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Northern Weekly Salvo 281

The Northern Weekly Salvo

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

Published at 109 Harpers Lane Bolton BL1 6HU email: paul.salveson@myphone.coop

Publications website: www.lancashireloominary.co.uk

No. 281  June 29th 2020

Salveson’s half-nakedly political digest of railwayness, tripe and secessionist nonsense from Up North. Sometimes weekly, usually not; but definitely Northern. Read by the highest (and lowest) officers of state, Whitmanites, weirdos, misfits, steam punks, yes women, no men, gay Swedenborgians, cat-spotters, discerning sybarites, bi-guys, non-aligned social democrats,  pie-eaters, tripe dressers, nail artists, 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, and the Campaign for a North with a capital ‘N’.

“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

June’s nearly over and it would have been the start of ‘Bolton Holidays’ – hence the torrential rain since Saturday. Time was when the mills and factories would be closed for two weeks and it would feel a bit like, well, lockdown I suppose. The streets would be eerily quiet and the newsagents shops would be closed. Enterprising local kids set up stalls on street corners.

Holiday Special: a returning Saturdays-Only Scarborough train at Manchester Victoria 11M, worked on that day (Saturday June 25th 1967) by a Bolton crew. Driver Bert Welsby inspects the damage…

But let’s not wallow in nostalgia (much as I enjoy it). We will certainly look back on the Spring of 2020 with a complex mix of feelings. I have to admit to having had a ‘good’ lockdown, with time to write, walk and ride the bike on quiet roads. I’m conscious of being lucky and privileged, lots of people have not been so fortunate.

Politics has been perhaps more interesting than usual. The sense of ‘giving them a chance’ in the early days of the pandemic has gradually evaporated as it has become clear that opportunities by the Government to limit the spread of the virus were missed. A few days made all the difference. Johnson and his team haven’t handled the situation well, with the possible exception of Sunak who must be on course for being our next Prime Minister. But how will Johnson, Sunak and the rest handle Brexit?  There’s no sign of a common sense approach which might delay the whole thing, or at the very least make a determined effort to get a deal.

Oh well, stick to trains then. But that’s all a mess as well. Government and the transport industry have been all too successful in getting across the message ‘don’t use public transport’. It’s going to take an awfully long time to get back to anywhere near pre-Covid levels of rail and bus travel. Before long there will have to be some imaginative campaigns to entice folk back: locally, regionally and nationally. Making it hard for people to travel (e.g. suggestions that eating food is banned, even on long distance journeys) is not going to help.

Lives matter

I went down to the ‘Black Lives Matter’ event in Bolton a couple of weeks back. Tensions had been raised by suggestions (aided and abetted by the ruling Tory Group on the council) that there was a threat to the war memorial and other statues. Complete nonsense but it gave the far-right an excuse to turn up ‘defending our heritage’ and throw a few bottles at the BLM demonstrators, who were peaceful and restrained.

But something quite exceptional happened. Two young black men from the BLM crowd went across to the far-right group and talked to them.

A powerful image (ABNM Photography/Manchester Evening News)

Hands were shaken. Then after a while it all reverted to name calling and scuffling. But it happened and that gives hope. Those two men who approached the counter-demonstrators were heroes, and it’s that sort of response that is required, not simply vilifying ‘them’ whoever ‘them’ might be. The story was reported in the Manchester Evening News. Most of it is printed below in ‘Mohamed’s Story’.

The police, it must be said, did a good job in stopping any serious violence but it was ugly. A funny way to protect our ‘national heritage’, but at least there were signs of some of the crowd recognising our common humanity.

So yes, ‘black lives matter’ and of course – as the far-right crowd chanted – ‘all lives matter’. In a British context, I don’t think ‘Black Lives Matter’ is the most helpful of campaign messages. Why not go back to Jo Cox and her message of  ‘More in Common’?

Not exactly a rampaging mob: Black Lives Matter demonstrators in Bolton

‘Black Lives Matter’, as a slogan, might well make sense in America where black people endure a quite different society than ours. Yes, there’s racism here (structural as well as individual) and it’s vital that people – white, more than black – speak out against it and stand up to be counted.  But trying to import a particular American model of radical politics into Britain is fraught with dangers and could exacerbate divisions, not heal them. About a hundred years ago some on the British left enthusiastically adopted a particular foreign political import – that time from the young Soviet Union – and in the process divided the left and put back the cause of radical change for generations. Let’s not do it again. There are lots of different political traditions we can learn from, America’s being just one. But don’t slavishly try to copy it. It doesn’t work.

