Drawing: Winter trees in silhouette

Winter silhouette

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 & Membership Secretary: Beryl Jackson, 27, Howarth Street.

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

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

Footpaths Secretary: John Hindle, 5, Chichester Close. Tel. 70407

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


Programme of Meetings

All meetings are held at the Oddfellows' Room, 66, Church Street, Littleborough and begin at 8.00pm.

Thursday, 22nd January. Annual General Meeting.

Please try to come along. It is a sign that a group is in good heart when there are more than enough nominations for the offices and the committee. If you would like to nominate someone and you have their approval, please give your nomination, in writing, to any of the Officers or leave it at Lincoln Jackson's shop or bring it along to the A.G.M. Nominations are invited for: Chairman, Vice Chairman, Secretary, Minutes Secretary, Treasurer and Membership Secretary, Press Officer, Footpaths Secretary and Newsletter Editor. In addition, nominations are required for the Committee.

Thursday, 19th February. Details will be available later.

Thursday, 19th March. "The Development of Mill Architecture" A talk, illustrated with slides, by David Wardell.


Coach House Project.

Planning permission has new been obtained for the conversion of the Coach House into a Community and Heritage Centre. The next joint fund-raising event will be a BUFFET SUPPER WITH ENTERTAINMENT on Saturday, 28th February, at the Bateman Centre. Details may be obtained from the Chairman, Nan Dearden, 5, Wellington Lodge. Telephone 78286.


Heavy Lorries - The Armstrong Report.

All members are urged to obtain copies of the report. The local library will help you or you can obtain copies from the Government Bookshop, Brazenose Street, Manchester 2. Let us have your comments as soon as possible.


Steanor Bottom Toll House.

Steanor Bottom toll house.

Recently six years of work by the Steanor Bottom Society to restore and extend the Toll House at Steanor Bottom came nearer completion. The Trustees have leased the property to tenants who have covenanted to complete the work of restoration and to keep the building in good order.

The project set going by the Society to make the Toll House habitable has been supported by public subscription, private donations and local authority grants. All of these funds have been raised locally in West Yorkshire and Greater Manchester. The scheme was further supported nationally by the Architectural Heritage Fund administered by the Civic Trust. The Toll House project was one of the first fifteen schemes to be given loan support throughout the whole of England between 1976 and 1979. The money raised from the transaction will enable the Society to meet legal and administrative costs incurred in arranging the sale, to repay the loan received from the Heritage Fund and the grant of £900 received from the West Yorkshire Metropolitan County Council.

Money remaining in the Society's Funds is available for further restoration projects within the area of benefit of the Society.

When completed, the Toll House will once again display the tariffs for various classes of road users, charged in 1824, and until 1973 read and photographed by many people passing the Toll House. The finger board pointing to Rochdale will also be replaced, but that reading "Calderbrook Road" seems to have been lost some time before the Toll House was acquired by the Society.

DON PICKIS. Secretary of the Steanor Bottom Society


Littleborough Historical and Archæological Society.

Picture: LHAS logo


Since the last contribution to this newsletter the Historical Society and the Archæological Society have combined.

Although most people will be aware of the activities of the Historical Society, it might not be so well known that the Archæological Society, formed in 1972, has done excavations at Snoddle Hill and Waystone Edge, also gathering flints of which they have a good collection.

We decided in 1980 to combine as both Societies are interested in local history. Our main concern at the moment is to find a room suitable for a museum and we hope to do this as soon as possible.

Meetings to be held in 1981...

8th January - Mr. C. Makepeace. “The Camera in Local History".

12th February — Mr. J. Cole. “Old Photographs”.

12th March - Mr. M. Pitman. “Rochdale Museum".

26th March - Open meeting to view the Society’s collection.

9th April - Mr. F. Mollineux "Underground Canals at Worsley".

14th May - Annual General Meeting.

Meetings are held at the Oddfellows' Room, Church Street, Littleborough and begin at 8.00pm.

For further information about the activities of the Society please contact:

Mr. D. Grayson - Chairman. 23, Clough Road, Littleborough. Tel. 76262

Mr. R. Evans - Secretary. 8, Charles Street, Littleborough.


Footpath Group Walks

January 11th. Meet in the Square at 1.30pm. Leader John Hindle.
Ealees - Brearley Brook - Canal Drain - Hollingworth Fold - Old Lodge Inn - Schofield Hall Farm - Benny Hill -Syke Farm - Whittaker - Lane Foot Farm.

