Friday, 3 July 2009

Broadgate Wordled

Wordle: Broadgate Is Great

Click on this picture to see a Wordle of the Broadgate is Great blog.

Thursday, 14 May 2009

Umberto's and the Monks

I know it's not quite in Broadgate, but it's not far, and today, at about 7pm I spotted two heavily bearded monks in brown cassocks running across Fylde Road and diving into Umberto's. Does anyone know who they were and what they were doing at Preston's most famous Fish shop?

No jokes about chip-monks please...

Thursday, 7 May 2009

HyperLocal Blogging is the Future

Clarissa Sebag Montefiore explains the phenomenon known as 'hyper-local blogging' in this BBC article.

Hyper local blogging is any blogging that focusses, almost obsessively on a single town, community or even street, and it's taking off in a big way.

Broadgate is Great is one of those 'Hyper-local blogs', using our closeness to the community to give a unique viewpoint and voice to people who otherwise would not get heard, we're delighted that fellow hyper-local blog 'Preston Blog' got a particular mention as a shining example of what a local blog can achieve. We can testify that their coverage of the Penwortham Leisure Centre Fiasco has so far been second to none, so they fully deserve their place in the national spotlight.

Monday, 4 May 2009

Invisible Car From Broadgate

If you're driving round Broadgate, here's another reason not to go too fast - Broadgate student Sara Watson's 'Invisible' car:

At Broadgate is Great, we're pretty impressed with this particular vanishing act accomplished by UCLAN student Sara Watson. We're wondering what Sara could do with Crystal House.

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Russians In Lancashire

A new blog has been set up for members of the Russian community in Lancashire

It's authors are Andy and Elena.

They say:

This blog is for the Russian speaking communities of Lancashire in the north west of England. (Русская версия данного блога здесь)

We plan to publish a wide variety of material about our meetings, events, experiences and interests. We hope that Russian speaking people visiting Lancashire will find useful and interesting information and will want to share their experiences with us.

We will try to keep you informed of forthcoming events and please let us know of anything you would like to see listed here on the blog.

We hope to raise the profile of people from Russia and the Republics in the north west of England and we are happy to hear your ideas!

you can read the English Language version here:

The Russian Language version is here:

Saturday, 25 April 2009

Penwortham Leisure Centre

The threat of closure to Penwortham Leisure Centre is one which Broadgate residents will take very seriously, as it is the easiest leisure centre to reach from our area, the others require at least two different buses to get to, and a long trip through Preston's usual state of traffic gridlock.

Last thursday night, a public meeting with over 400 people was held, with feelings running high. South Ribble Borough Council and Priory High School are failing to reach an agreement, and unless they can, a valuable community facility could be lost.

Ed Walker provides really excellent in depth coverage of the background to the issue, and of what was said at the public meeting over at 'Preston Blog', this is superb material which shows the very best of what local bloggers can achieve.

Click on the links below for the finest coverage of the Penwortham Leisure Centre dispute:

Public meeting called over leisure centred closure threat

The people's views

The council and the school state their positions

Let's support the people of Penwortham and the leisure centre workers in their campaign to keep this essential facility open, and hope that those in responsible positions feel enough hot breath on their necks to quickly work out a common sense way of delivering this.

Friday, 17 April 2009

Latest from the Continental

While the rest of Preston sinks into gloom, with more shop closures, a swathe of redundancies in different industries, and now some signals that the £750m Tithebarn scheme that the council had pinned all it's hopes and strategies on for the past decade may now be on dodgy ground, Broadgate is staying sunny and optimistic.

We actually seem to be bucking the national economic downturn, Broadgate has had several new businesses opening in our area such as smart sandwich bar 'Obertellis' and Indian Restaurant 'The Spice Lounge'.

One pub that's making Broadgate a really desireable place to be is 'The New Continental', with it's eclectic mix of art, literature, poetry, theatre, music and techie events, not to mention some excellent beer.

They've sent out their latest update of forthcoming events, and it looks really exciting, here's what it had to say:

Thanks to everyone who dropped in over the Easter weekend - we all had a fantastic time, and the weather was fabulous - a taste of the coming summer, we hope.

Taking us up to the end of April, we can't move for great events here at The Continental. May is filling up quickly too - keep an eye on the events page for an update in the very near future...

Next week, we've a two-night run of Stephanie Ridings' acclaimed one-woman show, Me, Mum and Dusty Springfield. The highlight of last year's Royal Exchange Blue Six festival, Ridings' comic monologue explores the mother/daughter relationship with insights we'll all relate to... all cut through with a liberal sprinkling of Dusty's lyrics. Shows are at 8pm on 23rd and 24th April, and tickets are priced at £7, or £5 concessions.

