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Thursday 28 May 2015


I have had a query niggling away at the back of my mind for most of this week. Online news is great for catching up with 'what's on' in the highways and byways of distant memory.

The old market town of Clitheroe, Lancs. was the focus of the niggle. I read that the so-called Castle Museum (and my personal bone of contention) has a 'new' display. Obviously, at my age I reckon to know more about clogs and clogging than younger folk. One of the younger folk 'organises' museum displays. Apols for sounding rather meow. The latest display purports to be about the town's history of clog making.

Could I remember the names I needed, I could not! My mind teased me with memories of various shops, so I did some research. There's no need to spend £££s when you know how to do research. I also contacted someone who still lives in the area and is older than me. She had a discussion with her husband and came up with the names of three local shoemakers.

  • Dan Lord
  • Sowerbutts
  • Richard Turner

I remember Lord's shop, they sold Clark's shoes and you had your feet measured for width and fit in a wooden device. (Shoes always had to have growing room).

Richard (Dick) Turner was special. His shop window displayed hand-made clogs and pictures of his work in Africa.

Richard was the last Mayor of the old Clitheroe Borough Council, from 1972 to 1974, and one-time champion shoe repairer of All England.
 The original shop was opened in 1910 by his father.

Time for another quote, this time from a Dalesman publication -

“In 1962 a doctor in the south of England visited Burnley at the suggestion of a colleague, Grace Ingham, doing leprosy work in Africa. He sought someone who could make a clog sole from the block. A newspaper appeal reached Richard Turner, son of a clogger and himself a seatsman who had taken into shoe repairing such skill as to be voted ‘Britain’s Champion Shoe Repairer’ in 1951 and 1961. As a result of their discussion, Mr. Turner went to the Oji River Leper Colony on the River Niger, Biafra, in January 1963 and for six weeks gave basic training with his stock knives to the lepers, using the plentiful local wood. A type of wood-soled sandal was made to replace the rubber-tyre shoes the lepers wore.

Those native African patients needed something to support their injured feet. Dick gave them lessons in his own time and at his own expense, teaching them to shape wood and fasten uppers to them. Bisana and zigba replaced alder and beech. I have since been in touch with Dr. Felton Ross of the All-Africa Leprosy and Rehabilitation Training Centre at Addis Ababa, who praises Dick’s work. He told me that, due to the acute difficulties of foot disorders, a sandal type of clog, very similar to the modern Scholl’s sandal, is preferred and is very helpful in healing foot ulcers.

Mr Turner … made a film of what he saw. When shown locally on his return, it made £200 for LEPRA. Two years later he went to Uganda on a similar mission with his stock knives. Those knives will never wear out, though they do require sharpening….

Dr. Ross, working with them in Biafra and Ethiopia, has reported on the paediatric value of what we may call clogs to his patients.”

Traditionally, in Lancashire, a toddler's first footwear was a pair of clogs.

Wednesday 27 May 2015

In days gone by...

Clitheroe M.P. 
Sir William Brass
Donated a turret from the Houses of Parliament to his Clitheroe 'seat' and it was placed in the Castle gardens.

For decades it was in a beautiful rose garden. In the 1960s the turret was surrounded by a pond to 'keep it safer'.

Now it is in a wilderness of gravel, but is to be refurbished. It is known as the 'Pinnacle Project'

 This was taken before the area was 'laid bare'.

Only a B/W photo but hopefully it gives an impression. 
Beds of roses with climbers gracing the garden walls.

The water around the pond used to be crystal clear, with a couple of small fountains.

Friday 15 May 2015

Good news day!

For a while now a click of the mouse friend has been counting down the time left until retirement. That happy news has been boosted by an announcement today.

I friend I have known for a long, long time (since we were teenagers) has been Head of a Lancs. C. of E. Primary School. He's always been a very hard worker. Then, today brings the news that he's been granted early retirement! I am so pleased for him, he deserves to have a long, happy retirement. 

Taken from the school newsletter
Staff Changes in September – Retirements
I would like to let you know that there will be significant staff changes from September.
 After 38 years of teaching, 20 at this school, I have decided that it is time to change direction, so I am letting you know of my retirement as headteacher at the end of the Summer Term. The Governors were informed of my decision earlier this week and the process to find both short term cover for my role, and a permanent replacement headteacher has begun. I am sure that the Governors will work hard to find the right person for the job, with guidance from the local authority and the diocese. I am also sure that there will be time for goodbyes later in the term.

