Picture: Branch with bird house/birds

 

The newsletter editor is always pleased to receive contributions to be considered for inclusion. The views expressed in the newsletter do not necessarily 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 Michael Farrell, 41 Hollingworth Road, Littleborough. Tel. 70154.

OFFICIALS OF LITTLEBOROUGH CIVIC TRUST

Chairwoman: Betty Pickis, Lightowlers, Blackstone Edge. Tel. 78849

Vice Chairman: Roy Prince, 14 Milbury Drive, Tel. 78883.

Secretary: Judith Schofield, 3 Green Clough, Todmorden Road, Littleborough. Tel. 76015

Treasurer: Geoff Sutcliffe, 14 Buckley Terrace, Wardle, Tel. 40369.

Membership Secretary: Lincoln Jackson, 1 Moorfield View, Shore. Tel. 70542

Minutes Secretary: Rita Kay, 2, Lodgeville, Rakewood Road. Tel. 79573

COMMITTEE MEMBERS

Richard Evans, 8 Charles St.
Mike Farrell, 41 Hollingworth Road, Tel. 70154.
Rae Street, Calder Cottage, Tel. 76043.
Pauline Hopkinson, Far Hey Head Farm, Calderbrook.
Alf Tortoiseshell, Sedgmoor, Blackstone Edge Old Road. 79507
Jill Roberts, 12 Whitfield Brow, Todmorden Road.
Joan Cook, 2 Calderbrook Terrace.
Rita Kay, 79,Lake Bank. 79573.
Jack Trickett, 9 Railway Street

Please pass on any suggestions that you have about the Trust and its work to any of the above.

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An Apology.

A bad error was made in the last newsletter as many of you (hopefully) will already have discovered. The subscription rates for 1988 as decided at last year's A.G.M. are:

£1.50Ordinary Membership.
£2.50Family Membership.

Subscriptions are now due for 1988. For those still owing last year's subscriptions, the rates were:

£2.00Family Membership.
£1.50Ordinary Membership.
£1.00Senior Citizens/Juniors.

Subscriptions can be given in/sent to Lincoln Jackson at the Bargain Corner, Hare Hill Road, Littleborough, or to any Committee Member.

For those of you that have bought this newsletter and would like to join the Civic Trust but would not find it convenient to see Lincoln Jackson during opening hours, we have included a slip to send to him at the back of the newsletter. It is not necessary for anyone else to use it.

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DATES FOR YOUR DIARY.

The important date is of course the Annual General Meeting of the Littleborough Civic Trust which will be held this year on Thursday May 5th at 8.00pm. in the Coach House Heritage Centre, Lodge Street.

All members of Littleborough Civic Trust are invited to stand for the Committee. The Committee meets on the second Tuesday of each month in the Harehill Park Council Offices to discuss planning applications, future events, footpaths, correspondence, environmental issues and any other relevant issues and to hear reports from the various bodies on which we are represented.

If you would like to serve on the committee the Secretary would be delighted to hear from you. Nominations from the floor will be accepted. If you do not wish to stand, please try to attend the A.G.M. and have your say.

AGENDA

1. Apologies5. Officers' Reports.
2. Minutes of last A.G.M.6. Footpaths Group Report
3. Matters Arising.7. Election of Officers.
4. Chairman's Report.8. Any other business.

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FOOTPATH WALKS

A happy new year to all members of the Footpaths Group. It is pleasing to relate that attendances have perked up again recently and particularly to note that those members who have not been well of late have all been out with us in recent weeks. We have reported two blockages to footpaths so far this year. The first below Lake View, Shore is to be cleared by the landowner while the second is disputed by the farmer concerned and we are co-operating with the Borough Engineer's Department to resolve the problem.

Members and others wishing to attend the walks should note that a fair proportion of the walks this summer will involve the use of member's cars. Passengers should be prepared, in such cases, to make a contribution towards petrol expenses. Collection and distribution of the contributions shall be the responsibility of the walk leader.

