Thursday, 27 November 2008

What became of our WW1 MkIII Tank?

Whatever became of our WW1 MkIII Tank? Was it actually buried beneath a flowerbed at Haslingden's Victoria Park where it had been on display since 1919 or was it carted away for scrap? No one seems to know what actually happened...

I have just been told by a member of the Great War Forum that the Tank was "Presented to Haslingden in 1919, Mayor stated that it would be cherished and kept for ever etc etc etc. In 1927 money was needed for up keep of the tank yet the council voted to get rid of it. Its reputed to have been buried, as council too stingey to pay for removal. Geo phys surveys in Victoria Park did suggest the existence of the Haslingden tank, unfortunately the limited digs that were permitted did not find anything. Any info would be grateful.. Identification details are seen on the picture above right eg: 59, also it says "N Batt" and to the rear it shows No.603. I am informed that MkIII never actually went into service and that they were used specifically for training and presentation purposes...

(This article was published in the Independent on March 18th 2000 - and written by Ian Herbert - Northern Correspondent)
The Mark One tank was given to the Lancashire town of Haslingden in 1919 in recognition of the locals' war efforts. But councillors found themselves paying rather too much on its upkeep and are believed to have buried it 16ft beneath a park in 1927. Local records shed no light on its disappearance. But a search is under way for what is now a rare military specimen. The Mark One was a key weapon in several First World War battles.
On Wednesday a team of local treasure hunters was given permission by Rossendale council to dig up Victoria Park, under which they believe the tank rests. Initial excavations have found the railings and stone plinth on which it was mounted.
Tank enthusiast Brian Boys said: "Rumours of its existence have been circulating for years, so I got my metal detector and started looking... There is a depression in the ground about 27ft long - the size of a tank - and I picked up a signal all over it.
"When we find the tank we'll dig a few feet around it and use chains and a crane to pull it out," said Mr Boys".

(Since the writing of this article it has now become clear that the tank is in fact a MkIII and not a Mk1 has previously stated in this "Independent" article)
Comments by Centurian (Great War Forum): Council direct works department would have had (or have had access to) mechanical diggers. At the time (1927) I suspect there were no low loaders big enough to take a Mk III tank. Most, if not all presentation tanks were cut up on site or towed (on skids) with a traction engine to somewhere relatively close for cutting up, this latter exercise is no mean task and would have possibly required an outside contactor (and the transfer of cash). Armour plate of the type used on the tanks is grade 3 scrap and virtually worthless. If, however , the tank in question was a Mk III made of boiler plate it would have been at least grade 2 scrap.

And thanks to Jackie Ramsbottom for spotting this and sending it in (5th Aug 2011). It is from the Haslingden Guardian Friday 21st January 1927 - And confirms that the Tank was actually disposed of.

Email received from Carol Scott (email received 7th March 2013)

I am writing as I found your quote identical to my story.  I was trying to trace the history of my hand made brass 1915 "little willie tank", that is what I thought it was until the tank regiment informed me it was a MKIII.
And now I am even more confused after reading your Blog!  The subscription reads B G Hood, 2nd August 1915 Lincoln. I had concluded that William Fosters and Sons Limited of Lincoln were given the contract to build the "little willie tank", the date was Aug-Sept 1915, this is the date subscribed on my Tank along with Lincoln.
Reading your article I believe MK3 were only used for training and this was a later date than 1915.  How could someone hand make a MK3 in 1915 if it had not been built.  The subscription doesn't match to the model.

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Victoria Park photos

Above are some of the postcards and photos of Victoria Park - The Park was originally given to the people of Haslingden by the Stotts and Smiths families - whom were local industrialists at the time. An interesting tale has come in (26/11/08) about the photo just above which is of the Clocktower and showing a WW1 Tank at the side of it.. but I will continue with this with a separate article within the blog called  "WHAT BECAME OF OUR WW1 TANK" (Click over this to go to the blog direct

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Blackburn Road Shops in the 1950s-1970s...Only one of those once thriving businesses are left today...

Blackburn Road with junction to Hud Hey and Hud Rake with Wesley Chapel on the right (Click to enlarge)

Wesley Chapel at the corner to Hud Hey Road

BLACKBURN ROAD SHOPS – 1950’s, 1960’s and 1970’s
Starting from Wesley Church which was on the corner of Blackburn Road and Hud Hey and heading towards Haslingden.

(Click over photos to enlarge: Very top is: Blackburn Road at Hud Hey junction, and above shows Wesley Church and nearby houses (all now demolished and the area landscaped)...

Starting with the Even side (290 ish) towards Haslingden….

