Chorley Historical and Archaeological Society

News and Views

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Jan 2013 Feb 2013 Mar 2013 Apr 2013 May 2013 Jun 2013
Jul 2013 Aug 2013 Sep 2013 Oct 2013 Nov 2013 Dec 2013
Oct 2013

Thu 31 Oct 2013

The free history booklet about the reservoir has been available at the
Clayton-le-Woods, Back Lane site office during the opening of the reservoir.
Thanks to Kingswood Homes you can now download your own copy by clicking the image above or this link.

Tue 29 Oct 2013

A wide view of the reservoir from the south corner

Mon 28 Oct 2013

A link to an excellent set of reservoir images is available on the
Flickr pages of Lyndsie Snape of Bamber Bridge.
Click the photo above or this link.

Sat 26 Oct 2013

Being a weekend it was exceptionally busy at the underground reservoir today.
Around mid day we had a visit from the Rt Hon Mr Lindsay Hoyle, Chorley's M.P. and Deputy Speaker of the House of Commons.

He spent time inspecting the inlet and outlet pipe work before discussing the way the reservoir used to operate 130 years ago.

Lindsay Hoyle MP and CHAS Chair Joan Dickinson

Lindsay Hoyle MP and his secretary emerging from their underground visit.


A long queue to get in for most of the day! I bet Kingwood Homes wished they were queuing to buy houses,

Allan Fearon has made an excellent video which you should be able to view below.

Sorry, the Author has removed the video

Leyland Reservoir Clayton Le Woods


Thu 24 Oct 2013

The recent explosion in interest in the underground reservoir has attracted several Photographic groups to express their creative techniques. As a member of Chorley Historical and Archaeological Society I am required to be on site to conform to health a safety rules. One unexpected bonus is that I can use the special lighting effects that some groups have used. This photo was taken while someone used burning wire wool to create a bonfire night display without the smoke and fire hazards.

The pupils at Manor Road Primary School, Clayton-le-Woods want to try and preserve some of the reservoir. The only practical option would be to remove one of the arches with the two columns at either side and rebuild them in the school grounds. The developers haven’t yet agreed to donate one of the arches but some of the children are planning to write to them to ask if they can help save a bit of our heritage.
If you think this is a good idea please write to the letters page of the Chorley Guardian.

Tue 22 Oct 2013

Yesterday was less busy than Sunday but still over 600 visitors. Today was similar with 300 counted in during the 10am to 12:30 period.
We are fortunate that Jeffrey Patrick Webb has made an excellent video of his visit underground and published it on YouTube. You should be able to see it in the window below.


Sun 20 Oct 2013

On Saturday there were over 700 visitors. The word must have spread because the Sunday opening was much busier with a constant stream of visitor all through the 10am to 4pm opening period. By 4pm around 2,000 people had visited during the day. Almost everyone was taking pictures on their phones and tablets. It is said that Anthony Gormley’s Angel of the North sculpture in Gateshead is the most photographed structure in the UK. There is no doubt that on Sunday it was the underground reservoir in Clayton-le-Woods. And probably the highest number of photographs taken underground anywhere in the world!
Visitors didn’t just want to see it but also wanted to know all about its construction and how it worked. The free commemorative booklet detailing the reservoir’s history came in very handy.

Just before opening time.

A steady stream of visitors

Sat 19 Oct 2013

The official opening of the Clayton / Leyland Reservoir underground tour brought in a steady stream of visitors throughout the day. Around 700 people turned up on day one. Thankfully they didn't all turn up at once.

Rosemary sees inside the reservoir with the other visitors.

Fri 18 Oct 2013

During the afternoon Peter Marshall and a BBC TV North West Tonight film crew turned up to do some filming and interviews. The report was on TV the same evening. I don't know how they did it so quickly.

The underground Leyland Reservoir at Clayton-le-Woods (photographed this morning)
Build 1883 and still as good as new. Sadly soon to be demolished.

I was in the Clayton Leyland reservoir this morning for the first time in 33 years! The condition was just as perfect as the last time I was in.
Paul Ogorman of Radio Lancashire was there to do a live broadcast.
Front row: Harrison Boyd and Daniell Boyd.
Back row: l to r Jenni Boyd (Mum of Daniell and Harrison), Paul Jones of Kingswood Homes (the Developer), Rosemary Boyd (Chorley Historical and Archaeological Society), Paul Ogorman (Radio Lancashire).

