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. 288 November 27th 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 on Lancashire Day, November 27th. And if you didn’t know it was Lancashire Day, you’re forgiven. Even many true Lancastrians have yet to cotton on. Whilst Yorkshire Day (August 1st) is well-established, Lancashire Day is relatively new, as you’ll see below. I hope The Salvo’s many Yorkshire readers will join us in celebrating the occasion. Just wish we’d picked a better time of year to have it, really.
This Salvo, as you’d expect, has a decidedly Lancashire feel, though not at all parochial. Oh no. It touches on wider issues around English regionalism and federalism, explored in greater detail in my ‘Compass’ report which is here: https://www.compassonline.org.uk/publications/for-a-progressive-regionalism/
Three cheers for Suzanne
I’ve always liked and admired Suzanne Moore’s writing and politics. I was shocked to hear about her treatment at The Guardian, that bastion of liberal and progressive thinking. I hope you will take time to read her article that has just been posted on Unherd. I agree with it 100%. It’s an awful indictment of what passes for ‘The Left’ today. Read it and weep: https://unherd.com/2020/11/why-i-had-to-leave-the-guardian/
What is/was Lancashire Day? (based on an article in The Bolton News, November 25th)
You celebrate it with a ‘loyal toast’ and ‘prato pie. November 27th is the ‘county day’ of Lancashire. It marks the occasion in 1295 when Lancashire sent its first representatives to Parliament, at the behest of King Edward 1. Unlike our Yorkshire neighbour, which has celebrated
‘Yorkshire Day’ on August 1st for many years, ‘Lancashire Day’ is relatively new, having only been established in 1996. The event is promoted by ‘The Friends of Real Lancashire’ and is observed with ‘the loyal toast’ to “The Queen, Duke of Lancaster.” The ‘Duke of Lancaster’, it should be said, is a ‘gender-neutral’ term and always applies to the reigning monarch. If you’re a republican, you can always toast someone else more akin to your sympathies. I think Annie Kenney would be good, the Oldham mill girl and suffragette who is now commemorated with a lovely statue in her home town.
But whatever. Since it was established 24 years ago, the event has grown in popularity. Across Lancashire, town criers announce the occasion and finish with the words “God bless Lancashire, and God save The Queen, Duke of Lancaster.” Bolton Council marks the occasion by flying the flag – the Red Rose of Lancashire – from public buildings. On Friday morning a plane will fly over Bolton carrying the Lancashire flag, thanks to the efforts of Friends of Real Lancashire.
But aren’t we in ‘Greater Manchester’ now? Well yes and no. Bolton, and neighbouring boroughs, were transferred into the new administrative body of ‘Greater Manchester’ in 1974, without much in the way of public consultation, let alone anything as democratic as a referendum. The change was not particularly popular, but people were allowed to retain their identity as part of ‘historic Lancashire’ and retain their ‘Bolton, Lancashire’ postal address.
Since then, it would be hard to say that Boltonians (and our neighbours in Wigan, Bury, Rochdale and Oldham) feel any less ‘Lancastrian’ and any more ‘Greater Mancunian’ than we did nearly fifty years ago. ‘Friends of Real Lancashire’ has been working hard to promote a continued sense of identity with the ‘historic Lancashire’ which took in most of what includes Greater Manchester and Merseyside, as well as ‘Lancashire North of the Sands’. This is an isolated part of the old county palatine north of Morecambe Bay, home to many retired Bolton people and others. It includes Barrow, Ulverston and Grange-over-sands, as well as Coniston Old Man – the highest point in Lancashire.
The historic county of Lancashire covers an area of 1,909 sq. miles with a population of almost five million people, stretching from the River Duddon in the Lake District in the north to the River Mersey in the south and from the Irish Sea in the west to the River Tame in the east.
Other Lancashire organisations include The Lancashire Society and Lancashire Authors’ Association, both of which promote Lancashire culture – both traditional and modern. The University of Bolton has friendly links with the Lancashire Authors’ Association. Interest in Lancashire dialect – both written and speech – remains strong. Interest in Lancashire history and culture is probably greater than ever, including among many whose heritage is overseas. Bolton’s own ‘Lancashire’ culture has been informed by an exotic patchwork of cultural traditions from India and Pakistan, Africa and eastern Europe.
