Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Want to contribute to documentary production of Fred Spiksley's story?

For anyone who’s interested in contributing to the documentary production of the remarkable story of Fred Spiksley and the formation of football itself - whether that be via financial support in return for your name/brand in the credits, PR, editorial contribution, or otherwise - please get in touch with Project Manager Rich Stonehouse at rich@richstonehouse.co.uk.   

Rich Stonehouse
Skype: richstonehouse

Incinerator studies delayed - again.

Research probes links with child mortality 
The publication dates of two major studies into unexpected deaths in infancy remain unclear. 
It is 14 years since Public Health England (PHE) first promised a study on the impact of municipal waste incinerators (MWI). Led by researchers at Imperial College London it eventually began in 2011. Preliminary results were envisaged in 2014 but in 2015 PHE announced they were likely to be released in early 2016. There was then a further delay. 
MWIs burn municipal solid waste, including hazardous substances, to convert it into ash, flue gas and heat to be used to generate electricity. Incineration causes emissions that may pollute the air, water and soil and have harmful impacts on the environment and animal health. 
The PHE study has examined 22 MWIs, including those at Bolton, Grimsby and Kirklees – districts
where infant mortality rates are higher than regional or national averages. 
In the second study, the Lullaby Trust, which aims to prevent unexpected infant deaths, funded Birmingham University in 2012 to research the role of ambient air pollution in Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) mortality. The study’s initial findings in 2015 indicated “ambient air pollutants were associated with increased SIDS mortality”. 
Air pollution 
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has found that mortality rates are highest among groups in routine and manual occupations, indicating that deprivation is the main reason behind infant mortality. Other factors cited are poor parenting and cultural practices. But the results of both reports are eagerly awaited by Shrewsbury’s Michael Ryan, who first became concerned about air pollution when he lost two of his children, one at 14 weeks, and considered their deaths could be related to having lived downwind of an incinerator. 
When he examined London wards around MWIs he found that, even in affluent areas such as Chingford Green in Waltham Forest near the Edmonton incinerator, death rates were above average.
In Bolton five of the top six wards with the highest infant mortality rates border the incinerator in Great Lever. 
Ryan’s research is supported by a study in Japan in 2004, which found “a decline in risk from distance from MWIs for infant deaths”. 
Ryan’s research, reported by Big Issue North, was significant in forcing PHE into conducting its delayed study. 
In an almost exact repeat of its statement from last year, Dr Ovnair Sepai from PHE’s toxicology department said: “The unanticipated complexity in gathering data has delayed the project. It means that papers from the work will be submitted by SAHSU to peer reviewed journals in spring 2017. It is likely to be a few months after submission for the papers to be published.” 
He stressed that the PHE continues to believe that MWIs are not a significant risk to public health. 
Local campaigns 
Meanwhile, there has been no progress since last year when Lullaby Trust said its study has been submitted for publication to the Scientific Reports journal and if accepted “will be published online at some point this year”. 
A trust spokesperson said: “Once the research has been published we look forward to sharing it publicly.” 
The delay in the release of both reports comes when there are growing local campaigns against planned new incinerators. A public meeting in Sowerby Bridge last month, attended by both local MPs, drew a large crowd concerned about plans by Calder Valley Skip Hire to construct two incinerators. 
On the same day around 1,000 people marched in Keighley to oppose plans for an incinerator at Marley. Sarah Nash from Aire Valley Against Incineration, said: “This plan is completely unnecessary, inappropriately sited and damaging to the environment, health and the local economy. 
“There appears to be a complete lack of scrutiny. It seems that everything the developers present is accepted as fact whereas our well researched and evidenced arguments are dismissed as groundless. We are raising funds for a judicial review.” 
There is also cross-party support against a planned incinerator in Hoddesdon in Hertfordshire. 

