The Northern Weekly Salvo

From Th’Edge O’Leet

Incorporating  Slaithwaite Review of Books, Weekly Notices, Sectional Appendices, Tunnel Gazers’ Gazette and Northern Umbrella. Descendant of Teddy Ashton’s Northern Weekly.

No. 249  December  31st   2017        last o’th’year (obviously)

Salveson’s nakedly political digest of railwayness, tripe and secessionist nonsense from Up North. Sometimes weekly, often not; but definitely Northern. Read by normal Hawaiians, the highest officers of state, Whitmanites, steam punks, yes women, no men, gay Swedenborgians, cat-spotters, discerning sybarites, bi-guys, pie-eaters, tripe dressers, self-managing VIMTO drinkers, truculent Northerners, grumpy Norwegians, absurd Marxists, members of the clergy and the toiling masses. All views expressed are my own and usually nobody else’s. Official journal of the Station Cat Improvement Network, Pacer Dining Club and Station Buffet Society. Full of creative ambiguity, possibly. Promoting moderate rebellion and sedition, within reason.

“we are far more united and have far more in common with each other than things that divide us.” – Jo Cox, maiden speech in House of Commons, June 3rd 2015

General Gossips

Welcome to your last Salvo of 249, taking us nicely up to the 250th issue at the beginning of 2018. All of the editorial and production team wish readers a very happy New Year, and hope you have enjoyed your Christmas. We certainly have. The week before featured a trip up to Skye to see family, with ‘proper’ snow on the Highland Main Line and Kyle road. On Saturday I had a very enjoyable trip to Hull to catch the last bits of the City of Culture year. What a great thing it has been for the city and its people. Good luck Coventry!

Possibly one of the most impressive works of art in Hull is the memorial to the 2.2m refugees who passed through Hull escaping from tyranny in eastern Europe

Thanks to all readers who have wished the editor-in-chief a speedy recovery with the ‘foot problem’ (as opposed to the ‘gauge problem’ due to too much cake). Given that the former problem began last January, recovery has not exactly been rapid – but at least it is going in the right direction, albeit at Pacer pace. And lastly, as we tuck in to our post-Christmas left-overs and prepare to binge-drink ourselves senseless tonight, here’s to people who have given up their holiday time to work with homeless people and refugees, in the UK and abroad (including certain Salvo readers).

Simple Salvo Says

One of the most interesting bits of news from ‘up North’ recently was the results of the ‘peoples’ referenda’ in Barnsley and Doncaster on what sort of devolved structure they would like. The choice was between a Sheffield City Region solution or a pan-Yorkshire option. The latter won hands down, with around 85% in both places voting strongly for a single Yorkshire devolved body. The wildest dreams of the Yorkshire Party seem to be realised, though there’s a long way to actually getting a Yorkshire Parliament with the sort of powers enjoyed by Scotland (about the same size but with a less strong economy) and Wales (much smaller) and Northern Ireland (ditto). It does show that sometimes referenda can bring a positive result if people aren’t swayed by the right-wing media, which took virtually no interest in what was going on in Barnsley and Donny. It’s also a defeat for the technocrats of the Labour Party who are scared to death of ceding power to ‘regions’ and cite the 2004 North-east referendum as the definitive word of the electorate on the subject. Of course on that basis we’re never have another Labour Government if we accepted the ‘will of the people’ that far back, and children would probably still be working down the mines (not that they were, at least here, in 2004). Further thoughts on this below.

Where now for the North and regionalism in 2018?

This thought-piece is very much work in progress and is a contribution to the debate on how a progressive regionalism can develop in our highly-centralised patch of ground that is ‘England’. Progressive regionalism stands for democratic devolution to regions which have strong identities and reflect geographies that make economic and political sense too. The failure of some regionalist thinking in the past has been to ignore the huge importance of cultural identity, which I’ll return to. But where regionalists of all hues can agree is the need for a strong tier of government between the very local and the national.

New dawn for the North?

As things stand, ‘local’ government has ceased to exist: the super-councils that have been foisted on people have no real local resonance – they are too big to be ‘local’ but too small to be ‘regional’ and strategic. Even the ‘combined authorities’ – another undemocratic aberration – are generally too small to function effectively as regions. They, and the ‘super councils’ on which they are based, should be scrapped and replaced by a network of truly local authorities which reflect real identities and today’s economic and social realities.

