Monday, 6 April 2015

PAG HOUSE - A ancient area of Haslingden

If you started at the "Top O'th Town" - adjoining Lower Lane and into Pag House Lane (Spring Lane and Railway Road) and into (Commerce Street) and the area close to Carrs

What was this Pag House token used for?
Would it be a token to gain admission to a place were you stabled your horse?
Would it be a token to gain admission to a place were you rested your weary head?

There are lots of questions and assumptions, but at the moment no answers!
Nobody as yet seems to know just what a "PAG HOUSE" was!

One thing for sure is that The Haslingden Commercial Mill Company was situated just below Station Steps and the road which ran below Station Steps and alongside the Mill was originally called or known as Pag House Lane and later to be called Railway Road. 

I remember reading with interest a report showing a lovely etching (see below) from the late 1800s which is recorded in the old London Gazette which shows a Pag House Mill, which was raviged by fire during the Lancashire Power Loom Riots.  I am sure that this Pag House Mill was originally situated on the land where the BMP Pumps Ltd is situated today, or the Mill which was known for many years as the Rossendale Chain and Block or it could well have been the mill next door which also had one time had a lodge (now covered) but Swinnel Brook still running to the rear of the area.

Also of interest is that Spring Lane (the lane opposite Station Steps) was also originally called Pagg House Lane (see map below) today the more recent owners of the old Haslingden Workingmen's Club Stewards house has been called "Pagg House" (see photo below).

In Grace's guide it also mentions the wording Paghouse against the following Mills eg: Commercial, Holden Vale and Carr Mills. I think there was a Company at that time called The Paghouse Mill Co., Ltd.

This was Pag House Lane which later became known as "Railway Road" because it became the main thoroughfare to the new Railway Station.

This little shop on the corner was a favourite of mine when going home from School (Late 1950s).  He was a old man of approx 80 or maybe 90 years of age that ran it.  He sold the most tasty young lettuces you can ever imagine.  They would only be of a few leaves, but ever so succulent and tasty and he charged 1 1/2p ( three haypence (three halfpennies) - yes thats one penny and half a penny in old money - pre decimalization).  I have never tasted lettuces as good since.  He once showed me how he grew them on his small allottment or garden to the rear of his shop.  Happy Memories! To see a photo of how this area looks today check out the next to the bottom photo

This is another photo which shows Paghouse Lane (Railway Road) from off the Station Steps, showing Commercial Mill on the left with the Haslingden Station in the centre and "Donkey Row" (Bridge Street) to the left of the photo

This really old map from the 1700s shows clearly that there was a Richard Dugdale of Pagghouse Farm and it also mentions "Pagg Bank"  (Photo: from Jackie Ramsbottom, Haslingden Roots)

This is a fabulous old document and besides the interest in "PAGGHOUSE" it also shows reference to Dobson Meadows which later became part of Marsden Square

Here we have a beautiful etching which shows the ruins of Paghouse Mill which was set alight during the Cotton Riots in Lancashire.  Photo: London Gazette - kindly given to me by Jackie at Haslingden Roots)

Michael Mullaney has sent in some really interesting information regarding "Pag House" and he also includes this fabulous old map:

The first map shows the Areas which were called "Paghouse" (Click over map to enlarge)
which according to this map was prior to Spring Lane, and also on the other side of the road and below Station Steps it was also called Pag House Lane before it was called Railway Road.

On the next map down, it shows Lower Pag House Mill which was Cotton and had a large pond. The same mill later became called Grove Mill and is still there today (in part)

(5th May 2015) Michael 's notes:  The map goes back to 1846 and presumably surveyed pre the Railway.  Pag House is an area, house or building along Commerce Street just around the corner of Railway Road.  The map clearly shows buildings but just what were they?

Pag House Mill is shown on the map, and is a Woollen Mill.

If you assume that Blackburn Road is a much later construction then Pag House Lane which ran uninterrupted from Lower Lane down to the Pag House area and dates from much earlier times. 
As we know Pag House lane was later changed to Spring Lane and its lower half changed to Railway Road with the coming of the railway.

Therefore, the name Pag or Pag House is of rather ancient vintage and the meaning lost in time.

Pag House Mill was presumably replaced by the Commercial Mill which was eventually burnt down.

