Drawing: Trees in silhouette

 

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

Chairman: Keith Parry, 3, Prospect Street. Tel.79883.

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

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

Treasurer: Bernard Harrison, 5 Paul Row, Tel. 78013

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

ORDINARY MEMBERS

Richard Evans, 8 Charles St.
Roy Prince, 14 Milbury Drive, Tel. 78883.
Geoff Sutcliffe, 14 Buckley Terrace, Wardle, Tel. 40369.
Mike Farrell, 41 Hollingworth Road, Tel. 70154.
Lincoln Jackson, 1 Moorfield View, Shore, Tel. 70542.
Rae Street, Calder Cottage, Tel. 76043.
Pauline Hopkinson, Far Hey Head Farm, Calderbrook.
Beryl Heywood, 27 Howarth Street. Tel. 73476.
Tom Walker, 70 West View, Ealees. Tel. 79573

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

* * * * * * * * * *

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DATES FOR YOUR DIARY

Annual General Meeting

The most important date is of course the ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING OF LITTLEBOROUGH CIVC TRUST which will be held this year on Thursday January 17th at 8.00pm in the Coach House Heritage Centre, Lodge Street.

There will be a number of vacant seats on the committee even if all current members are re-elected. 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 AGM and have your say.

Local Historical Society

We are holding an exhibition in the Reading room of Littleborough Library.

Talks

January 10thFood Through The Ages - Mrs. D Steeles.
February 14thThe Entwistle Family - Mr. D. Birtwell
March 14thDevelopment of Mill Architecture - Mr.D Wardell
April 10thFamily Trees - Mrs. J.Bowers.
May 8thAnnual General Meeting.

Fame

Our Minutes Secretary Rita Kay appeared (if that's the right word) on the Radio 4 programme "Tuesday Call recently. The subject was the "Westernisation" of China. Rita asked a question about family life in the People's Republic.

Departures

We extend our sincere condolences to the family of Mr. R. Clegg of Shore who died recently. Mr. H. Gregory has moved out of the area and we wish him well in his new home. Mr. J. Knox of Wardle, Mrs. Broadbent of Castleton and Mr. C. Williamson, formerly a regular with the Footpaths Group, have all resigned this year.

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R.I.P.

We were very sad to learn of the death of Alma Harper in October.

Alma was our first and at the time of writing, the only life member of the Littleborough Civic Trust. She had been both an ordinary & also a Committee member of the Trust for many years, almost in fact since the inception of the L.C.T. in 1970. She gave a great deal of her time & energy in the busy days when we held regular meetings, coffee mornings, exhibitions etc. Her expertise with coffee making will be particularly long remembered! It was only after her removal from Littleborough to Rochdale to live that we started to lose touch as failing health and dark winter nights made it difficult for her to join our activities.

The Civic Trust prides itself on its ability to try and look forward and assess plans and proposals in the light of how things will be in the future; but I personally do not think it is a bad thing occasionally to reflect on what we have been able to do in the past and Alma will be remembered for what she also helped us to achieve.

Although a little late, our condolences to her family are none the less sincere.

BETTY PICKIS

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£750,000 Splash To Make Canal A Tourist Dream

(An extract from the Manchester Evening News) Tourism-conscious Greater Manchester Council is to pump £750,000 into plans for restoring the Rochdale Canal between the city and West Yorkshire.

The cash will be spent opening up the waterway to boats between Littleborough and Todmorden and it is hoped this will provide a launching pad for the overall scheme.

It will take three years to clear major obstructions between both towns and £160,000 will go on re-building Durn Bridge, Littleborough, which carries the Halifax road.

More formidable problems face planners in the campaign to re-open the waterway closer to Manchester, where sections have been culverted and others considerably reduced in depth.

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FOOTPATH WALKS

Things have been going well recently. The Footpaths Inspector for Rochdale M.B.C., Mr. Pickles seems to be doing a good job with regard to blockages. Attendances have increased since the summer. It has however become necessary to reiterate that dogs are not allowed on our walks as is the case with the Ramblers’ Association.

The early 1985 walks programme was compiled by members of the Footpaths Group at meetings earlier this year. We would be delighted to have more members contributing walks and ideas. The spring/summer programme will be discussed at a meeting at Harehill Park Council Offices on 26th February at 8.00pm. Please come along.

JANUARY 13th. Leader - ROY PRINCE. Meet Littleborough Square 1.30pm.
Brown Bank - Birch Hill - Starring.

4 miles.

JANUARY 27th. Leader - LINCOLN JACKSON. Meet Littleborough Square 1.30pm.
Shore/Calderbrook area.

FEBRUARY 10th. Leader - GEOFF SUTCLIFFE. Meet Littleborough Square 1.30 pm or Lawflat 1.45pm.
Wardle/Buckley area.