And all this kneeling stuff adds to the sense of being part of a cult, apart from it being rather difficult for people of a certain age to actually do. It’s one thing getting down, another getting back up.

Racism won’t be ended by street confrontations, or by kneeling in the street. What could help reduce it is practical community-based activity where people come together from different communities. Civic pride and a love of your own town and community can be a very unifying force.

A small good thing: The Justicia stall at Bolton Station’s Food Festival, bringing people together

A few years ago that colourful and controversial Labour peer Maurice Glasman outraged liberal opinion by talking to the English Defence League. But he was right. It isn’t an easy thing to do, but of many of the ‘far-right’ crowd in Bolton, and other towns – honestly believed they were there to ‘protect’ their cultural heritage, however problematic it might seem to us on the left. There is a basis to talk. But read on….

Mohamed’s Story

The Manchester Evening News printed this fascinating story about the Bolton BLM demonstration, which I think is at least as significant, if not more so, than the story of the black man who rescused a far-right protestor after being injured in the demonstration in London. ” We found and spoke to Mohamed Ali – the 26-year-old security guard from Bolton who, during a time of division around the world, stopped the fighting and started the talking….Mohamed was born in Sudan and moved over to the UK, aged 18, forced to escape fighting in his home country. After fleeing violence in his early years, he says he wanted to show people that they must respect each other, no matter what. Faced again with conflict right before his eyes at the protest he did exactly that, bringing fiercely-opposing groups together for a moment. Now he shares why he chose to make peace.”

There were people at the protest people trying to fight and trying to make people fight each other, but that is not how we grow,” said Mohamed, who lives in The Haulgh in Bolton. “In Sudan there was a lot of fighting and we saw a lot of people dying. Once you’ve seen that, you have to decide what you are going to do. I want people to come together, that is what was on my heart at the time and that is what I believe.”

Mohamed knew he was throwing himself – arm-first – into a potentially dangerous, unpredictable situation, but felt compelled to show the counter-demonstrators that ‘we are all human’ in a bid to start an educational discussion.

Some people might be thinking, ‘why did that man put himself in a dangerous situation? Why did he shake hands with the opposite side?’ But I didn’t care what was going to happen to me, I was sure and I believed 100 per cent that if I showed them good, they would not hurt me and I would not be in a dangerous situation. I was determined to bring peace.”

Shortly after Mohamed took the lead and bravely walked across Victoria Square, others followed suit. What came after was a spell of reconciliation, when the two sides heard each other out, trading their views and listening meaningfully. He shared what he and the counter-protester were talking about during the moment that was captured by photographers: “The man I shook hands with was saying ‘black lives matter but all lives matter’. I said ‘yes of course, all lives matter, but respect us and what we are here for‘.

We were not protesting to hate other people, we were protesting to bring people together and to show that everyone is equal. Black, brown, white, rich, poor – we all need to understand each other and respect each other. That’s why I had the conversation with the man from the other side, it’s a good place to start.

Mohamed, who is going to become a new dad next month, hopes that both the Black Lives Matter protesters as well as their counterparts went home that day with a new perspective.  He said: “I was trying to show people, especially young lads on both sides, that this protest was for peace and justice, not for fighting. We’re trying to stop fighting and hate, not increase it.

“I didn’t know it was going to happen and I didn’t know people were taking photographs of it, we just started having a conversation. But I appreciate that so many people saw that photo and responded to it. “

Mohamed thinks kindness should be part of the way forward in the battle for equality across the world.

I was thinking about my daughter who is going to be born in July, I don’t want her growing up thinking that being black is bad,” he said. “You can face racist people everywhere, but not everyone is racist. I think if you try to show people kindness that’s how we can start build our lives together. If you can talk to people and make people understand that we are not different, you can change people’s minds. I want to build a better world for the next generation.” (Manchester Evening News, June 16th)

Monuments to remarkably ‘ordinary’ men and women

Monuments do have meaning and in a post-imperial country such as the UK, it’s inevitable that there will be statues to lots of people with questionable pedigrees. I shed no tears for Mr Colston when he took a dip, though the idea of chasing round the country identifying monuments to dodgy blokes that should be pulled down seems a bit daft.

