Crowds fill streets of Clitheroe to celebrate it's history and culture on heritage day

The Rev. Andy Froud with the procession at the Clitheroe Castle Gates
The Rev. Andy Froud with the procession at the Clitheroe Castle Gates

Saturday saw history brought alive on the streets of Clitheroe with a series of memorable commemorations of the 1919 Peace Processions.

Starting at Clitheroe Parish Church and processing to the Castle Gate, community stalwart Fran Osborne directed the actors from Stage 2, along with town and Ribble Valley councillors, who told the extraordinary stories of the people of Clitheroe at the end of the First World War - 100 years ago.

The local Cadet Force represented the young soldiers of the past, while local historian and thespian, Eric Nolan, welcomed the people of Clitheroe as the Mayor JJ Carter of 1919. All were painstakingly researched by local historian Shirley Penman and her team in the old leather bound volumes of the Clitheroe Advertiser and Times. As the opening event of the day, crowds watched and cheered, and fell silent for the Last Post, played by Simon Wallis, and prayers led by the Rev. Andy Froud, the Town Mayor of 2019, Coun. Stewart Fletcher, spoke to the assembled crowd, who were then invited to take part in a large number of free activities throughout the day.

Pebbles, kindly donated by Shackleton’s Garden Centre, were decorated and will form a permanent art installation in the Castle Grounds to mark the event. Visitors were fascinated by the exhibition telling the story of the Home Front in Clitheroe during the Second World War, curated by the sound archivist Andrew Schofield. It even included the opportunity to interview an evacuee from 1939!

The Quaker Meeting House opened its doors to tell the story of the Conscientious Objector.The bunting festooned Market bustled with activity around the Pendle Landscape and Mid Pennine Arts installation on the Pendle Radicals! Sponsored by the Chamber of Trade, young people followed the trail of to find where the soldiers of Clitheroe who did not return from WW1 and WW2, lived or worked. On completion, they claimed their “Soldier’s Chocolate”, kindly donated by Booths Supermarket.

At the library there were displays, including a fascinating one on the boys from the Clitheroe Advertiser Print Room in 1912, and their future lives through the First World War and beyond. You could have been “locked in the cells” as the library opened the normally disused prisons cells, and met the prisoner and the policeman of yesteryear. The history of the

Mayoral Chains of Clitheroe had a full audience as Shirley Penman told the story, in the presence of the Mayor and Mayoress, in the Mayoral Chains!

A spokesman for the heritage day celebrations in Clitheroe, said: "The whole event was enjoyed by so many. Many people expressed their delight to see a family friendly event in Clitheroe. One father said it was a great day to bring his family to. It was never easy to find something for his six-year-old daughter and his 14-year-old son to enjoy, along with him and his wife, but they all had something to do and really enjoyed it. A foodstall holder in the market said it had been a busy, cheerful and profitable day. Lots of people were talking about the event, and he practically sold out of all his pies which was very unusual! It was a real community event, with Cllitheroe Fire Station providing a modern fire engine to link to the history of the Fire Service to the past, and St Michael and St John RC School and St James C of E School, along with Clitheroe Guides and Brownies taking part in the procession. The day concluded with the Grand Choir performing at St Mary’s, and the event was closed by the Rev Andy Froud. The organisers would like to thank everyone who came along, and Barclays for donating the pens for the trail, RVBC, The Platform Gallery, plus Rotary as supportive partners. The day would not have been possible without the kind and generous financial support of Clitheroe Town Council, Clitheroe Clarion, Mid Pennine Arts, and The Masonic Lodge 401."