Also next week is Preston Writing Network's first event, Word Soup: Three published authors will be reading from their own work on the subject of Risk. Featured writers on the night are cult novelist Steven Hall (author of The Raw Shark Texts), alongside Preston's own Jenn Ashcroft (A Kind of Intimacy) and Chris Killen (The Bird Room) - backed up by bloggers Socrates Adams-Florou, Sally Cook and open mic from The Continental Collective. Plus musical interludes from the fabulous Ottersgear! Entry is only £3, and it all kicks off at 8pm on Tuesday 21st April. Those of you with a literary bent may also be interested in a new beginners Creative Writing Course which will be starting in the pub next month - drop us an email to if you'd like to take part!

Music-wise, we've a full weekend - Tonight (17th April), we've a performance by Manchester-based nu-folk sensations Ivan Campo - they'll be taking over the snug for an evening of foot-tapping folk-pop, with a keen ear for catchy tunes. They pack us out every time they play, so it promises to be a smashing evening - the gig kicks off at 9pm.

Tomorrow (18th): Martin Carthy - this is now sold out, but there might be a few returns on the door if you want to come down anyway - but no promises! Monday (20th April) sees an album launch gig from Preston's dark electro-rock combo Playing Violet, with support from Stephen J Buckley and the Feverdreamers - Entry is free, and starts at 9pm in the events space.

Next Sunday (26th) is the last of the month, which (of course) means The Continental Jazz Club. This month sees the return of the ever popular (and evergreen) saxophonist Harold Salisbury, with Tom Vernon on Guitar, Norman Helm on Bass and Tim Franks on Drums. As always, we'll be launching proceedings from 9pm

The Beer List is currently being typed up for the Second Continental Beer Festival, which will be running from 30th April through to 4th May - we'll be sticking it up on the website as soon as it's done, and trust us, it's going to be fantastic - 5 days of the best beer, cider, food, music and (fingers crossed) weather Preston can offer!

Don't forget our book club - the next meeting is on the 20th April in the snug - email for more details if you'd like to join in - the current book is Morvern Callar by Alan Warner. Yoga will be starting in the next couple of weeks after work on Thursdays - get in touch if you've not put your name down already with and the start date will be finalised next week.

Alll the best,

The Continental Team

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Workers Memorial Day, Preston and Chorley

Workers' Memorial Day, International Workers' Memorial Day or International Commemoration Day (ICD) for Dead and Injured takes place annually around the world on April 28, an international day of remembrance and action for workers killed, disabled, injured or made unwell by their work.

According to the International Labour Organisation (ILO), across the world:

Each year, more than two million women and men die as a result of work-related accidents and diseases

Workers suffer approximately 270 million occupational accidents each year, and fall victim to some 160 million incidents of work-related illnesses

Hazardous substances kill 440,000 workers annually – asbestos claims 100,000 lives

One worker dies every 15 seconds worldwide.

6,000 workers die every day.

Work kills more people than wars.

In a world, where on occasions death, injury and illness at work are hidden away and taken for granted, Workers' Memorial Day is an opportunity to highlight the preventable nature of most workplace accidents and ill health and to promote campaigns and union organisation in the fight for improvements in workplace safety. The slogan for the day is:

Remember the dead - Fight for the living.

Although the 28 April is used as the focal point for remembrance and a day of International solidarity; campaigning and other related activities continue throughout the year right around the world.

Preston is no exception, and there will be a memorial service held in Chorley too:

Preston - March and rally on Saturday 25th April 11.30 am at Preston Flag Market for more information about it, please contact: WMD c/o Trade Union Education, 5th Floor, Buckingham House, Preston PR1 3LS, Chair: Andy Birchall, 01772 223112

Chorley - Chorley Branch of Unite the Union are holding a multi-faith memorial service at the Unite Workers Memorial Tree in Astley Park, Chorley, on Friday 24th, April at 6pm Meet at the Park gates (Park Road) at 5:50pm, all welcome. For more information Steve Turner (Branch Secretary) Mob- 07859369492

This years memorial day will be particularly poignant, as millions of workers internationally have lost their jobs as a result of the catastrophic world recession.

Thursday, 9 April 2009

JuggleCon1 Avenham Park

Easter Monday is the day Prestonians traditionally head for Avenham Park to roll their eggs.

This time the event will be enhanced by "Jugglecon1" a self organised event by local people.

Here's what's happening:

* Juggling
* Circus (if you've got a Unicycle or anything Circusy please bring along)
* Food
* Games (please bring along anything you think we'd love)
* Fuzzies
* Easter Egg Rolling
* Fun!

According to 'Visit Preston'

The annual Egg Rolling or Easter Fair on 13th April 10am to 3pm dates back to Victorian times although its exact origins are a mystery. However, the tradition has continued to modern times and continues to capture the imagination of all generations.

