Moorlands, Memories and Reflections

The next production: Moorlands, Memories and Reflections

This year is the centenary of the publication of Allen Clarke’s Moorlands and Memories, sub-titled ‘rambles and rides in the fair places of Steam-Engine Land’. It was published by Tillotson’s, publishers of The Bolton Evening News and other local titles which Clarke wrote for. It’s a lovely book, very readable and entertaining, even if he sometimes gets his historical facts slightly wrong. It is set in the area which is now described as ‘The West Pennine Moors’ stretching from Bolton to Chorley, Blackburn, Pendle and Rossendale. It includes some fascinating accounts of life in Bolton itself in the years between 1870 and the First World War, with accounts of the great engineers’ strike of 1887, the growth of the co-operative movement and the many ‘characters’ whom Clarke knew as a boy or young man.

The last time the book was reprinted was in 1986, thanks to the efforts of George Kelsall of Littleborough. I did a short introduction to it,which was based on the expanded third edition which he published himself in 1924. We launched it at ‘Teddy Ashton’s Well’ on the moorland road between Belmont and Hoghton, just south of Abbey Village.

Copies of the early editions, and for that matter the 1986 reprint, are difficult to come by. I’m contemplating doing a limited run of say a hundred (an appropriate figure for the centenary) numbered copies with a new introduction. It would probably sell at about £25, hardback. I’d welcome expressions of interest from readers who would be willing to buy a copy. It could work as a ‘subscriber’s edition’, the way many nineteenth century writers got their works funded. So please let me know if you would like to be a ‘subscriber’.

What is a bit more certain is the publication of my own centenary tribute to Clarke’s book, which will be called Moorlands, Memories and Reflections. It isn’t a ‘then and now’ sort of thing though I do make some historical comparisons, and speculate what Clarke would have thought of certain aspects of his beloved Lancashire today. There are 28 chapters, covering locations and subjects which Clarke wrote about in the original book, with a few additions.

Salvo with Benny Rothman, leader of 1932 Kinder Scout Trespass, in the Shooting Hut, Winter Hill, 1982

It includes the Winter Hill rights-of-way battle of 1896, a few additional snippets about the Bolton ‘Whitmanites’, handloom-weaving, the remarkable story of ‘The Larks of Dean’ and Lancashire’s honourable tradition of supporting refugees. I will publish it as my second ‘Lancashire Loominary’ product and it will also sell at around £25 depending on final costs for printing. It should be out late September.


Summat fert do durin’ th’lockdeawn

Or ‘something to do during the lockdown’………

You can buy a bundle of my books on Lancashire-related themes for the combined price of just £25 including post and packing in the UK!

The titles are:

The Works (a novel about life in Horwich Loco Works and a fictitious future as a workers’ co-operative)

Lancashire’s Romantic Radical – the life and writings of Allen Clarke/Teddy Ashton (an illustrated literary and political biography of the great Lancashire writer and philosopher)

With Walt Whitman in Bolton – spirituality, sex and socialism in a Northern mill town (an illustrated history of Bolton’s amazing links with the great American poet)

The combined full price (not including P&P) would be £37.89



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.

Publication date: March 23st 2020 (Launch at Wayoh Brewery, Horwich, March 20th at 18.00)

ISBN: 978-0-9559171-6-5

Price: £12.99 (add £2.50 for post and packing) SPECIAL PRE-PUBLICATION OFFER £10 plus £2.50 postage (unless local to Horwich, in which case, free)

Orders by post to Lancashire Loominary, 109 Harpers Lane, Bolton BL1 6HU. Cheques should be made payable to ‘Paul Salveson’. Don’t forget to let me have your return address and also an email address so I can tell you it has been despatched.