The very first shop directly after the Wesley Methodist Church (see photo).. was (1) Mr and Mrs Gregsons – (Greengrocers) and next door to them was (2) Jack Smiths (Grocers) – Jack was a very enterprising person who also had another business at that time further out Blackburn Road selling modern furniture. Jack was very involved with the Liberal Party and at one time I think he may have been a Haslingden Councillor or if not he had definitely been a prospective Councillor, because I remember being a "runner" for him as a child and the Committee Rooms where at his shop/house

(runner = someone collecting the polling numbers at the Polling Station and then when you had recorded a substantial amount of numbers - gathered from the people attending the voting, after verbally requesting their number from them, you would run to the appropriate Political Party Committee Rooms and let the workers their have the numbers so they could cross off the list the people who had already been a voting, and then they would only then send cars to people who were still on their list as prospective voters in favour - it was a long day usually from about 0900hrs to about 2100hrs, but you were paid and fed..)...

A good number of years further on and the properties of the first row on Hud Hey including the Wesley Church which by then had being used by a textile firm called Sirdar Fabrics, and these two shops already mentioned here, and a further two or three houses were eventually demolished and and the area landscaped making the property of 304 Blackburn Road the new Gable End as it is today –this property now has a named/datestone “Clough Terrace” in the “newish built 25 year old” gable end, this named stone actually belonged in one of the houses demolished earlier, and was transferred and built into its current site by Howard Stott the demolition contractor involved in the work at that time. Another 7 properties brings us to the last property who’s gable backed up on the very steep cobbled Carr Mill Road (This was the road leading down to the Carr Mill in the bottom which I firstly remember as a Bury and Masco factory, and Elias was the friendly firebeater). Eventually this mill was taken over by Shepherd Bros (Timber Exporters) and also at the bottom of the brew on the opposite site was a corrugated asbestos low level building used by Brown and Forth (Chemicals)….the land which was between these mills and the backs of Blackburn Road, were allotments for local people, some grew things and some kept pigeons and poultry etc.

Getting back to the last property in the row, this was what we called the (3) “selling out shop” a (off-licence, sweets and tobacconist) and this was run by Mr Dickie Beech and his wife Mary, and they had a son called John who now lives in Welwyn Garden City. Dickie before having this shop had been the manager of the small Co-op Shop in Poplar Street, He was a veteran of Dunkirk and the BEF

(Dickie Beech's wife Mary, knew the shop as the Loose Pulley and told her nephew Dave Rothwell, it was named this because of the workers on the looms in the weaving shed behind the Shop (Eg: Carr Mill), used to nip into the shop for refreshments from their labours and in order to be able to do this they had to "loose the pulley" belt driving their loom in order to stop it whilst they nipped out..

(Added here on 1st January 2016) - Another interesting explanation for the area being called "Loose Pulley" comes from Barbara Hendry, via old conversations she had in the past with a local lifelong resident the late Mrs. Mary Chadwick who stated that the reason the area is known as "loose pulley" is because at that point is where the trams had to change from one set of upper lines to the other and the pulley had to be moved across to accomodate this"

Then later the shop was sold to Mr and Mrs Billy Walsh and much later it was taken over by Mr. and Mrs. Jones (probably lates 60s early 70s). In more recent times it has been called the “Loose Pulley” and since then it has changed trades and I think now it is a ladies hairdressers with another name. Interestingly the “Loose Pulley” I am told by someone whom remembers it clearly, was actually across the road from this shop,and the Loose Pulley was in fact a Chip Shop (the property is still there today with bricked up windows, and runs alongside the steps which come down from Hud Rake onto Blackburn Road)…

Another shop bordered the Carr Mill brow, and I always remember this being a (4) (grocers) – my first recollections where it was being run by Mrs. Collinge and then I think it was run by Mr. Pickup (Bernard and David’s dad), then later taken over by Mr John and Miltilda Walsh – John was a lovely chap whom played a big part in the politics of Haslingden, being a Councillor and later Alderman for the Syke Ward of Haslingden. This shop was later taken over by Mr. Simpson (a member of the well known Helmshore Farming Family) in later years it was converted into a private dwelling house.
Further along this row of terraced, somewhere around the middle of the row was Mr. Chadwick’s (Master Painter & Decorator – with sign in house window) and a couple of doors further on was another little shop (5) a (Bakers and Confectioners) and a couple more houses before you came to Cross Street North…

Shows Harry Taylors butchers and next door was Daniels then Staffords Chip Shop (Click over to enlarge)
Click over to enlarge
Mr and Mrs. Schofield had the Shoe Repair business at 240 Blackburn Road,
this was in the 1920/30s prior to Daniels/Staffords/Ho's Chip Shop next to J.E. Taylor & Son (Butchers).
Now a private dwelling.
Photo: kindly shared to us by Paul Schofield

