Sunday 19 September

Clarion Sunday 2021

An artist’s project to celebrate this unique and historic event

Clarion Sunday is the annual pilgrimage to the last Clarion House by Clarion Cycling Clubs across the north of England.  It is always a special occasion.  This year, after repeat postponements, it really means a lot.  So we have commissioned Alan Ward for an artist project to make the experience of taking part just a bit more special.  If you are a club member, an individual cyclist, or just a Clarion enthusiast, Alan wants to hear from you.

With the rearranged date now fast approaching, and the promise of outdoor events going ahead, we are looking forward to seeing cyclists at Clarion House on the 19th September.

Alan J Ward artist, photographer and devotee of cycling culture, will be present to take a formal portrait of each rider with their mount, using a pop-up studio. He is also inviting cyclists to participate from different Clarion clubs to document their rides to Jinny Lane on the day, using the data provided by tools like Strava and Garmin. Alternatively why not take photographs en-route, make notes about the journey, reflect on the importance of Clarion’s roots, or share personal Clarion artefacts – creative contributions are very welcome!

As the Pendle Radicals commission by Mid Pennine Arts has now launched, Ward is particularly keen to reflect the communal cultural heritage of Clarion Cycling and its Socialist roots at this last Clarion House.

All of this material will be assembled and interpreted in a limited edition artist publication, which each participant will receive after the event with MPA’s compliments. All participants on the day will also receive a special memento to celebrate the day.

Alan Ward invites interested clubs or individuals to register involvement and participation by emailing him at alan@alanjward.co.uk. Also follow him on Instagram: alanjward_axisdesign & Strava: Alan Ward (#i_am_clarion)

In the Footsteps of Extraordinary People

March 2021… The pandemic still ruling our lives, and stopping us getting together with the Radicals’ team. Except on Zoom! During March we presented two packed events for the Pendle Hill online programme. And it was lovely to see so many Radicals’ contributors.

The first, on International Women’s Day, celebrated the magnificent Ethel Carnie Holdsworth with an in-conversation event focused on the making of our podcast which is about her and her novel, This Slavery, a radical feminist and socialist tale of love, loss, poverty and politics.

Jules Gibb and Liz Robertson, creators of the podcast series, offered a unique insight into why and how the podcast came about, the importance of the text and the impact that the extraordinary Ethel herself had on the world. They were joined by Dr Nicola Wilson, whose academic study of Ethel has brought about the republication of some of her novels.

It was a well attended and lively event much enjoyed by those that took part…

Great talk, really engaging and making Ethel very current at this time.

Brilliant evening thank you!

If you’d like to listen to the event you can find a recording on SOUNDCLOUD. You can find the podcast links HERE.

Later in the month we had a full house for an event to Meet the Radicals… On this evening we introduced some of the nonconformists, reformers and change makers researched by the volunteers of the Pendle Radicals project, and introduced The Radicals Trail, a new way of exploring our rural communities around Pendle Hill.

There must have been something in the air, because radical history is all around us. You just need to know where to look… The event looked at some Pendle Hill people who changed the world! Including the first Quaker, a Higham boy who became a beacon of the Enlightenment, the pioneers of the Independent Labour Party, and campaigners for women’s suffrage and for the right to roam. We shared information about themed Radicals walks and about future plans to grow and extend The Radicals Trail. As well as our own team we were joined by a current member of the Quaker community, a film maker working with Clarion House on a project to celebrate Selina Cooper, and two of our Radicals volunteers talking about the series of walks being created, including the Two Toms and the Wonder Women!

It was a packed event, with so much to say that we overran by 20 minutes! Nobody seemed to mind though…

Pendle Radicals, what a great way to bring the past to the present. Thank you. Tonight’s presentation has been excellent.

I’ve been enthralled with this presentation. Thank you for all the information. Going to get my walking boots back on real soon!

