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: firstname.lastname@example.org
Publications website: www.lancashireloominary.co.uk
No. 283 August 4th 2020
Salveson’s half-nakedly political digest of railwayness, tripe and secessionist nonsense from Up North. Sometimes weekly, usually not; 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, sleepy Hungarians, members of the clergy and the toiling masses, generally. All views expressed are my own and usually nobody else’s. Official journal of the Station Cat Improvement Network, Pacer Dining Club, Station Buffet Acceleration Council 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
Greetings from Locked-Down and Out Bolton. The ‘Lockdown Phase 2’ hasn’t gone down too well here in Trottertown, I have to say. Unsurprisingly, the Far Right has jumped on to the bandwagon and blamed ‘The Asians’ but at least Bolton’s ruling Tory group has had the sense to suspend one of their councillors who posted a blatantly racist rant about BAME communities, the Chinese and whoever else he could think of (including his own Government) to blame. Yes, across parts of the North we’re seeing a rise in the infection rate, though not here at the moment. Maybe we are all to blame to some extent, following the relaxation of lockdown last month and mixed messages about what’s safe.
I accept that you can’t have too localised lock-down rules and perhaps ‘Greater Manchester’ and parts of Lancashire is the sort of scale you need. The big issue though is consent. This was imposed on us by a London-centric government which hasn’t much of a clue about anywhere north of Watford and whose handling of the Pandemic has been shambolic.
What trust they did have has been largely squandered through numerous U-turns and the antics of Cummings. It seems that Andy Burnham was ‘consulted’ about ‘Lockdown 2’ and gave it the OK, but the whole thing highlights how marginalised the North of England is. Compare us (population of over 15 million) with Scotland and Wales, which have got a degree of control over their nations’ destinies. The ‘North’ isn’t a nation (might be a good idea) but is a very large region with a growing sense of identity (discuss). Covid-19 has shown how powerless we are.
One example of the impact of the latest pronunciamento is the effect on local restaurants. The new rules don’t say we can’t go out for a meal, but the effect of the media hype, and lack of detail, has been to scare people into not going out. We had a lovely meal at our favourite Indian (The Lagan, Lostock) last night but there was only a handful of other diners. The manager said they’d been doing well recovering from the lockdown – until last week’s announcements. Empty tables, cancellations – despite all the trouble they, and thousands of other small businesses, have gone to in making sure they are safe. It’s not good and we currently have a toxic mix of general frustration, business set-backs and racist provocation. It’s a big conceptual leap, but the North needs its own accountable and trusted government which could handle crises such as this one with the consent of the people, not arbitrary impositions by a remote bunch of silly billies in London.
Take the train, somewhere, please….
It’s OK to use the train. Official. I’ve made a few journeys in the last couple of weeks, including a pleasant outing to Barrow-in-Furness (see below).
The train was about 10% full, with part sealed off so the conductor could avoid contact with passengers. A trip to Crewe a few days earlier had no such arrangements. Some trains have got seats taped off, others haven’t. All a bit odd and inconsistent. Maybe different depots are determining their own procedures, even if it’s the same company. I’m obviously missing something, maybe friends in Northern will lighten my darkness.
But anyway, punctuality is high and you’ve no trouble finding a seat. Trains are still very, very quiet. Compare my recent trip to Barrow with throngs of motorists heading up the M6 to the Lake District. We’ve a lot of persuading to do if rail is going to make a recovery to patronage levels anywhere near pre-Covid.
It’s going to be particularly hard to get people using the more rural parts of the network, typically those covered by community rail partnerships. Services on some routes were cut completely during the worst of the lockdown, with ‘rail replacement buses’ provided to carry round fresh air. Some routes around England are still suspended with replacement buses provided instead. I can understand the logic but I don’t accept it.
If you’re running a large network with a mix of commuter, long-distance and for want of a better word ‘rural’ services, it will always be the rural services which get chopped first, with staff redeployed to operate ‘busier’ services. Yet the impact on rural communities will be serious, as well as deterring visitors from using the train.
