FORGOTTEN CORNERS

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Re: FORGOTTEN CORNERS

Post by Stanley » 05 Nov 2019, 04:43

Only approximate P. I am within five years I suspect.... :biggrin2:

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Hackings did so well they built this range of buildings, accommodation, shop and a bakery at the back shortly after 1900 and for many years were the major bakery and confectioners in the town. They also did a lot of outside catering. The site of the old bakery in Wapping was used to build the Sunday school.

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In passing, the palisade fence guards a small piece of 'waste land' which is actually the track of the culvert that was built to eliminate the ford over Gillians Beck in about 1860 using funds from selling the village green that used to be on the north side of church street.

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1983 pic of the block that replaced the green when it was sold off.

When the culvert was put in the height of the road bed was lifted and this small yard shows the change in level.

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Re: FORGOTTEN CORNERS

Post by Stanley » 06 Nov 2019, 04:03

The culvert under Walmsgate has always bothered me. It was blockage of that which caused to 1932 Flood and the potential is still there. Essentially, the old lodge for Clough Mill has been ignored ever since it became redundant with the end of steam power. The culvert now starts from the lower end of the lodge even though the mill has long been demolished. I argued many years ago for landscaping the lodge area, opening up the culvert into an open stream as far as the road and rebuilding the short remaining length of the culvert to a modern standard but whilst agreeing, the Council have never had the necessary funding.
Doing this would avert an eventual inevitable repetition of 1932 and give us a valuable green space in the middle of town. It's also still an ideal water power site and a turbine could be easily installed at the bottom end generating Green Electricity for the grid and giving a useful income for maintenance. Dead in line with the latest thinking on 'small is beautiful' power generation at local level which is increasingly being promoted as an alternative to white elephants like Hinkley Point but our policy makers are too engaged elsewhere all the time. They'd rather argue about the number of angels dancing on the head of an EU pin than devote real attention to the really pressing questions of energy generation and use. Think of the number of small water power sites in the Lake District that used to power whole industries. The argument has always been that micro sites are uneconomical but as the ethical pressures rise, the economics change and perhaps the first step would be a proper survey and cost assessment. I'd rather see that done than HS2 or Hinkley, just think what could be done with those pools of capital and compare the benefits.
On an entirely different note, I saw a recent film of Trencherfield engine at Wigan last night and it is running faster than it used to. I wonder if they actually took notice of my warnings about running at low speeds and the dangers it posed when I was involved in the stoppage due to the flywheel being loose? I haven't heard anything from them since I forced them to acknowledge in writing that they had accepted the burden of Duty of Care after ignoring my advice. Whatever, it looks better now!

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Re: FORGOTTEN CORNERS

Post by Stanley » 07 Nov 2019, 04:35

I mentioned 'Duty of Care' when talking about Trencherfield yesterday. What many forget is that the engine tenters were a breed apart because they were responsible for their engines and boilers which were the most dangerous elements that made up the mill. (The same applied to all the shafting as well.)
This was never actually made clear, in those days there were no contracts of employment, but in the event of any accident the tenter would be held responsible if there was a danger and he hadn't alerted the management. I have seen blame allocated in inquest reports but never an actual trial and verdict.
One surprising fact about steam plant in mills is that there were no official qualifications or even training for persons in charge of the most dangerous part of the mill. Certification for marine engineers was very strict and the qualification was highly prized. In contrast running a similar plant on land was an amateur affair and needed no qualification. It was a job often passed on from father to son and the quality of engineers varied enormously. There were some very good ones but also some duck eggs!
In the late 19th century, after a series of accidents, a Bill was presented to Parliament; '(60 Vict) Steam engines and boilers. Persons in charge.' on 12 July 1897. However the Houses adjourned early because of a visit by foreign royalty, the Bill was dropped and never came before Parliament again. It was a Bill to grant certificates to persons in charge of steam engines and boilers on land along the same lines as the existing Marine Certificates administered by the Board of Trade. There were to be two classes; First Class for anyone in charge of a boiler or engine bigger than 5HP and winding engines of any size. Second Class was for all other boilers and engines except those in agriculture and the Queen's Service.
In the increasingly litigious era that we see today it is something that anyone running an engine should be aware of. In the Trencherfield case I knew enough about the law to realise that the only way for me to discharge the duty of care I had as soon as I realised that the flywheel was loose (and other faults) was to inform Wigan Council of the facts and thus pass on the legal Duty of Care on to them. That was what I did and was why they stopped talking to me.

