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Hunting For Hapton

16 Aug

Been having a Google for interesting stuff from Hapton, the village I now live in.

Walter SimpsonSeveral interesting things came up.

We had electricity before Accrington and Burnley. Fancy that!

Source: Chronology of Electric Power

1888: Electric Lighting Act extends period before compulsory purchase possible to 42 years. Parsons installs his first turbo-alternator set at the Forth Banks Power Station. Operated at 4,800 rpm, capacity kw. One business already light by electricity in Burnley. Hapton streets illuminated by electricity from August. Joseph F. Simpson, a local man, who was an electrician with Edison & Co. in Manchester, installed a dynamo in his family’s Perseverance Mills. It was a modified Kapp machine, driven by a 6 HP steam engine which also powered the winding, taping and sizing machinery. The firm already supplied gas to the village, but extending gas lighting in the streets was considered too expensive. Instead seven 50 candle power electric lights were erected. Three were over the centre of Bridge Street where previous gas lights had only been of 18 candle power. Others were proposed for side streets, the Conservative Club and the mill’s warehouse. Swan’s incandescent lights, with enamelled iron reflectors, were used, and they were light from dusk until 9-45.

Hameldon Hill, in Hapton, used as a firing range by the Military from the early 1800s. The remains of target mechanisms could still be seen in the mid-nineties. Source: Hapton Heritage

Firing Range

In 1962 19 miners died as a result of an explosion at Hapton Colliery.
Read more here:


Painting by Lancashire artist Roger Hampson:

Hapton Miners

Hapton Miners – Roger Hampson

The village has a War Memorial to WW1, made from Aberdeen granite. Unveiled in 1921.

It is padlocked behind railings in the grounds of the local school.

List of men who perished: Burnley Gallantry

War Memorial

War Memorial

Will no doubt be digging up some other trivia, will blog them when I do.

Graham Ovenden

6 Apr

Now that artist Graham Ovenden has finally been convicted of indecency against young girls, will more be made of the fact that Lord McAlpine, who has been collecting libel money from various sources, owns what most people would regard as pornographic paintings from Ovenden’s collection?

BBC News

John Virtue

22 Jan
John Virtue

John Virtue

Just found out that John Virtue….an artist of some repute, was born here in my home town of  Accrington.

Born in 1947, he specialises in monochrome landscapes. He is honorary Professor of Fine Art at the University of Plymouth, and from 2003–2005 was the sixth Associate Artist at London’s National Gallery. Virtue trained at the Slade School of Fine Art from 1965–69.

In 1971 he moved to Green Haworth, (which is about half a mile from where I live)  painting landscapes for a couple of  years before abandoning painting in favour of pen and ink drawings comprising dense networks of lines supposedly “akin to the work of Samuel Palmer”.


Moonlight, a landscape with sheep.
Samuel Palmer

From 1978 he worked as a postman, giving this up in 1985 to work as a full-time artist. He lived in Devon from 1988–2004. Maintaining a studio in Exeter, he produced works around the Exe estuary, before being offered the post of Associate Artist (the sixth) at the National Gallery in 2005. The scheme engages contemporary artists to produce work that “connects to the National Gallery Collection” and demonstrates “the continuing inspiration of the Old Master tradition”.

Some of Virtue’s local art:

Accrington from the Coppice by John Virtue. From the collection at accrington's Haworth Art Gallery.

Accrington from the Coppice by John Virtue. From the collection at Accrington’s Haworth Art Gallery.

The Coppice is a part of Hameldon Hill in Lancashire

Green Haworth

Green Haworth, by John Virtue. From collection at Townley Hall Museum, Burnley.

Green Haworth, the area John Virtue used to live in.

View of Oswaldtwistle by John Virtue. From collection at Blackburn Museum and Art Gallery.

View of Oswaldtwistle by John Virtue. From collection at Blackburn Museum and Art Gallery.

Just down the road from Green Haworth.

I’m not sure I am over impressed by his work, and I certainly wouldn’t have put it in the same class as Palmer. But then what do I know? I’m not an art critic. I just know what I like..or don’t.

Below is a video showing John and some of his later monochrome stuff. He seems to draw mainly pictures of the London area these days.

What do you think?

Recycling Text

28 Dec

I came across this interesting article yesterday. Secret Lives of Readers

It deals mainly with the habits of readers. The what, how and where of readers from the past. It also looks into what was done with the printed word afterwards. Newspapers, magazines and paperbacks in the main.

It got me thinking.

As I’ve said before, I don’t read much fiction. I suppose those I would class as disposable or recyclable. The books I have, I like to delve into every so often, use as reference if you like. I would be loath to part with any of those, even though my collection is growing and I’m running out of places to put them.

What have we used these disposable books for in the past, or now? These days, sometimes beautiful books are discarded  because people can use E readers or read online. We can’t pass on a digital book to someone else when it’s finished. We can’t find them cheap in charity shops to help good causes. Shops dealing in second-hand books are already closing down due to computerised reading.

Book shop

Why second-hand bookshops are just my type

How to do things with books in Victorian Britain – review

Uses for reading matter:

Probably people of a certain age will remember the outside toilet at the bottom of the yard. Newspapers cut into squares with string threaded through the corner and hung on a nail. Well at least up here in the north of England we did that!

Health and Safety bods would have a field day with the way we used to get the coal fire going. Apart from paper being scrunched up in the grate, under the kindling and coal, many of us would use a broadsheet page against a large shovel to “draw the fire”.

How often have old, thin paperbacks been used as props to level furniture on an uneven floor?

Fish and chips – and sometimes food from other shops had newspaper as an outer wrapping. There was something about chips in newspaper that added to the experience somehow! That’s not allowed now.

Big heavy books were used as door stops or for pressing flowers and leaves.

Nowadays they still have lots of uses.

I’ve been known to use a large book to stand on to reach a shelf or suchlike, being all of five feet tall.

I’ve used newspapers in the freezer to fill empty spaces.

The many times I’ve moved house I have used them for wrapping ornaments and glassware.

They can be used for cleaning paint brushes.

For the bottom of the bird-cage or shredded as pet bedding.

Some people still use them for cleaning windows.

When I was at primary school we made objects out of  papier-mache, or tore up pieces of paper to stick on jam jars to make our own personal little vases.

They were, and are (books, magazines and  newspapers) – used for decoupage or origami.

Gardeners sometimes use them as mulch.

A brilliant way of recycling old books has been mentioned on this blog before. Book Art.

Like that of Brian Dettmer.  He does some brilliant things with hardback books. Do check out the link.

Are we ever going to lose the printed word entirely? I can’t see it. Maybe newspapers and magazines could one day be all digital, but books – I surely hope not.

Brian Dettmer – Book Art

1 Nov

Some amazing stuff by Brian Dettmer.

Book sculpture – absolutely fantastic things done with old books. The detail is unbelievable.

Only trouble is, it’s not like paintings in that you could buy  a copy, more’s the pity. Would have to be content with viewing online or in galleries.

More of his work in the links.

Brian Dettmer



Book Art

The Volume Library – 2010

Accrington Pals Painting

31 Oct

Found this on Deviant Art. It’s by a former local artist called Stephen Warnes, (now based in Cumbria) who goes by the name of Espiritoart on the site.

Obviously of interest to me being from Accrington myself.

Some more of his great paintings in the links here

Deviant Art

Still Waters Art Gallery

Accrington Pals

Accrington Pals – Stephen Warnes

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