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Northern Weekly Salvo 271

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

No. 271  November 23rd     2019

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, 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. Full of creative ambiguity, possibly. Promoting moderate rebellion and sedition, within reason.

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

General gossips

Sorry for the gap. This has mainly been caused by operational difficulties. Not leaves on the line but a nasty case of hacking.

Autumn in Barrow Bridge

Thanks to help from my technical advisor (Simon) everything is back in good order, with the exception of the ‘comments’ section of the website. If you want to make any comments on this issue, please send them by email under subject heading ‘Salvo 271’ but give the comments section a try just in case…

This issue covers a varied range of stuff. Did someone say something about a General Election? Can’t really avoid it, but there’s also some snippets about Lancashire authors, my forthcoming novel, Settle-Carlisle book and lots more. There should be another issue before Christmas so I’ll refrain from premature greetings.

That election

We needed to have a General Election. The Parliamentary stasis couldn’t continue and the only way to break the Brexit logjam is to get a new government. Yet the prospect of a Johnson-led government fills me with dread, I have to say. Assiduous readers of the Salvo will remember the relatively optimistic forecast of Labour’s prospects in 2017. I find it hard to be as positive now, with the ‘remain’ vote fragmented and the Tories having marginalised the Brexit Party (or should I say, have become ‘The Brexit Party’). I’ve never been an admirer of Corbyn (still less the people he surrounds himself with) but the reality is, here in England, in most places Labour offers the best chance to defeat Johnson’s lot. Take my own constituency, Bolton West. It’s a Tory marginal. In 2017, the TSSA-sponsored Labour candidate, Julie Hilling, came close – but not close enough – to winning. The Liberal Democrats came a poor third. There’s a risk that some disillusioned Labour voters will switch to Lib Dem, or Green – and I understand their feelings. Sadly – and I hate to say it – the bigger the Lib Dem and Green vote in many places, the more chance there will be of letting the Tories back in.

What would Harry Pollitt (devout Lancastrian, communist and railway engineer) have said? Vote Labour but vote tactically where it makes sense

I could, I suppose, stand on my principles and censure Labour for not bringing in PR when they had the opportunity, under Blair, and say they are the architects of their own misfortune. But we are where we are and it makes political sense to vote for the candidate best placed to defeat the Conservatives. So well done Plaid, Greens and Lib Dems for coming to an agreement for a ‘progressive alliance.’ But in most places up North, a vote for Labour, with all the misgivings about their useless performance on Brexit, is the best option. Not exactly a ringing endorsement, but let’s look at their manifesto in the next issue. Compass (www.compassonline.org.uk) offers good advice on campaigning for a progressive alliance. Meanwhile, a quick note on ‘The Leaders” question time. All four performed reasonably well but the person who really shone, in my view, was Nicola Sturgeon.

Autumn at Barrow Bridge

It was wonderful to get away from Brexit, Trump and the election by a morning stroll up to Barrow Bridge (or ‘Barrowbridge’), on a fine cold Autumn morning. The route was ‘down the cobbles’ from the house, over Moss Bank Way and then up the woodland path off Temple Road to Smithills Hall. Then by Smithills Deane, in the footsteps of the Winter Hill rights of way campaigners of 1896, to Sheep House Farm, with commanding views across Bolton to Manchester and the Derbyshire Hills.  Crystal clear apart from the low-lying city smog. One or two mill chimneys left – at nearby Barrow Bridge, Falcon Mill and not much else.

Barrow Bridge, with Bleach Works chimney beyond. Deane Mills were to the left of the picture but closed in 1863

The fine Bee Hive Mills were destroyed a couple of weeks ago. A century ago Allen Clarke, writing in Moorlands and Memories, wrote of ‘the grand view’ from up here, despite the hundreds of mill chimneys which then covered the urban landscape below. I think he was more interested in the views looking up, to Winter Hill and Rivington. He also wrote of ‘the model village’ Barrow Bridge. It’s still a very pretty place and the mill cottages have been brought back to use after falling derelict when the mills closed in the 1860s (yes, that’s not a typo!). Walking down by the Deane Brook is a delight at any time of year, but particularly in Autumn, on a day like this. I took the ‘semi-official’ route back, by the side of Victoria Lake which brings you out in the woods near Smithills Croft. Another wooded path takes you up to Forest Road and across Moss Bank Way. There’s a further path through the woods and above the old quarry back to Harpers Lane. Lucky to live close to such a delightful walk.

Summat good fro’ Yorkshire

Over the last few months I’ve been working with Barnsley, Wakefield, Doncaster and the combined authorities for South and West Yorkshire on ideas for a new community rail partnership. The area roughly covers the former coalfield area and it made sense to call it ‘The Yorkshire Coalfields Community Rail Partnership’.

Typical Yorkshire scene

The CRP was formally established at a meeting in Barnsley last week. The key elements of the Action Plan comprise four main areas of work, based on implementing appropriate parts of the DfT Community Rail Development Strategy. The following are cross-cutting themes which relate to each of the four pillars:

  • Promoting Access to Employment, Training and Education
  • Making stations part of the communities they serve
  • Promoting the town and city centres served by the local rail network
  • Making ‘The Yorkshire Coalfields’ a unique and attractive visitor destination
  • Promoting use of a customer-focused transport network, making best use of rail and bus

In addition, it is intended to go forward with some quick wins, including a leaflet promoting the network and the communities it serves. The routes which the CRP will cover, initially, are:

  • (Leeds) – Castleford – Wakefield Kirkgate – Barnsley – Chapeltown – Sheffield
  • (Leeds) – Wakefield Westgate – Moorthorpe – Sheffield
  • (Leeds) Wakefield Kirkgate – Knottingley/Doncaster (via Askern)
  • (Sheffield) – Moorthorpe – Sherburn-in-Elmet – (York)
  • (Sheffield) – Rotherham – Swinton – Doncaster

Until funding is sourced to employ a development worker, the CRP will be resourced by Alan Hart of Barnsley Council, supported by his colleagues at Wakefield and Doncaster councils. It will work closely with the Penistone Line Partnership, which covers the section of route between Barnsley and Sheffield.

South Pennines Community Transport – breaking boundaries to connect communities

And while I’m in that part of the universe, it was good to pop in to the reception organised by South Pennines Community Transport, in Honley.

Kevin Carr at the SP CT event

Not just in Honley, but in a brewery in Honley. I seem to be spending quite a bit of time in breweries recently, on both sides ‘o’thPennines. But anyroad. South Pennines CT is developing a number of new projects assisted by Hackney Community Transport. Yes, Hackney, down south. Actually HCT has grown to take in a remarkable range of services up and down the UK and even in the Channel Islands. South Pennines CT is operating a number of scheduled services, using its fleet of nine vehicles. Hopefully, SPCT will play an active role in the new Yorkshire Coalfield CRP; it isn’t just about trains. Nor for that matter buses – it’s all about people and communities.

More brewery references

The other brewery I’m developing a fond-ness for is nearer home, close to Blackrod station. It’s The Wayoh Brewery and is run by old school pal Steve Hyland.

Steve pours a beer in The Wayoh Brewery bar

The brewery is located on an industrial estate just beneath the M61 and next to the former Blackrod-Horwich branch line. Steve is trying to develop a ‘Horwich Loco Works’ theme and is currently displaying some of my Loco Works photos from the early 1980s. Next Wednesday, November 27th, he will be hosting a Lancashire Night, celebrating Lancashire Day, on th’basis that one follows t’other. Sid Calderbank, Mark Dowding, Jennifer Reid and Phonenix Nights choir will be entertaining and prato’ pie will be available. It’s on Lodge Bank Estate, and is about 6 minutes’ walk from Blackrod station. Starts at 7.00pm

Will The North Rise Again? (from current issue of ‘Chartist’ magazine)

It’s about Brexit but it’s more. What’s going to become of the North of England in the next ten years? Assuming that Brexit goes through in some shape or form, the economy of the North will take a big hit, and it’s unlikely to be short term. Some major companies have already said they’d up sticks and leave. Replacing those, and the jobs that will be lost, with thousands of new, dynamic SMEs seems a bit unlikely. A recent Guardian article by Aditya Chakrabortty (‘Salvaging the union will need imagination – and we’ve lost it’ October 17th) speculated on the destructive impact of Brexit on the integrity of the UK, particularly through Scottish independence. Other commentators have suggested that a united Ireland will become virtually inevitable, and Wales may well follow Scotland’s lead. The assumption that ‘England’ will soldier on, embattled, alone, increasingly right-wing and isolationist, hostile to its neighbours, is widely shared.