If you’d like to listen to the event you can find a recording on SOUNDCLOUD. Two film clips were shown as part of the event. You can hear the sound on the recording but if you would like to see the films you can find the links in the document below. This PDF document also has details of all websites and other resources mentioned on the night.

Radicals Trail panel for George Fox on Pendle Hill

The Wonder Women Walk

Contributors to Pendle Radicals are developing a series of themed Radicals walks.  After the Two Toms, celebrating two pioneers of the countryside movement, comes this homage to two inspirational campaigning women.  Bob Sproule gives a preview of this urban/rural trek linking historic locations in Nelson and Earby.

Barbara, Ruth and I left Nelson bus station and headed up Railway Street under the railway bridge and crossing.  Passing a number of streets we came shortly to Vernon Street. Here we arrived at Unity Hall, formerly the Nelson Independent Labour Party’s Socialist Institute. The foundation stones for the Institute were laid by our two subjects, Selina Cooper and Katharine Bruce Glasier, in 1907.  This was pre-lockdown, and the Revive Café was open, so we could go inside, marvel at the ILP (Independent Labour Party) mosaic in the entrance hall as well as photos of Selina, Katharine and the people in whose honour the stones were laid. 

Watch for latest news of post-Covid opening and Nelson Town Council’s exciting Selina Cooper project on their website.

We left Vernon Street and made our way through Nelson’s terraced streets to St Mary Street, where at number 59 we found the plaque on Selina’s former home. The plaque told of some of the campaigns Selina was involved in, but obviously could not give all the detail of an extraordinary life, that included being the first woman to represent the ILP when in 1901 she was elected as a poor law guardian. Despite being a full time worker from age 13 and with scant formal education, she became one of the  four women selected to present the case for women’s suffrage to then Prime Minister Asquith in 1910  because of her skills at oratory and debate.

Leaving St Mary Street, we soon arrived at the Leeds Liverpool Canal which then provided a delightful 1:8 mile walk to Barrowford Locks.  The Reverend Thomas Leonard officiated at Selina’s marriage, and here we cross the Two Toms Walk, as our emerging network of Radicals’ walks seems to mirror the network connections made by some of our Pendle Radicals!

A further 1:4 miles of glorious canal walking took us to the mouth of that wonder of engineering, the Foulridge Tunnel. Here we walked past Slipper Hill Reservoir, complete with hunting heron, past Sand Hall uphill in a tunnel of trees providing shade on a hot day and arrived at the road from Standing Stone Lane down to Foulridge.

Footpaths and lanes took us through Hey, Hey Fold and to a mill which is on a way marked Historic Waterways Circular Walk. We crossed the canal at Mill Hill Bridge and headed off across fields to Kelbrook. In Kelbrook we admired the village hall, a former old National School, as we walked up to Heads Lane to meet the Pendle Way.

 A wonderful walk along a section of the Pendle Way with great views north meant we eventually arrived at Birch Hall Lane where Katharine lived from 1922 until her death in 1950.

A full information board tells you that in 1893, upon the birth of the ILP, Katharine was the only woman on its administrative council. She led campaigns for pit head baths, nursery education and school meals and in 1919 was involved in the founding of the Save the Children Fund.

Following her death, discussion took place on how Katharine’s life could be commemorated. It was decided the house would be converted into a Youth Hostel and among the many organisations donating were the National Union of Miners.  The Earby Youth Hostel opened in 1958.  It is worth remembering that on the first board of the Youth Hostel Association was that other Pendle Radical, the Rev Thomas Arthur Leonard.

A night’s stay at the now independent Earby Hostel is highly recommended. Please note that after lockdown, the Hostel has been temporarily converted to offer single occupancy for summer 2020.

Then the following day, particularly if you have tried out the Two Toms Trail, you might be inspired to walk the half mile or so up to the Pennine Way, first mooted back in 1935 in Tom Criddle Stephenson’s article in the Daily Herald, and follow the acorn-marked route, all the way to Scotland.