All the arguments which have been made since the mid 90s for locally-managed railways come back to play. We have yet to learn the lessons from the local railways of Germany, Switzerland and other countries where the local train is the top priority, not the bottom one; because that’s their only priority. More on this on the Rail Reform Group website www.railreformgroup.org.uk
Lancashire day out to Ulverston, Barrow and Walney Island
Ulverston and Barrow-in-Furness are Lancashire towns. ‘Lancashire North of the Sands’ to be precise. As with comments above, nobody asked them if they wanted to be part of ‘Cumbria’ back in the 1970s. It would be interesting to see if Barrovians and Ulverstonians still regard themselves as Lancastrians; I suspect many do, just as most Boltonians, Owdhamers, Rochdalians and Wiganers regard themselves as Lancastrian. Ulverston still has its ‘Red Rose Club’ and the Barrow RMT banner proudly displays the red rose. In an age in which we get ‘consulted’ about everything under the sun, the really big decisions about identity, place, whether we go to war – avoid the consultancy game.
Sorry, didn’t mean to go into a rant, I was just going to tell you about my enjoyable day out with Martin Bairstow, the noted railway historian and Yorkshireman. We ‘took train’ to Ulverston, knowing the weather forecast was dire.
The coastal scenery between Carnforth, Grange and Barrow is always wonderful regardless of the weather. We didn’t have long in Ulverston, about an hour and half to look round and find somewhere to eat. The sit-in facility at The Chippy Bank was closed so we opted for their take-away fish and chips. It was absolutely delicious, though finding somewhere dry to eat proved a challenge. We managed after a fashion and then set off to look round the attractive town. A coffee would be nice, we agreed. Gillam’s Tea Rooms was closed but nearby Poppies on Union Street was open and we got a table. Throwing caution to the wind we went for the scones with jam and cream to go with our coffee. Truly scrumptious. By now, rather bloated, it was time for our ‘express’ bus to Barrow via Roa Island, the X11. The cafe staff knew exactly where to catch it from, top marks again.
Buses in Ulverston tend to shirk the town centre for understandable reasons – the streets are quite narrow – though I think our little minibus would have made it. Service X11 is operated by local company Blueworks whose main business is taxis. The service would, in bygone times, have been a classic ‘tendered’ route funded by the local authority. Sadly, Cumbria County Council don’t do that sort of thing anymore. Instead, the operator runs it for the benefit of the community and gets a bit of help from local people, via ‘Friends of the X112’. Blueworks runs two ‘rural’ routes: ours (X11) from Ulverston to Barrow along the coast road and Roa Island, and the X12 service from Barrow to Coniston, on alternate days.
It’s a good business model for a lightly-used rural bus service. Instead of the vagaries of tendering where a good operator might lose out to a predatory but cheaper large company, you get a degree of continuity and local support. It’s that man again
This is community transport par excellence, not something provided ‘for’ you, but a service run with you. The driver was friendly and helpful, offering help with the one other passenger get her bags out of the bus and dropped off at the doorstep. She was also happy to do a photo stop at Roa Island for a picture showing the bus by the site of the old station. Thanks, Blueworks, I will be back to sample your X12. For timetables see https://blueworksph.com/ Friends of the X112 has a facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/FriendsoftheX112/
We got to Barrow unsure of what to do for the next two hours, having just missed a train back down the coast. Conveniently, we got to a bus stop just as a Stagecoach service announcing ‘West Shore’ hove into view. We correctly assumed this would take us to Walney Island, with time to take the air, now it had stopped raining. The no. 4 service is well used, operating at 15 min intervals, serving the large council estates on the island.
So a grand day out. Gradely even. We got back to Barrow with time to look round the town centre, mourn the passing of Dixon’s Cafe, and head for home on the 15.52 Airport service.
What we did on our Welsh mini-holiday, pubs mostly
It was a spur-of-the-moment decision to go to Wales, but a good one. A very sociable trip, great to catch up with friends Penny, Les and David. It had to be made by car, enabling visits to Aberglasney Gardens and the National Botanic Gardens of Wales, located close to each other in rural Carmarthenshire. We stayed the first night at The Red Lion in Knighton, good to see that Neil is doing OK with the B&B business. Unlike England, pubs and restaurants are, for now, only able to service drinks and food to be enjoyed outside.
The Red Lion hasn’t got a beer garden so we had an enjoyable breakfast in our room. We stopped off for coffee/coffi at The Sosban in Llanwrtyd; they were making good use of the riverside gardens. Nice to see the directional signs for the ‘Heart of Wales Line Trail’ and sorry we missed the HoWL Trail Bitter in the Neuadd Arms, which also serves as the Official HQ of the Monster Raving Loony Party.
