Friday, 13 February 2015

My Memories of Haslingden's Early Asian Settlers

The house here in the foreground was their first ever settlement in Haslingden which was on Lower Lane just below Hud Rake (another photo added below)

I can remember the first Asian settlers arriving in Haslingden, I was only about 10 years old it would have been perhaps 1958 approx when four gentlemen who hailed from Pakistan arrived and they were very friendly and enquiring as to vacant properties in the nearby areas. Thinking back it seemed strange to us as youngsters seeing these guys with their unusual looking furry hats, what I believe may have been called "karakul" hats.  They also showed us addresses written on notepaper of properties they wished to view and asked for our help to try and locate them.  I can also remember one of the guys had a little tin of really small nuts which he kept on nibbling at and in turn kept offering them to us.  

The very first house I remember them owning was on Lower Lane (see photo).  I also remember them shortly afterwards also purchasing the old Red Lion pub on Blackburn Road (See photos below) - (this would probably have been around the early to mid – sixties and the pub had been shut down for several years prior to their purchase). More settlers arrived in the town with the acquisition of the pub premises.

Before long those Asian settlers had opened up Haslingden’s first halal meat and grocery shop just further on from the old Pub on Blackburn Road and next door to Harold Alderson’s Newsagents shop and just before you reach Paradise Terrace (Check out first photo below).  I also remember clearly before they had opened their Halal shop they would come down at weekends to Harry Wilkinson's hen pens down across the railway from Carr Hall Street and would purchase from him his none laying hens which had not to be killed but sold to them live.  And you would see them regularly carrying old proven bags which would occasionally flutter with the contents of these live hens. 

The end building on the right was the
first "Mosque" and called the
Islamic Centre
Many years later "The Islamic Centre" mosque was opened up on Blackburn Road within what was the old William Henry Shaw (Coal Merchants) office which was just at the opening at the bottom of Spring Lane and opposite "Station Steps" or almost next to the Victoria Pub (or later called the Magnet or Jesters or these days the La'veranda restaurant). I am sure that this was the very first dedicated mosque building within Haslingden.

That period of history there was a wealth of local jobs in the nearby mills and you could literally walk out of one job one minute and have another job in another mill thirty minutes later.  Employment was nothing like the situation it is today. There were far more jobs than there were people to fill them.
Those early settlers got jobs in the local factories at Thomas Warburton's, also J.H. Birtwistle's, but chiefly at the Vine Fabric Company down at Vine Mill at the bottom of Station Road where they manufactured “Tufted” textiles like bedspreads etc.


This photograph taken from St. James shows to the bottom right hand corner part of the Red Lion Hotel and then if you move further along to your left and the gable end shop with the placard on the wall is where the first "Halal and Greengrocer" shop was.  Sadly all these properties have been demolished.


This photo is courtesy of Brian Smith which Jackie (Haslingden Roots) has kindly sent in shows more of the Red Lion Pub.

Email received  from Dorothy Birtwistle (nee Hargreaves) on 3rd March 2015

I remember the first Asians arriving.  I was teaching at the time at St. James School and our staff room overlooked the Red Lion pub which became the home for many of them. They worked shift work and as one group sett off for work, then another group was seen to be returning from work. I used to see some of them in the Midland Bank sending money home to their families as at first only the men came over.

Information received from Sandra Smith on 3rd March 2015

I remember Anna Mia, who used to go in the Savoy (downstairs). Always playing cards with the lads.
  I remember he was a conductor on the Haslingden buses at I would guess around the 1964 time.  The last time I saw him was in the late 1980s when he owned a Indian Restaurant at Clayton le Moors.

