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Friday, 5 May 2017

A run round Rochdale.

We caught the 1034 from Littleborough to Rochdale. One stop at Smithy Bridge and a cost of £4-85 return for the tow of us.

As we walked towards the city centre we saw this 'sculpture'. It said it was of the Rochdale Olympic. I had never heard of itbut apperntly it was a monocoque glass fibre body car that was made by Rochdale Motor Panels and Engineering. They started in 1948 as a repair company and finished in 1973. There were several versions of these kit cars over the years. The best selling was the GT between 1957 and 1960. The Olympic was produced between 1960 and 1973 using Riley, Morris Minor and ford engines etc. About 1400 GT's were produced and 400 Olympics.

This is Toad Lane and the letter box at first view seems not too unusual but when you look closely you will see that a lamp post is incorporated with it. This is only one of two in the country, and I don't know where the other is. Do you? The building on the extreme left, of which you can just still the  corner, is the first shop of the Rochdale Pinoneers who founded the Co-operative movement that is still in existence today. It was worth a look round, and was free. However it made me realise once again how good the museums in Hull really are. The church to the right is St. Mary in the Baum.

Toad Lane is a conservation area and just up from the Pioneers Museum is this sign. I'm not sure that the NHS would prescribe tripe theses days, but my grand parents swore by it. I liked the liquor, but that was all.

Rocdale was an extremely busy, and rich place with many mills. There was more cotton made here than in France and Germany combined. In 1871 they decided to demonstarte their status with a town hall that demanded respect. It was designed by W.H. Crossland. We had a very short visit as there was a wedding about to take place but the central staircase was beautiful and these floor tiles are by Minton. It is said that Adolf Hitler, if they had invaded Britain, and won, wanted to remove the stained glass and transfer them to Germany!

A very grand affair.

In 1883 there was a fire that brought down the Town Hall Tower. At the time this housed the library. A new tower was built but a separate building a little further away was built for the library. In 1902 an extension was added for an art gallery. It is now called the Touchstone and we had a nice lunch there. The connection included a L.S. Lowery. There was a little museum that was informative. It again showed how good Hull's facilities are. This mural is on the art gallery extension.

 In the museum was this relief map of the Pennines in the region. You can see Littleborough and the thin blue line that is the Rochdale Canal and it's route through the hills. It must have been very daunting for the original navvies. It is still a little daunting for me today.

The War Memorial was designed by Sir Edward Lutyens and is similar in design to the Whitehall Cenotaph, which he also designed. The flags are stone, but very effective and it was unveiled in 1922.
I don't remember seeing a sleeping body on the top of one before, but maybe that is my lack of observation!

In 2016 the River Roch was revealed after being covered over for 100 years. It also put on show once again an 800 year old pack horse bridge. It is all part of a £250 million regeneration of the city centre. It has also had the effect of preventing flooding in the area too.

The original Flying Horse Hotel was built in the late 18th Century and boasted the largest hall in the City before the Town Hall was constructed. It also hosted the Police Court. This building is from 1926 but still has separate entrances for the hall and the hotel.

The fountain is the Packer Spout, set in gardens. It is fed by a spring that fed Rochdale's first reservoir for piped water. The name is said to come from it being used by pack horses to drink.

There are 122 steps that connect the high and low parts of the town. The stone came form Blackstone Edge. The gardens that are on the right was once a slum and red light area.

John Bright was a local mill owner and was an MP for Birmingham. He was also a Quaker an d so opposed the Crimean War. However he supported the North in America against slavery. He also campaigned to repeal the Corn Laws. His son also made a name for himself by campaigning, and succeeding, to obtain a maximum of 10 working hours a day!

St John the Baptist Catholic Church is right opposite the station, as is the tram link to Oldham and Manchester. The church was built between 1925 and 1927 and is in the Byzantine  revival style and is supposed to be like the Hagia Sophia church in Istanbul.

We soon were back in Littleborough and in the Co-op to pick a few bits and pieces. As the Rd Lion was on the way back to the hotel we stopped for a couple of beers after a very warm and dry day. Off up hill once again tomorrow.

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