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Notes and Queries on matters to do with Heysham’s Heritage

MidlandRetrospective

This new book published by the Midland Railway Society has been brougfht to our attention:
Midland Retrospective by John Earl & Steve Huson: Cloth Bound - Hard Back
212 pages  245 x 220 mm - ISBN 978-0-9955142-1-8 :  Price £27.50 (plus £2.50 P+P)

From the beginning the authors set out to make Midland Retrospective different. Different in that it has much of new significance for railway historians and enthusiasts but also is a valuable introduction for the general reader. Different in that it looks at eight different aspects of the Midland Railway Company, using new maps and the resources of a specialist designer to shed a clear light on the subject. The book is copiously illustrated with many photographs that are being published for the first time and the authors have made full use of the remarkable resources of the Midland Railway Study Centre at the historic Silk Mill in Derby.
Steve Huson (co-author) writes to us:  “Of particular interest to Heysham residents is the chapter on Midland Railway’s Hotels which includes a section on Heysham Tower (for which I received help from David Collins) and also the Midland Hotel at Morecambe – that’s the first one (on early old maps appears as North Western Hotel) - not the present magnificent Art Deco building.   Our reviews so far have all been very positive, but what better an endorsement than the review in the doyen of all railway magazines, the ‘Railway  Magazine’ itself? Part of the review in their  October issue reads:”
“A high quality publication that is lavishly illustrated with high quality black and white and colour illustrations which have been chosen for their relevance, many being published for the first time. Those with an enduring fascination for the Midland Railway will find much to delight them. This is an excellent publication and very strongly recommended.”
To order a copy contact: Andrew Cholerton  booksales@midlandrailwaysociety.org.uk

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Edward Eccles, last home weaver in Darwen,
This picture appears on a BBC Local history page

Historically the Heysham peninsula is frequently described as a farming and fishing community which are very visible activities.  Equally important for living are the occupations of weaving and spinning  and in church records where the occupation of a person is sometimes listed there are many occurrences of ‘weaver’.
HHA member Kate Schofield is looking for information  on the following

(i) 18th century cotton handspinning Overton

(ii) 19th century  Fishermens Gansies from Lancashire coastal villages,

(iii) pre-industrial revolution handloom weaving in the Heysham area..

If you think you can help in any way please contact her at  schofield316@btinternet.com
 

Katherine Gregson, one of Heysham Heritage Association’s first members is interviewed on a YouTbe video by members of Morecambe High School:

“Katherine Gregson describes a happy childhood playing with friends in the fields of Heysham village; how the war took her and her family to Plymouth; and how she is passionate about preserving the history and archaeology of Heysham.”  Click here to play video

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We have just received this 1870s vintage postcard from correspondent Darren Foster. He says he has been to Heysham recently and as far as this photograph is concerned little has changed .

Aerial photographs of all Heysham’s Grade 1 listed buildings

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In conjunction with Phantom Films of Morecambe (http://www.phantomfilms.co.uk) Canvas prints of these photographs  can be viewed and ordered by visiting the Heritage Centre. St Peter’s Church below and St Patrick’s Chapel and rock graves to the right. There is no copyright watermarking on the prints.
There are also jumbo (A5) postcards  (captioned with names of buildings) available of two of the images at £1 each, The reverse side is blank.

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New Publication: The Legacy of the Celts and other Antiquities

The idea for this short (12 pages) A5 guide to St Patrick’s Chapel and other antiquities was conceived and written by long time Heysham Heritage member and local historian, Richard Withers. His friend, Helier Hibbs, prepared it for publication and organized the printing by Pagefast.  We congratulate them both on the care and thinking that has gone into the production of this attractive and colourful guide. The Association helped a little with suggestions and advice and it is a significant and welcome addition to the list of HHA publications.

It is now on sale in the Heritage Centre (£2) and all proceeds  go to the upkeep of the Centre. The author and his colleague have met the cost of publication and we are much appreciative  of this  generous gesture.

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Large Heath butterfly

Heysham Moss nature reserve hit the  BBC headlines recently because of the successful reintroduction of this butterfly which has been missing from the site for over 100 years.