"PAG" could be associated with: Throwing up, vomiting.  Equally: "PAGGED OUT" which means worn out or tired etc.

"PAGGING" is short for "taking the p..." or for "p......" on something

As various woollen processes used urine to work the wool is it possible that this was a house or building were urine was collected for some process?  The name being dropped after the need for urine declined and the town wanted to appear more sophisticated!  Equally could it just be a processes for dealing with rubbish (worn out) woollen waste etc. ?

Michael also sent in the following information (11th May 2015)

Haslingden's history by Major David halstead 1929 - Whilst there is no definition of names he list:

In 1844 there were at least 48 mills in Haslingden, some few of which were obsolete and disused by that date.  Twenty nine of these mills are now closed and the identity of some of the remainder are merged in others which have taken their places.  Those of the number that are now entirely disused include, Catsclough, Lower Mill, Old Pagghouse (a woollen mill, turned by water only, burnt down.  From 1860 to 1870 there were about fourteen (probably more) cotton spinning mills in the district., one of which was Paghouse.  Paghouse Mill was burnt down in 1878. Haslingden Mills in 1844: Area of Swinnel River, Paghouse (woollen) Demolished. Lower Paghouse.

Michael also mentions another interesting fact:
Just a thought.  Another name which seems as strange as Pagghouse is North HAGG. That's the name given to the hill through which they tunnelled to bring the railway line into Haslingden Station and which is in the close proximity to Pagg House.

Could there possibly be some connection? Or could HAGG be a corruption of PAGG? If North Hagg, why no South, East or West Hagg?


(5th May 2015) Marie Ives has also kindly contributed with some writings of the late Major David Halstead 1793 - Robert Fell and George Maxwell, Cotton Spinners.  Sale of Mill on April 28th.  Remainder of lease of 7 years (4 unexpired) of Factory and fall of Water at PAGHOUSE.  Also in 1844 Swinnel Brook provided water for 8 mills including PAGHOUSE (Woollen) unoccuplied or demolished and LOWER PAGHOUSE.


(9th May 2015) John Simpson kindly informs me that his earliest record from 1657 shows the name spelt as "PAGGEHOWSE"


The following information does give lots of information on The Paghouse Mills. It is with many thanks to Mike Rothwell for allowing us to use the information from his book entitled: Industrial Heritage A guide to the Industrial Archaeology of Haslingden and Helmshore. Also thanks to Jackie Ramsbottom of Haslingden Roots for supplying scans etc.

The Paghouse Mills

The original site at Paghouse was probably a fulling mill built in 1748 by Ralph Holden.  In 1773 the buildings consisted of a factory with two pair of stocks, dye house, frizing and perching mills and narrow tenters.
In 1790, the property (or part of it), then in the possession of John Walwork, was leased by Robert Fell and George Maxwell, cotton spinners, who added a three storey block based on Richard Arkwright's design.
Their tenure was short, and in 1793 the mill was assigned to creditors.  Its remaining lease was taken by Fieldens of Blackburn, but in 1797, when the factory was offered for sale, it was occupied by William Birtwistle.
By this date there seem to have been two main buildings, at Paghouse and Lower Paghouse.  It is not clear where the cotton spinning factory was located, although the large mill pond, shown on various maps, suggest it was at the latter site.

Paghouse Woollen Mill (SD78522375)

In 1798, the owners were Taylor & Greenwood and their tenant, Widow Ashworth.  Members of her family used the buildings for woollen carding, fulling and dyeing until the late 1830s.
During 1837, the mill, worked by Thomas Holden, fuller, and two dyers, was for sale with a 21" diameter x 4' broad water-wheel.
It was later taken over by Thomas Cooper who employed a workforce of 32 in 1851.
Three years later, Cooper agreed to sell to the Haslingden Commercial Company, but before they took possession the mill was destroyed by fire.

REMAINS: See Commercial Mill (below).  Water from Swinnel Brook was supplied from a lengthy goit to the North, and drained sections can be seen near Albert Mill.