Bob Sproule’s detailed route directions are available on request.  The Radicals research team will continue to develop this emerging series of Walks with Radicals, which we hope to make available as downloads from the forthcoming Pendle Radicals website.

The Clarion Sunday That Wasn’t

Last Sunday, 13 June, should have been a big day in the calendar for Clarion House.  For 125 years, on Clarion Sunday, riders from Clarion cycling clubs across the north have converged on this historic location, but this year the virus intervened.  Artist Alan Ward will be celebrating Clarion Sunday 2021 with a multimedia project for Pendle Radicals.  In the meanwhile, he marked the Clarion Sunday that wasn’t with this introductory missive to the cycling clubs, and the gift of a virtual ride to the one and only Clarion House.

Image courtesy of London Clarion Cycling Club

Clarion Sunday 2021
Sunday 13 June
The Fellowship of the Wheel (working title)
An artist’s project by Alan Ward to celebrate this unique and historic event.

We are looking forward to seeing you next year, it is disappointing that Clarion Sunday hasn’t been able to happen this year, as I’d been looking forward to working alongside MPA, to create an artist engagement with your cycling community. By way of a small homage to the rides you would have made, I have created a little lock down virtual ride to Clarion House from my home in South Manchester.

Clarion Sunday Virtual Ride 14.06.20 from Alan J Ward on Vimeo.

Just prior to the shutdown, I’d purchased a gravel bike to begin to explore a little more off tarmac. My ride encompasses some of those surfaces, as I make my way through Greater Manchester. The film was made using a mapmyride plotted route, which was imported into the wonders of the Google Earth app. It’s a little bit of fun and references the fly-throughs of TDF stage previews and dreaded spin classes.

For Clarion Sunday 2021, we want to make your day a bit more special, and offer you something to remember it by.

I am an artist, photographer and designer, but also a devotee of cycling culture. I would like to document your club rides to Clarion House next year, using the data provided by tools like Strava and Garmin, and include photographs and notes from the journey to Jinny Lane. Between now and then I will be seeking your help with planning this. On Clarion Sunday 2021, I will be present to take a formal portrait of each rider with their mount, using a pop-up studio, and MPA will thank participants with a small one-off memento of Clarion Sunday to take away. Afterwards, I will assemble and interpret all the material gathered into a limited edition publication, and each participant will be sent a copy, with MPA’s compliments.

If you are interested in taking part you can contact me by email

Clarion Sunday is already a very special event. Through this project, we want to capture some of that, and give your members something unique to remember it by. We hope you will be willing to help, because we can’t do it without your participation. Thank you, and we look forward to seeing you next year!

National CCC 1895 motif

Alan Ward is our designer for Pendle Radicals and the Radicals Trail, but also a practising artist and a devotee of cycling culture. Read more about his projects on his website , including the extraordinary Photographs from Another Place.

We’re Going To Need A Bigger Songbook

Fresh air and green space are precious commodities at present.  Our Radicals researchers want to honour the pioneers who gave working class people a chance of sharing those bounties.  Walking guide author and Pendle Radicals volunteer Nick Burton writes about T A Leonard and the collective joys of rambling and singing. 

I’m a rambler, I’m a rambler, from Manchester way,

I get all my pleasure the hard moorland way,

I may be a wage slave on Monday,

But I am a free man on Sunday.

These words are the familiar chorus from Ewan McColl’s celebrated hiking song, The Manchester Rambler. It was a song written soon after and inspired by the Kinder Trespass of 1932 which has become synonymous with rambling. But what ramblers’ songs came before it? After all, rambling and singing were popular with the working classes of the industrial north in the 19th century and the two free communal pursuits went together so naturally. The story of our own Pendle Radical, Thomas Arthur Leonard, provides an interesting insight into how rambling and singing became dovetailed in perfect harmony.