Compston’s Cross on the Rossendale Moors. He was a radical Liberal who did much to promote rights of way and local culture

But it would be good to celebrate people other than great industrialists, so-called philanthropists, statesmen, royalty and warriors. Back in 1987 I wrote a little book called The People’s Monuments which was a record of monuments to ‘ordinary’ men and women across the North-West of England, published by the WEA. It included working-class herbalists (Joseph Evans of Boothstown), the many volunteers who went to fight in the Spanish Civil War, dialect poets (Edwin Waugh on Fo’ Edge and the Rochdale memorial), John Axon (Stockport railwayman) and several more. Jacob Epsein’s ‘Slave Hold’, presented to the people of Bolton for their support for the abolitionist cause, was included.

The new monument to Annie Kenney in Oldham town centre

It’s probably time for a new edition, with some very welcome additions included such as Annie Kenney, the Oldham mill-girl and suffragette, more celebrations of Lancastrians who fought fascism in Spain, and others. I’d very much like to hear from readers of their favourite monuments to so-called ‘ordinary’ people who did extraordinary things (doesn’t have to be in Lancashire either).

Opportunities for Rural Railways

(based on an opinion piece that appeared in The Yorkshire Post)

The coronavirus crisis poses huge challenges for the transport sector as a whole and for the more peripheral parts of the rail network in particular. Passengers have disappeared and some lines serving rural areas have had services temporarily suspended with bus replacements. The trains will come back, but it could take years to return to pre-virus patronage levels. And we will work and play in different ways.

The worst thing that the railway industry could do is to assume things will go ‘back to normal’ and Government will bail them out. There could even be a temptation in some quarters to use the pandemic to ‘do a Beeching’ and close some lines down permanently. Politically difficult but anything could happen.

The Rail Reform Group – an independent think-tank of railway professionals – recently published a series of papers called The Enterprising Railway, looking at opportunities to develop a railway based on ‘the common good’ rather relying on the discredited franchise system which is now effectively dead.

I contributed a paper which set out some ideas for how the more rural parts of the rail network could survive and prosper post-pandemic. The core argument is that railways in rural areas could be at the heart of local sustainable development which responds to people’s yearning for a better quality of life to the one we had pre-virus.

Local railways in the North of England are now operated by Northern Trains Ltd, a wholly-owned government company. Infrastructure is owned and managed by Network Rail, which is also state-owned. However, the ‘Northern Trains’ arrangement is not permanent and the big question is what will come after it.

Northern Trains is now state-owned. A Northern Blackpool – York service with a new class 195 descends Copy Bit on the last day that Arriva held the franchise.

Return to the private sector? Merging into a single, centralised GB Rail which Labour has proposed? Nobody really knows. There’s a vacuum waiting to be filled with creative but deliverable ideas.

The idea of learning from continental railways, where some rural networks are independently owned and managed, has been around for a long time. I delivered a paper at the National Railway Museum in York proposing local management and community control of rural rail networks back in 1992. Whilst the ‘community rail’ movement has grown and prospered, the basic structure of the rail industry hasn’t changed much since privatisation. What ‘community rail partnerships’ have achieved for many rural and semi-rural lines has been better services, improved stations, community awareness – and rising passenger numbers, until now.

It’s time to think how we can build on that success but recognise the realities of how today’s rail industry works.

The Harz Railway is a local government-owned business. A couple of HSB railcars at Eisfelder Talmuhle

Taking lines such as Middlesbrough – Whitby out of the current structure has its attractions but exposes rural lines to huge risks, such as the one we are currently going experiencing. Some of the independent ‘heritage railways’ are facing a very hard time ahead.

But what could work is a combination of greater local management, empowered to do much more than just run trains, with the security of being part of a much bigger network. Add to that a sister community-owned company responsible for marketing and promotion together with ‘complementary’ commercial activities.

In its submission to the Williams Review on the future of the railways, the Rail Reform Group argued for converting franchises – using ‘Northern’ as a pilot – into socially-owned businesses controlled by the community. It’s about applying a more co-operative approach. Government support would continue, but profits would go back into the railways, not to shareholders.