What does all this mean for The North? This paper is very much focused on The North rather than England as a whole. There is a need for a regional settlement across England but that is beyond the scope of this paper. As things stand, the strongest support for regionalism is within the North, and that is where it could make the most impact economically and politically. But clearly you can’t simply look at ‘The North’ in isolation and the long-term vision should be of a Federal Britain that brings in the English regions with Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and, somehow, the Irish Republic. My own view is that this should be within the EU, not outside it. But if we do go down the Brexit road and it becomes irreversible, a Federal Britain with friendly ties to the EU, including being part of the Single Market, is the way to go. Sounds all a bit far-fetched? We are in a very rapidly changing world and it is the right time to be radical.

The results of the council-sponsored referenda on devolution options (see above) makes very interesting reading for supporters of democratic regionalism in the North. On an admittedly low turnout (24% in Barnsley and 20% in Doncaster), about 85% of those asked opted for the ‘one Yorkshire’ approach. But that represents nearly 39,000 people in Doncaster and 34,000 in Barnsley supporting the ‘one Yorkshire’ approach.

Militant members of The Yorkshire Tendency about to sit down for a nice cup of Yorkshire tea. Yorkshire First is now the Yorkshire Party and Paul Salveson is now back in Lancashire

This isn’t what the Government wants to hear, nor is it very attractive to some Labour ‘modernisers’ who are fixated on city-regions, which clearly have little support amongst real people. The fact is that people feel strongly about their identities which can stretch many generations or be much more recent. People have a very strong identity as ‘Yorkshire’, not to an artificial city region. That isn’t to say they also have identities based on their towns and cities, such as Barnsley, Doncaster or indeed Sheffield.

As argued endlessly in The Salvo, people’s identities are multi-layered and can extend from the very local neighbourhood to towns and cities, counties, regions, nations and indeed continents. Having a strong identity as ‘Yorkshire’ need not make you hostile to the idea of being British, or European. At the same time it doesn’t imply hostility to other regional identities. Where it all starts to get nasty is when unscrupulous politicians incite hatred, typically around a perverted view of national identity which is usually narrow and exclusive. It’s interesting that regionalism tends not to be exclusive whilst some nationalism – particularly the ‘English’ variant – can be. Again, I’ve often argued with English friends that the nationalism of small nations (e.g. Wales, Scotland, Ireland) is quite different from that of big nations with long imperial histories. Trying to harness ‘English nationalism’ for progressive political ends is doomed to failure and will always pull its proponents to the right. Regionalism, I would argue, is far more often a progressive force of the centre-left. If you take the trouble to look at what English regionalist parties say (Yorkshire Party, North-east party, Wessex Regionalists) it’s a sort of moderate centre-left progressivism which is generally pro-Europe and inclusive.

The mainstream political parties in England don’t really get ‘regionalism’. The Liberal Democrats did at one time but it now seems to have forgotten. The Greens, for all their commitment to grassroots democracy, seem lukewarm towards it. Labour has dallied with the idea, and still does, but it isn’t on the Corbyn agenda. So on one level, that’s no bad thing for my friends in The Yorkshire Party. The results of the Barnsley and Doncaster referenda show that the ‘Yorkshire’ identity (what was I doing referring to it as a ‘brand’?) is strong and they are well placed to pick that up and channel it politically. I hope they do well. Its leader, Stewart Arnold, comes from a ‘social Liberal’ background but the party has also recruited from both Labour and Conservative. His recent speech to YP’s annual conference makes interesting reading and is here http://www.yorkshireparty.org.uk/sa_speech_conf2017 .

Asian community activsits helped out during Hebden Bridge floods on a previous Boxing Day. All from Yorkshire

Another very interesting development in Yorkshire is the ‘Same Skies’ movement, mainly centred on West Yorkshire. This is a much looser and radical initiative than a formal political party. ‘We Share the Same Skies’. Ian Martin says “In many ways Same Skies is a political laboratory in itself. From the beginning we have been open to working with people from all parties and none and we have actively tried to do something to engage a more diverse range of voices….This means being open to different ways of working including videos, photoboards and events based on open models with no fixed agenda and no top table of speeches (such as from MPs or council leaders) so enabling all participants to suggest themes and discussions with equal value.” (https://www.thealternative.org.uk/dailyalternative/2017/3/15/wesharethesameskies). The North East Party has similar values to the Yorkshire Party. Hilton Dawson on its website says “The North East Party is a progressive and democratic political party which is committed to improving the lives and increasing the opportunities of the people of North East England. We campaign for fair taxation, the fair distribution of national resources and the provision of world class public services which are fully accountable to North East people through empowering regional devolution, accountable local governance and effective representation in the UK and European Parliaments”.