On the opposite side of the opening was the (6) (Post Office and General Grocer) business of Norman and Ivy Clayton – I can still remember the lovely aroma of the freshly ground coffee sold here.. Going further along this row maybe some 7 or 8 properties you then came to (7) Billy Walsh’s (Hairdressers), Billy actually had this shop with its “red and white pole” before he had the Off Licence, somewhere around here also there is a “Beehive stone carved datestone - Beehive Terrace 1872” (see photo below)…. A couple of properties further on and you had come to (8) Mr and Mrs. Daniels (Chip Shop), this was later taken over by Jack and Mary Stafford whom had it for a good number of years. Jack was a very likeable chap and was very actively involved in local politics being a member of Haslingden Borough Council..many years later having been closed for a long time, it was taken over and turned into Ho's Chinese Chip Shop, but very soon because of ill health it was necessary to shut the shop once more.…. Next door to this shop was (9) J.E Taylor and Son (High Class Butchers)- owned and ran by Harry Taylor (see photo above). And next door to Harry’s, was (10) Mrs Cairnes (Haberdashery). Just further along there was a small “ginnell” with lots of stone steps which took you right down beneath the row of houses into what is called “Back Beehive Terrace”there still there today. A few properties further along from Mrs. Cairnes (maybe 5 or 6) you came to the end of the row (Vale Street) and here we had a fine shop called (11) Bob Gardner’s (High Class Grocers and Home Cured Pork and Bacons) see photo below (14th photo in photo block) - It was a great little shop in the deli style, always packed with provisions in every available space from floor to ceiling…

We then had come to Vale Street – and Vale Street once of a day would have been the main thoroughfare to get to the Mills which lied within the bottom eg: Union, Vale, Grove, Brittania, Albert…..
Proceeding we walked along a wall bordered (Blackburn Road/Vale Street) for some 100 yards before we hit the next row of houses, the first two or three properties where possibly 4 storey and then the rest of the row dropping down in height… and in the middle of this row was (12) Fred Holden’s (Ironmongers), he kept everything in stock and was also the local supplier of “Parafin”. A few properties further on and the end of the row was a stylish sort of building known as (13) Clifton House and here (Antiques) where sold. Then a small gap before another one or possible two joined houses, these where very old, probably the oldest proerties along Blackburn Road dating back to the 18th or early 19th Century - here lived Bernard Buckley whom was at one time the local (Chimney Sweep and Property Repairer), but before he had this house it was a couple who used to sell newspapers and I can remember seeing them with their box shape truck, and it was more of a suprise to actually see them selling papers or was it "Billys weekly Liars" on Blackpool promenade. He was a small cheeky likeable chappy called "Albert", and his wife was also a larger than life character... and before them, it was owned by Eddie Miller who used to do his mens hairdressing from this house, before he eventually moved into the first large shop on the next row (see below) where he joined his wife running the grocers shop.

Another small gap with a short cobbled road brought us to the main “Blackburn Road Shopping Area” and this next row only contained shops at that time, no houses as I can remember. We started with (14) Eddie Miller’s (Grocers at first then later Gents Hairdressers). Eddie was a Haslingden fireman and pity the person whom had just started having their haircut when the fire alarm went off… (15) Dorothy Wroe (Ladies and Childrenswear Clothiers). Next door was (16) Jack Hemms (Fishmonger and Greengrocer), I can still remember Jack regularly hanging Hares and Pheasants within his shop, especially at Christmas time.. Next door was (17) Mr and Mrs Heap (Clogger and Boot and Shoe Repairer). Next was (18) Rileys (Grocer – in the style of Spar or VG), then it was (19) Mr and Mrs Hunt (Chip Shop), then we had arrived at the large (20) Co-op building which was a (General Grocers and Butchers), in fact this was two shops combined, and Walt Metcalfe worked in the Butchers.…. Today these are the only shops still left standing on this row and are now sellers of Antiques….(See Photo)… Next to these old Co-op Stores was (21) Billy Pillings (Electricians and Electrical Shop) - See photo below. Next was (22) Mr. Deans (Greengrocers) eventually taken over by Mrs. Jenny Adams. Then there was a private dwelling and finally you came to the  (23) Bakers and Confectioners which was on the corner with Station Road. At that time half way down Station Road there was also another Grocers (Longdens) and they also operated a School of Motoring….
Back to the main road and a short distance further on in the Haslingden direction,

This shows the Old Co-op, then Billy Pillings Electrical shop (which part of it at one time was Deans)
this photo kindly shared by Pauline Emmett Dagg (Click over to enlarge)

