October is officially heritage month for me – I have visited a number of Lancashire heritage attractions and there’s more to come. At the beginning of the month I visited Whalley Abbey in the Ribble Valley. Unfortunately the rain stopped me having a tramp around the Abbey ruins but I did call into the exhibition and looked around the conference centre. I have to say it is quite exciting driving through the gatehouse into the cobbled courtyard of the Abbey and the village of Whalley is a real ‘English’ village. The Monks tours sounded very interesting – might have to go back for that one.
Towneley Hall in Burnley was the next on the list and it didn’t disappoint. The Autumnal colours as I drove up to the hall were stunning – it would be the perfect place for a walk on crisp winter day. I did a very quick tour of the house which included all sorts of treats including an art collection and a strange, but wonderfully entertaining, exhibition of fairies made from wire and wool. Found out lots about the ancestral history of Towneley – the family’s links to the Catholic church left some of them headless!
Next was a last minute planned visit to the British Commercial Vehicle Museum at Leyland yesterday. Another first-time visit for me and again this proved to be a gem. Had a really good chat with one of the volunteers and found out so much interesting information about the vehicles and their history – and I wouldn’t normally go to a vehicle museum but I genuinely found it to be interesting. They even have the Pope-mobile from when the Pope visited the UK in 1982 (made by Leyland motors) – And you can sit in it if you want!
And today saw me nipping over to Blackpool’s Grand Theatre for a tour and a history lesson. I hadn’t been to the Grand Theatre since I was in sixth form (12 years ago) and it has had a face-lift in that time – being restored to its former glory. The history of the place was fascinating history, both in terms of architecture and the roll call of famous actors treading the boards. With Halloween just days away I couldn’t resist finding out about supernatural ‘activities’ in Blackpool with Stephen Mercer. He hosts tours and investigation evenings around the resort and at the Grand Theatre throughout the year.