Geoff's unique book is legacy to the town he loves

Author and historian Geoff Crambie takes a look at his tenth and final book A Colne Scrapbook which will be launched this weekend.
Author and historian Geoff Crambie takes a look at his tenth and final book A Colne Scrapbook which will be launched this weekend.

Passionate about Colne, historian and well known personality Geoff Crambie's tenth and final book pays homage to the town he loves so much.

And A Colne Scrapbook is a 141 page tome packed with photographs, drawings, newspaper articles, tickets and programmes from events over the years to give a snapshot of the town's rich and varied heritage.

From photographs of iconic buildings the town has lost, including the Cloth Hall, Alkincoates Hall, Emmott Hall, the Wesleyan chapel and Grindlestonehurst House, to cricket and football teams in the town, the book has been three years in the making for Geoff.

There are several images of well known Colners next to pictures from Geoff's own family album as his life is weaved in with the town that he loves.

He said: "I am really pleased with the book and I hope the people of Colne will like and appreciate it also."

A Colne Scrapbook is a swan song for Geoff (74) as he has vowed this will be his last book, a promise he is keeping to his wife Ruth as he now struggles with arthritis in his hands.

And what a glorious way to bow out as this unique book, priced at £40, is a unique and loving legacy for the town.

Geoff's fascination with history began at the age of 10 when he watched the demolition of the Cloth Hall with Ebenezer Folley who was known as "Mr Colne."

Geoff said: "He was 81 at the time and I stood next to him and watched him cry as the proud palatial hall hit the ground.

"I had never seen an adult cry before and it sparked something inside me that this was a a very sad day for the town."

Geoff took a piece of masonry from the rubble of the former hall that Colne Borough Council had bought for £1,500 before consigning it to history on the grounds that it was beyond renovation in 1953.

That masonry is still in his specially reinforced loft at his home in Lancaster Street where Geoff has lived for almost 50 years. He has plenty of other items of similar memorabilia including the cast iron name plate from the former Bell's Yard and signs from the demolished Colne Railway Station.

There are superb images of royal visits to Colne from 1913, 1938 and 1955 alongside black and white snapshots of townsfolk taking part in local events over the years, rotary club dinners and civic occasions. And what makes the pages come to life are the programmes and tickets that Geoff has lovingly preserved, many of them bearing the signatures of people who attended.

Churches and cotton mills also feature including Glen Mills in Valley Road which was the location for The Man In The White Suit starring Alec Guinness. Geoff was lucky enough to spy the acclaimed actor walking along the North Valley Road and he recalls seeing him wearing the longest silk tie he had ever seen.

Sadly, the iconic Glen Mills was knocked down in 2014.

Geoff's favourite parts of the book are the sections on the former Colne Dynamoes Football Club which enjoyed its finest moment in 1988 when it carried off the FA Vase at Wembley Stadium and his own cricket playing days at Holt House on what was known as "the top rec."

Geoff: "I loved the evening spent playing cricket with all my friends, they are days I will treasure forever."

The book is also a celebration of the many fine buildings Colne has managed to preserve. And hopefully with the help of Geoff;s book they will remain intact for future generations to come.

A Colne Scrapbook will be officially launched on Saturday at Colne Book shop from 10am to 2pm and it will be exclusively on sale there.

Geoff will be signing copies and refreshments will be served.