The challenge of Lancashire’s ‘cultural’ organisations is to celebrate and maintain our past traditions but embrace the new and diverse. The cloth cap and muffler could risk choking us. By which I mean we need to get out of the rut of sentimental conservatism and an obsession with the past. There needs to be something over this side which complements the progressive, lively and radical ‘Same Skies’ group in West Yorkshire. It doesn’t need the patronage of earls and dukes, ‘loyal toasts’ to the Queen nor the approval of Tory MPs. It needs a radical edge, but one that might appeal across traditional boundaries. And here is one, seein’ as you asked….
A new group, ‘Lancashire United’ comes into existence on Lancashire Day 2020 with the aim of politically re-uniting Lancashire as a strong ‘county-region’ with an elected assembly enjoying similar powers to those of Scotland and other devolved administrations.
So on Friday, forget Covid-19 for a few hours and make a toast to Lancashire and tuck into a steaming dish of Lancashire hot-pot (vegan options available), complemented by some Lancashire-brewed ale!
Lancashire recipes for Lancashire Day (and after)
There are numerous recipes for Potato Pie (‘Prato Pie) on t’internet.
This one looks good: https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/member/views/lancashire-potato-pie-50054345
My own ‘signature dish’ is Lancashire Potato Cakes, based on what my grandma in Farnworth used to bake (not fry). There is a similar recipe in one of Allen Clarke’s novels (Driving: a tale of weavers and their work) which follows my grandma’s and is reproduced as an appendix in my Lancashire’s Romantic Radical. Potato Cakes also feature in one of Clarke’s Tales of a Deserted Village, set in Barrow Bridge. The action takes place on the occasion of the visit of Prince Albert who is spellbound by the delicious smell of the savoury cakes. So hopefully you will be too!
Lancashire Potato Cakes – Salvo’s Secret Recipe
The quantities can vary, obv. – this is enough for 2-3 people.
You will need:
- Mashed potato – cold, ideally cooked previous day, with salt and butter stirred in when warm, using 4 large spuds
- One egg, plain flour
Put the oven on very hot – around 220 degrees.
- Add the egg to the pan of mashed potato and then sufficient flour to stir into a firm dough.
- Separate the dough into smallish balls and pat out on a greased baking tray. Roll out by hand into circles about 4” in diameter, roughly ¼” thick.
- Place in the hot oven and bake until golden brown. Avoid over-cooking.
- Take out (avoid burnt fingers) and they are ready to serve – with butter, cheese, bacon or whatever.
I find they taste better if left for a few hours, or even overnight and re-heated. Always best served hot though.
You can be more creative and add spices to the mix – I’ve used curry powder, cumin and paprika, but use sparingly. Cumin seeds are OK.
Curried Hot Pot?
It’s probably true that curry is Lancashire’s most popular dish. Why not devise a fusion dish based on curried Lancashire hot pot? Dead easy, just add curry spices to the preparation and perhaps cook for a bit longer than normal. Create the dish as per normal recipes and cover with sliced potatoes.
Support Lancashire United! (not a football team…)
As more and more people celebrate ‘Lancashire Day’ by flying the red rose, the call has gone out to re-unite Lancashire and create a powerful county-region. Lancashire United is launched on November 27th and has set out a vision for a county-region that would re-integrate Greater Manchester and Merseyside with the remaining parts of Lancashire with an elected assembly having similar powers to those enjoyed by the devolved nations of the UK.
It’s about time. We need a vision for a new Lancashire which is forward-looking, inclusive and democratic, with real powers to address the economic, social and environmental challenges of the 21st century, post-Covid 19. So it doesn’t matter whether you’re white or black, male or female, gay or straight, born in Lancashire or from the other side of the globe. If you live here, and identify with Lancashire, you’re part of the solution. Lancashire United is a cross-party body which welcomes people from all backgrounds and beliefs.
The local government changes in the 1974s which saw proud Lancashire towns lose their identities, has been a disaster. Few people
identify as ‘Greater Mancunians’ but many people from Bolton, Rochdale, Wigan and elsewhere remain stubbornly proud of their Lancashire heritage. Probably the same is true for much of Merseyside.
Imagine what a powerful region it would be if the economic clout of Manchester, Liverpool, Preston and their neighbours was brought under one regional umbrella, in partnership with strong local government.
