Garstang’s southern neighbour, sometimes in the shadow of its northerly big brother, has stepped into the limelight with the publication of a book firmly focused on the village of Catterall.
While several books with a distinctly Garstang theme have been written in recent years, the new paperback on the life and history of Catterall has recently come off the presses.
The simple sounding title “A ramble around Catterall and district” belies the depth of research undertaken by the author, a long-standing resident who is reluctant to be identified and wishes only to be known by his pen-name “Joe Lane.”
The 136-page paperback is packed with history, geography, topographical facts, old photos, maps, statistics reminiscences, reports from old newspapers and fascinating information about the village’s largely forgotten industrial history.
The book’s sale will help boost the funds of a local memorial fund, the Matthew Hesmondhalgh Fund set up to support the work of the CRY (Cardiac Risk in the Young charity). Catterall man Matthew was only 22 when he died on a night out in 2011.
Explaining the genesis of the book “Joe” said “As a retired civil engineer specialising in water engineering, I have always been intrigued by the former industries which the Rivers Calder and Wyre supported in the village.
“Finding readily-available information about the topic was difficult as Catterall, despite being a major industrial centre for about 100 years from the late 18th century, always seems to get overlooked on historical matters in favour of the bucolic charms of Garstang.
“So I decided to research the industry side of things and ended up being drawn into the area’s dysfunctional social history as well. And I threw in a few bits about the environs of Catterall which I frequently pass on my cycle rides.
Mr Lane does not confine himself to the past. He rightly points out that recent history has proved Catterall to be a strong-minded community - taking on developers and sometimes winning. Few in the district can forget the spirited campaign which defeated the animal waste incinerator plan, or the similar battle against a proposed maggot farm whose would-be developers had links with the West Indies.
The publication of the book is timely. Parts of the parish are likely to see more housing development in the coming years - this book will help preserve much of the village’s spirit and help Catterall residents remember their heritage.
* “A ramble around Catterall” is now on sale, price £8, from Car Care, High Street, Garstang, and Crimpers, Bridge Street, Garstang. The book costs price £8, with all proceeds going to the Matthew Hesmondhalgh Memorial Fund/Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY). The charity aims to reduce the frequency of sudden cardiac death in young people through supporting CRY’s screening programme.