How Red Was Our Valley

PAUL SALVESON reports on the Colne Valley Labour Party’s 120th anniversary.

Our former MP Kali Mountford described it as a ‘triumph’ and we’ll not disagree, self-effacing Northerners though we are. Last Thursday’s evening of walks, talks and drama to celebrate Colne Valley Labour Party’s 120th anniversary went pretty well.

Colne Valley cake picWe had a capacity audience of about 70 at The Watershed in Slawit. Cyril’s Socialist Saunter round Slawit attracted a good 30-odd people and we’ve persuaded him to repeat it on Sunday August 14th. The play – ‘How Red was Our Valley’ – performed by enthusiastic amateurs, went down a treat with brilliant performances by George Garside, Victor Grayson, Katharine Bruce Glasier, Jessie Smith and other imaginary characters. The big red tandem also featured with a walk-on part (owing to a puncture).

David (Lord) Clark gave what one member of the audience called a ‘truly inspirational’ talk about socialism in the Colne Valley and the characters he worked with when he was MP for the Valley between 1970 and 1974.

The East Lancashire Clarion Choir did a rousing selection of socialist songs. A booklet on the history of the Labour Party in Colne Valley has been produced and is available, from me (see below).Colne Valley choir pic

On Sunday we carried on the celebrations with a garden party at Bank Top, with about 50 guests and sunshine throughout.


Paul Salveson’s new book, Socialism with a Northern Accent – radical traditions for modern times, will be published later this year. More information from

Looking Back, Looking Forward: Colne Valley Socialism 1891-2011 is published by Colne Valley CLP to celebrate its 120th anniversary. Copies are available for £3.95 including postage from: CVLP, 90a Radcliffe Road, Golcar, Huddersfield HD7 4EZ. Cheques payable to ‘Colne Valley Labour Party’.

To read Paul Salveson’s commemoration of the Colne Valley Labour Party click here for part 1 and here for part 2.