Thursday, 11 June 2015

James Maxwell who co designed The Blackpool Tower

James Maxwell who designed
Blackpool Tower

Well I never knew that!

Mr. James Maxwell (1838 to 1893) was born and brought up at George Street in Haslingden.  He was a well known Architect of his day and co-designed the magnificient Blackpool Tower, but sadly died before the Tower was finished.

Born on 14th June 1838, the only child of Thomas Maxwell who was a builder, plumber, and glazier and his second wife Mary who was the daughter of Henry Holden and his wife, Judith.  James Maxwell attended Whalley Grammar School before being articled to the architect Thomas Holmes of Bury from 1852 until he set up in practice on his own account in Bury in December of 1857.

Maxwell's early works included Bury baths and offices for the Bury Times, both built in 1862.  This was also the year of his marriage to Elizabeth Barbara Thornburn, daughter of William Reid Thorburn, congregational minister, which took place on 21st May 1862 at the Bethel Congregational Chapel in Bury.  The couple had one daughter and three sons, one of whom, Francis William later joined his father's firm.  The years after his marriage saw Maxwell's practice prosper; he was placed third in the design competition for Rochdale Town Hall in 1864, and shortly afterwards took Charles Tuke into employment. Later the pair Maxwell and Tuke went into partnership.

If you want to read more then try Maxwell and Tuke on Wikipaedia (and then click on "List of Works") which list the many iconic buildings which Maxwell co designed.  I am sure that the one which will always stand out will the Blackpool Tower, but also Maxwell was responsible for many of our local Haslingden buildings eg: A weaving shed at Commercial Mill Paghouse was designed by them.

Blackpool Tower designed by Haslingden Architect James Maxwell

My thanks to Douglas Newton for informing me of this information.


Also of special local history is the following "Blackpool Tower" which was built and shown off within Kirby's Grocers Shop on Bury Road.  Mr. Kirby built this - and thanks to Tim Kirby for kindly sharing this with us.

Kirby's shop window depicting Blackpool Tower which Mr. Kirby built.   Photo kindly shared to us by Tim Kirby

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Watterfalls, Hassy and Ossy Moors with Twite and Dotterel - MEMORIES.....

(55 years ago – somewhere around 1960)

Up past Sunnyslack to“Watterfalls,
Past Maisies dad’s farm and Coldwells,
And past lonely barn stood there forlorn,
Right up through heather to very top,
Here was smallpox hospital so they said,
Not today just a farm with bordered wall,
With Linnet and Twite singing in the sun!
With Lapwings dive bombing and fluty,
And giant Curlews “warbling” away.
Those are the memories as a kid to keep.

(somewhere around the year 2015)

Up past Sunnyslack to Watterfalls,
Now a new built detour past Coldwells,
And John’s got Mr Booth’s owd farm,
Lonely barn is a house with other buildings built around it,
And reaching top of Watterfalls,
Owd Smallpox hospital is still theer, but
Where’s the Linnets and the Twites,
Where’s the Lapwings? I miss their fluty calls,
Still the odd Curlew about, But a bit barren!
Wow! Whats that I can see not far away?
Lots of poles with big blades turning fast!
Reeping the wind to make the Electricity.

(somewhere between the 1980s and 2010)

From Grane Information Centre and crossing two moors,
One called Haslingden, and one called Oswaldtwistle,
And trying to dodge them peat bogs and dykes,
With ancient silver birch trophies in that washed peat,
O’er to Dry Hill to watch the Dotterel trips and
Never far away those special “big” Wheatear,
Making their path from Africa to Greenland!
And calling off here for their rest!
Somedays  up past Priestentax – a lovely name!
And on to Thirteen Stone hill, to dream its history,
One day startled by a Osprey carrying a roach from the res,
Watching him devour his wriggly catch on that very hill.
Watching Snipe “drumming” at dried up Warmwithens
And later flushing Snipe at nearby Snipe Holes.

