Darby Walsh

Giving the pretence of a medieval Castle
the round tower its arrow-slit windows
solid oak doors front and side
cast iron studs and furniture polished in style
sagant Lions stone shields symbols of security
two gargoyles a dragon and a grotesque dog
spit venom warding off Bacup’s evil spirits
on days of quills ink and blotting paper
giving customers safety and satisfaction
in sixties brash bouncy brilliant Bacup.

You don’t think that we have a lot to shout about
that Bacup’s on its knee’s the die is cast
but the people of this town will never let you down
if you listen I’ll tell you about our past
we have an history that’s rich with fine stone quarries
King cotton coal mines shoe’s of finest hide
Football and cricket teams when the grounds burst at the seams
The thing we had back then was civic pride
B is for the beauty of our boro
A is for the air its fresh as spice
C is for our children’s charm
U the upland valley farms
P I wouldn’t leave at any price
we know that things in town are far from perfect
to get things right is a battle we can’t lose
if you want to get it right are you ready for the fight
vote with your feet come on put on those shoe’s
if you love this town it won’t be hard to choose
let’s make the sound of Bacup mean good news.

Forty three Fairview Road Bacup (Pennine Road now)- It was a typical council estate, it must have been around 1949 when we moved there.

The families ranging from two to fourteen children, I don’t think we realised how lucky we were, a stones throw from the hills and farms, the air as clean as a whistle.

Our Milkman Jim Clucas of ………….. Farm on Britannia old road, would trundle across ……. With his faithful Welsh Cob Billy

“Stay boy,” He’d say

Then proceed with his measuring can, filling the jugs on the doorsteps, “come on lad” he’d say to Billy, the animal always seemed to hesitate, and often would drop its previous load, at least in old John Priestley’s’ eyes, he’d run across the road with his shovel and scoop it up, he had some lovely Roses. We didn’t want horse much on the road, it was where we played cricket and football. 

No one on Fairview had a car back then, although Jim Thomson’s dad drove for Yelloway and his coach would be parked outside their house overnight. If a car came on Fairview, windows would open, and people would walk to the end of their paths to see who it was, 

“They must have plenty of brass,” my mother would say.

Fairview had most denominations of religion, our particular family being in the Salvation Army, and marched along the road to wherever they attended. We being Roman Catholics attended Saint Marys, going to mass was a must, with masses at eight, nine, fifteen and ten thirty, all fully attended. You always had to put a penny in the collection, so one morning when I was sat behind Tommy Cochrane and he put a ten-shilling note in, I couldn’t wait to get home to tell my dad. 

He said the Priest would have a good drink out of it, we really looked forward to the end of the mass, besides getting off your knees, we could go to the ship which was across from the Queens on Yorkshire Street. It’s a takeaway these days, back then it was a Tobacconists, and I wouldn’t say it seemed bright and modern compared to other Bacup shops, it wasn’t a café although the Bus drivers and conductors used to have a cup of tea when they picked their cigarettes up. 

It was warm Vimto that we wanted, really refreshing, I was working at an old ladies house in Rawtenstall, must be twenty years since, she was the first lady bus conductor in the valley, she remembered the shop, she said it took a while before she was accepted, women didn’t do those jobs. 

The other shops on Yorkshire Street were Tommy Cochrane’s Barbers, and mad Dicks Café. Mad Dicks was a sort of transport Café, tea and toast, pie and chips, nothing fancy, but good food. They said Mad Dick came from his younger days, the Regal Cinema in Bacup and the Cozi in Waterfoot were owned by the same company. Back then there was only one copy of the film that was showing, at the interval it was Dicks Job to exchange the films, which he did on his motorbike, going hell for leather from Bacup to Waterfoot and back, through the twisting bends of the glen.
Around the same time Paddy Navin, who became Mayor a few years later, had a chip shop on Market Street, it was Coronation Year 1953. Paddy put a sign up red white and blue chips for sale, Dick put one up Dicks for dinner, which he was asked to take down.

Paddy become a TV aerial fitter. He was in the Conservative Club, one afternoon; one of the old chaps asked him if he could sort him out with a television, and put the aerial up. Paddy fixed the aerial, carried the TV in, “where do I plug it in?” Paddy asked. Hea I am on gas the old bloke told Paddy, how it turned out eventually who knows. 
Another time, Paddy was fixing an aerial to a chimney, a flue brush shit up from the chimney next door, quick as a flash; Paddy unscrewed the brush and put it in one of the chimney pots where he was working, the Sweep came out looked up and went back in the house scratching his head.

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