News & Events


30 May 2020

Early Summer 2020 Newsletter

One of an occasional series of Newsletters to Members to keep you informed on the Society’s activities.

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Dear Members and Friends of Clitheroe Civic Society

This is the third News Bulletin prepared in response to our inability to hold Public Meetings for the foreseeable future. The previous two editions seem to have been well received which has encouraged this third edition. This will likely be the last now until August when we might all have a better understanding of what is and is not possible.

‘Locked Down Links’

First up are a few links to online information and activities which may be of interest to some if not all of you. These relate to various topics including: Conservation, Heritage, Arts and the Environment. If any of you has suggestions for similar links that you feel may interest other members please do let me know and these can be included in future Bulletins or Newsletters.

Civic Voice
Several years ago the Committee decided not to renew our membership with Civic Voice. It was felt that there was a lack of support from them for our local initiatives. However the Chairman still retains an individual membership which gives us access to the valuable information and guidance that they provide nationwide to Civic Societies. This month’s Civic Voice Update referred to a Survey that they are promoting, with others, to assess the impact of the Covid19 outbreak on the sustainability of your civic society. The survey can be submitted anonymously and , though there is no obligation to complete it , the information will assist Voluntary Organisations such as our Society and Governmental Agencies to plan to mitigate the worst of the inevitable effects on our historic environment. It can be accessed via:

Lancashire Local History Federation Newsletter: Issue No.31 May 2020
This Month’s Newsletter can be viewed at

Forest of Bowland AONB: At Home in Bowland

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During this extraordinary time the FoB AONB is developing a ‘one-stop resource’ for home-based activities from star gazing, history, and species spotlights, to family fun activities & quizzes, stories and features looking back at some of their recent and past projects. To view go to:




Pendle Hill Landscape Partnership - with Forest of Bowland AONB:
Pre-History of the Forest of Bowland
We have received details of PHLP’s first online talk. This free presentation is to be given by Rick Peterson about Prehistory in the Forest of Bowland. This event will take place on Monday 1st June at 14.00 – 15.30, via Zoom. Registration for the event can be made via this link: If you cannot attend the live talk, but would really like to know more about this, please contact Jayne Ashe @

ARTE TV Programmes, some of which may be of interest to members, include:
Claude Monet: Capturing a Moment -
Art in Paradise: Benesse Art Site Naoshima in Japan -
Europe Time Machine (1/5): Digitising Europe's Cultural Heritage

Google Arts & Culture
Google Arts & Culture is an online platform giving access to high-resolution images and videos of artworks and cultural artefacts from partner cultural organisations throughout the world including many of the world’s most famous Galleries & Museums. The very varied content can be accessed @

Current Activities & Initiatives

Clitheroe Civic Society & The Town Wells Working Group Campaign

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Our campaign to secure the future of all three of our town’s late medieval public town wells continues. This can only be achieved when all have a registered owner. Without this it is not possible to obtain essential grant aid or statutory permissions to enable their repair or to acquire insurance cover enabling anyone to repair or maintain them. The only body that can take on – and continue - this existing established responsibility is Ribble Valley Borough Council.

Following ‘encouragement’ from Clitheroe Civic Society, the Council has registered one well - Stock Well. They refuse to do likewise for Heild and St Mary’s Wells despite the Chief Executive Officer’s undertaking to make applications for all three. The ‘excuse’ given for this is that ‘no title deeds exist’ for these and without them they are ‘legally unable to make such applications to the Land Registry’. This Society, along with two independent legal opinions,
believes their stance to be incorrect. On the basis of the evidence amassed to date by the Society, we are advised that applications could, at least, be made without compromising the integrity of any Council Officers and/or Councillors. We believe that the ONLY action preventing the Council from doing so is actually the will to do so. Over the past 10 years we have attempted to work with the Council as ‘partners and stake holders’ to secure the future of all three of these ancient and unique heritage assets. To our current knowledge, no other town in Britain has three identifiable town wells in existence. pic 4

