I get very excited whenever a TV programme mentions the Cotton Famine, my dissertation topic, as this one did!! I don’t usually watch this series, but I made an exception to see Victoria Derbyshire revisiting her childhood haunts in Bury, Rochdale and Littleborough, and enjoyed every minute of it.
It started by talking about a tannery works in Littleborough, which was founded by Jewish refugees from Nazi Germany, and produced two-thirds of the leather used in Army boots during the Second World War. Then it was on to central Rochdale, for the familiar stories of cotton mills, the Cotton Famine, Frederick Douglass’s visit to the town, and the mill workers’ support for Abolitionism. The woke brigade are always so busy trying to make out that Britain was always linked with slavery that it was heartening to get this reminder of how strong Abolitionism was in mid 19th century Lancashire.
Then finally it was on to Bury, to visit the wonderful Bury Market, Victoria’s old school – Bury Grammar – and the Peel Tower, and also Warth Mills in Radcliffe, which was used as an internment camp as depicted in The Girl in.the Pink Raincoat. All in all, it was a fascinating trip round some areas which I know very well, and made for very entertaining watching.