The summer 1988 programme was drawn up at two meetings of the Footpaths Group. We would be delighted to have more members contributing walks and ideas. The Autumn Programme 1988 will be discussed at a meeting at Harehill Park Council Offices on Tuesday 7th June, 1988, at 8.00pm. Please come along - refreshments are available.

Sunday, MARCH 13th. LEADER - JOE TAYLOR Meet Littleborough Square 1.30pm. Cars to Clough Fold.
Rossendale Ramble No.7.

5 miles.

Sunday, MARCH 27th. LEADER - LINCOLN JACKSON. Meet Littleborough Square 1.30pm. or Wardle Fold
1.45pm.
Higher Pemmin - Crook Farm - Hades - Watergrove.

Sunday, APRIL 10th. LEADER - MICHAEL FARRELL. Meet Littleborough Square 1.45pm.
Inchfield Moor circular

5/6 miles.

Sunday, APRIL 24th. LEADER - ALF WARD. Meet Littleborough Square 1.30pm.
"Strinesdale Saunter"

5 miles.

Sunday, MAY 3th. LEADER - GEOFF SUTCLIFFE. Meet Littleborough Square 9.00am.
Dales Circular

10 miles.

Sunday, MAY 22nd. LEADER - LINCOLN JACKSON. Meet Littleborough Square 2.00pm.
Gale - Whitfield - Handle Hall - Grimes - Turn Slack

5 miles.

Sunday, JUNE 5th. LEADER ROY PRINCE. Meet Littleborough Square 9.30am.
Kinder Circular.

Sunday, JUNE 19th. LEADER - MICHAEL FARRELL. Meet Littleborough Square 2.00pm.
Whitfield - Mawrode - Timercliffe - Longley Hey - Gatehouse

5 miles.

Sunday, JULY 3rd. LEADER - ALF WARD. Meet Littleborough Square 2.00pm.
To be decided.

Sunday, JULY 17th. LEADER - GEOFF SUTCLIFFE. Meet Littleborough Square 9.30am.
Ribchester - Hurst Green.

10 miles.

Wednesday, JULY 27th. Meet Littleborough Square 7.00pm.
An evening stroll.

Sunday, JULY 31st. LEADER - GEOFF SUTCLIFFE. Meet Littleborough Square 1.30pm or Stansfield School on
Todmorden Road 1.40pm.
Calderbrook - Reddyshore - Cranberry Dam - Turn Slack.

6 miles.

Sunday, AUGUST 14th. LEADER - MICHAEL FARRELL. Meet Littleborough Square 9.30am.
Belmont Circular.

12 miles.

Wednesday, AUGUST 17th. LEADER - MICHAEL FARRELL. Meet Littleborough Square. 7.00pm.
Stoodley Pike and Withens Clough.

3-4 miles.

Sunday, AUGUST 28th. Meet Littleborough Square 2.00pm.
An afternoon walk to be decided.

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LITTLEBOROUGH HISTORICAL AND ARCHAEOLOGICAL SOCIETY

Events to be held at the Coach House at 8.00pm:

Thursday, March 10th. Lancashire Farming. Miss D. Winterbottom.

Thursday, April 14th. Mr. Alan Luke will give a talk replacing Miss L. Priestley on "Inn Signs". Miss Priestley is not well and we offer our best wishes for a full recovery.

Thursday, May l2th. Annual General Meeting.

There will be an Easter Dance at the High School on Saturday April 2nd. Tickets available from Committee members or Alan Luke Tel. 79949.

Tickets are also available for the Settle and Carlisle Railway Trip on Sunday 1st May, 1988. The price is £15. The train will call at Manchester Victoria 9.00am. Littleborough 9.20am. then Todmorden. There will be time to look round Appleby and Carlisle or to take an excursion from Carlisle.

Contact Mr. M. Wilkinson, 29 Birch Hey Close, Rochdale, Tel. 355191.