Though the Council does recognise their significance, it is not, at this point in time, prepared to accept the responsibility which goes with that recognition. The Council further denies the relevance and evidence of their own actions since 1974 - and all those of their municipal forebears dating back to the late C16th. These confirm the duty of care of this present administration - and all of its predecessors - sufficient to make a viable and legal application to the Land Registry for a ‘First Registration’ Ownership Title. The information we have amassed and the legal advice received support this view and this can be viewed on the Society’s Website @ Once registered titles are secured for all the wells, by the only agency who can and has this responsibility to do so, the Society has offered to both fund raise and manage a project of historic research, physical survey and grant applications to cover a phased programme of conservation, repair and interpretation. This will secure the future of these three historic heritage assets to the benefit and credit of all involved and in the same manner as was achieved for the Castle Gardens Pinnacle in 2016. Members may recall that the Council, who did acknowledge ownership of that heritage asset, intended to dismantle it for lack of funds when it was no longer considered to be in a safe condition.
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This Society secured approx. 95% of the £60k restoration costs and the Council was more than happy to work with us as ‘partners and stakeholders’ to the benefit of all. With the Council’s rejection of our requests that they make application to register all three wells, we are now about to pursue a much more public campaign. This will focus on getting the people of Clitheroe, who share our concern for the conservation of the town’s heritage assets, to work with the Society and to remind our Councillors of their civic responsibility and duty to take care for our town’s historic monuments. It is now clear that this can only be done by public pressure on the RVBC via our elected representatives. All members of this Society are now invited to assist with this campaign as it develops to get this issue back onto the agenda of the Council’s Community Services Committee - and to secure a recommendation that ‘application be made to the Land Registry for ‘First Registration’ of Heild and St. Mary’s Wells based on the documentary evidence prepared by Clitheroe Civic Society in the manner as successfully achieved for Stock Well’.

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The new campaign to secure the future of the town wells will include:
• As the Council do not, at this point in time wish to even consider making application to the land Registry, the offer of an unspecified grant to the Society is not to be accepted as it does no assist with addressing this fundamental issue.
• Greater publicity using all media sources to encourage and promote the significance of the ancient town wells and the Council’s duty of care for all three.
• Freedom of Information requests to Ribble Valley Borough Council for copies of: all information they hold on their ‘wells related’ activities since 1974; all information on the ‘wells related’ activities of Clitheroe Corporations dating back to 1835; and all information relating to advice given to RVBC by their insurers on the additional insurance costs of including Stock Well in the Council’s Estate and the results of their enquiries as to cost implications of including Heild and Stock Well into the Estate.pic 7
• Increased understanding of the development of Public Town Wells and investigation into increasing the Scheduled status of Clitheroe’s Town Wells by further referral to: Historic England, the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings, LCC’s Historic Environment Team, the Council for British Archaeology, The Royal Archaeological Institute and the British Archaeological Association.
• Developing greater interest and participation of Clitheroe Town Councillors.
The strategy for the campaign will be agreed at the General Committee Meeting on 1st June. Any comments from members about the proposals, outlined above, including other suggestions as to how we might finally get our Council on board, are welcomed. Similarly if any members – or friends of members - have any particular skills which could assist us to achieve this aim please do let us know. This can be done direct to the Chairman


3 King Street Clitheroe

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The Society continues to monitor and, where necessary, try to engage with Ribble Valley Borough Council’s Local Planning Authority (LPA) with regards to any development proposals which we believe will either benefit or harm the amenities of the Civil Parish of Clitheroe and in particular the Conservation Area. Few developments have caused more concern in recent years than the sorry events which have taken place in King Street over the last thirteen months.
In April 2019 - as a direct result of the dangerous mismanagement of works on site including illegal demolition activity by the Developer and an absence of effective enforcement of approved plans by the LPA - the whole King Street frontage had to be demolished. Plans to approve a new scheme, involving reusing the materials salvaged from the demolition, which were supported by the Society, were approved in June 2019 and can be viewed @:
For a further nine months, the Applicant/Developer took no further action on site. The consequence being that the Conservation Area had to suffer, and still does, the eyesore gifted to it by the cavalier actions of the Applicant/Developer. We are informed by the LPA that they are ‘powerless to do anything about this!’. In January 2020, an application was made to ‘discharge’ planning conditions of June 2019 Permission. This can be viewed @:
This covers most, if not all, of the new and reclaimed building materials and finishes to be used on the development. Within this application are proposals to relax the standards and quality of the 2019 Permission and allow the use of cement render to all new build work instead of natural stone. At this point in time this proposal has not been accepted by the LPA. However the Case Officer’s report clearly indicates that this is certainly being considered and a decision is imminent. What has been approved in this ‘Partial Discharge’ notice is permission to “generic’ details... of a 'Hamlet' chimney stack submitted ... and confirmation of use of painted (off-white) timber windows”. For ‘generic’ read ‘non-specific’ - the product referred to is a false imitation stone chimney stack and the number of ‘off- white’ paint types and actual colours is myriad. We believe this decision is simply ‘not fit for purpose’.
The Society has expressed strong concern about this confused and confusing decision. We are encouraging the LPA not to further relax the condition of the approved scheme as to do so will compromise the present and long-term future for development control in the Conservation Area. The Applicants will certainly benefit financially from this reduction in standards, but they would be the only beneficiaries of such a relaxation. We find it hard to understand why this is even being considered.
Should members - or friends of members - wish to make their own views know on this matter they are invited to do so by contacting Nicola Hopkins, RVBC’s Director of Economic Development & Planning @ regarding Application 3/2020/0031 Discharge of conditions 3 (materials) and 16 (re-use of stone facade) from planning permission 3/2019/0406.

