Chorley Historical and Archaeological Society

News and Views

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May 2013

Tue 21 May 2013
Coppull Roman Road Community Project - (update)

Chorley Historical and Archaeological Society's Heritage Lottery application for the Coppull Roman Road Community Project has been unsuccessful. The letter from HLF stated that "we had an unprecedented high level of applications, and demand for our funds meant that we could not support every good application that met our criteria......your project was rejected due to insufficient funds."
Clearly this was a great disappointment. However we have been in consultation with our contact at the HLF and assured that our project is a good one. We have been advised to resubmit, although the funding arrangements have changed and effectually we are back at "square one". As before, there would be no guarantee of success.
Our Archaeological partners at ASWYAS (Archaeological Services West Yorkshire Archaeology Service) put a considerable amount of work into the bid and are more than happy to assist with a further application. On that basis our Society's committee has given unanimous support to making a further funding application.

John Harrison

Tue 14 May 2013
Ian Bagshaw - Celebrations in Chorley

Chorley Heritage Centre Support Group

Ian, a member of the Chorley Heritage Centre Support Group (CHCSG), declared himself a collector of all things Chorley. He urged everyone to save anything concerning Chorley that they might find stored away. For example, postcards, photographs, souvenir mugs and medals, etc. Lots of these kind of items were produced as souvenirs for the townsfolk to celebrate national and, indeed, local events and these were to form the basis of Ian’s illustrated talk.

Ian Bagshaw

His starting point was the coronation of King George V and Queen Mary on 22 June 1911. Images were shown of shops and businesses in the town preparing for the celebrations by putting up bunting. The council ‘festooned’ the town hall with gaslights and shopkeepers dressed up their shops. At 09.30 on the day itself town councillors and local organisations took part in a march. Many wore special coronation medals, a total of 11,000 were produced by the council, to celebrate the event. Postcards from the time showed the churches that took part in the march. The numbers of people involved clearly showed the important social role churches played within the town at that time.
Ian chose the royal visit to Chorley of King George V and Queen Mary on 10 July 1913 as the next celebration. He said it was the first visit to the town by a reigning monarch. It was, however, scheduled for the break up day before the town’s wakes week. Local employers refused to give their employees paid time off and this would have affected numbers lining the streets. Interestingly, Ian showed a short silent film provided by Jim Monks, another member of CHCSG. The film was shot at the Ashfield Road entrance to Coronation Rec and is an excellent record of the events of that day.

Chorley Borough’s jubilee celebrations in 1931.
(Photo from the Frank Sellers archive)

Souvenir mugs were presented to all those who attended the opening of Chorley’s war memorial in Astley Park on 31 May 1924. Postcards were also produced to commemorate the event but only one showed the ceremony itself. Fortunately, Jim Monks had produced excellent quality stills from a film he had of the ceremony. These were of particular poignancy as they showed many children looking on wearing their father’s medals.
Chorley Borough’s jubilee celebrations in 1931 lasted a week and it brought out a souvenir book, hardback and paperback editions, and a programme of events. Schools were heavily involved and pictures depicted floats that took part in the pageant. This included the Rose Queen being crowned by the town’s Cotton Queen.
The 8 July 1933 saw the stone laying ceremony of the Trinity Methodist Sunday School. Ian said he owned a souvenir gavel that was presented to one of his parents. He said he thought he owned the only one but over time he became aware other people owned the same. It turned out 160 were made and presented to those who raised funds for a brick.

Stone laying ceremony of the Trinity Methodist Sunday School 1933
(Photo from the Frank Sellers archive)

Chorley Borough’s jubilee celebrations in 1931
(Photo from the Frank Sellers archive)

Chorley Jubilee 1881 - 1931
commemorative mug
Arnold Gillett, Mayor 17th June 1031

Ian’s research has not taken him beyond April 1953 and his final images were of Chorley’s 1948 walking day. Significant for the fact that it was the final time non-Conformists marched separate from the other churches.
This rounded off an informative and pleasantly humorous talk from a man who knows and loves the town of Chorley and its history.

Peter Robinson

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Unseen Chorley - A delightful watercolour painting of Market Street, Chorley by Frank Ellison.
Many thanks to Barry Lowe for permission to show this image.