Probably 100 yards you came upon “Station Steps”, still there today and those days was one of the main thoroughfares down to the Haslingden Commercial Mill on Paghouse Lane (directly below the steps) and also to the Haslingden Railway Station…which lay further back..
Here at the side of these steps was a solitary shop (24) ran by a Welsh couple, Mr and Mrs. Jones (Newsagents and Sweets and Tobacconist). before the Jones's had this shop it was ran by the Nightingale's (Joan Merrill has kindly supplied this information, and she says it may actually relate to the 40s when the Nightingale's had the shop). Later on the shop became run down and became unsafe with large fractures showing in the building, and was (consequently demolished around the 2003 period… Next to this shop used to be the coal shute for the Haslingden Commercial Mill and regularly a coal wagon could be seen emptying his load of ¾” coal chippings down this shute in preparation for the firebeater to keep his fires burning at the mill…

There was now a fairly large gap before the next properties begun, and maybe some 4 or 5 properties on and almost opposite the Haslingden Parish Church Lychgate was (24) Mr. Howley’s (Chemists) This was the only shop along this full row. Soon after leaving the dwellings maybe some 30 yards you came to the Red Lion pub which belonged to Beverley Brewery, but after being left empty for many years it was eventually sold to a group of Asian gentlemen. This was sometime during the 1960s. Almost next door was Charlie Barton’s (Slater and Tiler) whom had several men working for him and also there was a Joiners shop below. Next to them was (25) Jack Smith’s (Furniture Supplier), this later became the first place for Rossendale Plastics which was owned then by Alderman Ervin Russell and later owned by his son Derek..

A Short gap and then there was two more shops, the first I cant remember what it was initially, but later became a (26) Asian Halal (Butchers and Greengrocery) Shop, and next door was (27) Harold Alderson’s (Newsagents, Sweets and Tobacco).

Shortly after these two shops you had the long row of terraced houses which were back to back with Paradise Terrace/Back Paradise Terrace. The End of this row there was another shop which I also remember (28) Mrs. Cairnes having something to do with and I think it may have been selling typewriters at one time and later this shop was taken over by Mr. Jack Walsh whom did Hoover Repairs and Sales…

A small gap (which was the footpath down to the Prinny Hill Football Grounds) and the next building here you was a Engineers firm which was sort of attached to the large four storey Mill which was being used by Ellis (Manufacturer of Ladies Underwear)… after the Mill there was a a gap and then the first house was a confectioners owned by the Misses Hill (Mollie and Joan who did the baking). Then they moved to Manchester Road (opposite the Health Centre where Billington's is nowadays. The building was then used by a Jimmy Moran who was a chiropodist. There was a couple of other shops before the Prinny Hill. I remember one of the premises was a car repair place and then there was a plastic signs shop run by Bill Cross called Autocross Plastics….and prior to this it had been a Co-op Grocers. (some of this information may predate 1950)

Then came the opening for Prinny Hill. Along Prinny Hill Top there was some shops which were sort of laid back. The first you came to was Billy Bramwell’s (Fishmonger), Although that shop has not been there for some 40 years almost, the business is still present on Accrington Fish Market and run by his Son… then there was another shop which was Harry Abbots (Butchers) (thanks to Billy Page and John Bedford for remembering Abbots), then some private houses before you came to Danny Rudge’s chip shop which Danny had from 1957 up until the demolition of the property in the 70s, I can still remember going in there for a bag of chips which those days cost a tanner (sixpence in old money). Danny Rudge later moved the chip shop further along Blackburn Road to No.38 – more or less opposite the junction with John Street. Next to Danny Rudge (whilst still at Prinny Hill) was Mrs King, whom had a Bric a Brac shop on the corner…and then we came to Nuttall Street (see photo below)

Rudges Chip Shop, (1960’s) Danny Rudge and his wife also had a chippy on Blackburn Road, but in the area better known as “Prinny Hill” and it was a small cottage type building next door to Mrs. King’s bric a brac shop.  Regularly after the flicks we would call there and get chips which then cost a “tanner” a bag.  (THE BUILDINGS WERE DEMOLISHED AND TODAY HAVE BEEN REPLACED WITH MODERN HOUSING). Before Danny Rudges the shop belonged to Mr and Mrs. Grieco

Rudge's Chip Shop, Prinny Hill (Click over to enlarge)

Danny Rudge moved his chippy later to further along towards Haslingden and on the next long row, it was just where the mini-roundabout is at the bottom of John Street. I can remember going to this building years earlier when it was a Sweet Shop at the front and a Coffee Bar at the back, I can’t be sure but think then it was called “Marion’s”, but I remember it being ran by sisters Kathleen and Joan. Today I think the same premises is now called “Zorba’s” and they provide Kebabs and Curries.

