From a modest street in Altrincham of not more than sixty-one houses, at least 158 men enlisted and fought in the First World War. The bravery — and in some cases, the sacrifices — of these men was recognised by King George V, who congratulated the street on the ‘patriotism and fighting spirit so prominently displayed.’ This was Chapel Street: ‘the bravest little street in England.’ In 2013, the Greater Manchester Archives and Local Studies Partnership launched a collaborative project designed to commemorate the centenary of the First World War. As part of this project, Trafford Local Studies recruited a team of volunteers to research the period and better understand how the war affected the lives of the people in the Trafford area — both in the field of conflict and at home. Using original council archives, personal family records, local newspapers, online resources, and photographs, it quickly became apparent that there was a great deal of primary source material available, especially for Chapel Street. In order to capture and preserve this unique information for future generations, it was decided that a book would be published, which would tell the whole story of Chapel Street and its residents: from its early construction in the 1790s, to its demolition in the 1950s. Since its publication, The Bravest Little Street in England has generated a large amount of interest, both in the local area and further afield. Grenada Reports ran a piece on the book, interviewing a volunteer who was directly descended from one of the Chapel Street men. The book launch was also attended by a number of descendants, while several others have visited the Trafford Local Studies Centre since, with an interest to continue their family history research. The volunteers who worked on the book were nominated for the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service in 2019 and, also that year, won ‘Team of the Year’ at the Greater Manchester Archives and Local Studies Partnership Volunteer Awards.
Trafford Local Studies and Archives
North West England
Focus and Research
Resources used for research
Staff and volunteers at Trafford Local Studies made use of original archival material, local newspapers and genealogy websites. Some photographs included in the publication were submitted by relatives of the Chapel Street men.