I have to say that the ‘Same Skies’ approach appeals to me more than a traditional political party model, though the two could co-exist and support each other, without ‘same Skies’ becoming tied to any one party. This approach has relevance to other regions and could certainly work in Lancashire. Which is where I want to turn now. Why hasn’t Lancashire produced a similar political development as we’ve seen in Yorkshire, and in the North-east? Part of it is because ‘Lancashire’ has been so mashed up by re-organisation, usually against people’s wishes, or with little or no consultation. Whatever the politicians and officers might think, ‘Greater Manchester’, which stole a huge chunk of traditional ‘Lancashire’, has never been a popular identity.

Lancashire lasses – can’t imagine a Frack Free Greater Manchester somewhow

Manchester yes, Bolton, Oldham, Rochdale and Wigan certainly. But not ‘Greater Manchester’. And this is why ultimately all the good intentions of Andy Burnham will fail because there is not the strong sense of identity with it, in much the same way that the people of Barnsley and Doncaster felt precious little identity with ‘Sheffield City Region’. I suspect that most people in ‘Greater Manchester’, particularly places like Rochdale, Oldham, Leigh, Bolton, Bury and the like still identify as ‘Lancastrian’ and would like to return to the historic country. This was shown at a workshop recently when people were given various options for what ‘region’ they’d like to lie in. Lancashire – or ‘Greater Lancastria’ – came out tops.

Does this apply to Merseyside? I think that’s more difficult. Maybe on the periphery it does in places like St Helens and parts of Sefton – certainly Southport. But Merseyside has always had a strong sense of its own regional identity. And then there’s ‘Lancashire North of the Sands’ – that area of old Lancashire which includes Ulverston and Barrow. It’s now ‘Cumbria’ and that kind of makes geographical sense, but again people’s identities remain, in many cases, strongly pro-Lancashire.  Could a ‘Cumbrian’ Same Skies movement develop a politicised sense of ‘Cumbria-ness’? Not sure.

What about a ‘North-West’ identity? This is the classic response from the technocratic regionalists and it has some value. There are or have been ‘North-West’ regional bodies, including the former regional development agency, health organisations and plenty more. Recently, there was a suggestion to form a ‘North-West Party’ that could mirror the work of the Yorkshire and North-east parties. On one level it make sense, but for one thing: nobody identifies as ‘North-Western’. You might identify as Lancastrian, or Cumbrian, but I’ve never met anyone say “I’m a North-Westerner”. It just doesn’t sound right.

This is where the idea of ‘One North’ starts to become attractive. The Northern Party still exists and stood some candidates in the 2015 election, but didn’t do that well, despite some very good, progressive policies. My own view has been that in those parts of ‘The North’ which don’t include the North-East and Yorkshire, a ‘Northern Party’ is a better bet than a ‘Lancashire Party’, a ‘Cumbrian Party’ and a ‘Merseyside Party’. Cheshire? It shouldn’t be in competition with the North-East and Yorkshire Parties, and should collaborate with them on some shared policies, including some pan-Northern approaches. Some things work best on a pan-northern basis and we already have ‘Transport for the North’ which works on a strategic level and is absorbing ‘Rail North’.

The Northern rail network needs a pan-Northern body to co-ordinate it with democratic oversight

The big problem with bodies like TfN is that they are unaccountable. They have some limited oversight by elected politicians, but politicians elected to represent relatively small districts, not to take on major strategic regional responsibilities.

