Aerial photograph

aerial photograph of Great Harwood centre

Taken in the late 1920s - early 1930s this is a photograph of outstanding clarity and detail.
Centred on the Mercer Memorial Clock it shows how the mills were at the very heart of the town.
We suggest a borderless print of 12.5 X 10 inches would be suitable for most people but larger copies could be made.
Reproduced to the highest quality by specialist printers from an original glass negative, this is an old fashioned, non-standard sized photograph printed on
heavyweight, professional, semi-gloss paper of 250gsm using pro inks with an independently verified lightfastness (resistance to fade) of up to 200 years.
Lustre or even fine art prints may be produced by arrangement.

A 12.5 x 10 inches copy of this exceptional photograph costs £10 only from GHHS
Please contact GHHS for cost with post and packaging
Prints will not include the watermark


I was just thinking ...

I was just thinking cover

William (Bill) Edward Mercer spent most of his early life in Great Harwood but in these memoirs he tells of being passed from one grandparent, and town, to another after his mother died when he was just three years old. At the outbreak of the First World War he couldn't wait to enlist and, in the spirit of the time, he joined the Royal Army Medical Corps at only 17. He recalls his experiences on the battle fields of Gallipoli and Mesopotamia and reflects that his convalescence in India was, in many ways, a blessing.
Returning home after the war Bill, like many of his contemporaries, found it hard to settle back into his old life so, after marrying Eda, emigrated to Australia where they faced the challenges of raising a family during the 1930s Depression with true Lanky grit and determination.

William is a likeable, affable character who has a natural way of storytelling. We are sure you will be as captivated by his story, as we were.

Only £9.99
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Also from GHHS

Privies, Piggeries and Parades

Privies, Piggeries and Parades


A Brief History of Queen Street produced for the Charter Fair held in Queen Street as part of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee celebrations. Using previously unpublished maps from as early as 1603 and forgotten views from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries the book charts the development of Queen Street from its origin as a track through the township's open fields to becoming Great Harwood's main shopping area. It has information about the occupants of farmsteads which thrived before the modern streetscape existed and evidence of cotton mills long before steam power came to the town.

Privies, Piggeries and Parades may be a brief history of Queen Street but, drawing on years of research, it is packed with detail.

Congregational Church two maps of Great Harwood view up Queen Street

Please contact GHHS for cost with post and packaging

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DISPLAY based on the book shown at The Diamond Jubilee Fair, June 2012


Reminiscences of Bygone 'arrod

Reminiscences of Bygone 'arrod

The memories of three people who grew up in Great Harwood in the early part of the 20th century. They have been transcribed from the original writings and enhanced by the addition of photographs.

Alan Sourbutts, Marjorie Goodliffe and John Fielding all moved away from the area but they never forgot their roots. Together they paint pictures of their childhood days and remind us of how 'arrod once was. They tell of the evolution of the town, the decline of its cotton heyday, the pastimes, childhood games and yearly events that they remembered from all those years ago. It is a real walk down memory lane for your gran and granddad or a peep into the past for the younger generation through the eyes of those who lived at the time.

Please contact GHHS for cost with post and packaging

The Local Herald December 2011

Reminiscences of Bygone ‘Arrod” takes the reader on a journey to the not too distant past through the eyes of three people all brought up around the same time in Great Harwood. There have been many books of photographs and of local history but this is very different and adds a new dimension to the vernacular history of not just this town but also to the whole area. You do not have to be an 'arroder (and I’m not – just married to one) to enjoy this book. To any Lancastrian this gives a rich taste of our parents’ and grandparents’ lives and is a justification, if one is needed, of the importance of oral history. The three contributors all moved away and lived elsewhere so their memories are untouched by subsequent changes to the town. Marjorie Goodliffe tempts the palette with the aperitif, John Waddington Fielding provides a rich and sustaining starter and then you can immerse yourself in the main course of Alan Sourbutts’ detailed reminiscences originally produced for his children who were brought up in Canada.   
The photographs throughout the book are an engaging mixture of family snaps and more general local views which all enhance the stories being told. We gaze back into a time which for the children was perhaps more carefree although there are plenty of hints at the hardships faced by the adults.
A very worthy addition to the books about this special town; this book is well produced and at very reasonable cost. I commend it to you.

C. Duckworth. Local Studies Librarian - Community History Librarian, Accrington (retired)

With many images of the area's distant and not so distant past, the book's 83, A4 size pages are still given over mainly to the memories of the three authors.

page 2 page 3

From Liz Higgins, Marjorie Goodliffe's daughter.

