Wednesday, 12 October 2016

FRONT PAGE - Photos, Postcards, Snippets, Notices etc

Our By-Pass is 35 years old this Sunday 4th December 2016 and the following photos are of how it looked back on 4th December 1981


A fabulous old photo sent in by Bob and uploaded here on 3rd December 2016.

Click over the photo to enlarge

The photo is a collective montage which shows a snow scene of the old Carr Mill to the left. Here in the photo it was owned and being used by Shepherd Bros (Timber) Ltd and you will see their large bow top timber shed. The farm to the rear left hand side is Martin Croft Farm, and the houses to the right hand side are Carr Mill Street and the now demolished Back Carr Mill Street.

The Bow Topped timber sheds were bought and brought from King Lynn and a identical shed was also erected up at Duckworth Clough around the same time. I remember clearly two guys who also hailed from Kings Lynn did all the work on their own.  Obviously hiring a crane contractor just on the days required to lift the stantions and the bow top roof.

Thanks to Bob for kindly sharing this photo with us.

A new item for inclusion within our gallery "Haslingden in Art"

A snow scene of Carr Mill and Martin Croft (Click over to enlarge)

Watercolour by Nellie Tindley and kindly offered to us for inclusion by her son in law Bob.

painted Late January 1977, from the backyard of 302 Blackburn Road (uploaded here on 3rd December 2016)


Photo: kindly shared by Alec Taylor (Please click over to enlarge)

Uploaded to here on 1st December 2016
The following will soon be added to a new blog which I intend to start very soon which will be called "Bleach Works" - and if anyone has any photos or information or stories, it would be great to receive them.  For now please enjoy:


Dear Mr. Yorke

I have been reading old posts about Holden Vale Flash.  Mike in France writes “Around the back of the bleach works there were railway lines which ran to warehouse loading bays facing the so called "lake" which was full of industrial waste with a nasty chemical odour.

That made me think about a piece of memoir that I wrote about working in the bleach works in the 1970s.  You may be interested to read it – it is attached.

Since I am writing to you, I wonder if I may ask you two questions:
  • The railway bridge at Holcombe Road between Jubilee Road and Stone Street.
    It is shown on an OS map for 1965.  On an OS map for 1979, it seems to have been demolished.  Do you know exactly when it was demolished?
  • Holden Vale Manufacturing Company was closed down in 1997.  There was an accident some time before with chlorine bleach in which several workers were injured (I believe some lost their lives).  Do you know of any Press references to that accident?
In my day, we hadn’t learned to be scared of the bleach.  I had my mind focused on the possibility of byssinosis:

Cleaning the drier

The weekly maintenance of the cotton drier is what triggered my intention to be a shop-steward.  Byssinosis is a nasty disease of the lungs, caused by breathing in cotton fibres.  Everyone in the Lancashire valleys knows about "brown lung disease" - it is the occupational disease of the cotton worker.  Every Sunday, on the afternoon shift, we got our prime chance to start a career into byssinosis.
The continuous process in the factory was shut down on Sunday afternoon, for as short a time as possible, for cleaning the cotton drier.  This was a tunnel about 80 yards long, just big enough for a man to crawl into, lined with fine wire mesh on sides and top.  On Sunday afternoon, the drier heaters were turned off long enough for it to be possible for two guys on that shift to crawl up the tunnel without burning their gloved hands on the metal floor or suffocating.  They each took a dust-pan and brush, and swept the cotton dust down from the far end towards the mouth.
Factory rules required the sweepers to wear a mask - the most rudimentary "protection" of 5mm of gauze held in a flat, bendy metal frame.  Most of the guys wouldn't wear this - they said it made it even harder to breathe in there.  A couple of them brought in big coloured hankies that they tied over their mouths like bandits.
I raised the uncomfortable word - byssinosis.  "Oh, no - you get byssinosis in weaving or spinning.  This is different."