Friday, 7 April 2017

Jeremy Corbyn's Parliamentary attempt in 1988 to raise issue of the chemical weapon attack on Kurds

Mr. Jeremy Corbyn (Islington, North) 
May I draw the Leader of the House's attention to early-day motion 868 concerning the problems facing the Kurdish people in Iraq?
[That this House is alarmed at the continuing persecution of Kurdish people in Iraq; records its horror at the way all Kurdish people have been treated in their struggle for a Kurdish nation; demands that Her Majesty's Government request the United Nations to send an independent mission to Iraq to seek safeguards for the Kurdish people and that the International Red Cross be requested to send essential supplies to save the lives of Kurdish people in Iraq.]
Can he find time for a debate on foreign affairs when such matters can be raised, but, in the meantime, will he communicate urgently to the Foreign Secretary and the Prime Minister the need to put pressure on the United Nations to send a team of observers to Iraq to see what has happened there and on the International Red Cross to send urgent medical supplies?
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that today the Committee of Kurdish Organisations in Britain has delivered a letter to the Prime Minister pointing out that already 21,000 have died in Halabja following cyanide and other chemical weapon attacks on the town by the Government of Iraq? The very least that the British Government should, indeed must, do is to demand an end to all chemical warfare and an end to the attacks on the Kurdish people and put pressure on all international agencies to bring urgent humanitarian relief to end the tragic loss of life.

Sunday, 26 March 2017



Many thanks to John Harvey for this and the next 3 photographs.

Many thanks to John Harvey. 

Many thanks to John Harvey. 

Many thanks to John Harvey. 
Taken by Mark Metcalf 

Friday, 24 March 2017

28 April talk and walk in Halifax on events in 1842..

The 1842 Strike - blood on the streets of Halifax

Join author Catherine Howe on a guided walk of the sites where, at least, six workers were shot or sabred to death and hundreds injured by the military when they struck for democratic reforms in August 1842. 

Friday 28 April 2017 
5.30pm start 
Halifax Central Library 

Chartism was the first ever working-class movement. It demanded: universal (male) suffrage, equal electoral districts, secret ballots, annual Parliaments, payment for MPs and no property qualifications for MPs. With just 8 per cent of adult males possessing the vote these were radical demands. 

To help obtain these demands the People's Charter petition was signed by over 1.3 million, including 13,000 from Halifax. On 14 June 1839 it was rejected in Parliament by 235 votes to 46.

In autumn 1839, South Wales miners and ironworkers revolted and twenty died when they were shot down by armed soldiers in Newport. Disturbances in Sheffield, Dewsbury and Bradford followed. Meanwhile, whilst industrialised workers, including many children, continued to be killed in factories, mills and mines, Parliament also remained indifferent to their fate. 

In May 1842, a three million strong petition was handed into Parliament and again swiftly rejected. 

In early August 1842 miners walked-out in the Black Country, which led to lay-offs in the neighbouring Potteries. Within days, workers in Lancashire were being laid-off. Spotting an opportunity to direct the situation the Chartist leaders incited more walk-outs. There were fatal consequences when workers and the military clashed at Preston and Blackburn 

On 15 August 1842, thousands assembled at Skircoat Green just outside Halifax to greet strikers from Lancashire. The authorities had decided to meet force with force and had sworn in 200 special constables to serve alongside 150 soldiers. Yet with thousands also arriving from Bradford to support the strikers then this force was insufficient to prevent the mills from being stopped by protestors, who entered and removed a few bolts or 'plugs' in the boilers so as to prevent steam from being raised. 

With Halifax at a standstill a large meeting was held on Skircoat Moor the following morning. The men and women of Halifax were aware that those arrested the previous day were being escorted by the military to nearby Elland railway station. 

Missiles were thrown at troops and, at least, three were badly injured in an ultimately unsuccessful attempt to release those arrested. 

