Railway Viaduct which is a grade 2 listed structure
This issue of the Newsletter focuses on our open spaces, with national news about Civic Trust involvement in country parks and the Green Flag scheme, and local news about our own parks and rights of way. There are also signs of a revival of interest in Littleborough's hitherto rather neglected Conservation Areas and the welcome discovery that the Town Design Statement is being taken seriously by the planners.
The national Civic Trust organisation has beaten off stiff competition to deliver the Country Parks Network on behalf of the Countryside Agency following a competitive tender process.
The network was launched to encourage a renaissance of country parks and provides country parks managers and practitioners with help, advice, guidance and case studies relating to the improvement of the quality of country parks.
Civic Trust Managing Director, Peter Bembridge said: We are delighted to be given the opportunity to administer such an important resource for country parks on behalf of the Countryside Agency. With more than 500 Green Flag Award judges, we have the ideal network in place to help this initiative to evolve, boosting still further the value of our national country parks.
Lucy Heath, Programme Manager for Recreation Facilities at the Countryside Agency said: England's 270 Country Parks offer people the opportunity to get away from the strains of modern life and play, exercise or just relax in green and leafy surroundings. Almost 70% of Country Parks are close to urban areas, which means that everyone can enjoy nature and the great outdoors. I am looking forward to working with the Civic Trust to raise the profile of these special green spaces.
The Trust intends to build on this success while looking to align much of this work within the Green Flag Award philosophy which seeks to establish freely accessible quality green space within walking distance of all. (See the next article for more information about the Green Flag Award scheme.) A number of country parks managers will be offered training as Green Flag Award judges, allowing them access to an already growing network of green space industry professionals, which boasts more than 500 judges. This will be particularly useful with the anticipated growth of Country Parks as Green Flag Award applicants -the scheme currently receives 67 applications from this large growth area of the scheme.
The contract will run for two years until October 2007.
* * * * * * *
The Green Flag is an annual award scheme and is recognised as the national standard for high quality green spaces. The scheme is managed by the Civic Trust on behalf of the Green Flag Advisory Board. Any green space in England and Wales that is freely accessible to the public is eligible to enter for a Green Flag Award. The scheme is sponsored by The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM), English Heritage, The Countryside Agency, English Nature and in Wales by the Countryside Council for Wales.
More parks and green spaces than ever before have now won a Green Flag Award - 322 sites are now flying the flag after being recognised for their standards of management and contribution to the quality of local life. There are also 42 Green Pennant Awards for smaller, community managed sites.
All parks and green spaces with an award are assessed annually by a huge network of volunteer judges - all green space professionals - who compare the site against eight key criteria to ascertain if the site is:
The Civic Trust and the ODPM believe that there are huge benefits from the scheme. Regeneration of a park or green space benefits whole communities and raises the profile of a particular area. It is a vehicle for community involvement and a means of securing funding.
Improvements to community facilities and the engagement of local people will improve health & education, reduce crime and be a visible benefit to an area.
The Green Flag Award scheme is a lever for obtaining external funding through improvement grants and is also a means of maximising revenue opportunities from within.
People visit nice places - the green flag award makes a statement as to the quality of the experience the visitor can expect and word of mouth is a very effective marketing tool for encouraging tourism.
See the Local News article about Hare Hill Park's application for a Green Flag Award.
* * * * * * *
We received this document unexpectedly very recently and members of the Planning Subcommittee are presently reading it.
We intend to reply to it comprehensively but need to have the input from as many members as possible. The Authority has asked that our replies and comments need to be returned by the 21st April and that, following consideration of these - from others as well as ourselves - it would be presented to the Pennines' Township councillors at the first meeting after the May elections, on the 23rd May.
The document is broadly described, in its own words, as follows:
"The Overall aims of the Pennines Regeneration Framework and Strategic Vision are to establish a sustainable urban and semi-rural community in which people have access to appropriate housing, employment, leisure and community facilities as well as appropriate social & family support. Local people should experience a feeling of safety with little fear of crime, as well as a sense of community and belonging."