Wet end

The Holden Vale Bleach Works in 1975 was a simple place.  One raw material – cotton linters – one product – cellulose – provided in two forms of packaging: block and sheet.  The process that transformed the raw material into the product was pretty simple too – wash, bleach and dry.
One set of tubs for washing and bleaching everything that came in through the devil hole, and then wet white cotton pumped either to be dried and pressed into blocks, or laid on a paper-making machine to be rolled up as sheets of thick blotting paper.
Very little was automated.  The big tubs were filled and emptied with the simple control of a 20 foot long wooden dipstick.  Pumping to one or other output process was simply a matter of the team running that process calling the keeper of the blend tub – “Pump some!”  (And I mean calling - just shouts across the factory.)  And then “Stop pumping!” (and therein lies a tale – later).  This is not high tech; this is a factory that hasn’t been touched since it was built sometime in the 1920s, I guess.  The gap between “Pump some!” and “Stop pumping!” is a matter of handed-down knowledge – just enough minutes to supply the need which has been the same half-a-dozen times a day every day for the 21,000 days since the factory was built.
The “wet end” is the wet end of the highest tech process in the factory – the paper-making machine.  Clean cotton suspended in lots of water is pumped to a holding tank about 25 feet off the ground from which it runs off evenly and gently over an 8 foot wide lip into a long shallow bath with a moving bottom conveyor made of fine wire mesh.  The flow of water down the bath keeps the layer of cotton moving, and as the water drains away, the layer forms a wet deposit on the moving mesh. 
The nascent paper, forming as an even film on the mesh conveyor as the water drains out of it should be just coherent enough to transfer (carefully!) an inch or so down and across onto another conveyor, this time of felt.  Hot air dries the cotton mat as it passes along on the mesh until it spills over as the mesh belt doubles back.  What spills over has some integrity as a damp mat, and it drops an inch or so down and across onto another continuous band, this time of felt.
The felt of which the second conveyor is made has a very even surface which transfers into the smooth surface on the forming paper. (This surface is created by the urea in which the felt is pounded during its formation - this is the finish that used to be created just round the corner in Higher Mill - I alluded to this in my discussion of toilet matters.) The forming paper is dried with heat as it is conveyed along, forming something closer to a wide ribbon of paper, with the beginning of a paper’s strength. 
At the end of the felt (where that band doubles back) the sheet drops, maybe an inch or so, onto a big heated roller (maybe 7 foot in diameter, 8 foot wide), turning slowly to carry the paper along..  This second transfer is another vulnerable point in the process.  The surface of the roller has to be turning at exactly the same speed as the paper coming down the felt runway.  The forming paper has to be dry enough to cohere, but wet enough to be flexible.  If everything is right, the paper, maybe 8 feet wide, will cross the inches of space between felt conveyor and roller and be carried on steadily round the roller and on to three or four rollers in turn, the heat diminishing as it passes.
What comes off the end is a continuous sheet of the consistency of blotting paper,  which is either rolled up for shipment, or put through a cutter for those customers whose factory processes demand sheets of cellulose.
The technological demands are fairly obvious.  The rollers have to be going at exactly the same speed, or they will tear the paper.  The speed of the rollers, picking up the wet paper needs to match the speed of the felt band which needs to match the speed of the wire mesh band.  The gradation of heating (drying) through the process needs to be right within fairly close tolerances.  And so on.  Not exactly high tech – but higher tech than anything else in this factory.
And some art, too.  How the cotton wash slops over onto the start of the production line determines how evenly the cotton will be laid and therefore the consistency of the paper produced.  Taking the wet mat from the wire mesh onto the felt is a delicate process, and so from the felt onto the rollers.  Even drawing paper from roller to roller demands some care.  After a break in the production (an accidental tear, or something deliberate) the wet end man comes into his own, with the chance to put production back on again in a few deft steps, or to lose production as the paper tears or collapses over and over.
An honour, therefore, for me to have been made a wet end man, after 11 months mostly wrapping blocks of cotton in brown paper and 3 months absence teaching developmental psychology at Cambridge.
I was never the wet end man, though – just a wet end man; assistant to Donald.  Now, Donald – there’s a few stories.