Afterwards some of the crowd moved back into Halifax town centre where the riot act was read and troops, still smarting from the humiliation that morning, fired into the crowd before attacking it with their sabres. Henry Walton, from Skircoat Green, received a fatal sabre head cut. By the time the sustained attack had ended hundreds had been injured and, at least, six were dead. Many protestors were also arrested and a number served terms of imprisonment that ultimately killed them.

Catherine Howe is the author of HALIFAX 1842: A Year of Crisis, which superbly details these fateful events.

On Friday 28 April at 5.30pm Catherine will lead a 90-minute guided walk round some of the locations where - in the battle for greater democracy - many lost their lives and  afterwards there will be a toast to their heroic efforts. 

Organised by Calderdale TUC. http://www.calderdaletuc.org.uk

@calderdaletuc  For more details contact Peter on 07882 196491 info@calderdaletuc.org.uk or Mark Metcalf on 07392 852561 

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

King Teds 'the best ever in Sheffield'

When International football first kicked off across Europe at the start of the twentieth century the idea of Germany - or any other continental side — beating England was regarded as unthinkable. One man who predicted that there may well come a time like this week when England would face Germany as outsiders was the Sheffield Wednesday legend Fred Spiksley, whose remarkable career on the pitch was matched by his time as a coach and manager off it.

Spiksley was the first man to coach on three continents. He began by coaching the Swedish national team in 1911 and then moved on to Germany where he was thrown into prison with his son at the start of World War I. They later managed to escape. 

In the 1920s, Spiksley enjoyed success with teams in Peru, Mexico and America, where he helped set up and support fledgling football associations and encouraged a passing game with the ball being kept on the floor.

On his return to England in 1924 he became a coach at Fulham, where after he left he complained that his attempt to “improve the scientific side of the game… became impossible as I was up against the old order to ‘sling the ball about.’ “

Spiksley took over in charge at Nuremberg in the 1926/27 season and he went on to become only the second — and last - Englishman to mange a German side to the Championship there. The match Interviewed shortly after his success he commented on the much better training facilities in Germany than in England and said “European countries are still far behind England generally at present, but what will be the case in 20 years’ time…….It hurts to be teaching players of other countries to beat us at our own sport, and I am thinking of returning home, though my club has become one of the best in the country.”

Spiksley, a man who as a player won every available honour then going and who became the first player to score a hat trick for England against Scotland in 1893, did return home. 

He found it impossible to find another coaching job with a professional club. That failed to prevent him trying to get his ideas across to young people and in 1929 he recorded what is believed to be the oldest speaking training film in the world and in which Pathe News use a slow-motion camera to show the ‘finer intricacies’ of ball control. Part of the video is available online.

Spiksley then went on to coach young boys at King Edward VII School between September 1933 and November 1936. On his first day there he removed his bowler hat and when he used it as a ball to demonstrate his skills the boys were thrilled. The King Edward school football teams over the next few years went on to become arguably the best Sheffield has ever had. Fred’s remarkable achievements were recognised when the Ardath Tobacco Company included King Edward VII school football team in their football cigarette photograph collection in 1935/36 alongside top football teams of the day such as Sunderland, Arsenal, Everton and the 1935 FA Cup winners Sheffield Wednesday. Fred maintained his links with the school until after WWII. 

Spiksley’s life on and off the pitch has been recorded in FLYING OVER AN OLIVE GROVE: THE REMARKABLE STORY OF FRED SPIKSLEY,  a flawed football hero, which is available in the Wednesday megastore, Waterstones and on Amazon. The book has been highly praised by such as Henry Winter, Gordon Taylor, Marti Perarnau, Colin Murray, Chris Dawkes, Paul Hawksbee and many more. The authors, who are available to do free talks and presentations about Fred Spiksley and Victorian football history, are seeking to make the book into a film. 

* There is actually TV coverage of the 1927 Final at:- http://www.itnsource.com/shotlist//BHC_RTV/1927/01/01/BGT407121036/

Friday, 10 March 2017

Joseph Hardman - Lakeland Photographer 1893-1972

Excellent book at:-