This is laudable as far as it goes but in line with many previous declarations and visions from the Authority it appears to be, at first reading, long on hopes and wishes and short on details. We have already produced in the Littleborough Town Design Statement what we consider should be the future for Littleborough in considerably greater detail and we wish to ensure that our 'vision' is not compromised by the intentions expressed in this document. There is also the concern that Littleborough and the Pennines are regarded as an attribute of Rochdale rather than a community, or township of communities, in their own right.
These and all other views within our group need to be discussed before we can send a sensible and reasoned reply on the document.
We have the odd hard copy of the document to hand out to anyone wishing to read it but these are very limited and anyone with a CD reading facility can be given the document in that format; again contact the Secretary for one of these.
* * * * * * *
Littleborough Civic Trust has again received its invitation to the Annual General Meeting of the Lancashire Federation of Civic Societies. This year it will be held at Bacup on Saturday 1st April and hosted by the Rossendale Civic Trust.
This year's meeting will include a discussion on Conservation Areas, with particular reference to Bacup's Central Conservation Area, and is likely to be of interest because our own Planning Sub-committee is currently investigating the present situation of Littleborough's four Conservation Areas (see next item) and some of our members will be attending. The cost to individuals is £10.00 each which includes lunch. Anyone interested in attending should contact our Secretary.
* * * * * * *
Littleborough Civic Trust's Planning Sub-committee has been concerned for some time about our four Conservation Areas and especially the Central Conservation Area. In general we wonder if shopkeepers and/or residents actually know that they are even living and/or working in a conservation area and if they do, do they know what that entails and what their responsibilities are.
Over the years little regard has been given to these areas so that now we see many inappropriate shop/business signs, ugly outside shutters and boxes, facades changed without appropriate planning permission, huge and/or garish hoardings defacing buildings, fences and other areas, and a proliferation of street clutter. In fairness, at the same time, we see shops and businesses that have made the effort to ensure that their premises are a credit to Littleborough and its heritage.
We wrote to Rochdale Metropolitan Borough Council's Conservation Department stating our concerns and they replied by initiating a meeting between the Planning Sub-committee and themselves. This took place on 8th February at the Coach House and was attended by David Morris (RMBC - Conservation Officer) Andrew Eady (RMBC - Development Officer) Diane Rothwell (RMBC - Enforcement Officer) and, from the Civic Trust Planning Sub-committee, Iain Gerrard, Elizabeth Birkett and Tony Smith.
Town Design Statement
It was very enlightening to hear just how much the Town Design Statement is used in assessing everyday planning applications and that the planning department regard it as an extremely useful guide. We were also delighted to hear that a partial survey of the Central Conservation Area had already been carried out identifying some 30 separate offences under the Planning laws and that action was to be taken on these. Any reported breaches of the regulations would be followed up and they asked that we contact them in any matters where we felt a breach had occurred.
It was suggested that in order to preserve and enhance the character of the conservation areas and to even expand them that the Civic Trust could work with the Planning Department. Further meetings will be arranged to explore these possibilities in greater detail.
We finished off this first meeting with a walk around the Central Conservation Area, even though it was a very cold day, spending several hours with David Morris looking at and discussing various issues and we must thank him for his time and dedication. All in all a very good day.
* * * * * * *
The future of the former Akzo Nobel site in Littleborough is now uncertain following the decision by Bellway Homes to withdraw from the planned development, declaring that the site was "not viable". Their proposal included a hotel, shops, canal mooring facilities and office space as well as 280 homes.
Local feelings about the proposals were mixed. While the leisure provisions were largely welcomed, the number of homes caused concerns about the effect on traffic and the additional burden on local facilities such as schools and health services.