T_A_LeonardT.A. Leonard (1864-1948) was a London born Congregational Minister who accepted the post as pastor at the Dockray Square Congregational Church in 1890. This church stood on the current Colne Library site and Leonard and his family took up lodgings in Keighley Road. Leonard himself described Colne as a, ‘bleak upland township’ but it was here that he quickly put into practice his own philosophy of holiday-making: cheap, educational holidays in the countryside for the working class, a departure from the typical boozy and frivolous Wakes Week holidays most mill workers spent in crowded seaside resorts.

Like many other non-conformist churches, the activities at Dockray Square church were organised through a social guild. The guild organised pastimes to improve the lives of their church members with educational evening classes, musical recitals, choir singing and, of course, a rambling club set up by T.A. Leonard himself. The rambling club enjoyed the local delights and fresh air of the Pennines and Ribblesdale until in June 1891, T.A. Leonard organised the first club holiday to Ambleside.

Leonard took a group of 32 Colne mill workers to stay at Smallwood House in Ambleside – this is still a guest house today. The cost of the holiday was 21 shillings including the rail fare. Days were spent on rigorous fell walks. Evenings were spent in communal fellowship with scientific lectures. The singing of songs was an integral part of both the walks in the day and the social gatherings in the evening.

The author Douglas George Hope, in his book Thomas Arthur Leonard and the Co-operative Holidays Association, reveals that ‘a simple broadsheet’ of songs had been used in Leonard’s early walking holidays from Colne. We know that Auld Lang Syne was one of the songs included as Hope notes that this was traditionally sung at the social evening on the last day of Leonard’s holidays. After Leonard’s formation of the Co-operative Holidays Association (CHA) in 1893, Hope also notes that by 1897 the ‘simple broadsheet’ with popular hymns like Jerusalem had expanded into a CHA booklet of 38 songs – made up of ‘hymns and traditional songs such as John Peel and Strawberry Fair’.

Leonard’s successful Colne experiment led to him forming the national organisation of the CHA with affordable and educational walking holidays for both men and women. The earliest accommodation centres were in locations such as Ambleside, Keswick, Edinburgh, Barmouth, Whitby, Buxton and Conwy. It is interesting to note that another of our Pendle Radicals, Selina Cooper, the suffragist campaigner from Barnoldswick, helped run a CHA centre in Keld with her husband for a year.

812iyCixnHLThe immediate success of CHA holidays is also reflected in the need for a bigger songbook. As Hope notes, the booklet of 38 songs produced in 1897 was replaced only a year later by a song book of 60 songs. This was known as Songs of Faith, Nature and Comradeship and was expanded in the early years of the 1900’s to include French and German songs as the CHA began to offer affordable international walking holidays in Europe in the years leading up to the First World War. The song book included La Marseillaise, Der Gute Kamerad (The Good Comrade) and the carol O Tannenbaum. Holidaying in France or Germany, the importance of these songs in cementing international friendships should not be underestimated.

T.A. Leonard with his pioneering spirit never rested upon his laurels. He parted company from the CHA in 1913 to form the Holiday Fellowship (HF). He felt the CHA was becoming rather middle class and conservative in its outlook and the HF was intended to return to that original philosophy of providing cheap, simple holidays for the working class. Yet he made sure he took his songbook with him and both the CHA and the HF used the Songs of Faith, Nature and Comradeship, the communal singing being as much a part of HF holidays as they were at CHA holiday centres. In 1922 the HF produced its own songbook, Songs by The Way which by 1929 had morphed into the booklet known as Songs of Faith, Nature and Fellowship. The HF singalongs cut out the traditional hymns and concentrated more on rousing folk songs. I am sure the likes of Ilkley Moor Baht ‘at was in there somewhere.    