There needs to be a ‘Northern’ dimension to the regionalist debate. At the same time, we can’t ignore the enduring strength of identities for Yorkshire and the North-east, but also Lancashire, Merseyside and Cumbria. To harmonise these regional interests needs a lot of debate and friendly discussion which recognises the following:

  • That ‘The North’ unites the 15.5 people living in its constituent regions and there is a strong community of interest
  • This community of interest has a broad common identity as ‘Northern’ which doesn’t cut across more regional identities of ‘Yorkshire, ‘Lancashire’ etc.
  • Some things – railways, policing, health and some other services are best delivered on a pan-northern basis

So what are the practical implications? This may sound daft but ‘The North’ probably would work best as a nation within a Federal Britain, with constituent regions for the North-east, Yorkshire, Lancashire, Merseyside and Cumbria. We’re a long way off that but even the most unlikely scenario may become possible in the mess that will be post-Brexit Britain.

In the medium term, good luck to the regionalists across the North. But we must look at ways of working together in a ‘Northern Alliance’ which is mutually supportive and agrees on what could work best on a pan-Northern basis. Take transport as an example. If there were regional assemblies for the five Northern regions they could form a ‘Transport for the North’ board, with seats on a governing body reflecting the population of each constituent. You would have politicians elected for what would be quite large constituencies, as opposed to tiny council wards, who would bring a strategic view to the table. The same could work in policing, health and economic development. This would be a different model to what the Scots and Welsh have, but it would reflect the very different geographical, political and cultural issues in the North of England. Some of the devolved responsibilities that the Scots and Welsh have should go to the regions but some should be shared in a pan-Northern body. There should be links built with other regionalist groups in England as well as Plaid Cymru and the SNP. In summary then:

  • For 2018, there is a lot of fertile ground for supporters of radical regionalism. The overtly regionalist parties – North-East, Yorkshire and Northern – should continue their work and build support
  • Bodies like the ‘Same Skies Collective’ have room to develop – and why not a ‘Same Skies Lancashire’ equivalent?
  • Work to influence the mainstream parties – particularly Labour but also Greens and Liberal Democrats, is of huge importance. Who will do it?
  • There’s a need to develop ideas and policy – the Hannah Mitchell Foundation needs to clarify where it’s going and grow some radical ideas
  • There is a much wider potential network of third-sector organisations based in the North – the embryonic idea of a ‘Northern Umbrella’ should sprout

Department for Transport reviews its Community Rail Development Strategy

As many readers will be aware, the Government is consulting on its Community Rail Development Strategy. The Minister’s foreword to the consultation document states: “This consultation is based around four themes that are integral to how community rail benefits people, improves communities, and supports the railway.  These include connecting people and places; integrating communities to create a fairer society and encourage diversity and inclusion; supporting local and regional economies and sharing opportunities; and suggesting innovative ways to improve the way the railway works, including productive use of underused or unused railway land and stations, and working more closely with heritage railways”. The consultation document is here and runs until the end of January: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/future-of-community-rail-strategy

The Bretherton Bibliophile: some recommended reading for 2018

In Salvo 248 I highlighted various bits of my ‘regular reading’ and some interesting new publications; inevitably there were a few omissions so here is a good New Year’s plug for Big Issue North. It’s a great read, offering a distinctively Northern view of the world. And it hardly needs to be said that it is produced with ethical objectives, supporting the North’s homeless. When you see a seller, please don’t walk past, buy a copy and have a chat with the seller if you’ve time. Another publication which comes with the Salvo stamp of approval is RailFuture’s magazine Railwatch. It has a good range of contributors, not least Chris Austin and Ian Brown, who between them provide the sort of top quality informed comment that I don’t think you really get anywhere else. There are a few newsagent outlets where you can buy it but the simplest way to get a copy is to join RailFuture: http://www.railfuture.org.uk/Welcome+to+Railfuture. Their latest publication, Growing Britain’s Railway, is a brilliant guide to the new developments across the rail network. New members get a copy as part of their membership package, I think.