The question now is "What happens next"? LCT secretary Iain Gerrard, speaking in his capacity as chairman of the Littleborough Canalside Development Group, says "The building of a lot of housing on a site like this is always claimed by developers to be the most profitable type of development. If that is not now considered viable, the question is raised what could be put on that site". (The Group have advocated building a school on the site rather than housing.)
The Rochdale Metropolitan Borough Council Planning Department is understood to be looking at the possibility of putting the planning status of the site on a firmer footing. At the moment, the site is the subject of a Development Framework document which, while useful during negotiations with potential developers, has no formal legal status. This might be turned into Supplementary Planning Guidance which, as part of the Unitary Development Plan, would be a legal document. However, this process would take a long time (possibly up to 12 months) during which time another developer could come along with proposals that again include disproportionate numbers of houses.
* * * * * * *
By the time you read this article there should be three new blue heritage plaques on buildings in Littleborough. These are to honour local people who made a significant contribution in their own field not only locally, but nationally and internationally. The plaques are located:
The Three Plaques Walk
You can take a very pleasant walk to view all the plaques and see something of old Littleborough.
Start in the Square, cross the road towards the Falcon pub and walk between the Coach House and Holy Trinity Parish Church. Continue across the road and go straight ahead, noticing the fine example of a flag fence on your right. There are also some bollards here with the bee symbol, which belongs to Manchester City Council. How did they find their way to Littleborough?
Follow the road as it bends to the left and then turn right along Townhouse Road. Take the first left and then first right which brings you to the Park entrance. If you are there in May, you can walk under the abundance of the pink cherry tree blossom. Notice also the handsome fountain, dedicated to the principles of the Cooperative movement, and then take a close look at the carefully restored bandstand. All this was achieved by a group of dedicated volunteers, the Friends of Hare Hill Park.
Go round the front of Hare Hill House and when you come out on to the path around the park, turn left. If you are there in April, notice the lovely white camellia which is the last remnant of the Victorian conservatory, built in the heyday of the Newall family's residence in Hare Hill House. Follow the path as it skirts the Cricket Club fence and then along between the Primary school and the playing fields.
At the end when you reach the old, now restored, weavers' houses, turn right on what was known locally as the Carriage Drive. On your right is the late 18th century building of Town House, with later extensions. This is the first plaque for Gordon Harvey who lived here with his brother, Ernst and wife, Amelia, and family. Town House is a very old settlement and is the only local place mentioned in the Domesday Book.
Continue on this path until you reach a small footbridge on the left. Cross and go up the path, until you see an indistinct path and steps going steeply uphill through the trees. These were known as the Monkey Steps, presumably named by the children who owned the pet monkey, whose grave you can see in Littleborough Park.
The trees, which are mainly beech, were planted by people who worked for Gordon Harvey. It was he who had the inspiration to restock Littleborough with trees (it was denuded through the Industrial Revolution) so that it looked `like the Lake District'.
At the top of the hill, when you are through the wood, cross the stile and turn left along the fields. There is a fine view on a good day from here. Cross another stile and then when the path goes down hill, you will see a line of an `old way' going off up the hill to your right. Take this which leads to Calderbrook Road. Turn right and walk along the road, past Handle Hall and the Trout Fishery, until you reach the gate of the St. James' Church where you find the second plaque for Enid Stacy.
If you go up the steps and round the right hand end of the church, tucked away in the corner, you will find her grave stone, which is in the unusual form of a cog wheel, a tribute to her support for working people.
Continue on Calderbrook Road, until on Salley Street you reach, on your right, a footpath sign pointing down hill through a landscaped quarry. On your way down you can see one of the nine outlet chimneys for Summit tunnel which in its day, at over a mile long, was the longest rail tunnel in the world. The path down is quite narrow and needs care. You come to a point above the steep road leading down to Todmorden Road. Turn left and then right on Todmorden Road. You soon arrive at the New England Furniture Shop where the third plaque for Jessie Fothergill should have been put in place by the time of publication of the newsletter. Her house was on the rough ground, now used as a car park, just before the old mill buildings, which are used by the foam manufacturers, and the shop.
