Monday, 29 October 2007

This week we welcome Amir Khan, visit Wycoller, Blacko, the Fence Gate, Barnoldswick History Society and go on the Colne to Skipton railway

Monday 22 October
In the morning I chaired the board meeting at Printoff Graphic Arts Ltd, which is my company in Nelson. We specialise in educational marketing for the whole of Britain and now we are starting to get orders via the internet from Europe and Africa. We have decided to a significant investment in 2 digital presses, which will mainly run our planner and school diary lines.
A rare evening off, so it was time to stoke up the wood burner, which gives off a great overall heat to my home. It soon gets so hot that I have to open a few doors to let the heat move around the house. I have stock piled wood through out the summer and hope that there is enough to see me through the winter. I particularly like to burn Ash, and yes, it is true: even unseasoned Ash will give a good fire. Ash wood produces excellent heat, a nice flame and it lasts reasonably well. An old rhyme says: "Ash, mature or green, makes a fire fit for a Queen."

Tuesday 23 October
In the afternoon we continued on our reverse trek of the wonderful Pendle Way.

More long distance views of the wonderful Pendle countryside

This week we went from Coldwell Activity Centre to the Laneshaw Bridge - about 8 miles. This section of the walk I think is one of the best with many views of Pendle and the Yorkshire Dales.

The long and distant road

Setting off under the lee of Boulsworth Hill (our second largest in Pendle), we take the old track through to the extremely pretty village of Wycoller. Interesting on the approach to the village there is an old road, which I doubt that any vehicle could have ever get through, but it has a road sign sticking out of the grass!

You don't expect to see a road sign in a field. Is it no low flying motorbikes?

Unfortunately the café was closed so we had to continue on to meet our bus waiting for us outside the Emmott Arms at Laneshaw Bridge. The day was sunny again! This means that we have now done 13 walks mainly on Tuesday and had rain on one of them. So the summer must have only been on Tuesdays this year.

In the evening I was invited to Barnoldswick History Society Annual AGM and dinner at the White Bull at Gisburn.

With members of the Barnoldswick History Society.

The meal was excellent and afterwards, as there is no such thing as fee lunch I had to give a speech. As the first Mayor to come from Barnoldswick for 20 years it was a privilege to be there. I gave a talk on my home, Hollins.

This is what I said;

I moved to Barnoldswick in 1998, to Hollins Farm in both Brogden and Bracewell; the farm's in one, the barn in other.

I am only the present custodian on Hollins. And I am well aware of the long history of the farm and surrounding land. The Romans or more probably Germans were on the Brogden lane, Roman Road, walking from Ribchester to Ilkley. So they may have had a look up. The Vikings were farmers after they finished sacking and pillaging so they probably called round. And the Cistercian’s were probably only over the hill so they must have been round too.

The surround land is called the Humps and Hollows or Humpty Dumpty’s – for 1000 of Barlickers it was there weekend walks for decades. Actually it is limestone quarries and spoil heaps and there are the sites of 2 Lime Kilns. Hollins is right on the line where the rock changes from Sandstone to Limestone, which I assume probably means that we were under water after the last ice age. It has had no fertilising (apart from animals) so we have many wild flowers including Orchids. The hedgerows also have many species of trees, which indicates that they have been there many hundreds of years.

Now mostly dog walkers, horse riders and the Tuesday over 60’s walking club come up to Hollins. Electricity only came to Hollins in 1960’s. So still no gas, no post, no dustbins, no water (except water pipe from Dark Hill Well).

Whilst renovating barn we discovered alcoves for oil lamps. And massive Pitch Pine Queen Post Trusses (I think) it is probably late 19th century and holds up the barn roof. How did they get those great beams there? Even before I renovated it the buildings had obviously been rebuilt several times.

Research of census returns for Hollins shows that from 1841 – 1901 every 10 years a different family has lived there. As searching just for Hollins got nowhere, so I searched surrounding farms where families had lived there for longer than the census 10-year period.

For instance; the 1891 census shows; Elizabeth Rushton 45, (widow), 11 sons and daughters ranging from 28 to 3. Three of them ran the farm whilst 4 were weavers, 4 at school + Sarah Brown (73), Widow of independent means. So 13 people living there. Hollins is listed in Parish Records in 1646. In 1753 John Harrison of Hollins paid 10 shillings land tax. (Tithes).

Interestingly Hollins has been in Yorkshire for most of its life. In Brogden with Admergill, in the West Riding of Yorkshire. The wonderful views from Hollins are of the Yorkshire Dales, Malham Cove, Ingleborough/Whernside, Penyhgent are fortunately still there. But now since 1974 Hollins is in Pendle, just into Lancashire.

I am fortunate to be the first Mayor to have come from Brogden and Bracewell but of course 20 years ago, Doris Riding was the well-loved previous Mayor who came from Barlick. I take every opportunity to tell people about our friendly Town, its many exciting events, and its wonderful countryside. We invite people to come and visit us including for our annual Beating the Bounds. Where each year we perambulate the 9 or so miles of the boundaries around Barnoldswick. This year in September we had 60 walkers join us from all over the country. They were all given willow wands with which to beat the boundary stones. And at lunchtime in our marquee at Letcliffe Park they all enjoyed a rustic repast whilst listening to local songs sung by Heather Sheldrake and friends. They all enjoyed it and received a commemorative medal to shown that they had beaten the bounds. So come and join us next year.

Wednesday 24 October
A check up at the dentist in the morning but fortunately everything was OK.
In the evening, I continued with my visits to all of the 17 Town and Parish Councils in Pendle.
We have had to borrow a car for Mayoral visits, as ours had had to go in for repairs after a run in with some cows. The loan car is an Audi A8 with lots of gadgets including TV! Although as I can’t stand most daytime or come to that evening TV, we didn’t make much use it.
Tonight’s visit was the turn of Blacko Parish Council. I change the script of what I say to fit in local issues, so I used the opportunity to once again thank them for their magnificent efforts in winning the Best Kept Village competition.

