Matthieu came to visit this weekend, we drove to Bolton for a commemoration of the 1896 Mass Trespass on Winter Hill.

matthieu with flag

The North-West is not a part of Britain that either of us go to very often, so there was the curiosity of visiting a new place. I saw the Iron Church, with the spire jutting out above the rooftops.

iron church spire

The march set off up Halliwell Road; Matthieu pointed out how many local shops there were.

march up halliwell road

The banners were raised, this one for the Bolton diggers - ‘Stand up for the Commons.’

commons banner

Outside the community centre, this ‘Right to Roam’ banner was painted by local children.

right to roam banner

We soon reached the disputed gate.

banner at disputed gate

There were some speeches, and singing which I didn’t catch. Our small group stopped for a rest.

group rest

This earth divided, we will make whole

A bit further up the path the barbed wire fence was decorated with these pieces of decorative fabric. The sun was shining right through them and it made for a beautiful photo.

common treasury

The quote is from Gerrard Winstanley, leader of the Diggers. Here is an extract of the World Turned Upside Down, sung by Dick Gaughan.1

It was tacitly a political event, somewhere between a protest march and a particularly lively weekend walk. The local (Labour) MP turned up and walked at the front.

After a while we reached the top, picked a spot to have lunch, and the group slowly dissipated.

jude with mast

On the way back through Bolton, I took this photo of the mosque at the bottom of Halliwell Road.

bolton mosque

It was a long drive back, and an even longer drive for Matthieu, who had to go all the way to Oxford after dropping me off.

matthieu in car

  1. The song was originally written by Leon Rosselson.