Information from Bob Frith on 3rd March 2015

Sandra Smith like to know that Mr Miah (actually Aslom Miah) is still living in the Valley on New Hall Hey in Rawtenstall, in the same house has lived in throughout his life in England. He is very alert and well, and remains active in supporting his community. I have interviewed him a couple of times about his life, and the experiences he had when he first came to Lancashire from Bangladesh. What is more he has just written a book about these times and all of the lessons he feels that he has learned during his life. It’s an interesting read.
Regards
Bob 

Another interesting snippett from Joyce Thorne (nee Adams) on 8th March 2015

Joyce Thorne (nee Adams) remembers from being a child around the 1959 period when she lived on Spring Lane.  That they used to go to the early asian settlers on Lower Lane and take a couple of cigarettes with them (probably donated either with knowledge or maybe not by their parents), and also they had to take some brown paper with them, and they would make for them large "kites" to fly on a timber frame. She says they were the best kites ever.

Email sent in on 12th March 2015 from Michael and Francis Murray
My family lived in the house with the green door, number 9 lower lane.  We lived there until 1958, when we moved into a council house on cedar avenue




Ilyas Khan

A lovely snippet sent through from Ilyas Khan to our Facebook Haslingden Old and New Page on 1st December 2015


Dear Bryan,  Thank you for a typically thoughtful and thought provoking blog post.  This was especially moving for me, for many many reasons.  I have spent a lot of time (and many nights) in both the first two houses in that wonderfully evocative photograph.  The first house was bought by a close family friend Umar Gul.  He and his wife lived there from the mid 1960's through to about 1972 or 1973 when they moved initially to Rawtenstall and then to Store Street.  They were very very close friends, more or less family, and the widow of Mr. Gul still lives in Store Street, and all her children are grown up and have done incredibly well.  The second house along was bought by my maternal uncle, Amin Bhatti, who lived there with his young family for a comparatively short time from about 1971 to about 1974 when they moved to Lancaster.  I spent more nights than I can recall in that house.  I have a great many memories of many of the early settlers.  My own grandparents were amongst the earliest, having arrived in the early 1930's.  I could go on and on, but wish to thank you for this wonderful gift of the blog and the private website.  The little boy who ran up the road from Hartley Street to his uncle is now in his 50's and I still make sure I come up to Hassy whenever I am back in Lancashire.  I attach a very recent photo of myself for those of you on this site who might remember an earlier and younger incarnation smile emoticon. 

Email and painting kindly received from Heather Holden who lived closeby on Hud Rake

Saw your "My Memories of Haslingden's Early Asian Settler's" this morning and was thrilled to see the house on Lower Lane, which I remember well.  We lived in the row behind (the part of Hud Rake which you can see in your second picture of the house), so I often passed it.  The house became beautiful and exotic looking when they moved in. Yes I agree, around 1958-1959.  I did a sketch of it at the time, then this painting.  This was from when they first came to live here. Was your photo, where the house looks whitewashed, from before or after? Very interesting article.
Heather Holden.

Painting by Heather Holden of Pakistani early settlers house on Lower Lane (click over painting to enlarge)

Thanks Heather for sending this beautiful painting, the more I look at it the more I get from it, and it is great that you have managed to capture a really important time in history. 

Thanks also to Joe Ash who remembered the name of the very first Mosque (The Islamic Centre) on Blackburn Road.


**********************************************************************

Just found another photo in the archive showing the early house on Lower Lane bricked up prior to demolition and the building of the new Flats (West View)


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For the following information I would like to thank James Moran-Zietek for the initial suggestion that I contact Bob Frith who has kindly allowed me to add the following information from the "Different Moons" booklet, produced to accompany the "Different Moons" project by the Horse and Bamboo puppet company exploring the stories of the first generation of people to come to Rossendale from Pakistan, India and Bangladesh.
Written by Bob Frith, at Horse and Bamboo 2014, used with permission.

POST WAR BRITAIN

During the immediate post war period migrations began as a result of a combination of economic and political developments.  After the end of the war in 1945, Britain faced huge challenges.  The economy had to be rebuilt and it was a time of great social change.  The NHS was established, slums were cleared and industries began to expand.  Servicemen and women returned from the war expecting better conditions at the workplace and were no longer prepared to accept pre-war standards.

It was also recognised by the UK government that there was a shortage of labour, so Britain looked for workers from Europe and the countries of the Commonwealth, particularly the West Indies, India and Pakistan.  The Royal Commission on Population reported in 1949 that immigrants of "good stock" would be welcomed 'without reserve'.