This is Nuttall Street near to Prinny Hill which was to the left
of Mrs. Kings bric a brac shop and Danny Rudges Chip Shop

(from Joan Nuttall on 1st October 2017)
On the photos posted recently the name of the street to the left of Rudges Chippy was Nuttall Street. My gran (Elizabeth Beech) and Aunty (Clara Beech) lived at number 3, the one behind the street light,  for many years. As children me and my sisters spent a lot of time there. This was very poor housing with shallow stone sink and stone stairs and no hot water. Of course there was no indoor toilet . The tippler toilet had to be accessed by crossing the street and going down the back of houses on Blackburn Road and turning right at the bottom to another small row of houses and a row of shared  toilets. The photograph actually shows the back of the houses but this is the entrance everybody used. As you walked through past the houses there was a yard which housed an open lime pit.this is where the kids played (no health and safety then). I don't know who owned it but there were no gates on it and I don't remember ever seeing anybody there.

then there was a small gap, before you hit the long row. On this long row there were No.46 which was the Reliance Boot Repairs (listed 1955), next door No.44 was D. Winter, Photographer (listed 1966), these shops are now shops selling Carpets and Carpet remnants. No.40 was James Henry and Alice Hargreaves (Clifford's grandparents) who lived with their family and where Clifford's father William Albert and his brother Samuel who was a watch and clock repairer had their business before moving to No.30 Blackburn Road around 1936.. Clifford informs me that after the 1914-1918 War his father was awarded the Military Medal in 1918 during the 1st World War. After the War he attended evening school in Manchester and trained to be an optician and practised from the early 1920s and still whilst at No.40, before moving to No.30 where he continued to practise till Jan 1966 when he retired. A little further on I can remember what was Marians Coffee Bar (this was again opposite John Street turning, and the front was a sweet shop and was run by sisters Kathleen and Joan and they had a large Wurlitzer type Juke Box and Coffee Bar in the back. Next door was No.38 which was K. Gray (Confectioner) in 1966 and then Haworth's (Confectioner) in 1969 and then became Rudges Chip Shop in 1973. I think nowadays the shop is a kebab shop which it may well have been for the past 10 years. Soon after this you come to Well House on the corner, which was originally a Dentists Surgery run by Mr. Turner (whom was also the school dentist at the time), and this then taken over by Mr. Torry, before it became a private house for our School Music Teachers Mr and Mrs Smith whom lived there in the 60s and Mr Smith kept Owls in a avairy out the back, we were always getting told off for climbing up the wall to look over at the Owls. (Some of this information does predate 1950)

Clifford Hargreaves Opticians Shop No.30 Blackburn Road

The next row on started with No.32 which had many years ago been John Barlow - the undertaker and later H. Barlow (who was picture framer, house furnisher, and bookseller at least between 1955 and 1966) this later became John Booths (Plumbers). Then there was No.30 already mentioned as run from about 1936 by William and Samuel Hargreaves as a watch and clock repairers which was the forerunner business to Clifford Hargreaves (Opticians and Jewellers). Clifford tells me that at one time No.30 had been a farriers and the actual shop floor was additionally supported by thick beams.
Clifford took over the business after his father retired in 1966 and he continued up until his retirement on 9th June 1990. Next door to Clifford Hargreaves was No.28 Bensons (Printers and booksellers) and run by Joe and Hilda Benson at least from 1955-1970, but it had been a printers before the Bensons) it was then John Goddards, and then it became a ladies hairdressers with Judith Robinson and her mother Flo. Bennett. No.26 was Spencers - Ladies and Gents Hairdressers, he worked in the front shop and she worked in the back shop. One of the shops later became Stott and Vizzard (Suppliers of Radio and Television and TV Repair Shop)- they were 2 lads whom both had previously worked for the local Relay Vision which had a shop at the Commerical traffic lights where nowadays there is a bookmakers – Ladbrokes?) but prior to this Relay Vision had been on Blackburn Road (same row as Black Bull). After being Stott and Vizzard its current owners are a Vetinery Surgeons. No.24 was the Bendix Launderette from the mid 60s and this is now the Cabana, then there was Broadleys Toffee Shop which later became Sagars, later Peter Hook’s Toffee Shop (Tobacconist/Toffee/Ice Cream Shop) and later still Jim and Ida Currans, and now this is the Indian Takeaway, and then you came to the end shop which was Mr. Thacker, Plumber whom at one time was Mayor of Haslingden, then it was Bradshaws Plumbers, then Egertons Funeral Service, which later was Elsie Berry's Wool Shop/Haberdashery and nowadays is Mings Chinese Takeaway.. and this brings you up to Townsend Street…

(I am grateful to Mr. Clifford Hargreaves for supplying details of ownerships especially between 4-40 Blackburn Road, and some of this information will predate 1950.