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Learn Essential Zombie Survival Skills In Broadgate

With climate change, the credit crunch, celebrity culture, unhealthy diets and MP's expenses claims all getting worse, it's only a matter of time before the undead rise from their graves and slake their unholy thirst with the blood of the living.

That's the claim of Dr Dale Seslick, leader of a crack team of Zombie Apocalypse survival consultants, who will be visiting Broadgate this Friday, to host an Essential Zombie Apocalypse Survival Skills course at the New Continental.

According to the New Continental's website:

Seslick's popular Seminar deals with such sensitive issues as: What is a Zombie? Am I a Zombie? Is she a Zombie? Is he a Zombie? Are you a Zombie? Are they a Zombie? and of course the age old question - est tu un Zombie?

The impending threat from the legion of the undead is one that has been all too long ignored by the political establishment. Attempts to alert members to the danger of a crowd of stinking and rotting corpses asserting their diabolical will over the land of the living have made little impression in the House of Lords.

This is a course no Broadgate resident should miss, learning zombie survival skills, while supping a pint of real ale at the Conti, is far preferable to watching your own intestines being ripped out by lumbering cadavers.

Dr Dale Seslick is stopping in Broadgate as part of a national tour that will equip the whole country with zombie survival skills, a tour that will culminate in Edinburgh, city of Burke and Hare, the infamous body-snatchers. The seminar in Edinburgh coincides with the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

For live video footage of Dr Dale Seslick's teaching, see fellow Preston Blogger 'The Temple of the Matmos'

Monday, 6 April 2009

Grafton St To Shut Down For 6 Months

Grafton Street in Broadgate is to be closed to traffic, and even resident's parking for up to 6 months. The whole street will resemble a massive building site, as it will be open only to contractors vehicles, the work is scheduled to begin in May, and may last until October.

Broadgate residents are preparing themselves for months, if not years of traffic chaos, as the work will continue along Strand Road, and involve the sinking of several tunnel shafts.

The crucial work is part of the Preston Tunnel Project, a major piece of civil engineering by United Utilities which will allow, when it is finished, for the storage of up to 30,000 cubic metres of storm water overflow, and will include 5 kilometres of pipework which will transfer waste water to the Clifton Marsh Water Treatment Works.

While residents are concerned about the inconvenience, noise, dirt and dust, most are aware of promises by the authorities that this work will significantly improve Preston's flood defences, as it enables much more effective drainage of storm waters that create the kind of flash flooding we're now all too familiar with, as well as improving water quality in the River Ribble, and in the Estuary.

The tunnels in Preston will follow the paths of existing roads and will not travel under buildings apart from those owned by United Utilities. Restoration will also be carried out after the underground work is complete.

Three shafts will be dug at Watery Lane, Marsh Lane and Fishergate Hill to allow digging machines to travel 26m underground to create a tunnel between the sites.
From Preston the pipes will travel under the river to a new pumping station in Penwortham, before passing beneath farmland and the river to Clifton Marsh.

The project has been planned to help the river comply with European legislation on bathing water quality.

Once complete, improvements should be seen to shellfish waters along the estuary and to beaches at Southport, Ainsdale, St Annes and Blackpool.

Sunday, 5 April 2009

'Broadgate Is Great' Reverberates Across The Blogosphere

"Who looks upon a river in a meditative hour, and is not reminded of the flux of all things? Throw a stone into the stream, and the circles that propagate themselves are the beautiful type of all influence" Ralph Waldo Emerson

The internet is like a constantly flowing body of water. If you chuck a big enough rock in, you can send ripples right around it.

Broadgate is Great is a very little blog, about a small, but pleasant, part of Preston, which is an ex-town trying a little bit too hard to be 'the third city of the North West'. You'd think a blog with such a small footprint would seem barely relevant to other people in other places.

Even so, in the short time it's been in existence, 'Broadgate Is Great' has certainly sent out a few ripples, and been noticed by quite a few people, and it is really nice to be noticed.

It's even better to be noticed by decent writers, and Jenn Ashworth is certainly that, she's Preston's brightest literary flame since Robert Service and Angela Brazil.

Jenn was kind enough to say about this blog:
Broadgate is Great does what is says on the tin. As a community news portal specific to the Broadgate area, this blog is hard to beat. The writing is clear, informative and characterful, and the look and layout of the blog make the most out of the template and include some amazing pictures of the area.