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REVIEW

THE HERITAGE INDUSTRY; BRITAIN IN A CLIMATE OF DECLINE - Robert Hewison (Methuen £6.95).

Picture: Front cover of the book

Robert Hewison is a man with an axe to grind. An Arts Corres¬pondent for the Sunday Times he has written a number of books on the arts and Ruskin in particular. His latest work 'The Heritage Industry: Britain in Decline', the subject of a sympathetic though not uncritical review in the Guardian last October, is an attempt to tackle a wider theme. Making the distinction between history and heritage in a negative way, Hewison sees the growth and success of heritage projects in the last decade as a device used by the "Right" to make it easier for people to accept industrial decline and not seek to change our present condition. He complains that the heritage-mongers present a rosy-eyed distorted picture of an irrecoverable past and offer a poor substitute for real economic growth.

For me, however, the book is fundamentally unconvincing. For one thing, Hewison offers no alternative employment-creating ventures on which heritage expenditure could be more profitably spent. For another, a man who is complaining about others presenting inaccurate history, should make sure all his own facts are correct Mr. Hewison seems to have been possessed of a remarkable television set that showed him "Brideshead Revisited” five years before anyone else and he must have been the only person in Britain who celebrated the Silver Jubilee in 1976. He is also wrong, as the Guardian pointed out, to claim that industrial archaeology first became popular in the 1970's.

His arguments are also presented badly. He tends to make his central points in one or two bald sentences and then follow them with a jumble of uninterpreted statistics and examples which do not seem particularly pertinent to the argument. His long detailed description of the "Way We Were" exhibition at Wigan Pier Heritage Centre had the opposite effect to what he intends and merely leads one to mark it down for a future visit. If I can slip a personal anecdote in here, last August I was walking through Wigan town centre after a football match on a Friday night and was amazed to see the town alive with life, the streets packed with people at 9.30pm. and all the clubs, cafes and pubs bright and colourful. One of my companions remarked that in Rochdale (which is only now beginning to recognise the tourist potential of the area) "you'd only find a couple of tramps drinking meths.”

Hewison also describes the tackiness of Wigan Officers’ Club but one really cannot compare the efforts of tasteless entrepreneurs with projects, like the Ironbridge Museum complex.

The book does not hang together well. Its six chapters read more like separate essays than sequential stages in an argument. It also becomes increasingly bogged down with the portentous prose beloved of the art critic. Describing part of the Wigan Exhibition as post-modernist, he comes out with this pretentious gobbledegook "Narrative is deliberately broken or disrupted, social relations are subjected to chance, and a self-comparing consciousness of medium is all". Very meaningful, I'm sure.

To his credit, Hewison does not seek to hide that he is anti-Thatcherite (though Michael Heseltine is treated quite fairly). However, he does not explain why Labour councils like Wigan invest heavily in heritage projects. His real motivation shines through in the final two chapters. Chapter V "The Politics of Patronage" is a blast at Government policy in the arts and while it says things that I can agree with e.g. that commercial sponsorship tends to suppress controversial and left-wing ideas in the arts, the connection between this and the heritage movement seems tenuous.

In the last chapter, Hewison finally comes off the fence and tells us what we should be appreciating (and paying for) rather than heritage displays. He favours "Community Arts", the sort of thing so brilliantly ridiculed in Not the Nine O'clock News with Rowan Atkinsons "Alternative Car Park" mime artist. Specifically we should favour such works as "My Beautiful Launderette" (a sordid Channel 4 film), Dennis Potter's work for television (the same theme repeated over and over again), Jim Cartwright's "Road" that grindingly tedious play shown on BBC 2 last year which merely reheats traditional "kitchen sink" themes, and most laughably Michael Clark a so-called ballet dancer whose main idea of an artistic statement is to dance with a bare behind. Hewison sees our Salvation in the "South Bank Show". Hmm!