Lower Paghouse Mill (SD78372360)

Possibly the "large and newly erected" mill or engine house with "two engines" surrendered to John Haworth of Duckworth Clough in 1797.  In two directories of the 1820s, Haworth is listed as a cotton spinner at Lower Paghouse Mill.
In 1850, Marsden Hargreaves was tenant, and of a smaller building used as a weaving shop.
Textile manufacture proper had ceased by about 1861, and part of the building was used by William and Thomas Swire for shuttle making.  Whitaker Brothers later occupied the mill for cotton storage, hard waste breaking and making textile accessories.  After 1878 the site was redeveloped as a weaving shed.

REMAINS: See Grove Mill (below)

Vine Grove Mill, Paghouse  (SD78482359)

A three storey spinning mill, with attic, built in 1850 by a former handloom manufacturer, Thomas Tattersall, on land which previously formed part of the Paghouse Lower Mill Reservoir.
Tattersall employed 100 workers and used the mill for hard waste spinning and weaving.  He was noted for paying with "ready money" and reportedly kept few accounts.
In 1870 when Tattersall retired, his machinery consisted of hard waste breakers, a willow, 10 carding engines, 1200 hand mule and 1400 self acting mule spindles, and 24 looms, some by Rothwell Brothers.  Power was furnished by a 16 nhp condensing engine and an egg ended boiler, both probably by Simpson, Bland and Haworth.
John Warburton of Holden House purchased the property and leased it to Thomas Warburton junior.  A new horizontal engine, 12" plus 18" cylinders was installed.
Warburton moved to Spring Vale in the early 1880s, and the mill was briefly worked by Barnes and Heap, weavers of twills and sheetings.  In 1887 Parkinson and Hargreaves of Cat Clough took over.  2500 spindles and 47 looms, employing around 50 workers, were used by the partnership.  After the death of John Parkinson, the Vine Grove Mill Company Limited was formed to continue the business.
The mill was gutted by fire in 1895, although 44 looms in the basement were saved.  Reconstruction increased spindles and looms to 3200 and 87 respectively.
In 1902 Alexander Worsley and Sons Limited, of Ducworth Clough, purchased the mill and the nearby ruins of Whitakers Factory.
About 1912 Alex, eldest son of Henry Worsley, begain his own separate concern, trading as the Vine Grove Mill Company.  By the early 1920s he was using 3200 condenser mule spindles and 110 looms to weave waste twills and plains.
Control reverted to the family firm in 1928, and Alex Worsley seems to have had little further active connection with the business.
The mill closed in 1941 as a result of the wartime contraction scheme, and was not reopened following the end of hostilities.  About 1949 parts of the mill were leased to the Rossendale Chain and Block Company and Vine Fabric Printers Limited who later moved to Vale Mill.  Rossendale Chain and Block remain at the site, which is also partly occupied by an engineering supplies company.

three storey building with a single span, slate roof.  The walls have been covered with square section steel cladding, and little is visible of the original structure.

Commercial Mill, Paghouse (SD78522375)

Haslingden's first co-operative mill built and run by the Haslingden Commercial Company Limited.

The firm, registered in August 1854, purchased Thomas Cooper's woollen mill but it was unfortunately wrecked by fire before manufacturing began.
However the buildings were rebuilt or restored in 1855, and within two years 100 were employed in both spinning and weaving.
Spinning was given up around 1870 and in 1873-74 a weaving shed for about 520 looms, designed by Maxwell and Tuke, was erected.  A compound tandem engine 20" plus 34" x c5' stroke, possibly by Furnevall and Company was installed around this time. 
The Commercial Company's activities grew significantly in the 1890s, when it was working 1735 looms at Holden Vale, Carr and Commercial Mills.  In these years grey cloth, inclujding shirtings and jacconettes, was produced for export to India and beyond.  By the twentieth century bandage cloth and surgical dressings had been added to the output.
George Henry Hindle was secretary and manager for many years until he retired in 1916.  his son, Walter was a partner of Hindle, Warburton and Company, Syke Mill.  Another son, George succeeded his father at Commercial Mill, whilst a third, John was killed on the Somme in 1916 where he was serving with the Accrington Pals.  A daughter married Tom Worsley of Nicholas Worsley Limited.
After the Second World War only Commercial Mill was left in operation.  Looms were reduced from 675 in the 1950s to around 350 in 1963.  Weaving ended five years later and in 1971 the derelict buildings were destroyed by fire.
Although there were various schemes to build housing on the site it was not until the early 1980s that the ruins were finally cleared.