The North on the march…against Brexit (in London). Time to march FOR the North?

In much of the debate on Brexit and ‘the break-up of Britain’, it’s assumed automatically that ‘England’ will continue as a single entity, with perhaps a bit more devolution here and there to ‘city regions’. Real devolution, as shown by the response of the Tory Government to proposals for a ‘One Yorkshire’ devolution settlement, is not on the Tories’ agenda.

The North of England will be the biggest losers from Brexit, despite having largely voted ‘leave’ in 2016. The reasons for that leave vote were many and complex, not least a deep-rooted sense of abandonment by an ill-defined elite. The decline of the great traditional industries of the North, roughly coinciding with joining the EU, created a potent but often unconscious sense of grievance which lacked a clear focus. ‘Europe’ provided it, encouraged by the rhetoric and bigotry of the ‘leave’ campaign.

Across the North of England there is a tangible sense of ‘victimhood’. Whether it is lack of investment in transport, poor health care or the decline of once-great towns, it’s there. The perpetrators of this are sat somewhere ‘down south’, perhaps in the corridors of Whitehall and Westminster. ‘They’ don’t care about ‘us’.

Why doesn’t this find political expression, in the way that Scottish and Welsh grievances have coalesced into support for progressive nationalist parties? The Scottish historian (and passionate European) Chris Harvie once described English regionalism as “the dog that never barked”.  Of course, ‘The North of England’ isn’t a nation, you could even argue whether it’s a ‘region’ or an amalgam of three separate regions (Yorkshire, The North-east and the North-West). Yorkshire, with perhaps the strongest identity of the three regions, has a young but growing ‘Yorkshire Party’ and has a handful of local councillors. In local elections it typically gets about a third of the vote, which isn’t bad. There is an equivalent in the North-East but nothing that aims to represent Lancashire, Cheshire and Cumbria. Perhaps there was a time that the Labour Party could claim to be ‘the voice of the North’ but that is becoming less and less the case.

The different parts of ‘The North’ have much in common with each other, notwithstanding the myth of Lancashire v Yorkshire antagonism.

Lancashire lasses – can we tap into their radicalism?

And it is a myth, played out in country cricket and good-humoured banter, but not much else. At the time of the Scottish independence referendum, there was much traffic on social media about ‘the North’ joining with an independent Scotland. It got hundreds of thousands of ‘likes’, though it misses the point. ‘The North’ has much in common with the Scots, but joining an independent Scotland probably isn’t a sensible approach, even as a debating room topic. For one thing, it’s three times as big as Scotland, in population terms. But – for the long-term – the idea of a quasi-independent ‘North of England’ may not be quite as fanciful as it seems. Put aside the jokes (and the potential is massive) e.g. of cloth-capped soldiers on border patrols – there could be something in it.

In his Guardian piece, Chakrabortty quoted the work of Benedict Anderson who wrote in Imagined Communities that the nation “is an imagined community”. In other words, it is created, no ‘nation’ has always been there and many across Europe are quite new. Many have disappeared or become parts of different nations, willingly or unwillingly (often the latter).

Back in the day…when I was a member of Yorkshire First (now ‘The Yorkshire Party’, about to take to the barricades in Slawit, after a nice cup of tea. YP is fielding several candidates

Whilst nations often begin as works of imagination, taking decades and sometimes centuries to emerge as real, existing nations with a state apparatus, sometimes the process can be accelerated by external events, typically wars and revolutions but also major shifts within existing states. I would argue that the United Kingdom is going through just such a change, albeit a largely non-violent one (putting aside the legacy of the Troubles in Ireland).

A distinctly ‘Northern’ consciousness is taking shape which in years to come may find political expression in a party which could have similarities with civic nationalist parties within and beyond the UK. As the prospect of a Tory England which enshrines free market economics with a myopic, isolationist approach to the outside world becomes ever more possible, the alternative of a progressive and outward-looking federal Britain with the North of England working with Scotland, Wales, Ireland and other English regions may become increasingly more attractive.

Bolton community rail moves forward.

The new Bolton and South Lancs Community Rail Partnership is now a full member of ACoRP and has won funding from Northern and Bolton at Home. It covers a network of routes

  • Bolton to: Preston
  • Bolton to Wigan
  • Bolton to Bromley Cross (linking with Community Rail Lancashire, to Blackburn and Clitheroe)
  • Bolton to Manchester (Victoria/Piccadilly)

The CRP is also a member of Bolton CVS and works closely with Community Rail Lancashire. The CRP has its public launch on Wednesday November 27th , which happens to be Lancashire Day. We will be joined by The Mayors of both Bolton and Horwich, who will unveil four panels of poetry relevant to Bolton and railways. Invited guests will enjoy a train ride from Manchester to Preston, with poetry and song along the way.

Leyland is on the route of the CRP and there’s a very active – and creative – station friends group

Meanwhile, the Platform Gallery at Bolton station is preparing for a new exhibition by Westhoughton artist Andy Smith. We hope to open most afternoons but please check opening times with gallery co-ordinator Julie on 07789 725753. We’re on the lookout for volunteers to assist; contact Julie if you’re interested. We have been helped enormously by financial support from TransPennine Express. Their generous grant will enable us to get some proper heating installed and create an even more welcoming environment!

The CRP has made some very positive new contacts recently including bus company Rotala and Bolton Wanderers FC Community Trust.

The CRP is already looking at a number of practical initiatives including a summer Sunday bus link to local attractions, and a series of four self-guided walks – ‘The Clock Tower Trails’, all starting from Bolton station and shadowing our four routes to Manchester, Preston, Wigan and Blackburn. Now our  monthly ‘sanctuary’ walks have ended for winter, we’ve time to plan the detailed routes. Volunteer planners welcome! However, we will be doing a Christmas Walk on Saturday December 28th around Entwistle, with a Christmas meal included at The Strawbury Duck. Look out for further details.

Bolton Station Christmas Market: Saturday December 14th

Following the success of the ‘Food and Drink Fringe’ in August, Bolton Station Partnership is planning a Christmas Market at the station on Saturday December 14th, assisted by Northern and Transport for Greater Manchester.

The station market in August with Northern’s Nigel Valentine and Mayor Bolton Cllr. Hilary Fairclough

The format will be much the same, but we can’t honestly promise the weather will be as good! (But it’s all under cover).  So far we’ve a dozen stalls booked and room for a few more. It will run from 10.30 to 4.00 but stallholders are asked to be there earlier to set up. The event helps to promote the town’s ever-popular Christmas Market; we want people to travel to Bolton by train, and they will be met by our own ‘mini’ Christmas market on Platform 4.

Lancashire Authors Gather over Prato’ Pie

The Lancashire Authors’ Association was formed in Rochdale in 1909. It was one of Allen Clarke’s ideas, to bring together Lancashire writers, many of whom wrote for his publications such as Northern Weekly and Teddy Ashton’s Christmas Annual. He was the first chairman, and made a bit of a hash of it. It was subsequently rescued by more organised members and developed as a network ‘for writers and lovers of Lancashire literature’. The association recently gathered in Rochdale once again, for an afternoon of music, poetry and history. The main presentation was one the remarkable life of Oldham suffragette, Annie Kenney, by Carol Talbot. Carol has just published an excellent biography of Annie, which was timed to coincide with the unveiling of a statue of Annie in Oldham town centre. Carol’s book is reviewed below. There was also some splendid readings by Sally and Ron Williams and singing by Alyson Brailsford and Sid Calderbank, whow as called on to improvise at the last minute, owing to the prato’ pie being delayed (driver shortage?).

The Lancashire Authors Association possesses a valuable library which has developed over the decades. Its future is currently subject to discussions with the University of Bolton who may be able to offer a more accessible home for it, if the membership agrees.