FEBRUARY 24th. Leader - HELEN BRAY. Meet King William IV Inn, Shore 1.45pm.
Shore Hall - Moorgate -Watergrove.

MARCH 10th. Leader - MIKE FARRELL. Meet for 1.40pm bus from the Square to Ramsden Wood Road.
Ramsden Wood - Ragby Bridge - Long Causeway - Turn Slack - Heights Farm - Townhouse.

MARCH 24th. Leader - JOHN HINDLE. Meet Square for 10.55am bus to Ripponden (10.45am from Rochdale).
Ripponden – Brearley - Midgeley.

11 miles

APRIL 14th. Leader - RICHARD EVANS. Meet Square 1.45pm.
Ealees - Lydgate-Moorcock.

APRIL 28th. Leader - ALF WARD Meet Square 1.45pm or Ogden 2.00pm.
White Hill - Pennine Way.

8 miles.

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A Few Statistics

The total attendance this year on the walks has been approx. 345. The average attendance has been 13.3. Last year's total was approx. 292. The average was 11.1. Last year's most popular leader was Lincoln Jackson who drew 53 to his four walks.

The figures for 1984 are given below.

  1. RICHARD EVANS, 4 walks - 53 people approximately.
  2. LINCOLN JACKSON, 3 walks - 52 people
  3. MIKE FARRELL, 4 walks - 49 people
  4. JOE TAYLOR, 3 walks - 42 people (7 of whom were solely members of Whitworth Footpaths Group)
  5. ROY PRINCE, 2 walks - 39 people
  6. ALF WARD, 3 walks - 39 people
  7. JOHN HINDLE, 4 walks - 38 people
  8. GEOFF SUTCLIFFE, 3 walks - 26 people
  9. HELEN BRAY, 1 walk - 11 people (the best attendance for a full day walk).

The order is quite different when one looks at averages:

1. ROY 18.52. LINCOLN 17.33. JOE 144. RICHARD 13.5
5. ALF 136. MIKE 12.27. HELEN 118. JOHN 9.5
9. GEOFF 8.7

MICHAEL FARRELL

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PRESERVATION AND NEGLECT

The Summit Tunnel disaster has certainly been the major talking-point in Littleborough recently. Thankfully, there seems to be no threat to the future of the line though the inconvenience of the temporary rail/bus arrangement will be wearisome for those who regularly use the line. Regular commuters will have been aggravated by the "isn't it jolly, we're on the telly" attitude of some.

However one must admire the workmanship of those who built the tunnel last century, which has enabled it to resist temperatures of 8,000°C. The Summit tunnel is one of Littleborough's major historical assets and seems able to look after itself. Other features are less durable.

Drawing: Summit Tunnel entrance

This illustration of the Summit Tunnel by Keith Parry is available as a postcard from the Heritage Centre which is currently running an Exhibition of photographs of the Tunnel Fire. Reproductions of these pictures may be on sale at a future date.

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1. What we've lost

The old Baptist Chapel on Halifax Road and Law's Mill on West View both have bran destroyed by fire in the past two years. The remains of Frankfurt Mill (the tower at the end of the scrapyard on Halifax Road)have been destroyed for no apparent reason. This was a most interesting mill - a huge stockpile of tea was built up there during the war. The fine Methodist Church at Stubley has been virtually ruined in the process of conversion to a house. Handle Hall, one of the finest examples of a sixteenth century house in Littleborough is in a poor state of repair.

The most spectacular example of a lost amenity has been the needless destruction of Turn Slack Dam on the moors of Calderbrook - a dreadful example of industrial vandalism. Local people, who have used the dam for swimming and sun¬bathing for years, cannot understand how the dam could have been a safety hazard. Now, a former beauty spot has been reduced to a morass.

Just outside Littleborough we have a prime example of administrative vandalism at Watergrove where the old setts lining the old mining road leading to the drowned village of Watergrove have been pulled up and removed. This destruction was carried out in preparation for the contro¬versial recreational development of the reservoir - the reason given being that the setts might ruin the keels of boats using the reservoir.

2. What we’re in danger of losing.

The buildings most at risk at the moment appear to be the Ebenezer Chapel and the small school behind it at Summit. Both have been disused for a good while. They were built in the early nineteenth century - the church in 1834. It was an independent Methodist chapel, one of the first in the area. In 1896 its parishioners sent a letter to the Prime Minister, Lord Salisbury drawing attention to the atrocities committed against the Christians of Armenia by the Turkish Sultan. Both buildings are in a rather poor state of repair. The first step towards preservation would be to have them spot-listed. Then if some use could be found (apart from the pubs, Summit has no community buildings) for them, Rochdale M.B.C. could cream off some of the excess manpower from over-manned youth employment ventures such as Shott Wood to do the repair work.

