Newspaper articles

Thanks to Manchester Guardian newspaper archives, information in these articles helps to put community events into context.

18th May, 1894, Roman Catholic Whitsuntide Procession in Manchester

“Walking with St. Chad’s were some 400 Poles and Lithuanians under their leader and chaplain, the Rev. Father Lasberg, S.J., headed by the Prize Band of St. Thomas’ Church, Bedford, and bearing the banner of their patron saint, St. Casimir.”

7th October, 1921, Manchester Lithuanians’ Custom

“Among the music and dancing licences applied for at the sitting of the Manchester Licensing Justices was one by the Rev. Aloysius Foltin, of St. Casimir’s Catholic Church, Rochdale Road, in respect of the parochial hall attached to the church in Reather Street, Oldham Road.

“Sir William Cobbett, who appeared in support of the application, said it had been the practice of the congregation (largely Lithuanians) to have a dance for an hour or two hours after the Sunday service. Sunday, Sir William said, was not observed by these people as it was in this country. They had amusements of various kinds, and as he suggested that a little dancing was an innocent matter. “I can quite conceive”, Sir William added, “that after some sermons it is desirable that there should be some innocent distraction.” Father Foltin felt that if the practice was disallowed it would be a deprivation to the people.

“Mr. Foltin gave evidence in support of the application. He said that he understood that dances and social evenings on Sundays had been carried on in the hall for 40 years.

“The Chairman pointed out that certain sanitary defects required to be remedied before the application could be dealt with, and with a view to this work being done the application was adjourned till the next sitting of the Court.”

2nd December, 1931, Appeal for Reopening of a Church

“Members of the Lithuanian, Ukrainian and Polish communities in Manchester have recently petitioned the Bishop of Salford to sanction the reopening of St. Casimir’s Church, Oldham Road, where for more than a quarter of a century they were able to worship according to the rites of the Roman Catholic Church and to hear sermons in their own tongues. Althogether, it is estimated, a congregation of about 650 is affected, 500 of whom are Lithuanians, 100 Ukrainians and 50 Poles.

“Until recently a Lithuanian priest, Father Sirdaravicius, has been officiating for them at special services which they have been permitted to attend in St. William’s Church, Angel Meadow, but these services ceased this week-end and Father Sirdaravicius left Manchester on Sunday night.”

17th February, 1936, Lithuanians in Lancashire, National Celebration

“The Lithuanians in Manchester, Liverpool, St. Helens, Widnes, Earlestown and Haydock united in celebrating in Manchester yesterday the eighteenth anniversary of the proclamation of the independence of the Lithuanian Republic. About 500 attended a service in St. Williams Roman Catholic Church, Angel Meadow, conducted by the Rev. Father Vincent Slavinas, the Lithuanian priest in Manchester, and afterwards marched in procession to the Lithuanian Social Club, the Lithuanian flag and Union Jack being carried in front.

“The newly established Lithuanian Consulate in Manchester was represented both at the service and the meeting in the club by the Consul, Mr. H H Sidebottom, and his secretary Dr. J Kaskelis. In his sermon at the service Father Slavinas urged the congregation to be loyal and faithful citizens of England, “the country with the most freedom”. The meeting at the club was crowded and much enthusiasm was shown. The speeches were followed by Lithuanian songs and choruses and a broadcast greeting from Lithuania. “

16th February, 1938

“To-day is the 20th anniversary of the Lithuanian declaration of independence, which will be celebrated by Lithuanians living in Manchester at a meeting in the Lithuanian Social Club, Pilling Street, Collyhurst, on Sunday. The meeting will be addressed by local speakers, among whom will be the Lithuanian Consul, Mr. H. H. Sidebottom, and the secretary to the Consulate, Mr. P. Sveikauskas, There are about 400 Lithuanians in Manchester and a majority of them is expected to attend the meeting. Lithuania has a strong trading connection with this country that began first in the reign of Edward III, when English merchants went out to bargain for Baltic amber. In 1937 about 30 per cent of all her imports came from Britain.

“Lithuanians from Manchester, Liverpool and Widnes met on Sunday at Widnes, where they laid a wreath on the war memorial.”

12th September, 1949, Lithuanian Exhibition

“An exhibition arranged by the Manchester Lithuanian Society at the Lithuanian Social Club in Middleton Road, Crumpsall, shows there are two things which when they come together cannot be displaced: memories of home, and a craftsman’s skill to give them shape. Given an hour’s leisure and a chisel, it seems, a Lithuanian will begin carving anything from a cigarette box to a full range of farm buildings. Here are woodcarvings done in German camps and British hostels: one is a huge peasant set-piece some 10ft. by 6ft., with a painted backcloth, another, called “D.P.” shows a figure with a pack on its back precariously balanced on a globe – a weary inverted Atlas. Elsewhere an old woman, made from a stocking, sits at an elaborate spinning wheel. The carvings are by far the best, but there are also specimens of weaving and needlework, and many gay dolls in national costume.”  

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