Wakes Week in Rawtenstall

Home » Latest News » Wakes week in Rawstenstall

Audlem and District History Society
History Shorts 17 by Dorothy Jones

 

 

Wakes Week in Rawtenstall

The recent ghostly appearance of our towns reminded me of my childhood in Rawtenstall, a Lancashire mill town, where absolutely everything also closed down, but for a happier reason — the annual summer holiday, known as Wakes Week.
Every local town had its own allocated week which followed on from each other through the summer months. For Rawtenstall, it always started on the last Saturday in July.

Short 17 Train
The Cotton Mill Express recreated on the East Lancashire Railway. (Photo: David Ingham CC BY-SA 4.0)

During this time the majority of the textile mill workers travelled to either the North West or North Wales coast on specially arranged trains direct from their local station, meaning that fellow passengers were your close neighbours!

As a family we always went to stay in a static caravan in Abergele where we regularly used to meet up with a family from Nottingham (somewhere that sounded very exotic to me). Our luggage — a large brown leather suitcase (that I still possess) for which my father had sewn a material cover — travelled ahead of us.

The only time that I stayed at home was the year that my father died. I don't know how my mother coped with shopping in the days before supermarkets and home freezers, but I can recall going to the street corner to buy a newspaper off the seller.

Sadly, the mills have now all closed and with it the tradition of Wakes Week. The railway line closed in 1972 but has since reopened as the heritage East Lancashire Railway, running from Rawtenstall down the Irwell valley to Bury and Heywood.

Short 17 Family photo
Family photo

The family photograph shows us at Rawtenstall station and, as you can tell from my extremely glum expression, I was obviously very excited to be going on holiday!

popular recent storiesAlso in the news

Kingbur Place parking
Sun 20 Sep 6:08am  |  hits: 1,041

End of the Road!The way humans hunt, eagle eyed for parking spaces and the way animals hunt for food are not as different as you might think. Both are foraging for the best on offer, regardless of risk, within limited familiar confines, ignoring the audacity of any law that paints yellow lines on many of its most desirable food collecting areas.The yellow lines outside the Coop are a beacon...

al 1
Mon 21 Sep 6:09am  |  hits: 795

We have felt the verdaning** promises of Spring, we have revelled in the glories of Summer and now the natural circle takes us into the mellowing spirit of Autumn. Already Turnpike Fields display a disconcerting drabness which might be called messiness . Long before we are ready to accept the inevitable longer nights and colder days, the natural world around us has begun the next phase of the...

AoL
Tue 22 Sep 6:08am  |  hits: 781

The webteam is delighted to welcome a new and fearless quill to the editorial team of AudlemOnline.Joining Alvar jones and John Tilling as co-editor is John Down, a fully paid-up member of ARS and well-known for his BBQ skills.John has been duly sworn in with the AudlemOnline Cartwright Oath,, "never let the truth get in the way of a good story".The fourth member of the webteam...