3. Areas where action is taking place

Shott Wood has certainly been transformed by the attentions of the lads on the employment scheme - whether this has been beneficial or not is difficult to say in view of the time, energy and money spent on the scheme when so much else needs doing, it all seems rather unnecessary. All that was really needed was a few lads for about a week to clear the footpath of rubbish.

The canal scheme has been going a long time now. It has brought mixed blessings. The tow-rings by the side of the old filling-station on Canal Street now look rather ridiculous sticking up out of the tarmac towpath. The planners should also be condemned for not replacing the stretch of pavement they took up opposite the Railway Inn. The current surface is a source of great irritation particularly in wet weather. The sunken barge that was brought up near Bent House Bridge has been left open to vandalism and is rapidly decaying although here it is difficult to cee what could have been done to save it. Nevertheless the canal improvement scheme has brought benefits, notably the gates to stop horse-riders and motorcyclists and the improved surface of the towpath.

The Coach House is easily Littleborough's most satisfactory restoration scheme, proving that local people know best. However, how long will it be before its Heritage Trails gradually become out-of-date because the features it describes have been ill-preserved or destroyed!

MICHAEL FARRELL

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The Abolition of Greater Manchester County Council

The A4 sheet given out with this newsletter represents the Civic Trust's official opinion towards the Government's plans. It is an issue which is closely relevant to the Trust's activities. If you agree with the points raised, please make your support count by writing to our M.P. Geoffrey Dickens who has proved to be not unreceptive to our views on the matter. Please feel free to take issue over any point with a committee member or preferably at the Annual General Meeting.

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Ted Hughes

Photograph: Ted Hughes

Three cheers to the powers-that-be for choosing a Northerner to be Poet Laureate. Ted was born in Mytholmroyd but moved down south after the tragic death of his wife the poetess Sylvia Plath who is buried at Heptonstall. His former house Lumb Bank is run by the Arvon Foundation as a residential centre for aspiring young writers. Copyright prevents me from reproducing any of his work here but Keith Parry is planning to do a recitation of some of his poetry at the Coach House in the near future. The event will be advertised if any of you are interested.

THE EDITOR

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PUBLIC TRANSPORT.

In 1986 central government intend to take control of public transport that is bus and railways. As we are all aware, the Government means to abolish metropolitan counties and hand over control of certain services to various agencies such as joint transport boards.

These will be run in a similar way to water authorities i.e. the public do not have a direct say in what happens. How could this affect some of the things we take for granted? Buses and trains for instance.

At the moment G.M.C. pay out £30 million to help keep fares down and services running. In real terms, compared with inflation G.M.C. bus fares have gone down by between 12% and 20% over the past few years. If the Government's plan to scrap G.M.C. goes through, they will decide how much will be spent. Bus fares could go up by 30%, concessionary fares could be substantially increased or even abolished. There could be fewer buses and a possibility that some uneconomical routes would be cut completely.

As for rail services the possibilities could be just as bad.

G.M.C. subsidises rail commuter services by almost £20 million. If the Government, if and when it takes control, decides to cut this subsidy what could be the outcome? Almost 50% of all local passenger rail services could be cut (West Yorkshire considered this on our line). Rail fares could go up by 30% while other European cities (look at French railways) are getting greater investment for their public transport systems. G.M.C. has been told to spend £10 million less on theirs (ours!). In real terms, a reduction of 20%.

This is a catch 22 situation in as much as that if G.M.C. go ahead and spend what they consider is essential for us, they will incur massive financial penalties which we as tax¬payers will have to find. However, if G.M.C. do as central government demands, there is the almost certainty that fares will rocket and the number of buses and trains greatly diminish.

JOHN HINDIE

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TICKING OFF THE TOPS

An interesting pastime for a keen walker is to keep record of all the summits he/she has ascended and then draw up a chart - top twenty style. Below is my current list of peaks "bagged". If you can compile one, please send it in (lists with Mount Everest at the top will be-treated with extreme scepticism).

1. Helvellyn3118 ft.11. Calf Crag1762 ft.
2. Fairfield2863 12. Low Pike1657
3. Hart Crag269813. Simon's Seat1550
4. Dove Crag260314. Blackstone Edge1548
4. Green Gable also260315. White Hill1530
6. Great Rigg251316. Rapes Hill1475
7. High Pike215517. Thieveley Pike1473
8. Heron Pike200318. Millstone Edge1466
9. Hartsop-above-How187019. High Brown Knoll
10. Pendle Hill183120. Nab Scar1450

MICHAEL FARRELL

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Thanks to:
Keith Parry for the cover design.
Roy Prince for printing the newsletter.
The Coach House Trust and Rochdale Resource Centre for providing facilites
All contributors and distributors


Editor: Roy Prince