Tuesday 12 May 2015

End of another era

This colourful set of new builds belongs to Liverpool University.

They are across from the original Archbishop Blanch school. I put 'original' as in time all things do pass. There's a brand new build further away from the city centre, a brown-field development.

The OU have been using ABHS for over a decade and both students and tutors have enjoyed going there. It was a better venue than the Arts College where not only were we not made welcome; parking was 'impossible'. 

Today 16th May was my final tutorial with 'my' tutor. Three of us turned up and were joined by the tutor.
Suffice it to say - I'm really glad I went to ABHS last Saturday (by mistake) as that tutor helped his students and I far more than the guy this week. Many thanks Dr. Pete you did a sterling job and allowed me to make a good start last Thursday. If I'd waited any longer I'd have been in a right pickle.

After all those happy years, it's all change. The OU asked places to tender bids to host tutorial sessions from Sept. 2015. ABHS lost out to Hope Uni which is a lot further out of town.

This is taken from the grounds of ABHS looking more towards the city's 'learning zone' Liverpool Uni and RLHT

The tower cranes in the background are where the massive modernisation of the hospitals is taking place. One large area containing the Royal Liverpool and incorporating St. Paul's Eye Hospital and the Linda McCartney Trust.

Goodbye ABHS, I've enjoyed going to tutorials there.

Sunday 3 May 2015


as in the Hundreds of Lancashire...

The 'red rose' county was composed from six Hundreds (areas of cultivable land).

From North to South they were
West Derby (largest area)

Fortunately, Lancashire Uni. have a website of Historic Lancashire Maps.
To someone like me, it makes good reading, looking at the changes over time. Some places kept the same name, others went thro' several versions.

Lancashire Day, (Nov. 27th) commemorates the day in 1295 when Lancashire sent its first representatives to Parliament in the time of King Edward I of England, 

The further back you go, the more complex it becomes. Not only are the names of the Hundreds taken from local places, they are also connected with church parishes and bishoprics. This can make genealogy 'interesting.'

Looking back thro' the Bleasdale family, the first problem being not only is it a surname, it's also a place name. As with other parts of the county, the area was designated a 'forest' meaning the King's hunting ground. The surname is still found mostly in Lancashire. 

 Bleasdale, 1228.

Although now in the parish of Lancaster, owing to its inclusion in the forest, Bleasdale has remained in the hundred of Amounderness, and was probably once within Garstang. It occupies a hilly country, divided into three main parts by the Rivers Calder and Brock, which rise near the Yorkshire border and flow south-west through it.

Take into consideration the seeming 'plethora' of Bleasdale men with the Christian name 'Thomas' and it becomes even more confusing. 

To begin with Thomas Bleasdale m Elizabeth Hannah Wilson 1912

Thomas born in the nearby village of Chipping. 

Looking on the Lancashire online parish clerks webpages for Chipping gave a number of Baptisms at St. Bartholomew, Chipping.

Now comes the next complication, unlike the Church of England, which has masses of parish records easily accessible online...

If the family were Roman Catholic, it requires using Census records instead as R.C. records are not freely available online.

Thomas Bleasdale  Son Single 0 1891 - Chipping, Lancashire, England

Thomas Bleasdale      Head Married 32 1859         Farmer Chipping, 

See, here's the name problem already!

Assuming it's Thomas b 1891 that married Elizabeth Hannah Wilson.

The search continues...

Friday 1 May 2015

Social media

Chatting this morning with a friend of 40 years, as in we have been friends that long. We began to reminisce about when we worked at the same place. Naming no names, but the place had ended up only scraping 1 star from OF$T£D long after we retired.

Today, I found out the place has been taken out of Local Government remit and as of Feb. 2014 became an 'academy'. This led to me having a look see online to find out more. Suffice it to say, only some half dozen of the present staff are folk I remember.

Next, by following a train of thought, I looked to see if I could find out anything about folk that I remembered. Social media led me to a page about LJB. Since the page is set to 'worldwide' it's freely accessible.

Here she is, and if I might opine - looking older than me, especially as she's 10 years younger.

Take a look at your own privacy settings on social media. Unless you want everything accessible by all and sundry? Might I suggest you alter the settings to make things a tad more private.

Of course, to keep truly private - never ever post anything online.