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The damage inside a spinning mill engine house caused by overspeed at Oldham. Copied from an insurance picture. The flywheel had exploded. A graphic illustration of the dangers involved.
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Re: FORGOTTEN CORNERS

Post by Stanley » 08 Nov 2019, 03:43

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We had smashes in Barlick, here's Crow Nest engine. The nearest example of 'running boggart', an overspeed, was Bishop House Mill in Burnley. See Newton Pickles evidence in the LTP for a full account of both.
A particularly dodgy time was when a new mill was being commissioned and put to weaving for the first time. Look in the LTP for Jack Platt's evidence of what it was like at Bancroft when the engine was first started. The weavers had to run out of the shed quite a few times when the engine ran out of control but thankfully there was no serious accident apart from the odd loom being ripped out of place and flung across the shed!
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Re: FORGOTTEN CORNERS

Post by Stanley » 09 Nov 2019, 05:34

Over the years we have lost what were very important industries in Barlick. The textile trade is the obvious example but there was also a very significant quarry industry employing a lot of people. The major limestone quarry was always Rainhall Rock which was bought out by the canal company and operated by them for many years both for building stone for the canal and as a raw material for the industries of East Lancashire. Barlick was the closest source and this was important long after construction of the canal was finished.

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Here's an old postcard of the tunnel that used to serve the quarry, it has collapsed since this was taken early in the 20th century. (The postmark is 1905)
South of the Craven Fault the strata was good millstone grit. The Upper Hill quarry, Loose Games, was good stone, the lower quarries on Salterforth Lane yielded harder, more uniform stone and much of this was sawn on site. See Jack Platt's evidence in the LTP he worked on the saws for a long time.
There were other smaller quarries but they stopped being worked fairly early as they were uneconomic and not the best stone. There was a significant quarry at Thornton Rock but it didn't have the advantage of the canal. However after the railway reached Thornton it increased production and again used a tunnel to transport stone down to the main line on a tramway like the Salterforth Lane quarries but in their case, to the canal.

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One quarry that has always puzzled me is the limestone quarry at Hollins which even though disadvantaged by its location, all production had to go out by horse and cart off the moor, had a brick built lime kiln. I have never found any significant information about it.
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Re: FORGOTTEN CORNERS

Post by Stanley » 10 Nov 2019, 05:11

In the days when all stone had to be transported using horses most houses away from the town were built of stone quarried on site particularly if they were uphill from the quarries. This also applied to the wall building that had to be done associated with the enclosures of the 16th and 19th centuries. If you look at any of the early farmhouses you will find they are built using random stone and there is always a small quarry or 'delph' just above them. You'll find small delphs along the line of the walls as well. The general rule was that stone was always moved downhill and what is also forgotten is that wheeled carts were seldom used, the favoured method was a sledge with broad wooden runners. A horse could easily pull one of these downhill even if heavily loaded.
Not so much round Barlick, but if you see long diagonal sloping lines on the face of hills this is almost always sledge tracks used to bring turves and bedding down off the moor. Round Rawtenstall the slate quarries used a lot of them, later converted to gravity operated tramways. This is the system that was used to get stone from the Salterforth Lane quarries down to the canal.
Building stone for the town was a different matter and at Salterforth they had a problem, to get stone into Barlick they first had to climb the steep slope up to High Lane, once there it was downhill all the way. Remember that this was before the New Road was built. The answer was a steam winch at the top of the drag on the small triangle of land where the lane joins High Lane. Jack Platt told me that the horses knew exactly where to stop to be hooked up and if wear forced a cable repair it couldn't be made any shorter as the horses wouldn't go further.
You might think that once on High Lane it would be plain sailing but not so. Going downhill with no brakes was dangerous as the horses couldn't hold the weight back. Scotch shoes were put under both wheels and the cart skidded on these down the hill but occasionally if a cart had been overloaded even this wasn't enough. Jack told me he remembered a horse being speared by a broken shaft when the cart finished up in the ditch and it had to be shot. He knew the horse as he and his mates used to ride on them from the quarry up to their night pasture above High Lane.
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Re: FORGOTTEN CORNERS

Post by Tizer » 10 Nov 2019, 10:44

Stanley wrote:
10 Nov 2019, 05:11
Not so much round Barlick, but if you see long diagonal sloping lines on the face of hills this is almost always sledge tracks used to bring turves and bedding down off the moor.
When we lived in the South and went for walks in and around the Chilterns we'd see similar tracks but they were the result of horses drawing trees down from the hills.

