Tag Archives: Guardian Northerner

Guardian Article On Charles Brett

Charles Brett’s headstone in Harpurhey Cemetery.

I’ve had an article published on the Guardian site about Charles Brett, the first Manchester police officer to be killed on duty. He was shot dead on 18 September 1867, as a group of Fenians sprung two of their leaders from a police van on Hyde Road. By coincidence, it was exactly 145 years to the day before the recent murders of PCs Fiona Bone and Nicola Hughes in Mottram.

Although the three men hanged for his murder are well remembered as the ‘Manchester Martyrs’, Brett’s story is much less well-known, so I thought I’d tell it. My research included a visit to Harpurhey Cemetery in the pouring rain to find his headstone, and a look through some of the old Manchester Guardian reports of the time.

You can read the article at the Guardian Northerner here.

Whit Friday Articles On Brighouse And Rastrick

Brighouse and Rastrick in action on Whit Friday 2011.

I’ve had a couple of articles published this week looking ahead to the Whit Friday brass band contests, and focusing on the current national champions of Brighouse and Rastrick.

Here’s my piece for the Northerner section of The Guardian, and I also put together a different version for Saddleworth News.

The Forgotten Story Of Lancashire’s American Football Ace

Mike in action against the Atlanta Falcons in 1972. (picture: Mike Walker)

I’ve had an article published on the Guardian’s Northerner site today, which you can read here. It’s all about the man in the picture, Mike Walker, a bricklayer from Lancashire who ended up kicking in the NFL for the New England Patriots, after winning a competition and making it through the team’s training camp in the early 1970s.

It took a while to track Mike down to a town near Boston, where he still lives, but I enjoyed doing a bit of old-fashioned detective work. We had a good chat on the phone last week and there was a lot more I could have included in the article. But as it was aimed more at a non-sport audience, I had to leave out some aspects which would have been interesting only to NFL fans. A bit frustrating, but you always have to think of your audience.

If you haven’t come across it before, The Northerner site in general is well worth reading. It’s a slightly hidden-away part of the Guardian’s website, but there are lots of interesting articles and links on there. There’s also a Twitter feed here.