‘What do you get if you cross three historians a highly intelligent boarder collie and the love of real ale together?’
A pals and pubs walk and a pop-up display on the history of Chorley’s pubs and their connection to the fallen heroes and returning soldiers of the World War One
That is what you will find if you take a wander up to Astley Hall Farm House in Chorley up to Sunday February 26.
Historians Linda Langford, Richard Langford and Adam Cree, all members of Chorley Heritage Group, have been working together over the last 12 months to connect Chorley’s pubs to its casualties of World War One,
Their findings have now formed the pop-up exhibition, made up of 14 boards, which have all been on display in local pubs in the town and in the outlying villages of Brinscall and Heath Charnock.
Linda Langford says: “We thought this was quirky enough to get people connecting to local history, walks, and ‘friendship’ as our story is much wider than just the Chorley Pals.
“We are three friends, four including Tinker our dog, who are all passionate about local history who met in the workplace, school and the local pub.
“We have put together a pub trail so whether you’re single, out with the dog for a walk, a family wanting something to do or a local walking group, then come along to the farmhouse to check out the trail and have a go, you never know you may meet a new pal along the way.”
It was an exhibition on the Centenary of the Battle of Festubert in 2015, involving the group and local schools researching soldiers killed at the battle, which first sowed the seeds for the Pals and Pubs project.
Local Historian Adam Cree had already been conducting his own research into Chorley’s casualties through his work on Susannah Knight and the “Golden Books” at Astley Hall
Pupils from primary and secondary schools around the area contributed to the project by producing “pop-up exhibitions” on individual casualties for display and this was to be the inspiration for our own project.
Linda says: “Following the successful exhibition in June that year we started to think how the project could be expanded upon and taken into Chorley’s wider communities.
“After a couple of pints and a bit of head scratching we agreed to bring together some of our work to promote local history and links between Chorley’s casualties of World War 1 and the churches and pubs of the town, which they would undoubtedly have visited.
“Information from the blog on Chorley’s Inns and Taverns and Adam’s digitised records from Susannah Knight’s memorial album of 1921 have been combined to create our own pop-up exhibitions
“The idea of producing the boards inside the pubs with the assistance of local people proved to be an inspiration, invariably leading to much discussion and debate and brought to life their own memories and family history.”
The boards went on on display in the Prince of Wales on Cowling Brow last March and more followed at the Malt and Hops, Mitre, Cricketers’ Arms (Brinscall), Shepherds’ Hall Alehouse, Plough Hotel, Bay Horse (Heath Charnock), Bootleggers, White Bull, Eagle, Lock and Quay, Prince of Wales (Town Centre), J&L Vintage Tearooms (Whittle) and finally we hope to exhibit a board at the Sebastopol Inn on Moor Road.
Linda adds: “Huge thanks must go to the landlords and regulars in our chosen pubs who have given us a warm welcome and support in making this project possible.”
Adam Cree is also the author of the recently published book, ‘From the Humblest to the Greatest’, which tells the story of how Susannah Knight; a local heroine took Chorley’s Great War to the World.
Information about Susannah Knight and copies of the book will also be available during the exhibition opening times at a cost of £10