A novel of Lancashire working class life, love and politics
‘Working class novels’ have gone out of fashion. Or have they? Maybe it’s just that they don’t get much recognition, coupled with reluctance by publishers to take risks.
That’s partly why I decided to self-publish my first novel, ‘The Works’, as ‘Lancashire Loominary’. It’s mainly set in Horwich and Bolton with some excursions further afield to Mid-Wales, London and China.
Horwich Loco Works was one of the North’s biggest railway engineering works. It closed in 1983 after a determined attempt by its workers and the people of Horwich to save it. The Works is about the realities of shopfloor life and politics, and ‘what might have been’ had the Works been saved from closure. It’s also about personal relationships, bereavement and racism.
The story is partly based on my own experience on the railways in the 1970s and 1980s, but it’s a work of fiction. While the main focus of the novel is on the 70s and 80s, the story takes the reader through to the present-day and into the future.
The novel is illustrated by over 30 black and white photographs inside the Works, taken by me in 1983 as part of the campaign to save the Works. I’d love to identify more of the characters in the photos. Some will still be alive, including the young chap on the cover. It would be great to hear from them.