THE NEW WORKFORCE

The textile industry, on which Lancashire's prosperity had depended, had been in decline before the war but in 1945 there was optimism that it could revive if it was able to reduce its costs.  As a result, the industry enthusiastically grasped the opportunity offered by men emigrating from overseas to work in the cotton mills.  The majority of these jobs were low paid and in the least popular shifts such as night work.

Most of this new workforce were from Pakistan.  Pakistan had initially been divided into West and East Pakistan after partition from India in 1947, but in 1971 East Pakistan seceded, to become the independent country of Bangladesh.  The majority of the men who came to work in Lancashire fully expected to return to their homes in Pakistan or Bangladesh after a period of working here, during which time they would save sufficient money for their families.

From Pakistan the main areas of migration were from the villages around the town of Attock in the North-West; many people in Haslingden come from there and also from Mirpur, close to the border with Kuwait (sic).  In Bangladesh the main centre of emigration was Sylhet, then a poor region in the east of the country.  Many people from Mirpur region and Sylhet settled in Rawtenstall.

LANGUAGES

Each of the regions of these countries speak different languages - Urdu is the official language of Pakistan, although Punjabi is also spoken along with dialects such as Hindu.  Many of the immigrants from the North and West of the country were Pashtuns, speaking Pashto, while Bengali (or Bangla) is the language of most Bangladeshis, though many who came to Rossendale speak a Sylheti dialect.

THE NEW COUNTRY

Workers usually made their way to Rossendale after arriving in Liverpool, Hull or one of the other ports, or on a flight to London from Karachi.  Many would then use the informal network of contacts within the South Asian community to discover where work might be available.  After settling into a job, it would not be unusual to be encouraged by the mill owners to ask their brothers, uncles, cousins - other male family members - to join the workforce.  In this way several male members of an extended family would often gather to work and live close by one another.

Communications between Lancashire and home at that time were difficult.  There were very few telephones, both in the UK and in the villages in Pakistan and Bangladesh.  Telephone lines were notoriously unreliable.  As a result the new arrivals found it very difficult to keep in touch with families and friends back home, so postal and telegram services provided the main means of contact.  Feelings of loneliness and isolation were very common and hard to bear.

For most of the men, when they first arrived, living conditions in Rossendale were fairly primitive.  Few of the houses they rented would have had baths; toilets were usually not connected to the sewers.  In the 1960s this was not uncommon; many people in Rossendale lived in similar conditions.  Initially, it also wasn't unusual for 10 or more of the immigrant workmen to rent a house together, sharing a limited number of basic dormitory-type beds to cover different shifts at the mill.

GAINING CONTROL

Few of the men spoke English particularly well and as a result were unable to understand what services were available to them.  As a result the refuse collection, council wash facilities (such as slipper baths, available at the municipal pools), medical and housing services, were all difficult to access.

Slowly things began to change.  A few of the men got together to set-up informal support groups and organise themselves.  Many of the testimonies from people interviewed for the Different Moons project dwell on this period.  The struggle to improve their living conditions and life-style and the slow process of saving in order to send money home, purchase houses and gain control of their own living requirements, dominated much of their limited spare time.

Many friendships were made with the host community and there are frequent stories of support and help that the immigrants experienced.  Equally there were the challenges of racism and intolerance to be confronted.

CHANGES IN POLICY

For both the immigrant and host communities things changed substantially during the first 25 years following the arrival of the first South Asians to Rossendale.  From the 1970s onwards there had been much debate about UK immigration policy and successive governments began programmes of legislation to restrict the rules governing the right to immigration.  This contributed to and coincided with, the recognition amount many South Asian workers that their move to Lancashire was likely to be for months or years and for many would be permanent.

From around 1970, women and sometimes children and parents, began to move from Pakistan or Bangladesh to be with their men folk.  Families settled in Rossendale together and inevitably this meant that the nature of the local South Asian communities changed.