71aSlnLJluLLeonard’s songbook, which had started as a simple broadsheet in Colne, lasted into the post-war days of the CHA and HF. Inevitably, the social and cultural changes in British holiday-making in the 1960’s led to the demise of communal singing both on walks and at the holiday centres. Increasingly, people used the CHA and HF centres to do their own individual thing, even go to the local pub in the evening (which would have been frowned upon by Leonard) or watch TV in the lounge. The CHA and HF had to survive in a world that had more choice for holidaymakers and they adapted by offering specialist activity and themed holidays.

Perhaps as a tribute to the Congregational minister who helped improve the lives of many East Lancashire mill workers, we can celebrate by singing his songs once again. The revival of interest in local choirs around Pendle Hill reflects the importance of singing – and rambling – as a free communal activity that is good for social interaction and, ultimately, for mental well being. We need to grasp the Songs of Faith, Nature and Fellowship and walk across the hill again in communal song. It will be a fitting tribute to the work of Thomas Arthur Leonard, the undoubted father of the British open-air movement which began in the shadow of Pendle Hill.

As the popular 1950’s rambling song, The Happy Wanderer, goes:

I love to go a-wandering

Along the mountain track

And as I go, I love to sing

My knapsack on my back

Nick will be back leading a series of Bowland history walks in autumn 2020.  Read more on his own website.  With other Radicals volunteers, he is also working on themed walks for the Pendle Radicals programme, including a Two Toms walk linking Leonard with Tom Criddle Stephenson.  Watch out for details!
  • Thomas Arthur Leonard and the Co-operative Holidays Association  by Douglas George Hope (2017)
  • Adventures In Holiday-Making by T.A. Leonard (1934)

Singing at Clarion House - EL Clarion Choir
East Lancs Clarion Choir at Clarion House




Photographing The Punks

Photographer Casey Orr, whose portraits of people involved in the Pendle punk explosion of 1979-80 will be exhibited as part of  Sick of Being Normal – Pendle Punk – 40 Years  On, gives an outsider’s perspective on how the physical and emotional landscape of East Lancashire played its part…


I’ve lived in the North of England for 25 years and in that time I’ve regularly travelled from Yorkshire over the Pennines to visit my in-laws in Burnley.  I’ve run on the hills and explored the towns of East Lancashire. As a photographer I’ve worked there and know many people from the region. I’ve lived with one of these punks for over half my life so you’d think I would have understood a bit more about how punk changed the lives of people coming of age at that time and the ways in which this creative explosion reacted with British culture and specifically Northern small town communities.

I just did not get it until sitting in on the interviews for this project and listening to these people talk about that time and how it transformed their lives forever.

The smaller worlds we all inhabited in the 1970s are so alien to us now in the 24/7 interconnected nonstop reality we live in. There was less visible choice of who we could be, of what lives were possible. When we come of age and are looking for clues to guide us these chance meetings and sightings often come from culture, from music.

Forty years ago I was 11 years old and watching Saturday Night Live in my family living room in small town USA. David Bowie was carried onto stage in a plastic tuxedo by performance artists Klaus Nomi and Joey Arias. The performance changed my life forever. My whole self woke up to the possibilities of what my life could be.


The people photographed here, I photographed 12 people for the project, spoke about these moments too, moments that changed everything. They were young adults when punk exploded, full of energy, just stepping out of school and family life and in a position to seemingly make anything and everything happen. They were from the same place, from a shared culture and often a shared lack of opportunity. All of this bonded these creative kids and made a community through the music, art, fun and freedom that punk offered. They were in it together. Everyone talked about this.

The interviews and days photographing these people also showed me how important and integral the landscape of East Lancashire is to the people from here. There are hills to be seen everywhere, hills to be climbed and hills to look down from. Towns can be climbed out of, horizons are negotiated by what can and can’t be seen. The land is undulating. There are rocky outcrops to sit on, gardens to tend, paths to walk down. There is the changing sky, the clouds, the rain.

And then there is the wind. It blows through your coat, past your ears, up your pantleg. It sneaks around every corner. It isn’t quiet!

These people are a part of this landscape. The outside and inside are connected, the person, the hill, the wind. They are the 1970s punks but they are of this place – part of this landscape that predates us all.