Read more of Jenn's opinions on our, and other Preston Blogs at Preston Writer's Network

A lot of people liked the post on '85 ways to build community', which got featured in the Britblog Carnival on Redemption Blues Here's their opinion on that post:

Riversider at Broadgate is Great, drawing on Professor Robert Putnam’s initiative across the Pond, lists, in a creditable effort at transplanting it to British soil, 85 Ways to Build Community. Predictably (though not without justification), "Turn off your TV or PC" features as admonition number one (on the original American list, top spot goes to "Organise a social gathering to welcome a new neighbour". Switching off the goggle box is to converse with friends or family occupies 71st position only). "Go outside" comes in at number two. Interestingly, "Say hello to strangers" is number 51 (85 in the US version). People still where I come from and it is part of the charm of the place, but nowadays chiefly the preserve of the older generation. "Join in to help carry something heavy" would be a non-starter in Waffleland, where nobody would dream of giving up their seat for a white-haired matron on a bus, never mind a pregnant woman.

Even our article on the Broadgate Flood Wall repairs made an impact on the blogosphere. Greentime said this;
Global warming brings with it heavier floods in traditionally flood-prone areas. Are our local flood defenses up to the challenge? Follow one example of posing and answering this question at Broadgate Is Great: Broadgate Flood Wall Repairs.

Closer to home, the admirable Preston Blog took up our post on the threat to build a 'Super Surgery' over the Hartington Courts play area.

The latest blog to feature an article from Broadgate is Great is The Soul of Rock and Roll the blogger there suggests our coverage of Damo Suzuki's gig at the Continental will lead him to seek this experimental underground rock adventurer out.

Lots of other blogs have also posted links to Broadgate Is Great, and we always try to reciprocate. If you look at the bottom of the right hand sidebar, you'll see the very latest posts from some of Preston's most excellent blogs.

Broadgate is Great has just been going for a few months, but we're already getting the word out about some of the great things happening in this area. We're proud to belong to a community that's starting to make some pretty interesting and exciting things happen for itself.

Friday, 3 April 2009

Riversway Blog Probes Sport

Blogging gives ordinary people a voice that otherwise might not be heard.

It is with this in mind that 'Broadgate is Great' welcomes the new 'Riversway - Labour and Industry' blog started by Callum D'Souza, a postgraduate journalism student at the University of Central Lancashire.

Callum has big ambitions for his blog, he says the blog will be
"about industry and the labour force, there is only one print correspond for labour and industry in the whole of Britain"

The first aspect of Industry and the Labour force Callum is probing is Sport.

He explains:

I am going to look at the sports industry in Preston. Looking at how sports centres in Lancashire will become a training base for the London 2012 Olympics. Fiffteen Pacific Island countries including Fiji, Paupa New Guinea, Samoa and Tonga want to make use of facilities in Preston, Myerscough and Clitheroe. This means that Preston will financially 'get a piece of the action'.

So far Callum has blogged about how the Pacific Island Countries are all set to use sports facilities in Preston - despite the fact we do not have an olympic size swimming pool.

He comments:
It seems strange that a country would specifically choose to use a swimming facility which does not match the length of the Olympic sized pool.
Although there are plans to build an Olympic size swimming pool in Preston, this is unlikely to happen in the near future.

Athletes which represent the Pacific Islands will have little or no access to swimming facilities in their own country.

So the facilities which are presently available in Preston are still considerably better than in the Pacific Islands.

Other blogs set up by journalism students include: 'Preston Town Centre Health and Social Services at, authored by 'pocket venus' who's been focussing so far on the closely linked subjects of alcohol, sex and pregnancy. Pocket Venus's blog has the innate advantage that you can read about sexual misbehaviour in it without feeling guilty, because it's basically for your own good.

We wish both bloggers lots of luck, and great futures as journalists.

Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Easter Events In Broadgate

One of the many great things about Broadgate, is that we have an unusually high number of people who do the hard work of organising a hugely diverse amount of community events.

A few days ago, we reported on the many events happening at the Gujurati Hindu Society, these include courses in holistic living, vegetarian cookery, exercise and yoga, hair and beauty, Bhagavad Gita, and computer classes click here to find out more.

If you read the current issue of 'Broadgate News', the free local newsheet that is written, printed and distributed entirely by local volunteers from BRAG and PACT, you will find out about many more local forthcoming events.

Here are just a few:

On 5th April, 9am - 1pm there's an indoor car boot sale at the BAC/EE Club on South Meadow Lane in Broadgate, it's 50p to get in, and you get a cup of tea or coffee chucked in free! Why not book a stall? find out more at

If you're more into dancing than scrabbling through bric-a-brac, the BAC/EE club has a FREE DISCO on Easter Monday, 10th April, between 1 and 5pm.