Lancashire United’s aims are:
- The promotion of a progressive, inclusive Lancashire identity that is welcoming to everyone regardless of race, ethnicity, gender or age
- The creation of a new Lancashire county-region which includes Greater Manchester and Merseyside
- The formation of a democratically-elected Lancashire Assembly, using a fair voting system
- The devolution of powers over transport, health, education, economic development, culture and tourism to the county-region, with democratic oversight
- The encouragement of informal Lancashire-wide networks in the areas of higher education and research, culture and the arts, sport and other areas
- The encouragement of democratic forms of social ownership – ‘a co-operative commonwealth’
- The empowerment of local government and town/parish councils
- Close and collaborative working with our neighbours in Cumbria, Yorkshire, Cheshire and Derbyshire and the formation of a Northern Confederation
See the full statement on http://lancashireloominary.co.uk/index.html/lancashire-re-united-the-case-for-a-new-county-region
There is a Lancashire United facebook page and also tweets as @lancsunited
A Lancashire Day Anniversary: Bolton and South Lancs Community Rail Partnership
Last year it was very different. We were able to celebrate Lancashire Day with a packed carriage of people marking the formation of Bolton and South Lancashire Community Rail Partnership. About 70 of us joined the train between Manchester, Bolton and Pretson with on-
board entertainment by Julie Proctor, Sid Calderbank and Mark Dowding. On or return to Bolton we were treated to Lancashire hot pot and Eccles Cakes. Poetry, including Allen Clarke’s A Gradely Prayer, was unveiled at Bolton station. Since then, progress has been rapid despite all the obvious problems.
The CRP has won funding from Northern, Bolton at Home, CrossCountry and Avanti to allow us to employ a full-time officer. Steph Dermott was appointed in June and has built up tremendous respect within the rail industry and wider community. Covid-19 hasn’t stopped us doing things and our sister organisation, Bolton Station Community Partnership, has been moving forward with arts and community-related projects at the station. Work on the station
buildings are virtually complete and final negotiations are underway with the University of Bolton to create a community arts hub in the extensive space on Platforms 4/5. It just remains for the accessible lift to go in, imminently. Meanwhile, three projects are under development in Wigan including the first of the ‘Clock Tower Trails’ which will link Wigan and Bolton using existing footpaths connecting intermediate
stations. The next phase will be Bolton to Salford and Manchester and good links have been established with Salford City Council. The CRP website is www.boltoncommunityrail.org.uk
Bolton Bicycle Bookshop
In the last Salvo I announced the arrival, with all bells tingling, of The Bolton Bicycling Bookshop is born! It’s proving a good way of getting out and about, and keeping fit. Marketing and distribution is always a problem for small publishers – OK, the internet helps but it can be very impersonal. It’s good building links with my readers and being able to deliver a signed copy of a book to a customer’s doorstep is a real pleasure, I have to admit.
The main delivery item at the moment is my new book celebrating the West Pennine Moors – Moorlands, Memories and Reflections. It marks the centenary of Allen Clarke’s book Moorlands and Memories which was about cycle rides and rambles around the West Pennines. Clarke was an avid cyclist and it’s highly appropriate that I’m able to deliver the book by bike.
Allen Clarke often brought along copies of his books to sign and sell on his ‘Speedwell’ cycling club trips in the 1920s. Another Northern writer who had a similar idea was Todmorden novelist William Holt who would deliver copies of his books on horseback (his faithful nag, Trigger).
Beer, coffee, pies, stamps, incense sticks: Good places to buy my books
A recent addition to my list of retail outlets is Bunbury’s real ale shop at 397 Chorley Old Road. The bar side of the business is currently shut but they are open for takeaway. I can recommend their oatmeal stout. Another slightly unconventional outlet is Darwen’s Whitehall Coffee
Shop and Emporium at 463 Bolton Road. It also sells a range of home brewing products, bags, incense and other things. Fletcher’s Newsagents on Markland Hill Bolton and The Pike Snack Shack on George’s Lane Horwich are stockists. So too Halliwell Road Post Office and George Kelsall’s bookshop in Littleborough. Justicia Fair Trade Shop on Knowlsey Street, Bolton, is a seller. Further afield the Pendle Heritage Centre at Barrowford as a supply. I’m hoping that the wonderful Pen-yr-allt Bookshop at Machynlleth will be taking a stock soon. Diolch! From December 2nd (after lockdown lifts) my books will also be available at The Carnforth Bookshop, a short walk from the station.
Winter Hill 125 wins union support
Plans to celebrate the 125th anniversary of the 1896 Winter Hill ‘mass trespass’ are coming along well and gaining support amongst Bolton’s trades unions. I spoke at a zoomed meeting of Bolton Trades Council last week, following a similar talk to Bolton Unison. Lots of support.
The celebration will take place on Sunday September 5th 2021 – get it in your diary now! My book on the mass trespass is available price £5 (plus postage if not local) – see below.
