Sun 18 May 2008
Local field walk. - The
Street to Lead Mines Clough.
We started our
second field walk of the season at the Knowsley Embankment (near
the Yew Tree Inn) above the Upper Rivington Reservoir. Joan had
arranged a conducted tour of Rivington Parish Church so the
first part of our walk was along ‘The Street’ to reach the
Rivington Embankment. Before we reached it we crossed another
embankment, the one above Blindhurst where the reservoir is held
back from the Yarrow Valley. It is interesting to note that this
is the first point where the name River Yarrow first appears on
the Ordnance Survey map. After crossing the Rivington embankment
we looked at the site of the Black a’Moors Head Public House.
There’s nothing to see there now as it was demolished in 1903
after problems with sewage disposal and pollution of the
reservoir. An interesting point is its location. On the 1848
map, prior to the construction of the reservoirs, it is shown at
a position which is now on the bed of the reservoir.
Society members outside Rivington Parish Church.
The Pilkington Picture.
detail from The Pilkington Picture.
Pilkington, the family (16th century)
Pilkington, the Glass company
One of the many carved stones in the grave yard.
At the church we
met David Owen who took us inside and gave a fascinating talk on
the history and position of the church in the local community.
It was rebuilt in 1541 and never dedicated to a saint so the
ordnance Survey calling it St Catharin’s Church is incorrect. It
was extensively rebuilt in 1662. The nearby school was founded
in 1556 and still belongs to the Shaw charity. Above the door is
a copy of ‘the Pilkington Picture’ a wonderful depiction of the
Pilkington family who were very important in the area. The
original picture was damaged during a fire started by a John
Shaw in 1833 and is now lost. A sign on the painting is used by
the Pilkington Glass company but no definite family link has
been proven between the Pilkington family and Glass company of
the same name. The music in the church was originally played on
instruments but in Apr 1820 they got their own organ. Outside we
were shown more interesting things in the grave yard. The
earliest dated grave is 1616 W.B. probably William Brown. The
oldest is Evan Caunce Aug 21 1840 age 104. The youngest is a
girl aged 1 minute. After the Church we followed the path by
Dean Brook, through the woods and across the fields to Alance
Bridge. The path gives fine views of the Yarrow Reservoir and
must be one of the most picturesque in the area. Over Alance
Bridge we took the track to the right to have a brief look up
Lead Mines Valley before returning along the Yarrow Embankment
and back to the starting point.
Tue 13 May 2008
Barry Lowe - Remembering
the Chorley you thought you knew.
This evening we had the pleasure of
Barry Lowe, as our speaker. Barry began by remarking how
fortunate we were to be living in this area, as we have had over
the centuries access to the countryside for farming, fishing and
mining, the cotton industry, with all the mills, the deep coal
mines, and the canals, which played a great part in moving goods
up and down the country, and so supporting the people and
families in the area. Barry then showed an array of slides
referring to life and employment around here. He had us quite
awestruck with the selection and stories he related. He ended
the evening with obscure slides of buildings around Chorley, and
had us guessing and debating where they were. And to close: did
you know that if you stand in the town centre and progress 20
minutes in any direction you will find yourself out in the
Fri 09 May 2008
Initial Injection: The
Beginnings of the NHS in Chorley
About half a
dozen of our members went along to the Library on 9 May to
listen to the talk which had been organised for the launch of
Local and Community History month. It was a full house, along
with the Mayor and Corporation and Radio Lancs, and it proved to
be a very interesting afternoon.
The final session of the afternoon concerned Wrightington
Hospital and the pioneering hip-replacement surgery which has
taken place there. The presentation was given by Professor
Wroblewski, who although now retired from active surgery is
still very much involved in research about the operations and
the patients going back over 40 years.
The talk reminded us of the ground-breaking work which has taken
place at Wrightington in our own life-time, work that is
associated particularly with the names of John Charnley, Harry
Platt and Professor Wroblewski himself. Prof. Wroblewski put
this into a wider context, seeing this kind of surgery as
originating with Robert Jones of Liverpool who had much work to
do dealing with workmen injured during the construction of the
Manchester Ship Canal.
The first ever hip –replacement operations were performed at
Wrightington in the early 1960s and the Professor explained and
illustrated how the science and technology has progressed over 4
decades, with Wrightington still today having the status of a
Centre of Excellence in the treatment of musculo-skeletal
Professor Wroblewski is polish-born but now very much an adopted
Lancastrian, and he made his presentation very understandable to
the lay person with a good sense of humour.
It is with regret that we report the
death of Les Chapman.
Les was born in
Manchester in December 1907, the younger of two brothers. His
Father was a yarn buyer and director of several mills in the
Reddish area of Manchester.
After his education Les ran his own buying agency for the
confectionery and tea trade, which he did for 5 years before
starting work for the Lancashire Electric Power Company. In 1935
they opened a new showroom in Market Street Chorley and he was
asked to work there. For several years he stayed in rented
accommodation in Chorley until marrying his wife Cathleen in
1941. For a while they lived in Chorcliffe House, Hollinshead
Street before moving to Highfield Road South, Chorley where Les
still lives today. He developed an interest in photography and
these skills would later be of valuable use after his call up to
the Army during World War 2. His military training commenced in
Ireland and then York. He moved into Holland and Belgium after
the D-day landings and then became attached to the 2nd Army
Ground Photo Unit. It was here that he was able to use his
photographic knowledge by recording many historic events. On 4th
May 1945 Germany surrendered to the Allied forces under Field
Marshal Bernard Montgomery at Luneburg Heath in Germany. Les was
there to photograph the event and many others including the
destroyed battleship ‘Admiral Scheer’ which was bombed by the
RAF in Kiel harbour, Germany in April 1945. Probably his most
arduous assignment was to record for history the scenes at
Belsen concentration camp including victims and guards. After
the war Les achieved the rank of 2nd Lieutenant in the Home
Guard in 1953 and then 2nd Lieutenant in the Territorial Army in
1956. On his return to the Electricity Company he worked on the
administrative staff until his retirement in 1973.
Les at home in Dec 2007
just before his 100th birthday.
A delightful picture of Cathleen
taken by Les
Les continued his interest in photography by recording many
buildings in the area and developing an interest in local
history. Subsequently he joined Chorley Historical and
Archaeological Society and is still an active member. In 2005 he
was elected a Life Member of the Society He has donated many of
his photographic records of Chorley to Chorley Library and his
work can be now seen and used by others. The photographs are
also on-line and can be viewed on the internet via the
Lancashire County Council ‘Lancashire Lantern’ website.
In May 2007 he attended a ‘Silver Surfer’ course at Chorley
Library to learn about the Internet and was awarded his
certificate on 25th May 2007.
“It's a revelation” he said, “I can't believe how easy it is
today to find information about the past; I never thought I'd be
looking at some of my photographs on a computer!”