Not sure of all the shops on the next and final row but there was No.16, Kenneth Riley’s (K and E Riley - Grocers – a type of Spar shop) who also had a shop further back on Blackburn Road and already mentioned. Either No.10 or 12 was a Pet Shop for quite some time during the 80s and 90s. There was No.8, which was J. Cavannah (late 60s), Ladies Wear, this then could have later been Blackburn’s Clothes Shop which would later have probably been Bon Marche. Then there was the butchers at No.6, which was Walmsleys then later it was Tom Adamson in 1966, then later it became Eric Mead's and then Mark Harrison and nowadays D.T. Law's), this is the only original business left from the 50's period, although as you can see it has changed hands a few times. And many many years ago No.6 was where Cordingleys Bike Shop had been (see photo above right). And the last shop before the Black Bull Ginnell was J and F. Fletcher (No.4) (Tobacconist – Yelloway Travel Tickets Agents etc), this shop was in later years taken over by Stuart Hall (TV personality whom opened it as a Travel Agents trading in his own name, but was never successful), then the shop became a Theatrical Costumiers offering Fancy Dress and the like, and nowadays it has been taken over by the adjoining Butchers (D.T. Laws) to make them a much larger shop…

Now we have the odd side starting at Worsley Park and the first shop was a little sweet shop owned by Bessie Phillipson which was in the small cottages and then we moved further along the road to 313 Blackburn Road towards Haslingden. (see photo below)

(Click on the photos to enlarge, l to r: What was the Office of Mark Barnes and Sons, No. 313 Blackburn Road as it is today, Clough Terrace datestone moved to the new gable end of 304 Blackburn Road, and photo far right is the old steps "Salt Pie Steps" which run from Hud Rake to Blackburn Road abutting the building which was originally a chip shop called the "Loose Pulley Chip Shop"). ..

And this was the Office of Mark Barnes and Sons (Coach Proprietors and Haulage Contractors) and this is where I actually started my working life as a Office Clerk. Just immediately outside of the Office was the Bus Stop and still is… Several properties further on and you come to what was the (29) old Co-op Grocery Store at the end of the row before you come to Hud Rake, and it is still a shop today, having been more recently selling Carpets. Outside of this shop was a red telephone box in the 70s which is no longer there.

Next there is the opening for Hud Rake which is retained by a large wall recently rebuilt and this separates Hud Rake and Blackburn Road. On this wall many years ago was put small posters each week advertising what was on the Empire Cinema and also for the Astoria Ballroom, Rawtenstall. At the end of this large wall is the steps which come down from Hud Rake onto Blackburn Road, and here they abut the property which I am told was originally a chip shop known as the “Loose Pulley Chip Shop” but in the 50s,60s it’s windows where bricked up and it was to become part of the Jim and Richard Blezard (Builders and Joiners) Workshops. The stone steps shown in the photo were called locally the "Salt Pie Steps" of which the shop at the bottom (presumed Chip Shop sold them) (this is from information kindly supplied by Barbara Hendry with past conversation with the late Mrs. Mary Chadwick)

A few more houses further on and then you come to the area where they demolished some properties and now this is a landscaped area with tree and shrubs – its opposite the opening to Cross Street North. You then have a long row of terraced houses with gardens and they bring you to the Vale Street Bus Stop. Just here again two or three houses have been demolished before you continue for a further 8-10 houses.

Before reaching the high up set back premises – the area known as “Maudland Bank”, the first house on here was those days belonged to the bookie (turf accountants) Harry Parkinson and many years later when the house had been taken over by new owners, there was stories in the local press that the house was haunted!! Though nothing ever come of it to my knowledge. Along this stretch there was probably some 8-12 houses before you reached Queen Street steps at the Haslingden end of the row.
After these steps there was a few more houses then a short gap before you came across a long row which was more or less opposite the main shop area. Along this stretch the properties are mainly two storey but they are attached to several houses which are of three storey – they start almost opposite the entrance to Railway Road and carry on for maybe 5 or 6 properties, the last of these was the Coal Offices of William Henry Shaw Ltd. I can remember going along to the Coal Office to pay the coal bill, and all the gentlemen would be stood at their high desk (no sitting down in that Office) and it was marvellous to watch the Senior Director Mr. Sidney Jagger JP, whom would be signing cheques or letters with the old large “duckquill homemade feather pen” it was like turning the clock back in time within their Office, besides Mr. Jagger, there was Mr. Aldred whom also was a cricket player for Haslingden CC, there was Mr. Standley, and later on they where joined by David and Bernard Pickup, eventually they moved their Office to the area at the bottom of Church Street (originally where the Swan Hotel stood), and they where to move on yet again later to a Shop premises on the corner of New Street. Their old office on Blackburn Road was later taken over and turned into a Mosque, but over the past 15 years it seems to have been turned back into a dwelling house.

