On the 6th July, club members together with friends and family embarked on a tour of two widely contrasting mills. Oswaldtwistle Mills high in the Pennines were once the centre of a thriving cotton and wool industry and the home of James Hargreaves, the inventor of the Spinning Jenny which revolutionised the weaving mills of the north. Since closing over 25 years ago the two mills went in different directions. One has been converted into a very successful shopping outlet village where our members and friends enjoyed some excellent retail therapy whereas the Helmshore mill has been kept exactly as it was when the owners closed the doors for the last time in 1967.
An excellent guided tour was provided by the very knowledgeable guides and perhaps the highlight was on the spinning floor where the machinery and spinning mules were started up providing a deafening sound and proving one thing, that lip reading was the only means of communication for everyone working there. It was explained that at the height of production, children as young as four or five were employed crawling on the oily floor, under the working machinery, to collect the surplus wool or cotton, this shocked everyone. By a remarkable coincidence, a lady, now in her late eighties but not connected to our group spoke to Graham Hannen during the tour. She told him that she worked in the mill when she was just four years old and that was what she did. This was her first visit to the mill since those days.
This thoroughly enjoyable day gave an insight into conditions during the last century in the wool and cotton industry and was appreciated by everyone.
On the 12th July, the regular meeting was replaced by the annual President’s Lunch. 66 members with their friends and spouses enjoyed a sumptuous buffet lunch provided by Beechwood Catering. Shortly afterwards and with full stomachs, the now famous boules (or petange) championship took place. There were many challengers for the trophy with Bob Mynett emerging as the 2016 champion.
Our bowlers met as usual on Tuesdays and Fridays and were engaged in two matches. The first, against Saxon Probus resulted in a win and the second against Marriott Veterans who were the better team on the day.