If you're prepared to take a little trip across the river, to the Penwortham Sports and Social Club, then Friday nights for you could be sorted. Here are the acts on each Friday in April:

3rd April; Eric Jones (brilliant vocal, come and have a good laugh)
10th April Steve Power (the man with the voice)
17th April Johnny Grimes (a welcome return)
24th April Lee Nelson (brilliant male vocal)

The fantastic 'New Continental', at the bottom of South Meadow Lane, nestled snugly between the Silver thread of the Ribble, and the mighty arch of the railway bridge, has a shedload of really interesting things happening in April:

2nd April - In Transit: Contemporary Performance from Chris Fitzsimmons and Krissi Musiol (£4)

7th April - the city's finest experimental music night Ear Whacks returns (free entry)

10th April - How To Survive a Zombie Apocalypse: survivalist comedy (£7, £5 conc.),

18th April - Martin Carthy (£8), 23rd & 24th April - acclaimed one-woman comedy drama Me, Mum and Dusty Springfield...

from April 30th - May 4th: The Continental Beer Festival!

Preston Writing Network's first event Word Soup launches on the 21st April: showcasing a writer's open mic, plus Sally Cook, Socrates Adams-Florou, and 3 North-West published writers - Preston's own Jenn Ashworth (A Kind of Intimacy), Chris Killen (The Bird Room), and cult novelist Steven Hall (The Raw Shark Texts). With a musical interlude and a literary short film. See

And don't forget the book club - the next meeting is on the 6th April in the snug - email catherine DOT cable AT talktalk DOT net (replace the DOT with a . and the AT with an @ , writing it like this makes it harder for autobots to send her loads of spam) for more details if you'd like to join in!

Plus, if you're interested in joining a regular Yoga Class at the pub - Thursday Lunchtimes or after work - get in touch: email for details.

There's an even fuller list of events at the New Continental Here.

Friday, 27 March 2009

Events at the Gujurat Hindu Society

One of the most beautiful buildings constructed in the last decade in Preston has to be the Gujurat Hindu Society Temple, with its magnificent and intricately carved marble dome.

Inside there are a whole host of activities going on.

Tomorrow, there will be a 'Health Mela', an event with over 80 stalls promoting different aspects of health, everyone with health needs is welcome, which basically means everyone.

Other events include:


INDIAN VEGETARIAN COOKERY CLASSES - Starting soon - Register immediately.

Exercise Sessions for all - Every Thursday 5.00pm to 7.00pm - FREE

Hair & Beauty classes every Monday - 6.00pm to 8.00pm - FREE

Yoga for all starting from Feb 9th - 6.30pm to 7.30pm

Bhagavad Gita classes - Every Wednesday

Yoga for elderly - every Tuesday 1.00pm to 3.00pm - FREE

Computer Classes -Every Monday & Wednesday - 6.30 - 8.30pm

Registrations open for Sewing , Hair & Beauty, Aerobics, Holistic, Harmonium, Classical dance, Tabla, Gujarati Classes for Adults

Contact Activity Officer Ms.Dipti Thakkar for Registrations on 01772 -253912

You can find out much more about the Gujurati Hindu Society at their website:

Sunday, 22 March 2009

Down by the River

Arguably one of the best things about living in Broadgate is the view.

No matter where you turn, especially when walking down by the river, there’s usually some gorgeous setting that captures the eye. Like these, for example.
Arguably one of the best things about living in Broadgate is the view.

No matter where you turn, especially when walking down by the river, there’s usually some gorgeous setting that captures the eye. Like these, for example.

Saturday, 21 March 2009

Damo Suzuki sets Broadgate Alight

Ex-CAN rock star Damo Suzuki played the New Continental last night, with backing from the Three Dimensional Tanx. I was there to see it, and I met my old friend WB there. He's emailed me this review of the gig, he seems to have enjoyed it even more than me:

Hi River,
great to hook up with you again after all this time. I wrote this as soon as I came down from the Damo Suzuki gig, I wonder if it's the kind of thing you'd like to put up on the 'Broadgate Is Great' blog?

Damo Suzuki and the Three Dimensional Tanx played a blistering gig at the New Continental last night. Noone would believe that they had never played together before.

The night began with a gaunt, bespectacled guy creating ambient sound with his electric guitar, looping it artfully to create layer after layer of texture, emotion and power. I found myself gradually, imperceptibly, drawn into his vibe - a cool spacy mellow harmonic playground for the mind. I felt the audience applause was not adequate for the skill and musical instinct displayed by this guy, had his work been enhanced by video images or polychromatic lighting effects I guess more people would have understood the journey he was taking. I wish I knew his name, he's one to look out for in the future.

Then the great legend Suzuki took to the stage. Like a long haired Japanese Napoleon, his charisma instantly grabbed hold of the audience like a bailiff grabbing an old man's throat. 3D Tanx started laying down a sound rocking muscal platform that Damo quickly began to build on.