Casey Orr is a documentary photographer, researcher and lecturer at Leeds Beckett University.  Her long running project Saturday Girl, which in 2019 won an award at Format Festival, will be the subject of a new publication in 2020 from Bluecoat Press.
Click here to find more information, and buy tickets, for the Sick of Being Normal event on Saturday 8 February 2020 on Eventbrite.

The Two Toms Trail

Bob Sproule tells us about a walk he, and other Radicals volunteers, went on in May, retracing the steps of the Two Toms…

Whalley to Colne – A Radical Route

Today, Nick Burton, Barbara Sanders and I left Whalley via the railway station, passing the old corn mill; Whalley Abbey and then walked on Princess Street, where Tom Stephenson lived as a 13 year old worker when he walked on to Pendle and dreamt of long distance footpaths and access to the countryside.

TS 2

We passed his house and proceeded towards Spring Wood past the Police Station he had to attend for failing to answer his call up papers in the First World War, he was sent to Clitheroe magistrates’ court and sentenced to prison.

pic 2

From Spring Wood we climbed steadily past interesting buildings until we eventually arrived at the Nick O’Pendle. We headed off towards Apronful Hill planning to get to Deerstones via Badger Wells Hill, however a minor detour to the hustings place of the Sabden Chartists and on to the Chartists Well prove both irresistible and worthwhile.

Back on track we went via Deerstones, on to the back of Fell Woods and dropped down into the lovely village of Newchurch. After visiting St. Mary’s Church we exited through the back gate and heading down to Spen Brook, we turned left here to walk past the second Clarion House run by Nelson ILP, (Independent Labour Party) at Nabs Farm before heading past Dimperly Farm to the current ILP Clarion for a lunch break.

The afternoon consisted of the ascent to Nogarth End and a delightful ridge walk to pick up the Pendle Way above Barrowford, where we dropped down into the village and walked through the park to the Pendle Heritage Centre, up Barrowford Road to take a canal towpath under the M65 and pick up a cycle route into Colne.

We walked to Dockray Street, but couldn’t work out where Dockray Square and the chapel Thomas Leonard preached in, and took his parishioners from, on trips to the Lake District, was. Fortunately, Brendan in the town library explained that the library (rear portion) covered the site of the congregational church and there was a plaque to the church in the library entrance, he also checked the 1891 census and told us that Leonard was living at 128 Keighley Road, Colne at the time of the census.

Like Stephenson, Leonard was a pacifist and in later life became a Quaker, both did practical things to make access to the countryside available to working people, they campaigned together as well as separately for the rights of ramblers and I feel they are owed a huge debt of gratitude by modern day walkers and are undervalued radicals who deserve recognition for their achievements.   

Nick Burton will lead a circular 5 mile walk to this area as part of the 2019 Pendle Walking Festival, on Saturday 17 August – walk number 47 Chartist Walk.

 Would you like to be a Radical researcher yourself? Contact Faye for more information…

Pendle Radicals Gather at Black Stone Edge…

Remembering the Chartists…

It has been a busy few months for our Radical volunteers.  Recently Bob Sproule and Barbara Sanders attended this years Blackstone Edge Gathering. You can find out more about that and how the attendees at the Gathering heard about Pendle Radicals below…

Bob Sproule:  The Blackstone Edge Gathering is a long standing event which celebrates Chartism, a political movement which flourished in Britain during the early to mid 19th Century. One of its aims was to create a better standard of living for working people, especially those that experienced both hard working and living conditions.


The event therefore pays tribute to individuals such as Ernest Jones who was a leader of the chartist movement in the 1840s. It is particularly noted that in 1846 Jones addressed a gathering on Blackstone Edge which over 30,000 people attended. Moved by this experience, 30,000 people gathering at one spot, from all different directions, Jones wrote a poem commemorating the event, which you can read here!

