Francis Thompson, born in Preston in 1859, was a renowned poet, known as 'the poet of Catholicism'. He lived on Stamford Street in Ashton between 1864 and 1885. Read more about Francis Thompson.
H V Morton
Henry Vollam Morton was born in Ashton in 1892 but moved at a young age to Birmingham, where his father became editor of the Birmingham Mail. Henry followed his father into journalism, at first in Birmingham, later working for the Daily Express. He became famous for his reports on the opening of Tutankhamun's tomb, even though another journalist had supposedly been given exclusive rights. He later gained popularity as a travel writer, with around 40 books to his name. He went to live in South Africa in his 50s and died in 1979.
Read about Henry Vollam Morton's mother, Constance, who was known by the name "Cousin Maggie" and, for a while, was a well-known character in the town. Click here to read.
Simone Perotta was born in Ashton in 1977 where his father, Franco, ran a wine bar. Simone attended St Ann's Primary School for a short time before his parents returned to Italy. He was a member of the Italian team that won the football World Cup in 2006.
Prophet John Wroe
John Wroe, a self-styled "Prophet" from Bradford, founded the Christian Israelite Church. He announced that Ashton under Lyne was going to become "The New Jerusalem, where the chosen would gather at the Apocalypse. In 1825 he Church erected four buildings to be "gatehouses" of the New Jerusalem. One of the is thought to have been the former Odd Whim public house on Mossley Road, now converted to apartments. In 1831 Wroe fled from Ashton after a scandal involving seven virgins. He went to Wakefield and later to Australia, where the Christian Israelite Church is still active.
Bill Sowerbutts was born in 1911 in a house on Ashton Moss and became a market gardener, with a stall in Ashton Market. In 1947 he was a panellist in the first programme in the long-running radio show "Gardeners' Question Time", which was recorded in the Broadoak Hotel. Bill was one of the regular panellists for around 30 years and became a household name, taking part in over 1500 programmes.
Robert Sheldon was MP for Ashton under Lyne for 37 years from 1964 to 2001. He was at one time the Financial Secretary to the Treasury. He was a Privy Councillor from 1977 and was the much-respected Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee from 1983 to 1997. He became Baron Sheldon, of Ashton-under-Lyne following his retirement from the House of Commons. Ashton's new northern by-pass is named "Lord Sheldon Way" after him.
Simon Hoggart was born in Ashton in 1946. He was well known as a broadcaster and journalist, writing for the Guardian and the Spectator. He was chairman of the Radio 4 programme "The News Quiz" and appeared on BBC TV's "Grumpy Old Men". He died in January 2014.
Radio and television presenter Stuart Hall was born in Ashton on Christmas Day, 1929, the son of a baker, and lived in Hyde and Glossop. He presented BBC TV's Look North/North West Tonight for 25 years. He presented "It's A Knockout" with Eddie Wareing and was also the first host of TV's "A Question Of Sport". For many years has been a football reporter. He claims that, in 1958, he made up a radio commentary on a game between Sheffield Wednesday and Leicester City because the fog was too thick for him to see the players! In 2013 he was imprisoned for sexual offences and stripped of the OBE awarded to him the previous year.
Raymond Jones was born in Ashton in 1886 and attended St Ann's School. He later studied at the Heginbottom School of Art (now the Central Library, Ashton) before going to the Royal College of Art in London. In 1911 he joined the Studio at the Academie Julian in Paris. He travelled around Europe and, while visiting Venice, his drawings of buildings were so accurate that he was arrested as a spy! From 1913 he exhibited his work as Raymond Ray-Jones. He was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Painter-Etchers and Engravers in 1914. After his sudden death in 1941, his work was shown for the last time in 1943 and he has now fallen into obscurity.
Born in Ashton in 1923, Henry Cockburn was a professional footballer who played for Manchester United and England. He represented his country 13 times.
Born in Ashton in 1944, Gordon Taylor was a professional footballer who played for Bolton Wanderers. He went on to become Chief Executive of the Professional Footballers' Association.
Bert Whalley was born in Ashton in 1913. He was a professional footballer at Manchester United. Under Matt Busby, he became first team coach at United. He was killed in the 1958 Munich air disaster.
Born in Ashton in 1870, Harrington Lees became an Anglican priest. In 1921 he was appointed Archbishop of Melbourne, Australia.