Heritage Open Days 3 - Literature
In September the Heritage Centre volunteers will be joining in England’s largest festival of history and culture. The Centre will be open on Saturday 9th September between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. with an exhibition of artefacts not normally on view, chosen by individual volunteers, and a corridor display reflecting the national event theme, ‘Creativity Unwrapped’. In preparation, this month we look at literary figures with connections to the Longridge area.
It must be said that, in the literary field, Longridge bathes in reflected glory from Stoneyhurst College in Hurst Green. Perhaps the most famous old boy of the college is Arthur Conan Doyle, who was a pupil there from 1868, aged 9, to 1875. Some of the most significant characters in the Sherlock Holmes books have names borrowed from his contemporaries – Patrick Sherlock arrived at the school at almost exactly the same time as young Arthur (although there appears to be no Holmes). The two Moriarty brothers shared their proficiency in maths with the arch-villain Professor Moriarty and one of them even had similar physical and behavioural traits. The college buildings and surroundings may well have inspired Baskerville Hall, scene of the terrifying story of the Hound – the cover of the first edition is shown here.
Another influential figure who spent time at Stoneyhurst was Gerard Manley Hopkins. Hopkins studied for 2 years and took his priestly vows at the College. Although this time overlapped with Conan Doyle’s it is unlikely they knew each other, given the difference in ages. Hopkins later returned to Stoneyhurst to teach Greek and Latin. He is now considered to be one of the most distinguished Victorian poets, but his style was so very different to what had gone before that he was little recognised during his lifetime. His ‘sprung rhythm’, imitating natural speech, influenced the rise of free verse early in the 20th century. Many of his poems reflect the natural world and the ill effects of man’s actions, so that some consider him to be the first environmental poet.
Look out for more on the cultural heritage of Longridge and district at the Old Station on September 9th!
We are usually open between 10 and 2, Monday to Friday. We sell a selection of cards, books, maps, local photographs and small gifts. Our corridor displays can be seen during Station opening times of 9 to 4, Monday to Saturday.
The Old Station, Berry Lane, Longridge PR3 3JP Tel: 01772 437958 Email