If ‘Northern Trains’ became a social enterprise with representation on its board from passengers, employees, local government and the business community, we’d be on the way to getting a railway that operates ‘for the common good’.

Looking at the rural network, trains should still be operated by Northern through a local business unit which could also take on routine track maintenance.

Busy scene at Settle station, with a northbound service about to depart. Catering is provided by the S&C Development Company

But alongside the operational side why not a development company that could provide ancillary commercial services including feeder bus links, electric and conventional bike hire and have the ability to invest in appropriate complementary activities, including in the hospitality sector? Part of the funding for the development company’s activities could come from share issues from what could be set up as a community co-operative.

This would be a jump from the current ‘community rail partnership’ model. However, this ’community business’ approach is already working with the Settle-Carlisle Railway Development Company, which operates trolley services and runs a station cafe at Skipton. It wants to do more.

The opportunity is there to think bigger, promoting affordable housing close to stations, complementary transport including bus and bike, and encouraging facilities at and around stations (post office, cafe, tourist information, accommodation). Supporting existing businesses to get back on their feet, and invest in new ones, should be part of the remit.

Now is also an opportunity to invest in the network bringing back links which were lost in the 1960s.

The trolley service on the Settle-Carlisle line is run by the Development Company, with friendly and helpful employees

Re-opening Skipton – Colne, Harrogate – Northallerton and York – Beverley and Garsdale – Hawes – Northallerton would provide much-improved connectivity in rural areas. Let’s take Mr Johnson at his word and ‘build, build, build’. Or just  ‘re-build’. (see www.railreformgroup.org.uk)

Across Belmont and Darwen Moors

During the lockdown I’ve been exploring parts of the Lancashire moors that I haven’t trod for many years. In some cases I’ve discovered entirely new places and paths. I’ve been able to justify it (as if any was needed) as part of my research for Moorlands, Memories and Reflections (see below).

Darwen’s Jubilee Tower

A particularly interesting area is that stretch of moorland between Winter Hill, Belmont, Withnell and Darwen. Two hundred years ago much of these moors were covered with coal mines, quarries and even (near Abbey Village) explosives factories. Many of the farms, where families eked out a very sparse living, were demolished when Liverpool Corporation took over much of the moors to develop water supplies for their growing population. You can still find the remains of farms such as Drinkwater’s, Great Hill, Pimm’s and many more – but it helps to have a detailed ordnance survey map. And watch out for sheep feigning injury (see below).

In the 19th century much of the land was out of bounds, with landowner’s ‘rights’ rigorously and sometimes violently enforced by teams of gamekeepers. The people of Darwen won their fight for access to the moors after a struggle lasting twenty years. Jubilee Tower (love it or hate it) was built partly to celebrate Victoria’s Golden Jubilee but also to mark the ‘freeing of the moors’. The same weekend that the Darreners celebrated their Victoria, in September 1896, people in Bolton were marching up Winter Hill in their thousands to reclaim a right of way that had been taken off them by the landowner, Colonel Ainsworth.

The Peak and Northern Footpath Society has done a great job in signing rights of way

Their fight, in the short term, was lost but today we are able to enjoy the lovely moorland scenery without being seen off by gamekeepers. A small monument celebrates that fight, along Coalpit Road where the disputed road to Winter Hill branches off to the right, as you come up from Bolton.

Beware of static sheep

One of the wetter walks across the moors was a mid-week wander from Tockholes to Hollinshead Hall (rems of) and over Great Hill to Drinkwater’s (rems of). We took the route taken by members of Bolton Labour Church on a walk in 1903. The family group of around 50 took the train to Darwen where they were met by more fellow socialists and then headed up Bold Venture Park and on to the recently-completed Jubilee Tower. They meandered down to Hollinshead Hall past ‘Owd Aggie’s’ and had a picnic amidst the ruins of the old hall. The old well house, which still survives, made for a good wishing well. They then set off across Great Hill and stopped at Drinkwater’s Farm where they were offered cups of milk from the farm.

Sheep at Drinkwater’s (rems of)

The party continued down through White Coppice and on to Chorley, where they caught the train back to Bolton. They were probably taking advantage of the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway’s ‘special offers’ allowing parties to travel out and back on different routes.

