Leeds – Liverpool Canal at Mill Hill, Blackburn
Canals were the answer to a prayer for 18 th century industrialists who wanted to move large amounts of raw materials and produce. The roads at the time were a nightmare of pot- holes and mud and nobody wanted to put much effort into
A canal that crossed the Pennines would have enormous benefits for
manufacturers in Leeds, Bradford and industrial Lancashire. A meeting took
place at the Sun Inn in Bradford on 2 July 1766 to promote the building of such
a canal. Work started in 1770. By 1773 the section from Bingley to Skipton was
open. Blackburn was one of the last towns to be linked up. The canal reached it
On completion the canal was 127 miles long, the longest in the country. Coal,
limestone, cotton, all kinds of manufactured goods were conveyed along the
canal. It carried passengers too on regular services and special excursions. Its
heyday was short lived however. When the railways got going they took much
of the canals business. Canals suffered from neglect for many years, but have
made a come-back in recent years as their tourist and leisure potential has been
Clitheroe Castle sits on a rocky limestone outcrop and anybody patrolling its lofty walls could spot trouble brewing many miles away. It was built in the 12th century and occupied by the De Lacy family. It is thought there was an earlier wooden structure built by the
Saxons. The stone castle became part of the Norman network of rule and oppression. The Normans had murdered and plundered the land, stealing and dividing the loot up among the most ruthless of their henchmen. So successful was their rule that in many cases the
land they stole is still in the hands of their descendants this day.
Clitheroe Castle keep is the second smallest surviving stone-built keep in England. The castle was listed as a Scheduled Monument on 10 April 1915 and was Grade I listed on 19 May 1950. The castle was in private hands until 1920 when the people of Clitheroe bought it as a war memorial. The buildings in the castle grounds form Clitheroe museum and this along with the cafe and the fine views of Lancashire make it well worth the climb up from the town.
This car-park at Walker Fold near Smithills, Bolton was only opened a couple of years ago but has proved a popular destination for dog walkers and hikers. Thousands of trees have been planted, protected by tall deer fences. There's usually a van there selling refreshments and there are a number of picnic tables. The car-park's free but there's the option of making a donation.
The old building nearby, currently under renovation, was the home back in the 1920s of John Ormrod, a Bolton cotton magnate, who held celebrations there every year on the birthday of American poet Walt Whitman. The connection to Walt Whitman began with Boltonian JW Wallace who began a correspondence with the great American poet who was known for his celebration of working folk and the great outdoors. A group of like-minded folk came together regularly to read Whitman's work. They met at 'Eagle St College', the terraced house in Eagle St where Wallace lived. Wallace was eventually to travel to America to meet Whitman.
Here's Whitman's own description of his philosophy:
“This is what you shall do; Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to every one that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown or to any man or number of men, go freely with powerful uneducated persons and with the young and with the mothers of families, read these leaves in the open air every season of every year of your life, re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul, and your very flesh shall be a great poem and have the richest fluency not only in its words but in the silent lines of its lips and face and between the lashes of your eyes and in every motion and joint of your body.”
Documentary From Irish Radio RTE- Accrington Pals
The Battle of the Somme began on July 1 st 1916. After a prolonged artillery barrage
which was intended to shatter the German line and obliterate the barbed wire
defences, the British emerged from their trenches and marched doggedly forward.
The Germans had deep dugouts which protected them from the shelling and much
of the barbed wire remained intact. The British were mowed down like corn before
When War broke out in August 1914 Captain James Milton from Chorley took
steps to form a ‘Pals’ battalion based on Chorley and district. They became part of
the Accrington Pals, the 11th Battalion. And it was this battalion that was to play a
major part in the Somme offensive.
Almost 20,000 British troops were killed that morning. Imagine if there had been
television back then. Imagine the evening news - 20,000 British troops were killed
this morning in an unsuccessful attempt to overwhelm the German line. Wouldn that
that have halted the war in its tracks? Back in 1916 the truth of what happened
emerged only slowly as telegrams arrived at houses throughout East Lancashire.
There were not many streets where curtains were not drawn.
By the 3rd September, thirty men had signed up and they were eventually formed into a Company
to join a newly raised battalion at Accrington. By the end of September the Chorley Pals Company
as they became known was up to full strength, with some 212 men and 3 Officers. They became C
Company of the 7th Battalion of the East Lancashire Regiment, although this was changed to the
11th Battalion on the 10th December 1914, known thereafter as the ‘Accrington Pals’ (although
men from Chorley, Blackburn and Burnley were in the ranks).