Who Do You Think YOU Are …. Robert R Stanley?

Or rather “Oo the ‘eck d’yer think y’are?” as the people living in Robert’s north of England tend to say!

There was much excitement in the classroom of Robert Reschid’s granddaughter today, when her high school English teacher waved a copy of the BBC’s ‘Who Do You Think You Are’ magazine and asked; “isn’t this your family?!”

The teacher had absolutely no idea about her pupil’s rather unusual family history story, but as a subscriber to the magazine she soon found out much more. The BBC magazine have devoted 4 pages of their December 2019 edition to the remarkable re-discovery of Robert Reschid’s life by his hard-working descendants, as seen through the eyes of his great x3 granddaughter, Christina Longden.

Robert was born in 1828 and died in 1911 at the age of 83 – a remarkable achievement in an area of the industrial north, where most people didn’t live to see the age of 50. For a working-class grocer who was twice elected mayor, who gave expert witness evidence on voting reform to Parliament and who lived through the fiercest social and economic upheaval in British history – his life was already quite colourful – even before he chose to convert to Islam at the age of 69. But the feature article did a terrific job of choosing some of the most important points and telling a fantastic tale.

The outcome of the family photo-shoot which took place in Stalybridge outside Victoria Market Hall/ Civic Hall (which Robert led on building) was certainly quite eye-catching – although one droll observer added; “you look like the Peaky-Blinders – but with a fez instead of a flat cap!” Which wasn’t the sort of image we had tried to convey.

The family were also pleased to see that the article not only mentioned the new books by Christina, Robert’s descendant, but that they also featured an appeal for the ‘missing’ 1894 copies of early Islamic magazine ‘The Crescent.’ This appeal has been spearheaded by scholars Yahya Birt, Atif Imtiaz, Rob Geaves, Jamie Gilham, Christina and many others involved with the UK Muslim History Group (email abdullahquilliamappeal@everydaymuslim.org if you can help with early British Islamic artefacts.)

THE DECEMBER EDITION OF THE MAGAZINE IS AVAILABLE FROM ALL NEWS OUTLETS OR VIA Who Do You Think You Are site (and do think about subscribing – we reckon that the magazine is even better than the TV series!)

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