I presume that Donald must have had many episodes of working at Holden Vale, or maybe he had been a steady employee some time ago.  He was a recognized master of the wet end, and he had to have learned that sometime.  He turned up after I had been in Holden Vale a few months, and stepped straight into the wet-end job.  But he carried the air always of someone who was not going to be with us for long, and who would give no warning when he wandered away.
He was one of the very few people I connected with in that place for the years I was there.  Which is, superficially odd, because Donald was one of the most unconnected people I have ever met.  He was a gypsy.  (That may not, nowadays be a politically correct word to use, but in this case it is the mot juste - it encapsulates perfectly Donald's lack of investment in the practical here and now and the sense he exuded of being transitory.)  For all I know, he might actually have been a Romany – he didn’t sound like a Lancashire man.  What I meant, though, was that he moved among us like a gypsy.  Always a few days growth of stubble.  Odd that – for a period I saw him up close every day.  You would have thought that I would see him after he shaved, or else I would see a beard grow.  The perpetual two-day growth was just one of the mysteries.
The sense of connection that emerged for me with Donald was one of mood and empathy with his detachment.  I know I recognised him in this; I came to believe that he recognised me.  His detachment was life-long, or at least by the time I encountered him it seemed so.  At that stage, I did not know if my detachment was life-long, but I was beginning to fear it was so.  In me, it was my separation into an unreachable mental state that detached me from the world.  God knows what it was in Donald - upbringing? deprivation? some sort of madness? even a spiritual state, whatever that is?
Donald always wore a jacket.  Greasy and old, with a torn pocket, but it contributed to his air of dignity.  His hair was mostly grey, on black, and straight.  Quite long (maybe collar length) and always combed across his head.  He was quiet, hardly talking to anyone.  The guys who had been in the factory forever respected that.  They did not try to engage him in conversation – they gave him a respectful distance.  And Donald put the newer guys effortlessly in their place if they accosted him.  He had presence.
I joined Donald when I was promoted to being second man on the wet end, after a longer stint on the base-level folding job than most employees.  The label “student” sticks hard, and one of the things it meant was – “don’t promote, he's not staying long”.  Ironically, it was after I had come back from a three monthe gap, when I was lecturing at Cambridge, that they decided I could move on.
The wet end is one of those jobs like being an anaesthetist or an infantryman: mostly long gaps of inactivity with occasional bursts of panic.  The bursts of panic – planned very occasionally when there was a break between batches, or caused of a sudden by breaks in the paper – were occupied with the business of getting the stream of wet cotton running through until it was a wide ribbon of rolling paper again. 
I have given the mechanical description of the paper-making process above.  This should be flavoured with a sense of what the work felt like.  I don’t want to make too much of it.  No-one in that place really cared a damn whether we were productive or not.  Nevertheless, there are two of you, standing high up on the gantry where the wet flow begins, responsible for restarting the flow of paper without which all the hands below you are idle - on the rollers, the cutters, stacking, moving pallets and in the warehouse.  This does induce a sense of responsibility, even urgency.
When restarting is hampered by cotton that won’t flow smoothly, and tears appear between the conveyors or between the felt and the roller, between the rollers, and so on, then all of these men are not only idle, but sarcastic.  If the foreman decides that they should not be idle, but should be busy doing something like cleaning up (usually when a suit is expected to be visiting from the other side – the offices), then the sarcasm rapidly gets nasty.
Working with Donald, I rarely suffered these indignities.  Donald always adjusted the flow so the cotton spread evenly; when Donald caught the end of the wet proto-paper and flipped it onto the felt and then onto first hot roller, it always stuck and rolled without a break.  I followed behind him, in close and respectful attendance.
As a result, the gaps of inactivity with Donald were long – often a whole shift.
Donald spent those periods, apparently, almost completely without occupation.  He would roll a cigarette.  He would smoke it very slowly.  He did not appear to be looking at anything, but he looked attentive.  He would patrol his machinery, occasionally making little adjustments that were mysterious to me both in terms of what they were and what had alerted him to their necessity.
I would read.  I could get through two novels in a shift, and make huge inroads into more serious stuff.  I read George Trevelyan’s History of England as if it was a whodunit (which it is – or many, many interlocking whodunits), in a series of concentrated bursts. 
There was an unfortunate consequence to that particular burst of reading.  Absorbed in the Tudors and the birth of modern government, I failed to test for the completion of a batch of cotton pumped over from the bleach tubs.  (The test was very high-tech – an 18 foot wooden stick dipped into the tub to see how deep it is.)  I failed to call over to stop the pumping.  Only when a guy on break, smoking a cigarette in the open air, saw the cotton spilling over from the tub and ran in to shout an alert, did I remember that I ought to tell them to stop pumping.
That one stopped the whole factory.  It was the middle of the night-shift, with no management in sight.  Tom the foreman, a phlegmatic chap from Duckworth Clough, decided to get the problem out of the way before management came in the morning.  He closed down the whole factory, gave every man a shovel, and we shifted a huge pile of wet cotton, stinking of chlorine, from our car park over the wall into the neighbour’s yard.  (I am not sure who the neighbour was.  It might have been the bottom end of the lot occupied by the candlewick bedspread factory, formerly the Mission Hall, by Holden Tenements.  In any case, the yard did not look as if it was in constant tidy use so as anyone would notice any time soon the change wreaked by a few hundredweight of cotton.)
Donald didn’t mind that.  He was quietly amused.  He liked the fact that I didn’t need him as a source of diversion during the long shifts.  He contemplated; I read.  It worked comfortably for both of us.
Donald introduced me to his local – the Robin Hood.  That was a major act of social grace.  We took to meeting there before shifts, and going up to the factory together.  I have described this fine institution elsewhere in this book, and recounted the habits of Donald’s breakfast – a pint before the 2.00 p.m. shift, drawn as soon as the landlord saw Donald’s curtains twitch.
Donald lived in a terrace of houses opposite to the Robin Hood, across Holcombe Road.  The atmosphere of the whole of that road, below the factory, felt as if it was unchanged since before the First World War.  The fabric was unchanged, of course – solid blocks of grey stone stained by water and age, slate roofs, stony ground and a few scraggy sheep looking miserable.  Holcombe Road winds in and out beside the branch railway line, and the cottages are tucked in by the railway or lining Swinnell Brook.  The Robin Hood is hunched down on the east side of the road, between road and railway and brook, and Donald’s little terrace of six houses was opposite.  I guess they were built for the favoured workers at Sunny Bank Mill in the previous century.
The terrace did not look occupied.  It was as if Donald was squatting there.  It was not just that Donald did not leave much impression on the place he lived in, but one could see little evidence of the other residents either.  It was a place that a gypsy was passing through.
I did not learn much more about Donald from this new friendship.  Whether we were in the saloon bar at the Robin Hood or up at the back of the gantry by the filthy windows of the factory, we just coexisted in companionable silence.  I felt that the quality of the silence was changing – that was my only measure of the friendship.  I do not think that there was any externally observable change.  But I felt, increasingly, that I was being let into a private space that Donald normally kept to himself.  I have to admit that my own mental state must have been a factor in this perception – this was a period of intermittent, but continuing, mania for me.

