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1919 

A Very Happy New Year Christmas of 1918 was for many families a happier occasion than for the previous four years, St Saviours choir sang carols in various parts of the town on Christmas and New Years eve raising funds for the St Dunstans Hostel. The year of 1918 was a horrible memory a year that saw an end to  what was described as the the most stupendous conflict in history. For Bacup and Stacksteads families the New Year was ushered in merrily with the ringing of church bells, with many shop and businesses closed on New Years day which fell on a Wednesday and a heavy rainfall most families stayed indoors looking forward to a year that promised fuller cupboards and fuller bellies. On Thursday 9th January a Juvenile Victory Ball was held in the Town Hall, the children encouraged to fancy dress entry was by ticket the proceeds of which went to the  War Memorial Fund inaugurated by Sir Henry Maden.   Food Production For two years land at Stubbylee and Maden Recreation Ground had been used to grow vegetables in 1917 4 tons of potatoes were grown on land at  Stubylee whilst at the recreation ground 4 tons the following year a further 12 tons were grown. In addition to potatoes swedes and turnips, sprouts,  beetroot and parsnips were also grown along with cabbages, lettuces and carrots. During 1918 a shortgae of bacon was solved by the keeping and rearing of pigs 21 of these being slaughtered by local butchers at Christmas. Influenza The influenza virus that reared its head in Rossendale in June of 1918, was still active in February of 1919. The general public were told when they first started to show symptoms they should take to their beds and stay there in order to avoid public places at all costs and therefore not spread the disease. Peace Treaty On the 28th June the Versailles Peace Treaty was signed reported as a final settlement between Germany and the allied powers this signing was officially the end of the first world war. In Bacup the news of the signing was received with the ringing of some of the church bells, the hoisting of flags and a few fireworks. Few homes in Bacup and Stacksteads had escaped the sacrifice of a father, son, husband or brother and so unlike the mass parties and celebrations at the time of the armistice the news of the peace treaty was a little more subdued. Thoughts of those who were laid to sleep in foreign lands not far from everyone’s thoughts. Within a few days of the news release plans were being finalised to hold what would be known as the Bacup Peace Celebration or Peace Day which would take place on the 18th July. Various churches held Peace Services and their own parades, one of these was St Mary’s Church whose parade was made up of Stacksteads Band, a Peace banner in gold and yellow carried by local soldiers led by Lieutenant Cooke. The Cross bearer and altar boys along with Father Kiely and gentlemen of the parish. Various children dressed as Peace, and Erin. A black and purple banner which read In Memory of our Fallen Heroes was carried by two scouts. The news report of the parade states that over 405 men from St Mary’s served with the colours whilst 30 of these paid the ultimate sacrifice. Peace Day The 18th July was a glorious sunny day in Bacup and Stacksteads, the streets of Bacup all gaily decorated. St James Street was strung with coloured bunting along with  the official buildings of the Market Hall and Court House. On Burnley Road, St Johns Sunday school a floral  archway was arrayed over the gates roses, flags and greenery being intermingled, the top of the building being decorated to resemble a roof garden  and the words “Right is Might” picked out in red flowers. In memory fo the fallen was displayed the East Lancashire’s regimental badge surmounted by a laurel wreath.  The Liberal Club had also been decorated and over the door was picked out in  national coloured flowers “ Welcome to Our Boys”. A large archway had been erected  to span the road from the Liberal Club to the offices of Mr Wright Solicitors. The front of the arch facing towards the King George being decorated with large photographs of Sir Douglas Haigh and Admiral Beatty with a crown above and motto’s saying “ Welcome to Our Brave Boys” and “Victory and Peace”, on the opposite side facing up Burnley Road were photographs of the King and Queen.   The same motto decorated the front of the Mechanics along with photographs of the King and Queen, whilst the Maden Memorial which was decorated with foxgloves and geraniums. The Conservative Club also carried the same features of photographs, flowers anf motto. Various shops on Market Street were decorated with flags, kings, queens and crowns. Manchester House which was up until recently Red Chinese Restaraunt had a window decorated by  musical figures representing the first notes of the National Anthem.  