REMAINS: the site of the mill is occupied by the moder factory of Reelvision.  A length of shed wall, constructed from par point masonry, can be seen on Commerce Street, and along the southern perimeter of the site. 

Paghouse New Mill (SD78442368)

Erected on the partially drained Lower Paghouse Reservoir in 1861 by the sons of John Whitaker, Grane Road Mill.
In addition to hard waste spinning and weaving, the firm made mule scavengers and traded as wool staplers.
During 1868 the partnership was dissolved with Lawrence Whitaker taking the wool stapling business, whilst his brothers continued cotton spinning and manufacturing.
The Paghouse Mill Company Limited was formed in 1877, with Whitaker Brothers receiving a large shareholding.
About nine months later the mill was completely devastated by fire, initially thought to be arson.
No restoration took place, and the burnt out ruins survived until 1918.

Three single storey bays remain from the mill.  The larger has a hipped roof and quoins and may have been a blowing room or cotton store.  A modern factory, occupied by Lodge Sheet metal Fabricators has been added along the South West perimeter.  The main, flat site of Whitakers factory is used for storage.

Grove Mill, Paghouse (SD78372360)

After the fire of 1878, the Paghouse Mill Company Limited used the resulting insurance payment to erect a weaving shed at Lower Paghouse Mill powered by a horizontal tandem, 12" plus 18" cylinders.  The company was not particularly successful, and paid only one dividend during its existence.  Although a reconstruction of capital was made in 1891, this failed to prevent liquidation the year after.
The mill was purchased by a firm of Blackburn auctioneers and leased to the Hutch Bank Manufacturing Company Limited.
In 1895, a 50 nhp, McNaught beam engine (to Tattersalls design) by John Petrie was installed in a newly built engine house, and powered the mill until 1959.
Hargreaves Tomlinson was managing director during the first part of the twentieth century, and after his death in 1934, members of his family were associated with the mill until its closure.
Fabrics manufactured included bag, book, insulating surgical cloth, gause, cambrics and calico.  After World War Two, looms were reduced to about 340, employing about 70 workers.  The company decided to close under the Cotton Industry Act and wove out in December, 1959.  Thereafter the buildings were used for non textile purposes.


This is a photo I took back in 2003 of the area below Station Steps which was originally Pag House Lane which later became Railway Road. From this photo it is hard to imagine there was the Mill to the left hand side and the row of terraced houses to the right hand side. You can see how it used to look before in the top two photos.

Looking from opposites sides you have at the top old photo of Pagg House Lane or Railway Road, and below you have how it looks today.

And here is another photo I took in 2003 of the old Haslingden Workingmen's Club Stewards house which has been named "Pagg House" and is situated on Pag House Lane which in more recent times has been known as "Spring Lane".

I would also be most grateful if there are others out there as well who can explain what the Pag House was and what was meant by it and obviously give any further reference to it. Thanks.

Added by Tracy Bell on 5th Feb 2020

A Record showing the daughter of my aunt Bridget Halstead nee Courtney, Abode given as Pag House, Bridget was an Irish settler from Dublin, who came to Haslingden between 1867 - 1871 along with her mum and siblings, Between census, marriage and burial records it shows them moving all over Haslingden for mill work and some of them were living in the mills with all of their kids in tow, I assume that Pag houses were mills and the tokens were wages that could only be spent in that mill owners shop and for their rent, As for the word Pag it seems to come from the Latin word Pagous meaning village

Friday, 3 April 2015

Some of the late John Dearden's great memories of Haslingden

John Dearden

Characters that visited the town and some of those in it

The Old Prop Woman
An old gypsy lady between 65-70 years old, walked the back streets of Haslingden selling wooden 6ft props to hold up washing lines.

The Old Shrimp Woman
This old lady came once a week from Lytham St Annes selling shrimps from a large wicker basket with a black linoleum cover over the basket. She weighed the shrimps by means of an old tin mug, so many pennies full a mug. She used to shout, ‘Shrimpo, shrimpo.’

