January 2019 Newsletter

Newsletter January 2019 CHORLEY HERITAGE CENTRE GROUP Astley Park Chorley
www.chorleyheritagecentre.co.uk paulturner836@btinternet.com

Sporting Chorley Once again we have been fortunate in obtaining the Farmhouse’s lower gallery in addition to our usual upper gallery, for the months of January and February. This means we have a great deal of extra space for our current exhibition, ‘Chorley’s Sporting Heritage’. The people of Chorley have always enjoyed their sport and leisure pursuits and have produced over the years many national and international stars. Visitors to the exhibition will be able to enjoy a visual record of every sport from football and cricket to archery and rambling, from bowling and golf to cycling and athletics from boxing and swimming to tennis and both codes of rugby. You will even discover a little of the sports that interested our medieval citizens – cock fighting, pigeon racing and horse racing to say nothing of races for men with wooden legs and ‘old women’ of not less than forty. Whether you are looking for information about the stars of past and present or ordinary citizens enjoying their favourite pastimes you will find something for you.
The exhibition is open on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 12.00 to 15.30. until the end of February. The Exhibition was opened by The Mayor of Chorley, Cllr. Margaret Lees accompanied by her Consort Cllr. Roy Lees. On the left Mrs. Jenny Cree, Chair of Chorley Heritage.

Currently The Heritage Group is looking for information which explores the importance of entertainment in the town from the end of the nineteenth century to the beginning of the current century. We are looking, therefore ,for any artefacts to do with the cinema, theatres, both professional and amateur, concerts, visits by entertainment celebrities, dance halls etc.. If you have any photographs, programmes, posters or autographs books, we would love to hear from you and perhaps borrow these for the exhibition. We would also be interested to hear your reminiscences of any events that have stuck in your mind or people you have met. If we receive enough material we hope to open this exhibition in the middle of March.

The Heritage Group wishes to offer a big thank you to Albert Wright, who for several years has scoured second hand bookstores and charity shops for information about the town’s heritage, allowing us to add these to our archive. Thank you Albert. This is valuable work.

The Birkacre Mine – Chorley’s own X-files mystery. One of the delights of researching into our heritage is that every so often we come across a snippet of information that leads us to wonder what happened next. One such discovery occurred when browsing through the Frank Hough archive at our recent ‘Mining Heritage Exhibition’. There I came across a clipping from an old Chorley Guardian dated 2nd. December 1940 which proved to be of great interest. Birkacre Colliery has been taken over by the Ministry of Supply and is to be used as an underground tip for waste from the Atomic Research Station at Salwick, the Chorley Guardian understands. The colliery is on the outskirts of Chorley and Coppull but it is learned in official quarters that residents need have no fear of unpleasant radioactive manifestations from the Salwick waste. Mr Alfred Neate , Regional Controller, Ministry of Supply, stated “Waste matter dumped in the earth is less radio active than many materials occurring naturally in the earth”. The colliery shaft is reported to be 800ft deep. Visiting the site a Chorley Guardian reporter found a few workmen from Salwick Atomic Works in a partly finished manhole near the old colliery shaft and preparing to build into a cavity leading down the shaft, a hollow metal chute measuring about two feet in diameter. It is rumoured that the shaft is to be utilised to dispose of ‘spent’ uranium waste and that the chute will ensure that the waste will be well and truly buried. At one time a small but busy colliery, Birkacre has for some time been a deserted piece of land, containing a few partly demolished buildings. The two pathways which led to the premises are now barred and a notice informs visitors that it is government property and ‘private’. So what happened next? Reports from locals alleged that following the burial of the waste, ‘men in suits’ inspected the site every few months to check on the area. How long these inspections lasted we do not know. This is of course is eighty years ago, a short time in the life of radio-active waste. If any of our readers has information about this mystery please do get in touch with us.