Monday, 23 January 2017

PARADISE LOST AND LITTLE PRINNY HILL AND OTHER MEMORIES



"Paradise Lost"

One penny banger, or a three penny jump jack or pinwheel,
or maybe the funds only reached a liquorice stick or bubblegum card,
I'd get from dear old Harold, whilst on my way to school,
His shop was a toffee "Paradise" next to a place called Ranters Row,

We would play lots of football whilst up in Jimmy's yard, just as kids do,
We must have given the driver a shock when our ball went over the wall,
We would shout out loud to nearly a scream "Harold" "Harold"
He'd come from shop and kick that ball with accuracy of a good "rugby try".

School done, lets run the landing, and off we'd go and run around Back Paradise,
It seemed to always annoy someone who come out and shout with clout "clear off"
But that made it all the more exciting, has we nervously brushed their way,
Scampering over that scary drop below, with eyes to the front and pray!

I guess we sounded loud like squabbling kids do - just like generations before us,
has we ran down "Little Prinny Hill" and over steam smoking railway bridge,
then sharp right and then sharp left, past all the chuckling hens within their pens,
We'd reach "Jimmies" where all hell broke lose to be first to kick the ball as I recall.

Bryan Yorke - January 2017


A sketch to show "Little Prinny Hill" and Paradise Terrace (Click over to enlarge)

This is a photo showing Little Prinny Hill coming down to join Prinny Hill (Click over to enlarge)
Photo: kindly shared to us by Chris Kirby


Back Paradise Terrace - Little Prinny Hill (Click over photo to enlarge)
Photo: Courtesy of Joan Merrill
For anyone who did not know, this terrace (Back Paradise Terrace) was across the main road from the bottom of Regent Street and at this corner shown here was called "Little Prinny Hill" and you could go down here and join the main Prinny Hill track towards Carrs in the deep bottom.  We would regularly use it when going from our School (St. James) and down to our playing fields in the bottom for football matches etc. Also you could divert off to the right on the cinder track and go down a short cut which crossed over a small footbridge to get across the Mill lodge and this way gave you access to Commerce Street which would eventually take you to the Station area.

Also for anyone who did not know what it looked like before it was demolished here is a couple more photos of it looking from either Regent St or Blackburn Road.

This shows Paradise Terrace (Ranters Row) and the landing leading to Back Paradise Terrace long before they were demolished. The shop here was at that time still a grocers. I can remember the shop being Mrs. Cairns who had a health food shop and then later sold typewriters.  Later the shop was taken over by Jack Walsh who sold Hoovers and
did Hoover repairs.
Click over photo to enlarge (Photo: Courtesy of Joan Merrill)

This also shows Paradise Terrace (Ranters Row) with Regent Street at the right hand bottom corner.
You can see Harold's newspaper and sweet shop at the point where the tram is.
Click over photo to enlarge




And just across the road from Paradise Terrace was St. James's School as you can see in the photo.  But in the past there was also the Old Church Institute and also Martin's Bank. Both these have been demolished and the small garden shown in this photo is on the site of the old bank. More to follow soon.
Shows the little park built on the original site of Martins Bank (see next photo below), also just up the slope on the left hand side
was were the Church Insitute used to be (see next photo)
Click over photo to enlarge. If you want to check out the St. James School Blog Click Here
Photo: Kindly shared to us by Chris Kirby

Old Martins Bank which stood at the bottom of Regent Street where nowadays the little park is in the
photo above with the red and yellow seats. Also note the building to the mid left is the old Church Institute. Have you read about were the Bank ended up after it was demolished?
if not check Click here and scroll down

The Church Institute - also shows the old vicarage in the background, also just shows to the right hand side
the old Martins Bank which was also demolished (Click over photo to enlarge)


Little Prinny Hill - by Michael Mullaney and uploaded here on 23rd Jan 2017

Little Prinny Hill would seem an insignificant dirt track connecting into Prinny Hill.  However if we consider that in the early days when getting about was all on foot or by pack horse or if lucky a horse Little Prinny Hill was a main thoroughfare to and from Haslingden.  The parish church was the main focal point in any town.  As such all ancient track-ways started from, or terminated at, the church.  In this case, leaving the church yard by way of the route which exits at Regent Street, thence down Little Prinny Hill (remember Blackburn Road had not even been thought of then) into Prinny Hill, then turning right at the bottom the road would take you around Cob Castle and onto Blackburn.  Or you could go straight on and it would take you along the river bottom to the Helmshore.  Little Prinny Hill may have acted as a relief road, that is it was used because its incline was not as steep at Prinny Hill itself making it easier on pedestrian and animal traffic.  Viewing an map of Haslingden its easy to see all the old track-ways which started and finished at the parish church.

Regarding Ranters Row or the terrace known as Paradise Terrace.  This type of terrace was built all along Blackburn Road to accommodate the massive influx of migrant workers into the town.  It s construction should be studied being somewhat unique to parts of Lancashire and Yorkshire in so far as it utilized land which would not normally be considered fit to build on.  As the first picture clearly shows the gable end, its relation to Little Prinny Hill and the main road level.  The lower storey made best use of the steep fall of the land and are built into the earth and were known as "Back-to-Earth" houses.  They must have had a perennial problem with damp.  The upper storey are "Back-to-Back" houses, that is the row was divided along the backbone of the terrace, the rear and the front property shared a common internal back wall, hence Paradise Terrace on the front and Back Paradise Terrace on the rear.  The rear accessed by the iron railinged landing from either end.  One presumes there was a rent scale, the front accessing Blackburn Road would demand the highest rent whilst the back and back to earth would move down the scale.  Toilets were communal and located at the far end with groups of families sharing one.  Possibly up to six properties sharing one toilet which would be of the ash pit type.  I suspect the higher rent paid the better toilet access.  The next terrace further along Blackburn Road had in its middle a ginnel with so called 99 steps down to the lower level which allowed workers to take a short cut to the mills in the bottom.  Every effort was always made to build in short cuts to save the workers time and effort, after all the owners didn't want them to tired to work.  Going home didn't matter so much.  One wonders just what orchestrated sounds the workers clogs made as they scurried down the 99 steps at seven o'clock at morning.  You probably wouldn't sleep in if your house shared a wall with the ginnel.
Michael Mullaney.


Received from John McGuire (Australia) on 25th January 2017
Hi Bryan,
I have just read Michael’s article on the Blog and would like to comment on the ginnel with the 99 steps.
We lived at 122 Blackburn Rd which was on the Haslingden side of the ginnnel. There was about 40 steps down to the lower level.
  From there to the “bonk” perhaps another 30 steps. I suppose if there was at one time more steps set into the bonk then there would
have been 99.We lived in that house from 1944 to 1954 and I can’t recall anyone other than the occupants of the “back to earth” houses below using them.
I guess all the workers in Grove, Vine Grove and Commercial Mills had other means of getting to work. I agree with Michael that the noise of clog irons in the ginnel would have been deafening.

The houses on the main road level were two up and two down. Our house however had no floor in the back bedroom , just the floor joists on which you had to balance to see out of the window.
Consequently Dad, Mum and the two of us slept in the front room. I wish I knew who the landlord was as I’m sure our discomfort would be compensatable even now!
All for now,

John McGuire


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