Family Reconstructions: The family of Margaret Mary Galloway (1894 -1970)

Fragments: A box of photographs, travel documents, and other ephemera relating to Margaret Mary Galloway, her husband George, and other members of their family.

Margaret Mary Galloway

Since the 1840s, when economic hardship caused the emigration to Manchester of thousands of Irish peasants, people of Irish origin have formed a substantial portion of Manchester’s population. Lacking material resources, and faced by vicious anti-Irish feelings, they settled first in such slum areas as Angel Meadow, New Cross and Chorlton-on-Medlock. By the end of the nineteenth century, however, Irish families had spread throughout the working-class districts of Manchester. Very few had made their way up an economic and social ladder which would have enabled them to settle in such middle-class suburbs as Withington, Fallowfield and Didsbury.

Travel identity card for travel between Great Britain and Northern Ireland or Eire

The parents of Margaret Mary Galloway, who was born in Manchester on 1st April 1894 into a large family of Irish origin, lived at 14 Dryden Street, a street of small terraced houses in a working-class enclave of Chorlton-on-Medlock, near the junction of Plymouth Grove and Upper Brook Street.

Margaret’s identity card, issued in 1943

Most families of Irish origin, while integrating into Manchester working-class, retained a sense of their Irish heritage. This might be expressed as a continuing allegiance to the Catholic Church, by a close identification with such ‘heroic’ moments of Irish history as the Easter Rebellion, or by a personal involvement in Irish politics. Often it took several forms. An Irish woman living in Hulme in the 1930s kept a stoop of holy water beside her door and displayed pictures of the ‘Irish Martyrs’ on her living room wall.

The collection contains a large number of religious paraphernalia, including medallions, prayer books and mass requests.

Manchester Irish families also tended to keep in touch, sometimes by visits, with members of their family who remained in their home country. Members of these extended families living in Ireland also kept in touch with their English members through greetings, and sometimes parties, to share the celebration of Easter, Christmas, and family births and marriages, or to offer their condolences on family deaths.

A telegram from ‘Uncle Matt’ arrived from Dublin to offer congratulations on Vivian’s wedding. It is one many such telegrams in the collection.

For the Galloways, the family’s Irish roots were expressed chiefly by a continuing devotion to Catholicism. Margaret Galloway, her daughter Vivian (born at 14 Dryden Street in 1925) and Vivian’s daughter, Vicky, were all members of the Holy Name church, on Oxford Road, close to their home. It was there that Vivian Galloway married Clifford Hamilton on 17th August 1949, moving with him, soon afterwards, to Malta, where Vicky was born in 1950.

George, Margaret and Vivian, undated.
‘To my dear Mum & Daddy, from Vivian xxx’
‘Mr. and Mrs. George Galloway request the pleasure of the company…’
Vivian and Clifford’s wedding
Vicky, December 1952

At some time in 1968 Dryden Street was demolished by Manchester Corporation as part of a slum-clearance scheme, and Margaret was moved to council property in Eastville Gardens, off Kingsway.

In August 1968, when Margaret was seriously ill, she and Vivian joined the Annual Pilgrimage to Lourdes organised by the Catholic Association of the Diocese of Salford. Her passport, identity book, details of her accommodation, prayers for recital at Lourdes during Holy Hour, a list of those undertaking the pilgrimage and other items related to it are preserved within the collection of documents. Margaret died in Manchester in the March of 1970.


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