Quaker burial ground

Back in September the Religious Society of Friends in Crawshawbooth held an open day as part of the heritage weekend. I was thrilled to discover that they still had artefacts from the original meeting house at Chapel Hill which were transferred to the current meeting house when it opened in 1716. These had survived intact on their new site for nearly 300 years including at least one major flood. This is described below - ‘Artefacts’ 14 Sept and ‘Q is for Quaker’ 19 April.

Shortly afterwards I was thrilled to receive an email from one of the Friends forwarding a copy of the transcript of the internments in the old burial ground at Chapel Hill and those in the Crawshawbooth meeting house. As the burial ground was in use between 1663 and 1847 this was an exciting document, all the more so as I understand that the original was lost in the aforementioned flood. I’m glad that someone had the foresight to make a transcript.

The spreadsheet is not intuitive but is offered unaltered on the Quakers in Chapel Hill page.

Remembrance

There is no war memorial in Springhill, being only 12 houses. There is not one in Higher Cloughfold, nor in the local Baptist church. Nor, as far as I am aware, in the only other public building, the Red Lion pub.

There is one Springhill man and another 7 from the immediate area who died in WWI:
Harry Dawson,
James Driver
Harry Hart
Thomas Harvey
Wellington Pilkington
William Plaice
Joseph Taylor
Fred Taylor

The nearest municipal war memorial is in Rawtenstall about a mile away. Actually, there are two…

The earliest is in the cemetery. t was erected in Sept 1915 under the auspices of Carrie Whitehead, daughter of a local mill-owning family, local worthy and not a woman to be messed with.

rawtenstall war mem thumbnail

It reads:
The War Memorial 1914 - 1919 Rawtenstall Cemetery Roll of Honour
This cross was erected by Carrie Whitehead, September 1915 that it might be some comfort to those who lost men very dear to them In grateful memory of the men of Rawtenstall who gave their lives for their country in the Great War 1914 - 1918
He will swallow up death in victory, and the Lord will wipe away tears from all faces Is. XXV. 8.
It is probably the first municipal war memorial in the UK. As it was started in 1915 the names are added in the order in which they came to the notice of the borough. Unfortunately it omits the names of four of the 8 Higher Cloughfold casualties: Messers Hart and Harvey and the two Messers Taylor.


The second is the cenotaph in the centre of Rawtenstall, between the library and parish church. This was erected in 1929 by the aforementioned Carrie Whitehead. It has no names.

rawtenstall cenotaph thumbnail


It is inclusive, honouring those who died, those who fought and those who served at home in both world wars.

6 O'CLOCK FACE: A TRIBUTE OF HONOUR/ TO THE MEN WHO/ MADE THE SUPREME SACRIFICE/ TO THE MEN WHO CAME BACK/ AND TO THOSE WHO WORKED AT HOME/ TO WIN SAFETY FOR THE EMPIRE/ 1914-1918

12 O'CLOCK FACE: TO THE MEMORY OF/ ALL WHO GAVE THEIR LIVES IN THE SERVICE/ OF THEIR COUNTRY DURING THE SECOND/WORLD WAR/ ALL WHO SERVED ON SEA LAND OR IN THE AIR/ AND ALL WHO WORKED AND SERVED AT HOME/ 1939 - 1945

The sculptures show four groups of figures:
(1) ABOVE WWI INSCRIPTION - SOLDIER (ON CORNER); FARM LABOURER, WOMAN AND A CHILD, SAILOR AND WREN
(2) ABOVE WREATH - AIRMAN, TWO NURSES, LABOURER, SERVICEWOMAN, SOLDIER (AS ABOVE)
(3) ABOVE WWII INSCRIPTION - MEDICAL ORDERLY, MINER, FISHERMAN, OFFICER, AIRMAN (AS ABOVE)
(4) ABOVE WREATH - SAILOR (AS ABOVE), COAL MINERS, RAILWAYMEN, MEDICAL ORDERLY (AS ABOVE)

(Details from the
Imperial War Museum)

It is not enough to remember. If we truly want to honour those who served we should stand for peace, justice, truth and simplicity wherever we can.


peace poppy

(memorial photographs courtesy of Robert Wade under Creative Commons Licence.The provenance of the poppy picture is unknown)

Hallowe'en

I am not a great fan of Hallowe’en. Over my lifetime it has passed from bobbing apples and apples on string through trick or treating and ghosts to an emphasis on horror.

