The 'Martyrs


A Brief History of the Parish Centre

During the late-sixties the parishioners and clergy of the English Martyrs decided that it would benefit the parish if it were to have a social centre. As the parish population grew it was clear that, as well as catering for the parishioners "spiritual needs", the English Martyrs needed a social centre in order to enhance the feeling of community and togetherness.

The allotments adjacent to the church were ear-marked for this development, and the task of fund raising began. Gala evenings and Dances were held at the Parish school - Bishop Bilsborrow. These proved to be a great success, despite the fact that the school did not have a liquor licence, and thus revellers had to bring their own beer & wine!

Individual Parishioners took it upon themselves to raise money by organising their own events. The late (and great) Mr. John Tulley organised a sponsored beer barrel push. Legend has it that John rolled a 10 Gallon drum a distance of 3 miles, ending up at the proposed site of the parish centre. Nobody knows what happened to the contents of the barrel after this event! After a period of two years and many hours of hard work, detailed plans were drawn up & approved. The English Martyrs Centre was "born" September 4th 1973.

The first Management committee consisted of 12 members - they had realised their first dream by opening the Parish centre - little could they have imagined back in 1973, that their dreams & expectations would be wildly surpassed as the "The Club" is still going strong now, in the 21st Century.

In the early years of the Parish Centre the membership peaked at over 1,000 members with most entertainment nights being sold out well before 9pm! Over the years the Parish centre has been used by many groups and organisations. These have included The First Friday Group; Senior Citizens Group; Drama Group; Set Dancers; Manchester Taxi Drivers Association.; Young Christian Workers and most of the Irish Associations.

It is the club's ability to extent the hand of friendship to one and all - regardless of race creed or colour - that has enabled it to survive and prosper for so long. It is a true friend to the community.

The First Committee was drawn together by the then Parish Priest - the late Canon Eckberry. As the Parish consisted of such a wide and varied cross-section of society, the Canon had the foresight to select the first committee based on the diversity of the parish catchments area.


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