Photograph: Autumn leaves with two birds

 

Autumn Leaves

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Not all views expressed in the newsletter reflect official LCT policy or opinion.

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OFFICERS OF LITTLEBOROUGH CIVIC TRUST

Chairwoman: Rae Street, Calder Cottage, Hare Hill Road. Tel. 78043.

Vice Chairman: Don Pickis, Lightowlers, Blackstone Edge. Tel. 78849.

Secretary: Bernard Harrison, Tumblin’ Croft, Paul Row. Tel. 78013.

Treasurer: Steven Moss, 183, Todmorden Road, Tel. 79496.

Press Officer: Keith Parry, 3, Prospect Street, Tel.79883.

Minutes Secretary: Betty Pickis, Lightowlers, Blackstone Edge. Tel. 78849.

Footpaths Secretary: Brian Clarke, 6, Oak Hill, Bents Farm. Tel. 73410.

Newsletter Editor: Roy Prince, 14, Milbury Drive. Tel. 78883.

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AUTUMN PROGRAMME

All meetings are held on Thursdays at the Oddfellows' Room, 66, Church Street, Littleborough, beginning at 8.00pm

21st September - Two cine films from National Benzole:
"People and Leisure" (increased mobility and its impact on the countryside) and "The Wind on the Heath"
(variety of scenery in our ten National Parks).

19th October - "Mexico". Marjorie Haigh will show slides taken during last winter’s trip to Mexico.
At this meeting we will also have a Bring and Buy stall. Everything donated welcome, but especially our usual
best-selling cakes, biscuits, jams etc.

16th November - "Greater Manchester!! An illustrated talk by the County Public Relations Officer.

21st December - "A Japanese Evening". Talk and demonstration by Joyce Wilson, who visited Japan this spring.
Admission by ticket.

ALSO

GRAND DANCE AT THE CRICKET CLUB ON FRIDAY, 24th NOVEMBER. TICKETS ON SALE SHORTLY.
AS USUAL, WE SHALL HOLD A FANCY-DRESS FOR EVERYONE'S AMUSEMENT BUT DRESS WILL BE STRICTLY OPTIONAL.

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CONSERVATION AREA - LITTLEBOROUGH CENTRE

The centre of Littleborough has recently been designated a Conservation Area under the 1971 Town and Country Planning Act. A Conservation Area is an area of special architectural or historical interest which is considered worthy of attention, protection and improvement. The Littleborough one is virtually the stone buildings stretching from the railway bridge to the stone houses and cottages as far as Albert and Winton Street. It includes all the Square, the Parish Church and School and the former Co-op buildings. Copies of the descriptive leaflet are still available, if you ask at Jackson‘s or Calder Cottage.

Chris Makepeace and Eddie Hilton, representing G.M.C. and Rochdale M.B.C, respectively, came to give a talk, illustrated with slides, on conservation areas on Thursday, 17th August. This was followed by a small exhibition, open to the public, on 22nd and 23rd August in the Parish Church School with its newly-cleaned exterior. Messrs. Makepeace and Hilton will welcome any suggestions for cleaning and improvement.

The Trust, for its part, is very glad to see some of its plans come to fruition. It was back in 1974 that we forwarded a list of areas, carefully drawn up by Keith Parry, suitable for conservation. This is the first to be designated and we are grateful for the officers' work on our behalf.

We firmly believe that improvements such as this can only benefit the whole community.

RAE STREET.

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LOCAL HISTORY

Local history is a Cinderella subject, underrated and under financed in universities and neglected by most local authorities.

One reason why local history is important is that the national story cannot be fully told or understood without it.

The Civic Trust suggests that government, universities and local authorities should be more ready to offer practical encouragement to individuals and voluntary organisations with an active interest in the subject.

JOHN HINDLE

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G. M. C. REPORT

In theory, the plans to restore the Rochdale Canal received a setback recently when the G.M.C. decided that restoration (at a cost of £20 million) could not be countenanced in the near future.

The Council had taken the advice of its Canals Working Party, which itself had taken advice from the Rochdale Canal Working Party. Somewhere along the line some vital pieces of information were lost, so the Council's decision was made without the benefit of the most informed people concerned with the canal.

The Rochdale Canal Society was quoted as agreeing that the 'Northern Ring' (The Rochdale, Bridgewater and Leeds-Liverpool Canals) was not essential. The Society has never said that and actively objected to the suggestion of its concurrence. So far as is known, this objection was not forwarded to the Council.

There also seems to be some confusion about the use of words. "Short distance cruising" is, as anyone who has taken a holiday on the Inland Waterways knows, means thirty or so miles. To G.M.C. it appears to mean "between locks".

