Friday, 27 September 2013

Darwen Short Stories: Where We've Been And where We're Going!

(Carol Tapp)

Our town owes its existence to the structure of the Darwen Valley and takes us back thousands of years although officially it was given its name by an Act of Parliament in 1887.

The scenery, soil and climate together with a never-ending water supply proved an ideal setting for the cotton industry as well as paper-making. Local coal and clay provided work for hundreds of our ancestors who worked long hours in the quarries and brick and tile works, not to mention the mills. Darren proved a magnet for the money men who also saw to it that chimneys painted an industrial skyline, bringing country folk to our town.

However, evidence of either Neolithic men or their Celtic successors can be found when a stone circle set upright on a hill was discovered just south of Entwistle reservoir. The bad news is that an ignorant farmer removed all the stones to build a wall! The only stamp left of the perfect circle is one large and two small stones left standing upright.

Almost always the rivers and mountains in Britain owe their names to the Cymric (known as ancient Britons') dialect of the Celtic language. Their presence here is proved by our name. 'DWR' is a Cymric word meaning 'water' and 'GWYN' means 'clear-bright-sparkling' or 'the clear stream'.

Cymric remains were found in October 1864 by William Shorrock Ashton as the foundations of 'Ashleigh' were started. On careful examination he found ten interments. One was a heap of burnt bones and others were enclosed in urns. Although no coins or flint was found a bronze dagger was unearthed.

The Romans never settled in our valley, merely passing it by in their marches between Manchester and Ribchester. All this and more, hopefully, will be displayed in our own museum - sooner rather than later if recent reports are to be believed!

Thursday, 12 September 2013

#Floodwatch with BwD Council

Residents are being encouraged to prepare for any future potential flooding as part of a new project launched by Blackburn with Darwen Council. Called Flood Watch, the scheme aims to prepare residents and businesses for possible future floods and to help them mitigate against any potential damage to their properties. This follows on from major flash flooding events that hit the borough during Summer last year. 

The Council in partnership with Groundwork Pennine Lancashire bid for a share of a £5m pot funded by DEFRA to help communities combat the effects of flooding. The borough is most at risk of flooding when there is excess rainfall causing the rivers and drainage systems to be overwhelmed. Flooding can happen at any time of year, very quickly and with little or no warning. 

As part of Flood Watch, residents are being offered a free flood plan so they can minimise damage and make sure they know what to do and who to contact in the event of an emergency. It looks at essential issues such as vulnerable neighbours, keeping essential medicines dry in a flood and the safety of pets. The scheme will also help them form support groups who will work within their community to help reduce the impact of possible future floods. 

The Flood Watch team are currently out and about speaking with residents about flooding and ways they can be prepared. Councillor Maureen Bateson, Executive Member for Regeneration, said: “We understand the threat that flooding poses to many residents and businesses in the borough due to their location. “Though we can’t prevent flooding, we want residents to know ways which they can help themselves and those most vulnerable in their community should we ever see a repeat of last year”. 

If anyone sees a blocked drain, flooded gully or flash flooding, report it immediately by calling (01254) 58592, or for more information about Flood Watch call: (01254) 222128.