I've been reading about the Forest of Dean and noted that the horses for one of the tramways were stabled at the pub which was on the road running alongside the tramway. Lucky horses, and I'll bet the men in charge of them took advantage of their visits to the stable!

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Re: FORGOTTEN CORNERS

Post by Stanley » 11 Nov 2019, 04:17

Same principle Tiz. No danger of the load taking charge on steep downhill grades.
When the contractors were surveying for the M62 across the moors they were having terrible problems moving men and equipment round and it was costing them a fortune. A mate of mine, Dick Jagger at Cunning Corner near Halifax, was talking to them one night in the pub and told them he could solve their problems without helicopters and expensive all terrain vehicles. They were at their wit's end because they said it was the worst conditions they had ever encountered so they gave him a go at it. He provided a pony, sledge and driver and it was a complete solution. He eventually had about five men contracted out to them. Some of the oldest transport technology in the country saved the day. That's a forgotten corner, I doubt if anyone uses them now.
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Re: FORGOTTEN CORNERS

Post by Stanley » 12 Nov 2019, 04:21

Tiz, I overlooked your comment about tramways. There were two tramways down from the Salterforth quarries to the canal, a fairly steep slope. The stone came down by gravity with a horse following behind, it took charge of the empty jubilee trucks and took them back to the quarry.

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Jubilee tipping trucks on the tramway at Embsay near Skipton.

Jack Platt told me about overspeeding on the way down leading to derailment and I have found one vague report that talked of a small steam engine being used but doubt if that was more than an experiment as on its first time out the engine itself overturned.

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Some systems had a dandy wagon for the horse to ride downhill.
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Re: FORGOTTEN CORNERS

Post by Stanley » 13 Nov 2019, 05:04

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Park Close quarry on Salterforth Lane in 1948. By that time it was disused and was bought by a bloke called Gibson who was a smart cookie and made a lot of money by dealing in reclaimed stone and scrap. He was a popular man in the town. He was constantly under attack for activities at the quarry but seemed to have a charmed life. He had a private plane and was killed when it crashed, I forget the date but I think it was the late 1960s.
The strange thing is that when his affairs were settled up rumours spread about a large amount of money going missing and the scuttlebutt was that he had buried it. For years I used to be accosted in the street by a man who reckoned he knew where the money was and he wanted me to write an article about it. I always demurred of course, I regarded it all as gossip. I haven't seen this man for years. Good! He got to be a proper nuisance.
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Re: FORGOTTEN CORNERS

Post by PanBiker » 13 Nov 2019, 08:39

Stanley wrote:
13 Nov 2019, 05:04
For years I used to be accosted in the street by a man who reckoned he knew where the money was and he wanted me to write an article about it.
Bugger writing an article, if he knew where it was why didn't he go and dig it up?
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Re: FORGOTTEN CORNERS

Post by Stanley » 14 Nov 2019, 03:53

That was always my question. I told him if he knew so much he should buy a shovel and start digging but it never deterred him. I suspect he was a classic case of 'having a bee in your bonnet'.
I was drawing my curtains at 16:30 last night and remembering what my mother always told me, "Never shut daylight out" and it struck me that there was perhaps a folk memory embedded in that injunction. (I like folk memory!)
Cast your minds back to the days before gas and electric lighting. The onset of dark was a serious matter as it meant expensive candles, or oil lamps if you were lucky, had to be lit and deployed. Drawing the curtains would be left as late as possible. Once done the focus of the room would shift to wherever the light was, like moths being drawn to a flame. I often wonder how people managed to read when I look at the small print of 18th century books and remember what a pain the power cuts used to be and we had to revert to candles and oil lamps, reading is not easy!
I mentioned 'expensive' above. One of the things I noted when looking at the accounts of 17th century water mills in the Calendar of Lancashire Documents on the site was how expensive candles were for lighting the mill in winter, it was a serious matter. I also think back to my mother. Even though we had electric light she only switched it on if she needed it. One of my favourite memories of childhood is sitting in the firelight from the open fire with my mother listening to Children's Hour on the wireless. Even now I only have lights on where I am and even then at the lowest level necessary and I always leave drawing my curtains until it is dark.
The same thing applies of course to our other modern conveniences, mains gas and water and an efficient sewage system. Like sources of light they are all forgotten corners, we take them for granted.
Just for a laugh, wait until it's dark and try reading with one candle. Once again mother was right!
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Re: FORGOTTEN CORNERS

