Nostalgia: Burnley welcomes Neil Kinnock in 1983

Neil Kinnock and Peter Pike
Neil Kinnock and Peter Pike
Share this article

The future leader of the Labour Party, Neil Kinnock, made a visit to Burnley in September, 1983.

The man who famously never became Prime Minister visited the town just a month before he was confirmed as Labour leader following the resignation of Michael Foot.

Michael Foot

Michael Foot

Labour had lost heavily in June’s General Election, but Mr Kinnock was described by the Express as Labour’s “man of the moment” when he received a standing ovation from local members at Burnley’s new Labour Club in Smirthwaite Street.

Correspondent Bert Bolton wrote: “‘The next leader of the Labour Party’ was the tag given to Neil Kinnock MP before a rapturous audience in the local party’s sumptuous new headquarters and social venue, the former Clarion Club and now the Labour Club.

“There was no doubting whom the local membership was backing in the struggle for the party leadership.

“And Mr Kinnock strengthened that support with a Welshman’s love of rhetoric, and a total disregard for a humming microphone.”

'Emmerdale' trip

'Emmerdale' trip

Burnley was well-used to Welsh politicians at this time – Labour’s Dan Jones had won a remarkable seven General Elections to become the town’s MP from 1959 to 1983.

And despite the party’s failure to get into power that year, the town remained a Labour seat with new MP Peter Pike being elected, albeit by a narrow margin of just 787 votes from Tory candidate Ian Bruce.

It would be the closest Burnley had come to having a Conservative MP since 1910 when Gerald Archibald Arbuthnot was elected.

Meanwhile, from the soap opera that is politics to the soap opera that was “Emmerdale Farm”.

Burnley Express readers visited Beckindale, in the Yorkshire Dales, the setting for the popular soap.

For the third time that year, the Express ran a trip for readers to visit the picturesque village to see famous sites such as the Woolpack Inn.

Express photographer Danny Elwes accompanied the group and captured a snap of popular character Seth Armstrong (Stan Richards).

Amos Brearly, played by Ronald Magill, was also there as the group watched a garden fete scene being filmed.

Then it was time for lunch and the 50 trippers got back in the coach to drive to Harry Ramsden’s Chip Shop, said to be the largest in the world.