Walk further down the road and you will come to the entrance to a large car park on your left, where you can get on to the Canal towpath. Turn right there. The walk back to Littleborough takes you through the interesting mill complex once owned by Fothergill and Harvey and along one of the greenest and most pleasant stretches of the Rochdale Canal hereabouts. If you are lucky you will see herons, moorhens, water vole and an abundance of both planted shrubs and trees and wild flowers. You can cross under the main road at Dearnley and progress until you come out at the `moorings' on Hollingworth Road, You can then go under the railway and back to the Square.
* * * * * * *
Following much hard work by the Friends of Hare Hill Park, Littleborough's once neglected park has been entered for a Green Flag Award. Judging will take place this summer.
Having already raised over £180,000, which, among other things, has helped restore the bandstand, the Friends have secured £80,000 from Rochdale Council to improve the pathways. The Council will be working closely with the Friends on the Green Flag bid.
If the application is a success, Hare Hill Park will be the first park in the Borough of Rochdale to be awarded a Green Flag.
* * * * * * *
Littleborough Historical and Archaeological Society has recently produced a book of photographs that chronicles the changing life and times of the town and its residents over the last 150 years. It contains over 200 images from the Society's own extensive collection.
Featuring chapters on people at work and play, schools, transport, industry and public events, the book provides a valuable insight into how ordinary people lived and worked in the industrial community of Littleborough.
The new book is published by Tempus Publications as part of their "Images of England" series and is available from bookshops (including George Kelsall's) for £12.99. It can also be ordered via the Society's website at lhas.org.uk.
* * * * * * *
After successfully creating the Garden Terrace Restaurant serving coffee, lunches and afternoon teas, chef Mark Wickham has now opened a Spanish Tapas Bar on the ground floor of the Coach House in Littleborough.
It currently opens three nights a week (Thursday, Friday and Saturday). The food is served in individual dishes whereby customers can sample a variety of fish, meat and vegetarian dishes and experience a culinary Mediterranean flavour in a friendly, relaxed atmosphere.
Mark has wide experience having worked in restaurants all over Europe - France and Geneva in particular.
The decor of the restaurant is delightful and the background music is of a Spanish flavour. During the summer months, customers will be able to sit outside in pleasant surroundings to enjoy their food.
It is a must for anyone who enjoys eating fresh, well-cooked food in attractive surroundings.
"The food was excellent, as was the evening."
We were served by very pleasant and smiling staff - always a plus."
"A very enjoyable evening and we will definitely go again".
As these evenings are proving popular, booking is advised (01706 378481).
* * * * * * *
Elenor Sherwin, Chief Ranger
Without Littleborough Civic Trust, who knows what Hollingworth Lake would be like today. Back in the seventies it was thanks to the efforts of the Civic Trust working with the Countryside Commission, Greater Manchester Council and Rochdale Metropolitan Borough Council that Hollingworth Lake was designated a Country Park.
The Visitor Centre was part of the original scheme. Although probably state of the art when first opened in 1977, it quickly became too small to cope with the number of visitors received. Just before Greater Manchester Council was dissolved in 1985 they were able to build the extension they had planned from the beginning, doubling the space available and providing the current footprint of the Centre.
The Centre continued to attract large numbers of visitors with few changes, until ideas for revitalising the Centre were able to fit neatly into a European scheme - Sustainable Open Spaces. This linked similar projects in a number of different countries, including Holland, France and Belgium. Closer to home, in the South Pennines, it was combined with the provision of a classroom at Ogden Water near Halifax and improvements to the car park at Jumbles reservoir near Bolton. This enabled some of the funding to be provided from Europe with Rochdale Council providing the remainder.