The Old Knife Sharpener
This man was about 45 years old and came to the town twice a year. His means of transport was a Raleigh two wheeled bike. On the pillion at the rear, he had a wooden board fixed with 4 types of grinding stones to sharpen our knives and butchers’ knives. The grinding stones were driven by a rubber belt on the rear wheel and he just pedalled to make the grindstones go round.

The Basket maker
This man was old in years and they always called him Blind Jack. He worked in a room, up some steps at the back of Manchester Road, in a building belonging to Whittles Wine and Spirit Merchants (which is now Dr Badr’s surgery.) Jack made baskets to fit over porcelain casks for carrying rum in.

The Old Firelight Maker

This was a man called Phillipson, who lived near Brook Street and who had no legs and got about for transport in a 3 wheeled truck made of wood with a chain and sprocket fixed to the front wheels with two handles on, which he turned to propel his vehicle along. He had a large wooden hut on Rising Bridge Road near Stonefold School, which he used to go to every morning to make firelighters. The hut had a nice smell of naphthalene and he made firelighters in baking tins. Once he got into his hut in a morning, he never came out till 5 o’clock at night. If this wooden hut had caught fire he would have been unable to escape due to his disability, having no legs.

The Old Clogmaker

Walter Barnes, who had a small cloggers shop at the top of Dale Street, was quite a character. His front room, on the corner of Dale Street and Salisbury Street, was visited by all the young children in the area. Walter always sat in the middle of the floor on a stool with thousands of old bits of leather and wood shavings, all in a pile around him. He was surrounded on every wall by wooden cages of canaries, which he used to whistle to. Every pair of clogs he made by hand and he used to sit with a very sharp knife, cutting and shaping a piece of wood into the shape of a clog. Then he would cut the leather into the shape of one’s foot depending on the size. He would fill his mouth with brass nails and with an old file, not a hammer, he would nail the leather onto the wood base. After this, he would nail the clog irons onto the bottom of the clog. He then put thongs in all the way up the leather and finished off by making leather laces to tie the clogs up.

Old Marsden, the Blacksmith

The Town’s Yard Smithy was situated at the bottom of Carr Hall Street. The blacksmith called Marsden was quite bad tempered but was a craftsman as regards the making of horseshoes from a bar of iron. He would put the iron in his furnace, bring it out white hot and mould it into a horse shoe. Whilst still hot, he would put the nail holes in it and finish off by shoeing the horse.

Hutch Bank Quarry Blacksmith

(Violet’s grandfather)The blacksmith at Hutch Bank Quarry was George Lewis, a craftsman in his own right, having been trained by his father, who was a blacksmith in Norfolk and who had two brothers who were also apprenticed to the trade. He made the tools, chisels and chains etc that were used in the quarry for cutting the hardest stone in England. A lot of this stone, that was quarried in Hutch Bank, was transported to London for the footpaths. His father was a self employed blacksmith and shoesmith and he ran his own business. He came to Haslingden from Walsingham and walked it to find work in the Haslingden quarries in the year 1880. He also had a brother called Arthur Lewis who had a fish shop in Regent Street next but one to the Trades Club. You could buy all different types of fish, rabbits, pheasants, grouse and hare, mussels and shrimps. Outside the shop were large fish boxes filled with ice.

The Oatcake Man

Every Tuesday, the Oatcake Man used to come round selling oat cakes from a basket. These were like a pancake but made of oats and were soft when he sold them out of his basket. In those days, every house had a clothes’ rack above the coal fire and these oatcakes were put on these racks to dry out. When dry they were eaten like brittle biscuits after a meal with a cup of tea.

The Xmas Goose
In the 1930s, families in Haslingden used to have a goose for their Christmas dinner and all the grease out of the goose used to be put in jam jars and any one in the family who had a bad chest in winter time, like after a bad cold, used to get their chests rubbed with what was called ‘hot goose grease’ and then you had a piece of red flannel put on to keep the heat in. In those days, you had to pay out of your own pocket if you had to call a doctor out, as well as pay for all medicines etc. Each doctor had a man who used to go round collecting money from patients’ homes every week, in pennies and two pences. They used to say for rheumatism or bad chest, rub in roasted duck fat.

The War Years in Haslingden/Life in the Army

At the outbreak of War I was serving my apprenticeship as an electrician with Haslingden Corporation Electricity Dept in John Street, Haslingden.