Of course none of this counts as ‘essential travel’ so we parked the car at Roddlesworth and walked. Near the ruins of Great Hill Farm it started to rain, quite heavily. Along the path we came across a sheep in what seemed a rather uncomfortable position. It was lying on its back, wedged into a narrow part of the path. It wasn’t showing much sign of life and it it looked like we had a dead sheep on our hands, or one very close to being.

A quite healthy-looking sheep, Great Hill

A brief debate led to a decision to call the Lancashire Constabulary. We were within a few yards of their domain and they were probably more likely to be interested than their more ‘urban’ Greater Manchester colleagues. Reception wasn’t good but I managed to get through to someone in Preston. I explained that the sheep seemed badly injured and unable to move. I offered the police officer details of our location, explaining that although it was shown as ‘Great Hill Farm’ on the map, it wasn’t actually a farm any longer owing to the probably unnecessary actions of Liverpool Corporation in the 1940s.

At that point I lost phone reception. The officer rang back and we completed our discussion; he promised to try and get someone to come up. At that point the sheep in question began to show more signs of life. It was decided that I should try and wrestle the sheep into an upright position. This wasn’t easy; the sheep was not only soaking wet but also very smelly. But in the end the ill-tempered beast was shifted and immediately hobbled away into the mist. Our diagnosis of it being a seriously injured sheep was clearly wrong. So it seemed as well to ring the Police back to explain that the reported ‘injured sheep’ had experienced a miraculous recovery. I got through to a different person at Constabulary HQ who was similarly helpful, and thanked me for updating them on the situation. We had performed our civic duty and the sheep would live to fight another day and con some other gullible walkers. And did we get any thanks from the sheep? Not a word.

A century of Moorlands and Memories

Progress on my next book – Moorlands, Memories and Reflections – is coming along well and should be with the printer in a couple of weeks. It is a celebration of Lancashire writer Allen Clarke’s  book, Moorlands and Memories, published in 1920. As the title suggests, it is more than a book about ‘the moorlands’. The memories go back to his childhood and upbringing in mid-Victorian Bolton. It is an intensely personal account, speaking of people he knew and loved. It is a truly remarkable collection of anecdote, history, literature, philosophy and fine descriptions of Lancashire scenery.

The book introduced me to some forgotten aspects of Bolton’s political and cultural history: the Winter Hill ‘Trespass’ of 1896 and the remarkable story of Bolton’s links with Walt Whitman.

Moorlands, Memories and Reflections is a conversation with Allen Clarke about places which we both love. Cycling and walking is at the heart of both books, and places like Entwtistle, Rossendale, Anglezarke and Pendle. It features the Winter Hill ‘Trespass’ of 1896, Lord Leverhulme, The remarkable ‘Larks of Dean’ singers and musicians, Edwin Waugh’s Well and Bolton’s links to Walt Whitman. It includes a chapter on the great ‘Barrow Bridge Picnic’ of 1901 in support of the locked-out Bethesda quarrymen. The new book will be hard cover and well illustrated, probably selling at about £25.

It would be good to get the original Moorlands and Memories re-printed, but depends on costs. I’m looking round for a suitable sponsor, so suggestions are very welcome. The last re-print was done in 1986, in a joint venture between myself and George Kelsall of Littleborough.

The Works

I’ve had a steady flow of orders for The Works, my novel set mostly in Horwich Loco Works in the 1970s and 1980s, but bringing the tale up to date and beyond – with a fictional story of a workers’ occupation, Labour politics, a ‘people’s franchise’ and Chinese investment in UK rail.  I’ve had lots of good reactions to it, with some people reading it in one session. The Bolton News gave it a 3-page spread See https://www.theboltonnews.co.uk/news/18396473.horwich-loco-works-inspiration-pauls-debut-novel/  . The response has been generally very positive, apart from a rather sour review in The Morning Star. Can’t win ‘em all.

