Pendle’s Clarion House tearoom celebrates its centenary

The view from the Clarion Tea Rooms.

The view from the Clarion Tea Rooms.

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AFTER 100 years of success, Pendle’s left-wing Clarion House tearoom is celebrating its centenary next weekend.

So the public are invited to walk or ride a bike to Pendleside - and have a brew.

Jim Dodd, Roger Brown, John Boardman, Sue Nike, John Burrows, Carol Hopkins and Rusty at the Clarion Tea Rooms which is preparing for its 100 anniversary.

Jim Dodd, Roger Brown, John Boardman, Sue Nike, John Burrows, Carol Hopkins and Rusty at the Clarion Tea Rooms which is preparing for its 100 anniversary.

The facility lies on Jinny Lane between Newchurch and Roughlee. And, when it was set up, gave workers from the cotton industry the chance to get away from their smokey towns.

The farmland was bought in 1910 but it was 1912 when the building opened. It was established by the local Independent Labour Party. Prior to that, the ILP had provided facilities at nearby Nabs Farm House.

When it was set up, the Clarion had Andrew Smith - later Sir Andrew - as its secretary, and Mr Michael Wildman as chairman. Mr Wildman’s grandson, Mr Jack Burrows, said: “My parents and grandparents have been involved with it since its inception. I’ll be pleased to be here for the centenary. My mother was here on the open day, as were my grandparents.”

Now, the tearoom is run by Nelson ILP Land Society Ltd, which is hosting the centenary event.

A week on saturday there will be a walk from the old ILP headquarters in Vernon Street, Nelson, to the Clarion. It starts at 10-30am. Walkers will be joined at the tearoom by Mayor of Pendle Coun. Asjad Mahmood. Susan Nike, from the Clarion, said: “On the way, people can join it as it makes its way through.” She pointed out that “butties and free tea” would be available.

Guest speakers on the Saturday will include former Keighley MP Ann Cryer, Prof. Paul Salveson, Dennis Pye, Barry Winter and representatives of families involved in the ILP.

It will also be an open house on the Sunday, including a walk from Barley Car Park, starting at 10-30am. Anyone is invited to join in, and there will be cyclists visiting, too. It will feature Clarion Choir. However, there is a lack of parking, so they suggest people walk or bike there.

There are two other ways of finding out more about the ILP and its tearoom. In Nelson Library throughout August, there is an exhibition featuring the ILP, the Clarion and Nelson Suffragist Selena Cooper.

And John Boardman has created a DVD about its history which can be bought. It features lots of pictures of scenes and people involved.

This year it is the 120th anniversary of the ILP launch.