Moorlands, Memories and Reflections
By Paul Salveson
“Hill walking, cycling, literature, philosophy, protest and The North…. ‘These are a few of my
favourite things’. Paul Salveson’s new book on Allen Clarke is irresistible” – Maxine Peake in her
foreword to Moorlands, Memories and Reflections.
A hundred years ago, Allen Clarke brought out his Lancashire classic, Moorlands and Memories. This
book is a celebration of an unjustly neglected work which extolled the beauties, history and people
of the West Pennine moors. Clarke’s book was conversational, philosophical, entertaining and lyrical.
Paul Salveson’s celebration covers some of the ground that Allen Clarke wrote about –handloom
weavers, dialect writers, the Winter Hill ‘mass trespass’, links to Walt Whitman and that fearsome
Lancashire creature, the boggart. He discusses Clarke’s links with Tolstoy and his attempts to ‘get
back to the land’ and the great Barrow Bridge picnic in support of the locked-out Bethesda
quarrymen in 1901.
Clarke was both a keen cyclist and walker. His original book includes rides and rambles through
Rossendale and Pendle as well as around Rivington, Belmont and Edgworth, with associated tales.
Paul adds in some stories from the last hundred years including ‘summer evenings with old
railwaymen’ at Entwistle and Gandhi’s visit to Lancashire. And there’s lots more. If you love the
Lancashire moors, its history and culture, you’ll probably enjoy this.
The book will be priced at £21 (plus £3 postage) and will be on sale from November 15th. There is a
special pre-publication offer of £20 with free delivery if you order before November 15 th . If you
want to order three (Christmas is coming!) I can do a ‘3 for the price of 2’ deal, i.e. £40 for three.
Please send a cheque – or pay by bank transfer to P.Salveson, a/c 23448954 sort code 53-61-07 and email me to say you have paid, with your address details (email@example.com).
See also www.lancashireloominary.co.uk for other ways to buy! Send cheque made to ‘Paul Salveson’ to 109 Harpers Lane, Bolton BL1 6HU or email
Dan Irving Burnley’s First Socialist MP
When Social Democracy in Britain was published in 1935 the editor apologised for the absence of any mention in it of Dan Irving, and other accounts of the development of socialism in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries were similarly careless. Dan has remained a peripheral figure despite a long career as trade unionist, party organiser, town councillor and member of parliament, however a new assessment has restored him to his true position as a major force on the political Left during its formative years. He worked with Eleanor Marx, Robert Blatchford, James Keir Hardie, Annie Beasant, Katherine Conway, Enid Stacey, Selina Cooper, James Ramsay MacDonal and others, influencing and being influenced by them, attracting controversy because of his maverick style.
Ethel Carnie Holdsworth, a friend and fellow dissident, thought Dan Irving’s success was driven by commitment, preseverence and fortitude in the face of callous employers, underhand tactics by his opponents and an indifferent electorate. These were circumstances that earned Dan a reputation as a professed firebrand and, after he became Burnley’s MP in 1918, regular reprimands from the Speaker for his failure to observe the rules of parliamentary etiquette. But brandishing his wooden leg gained attention for the cause of socialism just as smashing shop windows did for the cause of votes for women. However, these were tactics deployed for effect and had no corollary outside politics, indeed Dan was warm hearted and considerate in his personal relationships, with a keen sense of humour. These were qualities that gained the respect of legislators across the political spectrum and led Lloyd George to compliment him on his advocacy of socialism as the ultimate panacea: ‘There is no man in this House who is better entitled to speak socialism than he. For 40 years he has put up a very consistent, gallant and courageous fight for his principles’.
Dan’s restless search for socialist success took him from the Social Democratic Federation to the British Socialist Party and finally to the Labour Party, but he always considered himself a Marxist. It was obvious to him that capitalism was in its death throes, for during his own lifetime one capitalist party had been eclipsed and another replaced in government by Labour. It had happened within a generation and its continuation must have seemed inevitable. Had he lived Dan Irving would have had a part to play in its implementation, but he died soon after his re-election in 1923. The citizens of Burnley who had endorsed him time and again at the ballot box turned out in their thousands for his funeral. He was thought of in the town as ‘Honest Dan’ and admired for his efforts to improve the lives of the working class. In his own estimation the best thing he did was to promote better education, especially for the disabled. It does not stand alone, but it was a great achievement, and apt for one whose career embodied the old SDF campaigning slogan: ‘Agitate! Educate! Organise!’
Dan's Funeral procession