Picture: Leafy bower

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, 4 Bottoms, Cragg Vale, Mytholmroyd. (0472) 885173

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

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

Minutes Secretary: Pauline Hopkinson, 12 Glencoe Place, Rochdale. 522447

COMMITTEE MEMBERS

Richard Evans, 8 Charles St.
Mike Farrell, 41 Hollingworth Road, 70154.
Rae Street, Calder Cottage, 76043.
Alf Tortoiseshell, Edgemoor, Blackstone Edge Old Road. 79507
Jill Roberts, 12 Whitfield Brow, Todmorden Road.74175
David Hall, 6 Nelson Street
Daniel Docker, 93 Church Street. 72001
Don Pickis, Lightowlers. 78849

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

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PERSONNEL

Since the last Newsletter, the Committee have been delighted to welcome back Don Pickis as a co-opted member. Most of our readers will be very familiar with him already but for recent recruits Don was Vice-Chairman of the Trust from 1972 to 1980 and Chairman in 1981 before amicably resigning from the Trust Committee in 1984 due to the pressure of other commitments. Now retired, Don has graciously agreed to lend his experience and expertise to our efforts once more. His thought-provoking review of the Littleborough Square changes follows shortly.

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DATES FOR YOUR DIARY

ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING

This years Annual General Meeting will be held on THURSDAY APRIL 18th at 8 p.m. at the Coach House, Littleborough.

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. It would be helpful if members who wish to stand or re-stand for the Committee and are not able to attend the A.G.M. could let the Secretary have a written confirmation (including proposer and seconder) beforehand. Nominations from the floor will be accepted. If you do not wish to stand, please try and attend the A.G.M. and have your say.

AGENDA
1. Apologies.6. Footpath Group Report.
2. Minutes of last A.G.M.7. Election of Officers.
3. Matters arising.8. Future Events.
4. Chairman's Report.9. Any other business.
5. Officers' Reports.

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LITTLEBOROUGH CENTRE

Towards Urban Clutter? - Second Thoughts about "Heritage"

Designating a Conservation Area carries no guarantee that its distinctive character will be respected and that the essential ingredients which contribute to it will be conserved.

Experience in Littleborough during the last 12 months demonstrated how the responsible authority can set aside the basic principles of conservation and in flouting them, produce a quite different pseudo-style for an area, derived largely from the introduction of new materials, different furnishings and landscaping, unrelated to each other and combining to create a character that never was.

Photograph: Royal Oak pub

Traditional materials used satisfactorily

The designation of the Littleborough Conservation Area was based firmly on its Pennine character, comprised in its sandstone and gritstone buildings and their setting with a context of traditional design and traditional materials. Additionally the public enjoyed an access to the area which was based on the simple logic of everyday use.

The designation was achieved through the scheme drawn up by Greater Manchester County and Rochdale Metropolitan Borough; a scheme which received the wholehearted support of the Littleborough Civic Trust.

Following the cleaning of some key buildings in the '70's an important piece of further conservation was carried out in the '80's. With the restoration of the Coach House and its immediate surroundings in Lodge St. and the Falcon Yard, a semi-derelict building originally designed as a shippon, later converted to stabling, was given a new lease of life and re-developed for public use.

Significantly this work was carried out by a private charity, backed by the practical local support of a large number of individual people and local organisations. The Civic Trust is proud to have been associated with this project - (A Civic Trust Architectural Heritage Loan funded the first stage of restoring the Coach House) and to have taken a leading role in helping to set up the Conservation Area.

However, recently, the fact that no public consultation has taken place before substantial alterations to the Conservation Area have been made and that the Civic Trust sadly, can only claim that the public has been prevented from commenting upon plans and giving the benefit of its advice and where appropriate support, gives no cause for satisfaction.

Public consultation is of course a perennial issue requiring constant vigilance if it is to be retained. It seems that with "conservation" just as with any other plans for future change, old campaigns have to be fought again.

