Countryfile comes to Helmshore Mills Textile Museum

25 November 2014

The history of Lancashire's cotton industry attracted popular BBC rural affairs programme, Countryfile, to Helmshore Mills Textile Museum earlier this month.

With the help of Lancashire cartoonist Tony Husband and Yorkshire poet Ian McMillan, the programme delved into the history of 'tacklers tales' at the museum.

Jennifer Ingham, Lancashire County Council's manager at Helmshore Mills, said: "These tales were poems and stories that poked fun at mill tacklers, who were the men responsible for maintaining the machinery and making sure that looms operated smoothly.

"When things were going well, the tacklers spent much of their time sitting at their benches in the mill, and so gained a reputation for being lazy.

"The tacklers tales were told by the men and women who worked in the mills. They were written in the Lancashire dialect and form a unique part of the county’s industrial past."

During the filming, Tony introduced Ian to Lancashire Society chairman and dialect expert, Sid Calderbank. Then the two of them held their own Lancashire versus Yorkshire poetry competition.

Jennifer added: "As well as being informative, filming with Countryfile was a lot of fun.

"Tony even drew a cartoon of me, which he called Spinning Jenny. It shows me standing at one of our spinning mules. I've framed it and it now has pride of place on my office wall."

Countryfile has a regular audience of between six and nine million viewers each week. It often tops the poll as the most-watched factual programme on television.

The episode of Countryfile from Lancashire will be broadcast at 6.15pm on Sunday 30 November.

Helmshore Mills is run by Lancashire County Council's museums service. For more information phone 01706 226459 or email [email protected]. Alternatively, visit


Notes for Editors: Photos show (l-r in Helmshore Mills): Sid Calderbank; Tony Husband; Jennifer Ingham and Ian McMillan.

For further information please contact: Greg Bowen on 01772 536757

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