back to my home page

Boyd's photo diary.

2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013
2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
2020 2021        
Jan 21 Feb 21 Mar 21 Apr 21 May 21 Jun 21
Jul 21 Aug 21 Sep 21 Oct 21 Nov 21 Dec 21
aug21 test
Sat 28 Aug 2021

Eric (70th birthday) and friends on Helvellyn Thu 28th Aug 2003.
A huge Happy 88th Birthday to Cllr Eric Bell (Sat 28th Aug 2021) a great personal friend and the best friend Whittle-le-Woods will ever have.
Eric was the Mayor of Chorley and we climbed Helvellyn in Cumbria (950 m. [3,117 ft] the third highest mountain in England) on his 70th birthday for a sponsored walk. Near the summit Eric wore his Mayoral robes for a group photo.
Cycled to Morrison’s car park, Chorley to watch 2 formations of the RAF Red Arrows display team fly over at 17:35. They were on their way from Blackpool to their base at RAF Scampton.
Fri 27 Aug 2021
Today is Jill's 45th birthday so I'm using it as an excuse to show some old family album photos.

Jill at the Littondale campsite.

Jill & Steve in Littondale.

Jill at Tarn Hows 1977.
Tue 24 Aug 2021

Charlie Watts (2 June 1941 – 24 August 2021)

Very sad to hear of the death of Charlie Watts (2 June 1941 – 24 August 2021) the Rolling Stones drummer. He was one of the band's longest serving members, joining in January 1963 and remaining a member until his death in 2021. He cited jazz as a major influence on his drumming style.

Charlie Watts in 2013 

Cycled to Dean’s & had a look at his new (second hand) convertible VW car. 1,800 diesel.
Tue 17 Aug 2021

The Courier.
It was good to be back in the cinema for the first time in ages. Saw ‘The Courier’ a true historical spy film starring Benedict Cumberbatch as Greville Wynne, a British businessman who was recruited by the Secret Intelligence Service (MI6 and a spy from the CIA) to deliver messages to Russian secret agent Oleg Penkovsky in the 1960s.
Sat 14 Aug 2021

The former Odeon Cinema being demolished Sat 14th Aug 2021.

Gala Bingo (former Odeon Cinema) Oct 2016.
The former Odeon Cinema building in Chorley town centre is now being demolished (Sat 14th Aug 2021). In more recent times it was Gala Bingo and although the exterior architecture was rather dull I always remember it as the Odeon Cinema and have fond memories of going to see amazing films there in the 1950s and 60s. The Odeon Cinema opened in 1938 with seating for around 1,500. It eventually closed as a cinema in 1971 and later reopened as Tudor Bingo in 1973 and then Gala Bingo which closed in 2018. In 2016 I joined Gala Bingo so I could get access and make a photographic record of the interior, which still had its cinema decor.
Wed 11 Aug 2021

Grant's Tower - Wed 11th Aug 2021.
Afternoon walk to Grant’s Tower above Ramsbottom.
Parked at Nuttall Car park.
alt/long: 53.638828, -2.299242.
Grants Tower is built at Top o’ th’ Hoof, Ramsbottom. It stands on the spot where the Grant family are said to have first looked down on the Irwell Valley, on their arrival in 1783. They had embarked on an epic trek in search of work from Morayshire, in Scotland, to Lancashire. The tower they built is a well known local landmark but in recent times it was about to fall into absolute ruin.

Grant's Tower before collapse.

The family set up the firm William Grant and Brothers some time around 1800, and became a very successful calico printing business. (Calico is a plain-woven textile made from unbleached cotton). The four brothers William, Daniel, Charles and John were all involved in the running of the firm.

Grant's Tower before renovation.
In 1806 they bought Peel, Yates & Co. Printworks (owned by the future Prime Minister Robert Peel) and just six years later purchased Nuttall spinning factory, which they extended. They also had a warehouse on Cannon Street in Manchester.
By 1827 they had accrued enough money to buy the Park Estate on which they would construct Grants Tower.
Built 1829, 50 feet high, 800 feet above sea level, 4 flights of stairs, 84 individual steps, 8 turrets at the top (two of which were disguised chimneys for fireplaces below.)
The day the tower opened there was a fair-like atmosphere, with their employees given the day off. Refreshments were laid on and entertainment took the form of races, games and singing. From then on the tower was regularly opened on Good Friday and other special holidays.
Grants Tower has also been lived in as a house. In the 1850s, the steeplejack James Wright stayed there with his family. He had a unique method of setting up his ropes that did not involve ladders or scaffold, but by flying a kite in order to fix them to the top. It was said that he could descend his ropes at 100 miles an hour. Something of a showman, his perilous drops would draw large, appreciative crowds. He was much in demand not just nationally but as far afield as Belgium and America.
In 1880 it was lived in by the family of Mr. Nightingale, a forester who worked for the Grants. After a severe storm one night they thought it would collapse, and so were forced to abandon it, not to return. The last person to live there was Edwin Waugh, the dialect poet, sometimes referred to as the Lancashire Robert Burns. Whilst convalescing from illness at the tower it is claimed that he wrote Little Cattle, Little Care with the refrain “Lie thee down, laddie !” in which he is speaking to his dog at the end of the day.
By 1914 it was in need of restoration and so a fund was set up. By then the local farm at Top o’ th’ Hoof had become a pub called the Tower Inn and no doubt Grants Tower was still a draw. It was used by the Home Guard during the Second World War as a look out point, but during the war years the council closed it as it badly needed repairs. They also entered into negotiations with Peter Grant Lawson to buy it. This was all in vain, for on 21st September 1944 the tower suddenly collapsed. No efforts were made to restore it and so it has lain, falling more and more into ruin as the decades have passed.
The owner Mr. Buckley has decided to restore the building. The aim is to make it a partial but stable ruin. Much of the stonework on the site has been sorted, cleaned and put back into place at the ground floor level. This has been repointed and the windows restored on the front and side. There will now be only one ground floor room and this has had a new zinc roof to cover it to prevent further water damage to the remaining structure.
Sun 01 Aug 2021

Foundations for new houses on the site of the original Kem Mill.

1848 map.
The old car park for Cheeky Monkeys at the junction of Kem Mill Lane and Factory Lane, Whittle-le-Woods is now being excavated for the new housing development foundations. For as long as I’ve known it's been a car park but around 230 years ago it was the site of Whittle’s main spinning mill, the original Kem Mill. It is shown on the 1848 Ordnance Survey Map along with the associated mill race and lodge to power the waterwheel. By the 1840s it was owned by Edward Leece, a leading member of the Wesleyan Church. The mill was advertised for sale in 1858 after Edward Leece was declared bankrupt. The new owner was Henry Ward from Blackburn but in the 1880s he closed Kem (spinning) Mill and filled in the lodge. He then concentrated on the adjacent weaving mill which was on the site of the Cheeky Monkeys buildings that are currently being demolished for more housing. Kem Mill used to manufacture its own gas, partly for lighting. The gasometer (gas holder) is shown on the map and one of the cast iron retorts used for making the gas can still be seen on Factory Lane. Many thanks to local historian Dave_P for much of the detailed history and mill owner names.
back to my home page