The Council seems to have been influenced by the requirements of the proposed North Manchester Ring Motorway (which would obliterate the canal for a short length at Chadderton) and the reluctance of Manchester City Council to re-open the shallowed section at Failsworth. This seems to have weighed heavily against the concept of a major waterway in this area. The fact is that getting the canal under any motorway would cost a small amount compared with the cost of the whole motorway. (It's going to cost £13 million to build three miles in Salford) It also seems to ignore the fact that long sections of the canal are already navigable and there are very few problems on a good 25 miles of this 32 mile waterway. West Yorkshire County Council have costed the removal of the major blockage at Sowerby Bridge, are working on restoration plans through Calderdale, the Summit section is open, Long Lees Lock is nearing completion, Waterways Recovery Group is working at Summit West Lock ... and we all know the massive changes that have taken place in central Rochdale.

Now the Trust itself has plans for a Museum and Visitor Centre. This includes restoration of a short but vitally important section of canal — in fact opening the way to West Yorkshire.

The Rochdale Canal Society is not dispirited by this apparent setback. It presupposes that G.M.C. would restore the canal anyway - and no-one has asked then to do it! Given the money (from any source) and the expertise (already demonstrated in Rochdale) the canal can be restored throughout - to the benefit of many thousands of people in this area.

KEITH PARRY.

Canal Rally

The next rally will be held at Oldham Road on 24th September. The purpose is to establish the use of boats on the Rochdale Canal.

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Footpath Notes & Walks Planned by the Footpath Group

The long walks organised this summer have been very poorly supported, but the short walks have been very popular.

We are still trying to get the co-operation of the Borough Engineer's Department in our efforts to keep footpaths clear of blockages, but so far we are regarded as a nuisance.

BRIAN CLARKE

Walks Planned by the Footpaths Group.

Anyone, whether a member of the Civic Trust or not, is invited to join in the walks. Just turn up at the meeting place and join the group.

Drawing: Hiker

September 17th. Leader - Richard Evans.
Meet The Square at 2.00pm.
Windy Bank - Lydgate - The Lump - Aiggin Stone - Roman Road - Shore Lane - Ealees. 6 miles.

October 1st. Leader – Brian Clarke.
Meet The Square at 1.45pm. Cars to Lay Flat (2.00pm).
Birchenhead Farm - Rydings - Ringlowes Lane – Syke - Healey Stones - Hopwood Hall - Brown House - Stid Hey Bottom - Hurstead Nook. 4 miles.

October 15th. Leader - John Hindle.
Meet Lake Information Centre at 2.00pm.
Brearley Farm - Syke Farm - Benny Hill - Schofield Hall - Turnough Farm - Bib Knowl - Birchinleys - Cronshaw - Clegg Hall - Towpath - Lower Cleggswood Farm. 6 miles.

October 29th. Leader - Lincoln Jackson.
Meet The Square at 3.00pm.
Dearnley - Starring Hill - Wardle - Higher Pemmin -Lower Stone Pits - Higher Shore - King William - Stubley.
4 miles.

November 12th. Leader - Roy Prince.
Meet The Square at 2.00pm
Canal Towpath - Lightowlers Farm - Longley Hey - Cloise Lydgate Clough - Owlet Hall - Ealees. 4 miles.

November 26th. Leader - Richard Evans.
Meet The Square at 2.00pm.
Stubley Mill Road - ABC Steps - Brown Bank - Lake Bank - Hollingworth Fold - Whittaker - Ealees. 4 miles.

National Tree Week this year will run from 11th - 19th November. It is promoted by the Tree Council to encourage planting by individuals and voluntary groups.

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WINDYBANK LOCK

Next time you're passing, take a look at Windybank Lock(the first one above Durn). This is in its original ‘1798’ condition. It has two sets of recesses for the lower gates. The idea was to fit an extra set of gates as a water-saving measure. Barges from the Calder and Hebble Navlgation were only 56’ long - Rochdale barges were 70’. Using the inner gates for the short boats was obviously desirable. Even so, although all locks between Rochdale and Sowerby Bridge were built to take inner gates, only one lock at Sowerby Bridge ever had the gates fitted.

Windybank, unlike many of the locks, was never rebuilt. It also had a very typical bridge (with a curving parapet so the towline from the barge to the horse did not snag), the remains of a barge dock (where they loaded stone brought down from the quarries on Blackstonedge) and the stump of a crane. Running across from the other side of the lock is the line of a track crossing the railway and into the field beyond. This track is marked on old maps and the boundary fence on the canal-side land still shows a slight deviation.

The lock marks the point where the canal tops the 500’ level. In other words, it is 101’ below the summit level.

