Historical Maps of Burnley

Historical Maps John Davis & Neil Marshall

At Burnley Library we often use maps as a historical resource.

What was there before my house was built?

Where did Whip Street used to be?

JD: These are all questions that we as library staff are often asked. Personally I have never had any interest in maps. I have always seen them as antiquated and boring. For me maps are a hassle. Nothing says tourist more than being stood in the middle of a busy city with a huge map trying to figure out where I am. These days when in need I, like many other people, just head straight for my trusty iPhone and open Google maps. Continue reading Historical Maps of Burnley

Wigan cuisine – Pies and Prejudice

It only takes one visit to the town of Wigan to understand why it has firmly established itself as the ‘pie capital of Great Britain’. Step off the train at Wallgate Station and the sweet aroma of mince and onion gravy fills the air, attracting hundreds of lunchtime commuters to countless pastry restaurants lining the ‘Golden Crust Mile’.

Wiganers are proud of their nickname, ‘pie eaters’. But as inconvenient as it might sound, this does not stem from their love of a good meat an’ tater… or so legend has it. During the miners’ strike of 1926, Wigan colliery workers were forced to breach picket lines in order to feed their families. In other words, they were forced to eat ‘humble pie’.

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Hull, Hell and Halifax

Everyone from Hull has heard this expression, or something similar. Hell I can understand, but Hull and.. well, actually I don’t think I’ve ever been to Halifax… I’ve been doing a bit of research and I found out it is from the Beggar’s litany (or thieves’ litany) which in full is…
“From Hull, Hell and Halifax, Good Lord deliver us!”
Written by John Taylor in 1639, it warns of two cities with little regard for those who were thieves or beggars. In those days Halifax and Hull were (allegedly) a couple of towns that passed an order allowing magistrates to whip beggars out of town. An alternative theory suggests that because Halifax was one of the few towns with a Gibbet (for hanging criminals), and that Hull Gaol (ye olde worlde spelling of jail) was one of the most feared in the north of England, the three places should be avoided at all costs.
We’ve come a long way since then… you’ll miss out if you avoid Hull.
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Reprising Orwell’s search for Wigan Pier, the stuff of legend

‘Aye, lad, there were once sideshows and ice cream vendors the length and breadth of Wigan Pier. Brass bands, hoopla stalls, one armed bandits, the lot! Back in the Twenties, it was more popular than Blackpool… those were the days.’

Grandad always did enjoy making up a good fairy tale, but he was right about one thing – Wigan Pier did indeed exist. No, it wasn’t a pleasure pier like the ones at Southend and Brighton, but a wooden gantry for carrying materials between mills. Because it happened to cross the Douglas valley, it jokingly became known as ‘Wigan’s Pier’. And while it probably isn’t as popular as Blackpool’s, it is certainly as well known.

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The Not-So-Secret Appeal of Sci-Fi

“May the force be with you…”
“Expecto Patronum!”
“To boldly go where no one has gone before…”

Just a handful of quite iconic lines, from a handful of factions of the almost infinite multiverse that seems to come under the umbrella of “sci-fi”. Escapism, fantasy, future, past, technology, apocalypse, heroic, demonic, space, power, time, adventure, war, combat, love, life, death. All things…all themes covered, explored, touched upon and embraced in what we loosely call science fiction. And that is just for starters.

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