News & Events  2017

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In 1978 when the Nat celebrated it’s Centenary, great play was made of the Centenary Room situated at the back of the property, towards re-roofing, of which the Bacup Rotary Club gave £100 and John Willie Johnson contributed £200.  Originally an outhouse the room had become derelict, the walls were treated with sealant before being painted, and steps taken to underdraw the roof. It was intended that the room would open to mark the Centenary of the society and house a collection of Industrial Archeology.  Over the next few years it was home to a pillar drill a Lancashire Loom, a penny farthing bicycle and various other industrial exhibits. As the years passed articles became affected by damp and the room became a dumping ground for items we didn’t know what to do with.  The bicycle was taken off our hands by a private enthusiast and Gordon Rigg aquired the Lancashire Loom, the pillar drill was donated to Ellenroad Steam Museum at Newhey Rochdale. In 2016 we put in a First World War Then and Now bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund to transform the room into Mrs Ibbitts 1917 shop and parlour. The name Mrs Ibbitts is based on a real lady Mrs Ibbs, who owned a haberdashery shop in Bacup during the  Great War and who often appeared in the local newspaper the Bacup Times in response to her work in organising and sending out war comforts to the boys in the trenches and those held as prisoners of war.  The Mrs Ibbitts, character  was introduced to visitors to the Bacup Natural History Society & Museum aka the Nat in December 1914 when we hosted Mrs Ibbitts 1914 Christmas event along with Mrs Ibbitts Easter Open Day and Mrs Ibbitts 1940 Christmas.  Bacup in 1917 was a time of great change a time of political unrest with a by-election that involved the imprisonment of one of the candidate as a Conscientious Objector, lads aged 18 were being called up for military service, the resumption of unrestricted warfare on allied shipping by Germany in February  led to shortages, rationing, food control and land cultivation.  We wanted to use Mrs Ibbitts shop to tell the story of how Bacup was affected by the Great War and in particular the food controls introduced in 1917, along with land cultivation and how men women and children alike all helped with this,  the introduction of new foods like margarine. The Centenary Room was cleared of all remaining items in early January 2017 and work began on transforming it into the shop and parlour, opening on Easter Saturday April 15th 2017.

 Before & After 

With Grateful Thanks to Jame Megarity, Plasterer who helped us out with one days notice and did an absolutey fantastic job.

Harvest Time

As part of  our Mrs Ibbitt’s project on October 23rd, children from

Northern School Year 6 harvested the remnaining vegetables they had

grown. Sadly the St John’s Cub Scouts planter was sabotaged and they

lost quite a lot of thier harvest.

Creating Mrs Ibbitt’s 1917 Shop & Parlour.

Visit by HLF

On the 20th September the Chief Executive of Heritage Lottery Fund Ross Kerslake, along with other senior members of HLF North West, Eilish McGuinness – Director of Operations, Nathan Lee – Head of HLF, North West, Louise Sutherland – Development Manager, HLF North West, Laura Ward – Casework Manager, HLF North West, Kay Watson – Office Manager, HLF North West and Committee Members Tiffany Hunt, Stephen Welsh, Aileen McEvoy, Humphrey Welfare, Ivan Wadeson, Sir Neil Cossons, Nigel de Noronha and Steve Garland. Visted various Heritage Lottery Funded projects in the North West to see what difference the  funding was making. We were thrilled to be chosen as one of the projects they visited and even more so with the very positive response by all the the visitors, that our two Heritage Lottery Funded projects  Nursing Heroes the Fern Hill Story and Keeping the Homes Fires Burning, Mrs Ibbitt’s 1917 Shop & Parlour recieved.

Class of Year 6 Northern School and St John’s Cub Scouts

As part of our Mrs Ibbitt’s 1917 Shop & Parlour project we worked with pupils of Northern School Year 6 and St John’s Cub Scouts.Both groups were provided with planters, seeds, seedlings and tools to grow a election of vegetables that were grown in 1917.Towards the end of March the two groups planted thier seeds, caring for them over the following months.On July 21st the last day of term and the last before the Year 6 children left to go to their secondary schools they harvested some of the sweetheart cabbages that were ready. We also gave each group a number of Bacup shops to research what wares the shops sold up to and including 1917 and what they sell today. This endabled us to produce a Bacup Town Trail leaflet which we will launch on 2nd December during our Mrs Ibbitt’s Dont Waste Bread event.
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