Photograph: Spring Flowers


Spring Flowers

The newsletter editor is always pleased to receive contributions to be considered for inclusion.

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

It is expected that anyone who wishes to make use of any material from the newsletter will seek the approval of the editor.



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.


Harold Dearden, 8, Hudsons Passage.

Richard Evans, 8, Charles Street.

Harry Giffin, Windy Ridge, Blackstone Edge Old Road. Tel. 78897.

Alma Harper, 9, Gatehouse, Blackstone Edge Old Road. Tel. 79914.

John Hindle, 5, Chichester Close, Tel. 70407.

Lincoln Jackson, 1, Moorfield View, Shore. Tel. 70542.

Rita Kay, Old Lodge Inn, Rakewood. Tel. 79573.

Mariel Sugden, 5, Moorside, Blackstone Edge Old Road. Tel. 70106.

Geoffrey Sutcliffe, 14, Buckley Terrace, Rochdale. Tel. 40369.

Ann Sykes, Clough Head Farm, Calderbrook. Tel. 79651.

Tom Walker, 70, West View, Ealees. Tel. 76666.



Any officers or members of the committee will be pleased to receive your subscription to be passed on to the Treasurer.

1978 subs, are now due - £1 for one person or £2 for the family and O.A.Ps. or juniors 50p

Will you please make sure that you paid your subscription for 1977?



The Annual General Meeting was held on Thursday, 19th January. The following is the Chairman's report given at that meeting.

Planning and Development

Much of the work of the Committee during the past year has been taken up with planning applications. It is worth re-emphasising here that we are not against all applications for development. The latter may seem to be the case as the applications which reach the local press are obviously the ones whore the Trust sends in objections: newspapers thrive on controversy.

Picture: Planners looking at a plan

For example, the Trust made no objection to the development of the Littleborough Industrial Estate on the 'Python Mill' site, an established industrial site. We estimate that this estate will provide enough accommodation for the majority of new industrial enterprises coming to Littleborough. That, and any further small-scale developments on existing sites should maintain the mix of industrial and residential development which makes Littleborough such a 'good neighbours' town to live in. We are firmly against large-scale development used by industry for short-term capital gain, leaving a legacy of environmental pollution.

We want to see the open space on the uplands and in the valley bottom preserved so that Littleborough retains the character of a Pennine village. The valley bottom is particularly vulnerable and could disappear completely under prefabricated units because of the needs of modern industrial processes, meanwhile, the inner cities have large stretches of derelict land, while on the fringes of the North West region fields are covered over. Nor do we accept the argument that these fields are not Grade 1 agricultural land; there is only one small area of Grade 1 land in the North West. But even the Pennine valleys can be productive and the land is most certainly valuable for 'recreation’ in the widest sense of the word.

And 'recreation' is just what the Littleborough Councillors had in mind when they planned Hare Hill Park over 70 years ago; indeed the first name was Hare Hill Pleasure Grounds. Since then generations of children have grown up with happy memories of the trees, the water-wheel and the 'fairy' paths among the, now unfashionable, rhododendrons. We were glad that the problem of a site for the new nursery was resolved by the Council’s decision to use the 'gas-works' site. Development there will mean that derelict land has been reclaimed and useful facilities provided for the community. We hope that this trend will continue and that, for example, the former 8Ambores’(sic) factory, which has been an industrial eyesore for years, can equally be cleaned up and brought into use as a site for neighbourhood facilities.


This year we were very pleased that the Greater Manchester Council and the Rochdale Metropolitan Borough Council had finally agreed to designate the centre of Littleborough a Conservation Area. The general improvement of the area started with the cleaning of the railway bridge and the road bridge over the Roche. We look forward to co-operating on further cleaning and tidying around the Square.


Cartoon: Oak tree

The Rt. Hon. Joel Barnett, M.P., planted an oak donated by the Trust at the Hollingworth Lake Information Centre on Saturday, 19th March to commemorate Silver Jubilee Year.

The Rochdale Metropolitan Borough Council intends to go ahead with Tree Preservation Orders on groups of trees in Littleborough, notably at Town House and Gale.

