History society founder dies (95)

Margaret Lancaster.(S)
Margaret Lancaster.(S)

Friends and family have gathered at Holy Trinity Church in Barnoldswick to celebrate the life of retired teacher and local historian Mrs Margaret Lancaster.

Born in Bradley, Mrs Lancaster (95), who died on June 28th, qualified as a teacher at Bingley Training College in 1940 and subsequently took up a teaching post in Liverpool.

The city underwent terrible hardship during the blitz and she often told stories of how different life was then for a young girl who had grown up in a small village like Bradley.

Mrs Lancaster endured her own sorrow during this time with the loss of her younger brother, Leonard and baby sister, Anne, and prayers were often said for them.

As the wartime danger increased, she was evacuated from Liverpool, along with her pupils, to a small farming village in Cheshire, but after a year there she returned home and to a new job in Bradford.

Following her marriage in 1949 to farmer Ben Lancaster, the couple set up home in Salterforth where they went on to welcome two daughters, Susan and Greta into the family fold.

As they grew up she returned to the classroom, teaching in Barrowford as well as at Rainhall Road School and Gisburn Road School in Barnoldswick for a time.

In 1965 she was appointed as head teacher at Elslack School, one of the smallest village schools in the area.

That eventually closed and she worked in Skipton schools until her retirement.

Mr Lancaster died in 1995 and Mrs Lancaster later moved to Barnoldswick and then in 2012 back to Bradley to be closer to her eldest daughter.

Mrs Lancaster enjoyed travelling, visiting California with her husband on a number of occasions, as well as enjoying holidays in the Middle East along with other local churchgoers on trips led by her daughter, Susan, and son-in-law, the Rev. John Lancaster.

Last year she went to France on the last of numerous visits to the war graves of World War One as well as travelling with Susan and John to the Island of Lewis in the Hebrides.

Since childhood, art was one of Mrs Lancaster’s chief interests and each year she did a new Christmas card painting for her extensive contacts list.

Drawings usually accompanied the text in the many local history books that she produced, and her talent contributed to successful exhibitions at St Mary-le-Ghyll Church.

She was a founder member of Barnoldswick Local History Society and its president for many years.

She was a popular local speaker and enjoyed taking parties around Broughton Hall where she contrasted the Tempest family history with her own branch of the Throup family whose origins she had traced back to the Middle Ages.

As she grew older, Mrs Lancaster’s main focus was her family including five grandchildren and eight great grandchildren.

She enjoyed a close relationship with all of them and was always interested in hearing their experiences.

The Rev. John Lancaster officiated at the funeral service assisted by the Rev. John Peet. This was followed by cremation at Skipton, and interment of ashes in Barnoldswick.