Red Rose flies in Bar’lick

A risky venture, flying the flag of Lancashire in the White Rose county! But in a display of Northern solidarity, the good people of Barnoldswick seemed relaxed about the red rose flying, just for one day, mind, outside the Bancroft Mill Engine House.

Clog dancing i’ th’Engine Heawse

It was a gathering of Lancashire Society folk organised by that insatiable dialectician Sid Calderbank. The backdrop was the last working of the year by the remarkable steam-powered mill engine. He even persuaded Salvo to do a couple of renditions, unaccustomed though he is/was/might be.

Dodgin’ th’trams

Trams have featured quite a lot this Autumn. We had a very pleasant trip to Blackpool in October to ride on Bolton Corporation tram no. 66, followed by a visit to Heaton Park to enjoy a sunny Autumn day riding tye trams. It was the first day of operating after the disgusting vandal attack earlier in the year. Thanks to support from Metrolink and other companies the stolen wiring was replaced and trams were able to run, to the delight of young and old.

No. 53 route tram in Heaton Park

I went along to the launch of Tony Young’s book on Bolton trams, at Bolton Library. Making Metrolink ‘happen’ owes much to the work of Tony Young when he was at Greater Manchester PTE. It’s very fitting that Tony has written this excellent book (see ‘reviews’) and I look forward to his plans for extending Metrolink to Bolton (dream on – ed). Well OK, but I am the editor…Further trammery took place earlier this month with a talk by David Lloyd and Derek Shepherd at Bolton station’s community room. The absolutely fascinating talk covered the history of Bolton’s trams and the restoration of tram no. 66. The story would make a great film!

Settle-Carlisle book published

My new book on the Settle-Carlisle line has just been published (see below in ‘Salvo Publications List’). Seems to be going OK so far and next Friday I’m up in Garsdale for a book-signing at The Moorcock Inn. All Salvo readers very welcome, from about 12.45 until 15.00. The book is published by Wiltshire-based Crowood and is now available, price £24. Colin Speakman has enthused over the book but modesty precludes me from quoting him. Then again, Colin is the world’s most enthusiastic person.

Station Buffet Updates – Shedcode Snacks

Good to hear that Hellifield station buffet has reopened as ’24H’. It is open Tuesdays to Sundays and does a range of hot and cold food. The Salvo looks forward to more shed-coded buffets appearing soon.

TasteBuds@thestation Wakefield Kirkgate is 56A A previous meat pie pictured with peas

A long-standing favourite is 56A (Wakefield Kirlgate, Taste Buds) which was visited recently. I opted for the Croque Monsieur instead of the more usual meat pie and peas, and was not disappointed. The coffee is also of a very high quality.

Crank Quiz:

The despicable hacking of my website means that I have had no comments from readers, at least none that I can retrieve. Merdre! Apologies for those who suggested non-phonetic railway names (you can always email them!). As things stand, I currently can’t use the comments bit of the website but feel free to email suggestions for this Crank Quiz, viz., which tramways were owned by railway companies? Feel free to wax lyrical about their activities and ultimate demise.

Literary ramblings and reflections

I’ve mentioned Carol Talbot’s biography of Annie Kenney elsewhere. But Carol’s book deserves further mention. Working-class suffragette: The Life of Annie Kenney is a fine book about an interesting character who has been neglected by both labour and feminist historians. Maybe she was neither sufficiently ‘socialist’ nor ‘feminist’ to gain approval? The book is available price £9 on Amazon and from local booksellers, if there are any left, in the Oldham area.

Another working-class biography, in fact a whole series, makes up David Bell’s book, Reds, Rebels and Radicals published by Five Leaves Publications price £7.99. There are some familiar figures in this ‘hall of the unfamous’ in the East Midlands  including Hannah Mitchell, ‘Inergordon Mutineer’ Len Wincott and resident beastly Bolsoverite Dennis Skinner. Others were unknown to me, including Alice Hawkins, ‘Leicester Suffragette’. I think the idea of having a series of ‘regional’ profiles of working class activists has much to recommend it, perhaps something that Nottingham-based Five Leaves should consider.

Also mentioned elsewhere in this Salvo is Tony Young’s Tramways in Bolton, co-authored with Derek Shepherd (we share the same barber, Pete, on Halliwell Road – an old tram route).Whatever you could conceivably want to know about trams in Bolton is there, but it isn’t just a book for the tram-crank. It’s a fascinating contribution to Bolton’s social history and should be in every child’s Christmas stocking. Published by the LRTA.

Readers will be aware that I do my bit to promote Big Issue North, which always has something in it to interest me, including recipes. It has launched a daring new venture called The New Issue. It’s a very attractively-designed and illustrated magazine, and will appear quarterly. The launch issue has a fascinating piece on Kellingley Colliery and the aftermath of closure, by Roger Ratcliffe. The accompanying photos by Mark Pinder are amazing. It also has pieces on fracking, Bauhaus architecture, community allotments and more. Well done editor Kevin Gopal, let’s hope it takes off. A year’s subscription costs £40 and won’t be available ‘on the streets’. So go to https://www.bigissuenorth.com/the-new-issue/ and subscribe.

Also recommended is Bolton Asian Migration vol. 2, a superb photographic huistory of Bolton’s Asian communities since the 1960s. One or two Savo photos, taken around Daubhill in 1969, are featured. Well done Ibrahim Kala for getting this done (pictured left). To obtain a copy, email me and I’ll forward it to the group.

Films as well!

Go and see Official Secrets if you haven’t already done so. It’s one of the best political thrillers I’ve seen for quite a while. Ken Loach’s Sorry We Missed You is also good but maybe not on a par with I, Daniel Blake. But a good reminder of why we need to change how we do things.

Song for Horwich: next Salvo production and a request

I’ve alluded, obliquely, to my forthcoming novel in previous issues. Sometimes with my publishing projects they can be delayed, or even cancelled altogether. Sounds familiar, eh? But not this time. My novel about life in Horwich Loco Works, the campaign to save it – and what might have happened afterwards, is nearly ready. It was originally going to be called ‘The Works’ but I’ve changed it to ‘Song for Horwich’. This was the title of a poem written (I think) by one of the works employees to support the campaign against closure. It’s show below. If anyone knows who wrote it, I’d love to hear from them. The book will be published in February price £12.99 (Salvo readers will however get a discount). The new imprint will be called ‘Lancashire Loominary’, as previously warned. ‘The Lankishire Loominary un Tum Fowt Telegraph’ was published by J T Staton in the 1850s and 60s and it seemed a good idea to resurrect the clever title, if not the eccentric spelling of Lancashire.

Sibelius in Bolton

I have to confess never having been to a concert of Bolton Symphony Orchestra before last Saturday. I’ve really been missing out. The ‘Autumn Prom’ was held in the magnificently-restored Victoria Hall, the ancestral home of Bolton Methodism (so sadly no bar, but The Light is just across the road). The conductor was Ben Crick and the leader of the orchestra was Anita Levy. It was a good programme of favourites: Mendelssohn’s ‘Hebrides Overture’, Beethoven’s Symphony no. 2 and Sibelius’s Violin Concerto. And it was the Sibelius which really soared. The soloist, Helen Brackley Jones, (who is also involved in Stockport Community Chopir) was really outstanding. The Finnish composer is one of my all-time favourites (alongside Elgar, Bax and Shostakovitch), I don’t know of anything that he’s written that isn’t beautiful. But that performance of the Violin Concerto would have convinced any doubters that Sibelius was one of the greatest 20th century composers.

Special Traffic Notices

  • November 23rd: Open Day at Poppleton Nursery
  • November 27 Lancashire Day and Night festivities – 7.00 Wayoh Brewery, Blackrod: music, poetry, pies
  • November 29th Salvo book signing at The Moorcock, Garsdale. From 13.00
  • December 7th: Christmas lights and market at Glossop station
  • December 14th: Bolton Station Christmas Marke

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The Salvo Publications List

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 (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.paulsalveson.org.uk/little-northern-books-2/

 

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Northern Weekly Salvo 270

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

No. 270  October 9th   2019

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, 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. Full of creative ambiguity, possibly. Promoting moderate rebellion and sedition, within reason.