Moorlands, Memories and Reflections
My ‘centenary celebration’ of Allen Clarke’s classic book of the Lancashire hills, Moorlands and Memories, is selling well. Must be Christmas panic buying. I’ve already had some really good feedback from customers, with several ‘repeat purchases’, so it can’t be that bad. One reader said “I finished reading the book yesterday, it is a delight. I have been walking and cycling in the area for more than 50 years and I have been reminded of so many places, people, events, and I have learned much that I did not know.”
It’s priced at £21 plus £4 post and packing or free local delivery. Special rates if mailing to furrin parts. Details are on my ‘Lancashire Loominary’ website www’lancashireloominary.co.uk or email me for details at email@example.com
New product line: Lancashire-themed face masks!
The next production of Lancashire Loominary will be a ‘Bolton – Lancashire’ facemask. The ideal fashion accessory for the health-conscious Lancastrian Trotter. Should be available quite soon and will cost £6. The design will feature a Lancashire rose with the words ‘Bolton – Lancashire’. The ideal Covidmas present. May do it as a t-shirt when it gets warmer.
The Tripe Marketing Board (of which I am a member) is possibly the UK’s most progressive offal-based trade association. Just in time for Christmas, it has issued its ever-popular Diary, for 2021. It does indeed make the ideal Christmas present, at least alongside Moorlands, Memories and Reflections. As well as including 365 different dates of the year, the diary is interspersed with useful features, such as the results of ‘TripeDog 2020’, won by Pee-Pee. Profiles of celebrities with a taste for
Tripe feature, including Nancy Sinatra. It should also be said that tripe-based dishes could be ideal for those Christmas parties when, in the current situation, you don’t want family guests to stay too long. The foreword by Sir Norman Wrassle, chairman of the TMB, is characteristically under-stated, self-effacing and delicate in tone. But he ends with a clear rallying call to eat more of this basic Lancashire delicacy: “if it was good enough for your granddad, then it’s good enough for you.” I’ll say ‘amen’ to that. See www.tripemarketingboard.co.uk for more details
Hannah Mitchell Foundation re-founded
The HMF is alive and kicking, once again! The annual general meeting was held by zoom on November 23rd and was well supported, considering we’ve been near-dormant for over three years. A new steering group has been elected and we agreed to seek partners in a new ‘Campaign for Northern Devolution’. We also have a new website, still very much work in progress: www.hannah-mitchell.org.uk. We’re also out there on facebook and twitter. The foundation is about promoting discussion on democratic devolution to the regions of the North.
Family Business by Ged Melia
I’m enjoying reading this new novel by Ged Melia. It’s about the rise of a family transport business in Bolton, covering the period from the First World War through to the 1950s. It’s a gripping story revolving around two brothers and the tensions between them and other members of the family. The story closely follows the history of the ‘family firm’ as well as the wider history of Bolton itself. There are lots of familiar places featured and Ged has done his homework on the pattern of local 20th century development. It has echoes of Arnold Bennett’s Clayhanger and really has a feel for a business sector which is seldom documented in literature. Published by GHP and available on amazon
I was very saddened to hear of the death of Doug Hamilton last week. Many readers will remember him as Head of Passenger Transport at Durham County Council until his retirement a few years ago. He had been living in Lymm, near Warrington, since his move from Durham. Doug’s early career was with the Scottish Region of BR, in the chief civil engineer’s department. He had a deep knowledge of Scottish railways and loved reminiscing about his work in the Borders. He will be sadly missed; condolences to his family.
Special Traffic Notices: Coming Events
ALL STILL CAPED…But:
The Salvo Publications List – see www.lancashireloominary.co.uk
Moorlands, Memories and Reflections (2020) A hundred years ago Lancashire writer Allen Clarke published a forgotten masterpiece – Moorlands and Memories, sub-titled ‘rambles and rides in the fair places of Steam-Engine Land’. Clarke’s biographer, Professor Paul Salveson, has published a new book celebrating Clarke’s original and bringing the story of Lancashire’s moorland heritage up to date. Maxine Peake, in her foreword to Paul’s book, says “Hill walking, cycling, literature, philosophy, protest and The North…. these are a few of my favourite things.” She adds “Paul Salveson’s new book on Allen Clarke is irresistible.” See the website for details of how to buy: http://lancashireloominary.co.uk/index.html/order-form
The Works (2020). 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.
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 local postage or £3 further afield in UK. 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.
‘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 plus post and packing. 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.
You can get a better idea from going to my website: http://www.lancashireloominary.co.uk