The most damning feature of the book for me is Hewson’s refusal to acknowledge the role of the voluntary organisations in heritage initiatives. The one exception is the National Trust which he castigates in an overlong chapter as an organisation aimed at protecting the upper classes in their privileged existence i.e. country houses. He avoids the contradiction that this elitist organisation has 1,400,000 members by saying they are “content to use their membership simply to visit Trust properties" the sort of patronising generalisation that has driven so many people away from the left. The Guardian rightly pointed out that the main motivation for steam preservation in the 1950s came from ordinary people. The Civic Trust itself is only mentioned in passing.

At £6.95, I would not recommend this book for purchase but it is now available in Littleborough Library if you want to check it out.

MICHAEL FARRELL

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YOUR VOICE

Dear Mr. Farrell,

Re-your request for comments and suggestions for the newsletter cover.

May I suggest a drawing of the Calderbrook Mawrode bronze torque as a suitable subject, a fine drawing of the torque appears on page 5 of Fishwicks - History of the Parish of Rochdale (1889)?

Allen Holt, Milnrow.

 

Thank you very much for your suggestion Mr. Holt. The Committee obtained a good print, of the torque from an archæological work provided by the Historical Society. However, it was eventually decided by the Committee that it was not recognisable as a Littleborough feature by the ordinary man in the street. For the time being the cover will sport a Roy Prince original. If you or anyone else wishes to come back to us on this point please feel free to do so.

Thank you again for writing.

The Editor

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“EX-FELLWANDERER – ALFRED WAINWRIGHT” (Westmorland Gazette £7.50)

Picture: Front of the book

“Ex-Fellwanderer – A Thanksgiving” was written to commemorate the author's 80th birthday but it almost certainly also marks the end of Wainwrights long literary career due to failing eye-sight. Twenty-two years ago he published "Fellwanderer" the story behind the guidebooks which he declared was “definitely not an autobiography", rather a series of pleasant anecdotes and insights into the man's quirky philosophy.

"Ex- Fellwanderer" is a less comfortable read. For a start it is more of a conventional autobiography detailing his upbringing in Blackburn, first visits to the fells and professional career as a municipal accountant. This part of the book works best though there are many odd omissions: the arrangement to give Pennine Way finishers a free pint at the Border Hotel, the Coast to Coast Walk, the Wainwright Room at Coniston and the T.V. series he did two years ago are never even mentioned.

What marks this out from previous works is that the irony and black humour of old have all but disappeared. Instead there is a vein of bitterness whenever the wider world is contemplated. After many waspish asides, he finally devotes three pages to a swingeing lament at the way the world has gone, full of bitter contempt at contemporary attitudes. Much of it I agree with, some of it I do not, but one is entitled to ask why one of the world's most ardent loners should become concerned so late in the day with the affairs of the world. He actually feels no bitterness at all about his failing eyesight ending his fell walking days, graciously accepting the onset of age.

Above all the book fails to answer the central enigma of the man. Why over thirty years did he produce such a stream of high quality literature which he long ago knew was attracting thousands, if he did not want people to invade his world? The financing of his animal welfare centre can only be a partial answer.

All in all a bit of a sad read. One to complete the collection but not to judge or remember him by. Goodbye Mr. Wainwright.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

(I would welcome any reviews, not necessarily of books, which members might like to send in.)

MICHAEL FARRELL

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ENVIRONMENT WEEK

The Civic Trust will be helping to promote Environment Week again this year with Exhibitions from the 23rd April to the 2nd May and especially with a meeting on the 27th April, at 8.00pm at the Lake Visitor Centre.

As last year we will be inviting members of local Civic Societies to join us and will be hearing from Sue Jeeves of the Lancashire Council for the Preservation of Rural England.

We do hope you will be coming to meet us and join us for cheese and wine.

JOAN COOK

I/We would like to join Littleborough Civic Trust and enclose a cheque/P.0. for £2.50/£1.50.

 

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Thanks to:
K. Farrell for typing the stencils.
Roy Prince for the printing and cover design.
Pauline Hopkinson for overseeing the distribution.
All contributors and distributors.


Editor: Michael Farrell