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

General gossips

Just like the buses, eh? You wait for weeks and then two come along at once. Well maybe not quite, but just under a week since the last Salvo, here is no. 270. I had to leave quite a few things in abeyance and there’s also lots to say about the Community Rail Awards, responses to my political crie de coeur in Salvo 269, and various other things including Brexit. I can also report that the blackberry pie, the fruit of my spectacular Manx double somersault down a cliff, was worth the scratches and ruined jacket.

JOB VACANCY After a lot of hard work, we are now moving forward with a new community rail aprtnership for ‘Bolton and South Lancashire’. Thanks to the generosity of Northern  and other partners including Bolton at Home, we will shortly be able to advertise what we hope will be a full-time community rail officer post. The focus of the job will be very much on linking local rail with social inclusion and community cohesion – i.e. we are not necessarily looking for a railways expert. If you want to be put on the circulation list once the job is ready to be advertised, please email me now (paul.salveson@myphone.coop); if you know of anyone who may be interested, please pass the message on.

Now I’m 67…weaving fresh ideas for 2020

I celebrated my 67th birthday with ‘luxury afternoon tea’ in the magnificent surroundings of the former LMS Midland Hotel in Morecambe.

The surviving Eric Gill fresco at the Midland Hotel

Very nice it was too and the awful weather didn’t put us off a stroll along the prom. Birthdays, like a new year, are an opportunity to think of ‘what’s next’ rather than looking back, at least for me. I’m no longer tied to any particular organisation, at least professionally, and I’m hoping to use my time to develop a few new projects. Top of the list must be finishing off my novel, The Works, set in Horwich in the 1980s but taking the reader to the present day and beyond. It would be nice to think it will be done by Christmas, but I doubt it. It will be published by my new publishing venture ‘Lancashire Loominary’ – a title first used in the 1860s by the remarkable Bolton writer J.T. Staton.

A fellow diner at the Midland Hotel indulges herself, lowering the tone considerably

He played around with the name, at times using the more vernacular ‘Lankishire’ spelling. There are a few ideas for publications which will mostly be ‘booklets’ of around 100-150 pages covering historical, cultural and political issues relevant to the North. I’d really like to do a new and completely revised edition of my book on Northern regional politics (Socialism with a Northern Accent) published by Lawrence and Wishart a few years ago. For reasons explained elsewhere in this and the previous Salvo, I’ll re-name it to Politics with a Northern Accent. I’m also planning a shorter booklet on J.T. Staton himself and other radical Bolton working class writers including Allen Clarke, James Haslam and Robert Brodie.

A larger project, which I must settle down to writing next year, is a history of Lancashire dialect literature from Tim Bobbin (mid-eighteenth century) to the present day. Next year is the centenary of the publication (by Tillotson’s of Bolton) of Allen Clarke’s finest work Moorlands and Memories. I collaborated with George Kelsall on a reprint, back in 1985, so I don’t think a further reprint would sell, unless someone was willing to fund it. However, a new book that looks at places Clarke visited in the book, on foot and bike, would be interesting and fun to do. So look out for Moorlands, Memories and Reflections next year. Some of the funding for ‘Lancashire Loominary’ comes from a bequest from a very good friend, the late Henry Lewis, who wrote the dazzling Brief Encounters on the Penistone Line as well as other sadly neglected shows. I also want to do an occasional review, something along the lines of ‘Lancashire Loominary and Bolton Trotter’. Staton also coined the title ‘Bowtun Trotter’ and Allen Clarke used it for a couple of years in the early 1890s. It was a mixture of satire, commentary, reviews and silliness (mostly in dialect). I’m not totally sure how, or if, it could work now but would certainly have to be on-line rather than print. Something that helps to promote a strong but modern Lancashire identity, for sure. Beyond that…? Welcome ideas.

Tea at the Midland but no Nettle Beer in Heysham

My birthday treat was to be taken for afternoon tea at the Midland Hotel, in Morecambe. Where better? The high-point of pre-war railway hotel building, commanding a magnificent view of Morecambe Bay.

The spiral staircase in The Midland Hotel

Lovely sandwiches, cakes and scones and the company wasn’t bad either… We had time to visit Heysham Village and explore the fascinating remains of St Patrick’s chapel and the stone graves, probably 8th century. The relatively modern St Peter’s, nearby, also has some Saxon remains. Heysham village itself is a delight but sadly we couldn’t find anywhere selling that traditional local beverage, nettle beer. Maybe it has been banned on safety grounds, it can be very combustible if left too long, so I’m told. No visit to this part of Lancashire is complete without venturing over the sands to Sunderland Point and we were able to get across while the tide was out.

The remains of St Patrick’s chapel, Heysham, looking out across Morecambe Bay

The former slaving port has an eerie feel to it, only reached at low tide. We didn’t have time to lay a stone at ‘Sambo’s Grave’, a young slave who died after the long crossing from Africa. The tradition of laying a stone at the lad’s grave is continued by schoolchildren today; long may it last.

National Community Rail Awards

The national Community Rail Awards were held in Telford on October 3rd and nearly 450 guests attended at what was a superb event.  West Midlands Trains really pulled out the stops as ‘host’ body and the ACoRP team laid on a truly memorable evening. The full list of winners is here: https://communityrail.org.uk/events-training/community-rail-awards/

Bolton Station Community Development Partnership (CDP) had three short-listed entries:

  • Best Community Engagement Project
  • Involving Diverse Groups
  • It’s Your Station

We didn’t win any prizes, but it’s a good start for what is still an embryonic project. We were represented at the event by Julie Levy, Frankie Hahlo and Richard Walker.

Members of Bolton Station Community Development Partnership with Penistone Line Partnership friends at the Telford awards

It was great to see Friends of Hindley Station winning the prestigious ‘platinum’ award in the ‘It’s Your Station’ category. Our good friends in the Penistone Line Partnership, who visited Bolton earlier this year, won a first prize for their arts project, Dwell Time. Mytholmroyd Station Partnership, with whom we have close links with, won the ACoRP award for ‘outstanding contribution to community rail’. Community Rail Lancashire, with whom Bolton Station CDP has shared membership, did particularly well. They won first prize in the ‘involving children and young people’ category for their Stand Clear of the Closet Doors project. They also picked up second prize in ‘involving diverse groups’ for their On Track to Train project. They scored another first in the small projects award for Bringing Sunshine to Morecambe. Well done all of you. Peter Roberts picked up the prize for ‘outstanding lifetime achievement’ which was well deserved. The Heart of Wales Line Trail, which I had a bit to do with in its early days, picked up first prize in the new ‘tourism and heritage’ category.

A very nice feature of the event was the pre-awards evening outing to the Black Country Museum at Dudley. This is a remarkable place, with a trolleybus route (which we rode on), tramway and canal wharf. Original buildings representing Black Country life and labour have been painstakingly reconstructed, including a chip shop (very good fish and chips too!), several shops, houses and a working men’s institute. Thanks to West Midlands Trains for organising the ‘fringe’ event and many more events on the two days after the awards.

Beeching and Brexit

Larry Elliott in The Guardian (October 7th issue ‘Without Beeching there might never have been a vote for Brexit’) makes some very telling links between Brexit and Beeching.  It’s a common myth that the cuts fell mostly on rural branch lines. Many routes serving large industrial communities were also hit, such as Newcastle – Blyth- – Ashington, Bolton – Bury – Rochdale, Bury – Rawtenstall – Bacup  and many more. Not surprisingly, many of the towns that lost their railway registered strong Leave votes. The closures were part of a process of disinvestment that has blighted many towns – compare the success of rail-served Todmorden with nearby struggling Bacup. Both former textile towns of a similar size; one has a good rail link, the other lost it. It would be interesting to compare the relative ‘leave’ and ‘remain’ votes in the two communities; I suspect Bacup tilted much more towards leaving the EU.

It’s far easier to close a line than to re-open one, although many that have are now prospering, such as the ‘Robin Hood Line’ between Nottingham and Worksop and the Borders Railway from Edinburgh to Galashiels and Tweedbank (and let’s hope it eventually reaches Hawick and Carlisle).