Marl Pits held the ‘run of the living dead’ on Sat 26th Oct in which people paid £50 for the privilege of running 5k through the mud whilst avoiding zombie challenges and men in military uniform bearing replica guns. I run up there most days for free for the privilege of being chased by the odd cow… Sadly the organisers didn’t ensure that non-participating families didn’t meet any zombies inadvertently or clean up after themselves afterwards. Ah well.

The Red Lion in Higher Cloughfold held its first children’s hallowe’en party on 31st Oct with what must surely be the most pathetic ghosts ever:

red lion day thumbnail

and they didn’t look much better at night either.

red lion night thumbnail

There is a lot of misconception about hallowe’en. It has no pagan origins and was not associated with spirits, ghosts or witches until modern times - mainly last century. These misconceptions are explained in this article from BBC History. Another good description is given in ‘Stations of the Sun’ by Ronald Hutton, himself a pagan but debunking a lot of the ‘pagan prehistory’ myths of hallowe’en and other rituals.

A more positive alternative is offered by one of the churches which puts on a fun party for children without a zombie in sight.

conference season

Being an introvert I sometimes find rooms of strangers somewhat daunting so it was with a degree of trepidation that I booked not one but two history conferences within 10 days. I needn’t have worried as one place studies people and community historians are a friendly and welcoming lot.

The first trip out was to Chorley for the Community Archives and Heritage Group North West Regional conference. After a warm welcome from His Worship we settled down to an enticing series of presentations outlining the help available from the Record Office and Museum conservation service and similar bodies. This was much more extensive than I appreciated and if anyone needs to borrow an eagle owl or hedgehog (stuffed) to illustrate their displays then the Museum is happy to oblige. There are even rumours of the availability of a polar bear but getting him a genuine Springhill connection may be tricky.

There was rapt attention for the lady who was explaining how to get money out of the heritage lottery fund. Interestingly the number of people who had applied for cash greatly outweighed those who had ever played the lottery to help put the money in...

My second jaunt was today to the Society of One-Place Studies inaugural conference. This had a focus on WW1 - local resources, local impact, local remembrances and involving local people in researching. There was an emphasis on lesser known resources and on asking questions beyond the obvious. The construction and siting of war memorials involved much more politics than I had previously appreciated and I will have to do a bit of poking around to look as some of the who’s and why’s behind some of the memorials in this area. Lots of interesting snippets with no known local relevance but still fun, like the 44,000 war horses sold to the French for meat and the image of soldiers writing to members of a knitting guild to thank them for the socks like children writing Christmas letters.

The common message from both events was the importance of preserving and sharing records and involving future generations.

One problem now - so many ideas and so little time...

why did it start here?

I was browsing around on histpop tonight looking for anything of interest and clicked on the supplement to the Registrar-General’s 81st report. As you do. This was a supplement reporting on the mortality from influenza in England and Wales in 1918-19, the ‘Spanish flu’ epidemic.

What I hadn’t realised before this was that amongst the earliest reports of flu related mortality were those from Bacup and Rawtenstall. The R-G does say that they cannot be certain that flu started its UK epidemic in these places as there were sporadic outbreaks roughly simultaneously indifferent parts of the country. What is clear however is that of the week ending June 29 1918 the highest mortality was returned from Bacup (33/1000) and the third highest from Rawtenstall (half as bad as Bacup at 18/1000) with Bacup in particular being miles ahead of anywhere else.


flu mortality thumbnail

Bacup is 5 miles east of Springhill and Rawtenstall just less than a mile to the west, to this area was going to be affected, if only by fear. Interestingly whilst Bacup and Rawtenstall were severely affected, Whitworth and Haslingden, adjacent towns, escaped relatively lightly.

Spanish flu came in three waves; Bacup and Rawtenstall were relatively little affected by these subsequent waves. Presumably everyone had either died or become immune with sufficient herd immunity to prevent the virus from re-establishing itself.

Spanish flu is caused by H1N1 flu virus, more recently of swine flu fame. Like swine flu it was more severe in young adults rather than most flu which tends to affect the elderly more severely. There have been a variety of theories as to why this was the case in 1918, with many suggesting that mixing of peoples during WW1 lead to easier spread whilst the stresses of war reduced soldiers’ immunity. It is estimated that 5x more people died in the endemic than died in WW1.

But why here? Sure there were a large number of soldiers, but not more than many places. They did not predominantly join a single regiment or ‘Pals’ brigade. There is no port (40 miles from the sea!) or airport and minimal tourism or business travel. There was poverty and overcrowding, but again no worse than many industrial areas. And why were adjacent areas relatively unaffected?

Am going to have to do some thinking and reading here, and to revise my long-forgotten immunology.

Obituaries of some of the Bacup soldiers to die can be found in these extracts from the Bacup Times.