Windmill Land Allen’s 150th birthday celebrations

Author Allen Clarke and his wife Eliza at the Daisy Colony in the Ashfield Road area which was then part of Carleton
Author Allen Clarke and his wife Eliza at the Daisy Colony in the Ashfield Road area which was then part of Carleton
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CELEBRATED Fylde author Allen Clarke will be honoured in Blackpool on Wednesday with an afternoon event to mark the 150th anniversary of his birth.

The gathering, in the Brunswick Room of Blackpool Central Library, Queen Street, at 2pm, to which all are welcome, has been organised by his granddaughter Shirley Matthews, of Marton, author of Milltown Mischief.

She says: “My book came together as a way of showing the real life of children in Victorian England. It is Allen’s own stories of his adventures growing up in an industrial town and his time spent as a half timer in the cotton mill as a child in Bolton, where he was born.”

Also speaking at the free event will be Lancashire historian Dr Paul Salveson, who says: “Allen Clarke is regarded as one of the most important figures in the growth of socialism. He was a great propagandist, but he used dialect as his chosen medium to put across a socialist message and be became the doyen of late 19th century Lancashire dialect writers.”

Allen is probaby best known locally for his book Windmill Land. At one time there were more than 40 windmills, watermills and pegmills on the Fylde, and in Over Wyre. Allen coined the nickname Windmill Land for this part of the English countryside and was inspired to write a book of that name back in 1916.

One of the original mills, Little Marton Windmill, on Preston New Road, Marton, was even dedicated to Allen - who died in 1935 - because of his famous book.

For a short while he and his wife Eliza lived at Daisy Colony, a socialist community which he helped to found in the Carleton area.

Signed copies of Milltown Mischief and also Dr Salveson’s book Allen Clarke: Lancashire’s Romantic Radical will be available at the event. Anyone unable to attend can get details on how to buy either book from Shirley on (01253) 403275 or 07564161977.

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