The community rail movement in the UK has helped revive many lines that might have been targets for a new round of rail closures in the 1990s. This was, for a while, a real risk that has never been fully documented, and came at the time of a Labour government. Fortunately, it was headed off.

All that remains of the railway in Leigh…a line that should never have closed. Leigh voted pro-Leave

But we need to go beyond just making the most of what’s there and having a strategy for more re-openings which have wider social, economic and environmental benefits. The current Williams review is an opportunity to address that, with a dedicated rail development team within the over-arching rail authority which appears to be a favoured option. Ironically, one route which we don’t need is HS2, at least as currently configured. The former Great Central Line from London to Leicester, Nottingham and Sheffield (a Beeching closure of course) would have been a better and cheaper option, with money saved on the current scheme spent on ‘Beeching reversals’ across the country.

Time for a revived social democracy?

In the last Salvo I indulged in a bit of political hand-wringing (or ringing?) about ‘socialism’ and what it means today. My conclusion was that it had been rendered meaningless, and that decline began decades ago, perhaps in the ‘halcyon days’ of what Stalinists termed ‘actually existing socialism’ in the Soviet Union and eastern European satellite states. Today, in the UK, it has become little more than a label to define yourself as a loyal and uncritical follower of Jeremy Corbyn, which I’m emphatically not. I’m fed up with people banging on about ‘true socialism’ as if it is some sort of faith, with Corbyn as the pope.

Edward Carpenter, gay environemntalist, mystic, and ethical socialist

Even Marx would have been horrified at the reduction of a political theory/practice into some sacred texts and revealed truth. Having served my time in the old Communist Party of Great Britain, I can only long for the CP’s much greater willingness to challenge and engage with ideas, at least in its final years in the 70s and 80s, when Marxism Today, under Martin Jacques’ editorship, was probably the most inspiring and creative political journal of its era. The more progressive bits of the CP morphed into Democratic Left but it was too weak a flower to survive. A pity. I always thought the Labour Left back in the 70s and 80s, even in its mainstream sense with Tony Benn et al, was a classic example of what Lenin called ‘infantile leftism’. That has now reached its nadir, with ‘left’ politics reduced to a mantra of state control/ownership and a centralist mindset that even ‘old Labour’ wouldn’t have countenanced.

But it isn’t just the UK where socialism is in trouble. In Germany, the fortunes of the SPD have plummeted with ‘The Left’ party (former communists) doing OK but with a fairly traditional hard-line approach. It’s difficult to find examples of a revived progressive party of the left doing well anywhere in Europe, but I hope some readers will correct me if I’m wrong. In many countries, the Greens have taken on the mantle of being the main ‘progressive’ party, which I know is a vague and often unhelpful term. In Britain they struggle because of our undemocratic voting system, though where there is PR (Scotland, London, European elections for example) they do well.

The Labour Party itself is facing that much-overworked – but in this case relevant term: an existential crisis. Its traditional base in the industrial working class has shrunk as that demographic has changed and to a degree disappeared. The ‘great battalions’ of engineers, miners, textile workers and even railwaymen (and they were, mostly) that dominated the Labour Party, its branches, regions and its conference are no longer there. Instead, it’s an alliance of middle class professionals and self-employed with, in some areas, Asian activists and a residual ‘old working class’. I’m not sure it’s enough to lead a country, to be honest.

The Kurds are developing a really new form of politics that is decentralist, democratic and inclusive.

Meanwhile Corbyn has a -60 approval rate, worse than Michael Foot ever achieved. If Labour is to revive it needs to re-shape a new ‘social democracy’ that is open and inclusive, willing to re-shape the UK as a federal country, with a more democratic voting system and a flexible approach to ownership which combines public ownership with social forms and private capital. Integrating all of this must be a determination to take climate change seriously. If it doesn’t, we face decades of right-wing Tory rule for England, with Scotland opting to go its own way, probably followed by Wales, and a united Ireland.

Brexit balls-up belies belief

With each day that passes, the politics of Brexit shifts and changes, offering endless hours of entertainment to what Johnson sarcastically calls ‘our friends in Europe’. Or maybe they just feel pity and an element of sadness at seeing what was once a beacon of reason and stability descend into chaos, with a Parliament that The Economist described as having the two worst political leaders in living memory. . Whatever, it’s now looking like Johnson will have to go cap in hand to the EU for an extension to Article 50, despite all the bluster. Yet the longer the saga continues, the more damage the uncertainty and confusion is causing.

What would Harry Pollitt (CPGB General Secretary) have said? I think he’d have demanded a 2nd Referendum (maybe with the option of joining the Soviet Union)

The Salvo position is inconsistent. This is something politicians never admit to, as it is a mark of weakness and uncertainty. After the original vote, I fell out with a few friends for saying the vote had to be respected, despite the obvious manipulation and lies that went into the ‘leave’ campaign. I shifted from that position as time rolled on, accepting the arguments for a Second Referendum. Not ideal, but two (or now three) years on, we as an electorate should at least have a better idea of what the implications of leaving would be, with or without a deal. And it’s right that many of the young people who didn’t have a vote back in 2016 (on something that would have a disproportionate impact on their lives) should be able to do so now.

There are many ‘buts’ attached to this, but (there’s one!) it’s an open vote and anyone who still wants to leave (and some who may have flipped to become leavers) can cast their vote again. There’s no guarantee whatsoever that a Second Referendum would produce a different result, but it will at least be based on a pretty clear understanding of the implications of leaving the EU, which it wasn’t in 2016.

At the extremes of the debate are the Lib Dems who are now saying, if they formed a Government, they’d simply revoke Article 50.

Lots of good ideas for a social/liberal-democratic radicalism in ‘Flatpack Democracy’. A new edition of the book is now out

This is political madness and while it will mark them out as unequivocally pro-Remain, it will lose them a lot of votes they’d otherwise have won had they campaigned for a Second Referendum with a ‘Remain’ stance. At the opposite extreme we have ‘No Deal’ favoured by the Brexit Party and increasing swathes of the Tories. This chimes with the views of many people who just want to ‘get it over with’. The problem is, ‘no deal’ would be anything but a simple departure and will lead to years of negotiations, while the economy goes into ever-steeper decline, particularly in the North.

In the middle of all this, there is the original ‘May Deal’, which with hindsight looks like it wasn’t so bad after all. There’s very little chance of Johnson selling anything like that to either his own right-wing or to the DUP. The voices of reason within the Tory Party have nearly all jumped ship leaving Johnson to play the fool with political crazies like Rees-Mogg, Cummings and the rest. Labour’s current position, as a friend of mine described it, has some validity. Yet try and explain it on the doorstep and you’ll struggle. If I understand it right, Labour, if they form a government, will negotiate a new deal with the EU and put it to a Referendum, but without a recommendation to support their deal, or just to remain and revoke Article 50. There’s leadership for you, eh?

So, at least here in England, the only party with a credible position is the Greens who are saying they will press for a General Election and a Second Referendum with a clear position of being pro-Remain. If I understand it correctly, this is the position of the SNP and Plaid Cymru. A great pity that Sinn Finn isn’t willing to move on and abandon its abstentionist policy and take a similar position.

So here’s to enjoying seeing Johnson crawling to the EU for an extension, then  going to the country on a fraudulent ‘people v parliament’ position but outflanked by the Brexit Party which takes enough votes from the Tories to stop them forming a government. Labour isn’t going to do well, but it could form the basis of a progressive majority that could usher in a new referendum. I don’t envy the Lib Dems, Greens, Plaid and SNP having to negotiate with a Labour leadership which doesn’t have its own house in order with a weak leader subject to the dictates of his advisers, mirror images of Dominic Cummings, from the left. But it’s the best possible outcome that anyone could reasonably expect (from where I am, anyway). But maybe I’ve lost the plot, if there ever was one.

