Click here for full details of our next luncheon
20th May 2024
Holliday Inn
Carol Lee

Carol  told us about this local disaster and her granddad’s involvement in the rescue

“It was in the early hours of Tuesday 28 April 1953 when, without any warning, locals first noticed a loud rumbling followed by a rushing sound and an almighty crash of falling masonry.  The section of the Clifton Hall Tunnel, better known by the locals as the Black Harry Tunnel, collapsed in on itself and No. 22, No. 24 and the end wall of No. 26 Temple Drive, Swinton was sucked into the 20ft crater that appeared.

 My grandad was a reserved fireman involved in the disaster, we herd how the story unfolded and his role in the hours that followed.”

22nd April 2024
Holliday Inn
Paul Hindle

Our friend Paul returned, to complete his talk from September 18th 2023.

Bringing us up to date with his fascinating illustrated talk

Salford and The Quays through Time

Gwen M Crossley

100th AGM

followed by


President and Honorary Secretary of the Manchester Luncheon Club

Told us more about our illustrious Speakers, from

1922 to 2024 

Gwen has lived most of her life in Manchester and has a keen interest in the history of the City. Since retiring from Nursing, she has been an enthusiastic and committed member of the club, becoming Honorary Secretary 2014 and President in 2022.

In preparation for the Centenary Celebrations of 2022, she spent many hours reading papers relating to the club’s history and used much of the information for the Souvenir Booklet produced at the time.

As there was insufficient space to record all the details, Gwen gave a talk to the club in January 2023.

The History of Manchester Luncheon Club and the people who made it.

That talk concentrated on the members, there was not enough time to give details of the vast number of speakers.

Members were keen to hear more.

The occasion of our 100th AGM

 seems a most appropriate time to do this.

Feedback from an attendee

‘I never knew that the ‘Club’ had, had so many prestigious and influential Speakers.’

23rd February 2024
Holliday Inn
David Skillen

  David describes himself as a “consumer of history” and is an engaging, animated and entertaining professional speaker on a variety of historical subjects. David worked for 35 years in the Civil Service speaking to audiences from 5 to 500 people. Since retiring in 2012 he has travelled extensively across the UK giving fully illustrated talks to numerous groups including, Local History Societies, Probus, WI, National Trust, Car and Aviation Clubs and U3A.

Married to Lynn he lives in Belper Derbyshire, where he was a guide at the famous Belper North Mill for three years. During David’s studies of the American Civil War, they travelled widely across the United States visiting battlefields from the War as well as the Alamo. David and Lynn were members of the Towton Battlefield Society in Yorkshire providing a strong interest in the Wars of the Roses. David was also a battlefield guide for the Society for 7 years.

‘A line in the Sand’


(The fall of the Alamo, the Rise of Texas)

In 1836 a small group of Texans were besieged and then wiped out by a much larger Mexican army at a mission station in San Antonio Texas. For many Americans the Alamo has assumed a near mythical status in their history and the John Wayne film of the 1960s tells it all. But what did happen there in those 13 days?

We met William Travis, Jim Bowie and Davy Crockett and saw how the defeat at the Alamo led to the state of Texas being formed.

Feedback from an attendee

“It was fascinating to hear David separate fact from fiction” 

19th January 2024
Holliday Inn
Councillor Donna Ludford

 Manchester City Councillor Since 2013

Lord Mayor of Manchester, 2022/23.

Shared  her story.

From Foster Care to Lord Mayor

Donna was born on 31 January 1969 at the Duchess of York Hospital, Manchester and has lived in Manchester all her life. Following a major accident involving both her parents, Donna was placed into Manchester’s care system at the age of just six months. From then life was extremely difficult for Donna, dealing with much hardship. Yet, through adversity and a will to achieve and provide for her four children, in the mid-1990s. she took a part-time job as a cleaner at Manchester City Council. From there she then went on to take many roles involving young people which reflects her passion for working with children struggling with their education, in particular, looked after children and the most vulnerable in our society. Donna’s role as Councillor for Clayton & Openshaw reflects a passion for helping her residents and making sure they have a voice. Donna has kindly agreed to share with us the story of her personal experience and journey to becoming Lord Mayor, supported by her husband, Sean, who also serves on Manchester City Council.


