What A Council Logo Says, Part 1 – Tameside

Published on 24 November 2008 in , , , , ,

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.

Logo of Tameside council

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”.

Tameside Council logo with the strapline 'an excellent council'

Tomorrow I’ll be popping up to the North East of England, and my student home of Durham.


  • Kirk says:

    The problem with Tameside MBC is that they feel necessary to tell you you’re in the Tameside MBC area – and that you’re bloody lucky to be there too – on signs everywhere in the area.
    None of the other councils – even Manchester City Council – are quite so self-congratulatory about their area and they’re rivalled in sign production only by Salford, who have erected numerous pink signs around their bit so you don’t walk in by accident.
    Other than that, I have a strange fondness for Tameside. It seems to have some quite nice bits.
    The logo, however, is very 70s and hideous. Reminds me of school dinner providers “Cambridge Catering Services” logo from my youth.

  • Andrew Bowden says:

    That’s an interesting point – you barely know you’ve entered many areas, but Tameside are certainly very keen on letting you know.
    It is a very 1970s logo, although not as hideously 70s as Oldham or Stockport’s old logos – both since replaced. Sadly I haven’t managed to find an electronic copy of Stockport’s but it was one of those logos that just made you go “What on earth???” Now they’ve ditched it for a more regal crest – much classier.

  • I noticed this a few weeks ago and it left my head scratching. I was going, to blog on this, but you have done it really well. It has been on internal documents for some time, but it seems to have gone official on the website with a slight “refresh” of the design.
    I wouldn’t encourage Tameside to have a new logo as it would be an excuse to burn money. They already like to do this with tacky bronze statues.
    I must say though, the Bury Council logo is much, much more horrid.
    Just of note, Oldham spent £100k on their logo:

  • Andrew Bowden says:

    That Bury one is awful. Oh that hurts my eyes…