More on the Isle of Man

In the last Salvo I didn’t have space to mention a few things of interest to readers, or gave them insufficient space. I discovered, completely by chance, the excellent ‘Tramway Junction’ bookshop at Laxey, which really is next to a tramway junction (Snaefell Mountain Railway and Douglas – Ramsey electric tramway). It has a great range of second-hand railway, tram and bus books and magazines. I came away with a bound volume of Trains Illustrated for 1952 and a couple of useful booklets. I could have been tempted with more, including a 1961 bound TI but I’m never quite sure what I have at home and what I haven’t. Turns out I haven’t got it so I’ll be in touch. There are three second hand bookshops in Peel: the charity shop on the sea front had some very interesting books in the window, including stuff by Peter Beresford-Ellis, that fascinating druid/Marxist historian of Ireland and the Celtic nations. Shame it was Monday closing, which also affected what looked like an interesting shop on Michael Street. However, the shop opposite (can’t remember names and they aren’t on google) was open and had some interesting treasures. Lexicon in Douglas looked good, so too Bridge Books at Port Erin. All of which are further reasons to go back next year.

Settle-Carlisle book published!

My new book on the Settle-Carlisle line has just been published (see below in ‘Salvo Publications List’). It’s published by Wiltshire-based Crowood and is now available, price £24. A very big thanks to everyone who helped with the research. I hope it’s a useful addition to the enormous body of work on this remarkable railway.

Crank Quiz: Non-phonetic railway names

Neil Buxton comments: “Non-phonetic names (sort of) along the Esk Valley would be:

  • Ruswarp – ‘Russup’
  • Sleights – ‘Slights’
    Grosmont – ‘Growmont’
  • Lealholm- ‘Leelem’
  • and of course, on the NYMR, Goathland = Go-thland ( so often pronounced ‘Goat-land’ by visitors!)…..”

Tim O’Connor writes from Well’ouse: “Is Gillingham phonetic, non-phonetic, or both? Gillingham (Kent) is pronounced with a soft G, while Gillingham (Dorset) has a hard G. Liskeard is borderline non-phonetic. Leominster is a definite”. Lawrence Marshall mentions Milngavie – pronounced “Mil-guy”.  Just to add from my own experience as a guard in east Lancashire during the 1970s: Blackburn was usually ‘Blegburn’ whilst Colne was ‘Cown’ and Darwen was ‘Darrun’. Bolton was invariably ‘Bowtun’ and Westhoughton could be anything you like, from ‘Owfen’ to ‘Keaw-Yed’ (‘cow head’, after a local legend about a cow having its head sawn off by the farmer when it got stuck in a five-barred gate).

Readers’ Rants, Ruminations and Reflections

Mr Buxton adds: “Enjoyed the piece on the IoM. I have happy memories of the now sadly defunct Castletown Brewery, whose product I always felt was superior to its rival Okells, both of course being brewed under the Manx purity laws!” (must say I found the Okells quite nice, as well as the more recent Bushy –ed)

Nina Smith writes from near Luddendenfoot (Rose Grove men called it ‘Foo-it’) observes:  “Very interesting read. When you go back to the IoM, go in May of June when the wild flowers are out. There is almost a continuous carpet of them from the edge of Douglas right the way along the line.  Also very interesting that you have set up a “suburban/commuter” CRP. I’d also associated CRPs with lesser used lines, so it will be interesting what yours can achieve and whether similar CRPs should follow e.g. out of Leeds”. (ed. yes but the fuchsias are at their best now. There is a need for more urban CRPs and look out for announcements soon of a ‘Yorkshire Coalfields CRP’ based on Barnsley/Wakefield/Doncaster/Sheffield.)

Huddersfield anarchist Alan Brooke writes: “Glad to see you are continuing to slough off the remnants of social democracy and Stalinism with the realisation that state socialism offers no answers to modern problems. Can’t understand tho why you still have illusions in parliamentary politics and political parties? You believe in federalism and grass roots democracy. Bookchin and Kropotkin are more relevant than ever, leavened by William Morris, Edward Carpenter et al. While even these are to be avoided as authorities to be ‘followed’ , there is a great wellspring of inspiration in their writings.

Goodbye Lenin: let’s dump the idea that he was a democratic radical in any shape. A clever politician who seized his chance when it came along, but hard to say that his ideas have any relevance to the present

The historical split between ‘ (Pseudo) Scientific Socialism and Ethical/Utopian Socialism in the 1840s – reinforced by the Bolshevik/Comintern dictat against any non-Russian form of Socialism and Social Democratic technocracy (e.g. Fabians and Wilson’s  ‘white heat’) – has had immense damaging repercussions. We must rediscover ethical socialism and put moral arguments for a better world at the centre of our vision. We must not shy away from being labelled UTOPIANS”. (ed: if someone can come up with something better than our parliamentary system which enshrines basic protections, that’s fine – the danger with classical anarchism is that it leaves the door open for unscrupulous authoritarians purposrting to be ‘libertaraian’ who end up dominating. Thank God we have got some protection in the presnet system which stops Johnson getting away with whatever he likes. But yes, we need our utopians, with or without capital letters).

Special Traffic Notices

  • October 9th 7.30 URC Church Rochdale: Edwin Waugh Society
  • October 19-21: Dialect Studies Conference Blackpool
  • October 21: Phil Porter exhibition in Bolton station Platform Gallery commences
  • October 26: Bolton Station CDP and City of Sanctuary walk: Farnworth and the Irwell Valley. Meet Bolton station 12.15
  • November 23rd: Open Day at Poppleton Nursery
  • November 27 Lancashire Day and Night festivities – 7.00 Wayoh Brewery, Blackrod: music, poetry, pies
  • December 7th: Christmas lights and market at Glossop station
  • December 14th: Bolton Station Christmas Market
  • An exhibition in Bolton Museum on Peterloo and the role of textile workers in the fight for democracy runs to November 10th

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

The Salvo Publications List

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 (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.paulsalveson.org.uk/little-northern-books-2/

 

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Northern Weekly Salvo 269

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

No. 269 October 2nd   2019

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, steam punks, yes women, no men, gay Swedenborgians, cat-spotters, discerning sybarites, bi-guys, 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. Full of creative ambiguity, possibly. Promoting moderate rebellion and sedition, within reason.

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

General gossips

Whatever happened to September? Sorry for the long gap, here is an Autumnal Salvo, written just ahead of the annual Community Rail Awards, taking place this year in Telford. I’ll tweet details of the winners….Bolton is up for three awards so fingers crossed. So much going on politically and more generally. I’ve included the latest bulletin from ‘The Northern Umbrella’ edited by my good friend ‘Billy Bolton’ (not to be confused with the excellent dialect writer ‘Billy Button’, aka Robert Brodie, who lived in Eagley). This issue has a mixed bag of stuff, including some snaps of my recent holiday in the Isle of Man.

Floods? What floods? Kissack leaves Santon last Saturday on the 09.50 from Douglas to Port Erin. A great example of a railway run by the community, through Manx Government (Boris please note).

We got back the day before the rains came down and flooded Laxey. Highlight of the trip was probably falling off a cliff, while blackberry-picking in Peel. Only a slight exaggeration: I probably fell a few feet but managed to stop before tumbling down a 12’ drop onto the road beneath. Dangerous occupation, blackberry-picking. I’m hoping the pie was worth it.

Going back to politics, writing on the day that Johnson is giving his end-of-conference speech in Manchester, it’s worth reflecting on his recent speech to us plain Northern folk in Rotherham, where he made the interesting suggestion that ‘community rail partnerships’ could take over the running of rural branch lines. Has he been reading too much Salvo? Anyway, the full text is here: https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/pm-speech-at-convention-of-the-north-in-rotherham

OK, to make it easy for you, the relevant bits are here: ”On your local lines in metropolitan areas, we will give greater control over fares, service patterns, rolling stock and stations. And outside the combined authority areas, I want communities to take control too. That might be through county councils taking on similar roles, in their areas, for stations or branch lines. Or it might be by transferring local branch line and rural services to community rail partnerships, owned by local people”. As we know, 27 years on since New Futures for Rural Rail, easier said than done. But maybe it opens out some opportunities, assuming he stays PM for more than a few weeks. One for the Rail Reform Group to take a look at.

Political comment: the end of socialism as we know it?

