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Lancashire is the 16th largest county or metropolitan borough in England.
Lancashire has the 8th highest population in England.
Lancashire is in 19th place for density of population.

  1. The Royal Connection
  2. We have moved across the country from York, home of the white rose, and we are in Lancashire and the county town called Lancaster, the home of the red rose. You may already know about the wars of the Roses which were fought, on and off, from 1455 until 1485. If you would like to know more then start here on our website.

    Descendants of the houses of Lancaster and York battled to be King of England over this period with both sides having spells as ruler. Linking this to a royal connection is therefore pretty easy

    The current Duke of York is the Queen's second son, Andrew. Her first son, Charles, is Duke of Cornwall, his sons are Dukes of Cambridge, William, and Sussex, Harry while the Queen's youngest son, Edward, is the Earl of Wessex. Her late husband, Prince Philip, was Duke of Edinburgh. Who, I hear you ask, is the Duke of Lancaster and, at this stage, I wonder if this should really have been in the "Now That's Weird" section

    The Duke of Lancaster is ....... Her Majesty the Queen, Elizabeth II and, to the best of my knowledge, a woman. However the monarch is always the Duke of Lancaster and so there you have it. When she dies, Charles will become Duke of Lancaster. The Duchy of Lancaster, of which said Duke is head, owns land and buildings in the estate which provides money for the Crown. At one time, in Lancaster it was not uncommon to hear the national anthem sung as "God save our gracious Queen, long live our noble Duke," and so on.

    The first Duke was Henry of Grosmont, 4th Earl of Lancaster, 4th Earl of Leicester, 1st Earl of Derby, 1st Earl of Lincoln and Lord of Bowland. He died in 1361, possibly as a result of a surfeit of earls and the peerage expired. On 13th November 1362 the title was given to John of Gaunt, 1st Earl of Richmond, and the third surviving son of King Edward III. John had married Blanche of Lancaster, daughter of Henry Grosmont and heiress to his estates. When John died in 1399, the Dukedom passed to his son, Henry of Bolingbroke, who would later become Henry IV, parts I and II. The dukedom was then merged into the crown. Later that same year, the dukedom was re-instated and given to Henry's son, also Henry and when he became King in 1413 it merged into the crown again and has been there ever since.

  3. Lancashire Eats
  4. What else would you expect here but the Lancashire Hotpot, a very traditional Lancashire dish. During the Industrial Revolution, (read about it here), Lancashire was the centre of the cotton industry. Most of the workers in the cotton mills were poor and the Hotpot was a way of having a nice hot meal without too much expense. What is more the meal could be left to cook all day ready for when you got home.

    Some people think the name comes from the tall, earthenware dish used to make the stew, because it is really a stew, but others say that the term Hotpot comes from the word hodgepodge which just means a mixture. Traditionally the meal was made up of layers of meat, in olden days mutton but now more likely lamb, with alternate layers of root vegetables and thinly sliced potatoes. Also in the olden days the pot would have oysters added when these were cheap. You could decide which vegetables to include, maybe carrots or parsnips, but the mutton and potatoes were a must.

  5. Lancashire VIPs
  6. Seven random people who were born in Lancashire in the last 100 years:-
    Nick Park (Animator - Creator of Wallace and Gromit), Zoe Ball (TV and Radio Presenter), Jessica Taylor (Singer), Sir Ian McKellen (Actor), Victoria Wood (Comedian), James Anderson (Cricketer) and Eric Morecambe (Comedian)

  7. Now That's Weird
  8. In 2023 we are going to add some more geography learning to our website and one of the things we will look at is tides. If you've been to the coast you will have seen the tide coming in and out, usually twice a day but not always. Ask Southampton. The tide is governed by many things and that is what we will talk about but, one factor, is the steepness of the beach. If the beach is steep the tide goes out for a shorter distance than if the beach is almost flat.

    At Morecambe Bay and along this coast the beach is very flat. The tide doesn't just go out, it leaves. Weirdly, at low tide, you can almost walk across the bay to Cumbria. A little further south, at Southport, whcih is actually in Merseyside, you can step down on to the beach and, again at low tide, walk for over 2 miles till you will reach the sea. Places like the Beach Front Hotel, if there is one, are only accurate for about six hours a day. The pier spends much of its life as a walkway over the sand.

    This however brings a problem. Just like other places, except Southampton, the time difference between low tide and high tide is about 6 hours. The difference is that the tide at Southport and Morecambe Bay travels those 2 or more miles in the same time as tide which goes out maybe one tenth of that distance. Put simply, it comes in very fast. It is very easy to get cut off and so, if you do pop along, please take care.

    At Morecambe Bay, a group of illegal Chinese immigrants were being paid to pick cockles. The best cockles were to be found at low tide but the immigrants were not aware of the speed that the tide would come in. At least 21 of them were drowned on the night of 5th February 2004 by an incoming tide. The sea is dangerous. Please take care wherever you are. Enjoy it but respect it.