Quiz Time !!!

Spring 2020 Bulletin No 2 Quiz: Answers
At long last – the answers to the Picture Quiz featured in Last Months Bulletin. These are listed - and relate numerically - with No1 in the top l.h. corner of the picture panel, down to No14 in the bottom r.h. corner.
No1: West end gable finial, St Michael & St John’s Church, Lowergate
No2: Embrasure, South West, Clitheroe Castle Keep
No3: Central clerestory window, Salvation Army Church, Lowergate.
N04: Gables end and chimney stacks (natural stone ones!), 5 Castle Gate
No5: Metal handrail at bottom of Strang Stee, Lowergate
No6: Dormer window to North East elevation of No. 4 Castle Gate (Steele & Sons)
No7: West gable rose window, United Reformed Church, Lowergate
No8: Decorative pedimented gable datestone, The Buck Inn, Wellgate
No9: Blue filtered floodlight - to celebrate the NHS - @ Clitheroe Castle Keep
No10: The old lane to the west entrance of Clitheroe Castle Bailey
No11: Stucco decorative surround to three light casement window 16-18 Wellgate
No12: Stone horse trough at foot of the old lane to Clitheroe Castle Bailey
No13: River Ribble sculptured plaque, the Pinnacle Garden, Clitheroe Castle
No14: Lion plinth finial, the Palace of Westminster Pinnacle, Clitheroe Castle
Well done to all who took part. No prizes though, I’m afraid, even for a 100% correct score. Hopefully it was enjoyed by all who took part and exercised your powers of recollection - and possibly your legs too! Mental & Physical activities - all in one package!!

Summer 2020 Bulletin Quiz

This ‘Summer News Bulletin Picture Quiz’ has rather more detailed images for you to locate than those presented last month’s. It also has turned out to have a rather ‘railings and steps’ theme running through it. This ‘themed’ approach was not intended, but might be used again for a further quiz in the next News Bulletin or News Letter which will also contain numbered answers to this one. Good Luck!

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Clitheroe street names research project

This idea is the product of two recent ‘events’ - one ‘Covid’ related, one not. The first was the cancellation of our speaker, Sally Leeming, for the presentation to follow the AGM on 7th September - given that it is unknown, for the foreseeable future, whether a real meeting can take place. This has left us with a gap in our Speakers Programme if things are back to ‘normal’ then. The second was one of the many ‘out of the blue’ enquiries we get to assist with Clitheroe Related matters.pic 10

In this instance it was a lady who has just moved into the area, to Faraday Avenue, just before the lockdown. She was looking for information about the 1930’s property she has just purchased and the origin of its name. The latter has prompted me to start researching, not just the ‘Faraday connection’ but the origin of all street names within the Clitheroe Parish. Initially this may be restricted to the Conservation Area but then ‘expanded’ to the whole of the Parish. Once completed this would , I think, be an interesting topic for presentation at our Public Meetings. It is one that could be kept on the shelf in case of emergencies, such as we may well have on 7th Sept. I am more than happy to plod away at this over the summer months and quite look forward to doing so. However it occurs to me that this is something that members could participate in too. Anyone inclined to do so could commence by researching the origins of their own street name along with the date of its development. We do have two members who have great experience and expertise in this field, and most will know who I am referring to. What I would not want to happen is for them to be overwhelmed with requests for assistance with this. So, as I will be doing, I suggest simply jumping in at the deep end and see what you can find.
There are a several Associations ‘for starters’ which could assist all those interested in becoming involved in the project including:
The Historical Association:
British History Online:
Family Search:
When viewing these sites please be aware that some information may require payment for more detailed and specific research information. Please also note there is no obligation to take part in the project . I will be gradually plodding through the origins of, initially, 28 streets within the Conservation Area. It may well be that some members are interested to research your own street, road, drive or avenue’s origin. If you are I would be delighted to hear from you in due course.

