Sally in a Tree

Grandad - Arthur Mulligan - set up the Astronomical Society at Nelson Grammar School*, where he taught Maths, in 1946. 
 
The society met monthly and kept detailed minutes of the techniques and equipment used, and the content explored in each meeting. Attendance registers were also kept, with around 15-30 students being involved in the society each year.

Many beautifully detailed diagrams were also included which showed the precision of Grandad’s mind, as well as the creativity of his thinking. For example, an illustration demonstrating how to prepare a reflector, which he likened to the petals of a flower; or the ‘convergence perspective’ in his lecture on Stellar Movements, in which he used a beautiful pen and ink sketch of a squadron of aeroplanes to illustrate the formation and illusion being referenced.

Arthur took the group to visit Preston Observatory every year, which from the minutes seemed to be a highlight for him and the students.

The last set of minutes in the book are from March 30th 1953, when a guest lecturer, Dr. Clegg, from Manchester University, gave a lecture on ‘Radio Astronomy’.

There are no further entries in the book, and no indication in the last minutes that the society planned to end. 

* Nelson Grammar School became Walton High School, which then became Pendle Vale College. 

I was touched to be given Elsie’s sewing table and sewing tins when she died. She was a prolific needlewoman and I remember the hundreds of times I saw her peering over an embroidery or tapestry frame. For a long time all her haberdashery supplies were left as they were, in my sewing cupboard. There was a huge tangle of embroidery threads in tins and bags and I’ve finally got round to sorting and tidying them. As I unwrapped the many ‘leftovers’ which she preciously saved for other projects, I unravelled the scraps of paper she’d wrapped them around. They date from 1938 to late 1950s (I’m guessing, from the design of the gas advert). The W. Ryan mentioned in the British Legion is William Ryan, Elsie’s dad. I’m still working through the threads, there may be more treasures to uncover yet…

The Inaugural Nelson Gramophone Society

Quick apologies for a very quiet blog of late. I am still collecting documents, objects, stories etc. The only delay is due to lack of time, and lack of images to go with the many excellent stories that have come in. If you have a story to send me, please do - if you have an image that would go with it - even better! Mum (Janet Ryan) sent me an article she wrote about her dad, Arthur Mulligan, something of a local character, much known, loved and respected by all accounts. I’ll come back to that another time but it reminded me of something else I’d come across about his role in setting up Nelson’s Gramophone Society…

 Nelson Grammarphone Society

* “Although the present society dates its foundation from October 1950 there had been an earlier gramophone society in Nelson of which little is known apart from the fact that, like its successor, it met in the Borough Café. We don’t know when that society started but we do know when it ended. The advent of the wireless as a new source of music in the home (and of the cinema as another challenger in the entertainment field) caused its membership to dwindle to a point where the society was no longer viable and, towards the end of 1925, the founders conceded defeat, held a final meeting and disbanded.

For the next 25 years there was no gramophone society in Nelson. By 1950, however, radio was no longer a novelty and interest in music on record had revived, boosted by the release in June that year of the first LPs from Decca. Alec Croasdale’s record shop (which stood on the corner of Every St. and Pendle St.) was a favourite hang-out for record enthusiasts and three of these were the founders of the new Nelson Gramophone Society. Their names were Edgar Kay (who had been a member of the old society), Alan Robinson and Arthur Mulligan; names which may be familiar to many older residents of Nelson and district.

Read More

Nelson Grammar School.Also written on the back something I couldn’t make out - clublands? newlands?I can identify Janet (mum) (top row middle); Sylvia, Elsie and Arthur (bottom row, right hand side all together) and Janet’s best friend Dorothy (middle row, second from right).Mum went to Nelson Grammar School (later Walton Lane High School, now Pendle Community High School). Dad went there too. And Arthur taught there. I’m not sure but I assume he taught maths.Maybe around 1961 though I don’t know. I wonder what the club or group was, and the occasion for the group photo. And why Elsie / Grandma was part of it too since she didn’t work there, but did accompany Arthur / Grandad on lots of his trips to all sorts of places.

Nelson Grammar School.
Also written on the back something I couldn’t make out - clublands? newlands?

I can identify Janet (mum) (top row middle); Sylvia, Elsie and Arthur (bottom row, right hand side all together) and Janet’s best friend Dorothy (middle row, second from right).

Mum went to Nelson Grammar School (later Walton Lane High School, now Pendle Community High School). Dad went there too. And Arthur taught there. I’m not sure but I assume he taught maths.

Maybe around 1961 though I don’t know. I wonder what the club or group was, and the occasion for the group photo. And why Elsie / Grandma was part of it too since she didn’t work there, but did accompany Arthur / Grandad on lots of his trips to all sorts of places.

Janet & Sylvia at Peter Pan’s Statue, 1953
The back of the photo says Peter Pan’s Statue. Sir George Frampton sculpted seven models of this statue.
It’s hard to tell whether this is the version in Kensington Gardens, London; or Sefton park Liverpool.
Liverpool would have been nearer and other images clearly show the girl on the statue there (presumably Wendy?)
However the background setting resembles other pictures in Kensington Gardens more closely, but the girl figure appears to be missing off those images.
I plan to ask Janet (mum) and (Aunty) Sylvia where they were and what they remember about it.

Janet & Sylvia at Peter Pan’s Statue, 1953

The back of the photo says Peter Pan’s Statue. 
Sir George Frampton sculpted seven models of this statue.

It’s hard to tell whether this is the version in Kensington Gardens, London; or Sefton park Liverpool.

Liverpool would have been nearer and other images clearly show the girl on the statue there (presumably Wendy?)

However the background setting resembles other pictures in Kensington Gardens more closely, but the girl figure appears to be missing off those images.

I plan to ask Janet (mum) and (Aunty) Sylvia where they were and what they remember about it.