Pendle’s Hidden Valley – Field Reconnaissance 11th January 2014

Portfield (3)The second field reconnaissance session for the Pendle’s Hidden Valley project took place on Saturday 11th January 2014 and was well attended with 10 stalwarts setting out from Whalley Golf Club (who kindly allowed us to use their car park).

We set out south along Clerk Hill towards Portfield and it was pointed out that this road  had been artificially sunken as part of the landscaping of the area for Clerk Hill (the house) in order that the view from the house would not be spoiled by seeing people on the road.

At Portfield we assessed the view of the area from a public footpath in the field adjacent to the fort and noted that the fort commanded a 360 deg field of view with a particularly good view back up the Sabden Valley.

Friends January Talk

Wednesday afternoon was the day of our first talk of 2014. Anne Eves stepped into the gap left in our afternoon talk’s schedule, and what an entertaining couple hours we were in for.  Anne’s  talk covered everything  from life during retirement, dog walking in the park, life as a mature drama student, a tale of an elderly lady’s one line put down which I cannot repeat here as we do not have a 9.00pm watershed, and more humorous anecdotes’ including one of her encounter with the Padiham streaker. Our thanks go to Anne and the forty people attended the event…..FW

Queen Street Mill is Listed Grade I

Burnley’s Queen Street Mill has made national news by being given Grade I listed building status.  The famous Harle Syke mill has the highest listing possible, putting it in the top 2% of all listed buildings. Technically at least, the mill is now on a par with Buckingham Palace and Westminster Abbey!  This should be no surprise.  Queen Street is now the only working steam-powered mill in the world and great credit must go to the volunteers and the Burnley and Lancashire Councils for saving the building in the early 1980s and keeping it alive as a museum and visitor attraction.


Harry Moore stepping down at Bancroft Mill Engine

The Bancroft Mill newsletter has been a great companion over recent years and Harry Moore, who has steadfastly kept us informed and entertained, is now stepping down to concentrate on being an engineer!  Harry’s last newsletter is here…  where there is more information.

Thank you for all the hard work Harry and all the best to Ian McKay who is now taking over.

The Bancroft Mill Engine and Museum web site is here…

Harry MooreThe Mayor and Mayoress of Pendle, Councillor Smith Benson and Mrs Margaret Ingham, Mrs. Jamieson with Harry Moore at Bancroft Mill.




Christmas with Friends

Another ‘Christmas with Friends’ event was again enjoyed by all who attended.

Our own Friends ‘All Round Entertainer’ Anne Eves once again kept us all entertained with her version of ‘The Twelve Days of Christmas’. Following the Quiz organised by Andrea we were treated to Christmas Carols sung by the Nelson Civic Ladies Choir. Singing unaccompanied on the balcony the Park Hill Barn was the perfect setting for Carol Singing.

Thanks must go to Anne, Jean and Andrea for organising the afternoon Not forgetting Ronnie our Mulled Wine Waiter and all those who supported us….FW



Richard Matthews lecture on Dunkirk Pit, Read near Padiham, Lancashire.

A total of 33 people turned out on a cold November evening to listen to Richard Matthews describe five years of hard physical work and painstaking research to uncover the secrets of a lost coal mine in Read near Altham.  Richard together with his colleague Brian Jeffreys have uncovered a host of fascinating artefacts, reconstructed the wheel pit and surrounding areas including sections of the old tramways and then pieced together the story of the mine in the 18th century.  Comments like ‘That was the most interesting hour and a half I’ve spent in a long time’ and ‘What an achievement’ were heard afterwards from across the room.  Roger Grimshaw proposed a vote of thanks for such an excellent talk.

Pendle Murders

Pendle Heritage CentreOur October talk looked at the darker side of life in Pendle. “Pendle Murders” was the title of an entertaining talk presented by Fiona McIntyre. What a place Pendle as been! Many murders caused by unhappy marriages and heavy drinking (did one cause the other? I ask). Fiona managed to add a little humour to this grim subject. The last murder mentioned was back in the 1930s.  Fiona could talk of more recent murders but due to the fact that relatives of both the victims and the murderers might turn up for the talk, the 1930’s was the cut-off point.  Anne Eves gave the vote of thanks for a well presented talk….FW

Autumn Vignettes – Brookside Printworks, Oswaldtwistle

Brookside Printworks was one of the very first textile printing factories in Britain, set up by the Peels of Oswaldtwistle in the mid 1700s.  They were a notable family of early industrialists which subsequently produced Sir Robert Peel (1788-1850), Prime Minister of the 1830s-40s and the creator of the Police Force, named after him as ‘Peelers’.

Just up the slope in the hamlet of Stanhill lived another great man, James Hargreaves (1720–1778)  the inventer of the ‘Spinning Jenny’, a machine that revolutionised textile production.

DSCN5214Today the stone printing works have long gone and their attractive reservoirs are now surrounded by new woodland planting.  All is turned turned over to nature where fragments of history can be stumbled upon amongst the trees and plants.  Yesterday, in a sunny breeze, everything glowed in the colours of Autumn.

Autumn trip to Anglesey and North Wales

Twenty members boarded the coach bound for South Stack near Holyhead to view the ancient hut circles in warm sunshine (yes, this was October!). After a picnic lunch and many favourable comments on how the site is being maintained and interpreted, we retraced our steps for a guided tour of Telford’s masterpiece – The Menai Bridge.

After viewing a video on the subject we were lead by Bob Daimond (retired Gwynedd County Engineer) over, under and round the bridge to learn many fascinating facts and see how the bridge chains are secured in the mother rock.

We made a quick diversion to Beaumaris prior to booking in at our hotel in Llandudno, for an enjoyable dinner, games and a hilarious poem by one of our number.

Sunday, after a stroll down the prom and the pier we boarded the Victorian tram for what felt like a near vertical ride up the Gt. Orme. Eight of us visited the fascinating Bronze Age copper mines whilst the remainder continued to the summit to enjoy the sun and explore the area before joining the coach for Conway.

With four hours in the town – the castle, town walls, 15th century Aberconwy House, Plas Mawr Town House and the opportunity to compare the original designs of both road and rail bridges to those seen the day before ensured there was something for everybody.

We arrived back at Barrowford early on Sunday evening with our heads full of memories and a couple new friends as well.

Archaeology Christmas party

The Archaeology Group held its Christmas party in the barn function suite at Park Hill on the evening of Saturday 14th December.  A quiz started the evening.  After indulging in a buffet of quiche, cold meats, salads, trifle, mince pies and a slice of Gillian’s excellent Christmas cake, we were expected to take part in energetic games organised by Michael and Georgina.  Having played musical chairs and chased the pig (a balloon) and burst several balloons while dancing (don’t ask) we were then given less strenuous but more skilful games to play such as boules using potatoes.  The evening drew to a close with the singing of traditional carols.

Image from Archaeosoup