I am reasonably sure that my intimacy with Donald was privileged.  I do not think that he had many others in the factory (or outside) with whom he had the same comfortable, long silences.  However, I am also reasonably sure that if I could have had a conversation with him (which was, itself, fairly inconceivable) on these lines, he would regard me as if I was demented – these are lines of thought on which I am sure his mind never travelled.


Haslingden Cricket Club – (between 1919-1921) (Click over to enlarge)

Top Row: W.L. Halstead, H. Blackburn, Ald  J. Law J.P., Councillor Tom Worsley, J.T. Witham, Ald H. Worsley J.P & C.C., Ald Baxter, D Bask, C. Muck
2nd Row: R. Collinge, T Willock, W. Hargreaves, G.W. Hardman, J. Eastwood, The Mayor J.H. Anderton, R. Halstead, R. Bentley, E.E. Riley, J.E. Bastowe, W. Holt-Treasurer.
Front Row: A.E. Harman, E Catlow, A.E. Williams, J. Ashworth, G.H. Hindle, F.McWade, T. Lees (Scoror), A. Blackburn, A. Rhodes, W. Lees, W.H. Lonsdale (Secretary)

From: Sally Howarth  (1st December 2016)

I recently found your Haslingden CC website and am enjoying several of the old photos, as they feature a relative of mine.  His name was Ambrose Causer Williams ("Billy Williams").  Previous to Haslingden CC he had played for Yorkshire County Cricket Club (1911 to 1919)

He appears to be listed as "A.E. Williams" n the sepia photo entitled "Haslingden Cricket Club (between 1919-1921)".  He is the chap in the front row, third from left.