An ideal late Christmas present for your loved one/s would be Philip Jenkinson’s Sunbeams and Showers: Memories of the Huddersfield trolleybuses in the 1950s and 1960s. If there can be a criticism it is that the author looks back at Huddersfield trolleybuses through rose-tinted spectacles (see p. 162). Yes, they were good, but not as good as Bolton’s. Mr Jenkinson has some characteristically forthright views on the prospects for the re-introduction of trolley-buses in the UK, opining that “in the present political climate only the blindly optimistic or terminally insane could commit themselves to the necessary capital expenditure.”  The publication is available at the modest cost of £20 from the author: cheques and hard currency to P. Jenkinson and sent to 32 College Street, Crosland Moor, Huddersfield HD4 5EB

And finally it would be remiss of me to neglect the fine publications emanating from the Tripe Marketing Board (writing as one of their directors). Their latest product, Forgotten Yorkshire and parts of North-East Derbyshire and Humberside is certainly a tour-de-force of historical vivacity, if not always veracity. And truly it can be said that many parts of this fine county should remain forgotten, mired in well-deserved obscurity. https://tripemarketingboard.co.uk/

Crank New Year’s Christmas Quiz: Railways and Culture

Any reader of The Salvo will be aware of the close connection between railways and the arts, stretching back to the dawn of civilisation, which was round about 1830. This short ten question quiz isn’t too demanding and may be of interest to the non-crank person amongst the Salvo readership, not that there are many. So here goes. Answers in Salvo 250, if I remember.

The Quiz

  1. Antonin Dvorak was a well-known railway crank as well as a composer. What happened to slightly sour relations with young composer Josef Suk when they were collaborating at the Prague Conservatoire? a) They had a furious argument about the merits of Walschaerts valve gear b) Suk was despatched to get the number of the loco on a particular express but came back with the number of the tender instead c)Dvorak was a compound man whilst Suk had a penchant for simple expansion
  2. Flann O’Brien, the noted Irish novelist, man of letters and drunk, was also a keen railway enthusiast. In the collection Best of Myles there is a chapter of his railway writings, ‘For Steam Men’. This includes reference to his technical suggestions to the GNR (I) about future power for their rail network, which elicited no response, to the author’s annoyance. What was the great man proposing: a) that instead of closing rural branch lines they should re-convert to horse traction, citing the Fintona Horse Tram as the fore-runner b) That the Irish rail network should be re-routed to go through the extensive peat lands with locos equipped with scoops to propel turf directly into the firebox and reduce dependence on coal c) That each carriage should be equipped with at least 10 stationary cycles with chains connected by an elaborate system of cogs to the carriage axles providing additional power for the train when going up inclines, powered by passengers themselves, who would receive a 10% discount off their train fare
  3. E.J. Moeran was a fine composer and a keen train spotter. His Symphony in G Minor is reckoned to be one of his finest works and a particular section was intended to replicate the sound of a locomotive heading an express train. Which train/ locomotive and where? a) Great Eastern ‘Claud Hamilton’ climbing Brentwood Bank b) A Stratford-allocated ‘Britannia’ ascending Bethnal Green Bank on ‘The Norfolkman’ c) a Lancashire and Yorkshire Radical Tank climbing Ringley Bank on the 4.25 Salford – Colne
  4. Which railway incident is celebrated in a radio play written and performed by Ewan MacColl and Peggy Seeger? a) The Quintinshill disaster of 1915 which led to the loss of 226 lives b) The Chapel-en-le-Frith crash in 1956 which resulted in the deaths of Driver John Axon and his guard c) The Soham explosion in 1944 when the driver and fireman of a train carrying high explosives caught fire and they attempted to separate the burning wagon from the rest of the train.
  5. Paul Delvaux was a Belgian surrealist painter and train-spotter. His paintings often feature dreamy images of steam locomotives and what else? a) Moonscapes b) Naked women c) Buses and trams
  6. Andrei Platonov was a talented but little-known novelist and short-story writer (outside the old USSR). His father was a locomotive driver and his short story The Fierce and Beautiful World has a footplate setting. What happened to the hero of the story whilst driving his locomotive? a) The driver was struck blind b) The driver was attacked by his fireman with a shovel in a fit of jealousy c) The driver missed a red signal and crashed into Stalin’s private train…..Bonus point: what term did Stalin use to describe one of his stories?
  7. Which of the following writers had locomotives named after them…and which one had two? Extra points for numbers of the locos concerned a) Thomas Hardy b) Charles Dickens c) Winifred Holtby d) William Wordsworth e) Alan Sillitoe f) George Orwell g) Tennyson h) Byron i) Arnold Bennett j) Rudyard Kipling k) Euripides l)
  8. Agatha Christie’s novel The 4.50 from Paddington features a memorable scene. What does it describe? a) The guards of two trains arguing in front of prospective passengers before departure from Paddington over the respective merits of their trains’ destinations b) The driver of the 4.50 Penzance shoots the guard of his train whom he suspects of having an affair with his fireman c) The murder of a passenger on another train is witnessed
  9. The noted locomotive engineer H.A. Ivatt of the Great Northern Railway had a strong musical connection. What was it? a) His two daughters played in local orchestras b) His son George became conductor of the Doncaster Loco Works Symphony Orchestra c) His ‘Atlantic’ locomotives were named after great composers
  10. Which famous Welsh poet was also shedmaster of a small loco shed in Mid-Wales and which station today celebrates his memory? a)  Dylan Thomas b) David Caradog Hughes c) Owain Arwel Hughes Station: a) Swansea High Street b) Newtown c) Prestatyn d) Caersws

