Tour Blog

20th March, 2014
Day off – A Lancastrian Adventure!

After a week of rehearsals and last night’s gig, I was more than ready for a day off.

I’d been staying at my parents’ house near Burnley in Lancashire, and Simon had come to stay the week with us too, for the rehearsals and gigs.  Being the biggest tourist I know (his fridge magnet collection is currently worth more than his fridge!), I’d promised Simon a day of sightseeing on our day off.

Our top priority for the day was to track down one of his ancestor’s businesses.

Mr Fitzpatrick's 

Fitzpatrick’s Temperance Bar is the last surviving of its kind.  Here’s what Wikipedia has to say on the subject:

“A temperance bar is a type of bar, primarily in Lancashire, England during the 19th and early 20th century, that did not serve alcoholic beverages.

In the late 19th century, a number of such bars were established in conjunction with the Temperance Society. Originally, these advocated a moderate approach to life, especially concerning the consumption of alcohol; later, they moved toward abstinence from alcohol. Temperance bars with full temperance licenses (allowing them to serve on Sundays despite English trading laws at the time) were once common in many high streets and shopping areas in the North of England. The movement had a massive following, fueled mainly by Methodists.  The bars quite often asked their patrons to sign a pledge of temperance, meaning that they would abstain from intoxicating liquors. Temperance bars were the first outlet for the drink Vimto in the early 20th century.

Fitzpatrick’s Herbal Health in Rawtenstall is thought to be the last original temperance bar. The Fitzpatricks, a family from Ireland, came over to Lancashire in the 1880s. A family of many herbalists, they turned to building a family-run chain of shops throughout Lancashire. These shops dealt in their non-alcoholic drinks, sold herbal remedies, and cordial bottles. At their peak, the Fitzpatrick family owned 24 shops between them, all brewing drinks to the original recipes brought over from Ireland. However, as new drinks came over from America, the temperance bars slowly waned away. Fitzpatrick’s, being supported by fiercely loyal customers, was able to survive.”

Temperance Menu 

Now, before you get too impressed by the noble and moral line Simon comes from, his own ‘inside’ story of Mr. Fitzpatrick is that he moved to Lancashire from Ireland and, seeing a great business opportunity, opened a string of temperance bars near local churches… he spent a good deal of the money he made from them on alcohol and partying!

Here’s a photo of Simon’s great great grandfather, Malachy Fitzpatrick:

The Family Beard 

… as you can see, impressive facial hair has been a family trait for generations!

A Family Tradition 

We got chatting to bartender who was a lovely guy.  When we explained the family connection he let us sample their large selection of Fitzpatrick’s non-alcoholic delights (which were served either hot or cold, still or sparkling).

Seeing as it was his family business, it wasn’t long before the rightful heir was taking orders at the bar…

Service with a smile 

After drinking our fill of Victorian cordial, we headed to a small town called Hebden Bridge, home to my favourite record store – Muse Music.

Muse Music 

Every time I go to visit my parents, I always make time to call in.  Sid, the owner, is a fan of all things prog – in my student days he introduced me to a number of bands that had a huge influenced on me and my music.  I’ve spent many hours in his shop, listening to new (or new-to-me) music, and being asked, “Have you heard this?…”

Needless to say, the quality of music available there today is of the VERY highest standard… ;o)

Big in Hebden Bridge!

A few years ago Muse Music was the victim of a huge flood that devastated all the properties on Hebden Bridge High Street.  Sid responded by completely renovating the shop and adding a coffee shop (the ‘Love Café’) which is run by his wife.

The best of both worlds 

… Great espresso, great cakes and great music… what more could you ask for?

We opted for a pot of tea for two and a piece of ‘Dark Slice of the Moon’!

Dark Slice of the Moon 

After our whistle stop tour of the Lancashire/Yorkshire Border, we headed to my Dad’s local pub quiz – he’s part of a three-man team of quizzers who regularly compete in local watering holes.  Needless to say, we won first place… but drank a little too much in the process… not good when we need to be at the venue of our next gig at 8.30 the following morning!