town’s heritage.

On Friday, February 18, at noon, Capt Bonner will be signing copies of his book in the Museum of the Manchester Regiment at Ashton Town Hall. In A4 format and comprising 72 pages complete with 56 pictures and six diagrams, it costs £12.


Garry Smith AMA (Curator)

Museum of the Manchester Regiment
Town Hall, Ashton-under-Lyne, OL6 6DL

Tel: 0161 342 2254

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