What can you say that hasn’t been said? The Supreme Court decision was a welcome shaft of common sense shining through our increasingly broken body politic. Let’s see what happens in the next few weeks. A General Election is inevitable but it’s anyone’s guess who will win.  Thanks to our stupid voting system, it will depend less on what people actually want so much as how the votes for the Brexit and Lib Dem parties pan out. Labour is likely to lose votes to Lib Dems (and Greens, Plaid and SNP) while the Tories will suffer at the hands of the Brexit Party if Johnson doesn’t get us out by October 31st.

Edward Carpenter, gay environemntalist, mystic, and ethical socialist

As someone who has identified as a socialist and ‘of the left’ since I was 14, the current state of left politics in England is making me re-think a lot of long-held beliefs, or at least ‘labels’. Would I describe myself as a ‘socialist’ anymore? No, I don’t think I would, after enduring Labour conference on TV and the intolerant ranters who pass themselves off as ‘socialist’. It’s a long way from the inclusive, joyous socialism of the old ILP – Hardie, Glasier, Blatchford and the much-reviled Snowden. What today, far too often, passes itself off as ‘socialist’ is narrow, intolerant, authoritarian and centralist; with a fixation on state ownership as the solution to all the problems in society. I’ve written about ‘The Corbyn Cult’ before; it seems to have grown as his wider popularity has declined. I think what finally pushed me to reject the socialist ‘label’ was some people being ‘outraged’ at my writing for a Lib Dem publication. Horror of horrors! The ‘Yorkshire Yellow Book’, reviewed later in this Salvo, has some extremely good material in it, but I only wish some of the same radical and creative thinking was coming out of Labour. But I’m not a ‘Lib Dem’ and neither am I really a ‘Green’ much as I like a lot of their policies. But if someone asks me to write something for them (and I’d do the same for a centre-right organisation) I’d happily do it. It’s important to engage (and hats off to Maurice Glasman of Blue Labour who isn’t afraid to get out of his comfort zone and talk to the likes of the EDL).

If anything I’m a liberal-minded social democrat with an anarchist/regionalist tinge. I’m inspired by the writings of Leopold Kohr, Edward Carpenter, Dora Russell, Murray Bookchin and that interesting US thinker who advised Clinton, Gar Alperovitz. Looking at my collection of political books, I think classical Marxism has become pretty pointless and best dumped – not just the heavy, dogmatic authoritarianism of Marx, Engels and Lenin but also Gramsci and more recent writers including Hobsbawm. A trip to Oxfam is in the offing, unless anyone wants them.

Going further back, there’s some interesting and still relevant stuff from the old ILP, not least by Philip Snowden, but also the municipal socialism of Fred Jowett of Bradford. And of course the Tolstoyan-influenced Lancashire radicalism of Allen Clarke, perhaps best expressed in The Eternal Question and his novels like The Red Flag. Hopefully one of these days I’ll try and put all of this together in a new edition of Socialism with a Northern Accent – with a different title! Maybe in time Labour will recover its sanity, but I’m not so sure. It has become an increasingly intolerant body– more so than the other parties, at least in my own experience.

Philip Snowden – first Labour chancellor, Colne Valley MP – and at heart a radical liberal

For decades, it has seen ‘true socialism’ as being about how far you can take state ownership, forgetting that ‘larger socialism’ of Carpenter and the ILP. Its tribalism is expressed in silly slogans like ‘I’ve never kissed a Tory’, but harks back to Bevan’s ‘vermin’ speech. But the venom is increasingly directed at people within their own ranks who don’t toe the Corbyn/Milne line, or those who ‘betray the cause’ and leave because they’ve had enough.

For now, I’ll support radical alternatives to Labour – which in England boils down to the Greens and  the Lib Dems. I’ve had enough of being lectured about ‘splitting the vote’ – people have a right to support who best represents their thoughts and aspirations. I might – just might – vote Lib Dem in a General Election because of an electoral system which Labour and the Tories have colluded to maintain decades after it should have been ditched for something better (and the report by Roy Jenkins came up with probably the best solution, in 1997).

The Socialist Republic of Man

After all that, it was interesting to spend a few days on the Isle of Man, that little-known socialist playground of rich tax exiles. The transport system is a model of public ownership. There is one operator, owned by the Manx Government. The buses are reliable, comfortable and frequent. The drivers are courteous and helpful. Even the heritage railways, mostly, are government-owned. The wonderful Isle of Man Steam Railway is the responsibility of the government, as is the Electric Tramway from Douglas to Ramsey, and the Snaefell Mountain Railway. The only railway not owned by the mini-state is the Groudle Glen Railway, which is wholly volunteer-run (oh yes, Laxey Mines Railway too). And the ferry company, rejoicing in the title of the Isle of Man Steam Packet Co., is also government owned. I can recommend their steak pie, in the passenger lounge. It all works, it works extremely well (the transport system, as well as the on-board catering). Whether that makes the Isle of Man ‘socialist’ I somehow doubt it, but perhaps points to the increasingly irrelevant and unhelpful term in itself.

With Kissack and Fenella

The Isle of Man is a crank’s paradise, it has to be said. But who could not delight in travelling behind an 1894-built gleaming steam locomotive in (comfortable) wooden coaches, watching delightful scenery go by? We made go use of our G-Explore cards (another example of socialism gone mad, valid on trains, buses, electric trams and even Groudle Glen and Laxey Mines railways).

Most stations on the I o M Steam Railway are adopted by the community and look wonderful. Castletown is a good example. Are they int’union (ACoRP) I wonder?

Our stay was very much at the tail end of the season, but there were still four trains a day running in each direction using Port Erin-based Fenella and Douglas-shedded Kissack. We managed to get to see the fascinating Laxey Mines Railway on its last day of operation, on Saurday. And the day after, the stunningly beautiful Groudle Glen Railway had its final running day before closing for winter (apart from its busy Christmas season). Brown Bear was in operation and we were able to sample the extension out to Sea Lion Cafe, close to the remains of the long-abandoned zoo by the rocks.

Around the towns and villages

We stayed in the delightful little town of Port St Mary, which is pleasantly situated on the south-east corner of the island close to its larger neighbour Port Erin, which has suffered a bit from considerable development since my last visit in 1990. Port St Mary seems pretty much untouched. We can recommend The Albert pub and Andrea’s Italian restaurant. Our hotel – Aaron House – was an absolute delight and deserves its 5-star rating. Like everywhere else, Port St Mary has an excellent bus service and steam trains stop at the gaunt, unoccupied station, some 10 minutes’ from the centre. Douglas seemed more alive than it did back in the early 90s; a lot of investment has gone into the Promenade though

‘Brown Bear’ at Sea Lion Central on the Groudle Glen Railway on its last day of the season

The Horse Tramway is not yet ready to recommence operations. A good reason to return next year. But great that the track is being re-laid when it could so easily have gone. We had a pleasant couple of hours in Castletown, including a pint in The Sidings, just outside the station. Nice to find a good quality mild on tap. On our last day we visited Peel and had a coffee in ‘The Coffee Station’ in the old station booking hall. Peel is a very attractive and quirky place, with a couple of good second-hand bookshops. A particularly good find was Tramway Junction, a secondhand bookshop next to Laxey station which specialises in railway, tram and bus publications. Heaven! I picked up a bound volume of the 1952 Trains Illustrated which fills a gap in the collection. Also a rare pamphlet on The Belfast and County Down Railway. A treasure trove, and not at all over-priced. I hope they escaped the recent floods.

Northern Umbrella opens up

Taxi for Mr Cummings! It’s story time again at Northern Umbrella, and the scene is a certain cheesy nightclub that could be in any Northern town. https://northernumbrellablog.wordpress.com/2019/09/28/this-likely-lad-is-the-norths-problem-to-fix/  Please follow Northern Umbrella on Twitter @northernumbrel1 and retweet if you like it!

Another Settle-Carlisle book published!

My new book on the Settle-Carlisle line has just been published (see below in ‘Salvo Publications List’). It’s published by Wiltshire-based Crowood and is now available, price £24 (see below). A very big thanks to everyone who helped with the research. I hope it’s a useful addition to the enormous body of work on this remarkable railway.