A short gap here was Spring Lane (opposite Station Steps) and up Spring Lane was the Haslingden Workingmens Club (now demolished but remnants of the property still shows) and there is also a natural spring just at the side of where the Club used to be.

On the Haslingden side of Spring Lane we came to the Victoria Hotel, and the landlord and landlady was Bill and Mary.. Over the years the Pub has changed hands and changed names to the Magnet, Tankards and now it is a very well established Italian Restaurant called La Veranda.. Next door to the pub was the home of a local doctor named Dr. Golding, and then next door again was Charlie Barton (Slater and Tiler) then there was a bit of a gap before you hit some stone built public toilets which where sort of set back a little into the hillside. Just a little further on you came to Margerisons and they had a very high large building were they operated a Haulage Contractors firm and also had wedding cars etc, I am not sure but I think there was also petrol or oil sold from there also. This building was taken over by Neville Carne from Bury who was a very enterprising fellow. I can remember he started a travel business from there which was called “Skytours” and I believe they became very successful. I can remember he married Yana, whom at that time was a television superstar. Many years later the building was demolished and in more recent years there has been a single storey purpose built on that spot, I think they are heating engineers.. who are there now and the area seems to be secured by high mesh type fencing.

(Here we have two photos kindly supplied by Tina Margerison O'Toole, who now lives in Canada, and one shows the outside of the Margerison Garage and the other is inside showing one of their Carrier vehicles)...... also check out the photo below, there is one of the photos showing a firm called Wilsons Ranges & Stoves, next to the St James Parish Church Lychgate, this is the business thats on the old Margerison site today (2008)... (Please see "Margerison article in separate blog "click here".

Next to this is the Haslingden St. James Parish Church Lychgate which when built was donated by the Cotton Entreprenaur Mr. Nicholas Worsley. After the Lychgate there was a very high retaining wall which holds back the West side of the Church burial grounds. I do believe that this area had subsidence in the 1940s and a new retaining wall had to be built. After this you come to another very high, old drystone type retaining wall which holds back the cobbled road which run alongside the West boundary of the St James C of E School (Top Church School). At the end of here was the Martins Bank (See Photo)… (long demolished, it had even gone by the time I went to school in 1953)….
Crossing over the road, there were gable houses which have long been demolished over the years, but I think it was Mrs. Shipstones at the bottom of Regent Street and she was a teacher of ballet dancing, and next door to her in Regent Street was a Doctors Surgery, Dr. Evans, then later Dr. Whittaker, and then next along there was a little Church Mission at the bottom of Union Street (the gable end house), can't be sure of its name, both these houses are gone and the area grassed over. There was then a row which half way along had the Health Office (and that was the name of the bus stop there, and can only presume thats what the premises had been at one time, but I only ever knew it has the Borough of Haslingden Lighting Dept and this was headed by Mr. Yuran of Acre.. and next door to this once bus shelter was John Wood’s house, John along with Clifford Hartley and others ran the Haslingden Youth Club from the Haslingden Modern School (or Haslingden County Secondary School) for many years. About another 3 or 4 houses on and you came to Britcliffes Wines and Spirits Shop, then a few houses and you where at John Street.

On the opposite corner of John Street on the corner with Blackburn Road was a Newsagents shop called Chesters, and this previously was run by George Dickinson, and then there where some houses (now demolished), then you came to Petrol Pumps owned by Mr. Shepherd-Walsh. Leading off from here at a angle was a building which was a slipper works. And then you came to the large Trinity Baptist Church (now demolished), this later became a car park for many years and in more modern times has become the Haslingden Market.…


In summary we had 47 general retail shops on the way in to Haslingden (approx ¾” of a mile) and they were on the even numbered side of Blackburn Road, there was only four further shops which were on the odd side (the Co-op across from Hud Hey Road and the Loose Pulley Chip Shop). There was No.29 Britcliffes (Wines and Spirits) just before John Street, listed in 1969. On the opposite corner of John Street, there was No.25 A. Chester (Newsagents listed in 1966), which at one time was also ran by George Dickinson. The actual general shop trades of those shops were:-
Grocers(7),Greengrocers(3),Butchers(3),Bakers and Confectioners(3),Chip Shop (2), Ladies and Childs Clothiers (2),Hairdressers (Mens)(2),Chemist (1),Post Office (1), Newsagents (3),Off Licence (1),Furniture Supplier 1, Off Licence (1), Wool Shop (Haberdashery) (2), Sweets and Tobacco (2), Launderette (1), Fishmonger (2), Bric A Brac (1), Coffee Bar (1), Plumbers (2), Printer (1) Bookseller (2), Photographer (1), Boot Repairs (2).