Inside the reservoir the group is.
L to r: Daniell Boyd, Rosemary Boyd and Harrison Boyd.
They were the first children ever to visit inside the reservoir and called in on their way to school, so will have lots to tell their school friends

Extra wide angle view of the Reservoir



Thu 17 Oct 2013
The construction work at Back Lane, Clayton-le-Woods is well underway to build 14 houses on the site of the old reservoir. Kingswood Homes have cut a hole in the north wall of the reservoir and today a door is being fitted to allow public access by the weekend.

Tue 08 Oct 2013
John Doughty – Folklore and Traditions in the North West

John started by proclaiming that he is a proud northerner and unfurled the official Lancashire Red Rose flag. He went on to state the 1974 act which created new administrative counties did not abolish the historic counties. Lancashire, he said, was bounded by the River Mersey in the south and River Duddon in the north.
Traditions were handed down by people, not just defined by geographical areas, but also within families. The 2 branches of his family both had their own particular traditions.

Joan Dickinson (CHAS Chair) and John Doughty

John took us back to Neolithic times and the importance man placed in marking the passing seasons and years. Celebrations within societies evolved and John explored the connections with our own traditions.
He took us on a journey through Lancashire, Cheshire and Derbyshire and looked at the traditional celebrations at specific times of the year.
Easter was his starting point and with the aid of his many photographic images he described the Britannia Coconutters in Bacup. These morris dancers, the name stems from Moorish, have their faces blackened up. He covered numerous Easter traditions that all had the theme of re-birth.
Next up was All Souls Eve and the Celtic New Year and its theme of death and resurrection. John focused on traditions in Cheshire and connected the tales together with ditties and rhymes. Events in Cheshire continued with May Day and Apple Oak Day – 29th May. Fertility symbols were in abundance along with the Green Man, Celtic god of the woods.
The tradition of well dressing was to be found in Derbyshire and John explained its resurgence in a number of villages. John concluded with rush carts and rush bearing and how it evolved from an enforced time off work and into a week’s holiday for Lancashire mill workers.
All in all his presentation took us on a whirlwind tour of traditional celebration in the 3 counties and urged attendees to involve the young in these traditions or else they would die out.

Peter Robinson

The north wall of the old Leyland Reservoir at Clayton-le-Woods now had the access hole cut in it.

Sat 05th Oct 2013
Causeway Farm and Cruck framed Barn, Hoghton.
Joint visit with Chorley Historical and Archaeological Society,
Brindle Historical Society and
Yorkshire Vernacular Buildings Study Group (YVBSG)

This visit was lead by Kevin Illingworth. The fifteenth or early sixteenth century barn has four cruck-trusses of large scantling, described in Pevsner (2009) as being 'truly splendid, comparable with that at Stonyhurst' (visited recently by some Yorkshire Vernacular Buildings Study Group.
The early seventeenth century, L-shaped farmhouse (dated 1728) is built of hand-made brick with stone dressings (but in a stone area). External features Include: two two-storey porches, front and rear; a stair turret, not unlike a porch; a corbelled stack on three moulded corbels; and some windows with brick mullions.
The farm is on the de Hoghton Estate (Hoghton Tower) and is not on a public footpath; the visit is courtesy of Ray and Judith. They put on an amazing spread of food for the group which started with hot pot and all the trimmings then home made fruit pies and cream. The groups donation were matched my Barclays Bank to make an overall donation of £400 to charity.

Both buildings are listed grade 2 listed buildings, details are:
Causeway Farmhouse, Hoghton.
Causeway Farm Cruck Barn, Hoghton

Cruck Barn interior

Cruck Barn construction

Group photo in the Cruck barn

Causeway Farm

Stone door lintel and date of 1728.
The incised slanting rectangle is a mystery

Causeway Farm cosy interior.

After Causeway Farm we moved to The Lord Nelson public house dated 1668 and the two-storied porch

Bury Farmhouse, which is dated 1699, has white-painted projecting hearts at knee level on the stone door jambs. An unusual feature.

Tue 01 Oct 2013
The Milestone at Gorse Close Whittle-le-Woods has now been lifted and straightened ready to receive the original name plate.