The loving couple seen below would be known as Shaw Gawbies as that is the nickname for anyone being born in Shaw near Oldham. Many people from this area will tell you that the name Gawby comes from some romantic or funny tale from years gone by. The real truth is a little more hurtful perhaps and not to be used as something to be proud of. Used in its true meaning, Gawby was an insult to your sensibility as it actually means Idiot, childish or stupid. It’s a very old English word used throughout the country in old times.
One version is of Gypsies taking the pee out of poor Shaw folk by way of telling them that to watch a chimney being demolished cost sixpence. Ok the Gypsies may really have done this and made a fortune but the romantic version simply doesn’t stand up. I would take a stab at the Gypsies laughing at the Shaw people for paying and calling them Gawbies (Stupid).
Making this as short as I can, Royton and Shaw used to get on very well together. They would share their wealth together just like other nearby towns would do to attract more business locally. If Shaw needed a fire station for instance, they might have asked Royton townsfolk to help pay for the cost. After all, it would benefit both towns in the long run. It’s said, and probably more realistic than the fantasy stories, that Royton asked for assistance when building their Town Hall. A less significant building than the one built in Shaw. But alas the gentry of Shaw refused to help and all hell broke loose. Royton town hall was built regardless and the people thereof decided that the tower which was to have four clocks would only have the one facing Shaw at half the size of the other three. Many jibes and jokes went around mainly saying that the Gawbies from over in Shaw would have to come into Royton to know what time it was. Have a look for yourself at Royton town hall and you will see the truth of the whole matter. I guess the name will continue to be used until Royton pays for a larger clock facing Shaw (With some collateral help from Shaw ha-ha).
Heck, I almost forgot about the photo. It’s of Mr & Mrs Delaney who resided in Shaw, so yes they are Shaw Gawbies. Their son asked if I could restore several photos, this being one of several family pictures. So what have I done with it? Pretty simple manipulation with the background, quite a lot of restoration going on. The colours were too badly faded so I desaturated the picture then put colour back into it. The new background incidentally was sympathetic to the original, both were bamboo style wallpapers in the room.