(Today – 2nd June 2015)

Well it was all great fun while it lasted!
Thank you for those special memories……….

(8th June 2015 - David Desforges has kindly sent in the following MEMORIES as a followed up from the Waterfalls blog which I did.  - I will be including it in the Waterfalls Memory Blog soon. Please enjoy.

Hi Bryan, What a nice memory that brought back.  I'd walk up Donkey Row over the railway tracks and on up to Downham's farm and onto Booth's with my faithful sheepdog scamp. this is not a nice memory though saw Maisie miss her footing while walking backwards and fall down the steps at school after being refused entry through the boys entrance, and I believe her brother John passed away also with the same heart defect.

Then on up past the old barn which always seemed to have a pair of Kestrels nesting in a vent hole in  the gable wall, there would be skylarks, lapwings,curlews and meadow pipits, butterflies, rabbits,and hares, such wonder all around, I got around a lot of the farms in the area with Luke Warburton the butcher and would attend to some of the farm animals, remember once going camping on the moors with the late Brian Haworth, we would be about thirteen, everything was fine until it got dark and all the strange night noises began it did not take long for us
 to leg it down the lane to where it joins the Farmers Glory, for some reason mum did not seem a bit surprised when we reached home, what a feel good childhood we had even though we had no material things but we did have the hills to walk on and enjoy, the kids today have mostly matierial  things, but I don't think  they will ever experience what we have had,

You might have to check the spelling,  to much time wondering the hills instead of english lessons at school, thanks for the work you do on the blog for me and people like me who tune in every week, David Desforges


Wasn’t it a Special Treat! - MEMORIES

On a Thursday, When I was about six or seven years old,
And my father would come home from workers after snooker,
I’d try and stay awake if I could, but rarely managed it!
He’d bring me a packet of Smiths Crisp which had a blue salt packet.
Those crisps did taste good, and it was a special weekly treat!.
(Today I’d think nothing of having a bag or two in a day!)

On a Saturday, when I was about seven or eight years old,
I would hear this jingle jangling music coming from that van!
And Kenyon’s Mobile Bakers would come near to our house,
I’d shout, “Mum” Can I have one of those “Kenyons Trifles”
They seemed to taste something really special those days.
Sometimes I’d have a change and go for their “superfresh” Iced Buns!
(Today I doubt if I would look twice at trifles or Ice Buns in a Bakers Window!
But what made them so special back in those days?))

On Saturday, when I was about nine or ten years old,
Wow! Didn’t I feel good when a got a “bob” to go pictures!
You sat on form at back for a bob, or if you got one and sixpence,
you could  feel posh and sit in front two rows, but it was too close.
On back bench Projectors beam came straight out above you,
It looked like smoke coming from the beam,
Would you dare put your hand in front of the beam?
Mr. Hoyle did not like that!

Every night after school, when I was about eleven or twelve,
I used to help with haymaking, or cleaning out shippons,
For that I’d get ten bob at end of month,
For ten bob you could get loads of treats!
At fifteen I started work and first wage was £3. 7s.  6d
(Yes that’s Three pounds, seven shillings and sixpence)
A reckon that would be equivalent in todays money to 40 quid!
Like most, I was on “board” them days and gave mum all!
But she always gave me ten bob back for myself.
You felt good with ten bob in your pocket (1960)

In 1960 you could have lots of treats (at reet money!!)
For 10 bob I could have gone flicks ten times (on bob bench) (todays equiv: 50pence)
I could have had fish and chips for 1s 6d (todays equiv: 7 1/2 pence)
I could have caught bus from Haslingden To Accrington for 4p (todays equiv: 2pence)
I could have bought a Ice Cream or a Choc Ice (Walls) for 6p (todays equiv: 2 1/2 pence)
A bag of crisp (with a lot more weight in them then) cost 3p (todays equiv: 1 1/2p One penny plus one halfpeny)