The following is organiser Gwyneth Morgan’s account of this year’s event, which she has kindly allowed us to share:

This year about 30 of us braved the cold and trudged up to the gathering place under cloudy skies.  But there was a clear view of Pendle, a hazy view of surrounding towns, Manchester and the hills of North Wales.  And it didn’t rain.

Nine of us walked up from Todmorden, past the Basin Stone where Chartists used to gather, along Gadding’s dam, past one of Simon Armitage’s stanza stones, on to the White House to meet up with others, and then finally up to the gathering placeBEG2019-3-e1557163955372 below the rocky outcrop at the end of the Blackstone Edge ridge.  Four others walked up from Littleborough, and the rest assembled in the carpark below the White House pub and walked up from there. 

Two, alas, headed off in the wrong direction and only reached the gathering place after everyone else had left.  Hopefully they’ll be able to try again next year.

We sang and we picnicked, but this year didn’t linger long as it was so cold.  Behind us three climbers were scaling the outcrop and before us a couple of paragliders were circling.

Andrew Bibby read some of Ernest Jones’s words, taken from reports of his speeches in the contemporary press.

Bob Sproule spoke about Pendle Radicals, a project organised by Mid Pennine Arts and how he aims to create several walking routes as an outcome of this. (Look out for a future blog for more information about this…)

Barbara Sanders told us about research into the life of Ethel Carnie Holdsworth, which is (also) a part of the  Pendle Hill Song Fellowship project.

Thanks to everyone who turned out in the cold to join the gathering, but special thanks to the speakers and to Barbara Sanders and Moira Hill for leading the singing.

BEG2019-1Pictures by David Hedley, Barbara Sanders and Bob Sproule.


Once again we see proof of how inspiring Pendle is for people past and present. If we reflect upon our Radicals cast list for example, it was Pendle Hill that inspired George Fox in the founding of the Quaker movement and it was a trip to Pendle that inspired ‘radical rambler’ Tom Stephenson, leading to the creation of the Pennine Way.




Are you inspired by the area of Pendle? Learn more about our project here and contact Faye for information on how you can get involved.


A very Radical couple of months…

May 2019

Catch up with some of the things we have been up to as part of Pendle Radicals. As Faye Wetherall reports, it’s true to say it has been a very busy and RADICAL few months with lots more to look forward to…


Have YOU got what it takes to be a Radical Explorer?

A few weeks ago as part of Pendle Hill Landscape Partnerships Free Family Nature Sessions we hosted a Radical Explorer themed workshop!  Held at the glorious Clarion House, the last IMG_5813one of its kind in the UK, the workshop shone light on just one of our Radical Trail sites which will be kite marked later this year.  (Look out for more on this…) We recruited lots of new Radical Explorers who made their own Explorer Journals, learnt about their local history and discovered their unique Explorer Name.  It was fantastic to introduce the project to a young audience who particularly enjoyed learning about the extraordinary Ethel Carnie Holdsworth, the first working class woman to have a novel published, just one of the many remarkable, but often forgotten, people of Pendle which Pendle Radicals aims to bring into the light.



Banner, Protests and Campaigning…

Over the last few months we have made lots of progress in the organising of our banners exhibition which will feature in the first British Textiles Biennial in October. We invited banner artist Jamie Holman to come and give a talk to our growing group of volunteers and we are looking forward to visiting the Peace Museum in Bradford later this week for further research and inFKRS8005spiration.

