A Word In Your Ear - July 17, 2014

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IT’S rewarding to take an interest in your neighbourhood.

This week we’re heading up the road from Edmonds Towers for a 
social meeting at the Mere Park pub of Marton’s Past, a local history group with more than 1,000 members on the internet.

It is that same shared 
interest which inspired my latest novel, ‘50 Shades of Bass’, billed as a ‘Vintage Great Marton Mystery’.

It tells a story of people in Victorian times, when Blackpool, our rural villages and coast were growing so quickly, and also in more recent years.

The most interesting part of writing it was uncovering our history.

You can discover your neighbourhood’s past simply by walking around it and observing.

Armed with more information from reference books and folklore, clues to our history lie all about.

My search into Great Marton started from The Mount, prominent home to benefactor John Picken Dixon. On Preston Old Road was his nearest neighbour, witnessed by former barns (now garage), workers’ cottages and farmhouse of Top ‘O Th’ Town Farm.

Quaint cottages across South Park Drive were said to have once been a toll house for coaches to Preston. There was a police house next door with cells, supplemented by the cellar of an adjoining smithy, for lively weekends at nearby alehouses.

Whitegate Drive was then a willow-bordered lane with meadows (as commemorated still in the road name Old Meadows Lane). There was a farm with a white gate and a settlement grew called Whitegate.

Nearby Ferguson Road, where old cottages still stand, was named after a nurseryman. His large residence with gardens were replaced by a council centre for the elderly and disabled – more recently used for young mums. How many of them are aware of the history about them?

Fortunately, their children can learn later: from books; but also just by walking, talking and using their eyes. What’s more, it’s fun!

n For Roy’s books visit