What does your council’s logo say about your area? I was pondering this very question whilst walking down the street and looking at the street signs near home – their Merton Council logo blazing quietly in the corner, radiating out its waterwheel goodness. The entire of Merton is represented by a waterwheel for example. Why?
And so, with that on my mind, I headed on a journey of discovery, looking at places where I’d lived and visited, asking what each council logo said about the area it serves.
In part 1, it’s time to visit my area of residence from birth, until I left for university.
Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council. As a name it trips off the tongue about as well as a large stone, but we’re lumbered with it.
Tameside represents the land where I was born. I was born in Tameside Hospital. Could have gone to Tameside College. I had a Tameside Libraries card, a Tameside Leisure Card and once walked past the former tram depot that serves as Tameside’s depot for bin wagons. Me and Tameside, we’re like that.
The council was formed in 1974 as a metropolitan borough of the newly formed Greater Manchester. Along with Trafford, it is one of two Manchester boroughs that don’t use the name of their “principle” town as the name of the council – the other eight do.
The reason for that is because Tameside doesn’t have a single, completely dominating town. Ashton-under-Lyne is the biggest but not big enough – Hyde (the town where I lived from 1977 to 1996 – and then in university holidays until 1999) is pretty big too, and one suggested name for the borough was indeed Ashton-Hyde. The non-Ashton towns of the borough were generally pretty adamant that a new name was found, and Tameside was born.
The council logo seems to reflect the era it was created in – a strange 70s wobbly blue and green logo. As a kid, it took me years to realise it’s actually meant to be a T. Why a blue and green T? Well it’s supposed to represent the river Tame which flows through the borough – and in fact flows through six of the nine towns which comprise Tameside.
The green bits on the side of the T are the banks, the blue bits are the river. The Tame flows into the Goyt (forever to be famous as an insult used in Red Dwarf), and ultimately becomes part of the Mersey.
With their 1970s logo, Tameside go for a slightly corny slogan of “Great Lives, excellent services” – at least on their website. The previous slogan was a bit more of the blatant propaganda ilk, proclaiming Tameside was “An excellent council”.
Tomorrow I’ll be popping up to the North East of England, and my student home of Durham.