This group visits National Trust and English heritage properties during summer months and has talks about the various properties during the closed season.

Indoor meetings are on 1st or 2nd Monday of the month. 10am for refreshments - Start 10.30am. £2.


Contact Dave Cookson or Rita Elliott at the general meeting or coffee morning.

Picture Gallery


Some reviews of recent summer outings. These are reports which have appeared in the newsletter, but may have been edited due to space constraints. The full report is here.

Towneley Hall

Towneley Hall, Burnley, the venue for our July trip, promised that "a Mouse Trail through the Museum keeps children entertained." But would it keep members of the U3A entertained ? Well,yes it did ! Or rather the Hall, which is advertised as "a Historic House, Museum and Art Gallery", did, as it had a wealth of different features to keep us out of mischief ! Although not set out as a family home there were several period rooms: the elegant Great Hall and Regency Rooms, complete with magnificent chandeliers;Victorian kitchen and Servants' Quarters;the more medieval wing of panelled Long Gallery,four-poster bedded rooms and Family Dining Room, which depicted  living conditions from the different ages of the Towneley family who had the house built in the 14th and 16th centuries. Although a wealthy family and loyal to Elizabeth I, as they were Catholics, they suffered persecution,as a result of which we were able to view a Priest's Hole under the floorboards which was the only one remaining of 8 others constructed there.We were also interested in the panelling in the Long Gallery which told of the family's connections with other local families such as the Dicconsons of Wrightington and the Standish Family.

Also of interest were an Art Gallery of mainly 19th century paintings, a delightful collection of 20th century Art Deco pottery,displays of military, Indian and Japanese artefacts and a Museum which contained household equipment of the early and mid-20th century which many of us remembered fondly being used by grandmothers and mothers. In addition, as once again the weather had been kind to us, we were able to stroll around the grounds and woodland walks which now provide a park for the people of Burnley. We enjoyed basking in the sunshine of the Cafe Terrace,with relaxing lunches,afternoon teas and ice creams.

Well done, Jim and team, for choosing this venue and organising the weather so brilliantly !

Hoghton Tower

In contrast to our previous trip, the August outing to Hoghton Tower proved to be cool,wet and windy. However, it takes more than that to dampen the spirits of the Heritage group ! So, after a welcome complimentary tea/coffee and biscuits, we set off to enjoy our guided tours. Our guide, Harold, was extremely knowledgeable and entertaining,providing us with a wealth of fascinating stories of the house,the family, the many famous visitors and various articles of furniture. Indeed, I could fill this entire newsletter with the information but - don't panic, Alma ! - I'll just pick out a few of the most interesting facts !

The Tower,which has been the home of the de Hoghton family since the Norman Conquest (though the present building was built in the 16th century),is reputed to be the 3rd most haunted house in England - one of our members  did hear a strange noise but it may have been the wind ! The house is full of original oak panelling and furniture with impressive rooms such as the King's Bedchamber, the King's Hall, the Ballroom and the Guinea Room,used as a gambling "den" by the 7th Baron,a founder member of the Hellfire Club,who is said to have lost all of Liverpool to Lord Derby in a game of cards . And, of great historical significance, is the Banqueting Hall where James I on his visit in 1617 knighted the loin of beef he had enjoyed so much, thus creating "sirloin".

In addition to James I,there have been many famous visitors to Hoghton Tower. Shakespeare is reputed to have spent time there with a band of strolling players. Charles Dickens visited it during a temporary period when it was derelict and it inspired him to write the short story "George Silver's Explanation". Other members of the Royal Family to stay here have been William of Orange, George V and Queen Mary and the Duke of Edinburgh who stabled his horses there when competing in local carriage driving Trials.

We enjoyed our lunch in the unusually named Vaio Room. A vaio is a little grey squirrel from Siberia whose pelt was prized in medieval times as much as ermine and was used as clothing and wall hangings. The walls of the Vaio Room feature "trompe oeil"(to deceive the eye) repicas of these hangings. Many thanks to Robert and Muriel Sage for organising this enjoyable trip - shame no-one performed the usual ritual dance to appease the rain gods !

Reports by Lindsey Aitchison