Salvo’s Travelling Post Office

Alan Brooke writes from Honley: “Happy Winter Solstice !!!! Your train of thought is on the right track as usual, despite some people thinking you had gone off the rails when you left the LP. Corbynism will hit the buffers sooner or later and is already losing steam since, so far, all the youthful enthusiasm it has no doubt generated is being dissipated in parliamentary shenanigans. (Run out of railway related metaphors, sorry. I wonder how much has entered the language in the last 180 years, compared to all the naval/seafaring jargon still in daily use ??? Perhaps material for a quiz here ?)”  (undoubtedly – ed)

Geoff Kerr says: “Paul – the crank quiz actually came from me via Peter (sorry! – ed). I was Cheltenham Branch secretary for a few years in the 1980s and 90s. I think it was compiled by the then chairman Roger Jermy, a geography teacher and author of several books on industrial railways, now retired to Alnwick. I’ve copied the questions exactly as they were written. I’m afraid I don’t have a list of the answers and I suspect some questions have more than one possible answer! Best of luck anyway.”

David Griffiths ticks off the Salvo: “We could buy a lot of railway re-openings, to say nothing of social housing, healthcare facilities, schools and funds to revive ailing town centres for the exit bill.” Oh no we couldn’t – as an EU member, we’d be paying the annual net contribution instead. Don’t get me wrong – I remain a Remainer. But the direct fiscal effects are negligible, the real issue for public spending is the macro-economic impact.”

Stuart Parkes offers a romantic touch: “Agree wholeheartedly on Brexit but would like to put in a word for kissing, not on my own behalf but in a railway context. It is part of the joy of travelling on SNCF or Chemins de Fer de Provence to see train and station personnel greet each other with a ‘bisou’. I agree though it might not work ‘up north’. Hope I haven’t mentioned this in a previous post. I also like the French ‘Christmas’ greeting that only refers to ‘end of year festivities’ and thus avoids exclusion of those with different faiths or none.”

I like this one from Colin Speakman (21) “Another brilliant Salvo, steam powered radicalism and rant. Great stuff. And warm thanks for the kind words about our little Wolds book, but worth mentioning as described in its pages is the Malton Dodger – the Malton-Driffield branch through the narrow chalk valleys of the Wolds one of England’s loveliest lost railways. But there is a preservation group in Fimber dreaming to reopen sometime in the next Millennium. And also a false fact. I will not be 102 for another 25 years 7 months. Have a great Christmas readers and bloggers. Colin.”

Colin Divall writes with a little ticking off: “ Now then lad, I agree that precious little good usually comes out of that there London, but in fairness it does have a brand-new theatre, The Bridge, and I think you’ll find that’s the one and only place that Young Marx has been (and is being) performed to date. I hope so because I’m not going to the National in a fortnight….” – Point taken comrade

Former next-door-neighbour Geoff Weaver writes of the pre-Christmas MPs’ rebellion over Brexit vote: “Many thanks for these reflections Paul. I am quite excited by this week’s developments- Dominic Grieve seems like a chap with some moral fibre, putting country before party. Maybe it’s not too late to reverse the decision. “

Noel Coates comments “Thoroughly agree with you about the old councils Paul. Just two further points about the loss of civic pride. Firstly selling off the council houses was a good idea for home owners but it deprived local councils of a lot of money which they used for local projects (emptying gutters, replacing light bulbs are just a couple of jobs which used to be done locally and kept on top of (Lancs Co Co hasn’t got a clue about service!)). Secondly the re-organisation of local buses also took away a great service – they’ve only just about got back to where they should be (as well as trying to keep traffic down) but they aren’t ‘local’ any more. Plenty of ammunition in these thoughts. All the best for Christmas and the New Year Paul.”