January 25th. Meet in the Square at 1.30pm. Leader Lincoln Jackson.
Townhouse Road - Gorsey Hill Wood - Whitfield Farm - Hill Top Farm - Heyhead Farm _- Grimes Farm - Top O'th Clough Farm - Blue Pot Brook -Ringing Pots Hill - Grimes - St. James The Great - Shott Wood - Bent House Bridge - Canal Towpath (South).

Silhouette of girl hiker

February 8th. Meet in the Square at 1.30pm. Leader Richard Evans.
Canal Towpath (North) — Bent House - Gate House - Higher Windybank - Fielden Farm - Owlet Hall - Lydgate - Humber Farm - Lanefoot Farm - Ealees.

February 22nd. Meet in the Square at 1.30pm or Information Centre, Hollingworth Lake at 1.45pm. Leader John Hindle.
Rakewood - Deep Lane - Dick Hill - Doldrum - Rag Hole Olough - Turf Hill - Nicholas Pike - Booth Hollins Mill Bridge - Scofield Hall Farm.

March 8th. Meet at the Beach Hotel at 2.00pm. Leader Roy Prince.
Lake Bank - Turnough - Antioch - Higher Abbots - Higher Fold - Syke - High Booth Hollins Hill - Rakewood - Dickey Steps - Higher Bib Knowl - Shaw Moss.

March 22nd. Meet in the Square at 1.45pm (2.00pm bus to White House). Leader Richard Evans.
Aiggin Stone - Roman Road - Packhorse Road - High Peak - Higher Swainrod - Swainrod Lane - Greenhalgh Farm - Leach - Longley Hey - Sladen Fold - Hollow Field - Lightowlers - Gale.

April 5th. Meet at the King William IV, Shore, at 1.45pm. Leader Helen Bray.
Higher Shore - Moorgate - Willow Stile - Wardle Brook - Stewards Barn - Hades Mill - Hades Middle Hill - Cry Pasture - Broad Ing - High Wardle Lane – Slack Gate - Brown Wardle -Stid Fold - Hurstead Nook - Clough House Farm - Lawflat - Howarth Knowl - Waterhouse Farm - Bench Carr - Birch Hill -Starring Wood - Middle Starring.

April 12th. Meet in the Square at 1.45pm. Cars to Ogden. Leader Roy Prince.
Ogden Circular.


Feats on Foot.

Those of us who think we are good, strong walkers might think again when we hear of the latest walking record set up by Ann Sayer, who, between 20th September and 3rd October of this year, set a new record for walking from Lands’ End to John 0'Groats. She covered the 839 miles in 14 days walking 14 hours each day. She averaged over 60 miles a day. Her shortest stretch was 53 miles and her longest 76 miles - on the last day.

Another walking feat was performed in 1974 between 4th April and 24th July by Hamish Brown, who completed the first traverse of the Scottish Munros (3000’ mountains - at that time there were 279) in one journey. In 112 days he walked 1639 miles and climbed 449,000 feet - a daily average of 4000 feet and 14½ miles.

John Hindle.



Photograph: Steam Train

An article, "Manchester as a railway centre", in the December issue of 'Modern Railways' makes interesting - and ironic reading for anyone interested in our local railway line.

When British Railways made the decision to run trans-Pennine Inter-City services via the Standedge route, it did so largely because of the potential offered by Huddersfield as an intermediate stop. The old L and Y main line was rejected even though it offered Rochdale and Todmorden and was capable of taking much faster trains than the Standedge route. As a result, the claim to provide a fast service between Liverpool, Manchester and the North East has a hollow ring to it, timings being much the same as they were in the pre-1914 days and in some cases actually slower.

By contrast, even our standard service is a good five minutes faster than the fastest train in the days of steam.

In the course of a closely argued and densely factual article, the author, J. V. Gough, points out that the track layout at Victoria is archaic and the general railway pattern north of Manchester is unimproved and well below the accepted practice for modern railways. But he concludes that the old L and Y line could be improved at moderate cost to provide a genuine Inter-City service even though in rebuilding Rochdale station British Rail put a 'kink’ in the line (and therefore a speed limit of 30mph) that wasn't there before!