Will you please convey to the GHHS my congratulations on producing such a delightful book. The layout, photos and general quality are all beautifully achieved. I must mention that your editorial policy meets with my full approval.
July 15th 2011 was 100 years since Marjorie was born and I am so delighted that the book has come out this year. I feel now that in her own small way she has left a lasting mark in the world.

Thank you.

The three stories are very different in length, style and content but all demonstrate a lasting love and loyalty to Great Harwood. All the stories describe very happy childhoods but with varying backgrounds and religious beliefs and practices. There was, nevertheless, a community unity with everyone taking a pride in their town.

Marjorie Goodliffe’s father was a chemist and at one time the family lived over the shop. She remembers attending the Wesleyan Sunday School, in the primary class, but did not like it. When her father had free days, and the weather was good, they would travel in her father’s motor cycle and side car to the Dales, the Lakes and the coast. During the 1st World War the family took a cottage at Read costing half a crown a week and her maternal grandparents went to live there. Her grandfather then walked to Simonstone and travelled by train to his job in Burnley. Her grandfather died in about 1923 and her grandmother then came to live with them in Great Harwood.  The Great Harwood she describes has a great community spirit with lots of opportunities for shopping, socialising and entertainment. There were excellent walks in the surrounding countryside and blackberry picking, when in season. Although the community had differing religious beliefs, there was never any obvious ill feeling between them.

John Fielding’s father, like Marjorie’s father, was in business. Although the business had originally been a quite large thriving draper’s business, during the 1930’s it came close to being bankrupt. John’s mother was able to invest her money to save the business and bought out John’s uncle who had been a partner. In 1934 John won a scholarship to Clitheroe Grammar School and when he started at there was on full grant from Lancashire County Council. As the family business thrived his grant was eventually withdrawn. He enjoyed his time at Clitheroe Grammar School, representing the school in their football and cricket teams, and appearing in school dramatic productions. John was fortunate having several aunts, uncles and cousins living nearby. He also had quite a gang of friendly lads who lived in his immediate neighbourhood and they all spent time together playing football on the spur. John then won a place at Pembroke College Oxford. Fortunately, the family business had improved sufficiently for John’s parent to be able to pay his fees and accommodation costs.

Alan Sourbutt’s story of life in Great Harwood is the most detailed account of the three. He was born in 1914, just prior to the outbreak of the First World War. He describes the town, and the surrounding areas, and has supporting pictures from photographs and postcards. He describes Pendle Hill, and the inspiring panoramic view from the top, when watching the sun rise. He describes the handsome Mercer Clock, at the centre of Town Gate, in front of the imposing Town Hall, and he conjectures that the origin of the term town gate was from the term “Towne Gate”, where the “Olde Towne Gate” had been situated. He describes the two Great Harwood market days, Wednesday and Friday, with Friday being the most popular, and buying Bull’s Eyes from the candy store. In winter, to the delight of the younger generation, the stall holders would light a small bonfire in order to pre-heat the circular jets before they were able to light their oil lamps. The market was required by law, to shut at eight o-clock, which was strictly adhered to. He also remembers the lamp lighter with his ten-foot pole to enable him to open the doors of the street lights and turn on the gas and ignite the flame. At dawn the opposite routine was carried out. He describes his memories of Joe Hindle, the town crier, affectionately know as Joe “bellman”, who was often the target of local pranksters. The yearly Spring Fair, with the fair ground entertainment, was particularly popular. He describes the annual outings to Blackpool on the train from Padiham, or by charabanc from Great Harwood, and the idiosyncrasies of the various vehicles. The charabanc trips had the advantage of regular stopping places along the route enabling the passengers to visit the various public houses on their way. There was a late night return to Great Harwood and everyone had to return to the charabanc park at the allotted time. There were other trips to place such as Morecambe, Southport, Windermere and Keswick.
He describes in great detail the style of schooling and the high standards of literacy expected from all pupils. He deplores what he feels is the general lowering of educational achievement and the general hostility and contempt of the younger generation directed against the established order. He describes the old hostility between Lancashire and Yorkshire and the division between the two counties and the Lower Hodder River road bridge, where midway across embedded in the parapet was a stone tablet denoting the division, which as young children, enabled them to stand with one foot in Lancashire and another foot in Yorkshire!!

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