In the other sepia photo (1920 team with committee members), Ambrose is sat in the front row, fourth from left.

In the B&W photo of the 1920 team only, he is stood in the back row with arms folded, third from right.

These are the only photos I have seen of Ambrose, so I am thrilled to find them on your website.

I don't suppose you would have any individual photos of Ambrose in your collection, or could perhaps advise on where to locate one, if it exists?

Kind regards, Sally Howarth


Dont Forget!  HASLINGDEN ON FILM is accessed from the title further down on the left hand column - please enjoy the films.

Train Entering Haslingden Station after coming through North Hag Tunnel
(Painting by the late Mr. Arthur Kirby) 

Did you know that this coming Saturday December 3rd, back in 1966 - THE STUBBINS - ACCRINGTON railway line which went through both Helmshore and Haslingden will have been closed for 50 years.

Yes you did have us “beat” with that one Mr. Chin - g!
And now 50 years are passing this week!
I guess you felt it right on the day for us, and other days for them,
Maybe you thought not enough folk travelled on it to Bury or Manchester,
Or maybe tuther way to Baxenden, Accrington, Burnley and Cowne.
Wakes trains were always full and steamed from under North Hag or (bonk!)
And Donkey Row was completely fogged owt!
Not Now!
And now 50 years are passing this week!
We’ve still got our “arches” down at Shore dear Sir,
And now we do have Ravens crossing its many bows,
And we’ve still got our memories of chugging (rather than buzzing!)
And the delightful (in its own way) smells of steam,
And fifteen years on in 1981 a “By Pass” shall be built,
Just where that very Stations weeps!

Bryan Yorke - 28th November 2016

Please click here to access the train blog


Did you know that this coming Sunday December 4th was the opening of the BY PASS which was in 1981 and is 35 years old on Sunday.

Please click here to access the By Pass Blog

Uploaded here on 1st December 2016 - (Click over photo to enlarge)

Uploaded here on 1st December 2016 (Click over photo to enlarge)

A lovely photograph of the touring "Church Army" whilst visiting Haslingden and Helmshore.
Photo: uploaded here on 27th November 2016



I'm unsure how/if you can assist however my paternal family history revolves
around Haslingden and the wider Rossendale area.
3 generations of the Lord family ran a joiners/cabinet makers business in
Haslingden from the mid 19th century until the 2nd World War. Richard Lord,
then James Lord and finally Edgar Lord who I presume sold up and retired some
time in the 1940's. The family had  houses on Wells Street (No 46) and Pleasant
I understand Richard Lord moved with his father, Edmund (a farmer) some time in
the early/mid 19th century from Slaidburn to a farm around Musbury/Alden, near
I am keen to source any further material/knowledge on the family and it occurs
to me that having operated a business in the area it is likely that a range of
information/evidence probably exists..somewhere! 
Any advice/assistance you may be able to provide on this matter would be
gratefully received. 

Richard Lord 


A REQUEST HAS BEEN MADE BY MIKE WILSON of the Griffin requesting old photos

The group photo is from 1952 - kindly shared by Joyce Thorne


or if you still want to check out
After one week the above photographs or text will be moved over to their appropriate blogs and will also be transferred over to  PHOTO ALBUM and SNIPPETS NO.4 (year 2016) which can be accessed by clicking here

 PHOTO ALBUM and SNIPPETS NO.3 (year 2015) which you can access by clicking here

or if you still want to check out


Dont Forget!  HASLINGDEN ON FILM is accessed from the title further down on the left hand column - please enjoy the films.