Post by Stanley » 15 Nov 2019, 05:09

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The top of the path from Butts to Commercial Street. The object of attention here is the black wooden hut. You can tell by the windows at low level that it's a former hen hut. This is left over from the days when there were hundreds of such huts in Barlick, so many people 'kept a few hens' near the house of in an allotment. You've only got to look at any garage site to find old hen huts converted to garages, a role they were ideal for as they were an ideal size and being made of wood absorbed moisture and allowed a wet car to dry out.
I once heard of one which, when it was being relocated to a dedicated garage site gained an advantage because they found a gas service pipe underneath it. The story is that they tapped into it and had a gas heated garage for many years. I don't know if that is true but it sounds plausible to me.
Every time I think of hen huts I think about Wilfred Spencer, librarian and local historian at Colne for many years. At the risk of boring you, here's the reason why.

THE DECLINE OF THE HEN PEN

by Wilfred Spencer

To my mind few sights are more truly and essentially typical of the Industrial North than the hen pen. I'm not speaking of the trim geometric and soulless acreages of well-disciplined paling and wire netting which for a time supplanted the genuine article. These were a degree better than our latter-day egg factories, but were still utterly lacking in the rugged individuality which is the hall-mark of the honest northern artisan and his projection of himself into his rugged, individual and honest hen pen.
They are not entirely departed, though, and if you have a taste for stark reality you can find ugly clusters of them bestriding the ginnels and snickets behind the terraced houses. I did say ugly, but there is something engaging and intriguing about this kind of ugliness. In some curious way it has integrity, and it doesn't, not in the slightest
affect any pretence to be other than what it is. These hen pens do however reveal more of their owners than they perhaps realise.
The fence of each pen is almost invariably black with oft-repeated layers of gas tar, but the half concealed shape of the underlying wood often reveals its origin to have been in the cotton mill. The weaver or tackler who keeps hens seems to have little difficulty in laying hands on sufficient scrap wood from the mill to keep his boundaries in order, though with due regard for the uncertainties of the future, he will do what he can to make this wood last as long as possible. This is where the gas tar comes in handy. Cheap (or so it was) and easy to get hold of, it is liberally applied to every exposed surface. If there is any left the brush is dragged over the wire netting: in fact, the pen is not so much painted as engulfed. The roof of the hen hut, where successive layers have cracked and shrunk above the original felt, looks like the back of an ill-favoured crocodile.
This black hide covers an incredible variety of shapes some of them vaguely traditional. There is probably scope here for a regional survey of unique architectural interest, for the favoured type of hut does vary from district to district. But each is, unmistakably, a hen hut: Its narrow band of windows near the floor, and its the entrance, or "pop 'oil" for the birds being its hall mark. This entrance has a somewhat medieval look about it, Norman arch and wooden portcullis with a narrow board reminiscent of a drawbridge sloping up to it.
What goes on inside I'm not so sure. Men in cloth caps disappear into the man-sized entrance with tin bowls and later emerge with eggs, but for aught I know there may be other goings on. There is little doubt that the hen pen is, for many a wife-bound weaver, a refuge and a haven. There was something finely Northern in Priestley's opening of "Good Companions" where the hero is described as gloomily reflecting upon the emptiness and futility of life from the vantage point of his friend's hen house door. In his hen pen a man can be alone and, should the mood be upon him, brood. It is true that the scene of his contemplations may be littered with bits of household jetsam, the discarded slop-stone, the tired rocking chair, the dolly tub or the out-dated mangle. But these he will have diverted to some new, unlikely, but ingenious use in his more energetic moments, and his contemplation of them may bring some solace.
A friend of mine who is getting on now, and whose brother had become a national political figure of some eminence once said to me - expressing a deep and rich philosophy – “Our Tom were allus studying and bothering 'isself wi' politics: but, tha knows, Wilfred, I 'ad my 'ens” The ulcerations of a hectic public life had shortened his brother's life many years earlier but for him the hen pen had brought its own reward.
[‘Tom’ was Thomas Shaw, Minister of Labour in MacDonald’s first Labour cabinet. Jan to Nov 1924.]
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Re: FORGOTTEN CORNERS