We noted also that many individual members have planted substantial numbers of trees on private property.

Footpath Group

Photograph: Country path

Thanks both to the past Secretary, John Hindle, and the present Secretary, Brian Clarke, the Footpath Group flourishes. On the last four walks there has been an Average of 25 walkers (statistics provided by the two Michaels, our most enthusiastic junior members). Oddly, the walks are more popular in winter, although there is an increasing interest in full-day and weekend trips in spring and summer. This year will see the publication of a series of walks’ leaflets which will be on sale at the Hollingworth Lake Information Centre and local shops.

Geoff Wilson Memorial Fund

After discussion with Joyce, Geoff's widow, the Trust has decided to buy a large-scale map of the area to be hung in the Information Centre as a memorial to Geoff. Donations may still be sent to the Hon. Treasurer, Mr. S. Moss, 133, Todmorden Road.

Social Events

These have included talks, films, a rail trip, coach trips and a most successful dance at Christmas, Social events, whilst giving, we hope, entertainment to members’ provide funds for all our correspondence, postage, etc. They are, therefore, very important and I would like to thank all those who help, but especially Alma Harper, Betty Pickis, Lincoln Jackson and Keith Parry. I would also like to thank at this point Marjorie Haigh for her invaluable typing of the steams of words I churn out.


We are indebted this year to the new editor, Roy Prince, for a most interesting and expanding newsletter. Suggestions and contributions to Roy, 34, Milbury Drive, are always welcome.

Support For Our Aims

Finally, I would like to acknowledge the Committee's appreciation of the time and energy given by many individual members of the Trust to our projects. Our Councillors too give unstintingly of their tine and have a difficult task since we are so under-represented on Rochdale M.B.C. With many of our recent problems we have had the most positive help from our local MP. and Patron. He has provided a direct link with central government for us and many times helped behind the scenes.





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 don11 worry about being on your own - most people are.

February 19th. Leader - Richard Evans. Meet - The Square at 1.30pm. Cars to Hebden Bridge.

Hebden Bridge - Green Hirst - Limers Gate - Lumb Falls Jack Bridge - Baby House Farm - Haworth Old Road - Sneakin Road. 5 miles.

March 5th. Leader - Geoffrey Sutcliffe. Meet - The Square at l-30pm. Cars to Lane Head, Rochdale.

Wham Dam - Naden Dean - Higher Naden - Lower Knowl — Bungs — Hind Clough — Red Lumb - Wolstenholme - Overtown - Rainshore. 5 miles.

March 19th. Leader - John Hindle. Meet - The Square at 1.30p.m. or King William IV at 1.45pm.

Higher Shore - Lower Turnslack Hill - Clay Pots Hill -Hades - Longshoot Clough - High Wardle Lane - Hard Lane -Wardle Fold - Bank Barn Lane - Pedlar Brow Lane. 5 miles.

April 2nd. Leader - Brian Clarke. Meet - The Square at 1.30pm. for 1.40pm. bus to Walsden.

Walsden Post Office - Nickelty - Foul Clough Road - Coolam - Foul Clough - Rough Hill - Crook Hill - Dearden's Pasture - Far Hey Head — Newgate - Town House. 5 miles

April 16th. Leader - Richard Evans. Meet - The Square at 2.00pm.

Canal Towpath to Summit - Deanhead - Higher Calderbrook - Pasture House - Forest House - Black Forest - Grimes Farm - Handle Hall - Fenton Wood - Town House. 5+ miles.

April 30th. Leader - Roy Prince. Meet - Ealees Information Centre at 2-Op.m.

Hollingworth Fold - Water House - New Barn - Ben Heyes - Norman Hill - Doldrum — Dick Hill - Rakewood. 4+ Miles

May l4th. Leader - Joe Taylor. Meet - The Square at 1.30pm. Cars to Hebden Bridge.

Hebden Bridge - Craggs Widden Road - Midge Hole - Grimswood Dean - Walshaw - Gibson Mill. 5 miles.

May 28th. Leader - Lincoln Jackson. Meet - The Square at 2.00pm.

