Chorley Historical and Archaeological Society

News and Views

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Nov 2009

Sat 28 Nov 2009
Radio Lancashire live broadcast from Chorley Town Centre.

Radio Lancashire were in Chorley Town Centre on Sat 28 Nov 09 to help with the start of the Christmas celebrations and the switching on of the Christmas lights. Their Saturday morning programme was partly broadcast live from the town centre and also had the theme of events of 1974 and in particular the effects of the local boundary reorganisations which chopped large parts off Lancashire.

Santa and Chorley's Mayor, Cllr Iris Smith
arrive at the Radio Lancashire stand.

They asked Chorley Historical and Archaeological Society to go live and help with their broadcast. Many thanks to John and Christine Harrison who were ready at the microphone at 9am.
John gave an excellent explanation of the reasons and effects of the boundary changes and described many other events during the year of 1974. When asked who won the Eurovision Song Contest John came up with the correct answer of Waterloo by Abba but thankfully declined to sing the intro.

When explaining the reasons for the boundary changes John drew a fascinating analogy between population changes in Lancashire with Winston Churchill and Joseph Stalin planning Europe's postwar (WW2) reorganization.

Could this broadcast be the start of something new, CHAS-fm?

After the live broadcast John and Christine had to rush off to attend the 3rd Lancashire Archaeology Day School in Preston.

Yalta summit 1945 with Churchill, Roosevelt & Stalin

Sat 28 Nov 2009
3rd Lancashire Archaeology Day School, Preston.

A dozen or so members from Chorley, Leyland and Darwen Societies helped to swell the numbers at Preston last week, it was quite well attended. The programme was very varied from ‘The Dunkirk Coal Pit’ at Read (Brian Jeffrey and Richard Matthews) to ‘The Loos Trenches’ at Blackpool (Stephen Bull).
The Coal Pit was a drift mine worked by a waterwheel which was 12ft in diameter, with a 6ft diameter cog wheel turning a 12ft drum. The talk was very explicit, accompanied by slides. Also a number of artefacts found on the site were displayed to view. ‘ The Loos Trenches’ were training trenches dug in Watson Road Park Blackpool at the start of WW1. Aerial photos were displayed and various slides shown of the operations that occurred there. Holiday makers used to visit the park, as an attraction, at the time, as the illuminations were ceased when the war started. The talk was very interesting and full of information. Dot Waring (Darwen Socy.) gave a very interesting talk about the Society, its beginnings and involvement with all things local. i.e. photographs, documents, data basis, digs and oral records, all of which have been collected for posterity by the members. Dot’s was an ‘off the cuff’ talk with lots of slides to back up her information, especially their latest addition, A TOWN CRIER complete with costume.
There were also speakers on: ‘The Houses of the Douglas Valley 1330-1700 (Gary Miller) certainly knew his stuff. ‘Prehistoric Pendleton (David Barrowclough) was very interesting as was ‘Historic Lathom’ Part 3 (J. Quartermaine & P. Kenyou) along with ‘Housing in the 19c Workplace, East Lancs’ (Richard & Carol Newman), which concluded to make the day very enjoyable and eventful.

Thu 26 Nov 2009
Lizzie Jones at Astley Hall as ‘Ann Hathaway – Will’s Wife’

Lizzie Jones made another very welcome return to Astley Hall, Chorley to give her presentation ‘Ann Hathaway – Will’s Wife’.
Lizzie began be explaining the back ground of the presentation and how Ann Hathaway is known of widely as the wife of William Shakespeare and having lived in Ann Hathaway’s cottage, but that is generally where most peoples knowledge of her ends.
Ann Hathaway's life spans the Elizabethan and Stuart periods that are a favourite of Lizzie and Ann is one of the 16 women’s lives in her repertoire.

A full house listens to Ann Hathaway.

For Lizzie’s performance as Ann she was dressed in authentic dress of the time and firstly gave a detailed description of all the items worn. Even down to the shoes which were not for left or right feet but worn on either and alternated to keep them ‘universal’.

Anne Hathaway began by introducing herself and that she was speaking from 1611. William Shakespeare was about to return to Stratford after being away in London for 20 years. He started out as an actor and moved on to writing plays and poetry later. Will was able to make quite a bit of money during his career, but not from writing. He invested wisely in theatres and so was able to derive income from the paying audiences.

Ann and Will were married in 1582 when Ann was 26 and Will just 18. Ann was already pregnant with their daughter Susanna. Two years later they had twins Hamnet and Judith. Unfortunately their descendents didn’t get too far and the Shakespeare line did not get further that two generations. After the wedding Will spent most of his time in London but he did retire to Stratford in 1613. Will’s investments enabled him to buy a substantial house for Ann which is now one of the most photographed buildings in the country, Ann Hathaway’s cottage.
Will’s retirement didn’t last long. He died in 1616 at the age of 52, which was considered a good age at the time. Ann survived him for a further 7 years and she died in 1623 at the age of 67. She was a countrywoman and could not afford the finery of higher status, nor would she want to.
Many thanks to Lizzie for bringing Ann Hathaway to Chorley.

Ann Hathaway on the main stairs.

Ann Hathaway by the fire in the Great Hall.

Tue 10 Nov 2009
Malcolm Tranter on 'Gardens in the North West'

This was a very welcome return, albeit sooner than expected, for Malcolm. His topic was also a radical departure from the Society’s usual subject matter. Due to the cancellation of scheduled speakers, 2 had previously been arranged, Malcolm agreed at short notice, to present a talk on a topic obviously close to his heart.
And, from the audience’s reaction to his collection of beautiful images from 16 gardens, the subject matter was also close to many present.
Our journey started at Bodnant, in the Conway valley. The image of the laburnum ‘tunnel’, a spectacular spring-time feature, set the tone for brightening up what had been a typically dull, damp and cold November day.

He then took us east to the Wirral and to the University of Liverpool’s gardens at Ness. Then across Cheshire to Dunham Massey, one of the best-known gardens in the region, then to the little known but aptly named, Dunge Valley Hidden Gardens. This garden, situated between Macclesfield and Whaley Bridge, was relatively small but made up for that in drama in the steep sided valley.
From the mild climate at Churchtown, Southport to exposed spots high on the Pennine moors, Land Farm, Hebden Bridge, there was a wide range gardens with a similarly wide range of plant collections. From the formal, immaculately kept gardens like at Leighton Hall to seemingly wild places at The Himalayan Garden, near Ripon, there was something for everyone.
His favourite, apparently, was Holehird. Home to The Lakeland Horticultural Society, near Windermere. Malcolm left the beautiful images of the garden in summer and winter, accompanied by suitably soothing mood music, to speak for him.
A fitting end to a very different evening but no less interesting for that.