Our Launch Event and Cotton Famine Road Plaque Unveiling
Rooley Moor Neighbourhood Forum held its launch event at Catley Lane Head, Rochdale on Sunday 14th August 2016 to inform people about the forum and its role in neighbourhood planning.
Rooley Moor Neighbourhood Area is considered to be a heritage asset because of its history, setting and architectural heritage. A dominant feature of the area is the Cotton Famine Road and forum members have been working closely with the BBC to coincide our launch event with the unveiling of a plaque to commemorate Rochdale millworkers who suffered great hardship, but supported the abolition of slavery, during the Lancashire Cotton Famine (1861–65) brought about by the American Civil War.
We had a fabulous day and are very grateful to Rochdale Council, Locality, the BBC and the many people who supported our event! The Lord of the Manor gave permission for the BBC to film on Rooley Moor and we believe the involvement of the BBC is a significant step in raising the profile of our area. Our aim is to encourage people to visit and better understand our heritage and the many leisure activities such as walking, running, horse riding, cycling, ornithology and fishing that are available to pursue.
Forum chairman, Andy Meek, welcomed everyone to the event including the Mayor & Mayoress, Councillors and local star of stage and TV, Sue Devaney. Forum trustee, Councillor Cecile Biant, gave a background to the forum & area and later in the day she read a speech by Richard Cobden who was a Rochdale MP at the time of the Cotton Famine. Manchester University academic Dr David Brown gave a presentation about the history of the cotton millworkers and the support they gave to the abolition of slavery. Reverend Morley Morgan gave a dedication and Mayor Ray Dutton unveiled the plaque commemorating the cotton millworkers and said: “I am really proud to be here with descendants from the cotton mills.”
In the event field there was a cotton spinning demonstration, face painting, birds of prey, neighbourhood forum & local history displays, Skylight Circus Arts, the Rochdale Ramblers and Rochdale & Bury Bridleways Association each had a display, the Touchstones Creative Writing Group gave a reading performance and Lancashire dialect researcher, Sid Calderbank, performed period poems, songs and stories.
Our local Co-Op store, Lia’s Cakes and forum volunteers provided refreshments.
A crew from the BBC filmed the event and conducted interviews to be included in a program ‘A Black History of Britain’ expected to air in November this year.