As soon as we got the news that England was at war with Germany, a sort of panic started at the Municiple offices on Bury Road and George Bell, who was the Town Clerk of Haslingden, and the Borough Treasurer, F A Green, who were in charge of Air Raid Precautions, sent their orders out that every office and showroom would be immediately fitted with black out curtains and sacks of sand round all windows and doors. Also we had to blacken all the bus windows and do away with bright lights in the buses. Bus headlights had to be modified and we spent hours making a metal case with two slits in it which fitted over the headlights. We then set to, to make a special light that fixed on the conductor’s strap so that he could check his ticket machine, likewise his money bag, being as they had only one small light in the bus.

Our next job was fixing the Air Raid warning sirens. They were fixed on top of the Public Hall, SS Stott’s mill down Laneside, Shepherds Mill Rising Bridge and Albion Mill, Helmshore. All these had to be wired up urgently and all connected up to one central control at the Municipal Offices. This was done through the GPO telephone service, which connected up the relays we had put in at each siren station. The first winter the sirens were tested they didn’t go off. On checking, we found the fans had frozen up with snow and ice. This finished up with Torribar heaters fitted around the fans and when the temperature dropped the thermostat came in and brought on the heaters which stopped them freezing up.

Next door to the Public Hall in Regent Street was the fire station which entailed two fire engines. The large one was a Merryweather with solid rubber tyres and had a brass plaque on the front under the windscreen which read ‘Baxter’ and was named after Captain Baxter, chairman of the Fire Brigade committee at the time. The other engine was a Leyland Tiger and more modern with pneumatic tyres. This had a chromium plaque on the front bearing the name Sutcliffe, who was Alderman J T Sutcliffe, chairman at the time of the Fire Brigade committee.

All down the right hand side of the Fire Station were wooden shelves and each fireman had a highly polished brass helmet. The Chief Fire Officer was a man called Oates Maden? And his assistant chief was his son, Chris Maden who drove the old Merryweather engine.

Haslingden had only one ambulance and this was an old 18HP Austin with a part wooden body and painted a brown colour. In 1937 I was taken ill with appendicitis and in the middle of the night was driven over to Blackburn Royal hospital in this old ambulance. I’m sure it had no springs or shock absorbers. A man called Herbert Bright was the driver for as long as they had an ambulance in Haslingden. He was a very kind man and apologised for the rough ride to Blackburn.

Rag and Bone Men

In Haslingden was an old firm of Rag and Bone Merchants which went under the name of George Berry and Son. They had their premises up at Rakefoot, where they kept their two horses and carts. The son was called Teddy and he went to St James Cof E School. He would finish school at 4 o’clock and go straight out on the streets of Haslingden with his rag and bone cart, collecting old rags, cotton and wool, old brass beds and any old iron. All you got was a small bundle of firewood or a ‘Donkey stone’. This was a stone the ladies of the town used to use on their doorsteps. Regarding valuable antiques, Teddy knew what was valuable and what was rubbish and still does today if you ask him.

(These are transcripts of my Dad’s writing so I take no responsibility for grammar, punctuation or inaccuracies. He was clearly writing his thoughts down as he was thinking about them and I can really hear him speaking some of these things. Some things do make me laugh!  I have more memories about him being in the army and some memories of his days at St James.  "Fiona Balchin")

Some of the late Marie Ives Memories Received 7th April 2015 

The Knife Sharpener

I can remember the "knife sharpener" coming to Dick Hardman's butchers at the bottom of Chapel Street/Bury Road around the mid 1940s.
I also remember the ambulance which was parked in the garage below my grandad's workshop at the bottom of Chapel Street (Luke Ralph - Tinners), It was at the time driven by John Bell and again it would be around the mid 1940s.

Some of Michael Mullaneys Memories Received 11th April 2015 

Sikhs selling "Silk Merchandise"

On the subject of travelling salesmen (hawkers) of days gone by:
I can recall my grandmother getting all a fluster when the neighbours would rush around warning that the men with scarfs on their heads were coming.
They were referring to those men from the Sikh community from Manchester with their massive suitcases full of all sorts of wonderful silk merchandise to sell on the doorstep.
With their colourful turbans wrapped around their heads and the tails hanging down their backs, huge beards and equally huge moustaches they certainly put the fear of god into all the womenfolk
who were convinced if they got the chance they would kidnap little children in their suitcases and take them back to wherever they came from.