Both gardens we visited are magnificent though I’d say that Aberglasney has the edge. When I went 15 years ago it was still being restored; it’s amazing what they’ve achieved. That isn’t to say the Botanic Gardens aren’t fabulous, though the site is crying out for a miniature railway to take you round. Between Aberglasney and The Botanic Gardens is Dryslwyn Castle (7018) and its associated railway station.
Much remains, clearly very well looked after by its owner. I mean the station of course. Odd that loco 7018 carried the name ‘Drysllwyn Castle’ with two ‘l’s. A Swindon mistake?
We spent the night at the St Govan’s inn at Bosherston. Another lovely pub trying its best in difficult circumstances. It wasn’t raining and we were able to eat outside. There’s much to see and do around here – we did a circular walk taking in the ‘lily ponds’, Stacpole Quay and the magnificent coastal walk back. It must be done of the best coast walks in the UK.
We then headed north via Pembroke, Neyland and Haverfordwest to the very un-Welsh sounding village of ‘Rosebush’.
Connoisseurs of unusual pubs will know it as the location of Tafarn Sinc, or ‘The Zinc Hotel’, built from corrugated iron sheets. It is by the site of the old station on the loop from Letterston Junction (south of Fishguard) to Clynderwen which closed back in 1937. The pub, which is community-owned, has created a ‘railway garden’ with some track and part of the original platforms.
The semi-covered annex was very handy in the driving rain. Rosebush itself had some of the richest slate quarries in Wales, if not the world, but they were worked out by the 1930s.
From Rosebush we headed across the Preseli Mountains via Newcastle Emlyn to Lampeter where we’d booked in at The Falcondale Hotel. It’s a magnificent mid-Victorian hotel, built in the Italianate style with lovely grounds. The rain had stopped sufficiently to enjoy a meal on the terrace. In the morning we had breakfast in our spacious room which was a real treat. We then headed for home, pausing to look round the fascinating second-hand shop on the outskirts of Lampeter (on the road to Tregarron). I came away with some much-desired crocosmia and also a brick from Amamnford Colliery. You never know what you find in these places. We stopped off at The Boathouse, by Ellesmere, for a cream tea. Excellent scones. So a good few days, for pubs, cream teas, coast walks, gardens and bricks.
Black guards matter: In praise of Asquith
Good to see that the man who challenged BR’s colour bar at Euston is being recognised by the BBC. The family of a black train guard who overturned a racist recruitment policy at Euston railway station in the 1960s has said he has been omitted from history lessons. Asquith Xavier won the right to work at the station in 1966, but received hate mail and death threats. “I think he’s such a positive example, and one we really need at the moment,” his grand-daughter Ms Xavier-Chihota said on the centenary of his birth on 18 July.
Asquith, who lived in Chatham, Kent, worked as a guard at Marylebone Station and in 1966 applied for a promotion at Euston, where guards were paid an extra £10 a week. At the time the station was operating a whites-only recruitment policy, a ban enforced by the local unions and station management. His story made its way to parliament, and the then secretary of state for transport Barbara Castle. As a result of his action, on 15 July 1966 BR announced colour bars at London stations had been scrapped. When he began work he continued to face racist abuse and at times had a police guard. Mr Xavier, who died in 1980, was part of the Windrush generation, moving to England from Dominica after World War Two. “He believed that black people’s lives mattered equally,” Mrs Xavier-Chihota said.
Civic Revival is launched: kindred spirits sought
We were able to participate in last Friday’s launch of ‘Civic Revival’ after we’d found reception up in the Preseli Mountains. It’s the brainchild of Peter Stonham, publisher of Local Transport Today, and is being run by Richard Walker, another good mate who is on secondment from his job at the Department for Transport. Civic Revival’s website tells us:
“We believe people across the country are looking to, willing to, and able to take greater responsibility for reviving their local communities. Many are already doing so, inspired by one or more of the five themes we identify above…” It continues…
”At Civic Revival we are seeking to connect these important building blocks, each one of which helps support the others. Together they add up to a framework for empowerment to create places that feel attractive, lively and thriving because they have kept and are using the qualities that make them distinctive, rather than struggling because they have lost them. Read our mission statement in full here. Civic Revival is based in Hastings, Bolton and London. Meet us here. Across our five themes, we are gathering reports and curating what we find to be useful thinking about the necessary and the possible. Our own views are found at ‘In Our Opinion’. We’d love to meet like minds. See how you can connect with us.”
