Pendle Radicals is a brilliant new project which will be exploring Pendle Hill’s amazing heritage of radical thinkers and non-conformists. Unfolding over four years from spring 2018, the project will carry out research, commission new art and celebrate its findings with community events.
In order to get things started, we need volunteers to get researching: bringing history to life, infusing familiar locations with new meaning and building pride of place in the process.
Who do we mean by Pendle Radicals? They include George Fox, founder of the Quakers, who had his great vision on the summit of Pendle in 1651… Sir Jonas Moore, known as the ‘father of time’, born at Higham and part responsible for the Greenwich Observatory and the creation of Greenwich Mean Time… Selina Cooper, a hero of the suffrage movement in spite of having to work in the mills from the age of 12. Selina, like many members of Nelson ILP (Independent Labour Party) made strong connections to Clarion House at Roughlee, now the last of the Clarion Clubs but still thriving and an inspiring location for followers of socialist politics.
These are just a first, few names, but the stories are many, and we are just starting on this exploration. Over four years our project will bring some of those stories to life. In doing so, we can give current residents, especially young people, a new understanding of their history, a reinforced sense of local identity and new pride in where they live.
One particular local woman who might just spark your interest, is Ethel Carnie Holdsworth. Ethel was a working-class writer, feminist, and socialist activist from Great Harwood. You may not have heard of her as she has been largely lost to history because of circumstances, but as a young woman she was a poet, journalist (for example writing for the Woman Worker in London), children’s writer and author. She published at least ten novels during her lifetime and her work is significant not just locally but also nationally, as she is the first working class woman in Britain to be published.
We are excited to get started with Ethel especially as the National Poetry Archive are keen to add her to their list of poets whose poems can be heard and explored online, but also because we are hoping that her story can be told through story and song some time in 2019.
So if Ethel’s story has inspired you, or you have an interest in local history and want to tell the story of another particular individual, or special local place, please make contact with the Pendle Radicals team. For volunteers on our research team, we offer training to develop your archive skills, excursions to investigate source material, and plentiful tea and biscuits. We promise you a fascinating journey of discovery and chance to bring to life those who deserve not to be forgotten!
A presentation – A short introduction to the life and work of Ethel Carnie Holdsworth plus an overview of relevant sources (approximately 40 minutes in total) can be presented to local history groups or other groups who have an interest in bringing her story to life. Just contact Nick Hunt, Creative Director at Mid Pennine Arts.
There will be a presentation about Pendle Radicals and a short introduction to the life and work of Ethel Carnie Holdsworth, plus an overview of relevant sources, on Tuesday 2 July from 2-4pm at One Sixty Café, 160 St James Street, Burnley. See the MPA website or contact Nick Hunt, Creative Director at Mid Pennine Arts for details of both, or the project in general.
Phone: 01282 421986 ext: 209