Many months of planning and design went into the scheme, the aim of which was to provide a new approach to the stories behind Hollingworth Lake and look at opportunities within the South Pennines. In addition, a lift has enabled easier access to the upper exhibition area, which would continue to provide a comprehensive range of displays by local groups as well as exhibitions about wildlife and the countryside produced by the Countryside Service.
In June 2005 several openings were held for the many people who had helped with the project: the officials from home and abroad and last but not least the visitors who hopefully will make better use of the Centre and the surrounding Countryside
Now, as you step into the building, it feels very friendly and welcoming. The Information Staff are on hand to offer helpful advice both about the Centre and the local area.
The exhibition has something for everyone from fishing games and coin rubbings for younger visitors to tales and reminiscences by local people who have spent many years at the Lake. Words and phrases have been highlighted, whether it is local dialect or the poetry and prose of well known local writers. Walter Kershaw, who painted the original mural depicting wildlife of the area, has excelled once again by painting a view of the lake capturing the passing of time.
A water feature representing the streams which tumble down off the moors, passing oak woodlands and fields bounded by dry stone walls as they fall, highlights the fabric of the area. Lifelike models with many hidden features mean that several visits will be needed to get the complete picture.
The new logo picks up on the four elements that make up the area -the environment, wildlife, people and recreation - and these four themes are repeated in different forms throughout the display. Similarly the Curlew, a bird of both water areas and moorlands, can be spotted throughout the exhibition.
To round off any visit the slide show provides an updated look at the Country Park, from the early days to present time provision.
On the practical side the Countryside staff continue to maintain the Country Park, and provide a wide range of activities and events for visitors of all ages and abilities.
The only blip in the whole project has been the café which up until now has not fulfilled expectations. Hopefully this will be resolved in the very near future and will provide the finishing touch to any visit.
The determination of the Civic Trust to get the ball rolling and make Hollingworth Lake a testament to rather than a victim of its success has been appreciated by literally thousands of visitors over the last thirty years.
* * * * * * *
On Thursday 19th January 2006 a presentation was held at the Rochdale Town Hall. Anyone interested was invited to attend and comment on a draft of Stage 1 of The Rights Of Way Improvement Plan For Rochdale.
With our active Littleborough Civic Trust Footpath Group in mind, Rae and I went along and here are some notes on what in total is a very significant document.
The document has some 47 pages so this article can only indicate the true depth of the material. (A number of copies are available to borrow or keep. Please contact our Secretary.)
The document addresses "The Rights of Way Improvement Plan for Rochdale" and is now out for consultation during 2006. It starts with an explanation of the objectives of the Plan and gives a simple explanation of the legal definitions involved. It then reviews the current network of public rights of ways in Rochdale, their links to other `strategies' and contrasts the current `provision' against `indicated demand'.
The next step outlines the main tools available to explore these affairs. Examples include The Definitive Map, User demands, Ease of use conditions, conditions of network and some examples of actual cases. This section finishes with a summary of the next proposed steps. In the last section there is an outline of how the authority plans to achieve widespread consultation and a sample of a possible framework for a Questionnaire.
Rochdale has a legal responsibility for the document under the Countryside and Rights of Way (CROW) Act 2000 to produce a full Plan by late 2007.
The first stage calls for a definition of the needs and then the production of an action plan. The process is to put the current document out for consultation and, when this is complete, review and alter it as necessary. From the above work a Statement of Action will be developed.
Stage one will address the order of priority for upgrading the various categories of Rights of Way and bind in a list of other objectives like Community safety, environmental impact, outside links etc.
The context for all this work is that the Borough is one of 10 districts that form Greater Manchester. Rochdale is the second largest unit with 159 square kilometres of land. Two thirds is classed as countryside (most in the Green Belt).
With some 205,000 people it is the second smallest in population. We know the Pennines enclose Rochdale to north and east and the rest of the landscape is dominated by valleys carrying the rivers Roche, Spodden and Beal. Rochdale town has half of our total population (99,000); Littleborough has 11,800.