Post by Stanley » 16 Nov 2019, 04:51

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Mention of pens reminded me of the time my mate Ted put a picture of his wife Joyce on the shed in his pen. I asked him why and he said it was pest control! Joyce never objected, she and Ted were OK about it! A very forgiving woman!
Notice the horseshoe is mounted the correct way to retain the luck. That's definitely a forgotten corner now!
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Re: FORGOTTEN CORNERS

Post by Stanley » 17 Nov 2019, 04:30

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The Barlick Spud crossing the canal on it's way from the main line at Sough in the late 1950s.

The Barnoldswick branch line is a forgotten corner today but was one of the victims of the Beeching axe together with the main line from Skipton to Colne. I have always argued against those closures which were done on very suspect grounds. There is good evidence now that some lines were deliberately run down so as to give a worse economic case for the surveys which were Beeching's 'evidence' used for his recommendations which were purely driven by profit and loss. I argue against this basis also, no account was taken of the social value of direct communications with the main line system. The textile industry in particular was heavily reliant on the fact that the 'Manchester Men' from the mills could be on the 'change by 9AM with orders in hand and participate in the central cotton trading mechanism. This leaves aside the matter of rail freight which was considerable.
I have long held that railways should be run by the state as a social good and not necessarily for profit. This concept is now back in vogue following the example of other countries who have followed this model and now have far better rail systems than the UK with consequent benefits to the overall economy.
It's worth considering what we have seen happen here when due to the failure of a franchise, the running of a system has had to be taken back in-house. Better service, better passenger relations and cheaper that the subsidies paid to the franchisees.
I regret that we lost our rail connection and believe that it was a mistake driven purely by political considerations. I wish we still had it!
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Re: FORGOTTEN CORNERS

Post by Wendyf » 17 Nov 2019, 07:01

The Skipton to Colne line wasn't on Beeching's list, it didn't close until 1970.

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Re: FORGOTTEN CORNERS

Post by Stanley » 18 Nov 2019, 04:40

Thanks for that Wendy, I always assumed that it was. However, my criticisms of closure stand and the same criteria would be used for the branch and eventually the Skipton-Colne line. A short-sighted policy that deprived us of a service that would still be useful today.

One thing that we can't escape is the passage of time. This inevitably brings change and I suppose this more evident to the old than the young because they have memories of how things used to be. My picture is a map I cobbled together some time ago showing the water and steam mills of Barlick in 1921. If you include Salterforth and County Brook there were 16 mills working and over 25,000 looms in them. This was the major source of income in the town. Take the time to have a look at the map and you will soon realise that almost all of them have disappeared.
One of the things that has always amazed me is that a whole industry and source of income as large as this could vanish so completely without massive social upheaval. It says much for the character of the town and its inhabitants that overall, the transition from that way of life to what we enjoy today has gone so smoothly. Of course it was gradual change and over time as we have seen, the old mills were converted to new uses by new industries. At the same time the workers adapted as well, learning new skills and ways of working. One thing that helped was that in almost every case, the new work was less onerous, cleaner and paid a better wage. All this happened entirely by chance. There was no central government policy or help to alleviate the hardship that accompanied the closures and if it hadn't been for the activities of Herr Hitler things could have been very different.
We are well into a different phase now. The re-use of the old mills has given way to demolition and the new use for the empty site is not always industrial. In 1921 those 25,000 looms required around 7,000 workers to service them, in economist's terms the industry was labour intensive. Today the new industries are far more 'efficient' and don't employ anywhere near as many. Add to this the fact that in the modern search for even more efficiency by taking advantage of computers and robot usage, that decreased number is dropping even further. The slack is being taken up by unskilled jobs on very low wages and in many cases no contracts of employment guaranteeing a working week and what we always regarded as the usual benefits. If you had tried to explain the concept of a 'Zero Hours' contract to a weaver in 1921 you would have got blank stares, such a thing was inconceivable. This is another element of change, today it is common and many are working for less money than is needed to support a family. Today we have Working Tax Credits and food banks.
I know I am a dinosaur but I regret many aspects of the changes we are seeing. It seems to me that there is less dignity, security and certainty in the world and this might be the biggest change of all.

