125-year-old tower of love

IDYLLIC VIEW: Looking up Gisburn Road, Blacko, circa 1880. (S)
IDYLLIC VIEW: Looking up Gisburn Road, Blacko, circa 1880. (S)

It’s a rare scene this week as we gaze at Gisburn Road in Blacko circa 1880.

A becalmed main street, the motorcar still years away, and in the distance the rolling hills overlooking the village. However, something’s not just right. It’s as if something’s missing from our idyllic Victorian view?

Yes, off in the distance, today standing proudly high on the hill is the 125-year-old legendary Blacko Tower. Not built at the time of this photograph, for it was the year 1890 when the Barrowford businessman Jonathan Stansfield built the magnificent stone folly as a tribute to his lost first love who had sadly jilted him.

Over the years Blacko Tower began to crumble away. In 1946 one of our rarest British birds, the black redstart, was found nesting in the tower’s eroding masonry.

Then in 1950 a splendid team of local volunteers led by mill-owner Frank Barritt completely restored the historic landmark.

My favourite memory is during the long hot summer of 1959 and climbing up to Blacko Tower for a grand picnic with my great pals Mel Hartley, Dave Horsfall, Jackie Penman and Ed Kelly. The sun shone down, curlews and lapwings circled all around and for three halcyon hours we lived like kings.

It was a day of joy.

Brickbat of the month

In 2005 new flagstones were laid in Church Street outside Colne Parish Church.

We were told at the time they are the finest quality known.

Nuff said!