If you want a copy I can offer it for £10 plus £2.50 postage to Salvo readers. Please make cheques payable to ‘Paul Salveson’ and post to my Bolton address above or send the money by bank transfer (a/c Dr PS Salveson 23448954 sort code 53-61-07 and email me with your address. If you are local I can do free delivery by e-bike (so just a tenner). There is a kindle version available price £4.99 and you can also buy it off Amazon. See www.lancashireloominary.co.uk

Next projects: The Red Bicycle

The next big project after Moorlands is another novel. I’m trying to learn from the experience gained from The Works, including reader feedback. This one will be called The Red Bicycle and is partly set in Bolton in the early 1900s – featuring mill life, working on the railway, local socialist politics, the Clarion Cycling Club and ‘everyday life’ – but also having a modern, post-virus aspect too. The narrator, for part of it, is a bicycle. Very Flann O’Brien, for those who’ve read The Third Policeman – but with a Lancashire accent. Probably an early 2021 publication.

I’m also working on an update of Socialism with a Northern Accent. It was first published by Lawrence and Wishart in 2012. Not sure quite what shape it will take, yet, but it feels timely.

Bolton Station Refurbishment: Job Done!

Work on the upstairs area along Bolton’s Platform 4/5 is virtually complete. This week, a small, socially-distanced, group of partnership members are being given an escorted tour by colleagues from Northern and contractors TMT. The job has been challenging, with rot found in some of the roof timbers.

How it was: a last look round the upstairs room in January before major renovation works commenced to transform the space into a community hub

But we got there in the end. Many thanks to Network Rail, Northern and conrtactors TMT. All we need now is to get the lease signed and start doing things….Look out for photos and updates on our twitter feed @bslcrp

Bolton Station Community Partnership’s walks with Bolton City of Sanctuary are having a cautious re-launch. On Saturday August 8th, together with Friends of the Bolton and Bury Canal, we’re doing a walk from Bolton towards Darcy Lever and on to Farnworth. Details will be announced shortly. It should be about 4-5 miles.

Bolton Station Community Partnership is launching a poetry competition. Successful entries will adorn different parts of Bolton station, and there are junior and adult sections. The theme of the competition is ‘The Journey’. The ‘over 25’ competition is now open for submissions with a closing date of August 31st 2020. The ‘under 25’ competition will be open from September 1st with a deadline of November 30th.

There are two age categories for the under 25 competition – under 16 and 16 -24. Entry will be limited to children, young people and young adults under 25 who are past and present Bolton Borough residents.

To read the full submission guidelines please click on the link below –

https://www.boltoncommunityrail.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/Poetry-from-the-Platforms-Submission-guidance.pdf

Yorkshire’s traveller through time

Colin Speakman’s latest book is a biography of a remarkable Yorkshireman, John Phillips (1800-74). He arrived in Yorkshire in 1819 as a penniless youth with is uncle, the geologist William ‘Strata’ Smith. Phillips was a man of many parts, becoming a skilled cartographer and geologist. He was secretary of the Yorkshire Philosophical Society and first Keeper of the Yorkshire Museum.  He became the first secretary of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, launched in York in 1831. He also liked railways and produced one of the very first railway guidebooks, Railway Excursions by the North Eastern Railway in 1853. It was a popular guide to scenic routes which included the Whitby to Malton line, much of which now forms part of the North Yorkshire Moors Railway.

Colin does his subject justice; it’s a very well written, engaging book which is superbly produced at a highly affordable price. Colin tells us that “John Phillips was one of the pioneering interpreters of the Yorkshire landscape, especially of the northern, western and eastern parts of the county. As an energetic rambler, few writers before or since have covered so many miles on foot, or had such an intimate yet scientific knowledge of the Yorkshire Coast, Moors, Dales and Wolds. Few have written about these areas with such eloquence combined with a scientific understanding.”

John Phillips: Yorkshire’s traveller through time is published Gritstone, price £15.