Photograph: Ian Nairn's book

In the 1950's the writer and architect Ian Nairn produced a compelling analysis of what he called the clutter of street furniture attributable largely to unrelated local agencies such as water, gas, electricity, traffic engineers, working without co-ordination. The point of Nairn's survey, published in the Architectural Review was summed up in the phrase he coined "Towards Subtopia". With a wealth of photographic evidence, he demonstrated that wherever you travelled in Britain in the ‘50s you would find the same urban or suburban clutter of street furniture, road signs, crossings, street lights, transmission lines, untypical building materials superimposing on town, village and high street a personality of its own, based on a mish-mash of sty1es.

Much of Nairn's criticism bore fruit; over the years local authorities and public utilities made positive attempts to co-ordinate their work and did much to reduce clutter and avoid obtrusive elements alien to the overall architectural environment.

Unfortunately the "Heritage" scene now provides an opportunity for clutter to establish itself. Taken together with the enduring underlying lack of co-ordination among departments in the Local Authority, a "Dogs Breakfast" of mixed clutter is once more not only a possibility but a reality.

We take this opportunity of inviting readers to identify as many untypical styles of street furnishings as they can, and to provide a fitting description that would be worthy of entry in a "Design Catalogue" of the ugly, the inappropriate, and the over the top!

DON PICKIS

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FOOTPATH WALKS

Attendances have been very good recently despite the indifferent weather. We hope this will continue into the Spring and Summer and just perhaps produce one or two fresh leaders. With the exception of Alf who walked with another group prior to 1982, all those listed below led their first walk over ten years ago.

Since the last newsletter we have received a letter from Rochdale M.B.C. Legal Dept. inviting our comments on a proposed new right of way running behind Birch Hill Hospital. We wrote back to say it met with our approval but had to point out that it was in Wardle not Littleborough as stated on the order. A revised Order duly followed a few weeks later - without any note of thanks for advising them of the error, but I suppose that was too much to expect.

The summer 1991 programme was drawn up at a meeting in February. We would be delighted to have more members contributing walks and ideas. The autumn Programme will be drawn up at a meeting at Harehill Park Council Offices on Tuesday 18th June, 1991, at 8.00pm. Please come along, refreshments are available.

Sunday, APRIL 7th. Leader - JOE TAYLOR. Meet Littleborough Square 1.30pm.
Helmshore Circular.

5 miles.

Sunday, APRIL 21st. Leader - JOHN HINDLE. Meet Littleborough Square 9.30am.
Owd Betts circular.

11 mile.

(Please note these two walks have been switched since the last newsletter).

Sunday, MAY 5th. Leader - ALF WARD. Meet Littleborough Square 1.30pm.
Naden Circular.

5 miles.

Sunday, MAY 19th. Leader - GEOFF SUTCLIFFE. Meet Littleborough Square 8.30am.
Dales circular.

10 miles approx.

Sunday, JUNE 2nd. Leader - ALF WARD. Meet Littleborough Square 1.30pm.
Lydgate - Orchan Rocks.

5 miles.

Sunday, JUNE 16th. Leader - MICHAEL FARRELL. Meet Littleborough Square 9.30am.
Foulridge and Blacko circular

11 miles.

Sunday, JUNE 30th. Leader - JOHN HINDLE. Meet Littleborough Square 1.45pm.
Wardle/Calderbrook Circular

7˝ miles.

Sunday, JULY 14th. Leader - JOE TAYLOR. Meet Littleborough Square 1.45pm.
Uppermill and Dove Stones.

6 miles.

Sunday, JULY 28th. Leader - JOHN HINDLE. Meet Littleborough Square 9.00am.
Settle Circular.

10 miles.

Sunday, AUGUST 11th. Leader - GEOFF SUTCLIFFE. Meet Square 1.30pm.
Calder Valley Circular.

6 miles.

Sunday, AUGUST 25th. Leader - ROY PRINCE Meet Square 2.00pm.
Dry Mere - Roman Road.

5-6 miles.

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COACH HOUSE ANNUAL FAIR, 15th JUNE.

Picture: a wine bottle
Picture: another wine bottle

This year's Coach House Fair will take place on Saturday, 15th June. The Civic Trust will once again be having a bottle stall. Lincoln Jackson has kindly offered to store the bottles at the “Bargain Corner" Harehill Road, until then. So please let him have any contributions as soon as possible.