The Turf Man

There was also the Turf man who called every week with his Bantam Karrier blue truck selling turf for fire lighting. This was peat cut into squares and soaked in paraffin which he carried in his hessian apron
needless to say the turf men were black with the dirt from the peat and stank to high heaven of paraffin but always found a good trade for their turf.

The Manx Kipper Men

Then there was the Manx Kipper men who called at irregular intervals with kippers to sell. Max Kippers were a delicacy highly prised and a treat in any household.

Leonard Norris - Mobile Greengrocery Van

Finally there was Mr Leonard Norris with his mobile greengrocery van.  Norris had a shop in Hillside Road but supplemented that business with his van reaching out to customers further afield
I recall him being a jolly man with a head of red hair and moustache to match.

Michael Mullaney

Some of John McGuire's Memories (ex pat Aussy) Received 14th April 2015.


Hi Bryan, 
Michael Mullaneys recollections of the Sikh salesman reminded me of something I saw soon after we moved down to Broadway Estate in 1954.
The estate was very new then and there was nothing built east of Chester Crescent. The prefabs were there of course. On York Avenue and facing Dorset Drive was a field up over a grassy bank. It must have been autumn because I remember the grass being very long.

An Indian fellow (not a Sikh, he didn’t wear a turban) had been going door to door trying to sell silk ties which he displayed from a large suitcase. I followed him around. Partly because of the novelty of a brown man in Helmshore in 1954 and partly because of the notion, which as Michael points out, that he may be there to cause untold harm to the general public. 

It was a hot day and the Indian chap rested on the aforementioned grassy bank. He sank down into the long grass and opened his suitcase. What fiendish plot was about to unfold I asked myself?
Should I run home and tell my parents? I couldn’t they were at work. I decided to sneak up through the long grass and watch him.

He reached into his suitcase and pulled out a CUCUMBER and a packet of salt and settled back to enjoy a tasty lunch.

Kind regards, 
John McGuire


On Way up to "Kite Hill"  (Click over to enlarge)

Some lovely memories from the late Marie Ives


I was reminded of my younger days when I read about a walk to the Panoptican at Haslingden.
When we were children (my brother, cousin and myself) towards the end or just after the war years, we had the freedom to wander wherever we wanted.  We had no fear of strangers as children have today.  We walked over the paths on the side or over Cribden to Rawtenstall returning home over the Old Road and Whittaker Park.  We had no money and no refreshments, toffees could only be obtained if you had coupons and in most household Mum took charge of these, and crisps could only be bought in public houses.

After the Saturday matinee at the Empire Cinema we usually went up onto laund hey and played cricket or re-enacted the cowboy films we had seen.  One of our favourite things to do in Spring and Summer was flying our kites.  Mum made the kite out of thin cotton and sewed it to a thin dowelling frame in an elongated diamond shape.  We made the tails out of bits of the same cotton tied in knots onto a long thin piece of string about 18 inches long and this was tied to the bottom of the diamond.  A ball of string was wound onto a piece of wood in a 'figure of eight' way, this was then attached to the cross at the top of the kite, and we were then ready for launch.
Off we went up Kirk Hill passing Mrs Pilling's cottage (now derelict) up the field to the left then up the lane to 'Kite Hill' at the entrance to the old quarries at 'Slate'
Sometimes the kite would nose dive and have to be redesigned, but most times it did the proverbial and 'flew like a kite'.  I remember many happy times spent in this quarry, scrambling over the rocks and boulders, and jumping down them into muddy water.  I have passed by this area over the years as I went on walks with family and friends, and stopped to remember the happy times of the past, before continuing our ramble.
Now a Panopticon has been erected at the entrance to the old quarry and the whole area has been altered beyond recognition, even though there's still Cribden as a backdrop.
The hill where we flew our kites has been flattened to accomodate the structure and is very different from my memories.  All the rough lanes there have been tar macadamed and whole area fenced off, looking new and so different from my memories.  Granted in a few years time when nature has overgrown a bit, the viewing areas and walls will blend in with the landscape, but there will be no "Kite Hill" to fly your kite from.

the late Marie Ives