I like it being based in ‘”Hastings, Bolton and London”, with the capital coming third after Bolton. It’s early days but I think there’s a niche for Civic Revival and I hope Salvo readers will take up the offer to ‘connect’.
A bit more from Civic Revival…People, places and empowerment
“For most of us, the places we live and regularly go are part of the structure of our lives. They are the setting for our own life stories and give us a feeling of belonging, continuity with the past, a set of common experiences and a sense of pride: they form part of our identity.
In Britain we have a fabulous heritage of thousands of towns, villages, cities, city neighbourhoods and suburbs that are all distinct ‘places’. Each has its own history and character, its own genius loci – spirit of place. In each can be found things that have meaning: telling stories of achievement in the past, or examples of people striving to do well now. By and large people are proud of their place, and love to see it thrive. They are also pleased to tell the story of their place, and share it with visitors.
At Civic Revival we are searching for the crucial factors that determine whether a particular place – neighbourhood, town or local area – has the feeling of identity, custody and self-esteem that make it a good place to live in or go to: the ‘something special’ that distinguishes it from elsewhere.
But instead we find far too many of our places seeming threatened or beaten by an economic system gone malign: some neglected, hollowed out; others actively ruined by greed and soullessness. Four decades of ‘the wrong kind of globalisation’ have damaged not only our places; they have damaged our sense that we can be active custodians of our own destiny.
This era may now be passing. At Civic Revival we believe there is an opportunity now to shape the next economic era, and repair that damage. We believe that action at the local level must be placed centre stage. Getting places right can be the key to recognising and nurturing people and their aspirations, as well as being a general source of delight.
We argue that the worst form of ‘governance’ is when things are done to people. It’s slightly better when they are done for people, although that is not a very good way to support the sharing of responsibility. It’s positive when things are done with people, as that brings a genuine sense of involvement. But it’s best when they are done by people for themselves – which is the empowerment of communities and groups that we call civic activism.
In places across the country exciting things are already happening, and glimpses of a better future can be seen. But, sadly, they feel like they remain generally the exception, not the rule. Our mission is to find out more about the good things happening, develop and share understanding of what works and what doesn’t, and do what we can to spread the word of what we call the civic revival.
On this website you’ll find the background and intentions of the group who have come together to do this. We hope that you’ll share our passion and ambition, and connect with us and others of like mind.”
Moorlands, Memories and Reflections
No Salvo is complete without an update on my Moorlands, Memories and Reflections. 2020 is the centenary of the publication of Allen Clarke’s Moorlands and Memories, sub-titled ‘rambles and rides in the fair places of Steam-Engine Land’. It’s a lovely book, very readable and entertaining, even if he sometimes gets his historical facts slightly wrong.
It is set in the area which is now described as ‘The West Pennine Moors’ stretching from Bolton to Chorley, Blackburn, Pendle and Rossendale. It also includes some fascinating accounts of life in Bolton itself in the years between 1870 and the First World War, with accounts of the great engineers’ strike of 1887, the growth of the co-operative movement and the many ‘characters’ whom Clarke knew as a boy or young man.
My book is a centenary tribute to Clarke’s classic – Moorlands, Memories and Reflections. It isn’t a ‘then and now’ sort of thing though I do make some historical comparisons, and speculate what Clarke would have thought of certain aspects of his beloved Lancashire today. There are 28 chapters, covering locations and subjects which Clarke wrote about in the original book, with a few additions.
It includes the Winter Hill rights-of-way battle of 1896, a few additional snippets about the Bolton ‘Whitmanites’, handloom-weaving, the remarkable story of ‘The Larks of Dean’ and Lancashire’s honourable tradition of supporting refugees. I will publish it as my second ‘Lancashire Loominary’ product and it will also sell at around £25 depending on final costs for printing. It should be out late September/early October.
Gondolas of the People: a tram celebration
I’ve started doing a regular feature for The Bolton News’ ‘Looking Back’ feature.
It will cover some of the less well-known aspects of Bolton’s history. Here is the latest piece, telling the story of Bolton’s trams – a fine example of municipal enterprise. The link to the feature is here:
Bolton’s Community Rail Hub’ takes shape
Nearly, nearly there. The restoration of Bolton station’s upstairs offices and meeting rooms on Platforms 4/5 is nearly complete. Some of the partitions have been taken out to create larger spaces making it feel less cramped. The toilet facilities have been completely renewed as well as kitchen space. The last bit of the jigsaw will be the lift, to make the facility fully accessible. That will go in later this year – work has already started. It is hoped that the University of Bolton will take on the lease for the space but the use will be for a mix of community, and student purposes, rather than academic.