In the build up to what we hope will be a very impressive showing of textile banners both past and present, we are working with a group of GCSE Textiles students at Marsden Heights Community College. Over the course of seven sessions, the students will be thinking about what challenges they themselves face as young women today and what issues they feel strongly about. They will be inspired by the needlework of the suffragettes and will be thinking about what these women would be fighting for today. The work will be exhibited in the lead up to the British Textiles Biennial, with the students given ownership of how their work is displayed…


People Enjoying Nature…

We had a great day with Pendle Hill Landscape Partnership, providing a Radicals themed session as part of their People Enjoying IMG_6466Nature programme. These sessions provide individuals and groups dealing with mental health issues and social isolation the opportunity to learn new skills and meet new people, and so it was amazing to share our project with them and leave them wanting to learn more about the amazing people and places associated with their area. It was a fabulous day of making and walking, we took in two of our Radicals sites, the Inghamite church and Clarion House and the group were inspired by the work of Selina Cooper and Ada Nield Chew, thinking about and expressing some the issues they would be fighting for today!



A Full House for Peterloo

It was great to see lots of familiar and new faces at the screening of Peterloo as part of In-situ’s Pendle Social Cinema programme.  Ballad singer Jennifer Reid kicked off the evening with some live singing which certainly warmed up the audience, Jennifer will be leading her own project as part of Pendle Radicals… keep scrolling for more information. Nick Hunt (MPA Creative Director) followed with an update about the project. All proceeds from the screening are going to Clarion House.  Sue Nike from the Clarion told us about some of its interesting and radical history!



Novels, Poetry and Songs…

Reader, writer, poet, pacifist, suffragist, co-operator and educator Ethel Carnie Holdsworth has gPR - Audio Premiere - ECH - 25.3.19 - 2reatly inspired our team of volunteer researchers. With their help, as well as Drama Specialist Jules Gibb and broadcaster Liz Catlow, we have recorded a selection of Ethel’s poems which will feature in the National Poetry Archive. We are therefore inviting you to a celebratory event of this happening on Friday 7 June. As well as hearing these poems being brought to life, you will also have the opportunity to learn about one of Ethel’s novels that has been recently republished. East Lancashire Clarion Choir, based in Burnley, is currently singing about Ethel Carnie in a project called the Pendle Hill Song Fellowship. Come and hear the Songs of a Factory Girl – in song. Find out more here.


Broadside Ballads and Paul Graney…

Inspired by one of our Pendle Radicals, Paul Graney, ‘the man with the tape recorder’, Jennifer Reid will be creating a dialect reading group which will develop into a dialect writing group for people who live around Pendle Hill. Is this you? Why not some along to an introductory session to find out more about Paul Graney, his work and how you can get involved in this project.


This is just some of the RADICAL things that have been keeping us busy over the last few months… learn more about the project here and how you can become involved as a volunteer!




Thomas Criddle Stephenson

Bob Sproule introduces the ‘radical rambler’, a hero of the campaign for the right to roam, and an overlooked inspiration behind the creation of the Pennine Way.

Who is Thomas Stephenson you may ask?

British journalist and leading champion of national parks, long distance paths and walkers’ rights in the countryside.

tomDespite having inspired the creation of the Pennine Way many people are not familiar with the name Thomas Stephenson. Why? A question we are able to answer. If we were to ask the question, who had the vision on Pendle Hill? A large number of people would answer George Fox. What many don’t know is that Thomas Stephenson as well had a dream on Pendle Hill.

‘I beheld a new world. Across the valley were the Bowland Fells; and away to the north Ingleborough, Pen-y-ghent and other Pennine heights, all snow covered stood out sharp and clear in the frosty air.’

It is this that is said to have lead to the establishment of long distance paths and was also the inspiration behind having a national long distance trail. Stephenson continued on to write the first official guidebook for the way and as well became a long serving committee member of the Commons, Footpaths, Open spaces and Footpaths Preservation Society.

Like many of our other Pendle Radicals Stephenson was hard working and determined, by the age of fifteen he had started a seven year apprenticeship as well as taking evening glasses in Geology, surviving on less than six hours sleep a night.

It is clear that Stephenson’s achievements are many and his interest in walking and campaigning for open access to the countryside were inspired by that first trip up Pendle as a 13 year-old, a place that many encounter daily, who knew it held so much history…


pendle hill

Read the full version of Bob’s essay here.