As many of you are aware, last week I had a technological hiccup which resulted in a emergency change of Friday Find.  Normal service has now been resumed so here’s what you should have seen last Friday.

I am from Radcliffe and I’m proud of it.  It’s a character in my life, in much the same way as New York is a character in the lives of the Sex & The City girls.  Many would say that Radcliffe bears comparison to New York in much the same way as I bear comparison to Sarah Jessica Parker and her mates, so I was quite pleased when I came back to my desk to find that someone had left me this to look at.

Radcliffe's Advantages

I’m guessing that this is from the mid 1920’s largely due to the infrastructure that is mentioned – and when it ceased to be in use.  The thing that I find most interesting is that most of the “important facilities”, mentioned here as being important for “industrial undertakings”, are now my favourite parts of the town for quite different reasons.

Let’s start with the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway Company and it’s three passenger stations.  Two are long gone, and the one that remains is now the Radcliffe Metrolink station.  Black Lane station was on the Liverpool to Bury line and stood on Higher Ainsworth Road, opposite The Railway pub.  The station was closed in 1970 and very little trace of it is left today.  Radcliffe Bridge station opened on 28th September 1846, offering a service between Clifton Junction and Rawtenstall, and was located just to the north of the River Irwell, between Sion Street and Green Street.  This line was originally run by the East Lancashire Railway and later passed into the hands of the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway Company.  The station finally closed on 5th July 1958.  The path the railway followed is now the Outwood Trail and part of the national cycle network.  Most of it has been reclaimed by nature but there are still reminders of the railway.

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The next advantage on Radcliffe’s list is the Canal.  It was completed in 1808 and was used mostly to carry coal from the local collieries, which are also mentioned in the advantages.  Sadly the decline in the use of coal spurred on the decline of the canal and by the time our leaflet was trying to drum up investment, things weren’t looking optimistic. Following an Act of Parliament in 1961 the canal was abandoned, and it stayed that way until 1987 when the Manchester, Bury and Bolton Canal Society was formed.  Today it’s a haven for wildlife (and quite a few dog walkers) but there are still some tell tale signs of what its original use was.

Mount Sion Steam Crane

Bury & Bolton Canal

While it’s sad that so much industry has been lost from our small towns, we should at least treasure the beautiful open spaces that have been left behind.  The traces of past lives running through these places make them more interesting, relevant and inspiring.  I love Radcliffe, it’s a bit dirty and down at heel and still lacks investment all these years later but it’s got advantages.

Radcliffe photos courtesy of Steven Heywood and Parrot of Doom

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