The Swan Hotel window sills were decorated with window boxes containing ferns and heathers.  Another decorated arch had been erected at the junction of Newline and Newchurch road and the gates and surroundings fo St Saviours School were also bedecked in flowers. At 9.30 a special thanksgiving service was held at Stubbylee Park, music being provided by the Irwell Springs and Stacksteads Bands,later in the afternoon another service was attended by all the schools and Sunday schools in the area except St Joseph and St Mary’s. The processions of which were organised into two parts one for the Bacup children and one for the Stacksteads children the numbers taking part it was said were 6,000 so much so that it took over 45 minutes once the two groups had arrived at the park to get  the children into their respective roped off places. Over 5,500 peace medals had been produced and given to the children, the medals were of two different sizes one was the size of a five shilling piece the other was the size of a half a crown. On one side is a representation of a warrior giving up his sword to the Angel of Peace, and on the other the inscription “ To commemorate the victorious conclusion of the Great War”. To each medal was attached a red, white and blue ribbon. Re Adapting  By October thousands of men who had made up  the British army all over the country had resumed certain occupations, and exchanged their weapons of war for the tools of industry or pens of commerce. Throughout the year there had been strikes covering all areas of industry, slipper works, coal mines, bakers, and quarrymen.  The Woolwich Arsenal which had been a base for many of them  was now turning out milk churns, and repairing railway engines, rails and trucks. In Bacup  a railway strike caused chaos not only with peoples travel but with the supply of food goods which were still on ration and restriction. The First Remembrance On Tuesday the 11th November the first anniversary of the armistice the suggested two minutes silence was loyally carried out. Mr Campbell the Chief Constable sounded the fire alarm at the requested time and instantly active operations were suspended. All vehicles were stopped and pedestrians too paid a silent tribute. The silence had come about because of  a letter published in the London Evening News on 8 May 1919, an Australian journalist, Edward George Honey, had proposed a respectful silence to remember those who had given their lives in the First World War. This was brought to the attention of King George V and on 7 November 1919, the King issued a proclamation which called for a two minute silence:"All locomotion should cease, so that, in perfect stillness, the thoughts of everyone may be concentrated on reverent remembrance of the glorious dead." The following day Wednesday the 12th November winters first snowfall  arrived in Rossendale, the roads and footpaths quickly became covered it was not long before the tramways had to stop running and many shopkeepers had to set to work to clear the footpaths from outside their shops. Drifts were caused in outlying districts by high winds, making travel from these areas very difficult. A White  Christmas  For several days before Christmas the weather was depressing and drab, then on Christmas Eve the snow began to fall, covering the streets and footpaths of Bacup and Stacksteads, the air described as crisp and invigorating.  With no tram services the  area was quieter than at other times. On Christmas Eve there were various parties, dances and balls, Christmas morning arriving on a peel of church bells, carollers and brass bands.

Soldiers Who Died

The following is not a complete list of 1919 deaths just those that I have come across whilst researching. The Bacup Times of April 1919 had the following article : It may be of interest to Rossendale people to know that photographs of graves of soldiers buried abroad are supplied free to relatives on application to the Director of Graves Registration and Inquiries. Winchester House, St James Square. The funds fr this purpose were provided by the Joint War Committee of the British Red Cross Society and the Order of St John of Jerusalem. 93,000 photographs have so far been issued to relatives since June 1915. Arrangements have been made with Governments concerned to the care of all soldiers cemeteries abroad under the direction of the Imperial War Graves Commission.
George Hardaker 06 01 1919 Arthur Openshaw 15 01 1919 Roland Ratcliffe 12 02 1919 James E McNulty 13 02 1919 James Coupe 17 02 1919 William Ratcliffe 17 02 1919 Reginald Stocks 20 02 1919 Jack Lord 24 02 1919 Harry Ashworth 04 03 1919 Charles Knowles 05 04 1919 Benjamin Holgate 08 07 1919 George E Law 21 07 1919 Cecil Kershaw 07 08 1919 Robert Smith 21 08 1919 Back to Bacuptimes 1919