15th December 2023
Holliday Inn
Christmas Luncheon


Afterwards we where entertained

by the Bridgewater Hall Singers

Led by Alice and Louise from 

Feedback from an attendee

” the best Christmas entertainment ever”

This was echoed by many other diners

10th November 2023
Holiday Inn
Sharman Birtles MBE JP DL Vice Lord-Lieutenant of Greater Manchester

Sharman may indeed be ‘an ordinary girl’, but the details of her life and devotion to many Charities, are far from ordinary.

‘An ordinary girl’

Sharman was born in Droylsden and educated at Fairfield High School for Girls, and still lives close to the area where she grew up.

 In 1981 she was appointed as a Magistrate, Bench Chairman from 2009 – 2012.

In 2008 Sharman was honoured to be appointed as a Deputy Lieutenant of Greater Manchester and was hugely privileged to serve as High Sheriff of the County 2015 – 2016,she was appointed as Vice Lord-Lieutenant in 2020 and was awarded an MBE in the New Year Honour’s List 2022 for her exceptional voluntary and charitable service.

16th October
Holliday Inn
Kate McNeil

‘The Truth, The Whole Truth,

With A Lot of Bull from

The Other Side

After leaving college I started my career in the Laboratories at Doncaster Royal infirmary separating blood samples for processing, at the young age of 17 years. I moved on to work in the operating theatres after a further two years training to become a Operating Department Lead Practitioner working with medical emergencies in A&E, routine operations, cardiac arrests and delivering babies in maternity. After many happy years my career took a turn in a different direction and I found myself in an Educational Role teaching across the whole of the Yorkshire and Humber region.

Who knew that the skills and Knowledge I developed during my career would prove vital in the biggest battle of my life!

Kate with Boxy The Bull

Feedback from  attendee

This was brilliant.  I enjoyed the meal and
particularly enjoyed meeting Kate and Andrew.  Found the talk about Boxy
fascinating and was incensed by the attitude of the authorities to
Kate’s well conducted research.  Made me very angry.  An excellent
Luncheon Club meeting.

18th September 2023
Holliday Inn
Paul Hindle

                          Salford Through Time

22nd August 2023
Working-Class Movement Library
Hosted by Royston Futter

Summer trip to the Working-Class Movement Library

1332nd meeting Manchester Luncheon Club

On Tuesday 22nd August

We visited  the Working-Class Movement Library (WCML)

Jubilee House, 51 The Crescent, Salford M5 4WX

 Jubilee House is situated on The Crescent in Salford opposite the Salford Art Gallery and Museum.

During the tour, learnt why the library

was founded and viewed some of the highlights from the library and archive collection.

The tour  allowed us to explore from the Attic down to the Basement  of the library, which are usually closed to the public.


Alan G Crossley Publicity Officer thanking Royston 




7th August 2023
Holliday Inn
Alan Davies

The Duke of Bridgewater’s Underground Coal Mining Canals, 1760 to date

The Third Duke of Bridgewater (The Canal Duke) embarked on a system of underground canals on four levels accessing a vast coalfield to the north and west, at the time regarded as one of the wonders of the engineering world. The canals branched out to draw coal from the workings of over 35 collieries, doing so until 1887.

From the Worsley Delf entrance eventually over 52 miles of canals were driven. The system was last maintained and regularly inspected in 1968 as it continued to drain modern collieries to the west.

Speaker Alan Davies was involved in the 1999 feasibility study along with the Mines Rescue service, he produced the only colour film ever produced of the canals during the survey.

Fully illustrated and brought up to date with developments at RHS Bridgewater and the Worsley Delph landscaping and restoration project.                   

                                                                           President Gwen M Crossley and Alan Davies


Feedback from  attendee’s

“Alan Davies did not disappoint, I think everyone enjoyed his talk, especially judging by the questions! “

“Thank you for such an interesting meeting yesterday, together with an excellent lunch.”

10th July 2023
Holliday Inn
Bharat Patel

                                                            Colin, MLC President Mrs Gwen M Crossley and  Bharat Patel

Feedback from an attendee

“I have to say that I really enjoyed the July meeting.  The

speaker from the Blood Bikers was excellent giving us a clear insight on

the work that this charity performs.  The motorbike on show in the hotel

was pretty impressive too.  I didn’t try it out!!

The meal was very good too.”