Other Boltonish things

Lots going on. The big news is winning support from Northern (through its Community Rail Executive Group) to fund the community rail partnership for ‘Bolton and South Lancashire’. This will enable us to appoint an officer, details to be published here and elsewhere as soon as we can. The new CRP covers routes from Bolton to Manchester, Wigan, Preston and Bromley Cross (where there’s a soft border with Community Rail Lancashire.

The exhibition of railway workers’ art in The Platform Gallery ended last week and it proved very popular. Thanks to all who exhibited including Victoria guard Steve Cross, ISS operative Ricky Hall, Oxford Road’s Nigel Valentine, and Newcastle driver Les Pigg.

ISS worker and artist Richard Hall (right) with Bolton artist Phil Porter who starts a residency in the Platform Gallery next week

A very big thanks to RMT, whose banners from Manchester Victoria, Manchester South and the NW Regional Council really made an impact. Local artist Phil Porter has a residency in the gallery during October, so drop in and see hello and take a look at his work. We are very grateful to TransPennine Express for a further grant to complete the final ‘fitting out’ of the space.

Things coming up include a Christmas Market in December and a ‘Lancashire Day’ celebration on Wednesday November 27th. Current plan is to use a scheduled train from Manchester to Preston then back to Bolton, for a light ‘Lancashire lunch’ (tripe, cowheel, that sort of thing). In the evening there’s a do on at the new Wayoh Brewery near Blackrod station, starting at 7.00 subject to confirmation.

One project we hope to get moving on soon, under the banner of the new CRP, is a series of self-guided walks starting from Bolton station’s famous clock tower. The proposed ‘Clock Tower Trails’ would extend out to Preston, Wigan, Manchester and Blackburn and link in to each station along the way, so you can do it all in bite-sized chunks. We’re looking for volunteers to help with this exciting project (eat your heart out, Heart of Wales Trail).

Yorkshire ‘Yellow Book’ published (can we have one for Lancashire?)

The Yorkshire Yellow Book 2019 was published just in time for the Lib Dems’ annual conference in September. Sub-titled ‘essays on a Liberal future for Yorkshire and the Humber’ the book is in the tradition of Liberal Party policy reports which stretch back to the days of Lloyd George. The book’s range of essays have the idea of a ‘one Yorkshire’ regional assembly as the central linking theme, which makes the whole thing coherent and well-integrated. There’s a  foreword from that interesting character Chris (Lord) Haskins, former Labour activist and ex-MD of Northern Foods. He makes the point that “a lot more has to be done if One Yorkshire is to take off. There must be a substantial and credible programme for devolution, including more direct taxation, more economic powers, more responsibility for education and social affairs.”

Back in the day…when I was a member of Yorkshire First (now ‘The Yorkshire Party’, about to take to the barricades in Slawit, after a nice cup of tea

He goes on to argue for a ‘clear governance structure’ based on “an elected mayor, four combined authorities and clearly defined accountability…”. Not so sure about that. It’s up to the Tykes obviously, but I’d have thought one strong Yorkshire regional body with smaller local authorities with clearly defined responsibilities which reflect local identities, not four unwieldy ‘combined authorities’ which would be too big. The curse of local government was the Redcliffe-Maud reforms in the 1970s which destroyed a good system of genuinely local government in the mad rush to go for large authorities. But the point is, the Lib Dems have opened up a debate, and I hope my friends in the Yorkshire Party – and others – will engage with the ideas.

The essays cover a wide range of policy areas. My good friend Colin Speakman has an excellent contribution on ‘Yorkshire’s Countryside Heritage’. Other essays cover arts and culture, housing, youth issues, the green agenda and safety and security. There are several useful contributions on governance issues and I’ve got a piece on rail, which can be read here… http://www.paulsalveson.org.uk/2019/10/02/getting-yorkshire-back-on-the-rails/

Time for a new edition…

The publication begs a very important question: why isn’t anyone doing a similar piece of work for Lancashire? The red rose county has suffered far more than Yorkshire, with its integrity wrecked by badly-thought through policies. Despite that and the existence of bodies like ‘Greater Manchester’, people still identify as Lancastrians. That’s true in Bolton as much as Barrow, Blackburn and Rochdale. And a ‘Lancashire region’ makes a lot of sense, just like ‘One Yorkshire’ does. So a job for the Lib Dems over here, where they don’t have a ‘Lancashire Party’ snapping at their heels. Or is that part of the problem?

The Yorkshire Yellow Book 2019, Essays on a Liberal future for Yorkshire and the Humber is edited by: Elizabeth Bee, Kamran Hussain, Ian MacFadyen and Michael Meadowcroft  Price: £8 plus £2 p&p (please enquire for bulk orders), trade price: £5 Available from: Amazon Marketplace or email: info@beecroftpublications.co.uk

Crank Quiz: Non-phonetic railway names

The last one had a Scottish theme. Readers were asked to name stations and railway locations (open or closed) in Scotland which have reference to months of the year or seasons.  Frank Roach offered Springburn, Maybole, Easter Road, Fort Augustus (Pier and Town) and Lentran. While Nigel G Harris suggestsed Easterhouse and James Wilkin nominated Springfield, Summerston and Springside (Beeching closure).

Richard Hackford informs: “I can, indeed, confirm that Hunstanton is pronounced “Hunst’on” and that Snettisham is pronounced Snetsham, as I used to live in the latter village. Interestingly enough, I was there when the line was still operational all the way to Hunstanton. In fact, when they converted the manual crossings (of which there were quite a few as the coastal plain is very flat) into automatic half-barrier crossings, we all thought that this investment meant that the line was not under threat. This would be around 1970, I think. Not so! The line closed soon afterwards and local thinking was that the cost of the redundancies of the crossing keepers, plus the cost of the new installations, had been added to the “running costs” of the line and, hence, it was no longer economic.  Does anyone have information to confirm or dispute this contention?”  (there is a group which has been formed to lobby for the line’s re-instatement, worth contacting them – ed)

Following on from Richard’s interesting comments about Norfolk pronunciation, it seems fitting to throw the question out more widely and ask for non-phonetic renditions of stations or other railway locations. Obvious examples (so don’t waste your time) would of course be ‘Slawit’ for Slaithwaite (but correctly pronounced ‘Slath-waite’ not ‘Slay-thwaite).

Readers’ Rants, Ruminations and Reflections

Walter Rothschild adds to the debate: “I do realise this is not a forum for endless debate on foreign politics but let me please add, following the comments on my last posting: Nobody has ever said it is forbidden to criticise the politics of any state or any party within that state; the issue is whether the criticism is out of proportion and the consequent concern is then the worry as to WHY this out-of-proportion criticism becomes accepted as the norm. The State of Israel for example faces an array of hostile external threats (including BDS and within the UN and Iran) and internal ones. (Gaza, by the way, is external, also Lebanon, Syria… – I write this as I often get comments on the lines of ‘What is Israel doing to its Palestinians in Gaza?’) This is all often overlooked or swept aside as irrelevant – it is not. Arab Palestinians form 20% of the Israeli population, they have their own political parties, are represented (as a minority) in the Knesset, their places of worship are respected. Compare this please to the situation of Jews in Moslem countries to get a perspective on the question Jews ask: Why are only WE being criticised by Western politicians? 27,000 killed in Nigerian by Islamists, regular bomb attacks in Afghanistan, in Yemen, turmoil in Egyptian Sinai, Syria attacking rebels and killing children in Idlib – and yet all one hears is criticism of Israel. This makes one wonder why the interest in peace and rights is so selective. Incidentally, I am not an Israeli but when the first Intifada started someone thought it a relevant statement to throw bottles of petrol through windows of my synagogue in Leeds. This is an example of the reason British Jews get nervous when uninformed idiots involve themselves in Middle East politics. When defining sexism – ask a woman for her experience and feelings; when defining racism, ask a coloured person for their feelings and experiences; when defining anti-semitism, ask a Jew. Please don’t define such concepts unilaterally and self-righteously, without consulting the victims”.

Special Traffic Notices

  • August 16/7/
  • An exhibition in Bolton Museum on Peterloo and the role of textile workers in the fight for democracy starts this Saturday August 3rd and runs to November 10th

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The Salvo Publications List

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 (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.paulsalveson.org.uk/little-northern-books-2/