Hidden jewel of a beauty spot

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ONE of the best-kept secrets in the Burnley area is its countryside. People with little knowledge of north-east Lancashire think of the whole district as containing little more than mill towns and pit villages.

Those of us who live here know better and, this week, we visit a tiny community which is very close to Burnley, but a million miles away from the caricature imposed upon us by outsiders, many of whom should look to the shortcomings of their own districts.

The card tells us that we are at "Pendle Bottoms, Burnley" but, in actual fact, the area depicted has never been in Burnley. We are in fact at Holme End in Reedley Hallows, a little cluster of buildings which are usually missed by the driver on his way from Barden to Fence.

Under the notorious railway bridge and then over the canal bridge at Lodge, in Barden Lane, one quickly reaches the Burnley-Reedley boundary which is marked by one of those interesting boundary stones set in 1889. The lane continues to the New Pendle Bridge over Pendle Water.

To the left, the former Pendle Bridge Inn, and the cottages behind it, can be seen. Ahead, the new section of road which carries what is now Greenhead Lane over the M65 is an option, but we are interested in the short stretch of highway to the right.

This is called Holme Road and it leads directly to Holme End.

The picture shows Holme Road in the foreground.

At the time the photo was taken the road carried the lane which takes the traveller to Fence village. The stretch of road nearest Holme End, which is the cluster of buildings you can see just off centre in the photograph, is now used only for access.

Holme End is an interesting survivor of a small agricultural community.

It was not totally divorced from industrial reality because, not many yards behind the farm and its buildings, there was Jewel Mill, which I now know much more about thanks to Geoff Shackleton's recently published, "The Textile Mills of Pendle and Their Steam Engines" by Landmark Publishing.

The story of Jewel Mill, which I visited when it was still in operation in about 1970, is perhaps for another article. I mention it because the mill, and its cottages, was accessed from what is now Holme Road. There was a time when Holme End was not only bustling with farm work, but there would have been horses and carts delivering raw cotton for spinning and yarn and cloth would have been removed from the premises to be sold to the various textile merchants.

A map of 1912 shows Holme End as you can see it in the picture. The large building on the left is a farmhouse with barn attached.

The map shows a tiny garden in front of the farmhouse which can still be seen in this day. Almost at right angles to the farmhouse, it appears that there were once two small blocks of cottages and the middle one looks to have been demolished. The picture shows a charming stone-built cottage with a chimney in the middle of the roof. Although altered, this building appears to be the survivor though it remains two dwellings.

Directly in front of this cottage, but on the other side of the old road, there are some interesting single-storey buildings that I would like to know more about.

They now appear to be vacant, but I would like to know what they were used for in the past.

Behind them there are what appears to be some timber farm buildings, but on my map of 1912 there are some glass buildings shown in this location.

They were clearly substantial greenhouses and they remind us of the times when much more food was grown locally than it is now. In fact, in the 1872 Commercial Directory, a John Moore is described as being a gardener living at Holme End. Eleven years later he appears at Pendle Garden, also as a gardener.

This is the very well know Jack Moore who ran pleasure gardens here and attracted the public to them by judicious use of his famous monkey, an animal (which if local legend is to be believed) outlived several generations of visitors.

I have never really sorted out the full story of Jack Moore's Monkey. Perhaps I should, but that is for another Peek Into The Past.