News & Events 2017
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
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
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 will 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.
With Grateful Thanks to Jame Megarity, Plasterer who
helped us out with one days notice and did an absolutey