Report on Rimington Oral heritage project – launch concert held on 29 November 2019

The Rimington Oral Heritage project was launched at a lively concert held in the Memorial Institute on Friday 29 November 2019.

The project was inspired by a Lancashire night held in 2018 when Christine Thistlethwaite, a dialect poet, who until recently lived in Rimington, and ‘Trouble at’ Mill’ a Houghton folk group, both performed. At the end Lesley Marklew, from Rimington, and Graham Dixon the guitarist from Trouble at’ Mill, were surprised and dismayed to discovere that no recordings of Christine performing her work existed.

Anxious not to lose a part of Rimington’s important oral heritage described in the lines of Christine’s dialect and narrative poetry, over the winter they were inspired to make a CD of Christine performing a collection of her poems entitled ‘In a Manner of Speykin’. That is, however, only a small proportion of her work and so the thought of recording more poems, along with villagers’ memories of Rimington and Middop’s heritage, inspired Lesley to apply for a Pendle Hill Fund grant, supported by Rimington Memorial Institute, to develop the Rimington Oral Heritage project, of which this concert was the start.

On Friday evening’s ‘Dialect Night’ Christine held everyone’s attention with a recital of more poems delivered in her inimitable fashion, much to the delight and amusement of the audience. ‘Trouble at’ Mill’ with Graham Dixon on guitar, accompanied by Bernadette Dixon’s lovely lilting voice, charmed the sixty strong audience with songs ranging from the humour of ‘The Day They Changed the Aisles at Aldi’ to the very moving song ‘1914 on Christmas Day’ based on the World War 1 Christmas truce football match.

Yorkshire was specifically represented by a reading from Kate Hooper, which the audience found highly entertaining, about a Swaledale farmer’s letter from 1860 proposing marriage. Lancashire’s industrial heritage was represented by the colourful Jennifer Reid singing several broadside ballads; songs from Lancashire’s Victorian towns and cities. She also performed a very lively and energetic traditional clog dance.

The evening’s performance finished with an emotional performance of ‘Bleggin’ Tahme’, one of Christine’s poems that Graham and Bernadette had set to their own beautiful tune.

It was clear from the audience’s response that there is a good deal of interest in ensuring that more of the local heritage is recorded. For the next phase of the project, it is hoped that younger village members will interview older members of the community who are willing to share their rich reserve of memories, and that finally a dedicated website will offer an exciting and informative treasurebox of Rimington’s heritage.

This project received funding from the Pendle Hill Landscape Partnership’s Pendle Hill Fund, a community grants scheme which aims to support small scale landscape and heritage activity developed in the PHLP area. The Pendle Hill Fund and wider Pendle Hill Landscape Partnership is supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Click Here to hear Christine reading some of her poems >>