Public Rights of Way provide a means of travelling mainly for short journeys. There are some seven types of these, such as cycle tracks and green lanes.
With 1782 recorded paths, Rochdale has the largest Right of Way Network in Greater Manchester with a total distance of 552 km. It also has the greatest length of Moorland Path: 1476 Footpaths, 179 Bridleways and 127 Public Access paths. We also have two National Trails (Pennine Way and Bridleway).
You can rightly claim we dominate the other authorities.
Closely related are other strategies including cycling, impact of the Greater Manchester Local Transport Plan etc. but notably The Rochdale Borough Renaissance Masterplan.
This cries out to capitalise on our environmental assets and it is to be addressed in practice by the development of an Open Space Strategy.
The practical aspects of this challenge are being addressed currently.
Bent House bridge
Another vital part of the concept is the Rochdale Canal Corridor Strategy. This will have a direct impact on the overall plan. The objective is to upgrade the Canal Corridor for multi-access use for walkers, cyclists, disabled and of course canal people, boats and sundry needs.
This is a brief and severely edited account of the full report. Whether you have a horse, a barge a car, a bicycle, or just a pair of boots there is likely to be something in this report that will excite you.
* * * * * * *
I asked to have a meeting with Inspector Houldershaw, the police officer who covers the Pennine Area of which Littleborough is a part, in order to find out how the main problems encountered in this area are being addressed by the police and also to ask the Inspector how best the residents of Littleborough could support the police service.
Problems with the Young
The Inspector said that the problems in Littleborough, compared with other areas in the Rochdale Metropolitan Borough, could be said to be less severe although that in itself is not comforting to anyone affected by the current loutish behaviour of young people in Littleborough, with under-age drinking and the use of drugs resulting in vandalism and intimidation of residents and shop keepers. The young people are mainly in the age range 14 to 17 and although there is a ban on drinking in the street this ban has not prevented such behaviour from occurring and re-occurring. Drinking outside a pub in designated areas is legal, eg. beer gardens, areas with seating, etc. but the police do have the right to stop drinking in the streets.
Lack of Facilities
Inspector Houldershaw said that the police had sent at least 100 letters to the parents of young people who have been found to be drinking excessively making the parents more aware of what is going on. The Inspector felt that more facilities for young people could certainly help and when funding has been made available and a skate board park erected adjacent to Hare Hill Park then perhaps this could be a step in the right direction. She did say, however, that perhaps more emphasis could be placed on asking the young people themselves what they would like.
Starting at the end of January a "Police Pod", which is a mobile portacabin, is being sited in Wardle where community youth workers with the police will invite young people to talk and discuss issues. If this initiative is helpful in preventing young people being involved in crime perhaps it can be extended to Littleborough.
Inspector Houldershaw said it would be helpful if people in the town who experience other forms of crime, such as house burglaries, could always report them to the police. This would be helpful in order to know the pattern of crime, the areas which are being affected. The results of this information may affect how staffing is allocated.
CCTV cameras have been located in areas which have become particularly difficult and these may act as a deterrent to crime. There is one in Hare Hill Road at the present time and others are planned.
The police do have regular liaison with members of the public; open forums such as the Pennines Township meetings; also meetings with council officers to discuss youth nuisance problems; regular meetings with other bodies to exchange information. There have been recent meetings in the Littleborough Coach House to discuss this anti-social behaviour and Council officials attended as well as around 20 youths. Some residents voiced their unease at the presence of so many youths but the Inspector said the young people were exceptionally well behaved. Questions were asked about the lack of activities for young people in Littleborough and heated discussion took place. Additional community policing in the area would undoubtedly be helpful in curbing the disturbances.
Contacting the Police
There are a number of avenues for contacting the police. A section known as "Crime Stoppers" has
a telephone line for residents to report problems anonymously. Occasionally,
payment for information leading to a successful prosecution may be made.
Details of the problem do, however, need to be very specific. The telephone
number for this service is
0800 555 111.
