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Celebrating Lancashire’s Moorlands

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:

Lancashire Loominary Order Form

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.

 

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The Works – a working class novel for the 21st century

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.

NOW AVAILABLE

Lancashire Loominary Order Form