  9. It Happened Here
  10. Back in the 17th century, it was not unusual to come across a trial of someone who was accused of being a witch. Perhaps the most famous trial was the one involving the Pendle witches which (haha) took place in 1612. Twelve people were accused of witchcraft, one died in custody and eleven were tried in court, ten of them at Lancaster in Lancashire.

    The background to this story partly stems from the views of the then King, James I. He wrote a book condemning witchcraft and stating that supporters and practitioners should be brought to trial. The story goes that two families, the Demdike and the Chattox family, were involved. Both families were headed by old, poor widows and you need to understand that a lot of money could be made from claiming to be a witch and offering to use your magic and cast spells.

    You can read more about the story here.

    Of the eleven people tried, ten were found guilty. One, Alice Grey was found not guilty. The guilty were hanged at Gallows Hill on 20 August 1612. Not a very nice story but, it happened here.

  11. Richard Remembers
  12. I've been to this stretch of coast four times as I spent a week's holiday in Southport in 2014 as well as my three round-the coast visits. My biggest memory is of the sand and the dunes all along this coast. From Morecambe Bay in the north down to Lytham St Annes on the southern Lancashire border it is nothing but a sandy coastline and it even extends on down to Southport, Formby and Crosby in Merseyside.

    This is holiday coast and the centre of it all is Blackpool. In 1840 Blackpool was a small, fishing village with just a single row of houses on the seafront. But with the arrival of the railways in 1846, the building of the North Pier in 1863, it now has three piers, and the opening of the winter gardens in 1876, Blackpool blossomed as a seaside resort. The Lancashire cotton mill owners would close their factories for a week each year to service and repair the machinery. Each town's mill would close for a different week and that resulted in a steady flow of holiday makers to Blackpool. People would come to take the sea air away from the grime and smog of the factories.

    The rather grainy picture on the right shows Blackpool's north pier in 1912. Bit crowded by my standards and not your conventional beachwear either.

    Blackpool has many stand-out attractions even though since the 1960s and foreign holidays (pre Covid), its popularity has waned. The three photos below I took back in 2014 and show the tower, built in 1894 and for many years the tallest building in Britain at 518 feet, the tram cars which run along the promenade and my daughter and granddaughters completely entranced by something, more later.

    Each year, between September and late October, the whole of the seafront is lit up with over 375,000 bulbs, laser beams and animated displays. This is known famously as the Blackpool illuminations. My first trip resulted in us being near Blackpool in late September so we decided to take a drive along the sea front and see the illuminations. The drive took over 3 hours if my memory serves me correctly at I would guess an average speed of about 3 mph. This may, thinking about it, have led to the incident which you can read about in the "Richard Remembers" part of the Merseyside section. Despite the slow progress I'm glad I saw them but maybe next time walking would be quicker.

    And now to what was fascinating my family back in 2014. Despite being in Blackpool three times before I had never been inside the Tower. It's not just a tower, like Mr Eiffel's creation; there are bars, restaurants, a circus, a Sea Life centre, a branch of Madame Tussauds's famous wax works and a dungeon. You can even go up 380 feet and climb out on to a platform and look out over the whole of North West England but I can assure I will not be doing this. I might go up but I wouldn't walk out.

    But the attraction which fascinated everyone was the world famous Tower Ballroom. We went there on a quiet Wednesday afternoon in February and you can see from my pictures how packed it was. Couples were dancing, and as you might be able to see from the second photo they weren't all old, and up on the stage was the much loved organ, playing all the tunes you wanted to hear if you wanted to dance. Take a look sometime, it's well worth it.

  13. Owlbut's Birdwatch
  14. Kestrels are found all over the place from farms to cities and on moorland. The only places they don't seem to like are dense forests, mountains and wetlands with no trees. You can often see them hovering beside a main road or perched on a high tree branch or telephone wire on the look out for food. They eat small mammals and birds, worms and insects. Kestrels have pointed wings and a long tail. They are on the Amber list but there are about 46,000 breeding pairs in the UK.

    Kestrels have black, brown, cream, buff, grey, orange and red feathers, yellow legs and a black and yellow, short, hooked chunky beak. They are about 35 cms in length, have a wingspan of between 70 and 80 cms and can weigh between 150 and 250 grams.

We have asked the local Tourist Board(s) for a small contribution (50 pounds) to the cost of running this project and, in anticipation of their agreement, we are providing a link to their site(s) for the next five years. I can assure you we won't see anywhere near everything when we are there, so, if you fancy taking a trip into Lancashire check it (them) out for some great information. Apart from anything else it will get you out in the fresh air, walking around and one day you might be over 70 and still enthusiastically mobile.

All figures the latest available as at July 2020