Celebrating Lancashire’s Moorland Heritage
A hundred years ago Lancashire writer Allen Clarke published a forgotten masterpiece – Moorlands and Memories, sub-titled ‘rambles and rides in the fair places of Steam-Engine Land’. Clarke’s biographer, Professor Paul Salveson, has published a new book celebrating Clarke’s original and bringing the story of Lancashire’s moorland heritage up to date.
Maxine Peake, in her foreword to Paul’s book, says “Hill walking, cycling, literature, philosophy, protest and The North…. these are a few of my favourite things.” She adds “Paul Salveson’s new book on Allen Clarke is irresistible.”
Clarke’s book was conversational, philosophical, radical and lyrical. Paul’s celebration covers some of the ground that Allen Clarke wrote about – handloom weavers, dialect writers, the Winter Hill ‘mass trespass’, links to Walt Whitman and that fearsome Lancashire creature, the boggart. He discusses Clarke’s links with Tolstoy and his attempts to ‘get back to the land’ at a commune near Blackpool and the great Barrow Bridge picnic in support of the locked-out Bethesda quarrymen in 1901. The book recalls one of Bolton’s first ‘refugees’ who lived on Halliwell Road.
Clarke was both a keen cyclist and walker. His original book includes rides and rambles through Rossendale and Pendle as well as around Rivington, Belmont and Edgworth, with associated tales. The Clarion Cycling Club and the Clarion ILP Tea Rooms at Roughlee features, as does ‘The Barlow’ in Edgworth and Darwen Tower. Paul adds in some stories from the last hundred years including ‘summer evenings with old railwaymen’ at the moorland station of Entwistle and Gandhi’s visit to Lancashire. The renaissance of the East Lancashire Railway is included in the story.
“I wanted to write more than a ‘then and now’ book, though I do explore many of the places that Clarke originally described and how they have changed,” said Paul. “Our moors remain a precious asset which we neglect at our peril. They are amongst the few places that haven’t been ‘locked down’ during Covid-19 and are there for everyone to enjoy. I hope that my book will add to their appreciation.”
How to buy it
The book is priced at £21 (plus £4 postage) and is now available. See ‘How to buy my books’ page or click on to:
It is available at selected shops including Wright Reads of Horwich, Bunbury’s real ale shop, Pendle Heritage Centre and more. If you know of a shop that would like to take copies let me know. I generally avoid chain booksellers but happy to do sale or return from any local shop that’s interested.