Since he is concerned primarily with the overall railway picture in Manchester, Mr. Gough emphasises the Inter-City concept rather than the 'inter-urban' which is our main concern, but his insistence that the old L and Y line could be much improved bears out our own feelings that British Rail were wrong to settle on the Standedge route. But inter-city or inter-urban, our railway line would amply justify up-grading and in this context it is ironic that the front cover of the magazine shows a splendid example of modern rail practice, the Tyne and Wear Metro rapid-transit.

Anyone who uses the train knows that in spite of late-running, decrepit rolling stock and a wayward timetable, the railway is still the fastest and most convenient way to travel within the South Pennine area. Improving it and going over to some form of rapid-transit operation would give the towns along the line a transport system tailored to the needs of the future and link the two conurbations around Manchester and Leeds in the most efficient manner possible. Clearly, any improvement is going to cost money and it is hardly likely that lines which have been starved of even the money to bring them up to an acceptable present-day standard will attract the necessary finance now unless a very solid case can be made out and considerable pressure brought to bear.

Unfortunately, there is what amounts to a big hole where statistics are concerned. West Yorkshire, for instance, subsidises the Calderdale section of the line, therefore is able to give figures for passengers using that part of the line, but is not able to give figures for people leaving Todmorden in the Manchester direction. Similarly, G.M.T. is concerned with only the Manchester-Oldham-Rochdale line and would not concern itself with passengers coming into the area from Todmorden. Additionally, the South Pennines are being promoted in their own right as an area of particular interest and it is now accepted that the general area needs a general upgrading in its quality of life - all factors working in favour of improvement.

The December issue of 'Modern Railways' provides one very useful piece of ammunition for local rail-users when it points out that the old L and Y line is seen as the prime freight-mover between Lancashire and Yorkshire - therefore improvement costs need only take into account electrification and the provision of new rolling stock, not track costs. But a news item provides the final irony - as well as something to interest the Coach House Trust Committee, who got a rather 'damp' reply to their enquiry regarding possible grant aid from the E.E.C. regional development fund. The Fund has given the Ffestiniog Railway (a purely tourist line in North Wales) £141,390 towards the £470,000 needed to extend the privately-owned narrow gauge line down to a new joint station being built with British Rail at Blaenau Ffestiniog and the new development being carried out in conjunction with the new station is to receive a further £296,400.

A grant of this size is all very well, but it cannot be justified on any obvious grounds. Perhaps we should submit applications in Welsh in future!



West Yorkshire Voluntary Countryside Rangers Seminar 1980.

Photograph: Signpost

As members of the footpaths group know, I am a Voluntary Countryside Ranger with West Yorkshire. This organisation was set up last Easter and the seminar was arranged by John Poole, a fellow ranger.

We rented a large house at Pooley Bridge for the week-end, 14th - 16th November. The idea was to discuss the work done in 1980 and the future of the service. The discussions would be combined with social activities. About fifty people attended, including wives and children. On the Saturday morning two walks were arranged. In the afternoon we had a slide lecture on activities in 1980 followed by a discussion.

In the evening David Birkett, who is the National Park Warden for that area, gave an illustrated lecture on his job.

Sunday morning was taken up with a map and compass exercise, followed in the afternoon by a discussion/ on the future of the service.

For those of you who are not familiar with the work of the Ranger Service, here is a brief description: We are responsible for the Calderdale Way (in co-operation with the Calderdale Way Association) in as much as we patrol it, waymark it and have working parties on it (building or repairing stiles, walls, digging ditches and waymarking it).

We cover 37 miles of the Pennine Way in a similar manner. Ranger Service is provided at Penistone Hill Country Park (Howarth). It is more than likely that the service will expand in the future.



End Bits...

Please remember that subscriptions for 1981 are now due.

A few subscriptions for 1980 remain unpaid. Please make sure that yours is not one of them.

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The Littleborough Travelling Society has arranged its programme for 1981 and anyone who would like details should contact either Michael Smithson (Tel. 76548) or Michael Farrell (Tel. 70154).

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The Chairman, Officers and Committee Members wish all Members a Successful and Happy New Year.

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Please come to the A.G.M. and don't forget nominations.

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Distribution of the newsletter involves quite a lot of work. First of all, members’ names and addresses have to be written on and the newsletters have to be sorted into batches to be delivered in different areas. Then they are put through letter-boxes. If you could help with this work, please let an Officer or Committee Member know.



Thanks to Keith Parry for the cover
All contributors
All distributors.

Editor: Roy Prince