Town House - Long Clough - Hall Hey - Flight Hill - Turnslack - Willow Stile - Moorgate - Higher Shore - Shore Barn. 4 miles.

We are planning a coach outing.

This will be a joint effort with the Local History Society and will take place in May. Full details will be available later, but it is expected that Coalbrookdale, Ironbridge, Blists Hill (the museum voted No. 1 in Britain) and the Roman town of Wroxeter will be visited

20 seats will be available to the Civic Trust and a deposit of £1 should be paid to John Hindle or any Committee Member before the end of March to reserve a seat.

John Hindle.


Doris Cockcroft



We are very sorry to learn of the death during December of Doris Cockroft.

Miss Cockroft, the former headmistress of Littleborough County Junior School, had been a loyal supporter of the Civic Trust since its beginning.

She will be greatly missed.

Rae Street




We are pleased to welcome several new members to the footpaths group. We now regularly get about 25 members on each walk.

I have had several complaints recently about people being chased or bitten by two dangerous dogs at Long Clough. Unfortunately, these incidents have not been reported to the police or, if they have, the police have been reluctant to act.

It is an offence to have a ‘guard dog’ which is not restrained or under the control of a dog-handler. Since a resident at Long Clough has obviously not been complying with this restriction, I have complained to the police on behalf of the Civic Trust. If you have any trouble yourself, please inform the police or this problem will be with us for a long time to come.

As in previous years, about half of the spring and summer walks will be outside the Littleborough district. This year, however, there will on some occasions be an alternative short walk around Littleborough when a full day walk takes place outside Littleborough.


Rochdale Canal Society Open Meetings.

15th February at 8.00pm. Half Way House, Wardle.
“The Manchester, Bolton & Bury Canal" by Mr. G. Fothergill, M.A.

15th March at 8.00pm. Wharf Hotel, Sowerby Bridge.
“British Waterways Board Amenity Developments on the Waterways of the North East” by Mr. Gerry Turner.

19th April at 8.00pm. Todmorden Town Hall.
“The Cheshire Ring” by Dr. David E. Owen, C.B.E., F.G.S., F.M.A.

OPEN MEETINGS held on Thursdays at 8.00pm. in The Oddfellows' Room, 66, Church Street.

23rd February. (note the date) Illustrated Talk -"Big Wall Climbing In The Yosemite National Park, U.S.A." by John Fleming.
John, an ex-pupil of Littleborough High School and raised on local gritstone, climbed for three months this year with an international group of rock climbers in America. He made some outstanding ascents including the first British ascent of the Shield.

16th March. Illustrated Talk - "Industrial Archæology Sites” by Jack Trickett.

20th April. Illustrated Talk - "Improving The Environment" by Mr. W. A. Ogden, B.Sc., A.M.P.T.I. Mr. Ogden is a former principal planner for the North West Region. He will welcome discussion and questions.


Local History Group

We have been somewhat remiss in not passing news to the Civic Trust Newsletter since last summer, but much has been going on and the Society is now a thriving group of about 40 members (plus some who don't pay subs.). The main events of last summer were the organising of TWO history trails, both of which were extremely well attended; the commencement of a survey of Littleborough Church land and the publication of the Society1s own Newsletter. The Newsletter is intended as a communication of events and as a forum for ideas on Local History. The response so far has been good, but I am sure that our members must know more local history than they are willing to let us know.

The collection of local material for our Library is going ahead, with times when we are inundated with pieces of interest and other times when we get nothing in for weeks. We still ask you to dig out that old bit of paper with some interesting detail on it, we know you have some!

We’re now coming to the end of our winter programme. The remaining meetings are as follows:

February 9th - Mr. C. Taylor, " Manchester Tramways".

March 9th - Lancashire Records Office.

April 13th - Annual General Meeting plus slide show.

Next season’s talks are being organised and details should be ready for the A.G.M. This summer we intend to carry on with the church yard survey, hold one history trail and to have a combined trip with the Civic Trust. Details of all these will be given later. The Society needs you to keep it flourishing. Please let us have any details that you think will interest us.




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

Editor: Roy Prince