Haslingden In Art (14 pictures or sketches within our collection)

Here we have some fabulous paintings or artwork associated with Haslingden and Haslingden artist. The following examples have been kindly offered for show on the Haslingden Old and New facebook site, or sent in direct to the Blog.  If you have any contributions you would like to share with us all please get in touch at (

Charles Lane, Haslingden (Click over to enlarge)
Watercolour by J. Scholes

Kindly shared to our Facebook page by Michael Ryan who has had this hanging on his wall since work took him away in the 1970s. Reminders of Home -  Top of Charles Lane as a reminder of mum working at Flash Mill.

Robin Hood, Holcombe Road (Click over to enlarge)
Watercolour by J. Scholes

Kindly shared to our Facebook page by Michael Ryan who has had this hanging on his wall since work took him away in the 1970s. Reminders of Home -  Robin Hood for dad's tales of taking billy cans for a couple of pints for the lads when working at Holden Wood. 

Haslingden Old Road (Click over to enlarge)
Watercolour by J. Scholes

Kindly shared to our Facebook page by Michael Ryan who has had this hanging on his wall since work took him away in the 1970s.  Reminders of Home - Haslingden Old Road - As a memory of long summers play


The Commercial (Click over to enlarge)
Watercolour by Arthur Kirby

Top Of Deardengate (Click over to enlarge)
Watercolour by Arthur Kirby

Market Place (Click over to enlarge)
Watercolour by Arthur Kirby


(Click over to enlarge)
A drawing of Major David Halstead and called "Haslingdens "David"
by Sam Fitton (1922)

(Click over to enlarge)
A drawing of Major David Halstead and called "Our Major"
by Sam Fitton (1922)

(Click over to enlarge)
A drawing of Major David Halstead and called "The Major, The Antiquarian Major"
by Sam Fitton (1922)


View looking up Charles Lane from the end of Prospect Terrace (Click over to enlarge)

Watercolour kindly shared by Allan Bradshaw who's late cousin did the painting in the 90s.

Victoria Park (Click over to enlarge)

Watercolour kindly shared by Allan Bradshaw who's late cousin did the painting in the 90s.


Wesleyan Chapel, Grane (Click over to enlarge)

Watercolour painting by Sam Good


Deserted Church and farmhouses - Haslingden Grane (Click over to enlarge)

Watercolour by J. Warburton 1962

Owned and shared to us by Jacqueline Ramsbottom

this item has now also been included within the "Haslingden In Art" Blog


A snow scene of Carr Mill and Martin Croft (Click over to enlarge)

Watercolour by Nellie Tindley and shared by her son in law Bob

painted Late January 1977, painted from the backyard of 302 Blackburn Road

Monday, 12 September 2016

Photos and Information on Rising Bridge, Stonefold and Baxenden

(Click over the above photos to enlarge)

Lorraine Hooper (nee Eke) has kindly shared with us the above two photos 
The top photo shows the dismantling of the old boiler at the Rising Bridge Mill and the bottom photo shows some of the men on Walking Day with Lorraine's dad Jim Eke at the front of the party.


Stonefold Church (Click over to enlarge)
Photo: Kindly shared by Lorraine Hooper (nee Eke) and uploaded here on 9th September 2016

Kearns Allens Works shown from aeroplane (Click over to enlarge)
Photo: Kindly shared by Lorraine Hooper (nee Eke) and uploaded here on 9th September 2016

Lower Baxenden
 (Click over to enlarge)
Photo: Kindly shared by Lorraine Hooper (nee Eke) and uploaded here on 9th September 2016


Lorraine Hooper (nee Eke) has kindly shared the following photographs with us

Rising Bridge Post Office in the 1950's  (Click over to enlarge)

Uploaded here on 8th September 2016
(Photo: kindly shared by Lorraine Hooper (nee Eke)

Snowed Up in the 1950's showing the snowed up train beneath Rising Bridge together with the school high up on the left hand side.  (Click over to enlarge)
Uploaded here on 8th September 2016
(Photo: kindly shared by Lorraine Hooper (nee Eke)

Snowed Up in the 1950's outside Rising Bridge Post Office  (Click over to enlarge)
Uploaded here on 8th September 2016
(Photo: kindly shared by Lorraine Hooper (nee Eke)