The musical alchemy took hold within minutes, dark insatiable beats began to take the audience to dangerous psychic places, a thrusting thrumming rhythm that for whole periods of time began to make the whole room vibrate in harmony with the universe. The 60's time traveller opened a pathway back to 68, and the souls of the greats, Janis, Jim, Jimi could be heard mingling their voices into Damo's sideways thrusting lyric.

The audience twisted and flickered like flames, consumed in a cosmic moment where we were locked into experimental infinities, as the boundaries of music, space and time were pushed back, ever so slightly.

Before it even seemed to have begun, the night was over. Slowly we came back to reality, the coolest and most beautiful people in Preston, gathered together in one performance space, each knowing we had witnessed and experienced something that would leave an indelible mark on our essential selves until the heat death of the cosmos.


Wow! Loads more great gigs coming up at the New Continental - it's making the Broadgate the place that everyone wants to be.

Thursday, 19 March 2009

Batman in Broadgate?

The man behind a slew of well-known comic books and graphic novels comes to Broadgate next week to deliver a talk at The New Continental.

Bryan Talbot, creator of well-known comic books such as The Adventures of Luther Arkwright (currently being adapted for a big screen release rumoured for 2010), will be appearing as part of the Continental’s on going series of “and talks on controversial, topical and fascinating subjects”, to speak about his work, with a particular focus on his Eisner Award-winning One Bad Rat graphic novel.

The writer and artist first broke into the world of comic books in the late sixties and since then has gone on to produce work for notable series such as Judge Dredd, Hellblazer and of course, everyone’s favourite black-clad vigilante, Batman.

o Bryan Talbot appears at The New Continental, South Meadow Lane on Saturday March 28th at 8pm. Entry is £3.

For more on Bryan Talbot, visit
For more on The New Continental visit

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Preston Writer hits the web

Preston writer Jenn Ashworth has been featured on Waterstone's website as a 'new voice for 2009':
Jenn is the author of 'A Kind of Intimacy', in the article she recounts how she slowly found the narrative voice of the novel's main character:
I wanted Annie to tell her story in her own words – the ‘I’ in the novel is insistent, self absorbed and trembling with self-righteousness and indignation. The things she does are unusual and yes, sometimes frightening, but she has a sense of humour, she’s worried about her blind spots, and she’d like to settle down with someone she can talk to without misunderstanding. Isn’t that, in her words, ‘the same as anyone else wants’?

Jenn will be one of the key figures at 'Word Soup' on the 21st April, at the New Continental, the emerging hub of the literary, poetic, technological, gastronomic, theatrical and real ale appreciating communities of Preston.

Saturday, 14 March 2009

Discuss the Preston Tunnel Project at the Central Area Forum

A huge tunnel project that will improve storm water overflow discharges into the River Ribble from the Preston and Penwortham area will be one of the key topics under discussion at the 'Central Area Forum' which will be meeting at 7.00pm on Tuesday 24th March at the St Walburge's Parish Centre.

The Multi Million pound project is being undertaken to comply with the European Water Framework Directive, and will help improve local bathing and shellfish waters within the Ribble Estuary and along the Fylde Coast.

Construction work is planned to commence in the autumn of 2009.

At the meeting, the public will be able to quiz representatives of United Utilities who will provide an overview of the project. The ambitious project includes approximately 30,000 cubic metres of storm water storage, several tunnel shafts, a new pumping station and over 5 kilometres of pipeline to transfer waste water at Clifton Marsh Water Treatment Works.

Here's how the Lancashire Evening Post recently covered this project:

Other subjects under discussion at the meeting will be the erection of a new police communication mast at Lancaster Road North, Ethics and Standards and the Role of Local Councillors, a chance to talk to a Neighbourhood Services representative from Preston City Council about street cleansing, recycling and grounds maintenance, Local Policing, and a chance to ask any questions to the various Councillors, County Councillors, PCT reps, the police and other organisations that usually attend these meetings.

If you want more information about the forum, a copy of the agenda, or if you can't attend but want to ask a question, the guy you need is Nigel Heckford, the area forum manager. He can be contacted at the Town Hall on 01772 906372, or by emailing

Friday, 13 March 2009

Writers and Readers Flock To Broadgate

Broadgate is rapidly becoming Preston's throbbing cultural hub - not only is it the venue of the first ever Preston Tweetup, it's also going to be the site of Preston Writing Network's first ever event "Word Soup".

This will take place on the 21st April at the New Continental in Broadgate.