To think that today (2008) just one of these original 50-70's businesses is still going (the Butchers -which is today D.T. Law but this business has been under new ownership by three or maybe 4 different owners over them years) and that most of the old shops nowadays have been converted into private dwellings.…..

Here we have some nice photos, some new some old.. top: The Old Co-op Shop at Hud Hey, still operational today but now selling antiques. Then we have the Beehive Terrace sign dated 1872. and then we have a vintage photo of John Dean's Dining room which later was Deans Greengrocery, then Adams Greengrocery and finally as a shop was Billy Pillings (Electricians and Electrical Appliances).. On the 2nd row down l to r: Bank house, Maudlin Bank which was the home to Harry Parkinson (Bookmaker), and next is a photo of the shops which were originally Harry Taylors, Butchers and Stafford's Chip Shop still show with the shops having their header boards..

Margerisons Blog (below)

I can clearly remember as a youngster passing “Margerisons”, then situated on Blackburn Road, below the St. James Church, next door to the Church Lychgate…… passing their garage on a daily basis on my way to and from the St James School. I would usually see Mr. Margerison, a tall stocky round face chap with flat cap and glasses.. he could easily be identified as the main player…and usually giving instruction to a member or members of his workforce…I wonder if this was Fred Margerison ? because it was he who was the principal owner of the garage (m. Isa Lord, whose grandparents owned a small factory that made cooking ranges – and invented and patented a type of flue)….

The Building was large and grey, and I am sure it was three storey and next to this building on the Haslingden side was a low one storey canopied building which always seemed to be a hub of activity (Click over above photo to enlarge)..

Their business listed as “Margerison Brothers Engineers” thrived from the 1930’s up to at least the mid 50’s and possibly later, and at their peak employed up to 30 men. They were very versatile and carried out repairs to vehicles, but were also Haulage Contractors and suppliers of limousines for Weddings and Funerals etc, in fact they also had a funeral hearse which Mr. Margerison Snr would go and pick up the disceased.. The limousines of which they had two were Rolls Royce’s, and were actually owned by the Coleman Family (as in the Coleman’s Mustard people).. It is not known how they became the trustees of the Coleman’s Roll’s Royces….
I can remember their haulage vehicles which where painted a mid to dark green, with gold lettering (Click over photo top right to enlarge). One of the contracts they had was to remove the Church at St. Stephens, Grane from its original location near Crowtrees to its present location opposite the Haslingden Town Cemetary. Each stone had to be numbered so that it could be re-assembled in their exact order.

(I am indebted to Tina "Margerison" O'Toole originally from Accrington but now of Canada, for kindly supplying the photos and most of the factual information supplied here)....

I also remember that from the late 50s or early 60s, the Margerison garage site was taken over by Mr. Neville Carne of Bury, and I think he carried on with that business or a similar business. He also inaugurated from here "Skytours" which became a very successful holiday travel agents firm and I think they may still be going today (Bury based offices). Mr Carne married national celebrity "Yana" who was a top recording artist of the day.

Today (2008) on the original site of the "Margerison's garage" is a firm called "Wilson's Ranges & Stoves" (Click over photo below to enlarge).....

Monday, 10 November 2008

Top Church School.....and the Vicarage...

When I attended St James C of E Infant School it was simply known as "Top Church" School. It was a solid stone purpose built school (Sadly I dont have a photo of the old school) . For some reason in later years they decided to knock it down and build a more modern school, thinking about it now it may have been the result of a fire... (see photo of new school below right) which is currently situated with its entrance in Salem Street, in fact the modern day playground is built on were the Salem Methodist Church (see photo on right) used to be...
I can still remember most of the teachers around at the time when I went (approx 1953-1959) The first class (most infant) was Miss Clegg -(I still see her in town now and again..) then there was Miss Bury, Miss Boyson, Mrs Holden, Miss Haworth and the final class was Miss Holden, the headmaster was Mr. Rawlinson...
I have managed to find a photo of the old "Vicarage" which was a superbly built building and we used to have the school group photos taken on the Old Vicarage lawns. You would never have expected a building of this calibre to have been demolished. Also I can clearly remember the Rev Fred Bamber was our vicar at that time.....

A photo of the Vicarage kindly sent in by Michael Mullaney