Chorley Historical and Archaeological Society

News and Views

Aug 2007 Sep 2007 Oct 2007 Nov 2007 Dec 2007
Jan 2008        


Sep 2007


Sat 30 Sep 2007

Imaging Everest: The Serpa's Tale

On Sat 9th June 2007 the "Imaging Everest: The Serpa's Tale" exhibition opened at the South Ribble Museum, Leyland. On Sat 29th Sep it ended. David Hunt, the museum curator, wanted to mark the end of the exhibition with an event and many people were invited along to hear and share memories of the Himalayan region of Nepal. Radio Lancashire came along and did a live broadcast as part of their Joe Wilson breakfast radio programme. As I had visited the Everest region in 1985 David asked me to come along to contribute to the morning’s discussions. Just after 8am Sarah Walby, Radio Lancashire’s roving reporter, arrived with her vehicle and telescopic aerial. The surrounding trees caused a bit of a problem for the aerial and the vehicle had to be moved around to avoid the branches. Two live broadcasts were made from the museum; the first at 8:25am when I was interviewed, then another at 8:50am when David was interviewed. This was good publicity as it meant that even more people could be invited ‘on air’ to the official closing at 11am.

The radio aerial goes up!

Sarah Walby and David Hunt after the interview.
Listen to the interview by
clicking here (7min 14s).

I returned at 11 to hear the wonderful news that George Band, the youngest member of the successful 1953 Everest expedition, would be able to do a live phone in discussion at 12 noon. George was busy doing lectures in the Cumbria region but was able to spare a few minutes to talk over the phone. We were also pleased to see that South Ribble’s mayor, Councillor Kath Beattie, was able to attend. After a short presentation by David and me, David set up a conferencing phone so when he telephoned George Band somewhere in Cumbria we were all able to speak directly to George and hear the replies.

For over 30 minutes we were able to ask George questions and hear full and fascinating replies to all of them. The audience were mesmerised by the complex tale of how the news of the successful ascent by Ed Hillary and Tensing Norgay was transmitted back to London just in time for the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II on 2nd June 1953. An intricate coding system had to be used so that only London knew the correct message, and it worked. A great morning was had by all.


B Harris.

George Band in 1953.


Mon 24 Sep 2007

A talk by Tony Foster on James Greenway, Darwen's first industrialist.

A crowded meeting room.

Members of CHAS visited the meeting of Darwen Historical Society at the ICI Club, Bridge Street to see a presentation by Tony Foster on James Greenway, Darwen’s First Industrialist. We were treated to a journey through the history of the family starting with James Greenaway (c1742 – 1822). Many Darwen streets and landmarks carry the names of family members. An interesting fact that he warned us about is the inaccuracy of many old documents and he frequently pointed out incorrect birth dates etc. The room was filled to capacity and over 30 people and many visitors turned up.


Wed 19 Sep 2007

50th anniversary - Bolton Archaeological and Egyptology Society

Several members of Chorley Society joined Bolton Archaeological and Egyptology Society in Bolton on Wednesday evening to celebrate their 50th anniversary. We were treated to a very informative presentation by Colin Harding about the history of the society from the earliest days right up to the present day.

The cake.

Colin Harding and Sylvia Worthington cut the cake.

Some of the slides we saw were by Mary Mitchell who died in 1997 but her photos of their excavations live on. They certainly did plenty of digging and did several excavations to try and find the Roman Road passing near Bolton and on to Blackburn. When it came time to cut the cake Colin was joined by Sylvia Worthington another member of many years.


Tue 11 Sep 2007

Society Annual General Meeting.

Here is a gentle reminder from our Treasurer:
2007-8 subscriptions are now due. The rate is unchanged at £7.50 for individual and £10 for a couple. If they are not going to see me at the October meeting, they can post it to John at:
John Harrison, 12, Epsom Close, Great Knowley, Chorley. PR6 8TS

The only matter arising from the previous meeting was the strange ruling that the schedule of Listed Buildings in the area is only available for perusal in paper form at the Library or Chorley Council Planning Department. The Planning Department have access to an on-line version which is not available to the public or Historical Societies. The main item on the agenda was the adoption of the revised Constitution. Over the years the old one had been amended and become unwieldy. A radical ‘start from scratch’ approach was taken and the committee Drafted a more up to date and shorter version. It was submitted to all Society members at the previous meeting and voted as accepted at this A.G.M.


Sun 09 Sep 2007

Chorley Town Centre Heritage trail - the official launch (at last)

Midday on Sunday 9th Sept 07 saw the official launch of the Chorley Town Centre Heritage trail.

Announcements before the walk.

This is the picture used in the Chorley Guardian.
Thanks to Chorley Council for the use of the picture.

The Sealed Knott setting things off with a bang
on the Flat iron.

Click here to hear the canon fire.

Pre-release copies of the guide and map were obtained by the Society last month and some were issued to members. The first guided walk was lead by Jack Smith and a second followed closely behind.


Sat 08 Sep 2007

Heritage Open Days: Chorley Cemetery’s 150th Anniversary.


On the afternoon of Saturday 8th September over 90 people gathered outside the Lodge at Chorley Cemetery on Southport Road. They were taking advantage of Heritage Open Days 2007, which aimed to open the doors to England’s rich cultural heritage and bring local history to life.
The event was organised by Chorley Historical and Archaeological Society in cooperation with Chorley Council, and marked the 150th anniversary of the opening of the cemetery. Visitors learned about the overcrowding of church burial grounds and the need to create the cemetery.
The beautiful cemetery with its carefully landscaped grounds, drives, paths and trees, the chapel and lodge are all largely as planned and created 150 years ago. The leader of walk, John Harrison from the Historical and Archaeological Society, highlighted the important role of one of Chorley’s unsung heroes, Robert Rawlinson, who designed the three original chapels, having previously been largely responsible for putting the town on the road to better Public Health in the 19th century.

John delivers his "sermon" in the Cemetery.

John continues to educate the crowd.

The second part of the walk took the visitors around the sunken area which houses the graves and vaults of many of Chorley’s Victorian Elite, as well as one or two less reputable citizens! It was exciting to find that two of the visitors were descendants of the Smethurst family who were once the town’s biggest mill owners and whose vault is a main feature in the sunken area of the cemetery.
The Historical and Archaeological Society was delighted with the large turnout and hope to see many of the visitors at their monthly meetings at Chorley Blind Centre, Crown St. Chorley.