It will showcase a writer's open mic, plus Sally Cook, Socrates Adams-Florou, and 3 North-West published writers - Preston's own Jenn Ashworth (A Kind of Intimacy), Chris Killen (The Bird Room), and cult novelist Steven Hall (The Raw Shark Texts). With a musical interlude and a literary short film. See

Those who prefer to read rather than write will be interested in the New Continental's book club - the next meeting is on the 6th April in the snug - book in advance with the new continental:

First Preston Tweetup In Broadgate

The most excellent Preston Blog has announced that the first ever Preston Tweetup will take place at the New Continental in Broadgate.

You need to register for the event which will take place on the 17th March 2009.

According to the sponsors, Stage 9 Marketing,

A tweetup is where people come together, bring along their wi-fi enabled laptop and/or mobile phone and meet other people. People also twitter during the course of the night, so even if you can’t make it you can see what’s happening and contribute, by following #prestontweetup.

At Preston Tweetup we’re going to be discussing ‘How can the web can be used in Preston Guild 2012?’ As the last Guild was held in 1992 and back then broadband and widespread laptop ownership was a twinkle in a very rich man’s eye.
Wi-fi access will be provided free of charge. The first 50 people who register for the event will be able to receive a free drink, up to the value of £3, on production of their printed ticket.

The plan for the night is to start around 7 PM, allow half an hour for drinking and making the wireless access work. At 7.30 PM we’ll introduce the night’s topic and then break off into smaller groups to brainstorm (you’ll be allocated a number as you arrive) and then around 8.30 PM one person will feedback to everyone what their group came up with. The rest of the night will be free for socialising, idea bouncing and networking.

Looks like an interesting night for those who want to use new technology to it's fullest potential, happy tweeting and twittering to everyone who goes!

Saturday, 28 February 2009

Hartington Courts and the 'Super Surgery'

Hartington Courts is a popular local facility in Broadgate among the local youth and elderly alike. There are facilities for basketball, or a kick around, there's a bowling green, and Carl Ingram and the other Community Police Officers have a base there.

A while ago, we managed to prevent this site being taken away and replaced with a Fire Station.
Now however, it seems that there are new plans being pushed to develop the area, by putting up a new 'Super Surgery', based on combining together the Doclands Medical Centre in Ashton, and the Fishergate Hill Surgery.

At first glance it seems strange that when so many of our modern ailments are caused by a sedentary lifestyle, our healthcare providers should be planning to take away one of the few spaces left where people can take healthy exercise. The area is also very low - lieing, and must be close to the boundary of the flood plain.

Local Councillors Jack Davenport and Carl Crompton are quoted in the Lancashire Evening Post as suggesting that local people should go for a 'compromise', by not opposing the development, if the bowling green is turned into a better sports facility.

It's also worth asking, what will happen to the existing surgery buildings? Someone with foresight and energy might justifiably suggest these could be ideal to convert into Youth Clubs or some other form of community facility, such as a 'drop in' for our elderly residents.

There will be another opportunity for local people to discuss this issue on Wednesday, at the PACT meeting which will take place at 6.30pm at the Gujurati Hindu Society on South Meadow Lane. If you have a view to express, make sure you get there!

Friday, 20 February 2009

85 Ways To Build Community

What makes communities like Broadgate work?

People like Robert Putnam have researched the 'social glue' that holds communities together, reduces crime and makes people feel happier, and actually be healthier, and live longer lives.

The good news is, the things that hold communities together can be simple and easy, and don't have to cost a lot of money.

Here are a few suggestions, culled from an even bigger list published here:

How many have you done in the last month?