KEITH PARRY.

The Northern Mill Engine

The Northern Mill Engine Society has arranged an open day on Saturday, 2nd December. The twin tandem engine by Scott and Hodgson will be in steam at Dee Mill, Shaw. Other local engines will be on view to visitors at Fern Mill, Shaw, though not working. Diamond Works (Sammy Scarves ), Roy ton, and Alverthorpe Mills, Wakefield, will be open as well.

JOHN HINDLE

A Gentle Reminder

The annual subscription to L.C.T. is £1 for an adult member. The reduced subscription for a senior or junior is 56p. £2 is the family membership subscription.

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FEDERATION OF CIVIC SOCIETIES

On Saturday, 16th August, the Chairman attended a. meeting at Crawshawbooth House, Rawtenstall, to discuss federations of Civic Societies.

The opinion of the Committee of Littleborough Civic Trust is that, although we welcome meetings where all the say, Lancashire and G.M.C. societies can get together to discuss common problems and exchange views, we could not possibly commit ourselves to official federations. We just don't have the time.

Everyone at the conference very much enjoyed a talk by Kevin Eastham called "The Lancashire Scene". I think that we particularly noted the importance of not just becoming preservation societies, desirable as preservation is, but to try to influence new building so that it fits in - for example in Littleborough, with the characteristic Pennine scene. If that seems difficult to understand for new architecture, (after the Rochdale Bus Station) try to go to see a more successful building - the new Asda Supermarket (yes, supermarket) at the roundabout before Rawtenstall Town Centre and, of course, nearer home, the Information Centre at Ealees.

RAE STREET.

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CIVIC TRUST AWARDS - 1978

More than 1,000 entries have been received for the 1978 Civic Trust Awards Scheme. The closing date was 13th March. The final list of awards and commendations will be announced in December.

COMMONS SOCIETY NATIONAL CAMPAIGN

A campaign to save the estimated one and a half million acres of common land in England and Wales and to establish a public right of access to all commons was launched by the Commons, Open-Spaces and Footpaths Preservation Society in May. It is also looking for a big boost in membership. J.H.

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Travelling in the North West *

In the last two months I have travelled around the South Pennines every Saturday morning and sometimes for the whole day. The places I have visited have varied, but each has some attraction that makes it an invaluable landmark of this area. On some visits, transport has not served my three friends and me very well, and some have not been as enjoyable as others, but I have only put down the attractions of each place so that you can mark it down in your mind for a visit in the future.

Hollingworth Lake

You will have visited this artificial reservoir before, but the facilities in the Country Park are increasing rapidly and a visit every month will ensure that you keep up with them. The circular trail round the lake is particularly enjoyable.

Hopwood Clough

You can got a trail booklet for this little beauty spot. On the edge of Middleton, the trail goes right round De La Salle College which is hardly glimpsed. Well worth a visit!

Roman Road

Hardly anyone goes further than the Aiggin Stone along our most famous feature. This is a pity since it is a good walk and has many interesting features.

Standedge

This moorland retreat is hard to get to, but is an excellent place for walkers, biologists, anglers and geologists. There are two excellent pubs on the road. The Pennine Way there is superb with good views and the practically ignored Brun Clough Reservoir is worth visiting.

I do not wish to take up all the space in the Civic Trust's excellent newsletter so I will finish here, but if you have enjoyed this item, I would be delighted to write some more on the subject.

Jessica Lofthouso may travel around more, but I'm sure she doesn't enjoy her trips any more than Michael Farrell, Patrick Brennan, Stephen Meehan and Raymond Dowdall do every Saturday morning.

MICHAEL FARRELL.

* Nice to print a contribution from one of our young members.

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Local History Society Notes

We had a very good outing with the Civic Trust to Ironbridse and Wroxeter in July.

If any Civic Trust members have any information about local history, we would be pleased to hear from them. Please Contact Mr.R.Evans, 8, Charles Street, or Mr.A.Luke - Tel. 79949.

This is a list of our future events. Anyone who is interested will be welcome to attend any of the meetings:

Sunday, 27th August. Guided walk. Lower Blackstone Edge - about 4-5 miles. Set off from The Square at 2.00pm.

Meetings in the Oddfellows’ Room on Thursdays at 8.00pm:

September 14th Mr.T.Lees, "Lancashire Mill Steam Engines".

October 12th Miss L. Priestley. "Introduction To Inn Signs".

November 9th Mr.B.Holden. "Canals Of The North West".

December 14th Mrs.Ridgeon. "The Whitworth Doctors".

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Thanks to Keith Parry for the cover design.
All contributors.
Those who distribute the newsletter.


Editor: Roy Prince