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BILL STAKES A CLAIM.

At 4.15pm on Sunday, 12th November, 1989, a Pennine Way record was probably set when in the company of Neville Anderson (a member of the Pennine Way Council) I completed a stage of the Pennine Way from Crowden to just outside Denshaw on the A640. What was this record? I am claiming the slowest ever completion of the Pennine Way having taken a total of 20 years and 3 months to complete the walk which was started in the Summer of 1969.

Why did it take so long you may ask? Well, quite honestly, I was never trying hard to complete the walk. Why this was so I am not certain but at the risk of upsetting readers of this Newsletter I feel that there are better walks.

In the intervening 20 years I have completed all the Wainwrights and many other Lake District paths or trails as they are now called, such as Offa's Dyke, Cleveland Way, Cumbrian Way, Dales Way, Coast to Coast, Calderdale Way, Wolds Way and most of the Cotswold Way and South Downs Way. I certainly haven't been inactive as these walks were incidental in many cases to other walks and countryside activities.

My favourite is Offa's Dyke, because, in my view, it has greater variety and for much of its length is in non-tourist country. However I digress and do not want to give the impression that I did not enjoy my days on the Pennine Way. Indeed, the memories are copious. Much of the route has been completed many times whilst on other walks and this has given me the chance to observe the changes over the years. Like everyone I am greatly concerned over footpath erosion especially in peat areas such as Cheviot summit, Black Hill summit (observe this easily on the trig. point) and Pen-y-Ghent and equally agree that this has a detrimental effect on the pleasure of the walk. I sincerely hope that an effective solution is found in the future as the artificial aids equally spoil the pleasure with the possible exception of Feather¬bed Moss where I was immensely grateful for the artificial path over the water - the water would certainly have gone over the top of my bogtrotters.

What are my best memories of the route? The last day over Black Hill is high on the list (and not because it was the end of the walk!) with November temperatures approaching 60°F, shirt sleeves on the top of a dry Black Hill!

Drawing: Horserider at full gallop at night

The most memorable moment was probably on 25th November, 1973, when alone on a November evening at 5.30pm. I was enjoying the full moon and the peace you get on a calm, clear frosty night at Padon Hill north of Bellingham. Then in the distance I heard the beating of drums. Knowing the history of the area with the Covenanters (also very active along the route of the Southern Upland Way) I had fleeting thoughts of a time warp or a ghostly apparition of Scots celebrating a victory over their English rivals. The beating became louder and out of the darkness to the north galloped a horse and rider, all in black at full gallop down the path and away into the distance silhouetted by the moon. Quite a moment.

The full moon failed on another occasion walking down from Tan Hill to Keld when clouds to the east meant a fumble back to Keld avoiding falling into East Gill Force.

The Calder Valley section was pleasant and gave me my first visit to Stoodley Pike; some years later in view for two days whilst walking the recommended Calderdale Way. The Malham to Morton in Ribblesdale section is another favourite regularly repeated especially when the skylarks are singing and the curlews are nesting.

For the statistically minded the average rate of progress was 13.3 miles per year or 63 yards (58 metres) per day - a real snail's pace on slippy going with a tail wind. Nearly 70% of the recorded walk was in a south to north direction which surprised me as I would have expected the reverse preferring, a tanned face to a tanned neck.

BILL GALLON,
Durham Countryside Ranger Service.
Voluntary Ranger.

(reproduced by kind permission of the Association of National Park and Countryside Voluntary Wardens).

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APOLOGIA.

In the last issue we published two poems, Dawn at Summit and Calderbrook Moor, Littleborough, Summit, but failed to credit the author. They should have been credited to 'Jade' and you can find both in the recently published anthology "Summit thro' the eyes of Jade" available from the Coach House and George Kelsall's bookshop.

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Thanks to:
K. Farrell for typing the master copy.
Judith Schofield for the photocopying.
All contributors and distributors.

We wish to thank the Countryside Commission and the Yorkshire Bank PLC for their generous financial assistance which has enabled Littleborough Civic Trust to obtain reprographic equipment for the production of this newsletter and other printed items.

   

Editor: Michael Farrell