 

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Special Traffic Notices: Coming Events

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Saturday August 8th: Bolton City of Sanctuary Walk…details to follow

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The Salvo Publications List  – see www.lancashireloominary.co.uk

The Works (2020) published by Lancashire Loominary. My first novel , set in Horwich and Bolton in the 1970s and 1980s but bringing the story up to the present and beyond. Much of the action takes place in Horwich Loco Works and the campaign to save it from closure. In real life, it closed down in 1983. In the novel, after a workers’ occupation it is run as a co-operative, building both steam for heritage railways and modern eco-friendly trains for the world market. Price £12.99 from Amazon but special rates for Salvo readers buying direct (see above article ‘Delivering The Works’). Also on Kindle £4.99. ISBN 978-0-9559171-6-5

The Settle-Carlisle Railway (2019) published by Crowood and available in reputable, and possibly some disreputable, bookshops price £24. It’s a general history of the railway, bringing it up to date. It includes a chapter on the author’s time as a goods guard on the line, when he was based at Blackburn in the 1970s. The book includes a guide to the line, from Leeds to Carlisle. Some previously-unused sources helped to give the book a stronger ‘social’ dimension, including the columns of the LMS staff magazine in the 1920s. ISBN 978-1-78500-637-1

The following are all available from The Salvo Publishing HQ, here at 109 Harpers Lane, Bolton BL1 6HU. 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, number-plates 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, unsuccessful politician, amazingly popular dialect writer. Normal Price £15  – can now offer it for £10 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 pioneer 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 £10.00 including post and packing. New bi-centennial edition published in May 2019. Bolton’s links with the great American poet Walt Whitman make up one of the most fascinating footnotes in literary 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.

You can probably get a better idea from going to my website: http://www.lancashireloominary.co.uk

 

 

5 replies on “Northern Weekly Salvo 281”

Hi Paul, always interesting to read your Salvo. Lots to think about. Surely community rail should be at the centre of the revival of “non-essential” passenger travel on the railways? The value of community rail for both the volunteers and the wider public is massive. I actually think that travelling on trains for days out IS essential for us, the planet and the economies of the towns and villages that we visit. It is brilliant that Greater Manchester has a concessionary scheme for older people; it gets them out of their homes and circulates money in the regional economy. Think of places like Littleborough Coach House’s Cherry Tree Cafe; Stalybridge Station Buffet; George Kelsall’s Bookshop and umpteen other independent shops, cafes and pubs.

Apropos statues, one suggestion I have seen is that the vacant Colston plinth in Bristol could host a representation of Paul Stephenson, the guy who led the city wide action in the early 60’s to break the discriminatory colour bar employment practices of the Bristol Bus company – practices devised and partnered by both the employers and the local T&GWU Union. Stephenson led a US civil rights style boycott of the buses by the local black population, and this, together with pressures from within the national Labour and Trade Union leaderships, ended the colour bar. It was ground breaking stuff, and was a factor in the later passing of laws outlawing racial discrimination by the 1964-70 Wilson Governments. More on the boycott action here; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bristol_Bus_Boycott

A university history professor of my acquaintance, whose politics are well to the left (although he denies being an out-and-out communist) is totally against tearing down statues – any statues – as he says that it reduces history to a matter of ‘good versus bad’ and history is far more nuanced than that.
I have second cousins in the USA who are friends with a lot of cops; they say that these cops are just as appalled by what went on in Minneapolis, and other US cities, as anybody else but all are taking the blame.

Hi Paul,

So rescuing riggwelted sheep are we? Very commendable! And sheep are not smelly, they are lovely creatures.

“I don’t think ‘Black Lives Matter’ is the most helpful of campaign messages. ”

I cannot agree. One of the things that is most notable about BLM (and the Climate Emergency demos as well), is the engagement of young people from across the community. With the penetration of social media it is clear many young people like to ‘belong’ to a global world, to feel connected to that worldwide community, and Black Lives Matter is very much a rallying cry for that global campaign, just as taking a knee (my right one is NOT good and my left isn’t much better!) is a symbol of the solidarity that many feel with people of every ethnicity and every background.

Whilst I accept that racism is not as deeply embedded in the UK as it is in the US, it is still very much with us. I have observed it in my own village; I have neighbours who I love dearly, who wouldn’t want to live in a strongly ethnic community. Some years ago a property was up for sale and one of the potential purchasers was a surgeon (its a big house!). The owner said he would never fit into the village – he was of Asian heritage.

That kind of casual racism is still a feature of life in Yorkshire. It’s not all far right. It’s from across the political spectrum and I am as guilty as the next man when I don’t call it out (which with my neighbour I did, we agreed to differ).

That BLM is a global movement with a very large commitment by younger people gives me hope, as does the campaign for climate change. The likes of you and I need to stop trying to encourage our view, and listen. We will learn a lot!

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