The butterfly only lives in boggy areas and the main larval(caterpillar) foodplant is Harestail Cotton grass. Before the Moss was acquired by Lancashire Wildlife Trust it suffered from drying out due to drainage for agricultural purposes. By various means this is now being reversed and the foodplant is presumably now thriving enough to create the right conditions for the butterfly to maintain a sustainable population.

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Barnacled structure on Heysham shore

Our correspondent Mike Bywater has sent us this photo taken last year at Heysham.  Please can anyone tell us what its origins are?

The buildings behind along the shore line run from Grosvenor flats to about the children’s play park in the Village Bay. So it seems the structure is in the vicinity of Throbshaw Point, Heysham Head. It is not the wreck of the Vanadis; that is in Half Moon Bay.

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A new ‘giant’ postcard, A5 size (standard letter rate) has been designed by Graham Dean  © and will be on sale in the Heritage Centre from Easter onwards priced £1.

On the back is the standard postcard layout for message and address and message.

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The new National Trust trail leaflet has now been published

The trail covers the village and the National Trust headland. It is copiously illustrated with old photographs of places in Heysham, supplied by Heysham residents John & Doreen Reid and Ian & Val Millar, which are still recognisable though some aspects will have changed over time. Reminiscences and anecdotes of  HHA members and other Heysham  residents about the photographs are also a feature of the leaflet

Some of the old photographs can be seen  here

Nancy Burditt (NT) conducted the recorded interviews  and has generally overseen the production of the leaflet. Alan Ferguson  (NT) i started the whole project going before he retired. Our thanks to them both.

A copy of the leaflet can be downloaded from the National Trust site  Heysham Pager

 

An industrial building at Middleton
A local correspondent has drawn our attention to this long hangar building now part of Middleton Business Park. He surmises that it pre-existed the huge oil refinery once at Middleton but for what purpose? For more information on the refinery at Middleton click on the picture.

 St Peter’s Primary C of E School, School Road Heysham

This note was triggered by an enquiry from a great grandson of Joseph Ward, one of the 19th century masters at this school. The picture to the right is a street view of the south end of the old buildings of the school. There appears to be an inscription above the window but if there is it is largely now illegible.

The school originally dates from 1769. A lot of the history of the school will be in the Lancashire Record Office at Preston where the archives were deposited in December 1961 and are under the reference PR3142/11/24. These were consulted in detail by local historian Eileen Dent in the 1990s and a substantial chapter on the school is contained in The Heysham Peninsula(HHA 2000). An abridged form of this chapter can be downloaded here for reference. At the time of foundation chiefly by subscription it was known as Heysham School; from 1817 when the Church of England National Society was formed it became The National School and a further donation was given to provide ongoing income. This was its name throughout much if not all the century; on the 1881 census Arthur Stuttard has the occupation of Schoolmaster NS. Quite when the change to the present name occurred is yet to be determined.

© Google Earth

On the 1838 Tithe Map the school is shown as two separate buildings, a school house to the south and the school itself adjacent to the north. The site is approximately equally distant from Lower Heysham (the village) and Higher Heysham in what is now known as School Road though not labelled as such on 19thC maps. The building illustrated above is on the site of the original school house but whether or not this is the original building would be clear from the archives. On later 19thC maps the two buildings are amalgamated into one with a slightly larger area around them than before. Whether the Schoolmaster continued to live ‘on site’ we as yet do not know precisely. Being the schoolmaster then appears to be a lifetime job. Relevant records on the Lancashire On-line Parish Clerk’s website have been collected together and can be read here. John Foxcroft is named in the Baines 1825 Directory by which time he was already in his late forties. He is still there as Schoolmaster in the 1851 Directory and then has two other (clearly part-time) jobs as well. John Foxcroft died in 1853 and we presume was succeeded as Schoolmaster by Joseph Ward; he was living in the School House when his first wife Ann died in 1861; in 1862 he then married Mary Oxtoby who is listed as Schoolmistress. Joseph Ward died in 1876 and his successor Arthur Stuttard was appointed in August 1877. He ran the school with the assistance of Mrs Ward, widow of the previous schoolmaster. He stayed at the school until 1915 and during all his tenure he was plagued by frequent periods of overcrowding, notably during the construction of Heysham Harbour.