CHANGES AT WORK

At work, in housing and education, South Asians often faced the challenges of misunderstandings and discrimination.  To overcome these problems and to improve their standard of living and escape factory work, many became self employed.  As the textile industry continued its decline, Asian-owned businesses created their own jobs, while others worked to increase awareness and change practice within institutions.  As this happened they began to contribute more and more to the local economy and community.

LINKS

In the sixty years since the first South Asian immigrants arrived in Rossendale things have changed beyond recognition.  Familes originally from Attock or Sylhet now have three generations settled and at home in Rossendale. Despite this, strong links with the mother countries have been retained and many individuals and families return regularly to the villages in Pakistan or Bangladesh that their grandparents left 50 or more years ago.

TODAY

A settled community of South Asian familes as developed in Rossendale.  It has opened mosque for worship and shops and businesses to cater for food and other necessities.  New generations of young people from Asian families have taken the opportunity to study in college and universities.  Many of these families have achieved a prosperity that the first generation of immigrants would have been astonished to witness, even when it may have been their own aspiration and dream.

However, as a result of rapidly changing economic circumstances and overseas policies there is evidence of a recent growth of Islamophobia within the UK.  No doubt the whole community will continue to rise to these complex challenges to create an ever more intricate social tapestry.  The local South Asian heritage community is vibrant and visible and here to stay, very much part of Rossendale in the twenty-first century.

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Its a Bonny place so knock It Daaern!

It's a bonny place so knock it daaern"

It's a bonny place so knock it daaern,
So all can watch with a drooping fraaern.
There's tons and tons of Hassy's best,
Millstone grit can't be seen to rest!
Knock it daaern, knock it daaern!

Vicarage that stood up on that bonk!

In its shadow was Martins Bank,
Grammar School was a buried Road,
Good few ton did mek that load,
Knock it daaern, knock it daaern!

Major, would turn over in his grave if he knew,

What had happened to his Highfield view,
Lions at Carter Place have gone with rest,
We're left with a porch without its crest,
Knock it daaern, knock it daaern!

Town Hall! Council will have a Ball,

With all thi hard earned cash,
So lets get shut for once and for all,
Before they have their Annual bash.
Knock it daaern, knock it daaern!

Its only a building is yon Con Club,

For some I suppose it was their hub,
Another fine place was Workhouse past,
Who needs a hospital on yon hill,
Knock it daaern, knock it daaern!

And now another bites the dust,
Which once a brewer’s dream abode,
And later a place where prayers were said,
And now all but memories are read,
Knock it daaern, knock it daaern.

Even the "mighty" can fall but we'll not have a ball!

Salem, Trinity, Primitive and John Wesley preached!
but all went down with a "bang"
and no more did the bells ring or did the people sing"
 so Knock it daaern, knock it daaern!

Nah! don't let it stand still,

Or tha'll get a bill,
Knock it daaern!

The Vicarage - St. James Church (Photo by: unknown)

Martins Bank on Regent St (Photo by unknown)
Grammar School (Photo by: Clifford Hargreaves)

Highfield off Grane Road (Photo by unknown)
Carter Place Hall (Photo unknown)


Haslingden Municipal Buildings (lets call it Town Hall)

Con Club (Photo: Fred Scott)

Workhouse then Hospital (Photo by: Bryan Yorke) 



St. Veronicas which earlier was the home to Cpt. Baxter
(Photo: B. Yorke 2003)



Salem Chapel was on Regent St opp John St 




Trinity Baptist c1890


Primitive Methodist - Grane Road
Photo: Kindly shared by Chris Kirby



Wesley Chapel, Blackburn Rd on corner with Hud Hey

*************************************************************


CRIDDEN




"Cridden"

Cridden guards you from the East,
It was that Hill of Stags,
A beacon warns to Hameldon,
Then walk o-er bridge upon a Cloud,
To a point that tips the Crown
Before you came to Play the Deer,
Down and ordered Back – Up again,
No Stags upon them hills away,
No antlers hung by Stags heads 
For riches lie within thy peat,
Hazel shouts whilst birches shine like silver,
***
Sides with Pinner-ed becks and Cavern’s drip,
Slate-d tunnels of catacombs, and shafts to echo grand,
Breached flatts with peppered pits
Where such lonely wretched moor grass sits
Vibrato cries with Curlew’s mourn,
Gruffs and Roding beats of drumming snipe,
This time when honeydew rushes ripe,
Along this god forsaken place. 
***
Those becks that sent that gin to bloom,
That helped to power many a loom,
So precious to the marigold,
And sparkles to the stickleback
I can breathe, I can sip, I can rejoice,
To a place what’s given this town its voice
***
18th Feb 2015.

