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from Sid Calderbank

A Word from our President

Welcome to members, new and old, of the Lancashire Authors Association, “An association devoted to the study of Lancashire literature, history, traditions and dialect”. As it turned out, 2018 was quite a good year for Lancashire’s history and literary heritage and, by extension, for everyone associated with it. 

First of all, in July/August, Dr. Simon Rennie and his team from Exeter University unveiled their database of poetry from the terrible times of Lancashire’s “Cotton Famine” (1861-65) and later in the year Mike Leigh launched his film on the atrocities at “Peterloo” (1819), both works were widely reported and achieved national acclaim which is more than the events did at the time. Had it not been for Lancashire’s authors and newspaper reporters, our nation would have remained unaware of the distress being suffered by our cotton workers. We owe them a great debt, Lancashire’s 19th century authors were extremely well organised with almost every town supporting a literary society, mechanics institute or miners welfare providing education and support, their members’ writings inspired by their everyday lives. They left Lancashire with a social history unique amongst English counties and written, not by historians, but by ordinary working men, and some women, who were there, living it. 

For a poetical insight into life in Victorian Lancashire look in  Warblin’s of an Owd Songster” by Samuel Laycock  or “Lancashire Songs, Poems & Sketches” by William Billington, two working men from humble beginnings who had a tremendous influence on Lancashire literature. And to see just how many authors a small town can produce, have a look at George Hull’s “Poets and Poetry of Blackburn”. All these books can be found on the LAA shelves in Accrington Public Library – for access ask at the desk or contact our librarian, Brian Foster. 

So when you’re next looking for inspiration, open the curtains. If you can, go out – ride on a bus – walk in the park – climb a hill, and write about what you see.

We have a tradition to preserve.  

Sid Calderbank 

Sid has just featured in our latest Podcast. You can listen to it here.



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