Garden Railway Phase 3 Complete
The extension of the Heights of Halliwell Garden Railway, also known as GR Phase 3, is complete.
Trains are running but the hoped-for official launch has been postponed due to Lockdown Phase 2. Phase 1 has been slightly delayed owing to Phase 4 being prioritised, coupled with an unexpected surge of tripe infection at Phase 2b.
Con tha speik Lanky?
Catherine Green is presenting a series of talks for Radio 4 on ‘Dialect’. She now has an online link to ‘Tongue and Talk’: the Dialect Poets’. The first episode – from last year’s Dialect Festival – goes out at 4:30pm on Sunday 16th August and will available for a month on BBC sounds: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000lsv2
Sheep rush for last cheese and onion pie at The Pike Snack Shack
A warmly recommended place to stop for a light snack is The Pike Snack Shack on George’s Lane, on the way up to Rivington Pike. It has been open since March and offers takeaway food and drinks which can be enjoyed from the adjacent benches. You can even see what remains of Horwich Loco Works.
On a recent visit our lunch was interrupted by the incursion of about 500 sheep, on their way down from Winter Hill to the nearby farm for their annual trim.
The Works: a tale of love, lust, labour and locomotives
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. 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
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. Flann O’Brien (cf The Third Policeman) would have approved. Probably an early 2021 publication.
James Kay of Turton Tower
Richard Horrocks has written and published an important book on the life and work of James Kay, once resident at Turton Tower. He invented the ‘west spinning process’ for flax in 1825 which enabled the Irish linen industry to take off. His invention enabled very fine linen yarns to be produced by steam-driven machinery. It is comparable in importance to Crompton’s invention of the spinning mule which revolutionised cotton spinning. Kay’s wet spinning process is still the basis of modern linen spinning, mainly concentrated in Russia and China. The price from the author/publisher is £10.00 including 2nd class postage. It can be purchased from Turton Tower for £7.50 when it opens again. Contact email@example.com; address 10 Easedale Road, Bolton, BL1 5LL.
In Excited Times
Nigel Todd has just re-published a fascinating account of anti-fascist campaigns on Tyneside and Wearside. In Excited Times: The People Against The Blackshirts, first published in 1995, reveals the extensive web of fascist sympathisers that existed in the North-east, the shadowy presence of MI5 and the work of anti-fascist campaigners “for whom the Second World War began long before 1939.” It includes a lot of contemporary material including photographs. He highlights the work of the writer Jack Common, son of a Heaton railwayman, who became editor of The Adelphi arts magazine. But the book has a very strong contemporary relevance. Nigel writes: “Once more, fascism is virulent in Europe. From gangs of swastika-waving thugs fire-bombing refugee hostels and black families, and on to political parties attracting millions of votes…we again face the elements of a nightmare thought to be dead and buried half a century ago. So, how our predecessors dealt with a similar challenge is surely of more than passing interest?” Published by Bewick PressTyne and Wear Ant-Fascist Association ISBN-898880-0-1-8
A Lakeland Boyhood
I reviewed David Clarke’s fine autobiography, A Lakeland Boyhood, in the last Salvo. Here’s a reminder that it’s well worth buying. It’s a very important addition to the large corpus of ‘Lakeland’ literature, written by someone who knows and loves the Lakes, but doesn’t have an over-sentimentalised view of what life was really like. Warmly recommended at £12.99 from Hayloft Publishing Ltd.
Yorkshire’s traveller through time
Same goes for Colin Speakman’s latest book – the biography of a remarkable Yorkshireman, John Phillips (1800-74). A very well written, engaging book which is superbly produced at a highly affordable price. John Phillips: Yorkshire’s traveller through time is published Gritstone, price £15.
Special Traffic Notices: Coming Events
ALL STILL CAPED…But Bolton City of Sanctuary walk being planned for later this month
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). 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. 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 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 wrote a great song about the events – ‘Will Yo’ Come O’ Sunday Mornin’?’ Only a couple left, but forthcoming Moorlands, Memories and Reflections has quite a lot about it.
You can probably get a better idea from going to my website: http://www.lancashireloominary.co.uk