(Just uploaded the above photo to another site, the photo shows Cribden in the background
and inspired me to put pen to paper) If you do prefer explanation to the poem
please click here 


Cribden's “Iron Watter”

Dose them sties with iron watter lad,
It’ll shift them quickly I know!
Those were the words uttered by my father,
All them years ago, in fact sixty two years ago
And off we’d go o’er Sherfin to find that Brown stuff,

A calls it Brown Stuff or iron watter,
But being honest It was something magic,
And it always worked within twenty four,
It took them sties away and before long
I never had to go no more….

(this is purely another nice memory I have of the past and although the iron water did work for me, I am not advocating that anyone else should try it.")


This is a photo of typical "Iron Watter" which I took up near Slate during 2008.
Please click over photo to enlarge

If you would like to read a follow on blog entitled "Swinnell Brook" then please click here



PUTTING BETS ON AT PARKIES (1950's)




A was only a lad, a wee nipper mi thinks,
And every Saturday mi father would say,
Are you tekking these bets up to Parkies!
From up Hud Hey and along Blackburn Rd,
To Harry Parkies up on Maudland Bank.

So up them steep steps a went reet to top,
It was corner house was Parkies,
It was called Bank House and poshest house on row.
I was always gret by Mrs. Parkinson a lovely lady,
There were buckets of money under sideboard,
And lots of nooats in big silver dish as well.

I’d seh to Mrs Parky, bets from AT1 and AT2,
Never found owt what that AT business was about,
Always used to bet under pseudonyms them days.
Hush! Hush and all that……tha nuz! (finger tapping nose)
A used to get a tanner off mi father for sorting bets.

All went well for a month or two, then………
One Saturday came along and he gave mi his bets
And off I went, but something or someone caught my eye,
And distraction set in, so much so that I forgot about the bets.
I still never give it a thought and arrived back home for tea.
And guess what? the inevitable always happens!

Did you put mi bets on lad, cos we hit it big this week!
I’ve had a couple of winners and a double come up!
Talk about feel the mental pain! Didn’t know what to say.
But eventually said it I did,  well, well sorry dad but bets never got put on
What do you mean bets never got on………….

A got surprise of my life!
He looked a little sad but to be honest with you
I don’t think he was that cut up.……
Maybe mum had stepped in and sorted it!
But never did get to go to Parkies again.

*************************************


(Email received from John R Edwards on 26th February 2015)

Harry Parkinson used to have a basement room in Back Pleasant St. near the bottom, behind the Bank accessed via the archway between (incendentally) the bookies and the solicitors on Manchester Rd opp Commercial pub. He also had runners at various places, one of which was the Trades Club, I used to drop off bets there for my boss tackler, Walter Entwistle. That was in the very early 60's. The archway was a favourite spot for the Police Constable to stand to watch what was going on in the town, and he would often say whether Harry Parkinson was in or not.
John R Edwards






Friday, 6 February 2015

Helmshore Methodist Football Club


(all the following photos and information has been kindly supplied by Jack Pilling)



Sion Methodist Church, Helmshore
  (Please click over to enlarge)


Helmshore Methodists first football team was formed in 1955. It ran until 1959 once winning Division 3 of the Accrington and District Football league and reaching the semi-final of the league’s Townley Cup. In 1959 they amalgamated with Helmshore United.