Thursday 25 October
In the afternoon we judged the schools painting competition. There were lots of entries and it was very hard to choose the winners.

One of the winners of the schools painting competition

After tea and before the full Council Meeting in the evening I just had time to nip into the new Number One Market Street building. This building is the start of the re-birth of Nelson and is truly iconic. The space inside is like a tardis and there is more than enough room for the additional 300 jobs that will be located there. The design is excellent and I am sure that Pendle people will be as proud as I am of the new building.
At 7pm I chaired the Council Meeting. This is where all of the 49 pendle councillors come together every couple of months or so and agree the policies of the Council. It is not an easy meeting for me to chair, as I have to be dressed in my red robes and chains (which weigh about 5 lbs.) so it is very warm. I can also only perch on the Mayor’s chair, as it must have been made for Mayors that were much, much bigger than my 10 stone 4 lbs frame. The rules of debate have to be followed so when the councillors speak a traffic light system starts on green as they are getting towards the end of their allotted time it changes to orange and when they overrun to red. Unfortunately tonight the committee clerk’s head got in the way of the lights. So I could only tell if the speaker had run over time when the clerk’s head lit up red!

Friday 26 October
I went along to the Fence Gate Restaurant in the evening for a special dinner to celebrate the opening of Number One Market Street. The food was again excellent from this award-winning establishment. Attending the dinner were the leaders of Pendle and surrounding councils and the chief executive of Liberata. They have provided the impressive new building at no cost to the community charge payer of Pendle.

Brian - the Assistant Chief Executive of Pendle and I go on Radio Lancashire

Saturday 27 October
It’s Nelson Day today! So I had to be up early to get into Nelson for the celebrity opening of Number One market Street. I had decided to wear the beautiful old Nelson Chains of office for that extra special day in Nelson’s history.

I welcome everyone to Nelson day!

Incidentally, they are the civic chains with a picture of the old sewage works on them! As Mayors of Nelson in the past were obviously proud of what they had achieved, so am I with the opening of the really impressive Number One Market Street.

These kids looked like they were all enjoying the day

It’s a building that everyone in Nelson and Pendle can be proud of.

I get to meet Amir Khan, although his "bodyguard" doesn't look happy!

Amir Khan the boxing sensation had come along to open Number One Market Street and was given a rousing reception by the many people that had come along to see him.

10 - 9 - 8 - 7 - 6 - 5 - 4 - 3 - 2 - 1... Switch On!

I had a short slot on Radio Lancashire where they announced me as the Mayor of Nelson so I had to put them right as the Mayor of Pendle. Mayors from other boroughs had come to join with the crowds of people to help us in the celebrations, so it was a great day for Nelson and for Pendle.

I announce the school winners for them to come on stage and receive their cheques

My mum would have been 100 this week. We had a family meal similar to what mum would have made for us, but cooked by the younger ones. We finished off with a bonfire and fireworks. The young ones obviously don’t know how to wash up, so I had to get the dishwasher running non-stop for most of Sunday.

Sunday 28 October
We had been invited to go on a rail journey called the missing link. This is the old Colne to Skipton Rail line, which was ripped up by Dr. Beeching in the 1960’s.

SELRAP greet the Mayors at Colne Station

SELRAP, the organising campaigners fighting for the re-opening of the line were running their second trip to Skipton.

The next train to Skipton is the 9.58 - going via Blackburn, Clitheroe and Settle Junction

Unfortunately to get there now we have to go the other way from Colne, via Burnley and Accrington to Blackburn. From there the train driver goes to the other end of the train to take it up past Clitheroe to Settle junction. Here he changes back again to take the train south to Skipton. I spent most of the time walking about on the train to meet as many people as possible.

We're off on a trip to Skipton with the Mayor and Consort of Skipton

The Mayor of Skipton Town Council, Councillor Manley and her husband, who is her consort, accompanied us. We both gave a short speech on Skipton Station to celebrate the day.

A short speech when we reached Skipton Station

The Mayor of Skipton treated us to lunch at Herriot’s Hotel across the road from Skipton station. This used to be the old Midland Hotel, which would have been built by the Midland Railway Company. We chatted over lunch and said that we should look at getting better links between Skipton, Barnoldswick & Clitheroe Town Councils. We didn't have time to go on the return trip which went via Bradford, so we waved goodbye to the train as it left on its homeword journey - the long way. Unfortunately as I was waving them off a lady rushed up to ask why I wasn't on it and that she had missed the train.

This what I said at Skipton Station;

Thank you for inviting me to join you today on this special and historic rail excursion. I really enjoyed our journey from Colne to Skipton, to see what we have been missing for over 40 year.

Pendle is the hidden gem of the North West and we are actively looking to increase Tourism to this wonderful part of the country. The opening of the line will also strengthen the Skipton links with West Craven and Pendle.

So, with the opening of the Colne to Skipton line lots and lots more visitors could come to Pendle’s to see our many places of interest including absolutely stunning countryside and great shopping opportunities.

It is also essential to get the Missing Link from Colne to Skipton re-instated not only to get access to the excellent rail links from Skipton. It will enable Pendle people to easily get trains to London and the rest of the country. And we need to ensure that the Rosegrove to Colne section of the East Lancs. Line and its link to Preston are also secured. We should also look forward to easier rail access to Manchester with the re-opening of the Todmorden Curve.

I hope that in the not too distant future to be travelling as passenger when the Missing Link Colne to Skipton rail line is reopened. So I hope that you all enjoy the day and help SELRAP to achieve the aim of reopening this historic line.