The number to contact Littleborough Police Station is
0161 856 8575
``` and the main call centre number is
0161 872 5050.
* * * * * * *
As a small boy in the late 1940s and early 1950s, whilst living at Pikehouse Cottages, life seemed to centre around School and Church. I would not be allowed to play out on Sundays until I had been to Church or Sunday school. St. James's (or Calderbrook Church as it was always called) had the usual Christmas and Easter celebrations, Sunday School trips on a double Docker bus for instance, and the Whit Friday walks - these were a real highlight, not only for the Church to bear witness, but for what seemed to be the whole congregation.
St James' Church
The morning of the procession would be a hectic time, with all the children taking part having to be dressed in whichever costume they had been chosen to wear, the little girls had to kept clean (and dry if rain was imminent) fresh flowers for the little baskets had to be brought up from Littleborough and then shared out between all the Rose Queen's and Princess Rosebud's train bearers.
I remember I used to have to be coaxed, cajoled, threatened, and finally forced into whichever costume I had been chosen to wear that year. As I was always well undersize for my age, it was always my misfortune to be given parts that were usually played by much younger boys, with the result that I would be always walking round the whole parish with a girl 3 or 4 years my junior. Of course, very often some of my school chums would be watching the procession as it wound its way round from start to finish, and there was I, dressed in one pageant costume or another, walking at the side of a girl, and a much younger girl at that - imagine the embarrassment!
The procession itself would form up outside the Churchyard on Calderbrook road. We would all take our places, the banner would lead, followed by the vicar with his choir, then would come (and this may not be the correct order) the little flower girls, the Rose Queen and her train bearers. Princess Rosebud with her entourage would be next. It was always hoped that Princess Rosebud would be the Rose Queen the following year.
Then would be the pageants for England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales. "Britannia and her Sailors" was my bugbear because, as well as being a page boy in the earlier years, I ended up being one of Britannia's sailors some 3 or 4 times mainly because I didn't grow out of the sailor suits that had to be passed around from year to year.
One year, someone organised a Boys Brigade band to lead the procession and this became so popular that they came each year after that, all the way from Chortlon-Cum-Hardy. We all enjoyed the marching band, and the boys enjoyed the countryside that we are blessed with round here, countryside that we took so much for granted!
Once assembled, the procession would walk up to Sally Street and we would stop and sing a Hymn, then back the way we came, past the Church, and along Calderbrook Road to our next stop, which was at Higher Newgate for another Hymn.
The stops also gave the Banner carriers a chance to change over, leather belts with cups would be exchanged and the new team ready to set off. My Father used to say how much of a struggle it was carrying the Banner, more so in a strong wind, so a break for the Banner carriers was always welcome.
We then carried on down Newgate Brew to Clough road. I do not know if we sang there or not, however we then moved on and started through the Carriage Drive to the Town House. A Hymn was sung there for Old Mrs. Harvey as she was respectfully known. They used to say that she would come to the window and listen to the singing, but I never saw her.
We would follow the Carriage Drive until it came out on to Todmorden road, where we would turn left up towards the Gale Inn (now a Chinese Restaurant). Another Hymn and we would be off again along Tod. road, up past Rock Nook and on to Summit for the last Hymn. The last bit of the `walk' was the hardest, because not only was everyone tired, but we had the steep Temple Lane to climb, but climb it we did, to arrive at the end of the Walk at the Sunday School, now an old people's home, but in those days it was Calderbrook Church School during the week and the Sunday School on Sundays. There would be meat pies waiting for us, and wow, did those pies taste good!
After our refreshment we would all make our way to the fields behind Paul Row for the field day games. How we had the energy I don't know, but I bet we slept well when we finally arrived home.
When they built those houses on Barns Meadows they ruined a perfectly good playing field!
* * * * * * *
Men always want to be a woman's first love; women have a more subtle instinct: what they like is
to be a man's last romance.
* * * * * * *
Editor: Brian Walker