25 January, 2011


I've seen Millom described as the "set of a social realist film set in the thirties depression" and that's fairly true. It only needs factory chimneys and goods trains to make things complete, but of course the factories and mines closed years ago. The folk museum explained why - the foundry was still using machinery bought in 1892 in 1968! Failure to invest has always been a hallmark of declining British industry. This sculpture of a miner is all that is left of the industry in Millom.

Millom is very proud of their deceased local poet Norman Nicholson, who looked every bit the part with unkempt sideburns and long hair. His house, formerly a drapers now a cafe, bears a blue plaque, and the library has a selection of his books, although in my opinion his prose is better than his poetry. Nicholson became the first freeman of the Copeland Borough Council. The Church of St George has a commemorative window in the modern style which is exceptional.

Millom Co-operative Society was the victim of some outrageously biased BBC reporting when Nationwide, a predecessor of the One Show and tabloid TV at its worst, reported in 1970that the Co-operative Society had gone bust. They neglected to mention that this was MILLOM Co-operative Society representing a town of 6500 people and so caused a run on co-ops everywhere. Never known for responsible reporting this is the BBC at its lowest. I should point out that the other co-op societies rallied round Millom and repaid the members IN FULL.

The folk museum in the town's railway station has interesting displays about the history of Millom works, its social life and Norman Nicholson.

21 January, 2011

Southport Merseyside, G*ds waiting room

I've been to Southport before but that was in pre-blog days at a conference in the Floral Hall. I think though that because of a high proportion of people the wrong side of seventy has led to a certain complacency amongst the traders of the town. One of the tea rooms was charging more than twelve pounds for afternoon tea - which is half the price of the Savoy. Second hand bookshops are also too wedded to their stock to want to part with it, refusing discount. That said, places of this nature usually have very good gardens as that is what the population are bothered about. On the inner outskirts of Southport is Hesketh Park, a pleasant spot that is being restored to its former victorian glory. There is a fountain and a lake currently being dredged and cleaned, a glasshouse and an observatory. All rather pleasant.

The sea front on the Irish sea is also rather far away from the town and the claim of the longest pier on the West Coast is probably true - especially as it seldom reaches the sea. Instead there are promenades and lakes inland for people to walk along and here is a misty shot of the lake and a bridge.

Southport is quite good for shopping although the charity shops are practically useless- everybody moves to Southport, (as did my host) and has already got rid of most of their stuff before they arrive, making for very slim pickings.

The Art Gallery was closed for refurbishment but I seem to recall it was quite good when I went last time. However I hope to see it again at some stage.