Public Meetings

Up to the Covid 19 outbreak, the planned programme for the 2020-21 Cycle of meetings and talks which, with the exception of the April 14th Meeting, were to take place at the St Michael & St John’s Parish Centre Assembly Hall, is set out below.
Sept 7th      AGM & Sally Leeming    The Life & Times of Donald Coates
Oct 5th       Nick Burton                     Pendle Radicals
Nov 2nd     TBC                                 North West Air Ambulance in Lancashire
Dec 7th      Rev. Andy Froud            The Real Father Christmas
Jan 4th     Jack Speers                     The Re-Wilding of Primrose Lodge
Feb 1st     Dr Andrew Clayton          The History of Clitheroe Royal Grammar School
Mar 1st     Stephen Illingworth          The Pilgrimage of Grace in the Ribble Valley
April 14th  Steve Ragnall                  Keynote Meeting: Dalehead ‘A Musical History’
May 3rd    Jane Entwistle                 The Restoration Works at Bellmanpark Limekilns

The April  2020 Keynote meeting of ‘Ribble Valley on Film’, at the Grand, was postponed and a provisional revised date of 15th September made.

Clearly all dates and locations remain provisional at this point in time. Members will be informed immediately as soon as we can commit to what may be a revised version of this programme.

Members Notices

Liz Foley
It is with regret that I have to report the recent death of Liz Foley. Liz and Peter joined the Society only two years ago but were keen supporters of our interests and I recall our wide-ranging conversations during the sunny ‘Outing’ we had to Lancaster last year. Condolences have been sent to Peter and his family on behalf of the Society.
Janice Tolson
In conversation recently, Janice recounted a lovely story about her recent Birthday. Like many of us she is ‘self-isolating’ and this curtailed the usual family get together to celebrate another year in the life of ‘the head of the family’. There was an early morning visit from her daughter, at a suitable - but regrettably ‘over the garden fence’ - distance with cards, congratulations, and best wishes for the day. There was also the promise of a cake - baked specially for her by her granddaughter - to be delivered later in the day.
The knock on the door duly came in the afternoon but, instead of there just being proud daughter, granddaughter, family members (and cake!) to greet her, the whole of Newlands Avenue had been invited to join the party and sing ‘Happy Birthday’! Triumph over Adversity - and the spirit which will get us through these strange times! Happy Birthday Janice.

In Conclusion

The next Newsletter will be issued in August, in advance of the AGM and with the Agenda for that meeting. Just how and where that meeting will take place will be confirmed at a later date as this is in the - hopefully wiser - hands of others.
This meeting, to start a new business year in the life of the Society, will definitely take place. More details on when and how will be released asap. Despite all the restrictions we are having to accommodate at the moment I hope you will all be able to fully enjoy the coming Summer months now on our doorstep, and in one of the finest locations to be locked down in the country.
With regards and best wishes to all our members, your families and friends.
Steve Burke, Chairman, Clitheroe Civic Society.
29th May 2020

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More News & Events...


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27 October 2020

In the light of the information and guidance from Clitheroe Town Council this year’s wreath laying, on behalf of the Society, will be undertaken by the Society’s Officers and Shirley Penman. This will take place at 1.00pm on Monday 9th November. Two additional attendees, already nominated, will make up the party of six representing the Society in accordance with the current Government Guidelines. Regrettably, these guidelines do not permit more to attend.

19 June 2020

Honorary Life member Tony Goodbody sadly died in hospital on Sunday 14th June.

27 April 2020

An addition to the Spring newsletter

7 April 2020

From Ribble Valley to Van Diemen's Land

The story of salmon and trout in the southern ocean.

28 March 2020

One of an occasional series of Newsletters to Members to keep you informed on the Society’s activities.

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