1. Turn off your TV or PC
2. Go outside
3. Attend a BRAG/PACT meeting
4. Support local shopkeepers
5. Volunteer your special skills to a community organisation
6. Give blood (with a friend)
7. Work in a community garden
8. Surprise a new, or favourite neighbour by taking them food
9. Avoid destructive gossip
10. Help another person, outside your home with something
11. Attend local school or children's athletics, plays and recitals
12. Get involved in Scouts or Guides
13. Sing in a choir
14. Attend a party at someone else's home
15. Get to know your local shopkeepers
16. Audition for community theatre, or to support a production backstage, or volunteer to usher
17. Attend a lecture or concert
18. Give to your local food or clothing bank
19. Play cards or games with neighbours
20. Walk or bike to support a cause, and meet others
21. Participate in a political campaign
22. Attend a local festival or parade
23. Do something for your Trade Union, outside work
24. Find a way to show personal appreciation to someone who builds your local community
25. Coach or help out with local (youth) sport
26. Offer to help a neighbour with garden work, shopping or a lift
27. Start or participate in a discussion group, book, or film club
28. Start or join a car-pool
29. Plan a 'walking tour' of local historic areas and beauty spots
30. Tutor or read to children, and have children read to you
31. Run for public office
32. Invite neighbours over for a meal
33. Host a party
34. Offer to serve on a committee outside of work
35. Form a ramblers group, or a swimming group, with at least one other person, then encourage each other
36. Play a sport
37. Go to church, temple or mosque
38. Ask an older person to teach you something
39. Host a Jacob's Join
40. Take dance lessons with a friend
41. Become a school governor
42. Join a campaign and take action that brings you into contact with others
43. Gather a group together to clean up a local park
44. Bake something for new neighbours or work colleagues
45. Plant trees
46. Volunteer at the library, primary school or a charity shop
47. Call an old friend
48. Sign up for a college course, and meet your classmates
49. Accept or extend an invitation
50. Go for a walk in the park
51. Say hello to strangers
52. Find out more by talking to a neighbour you don't know very well yet
53. Collect oral histories to discover the interesting things people around here have done
54. Join in to help carry something heavy
55. Make gifts of time
56. Greet people
57. If you think someone needs help, ask to find out, and then do what you can
58. Fix it, even if you didn't break it
59. Pick up litter, even if you didn't drop it
60. Attend gallery openings, and art exhibits
61. Organise a neighbourhood car boot sale
62. Read or listen to the local news
63. Write an article for this blog, or for Broadgate News
64. Help deliver the Broadgate News
65. Attend a public meeting, and speak out on local issues
66. When inspired, write a personal note, or send a card to friends
67. Offer to watch a neighbour's flat or home while they are away
68. Bring next doors bins in for them
69. Help out with recycling
70. Start talking to people you see regularly
71. Listen to the children you know, and find out what matters to them
72. Ask to see a friends photos
73. Invite a local politician or official to speak to a group you belong to
74. Plan a reunion of family, friends, or people with whom you have a special connection
75. Hire local young people for odd jobs
76. Write a letter to the editor
77. Join a group that is likely to lead to making new friends of a different ethnicity
78. Sit on your doorstep
79. Fight to keep your essential local services
80. See if your neighbour needs something when you run to the store
81. Be nice when you drive
82. Find out more about another culture, by talking to a neighbour from another culture
83. (Add your own here!)...............................................
84. ....................................................................................
85. ....................................................................................

Come on, what are you waiting for! If you don't do it, who else will?

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Angela Brazil - A Ripping and Blossomy Broadgate Author

Can you imagine the fuss if the author of the Harry Potter books, JK Rowling, had been born in Preston. There would be a blue plaque and, perhaps, the house would be open to the public. Well, in the first half of the 20th century an author was equally as successful in writing children’s boarding school books although they were about and for girls.
Angela Brazil ( for some reason pronounced Brazzle ) was born at 1, West Cliff here in Broadgate, the youngest of a family of four with two brothers and a sister, on the 30th November 1868. Her father Clarence worked in the Lancashire cotton trade and moved around this area as a result. Her mother, Angelica, was determined that her daughter would not be sent away to boarding school so she attended the Miss Knowle's Select Ladies School here in Preston.before moving to Wallasey.
Angela was over 30 before she began to publish with The Fortunes of Phillipa based on her mother’s experiences of boarding school. She went on to write 47 other school stories which brought her wealth and fame. She is credited with inventing the girls’ school genre although that is not strictly true. What she had though was determination and a prolific output.
Her best works are considered to be ‘ A Fourth Form Friendship’, A Pair of Schoolgirls’, ‘The Youngest Girl in the Fifth’ and ‘For the Sake of the School’. A typical synopsis of her work can be summed by ‘The Head Girl at the Gables’ published in 1919.
"Lorraine wasn’t head girl material – at least that’s how all the girls at The Gables felt. She was too quiet and withdrawn. But Miss Kingsley, the headmistress thought differently. So Lorraine was appointed and her hard struggle to win over the girls begins. She organizes a School Show, finds a new ally in the artistic Claudia and takes command in a surprisingly effective way. And woven into her school life is her newly discovered talent for painting – which leads to her the unmasking of a dangerous spy ring!"
Another original aspect of her publications are the covers which are colour and striking in their perception of girls having a life other than the stereotypical limp heroines of previous books for children. They are camping, trekking, adventurous, playing sport – not at all what the 1900’s had been used to being seen. No wonder they were such a spectacular hit with the young girls of the day. I’m not certain but I think that a copy of these early editions in good condition can fetch a decent price in the collector’s market.
One of the oddest things about Angela Brazil’s books is that at one time they were considered dangerous for young girls by Headmistresses with their slangy words like ‘ripping’ and ‘blossomy’. Unbelievably they were burnt to prevent them being read.
Other writers of childrens stories of the time nowadays attract adult enthusiasts but, it seems, that Brazil does not, possibly because she did not create stylish plots and characters ( according to Hilary Clare ) but when Brazil died in 1947 she had had an enormously successful career.
So that’s a brief summary of the books and life of Angela Brazil born in Broadgate.