In 1965 three players from the original team together with several sons of the same, who were playing for Haslingden Youth Club, got together and decided to reform. Leading lights in this reformation were Joe Haworth, who served on the Committee of the original team and Aquila Ashworth a devoted fan of local amateur football.
The Accrington Combination in 1965/66 consisted of four divisions plus a Junior Division, a total of 58 teams. The Methodists were put into Division 2 which included Haslingden St James, Poplar United and Cambridge Street Methodists whose team included prolific scorer Eddie Robinson and then Lancashire cricketer David Lloyd who was also a fine footballer. The Meths. First secretary was Joan Jenkinson, who was the only girl official in the Combination. The battles with Cambridge Street were highlights of the season but the best result they had was in the Colonel Bolton cup when drawn against a powerful S S Stotts team including ex Blackburn Rovers player Eric Corbridge, and against all the odds defeated them 3 -1.

The next season they were to meet Stotts in the final of the same cup but were beaten 2-1 on St James’s Prinny Hill pitch in front of a large crowd, reminiscent of the crowds who used to view the Haslingden Cup and Medals on neighbouring St Mary’s. That same season they achieved promotion to Division 1 and had the honour of being runners up in the Accrington League Sportsmanship cup. The highlight of their one season in Division 1 was the defeat of Helmshore United who were top of the league at the time. The team disbanded in 1978 by which time all the original players had retired although Aquilla Ashworth who was still involved asked Jack Pilling to play. He is still trying to recover from the experience which however resulted in a 4 goals to nothing win.

Aquilla liked to tag some players with nicknames. Examples were:-
Frank Ashworth – Oddjob (After the James Bond character)
Alan Isherwood – Clogger ( wholehearted tackling)
Brian  Haworth – Little Ben (The youngest of 3 brothers) Bonanza.
Martin Nuttall - Sidney (Martins Uncle Sidney was well known Chip Shop owner)




Members of the Committee from left
Fred Wadsworth, Joe Haworth, Aquilla Ashworth, Fred Barlow Snr.


These are the names of players who played for the team. Apologies to any missed out.
Frank Ashworth, David Haworth, Alan Isherwood, Malcolm Isherwood,  Brian Haworth, Colin Mitchell, Jack Pilling, John Wadsworth, Ken Riding, Keith Riding, Fred Barlow, Robert Haworth, Ronnie Wolfenden, Geoffrey Wolfenden, Ian Jefferson, David Smith, Peter Kelly, Joe Fox, Bernard O’Connell, Walter Maudsley, Fred Garrard, Peter Watson, Billy Staines, Terry Byrne, David Atherton, Chris Chaplow, Fred Teese, Dennis Hill,  Brian Lees,  Sherwood, Alan Jepson, Gordon Bright, David Peddie,  Hardman, Jack Hayhurst, David Malvern, Kershaw, Kenny Gregory, Neil Hulton, Martin Nuttall, Ronnie Greenwood, Laurence Barlow, Stewart Molloy, Michael Ingham, Philip Davies, Peter Wharton, Raymond Clegg, Raymond Barlow,  Derek Sowerby, Tom Egan, John Wylie, George Ashworth.    
 
Helmshore Methodist Football Club
(Back row from L): Ref, Ken Riding, R Haworth, A Isherwood, F Ashworth, R Wolfenden, F Barlow.
(Front row from L): D Haworth, J Wadsworth, Keith Riding, C Mitchell, J Pilling
Photo: kindly supplied by Jack Pilling and sent in on 6th Feb 2015.

1967 Cup Finalist
Notebooks showing officers of the club - Please click over to enlarge



1968 Team photo



 1969 Team Photo



                                                                               1970 Team Photo



                                                Helmshore Methodist Football Club


Methodist are playing here in the blue shirts, in action on Houghton Road in the days before the Sports Centre was built. (Click over photo to enlarge)






                                          A team photo published in the Haslingden Observer. 





Helmshore Methodist Football team doing some indoor training in the school room of the old Sion Methodist Church.  (Photo: Haslingden Observer - Garth Dawson)





This photo depicts the goalkeeper Frank Ashworth in action against Cambridge Street and being played on Prinny Hill ground (you can just make out Lamberts factory in the background).