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Every now and then it's good to remind ourselves of our history. There are clues in there about how we might manage things in the future.
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Re: FORGOTTEN CORNERS

Post by Stanley » 19 Nov 2019, 06:36

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Always keep your eye open whenever anyone starts digging! This is a little corner at Townhead where some new paving was being installed. They have uncovered the old road surface and we get a glimpse into Barlick as it was a century ago or even more.
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Re: FORGOTTEN CORNERS

Post by Stanley » 20 Nov 2019, 06:45

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I tripped over this old postcard this morning and I'd forgotten it so I thought it was worth posting as a forgotten corner. Looking at the locomotive and rolling stock (the clerestory roof on the carriage) I'll estimate around 1900.
We lost the bridge of course when the line was demolished but years later....

Image

I realised that the massive cast iron girders that support both bridges in Valley Gardens look as though they may have come from the old railway bridge. I'm not totally convinced but think it's a definite possibility. They are certainly far more massive than was needed for footbridges! Definitely good recycling of demolition materials wherever they came from.
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Whyperion
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Re: FORGOTTEN CORNERS

Post by Whyperion » 20 Nov 2019, 12:54

Stanley wrote:
14 Nov 2019, 03:53

I was drawing my curtains at 16:30 last night and remembering what my mother always told me, "Never shut daylight out" and it struck me that there was perhaps a folk memory embedded in that injunction. (I like folk memory!)

Just for a laugh, wait until it's dark and try reading with one candle. Once again mother was right!
It was also a reason for so many mirrors around photos. on the wall. etc. I have had a few oil (used to be whale oil I think), lamps, some have reflectors behind them of polish shiny metal.

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Stanley
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Re: FORGOTTEN CORNERS

Post by Stanley » 21 Nov 2019, 04:13

Image

I did this pic of the railway bridge on the Skipton Colne line in 1982. They must have thought it needed a bit of support! Is it still there or has it been demolished? a Long time since I was down on Foulridge Wharf.

Image

Here's another largely forgotten bridge. It used to span the beck at Pickles Hippings on Shitten Ginnel. Someone went to the trouble to build this just above what used to be a ford. I wonder why? Not there now it collapsed, I think in the 90s. I've always wondered if it had anything to do with the site of the Saxon Church which was somewhere in the vicinity. If so it was very old indeed.
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"Beware of certitude" (Jimmy Reid)
The floggings will continue until morale improves!

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Wendyf
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Re: FORGOTTEN CORNERS

Post by Wendyf » 21 Nov 2019, 07:07

The bridge at Foulridge is long gone Stanley.

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Re: FORGOTTEN CORNERS

Post by Tripps » 21 Nov 2019, 10:47

Stanley wrote:
21 Nov 2019, 04:13
It used to span the beck at Pickles Hippings on Shitten Ginnel
I knew this was the site for me a long time ago when I first saw those names. :laugh5:
Born to be mild. . .

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Stanley
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Re: FORGOTTEN CORNERS

Post by Stanley » 22 Nov 2019, 04:09

Thanks Wendy, I thought it was but wasn't sure.
David, I agree, I try to keep these things alive and current. Interesting that in these super-sensitive times nobody has ever complained about 'Shitten Ginnel' in my BET articles.....
Today's forgotten corner is an obscure modern one. I love Flight Tracker and every morning between 3 and 4 a UPS cargo flight leaves East Midlands bound for Philadelphia, there are many such flights in and out of the UK each day. We tend to forget the wagon drivers of the air and think only of passenger flights. On most flights there are only two pilots on board and it must be as lonely as lighthouse keeping! It can be dangerous as well, there have been numerous cases of fire caused by faulty consignments of Lithium batteries. Imagine one starting half way across the Atlantic. Not far fetched, it has happened in the past.
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Re: FORGOTTEN CORNERS

Post by Tripps » 22 Nov 2019, 11:28

Not frequent, but it happens. Here's a local example.

Korean Air Stanstead crash
Born to be mild. . .

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