Chorley Historical and Archaeological Society

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Oct 2019



Fri 04th Oct 2019
Professor Ian Whyte (1948-2019)

Many Chorley Historical Society Members are also members of the nearby Brindle Historical Society. One of the founding members of that society was Ian Whyte.

On Fri 4th Oct 2019 relatives and many friends gathered at St James' Church Brindle for the funeral of Ian Whyte (1948-2019) who died on 24th September 2019. Ian was a well-respected member of the Brindle Community and especially St James’ Church. Amongst his many interests he had been a bell ringer at the church and was also one of the founding members of Brindle Historical Society which was formed in June 2002. Ian was the first chairman with Steve Williams as Secretary. Ian originally attended Edinburgh University where he met Kathy and they later married. He became lecturer in the Geography department at Glasgow University and later Professor Emeritus at Lancaster University. The church was almost full as friends gathered to say goodbye. He was then buried in the small graveyard across from the church in a plot that overlooks the hills and moors that he loved so much. He published many articles and books on landscapes, their economy and place in society.

Ian Whyte (1948-2019)

Friends and relatives gather for Ian's funeral in St James' Church, Brindle

His remarkable legacy is not just the information he published but also the students he inspired. He will also be remembered for his quiet and polite manner and astonishing depth of knowledge.
One of Ian’s last wished was to receive a toast with real Scotch Whiskey. This was granted at Shaw Hill Club afterwards.

Temporary cross by Ian's grave.
In the distance are the hills and moors he loved.

A toast to Ian at Shaw Hill Club.

The Obituary for Ian on the Lancaster University website is copied below.

The University regrets to announce the death of Professor Emeritus Ian Whyte on 24th September 2019.

Ian Whyte was appointed to a lectureship in Geography at Lancaster University in 1979, having previously been a lecturer in the Geography department at Glasgow University. He had completed his undergraduate and postgraduate training at Edinburgh University with a PhD thesis on Agrarian change in lowland Scotland in the seventeenth century. He was awarded a personal chair at Lancaster in 1996 and retired in 2012. He sadly died on 24th September 2019 after a period of illness.

Ian’s main research interest was in Scottish Historical Geography, especially the evolution of landscape, economy and society in early-modern Scotland, ranging from agriculture and rural society to urban development. While at Lancaster he also extended his research to the study of landscape change, and associated socio-economic changes in the upland areas of Northern England, particularly the process of parliamentary enclosure. He had a strong interest in the English Lake District focusing on issues of landscape and heritage management. He published widely, including some 17 books and many journal articles. In many ways Ian was ahead of his time in his research. Not only did he meticulously research many aspects of Scottish economy and society in the early-modern period, but also he studied the critical links between environmental change and human society long before these issues became the high-profile topics that they are today. His research had an unusual breadth in its combination of detailed archival investigation with an excellent understanding of environmental change and its impacts on human societies. His books are likely to continue to be seen as authoritative sources for many years to come, and his scholarship was formally recognized by the award of DSc (Edinburgh University 1989) and an Honorary Fellowship of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society in 1998 for ‘distinguished service to geography in Scotland’.

Ian was a committed and enthusiastic teacher who always willingly carried a full teaching load. He often volunteered to fill teaching gaps, even on occasion turning his hand to physical geography. Students enjoyed his classes and seemed to view him as the archetypal geography professor: very knowledgeable if slightly (and endearingly) eccentric! Ian was also a committed field instructor, teaching on more than his fair share of field courses, and he always tried to incorporate field teaching in his modules. Ian also had a very strong commitment to the discipline of Geography and to his department. He undertook most major administrative tasks at various points during his career and was always supportive of his colleagues.

Beyond the department Ian worked with a wide range of colleagues elsewhere in the university, particularly in History, Modern Languages (Ian had a strong interest in the historical geography of France) and in the Centre for North-West Regional Studies. He also undertook extramural teaching, especially through his work with the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society where he edited the society’s journal for several years. Ian Whyte will be much missed by all his friends and colleagues in Lancaster and elsewhere. He is survived by his wife Kathy, with whom he collaborated on some of his research and publications, and by his daughters Rebecca and Ruth.

A funeral for Ian will take place at 12.00 noon on Friday 4 October 2019 at St. James’ Parish Church, Brindle, Lancashire, PR6 8NG, followed by a buffet at Shaw Hill Golf Club.

Colin G Pooley



Tue 09th Oct 2019
David Hewitt - Joseph, 1917

'Joseph, 1919' - there was a degree of anticipation that greeted David's talk, not least because of its title.
A lawyer, a judge on mental health cases and an author, David explained that Joseph Septimus Blackburn was
born in 1886 in Thornton in the Fylde. Joseph was caught up in world war one but David's talk was not just of
a soldier at war. Joseph was a market gardener but he attested, or promised, in December 1915 to join the
army. His occupation was classed as one of national importance and he successfully appealed to the Thornton
military service tribunal against joining up and being sent to war. This, in turn, was agreed by the Preston
tribunal. However, in 1916 his appeal came before the London based central military tribunal and it refused
his appeal for exemption and he was taken into the army.

David Hewitt
David's well illustrated talk, with reading of extracts from his book, Joseph, 1917, told Joseph's story and
the social context in which his life was set. He explained the tribunal process and the social make up of the
men that sat in judgment to decide which men did, and, did not, not go to war. He told of strike action taken
by the Thornton tribunal who were outraged by the central tribunal's decision.

Joseph saw active service from 1917 but was killed in northern France in August 1918.

The twists and turns of Joseph's, ultimately, sad story, made a captivating evening for those present.

Joseph 1917 by David Hewitt

Peter Robinson