Jim Trotman adds “Happy Christmas – and well said about the Brexit nonsense. I think it’s a good time to retire (Easter now).”

Shortest but most welcome comment from Prof. Les Lumsdon…. “I owe you a pint.”

Special Traffic Notices

Nothing much happening, all a bit quiet.

The Salvo Publications List

The following are all available from The Salvo Publishing HQ, here at 8 Moorhey Cottages, Bretherton, Leyland PR26 9AE. Cheques should be made out to ‘Paul Salveson’ though you can send cash if you like but don’t expect any change. Bottles of whisky, old bound volumes of Railway Magazine, numberplates etc. by negotiation.

‘Lancashire’s Romantic Radical – the life and writings of Allen Clarke/Teddy Ashton‘ (2009). The story of Lancashire’s errant genius – cyclist, philosopher, unsuccesful politician, amazingly popular dialect writer. Normal Price £15  – can now offer it for £10 with free postage. There are a few hardback versions left – Normal price £25  – now at £15 with free postage. This book outlines the life and writings of one of Lancashire’s most prolific – and interesting – writers. Allen Clarke (1863-1935) was the son of mill workers and began work in the mill himself at the age of 11. He became a much-loved writer and an early piopneer of the socialist movement. He wrote in Lancashire dialect as ‘Teddy Ashton;’ and his sketches sold by the thousand. He was a keen cyclist and rambler; his books on the Lancashire countryside – ‘Windmill Land’ and ‘Moorlands and Memories’ are wonderful mixtures of history, landscape and philosophy.

‘With Walt Whitman in Bolton – Lancashire’s Links to Walt Whitman‘. This charts the remarkable story of Bolton’s long-lasting links to America’s great poet. Price £9.90 including post and packing. New edition published in May 2016. Bolton’s links with the great American poet Walt Whitman make up one of the most fascinating footnotes in liteary history. From the 1880s a small group of Boltonians began a correspondence with Whitman and two (John Johnston and J W Wallace) visited the poet in America. Each year on Whitman’s birthday (May 31) the Bolton group threw a party to celebrate his memory, with poems, lectures and passing round a loving cup of spiced claret. Each wore a sprig of lilac in Whitman’s memory. The group were close to the founders of the ILP – Keir Hardie, Bruce and Katharine Bruce Glasier and Robert Blatchford. The links with Whitman lovers in the USA continue to this day.

‘Northern Rail Heritage’. A short introduction to the social history of the North’s railways. Price £6.00. The North ushered in the railway age  with the Stockton and Darlington in 1825 followed by the Liverpool and Manchester in 1830. But too often the story of the people who worked on the railways has been ignored. This booklet outlines the social history of railways in the North. It includes the growth of railways in the 19th century, railways in the two world wars, the general strike and the impact of Beeching.

Will Yo’ Come O’ Sunday Mornin? The Winter Hill Mass Trespass of 1896?. The story of Lancashire’s Winter Hill Trespass of 1896. 10,000 people marched over Winter Hill to reclaim a right of way. Price: £5.00 (not many left). The Kinder Scout Mass Trespass of 1932 was by no means the first attempt by working class people to reclaim the countryside. probably the biggest-ever rights of way struggle took place on the moors above Bolton in 1896, with three successive weekends of huge demonstrations to reclaim a blocked path. Over 12,000 took part in the biggest march. The demonstrations were led by a coalition of socialists and radical liberals and Allen Clarke (see above!) wrote a great song about the events – ‘Will Yo’ Come O’ Sunday Mornin’?’ Only a couple left.

 ‘Songs of a Northerner‘  by Jo Barnes. Photos by Paul Salveson. Price £3.50 inc postage  – please make cheques payble to ‘The Jo Barnes Fund’. A lovely collection of Jo’s poems written in the two years before she died; about landscape, emotions and day dreams.

You can probably get a better idea from going to my website: http://www.paulsalveson.org.uk/little-northern-books-2/