I came across this wonderful document today while looking through my father's books. Moorhead Mills, Booths' Mill, was the last of the seven mills in the industrial village of Gildersome outside Leeds to close. As I recall, it specialised in billiard table cloth and army uniforms and eventually succumbed in the late 198os (I think 1989).
The mill - quite a sizeable one as you can tell from these aerial photos - was demolished and sold for building. It was on the Gildersome Lane end of the village not far from Matty Barker hill.
The first two of these aerial photos are undated. The third is from 1928 - and it shows the house were I grew up. Hilly Croft on Gildersome Lane was built as a mill owners' house - though my parents bought it in 1960 when, as I recall, the previous owners went bankrupt.
My father's family had a worsted mill on Gelderd Road at the other end of the village. This which closed earlier, probably in the 1970s - and like all the seven Gildersome woollen mills, has also been demolished. But towards the end of his working life, and quite by chance, my father (Arthur Whitehead) had a go at turning round Moorhead Mills and giving it a new lease of life. To his disappointment, though not his surprise, he failed.
He was in charge as the mill closed - and I guess that's how he came to have this certificate. It's quite small, the size of a paperback book, but such an evocative reminder of the mills.
The 'tanks for attack' campaign, by the way, was one of several wartime savings scheme intended to boost the war effort. I wonder how much money you had to raise to count as 'specially meritorious service'?
I am posting below a couple of photos of Moorhead Mills at about the time it closed . These are included with the permission of Chuck Soderlund who runs a truly excellent website on the history of Gildersome. He in turn got these images from the mill historian Peter Munthe Webster.
I've been censored by YouTube. Or to put it a little less dramatically, an item I have put on my YouTube channel is - I was informed just a couple of hours after the item was posted - to be 'removed'. It has breached YouTube's community guidelines. I'm both surprised and disconcerted.
So, here's the story. During the pandemic I am spending a few hours most days sorting some of my archives - and particularly the huge amounts of audio (and some video and photos) accumulated when I was a BBC News correspondent. I'm posting some programmes, features, interviews and other bits-and-bobs on YouTube. It might seem strange to post audio on a visual platform, but the items get some traffic and I design images, covers, which accompany the audio.
Today I posted a snatch of a minute or so of a jihadi song on a cassette I came across twenty years ago when I visited Muridke. The image at the top of this post is the 'cover' I designed for it. Muridke is a large Islamic centre and seminary outside Lahore in Pakistan which was then - and perhaps still is - closely associated with the Islamic militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba, which is banned under anti-terrorism legislation in the United States, the European Union, Britain, India and many other countries (including, nominally, Pakistan).
I was surprised when at Muridke - a rare access to the site for a western journalist - that wailing songs with lots of reverb praising the mujahideen played from loudspeakers. I hadn't expected such a hardline jihadi group to go for song at all. Radio lives on sounds, and I managed to get a cassette of these mujahid songs - as I recall, from a shop on campus. I probably still have it somewhere in the loft.
When I came across part of a song from this cassette on a minidisc I thought it was worth posting - it's hardly commercially available, and such pieces of music are resonant of a time, a place and an issue. I've also posted recently a burst of Naxalite singing from Bihar - a Kashmiri mourning song - chanting by supporters of the assertively Hindu RSS ... you get the sort of thing.
YouTube doesn't specify which part of the community guidelines I - or the item - has breached, but I assume it is the section about 'hateful content'. I don't think anyone at YouTube has examined the song's lyrics; more likely, the word 'jihadi' in the description has alarmed someone there. The song certainly praises the mujahid, the religious warrior, and I imagine that it originated during the conflict in Afghanistan, when western nations armed and supported mujahideen groups to bring down the country's Soviet-backed government.
I am fairly sure I used a snatch from the song in reports I compiled at the time. I wouldn't have thought twice about it. No one complained or expressed any reservations that reached my ears. Now it seems that the posting of the song - even though it's twenty years old and there is no suggestion of sympathy for its message - is entirely impermissible. Shorn of context, the song is clearly more a target of censure than when it's part of the tapestry of a news report.
This is not an open-or-shut issue. Hate speech is wrong and should not be tolerated. But does the posting of this song valorise violence or incite hatred? I don't think so. Can extremism be understood if its cultural expressions are banned from the public arena, even when it's clear that there is no advocacy being conducted? I don't think so.
I do feel stung by YouTube's move. I have appealed - though since you have to make your case in about a couple of hundred characters, I am not expecting a reconsideration. I'll update this post when I hear.
But you can make up your own mind about the song. Here it is:
There's a 'lockdown' on - but that doesn't mean giving up. Indeed, it's a time to turn to passions and enthusiasms for intellectual sustenance - as well as helping family, friends and community through the pandemic.
I've just got hold of one of the key political documents of the nineteenth century. It's simply a twelve-page pamphlet - but it both was the first recognisable party election manifesto and is regarded as the founding document of modern Conservatism.
Sir Robert Peel wrote the 'Tamworth Manifesto' - here's the full text - as a statement of his views to his Parliamentary constituents in December 1834. But it was also intended for much wider circulation. It appeared in the papers and the pamphlet was widely circulated.
Two years earlier, a Whig government led by Earl Grey had seen the Great Reform Bill - the first big measure of Parliamentary reform - through to the statute book. Towards the end of 1834, King William IV dismissed the Whig government and invited Sir Robert Peel to form a Tory administration. Inconveniently for all concerned, Peel was in Rome at the time and the Tory diehard the Duke of Wellington served as acting prime minister for a couple of weeks.
Once back, Peel installed his cabinet but also sought a dissolution of Parliament and fresh elections. The Tamworth manifesto was designed to present his views - and so that of any future administration he led - to the country, particularly on the great issue of Reform which most Tories had opposed.
In the crucial passage of the manifesto, Peel declared:
'I consider the Reform Bill a final and irrevocable settlement of a great constitutional question - a settlement which no friend to the peace and welfare of this country would attempt to disturb, either by direct or insidious means'.
Peel was making clear that he had no wish to turn the clock back and undo the measure of Parliamentary reform so recently, and controversially, introduced.
He also expressed what some might see as the key principles of progressive Conservatism. He was content to abide by the spirit of Reform if that meant simply
'a careful review of institutions, civil and ecclesiastical, undertaken in a friendly temper, combining, with the firm maintenance of established rights, the correction of proved abuses, and the redress of real grievances'
but he also made clear that he had no sympathy with a process of reform that
'meant we are to live in a perpetual vortex of agitation'.
That just about sums up modern Conservatism.
Peel's Tories emerged as the largest Parliamentary group in the election of January 1835 but they were well short of an overall majority. His administration lasted just three months.
In 1841 Peel regained power and presided over a notably reforming Conservative administration which culminated in his decision to repeal the Corn Laws, so splitting his party and relegating it to the opposition benches for a generation.
If Peel is remembered above all for dividing his party, he also deserves to be recalled for setting down in a few simple sentences its lasting approach to political and constitutional change.
Andrew Whitehead's blog
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