A Lancastrian reviews a book about Forgotten Yorkshire

Forgotten Yorkshire

Forgotten Yorkshire - Credit: Archant

Forgotten Yorkshire and Parts of North Derbyshire and Humberside is a publication with dubious origins and full of spurious claims.

E.H. Torrance

E.H. Torrance - Credit: Getty Images

In the immortal words of the exceedingly good Victorian journalist, poet, and novelist Rudyard Kipling, east is east and west is west and never the twain shall meet.

Wise words, but sadly no longer true since the construction of the M62 motorway in the 1970s. It is now possible to travel the 107 miles from Liverpool to Hull in less than six hours in rush hour, and rather less at weekends.

Why anyone would want to travel to Yorkshire other than for business reasons I have no idea. One such unavoidable occasion occurred earlier this year when I was invited to address a convention of librarians in Leeds organised by the Lancashire and Yorkshire Peace and Reconciliation Committee (an august body which brings together local government officers from both sides of the Pennines in order to end centuries of enmity and foster TransPennine goodwill).

At around 7.40am, the motorway traffic inevitably began to slow. According to Michelle Dignan’s report on BBC Radio 5 Live, an incident involving four cars had occurred between Junction 23 at Huddersfield and Junction 22 at Rishworth Moor. Lanes two and three were closed with emergency services at the scene and delays of about 1 hour 40 minutes were being reported, with stop-start traffic. A natural and engaging presenter, Michelle works across both the breakfast and drive programmes. She has a natural, fresh and friendly voice. But, more importantly, she is never wrong with her travel reports.

Reluctantly I pulled in at the next services and was soon joined at my table in Costa Coffee by a rather dishevelled fellow in a raincoat and with a Yorkshire accent who bore more than a passing resemblance to the character Frank Gallagher portrayed by the great Lancastrian actor David Threlfall in the defunct TV series Shameless. This gentleman engaged me in conversation and I bought him a coffee and croissant.

Forgotten Yorkshire

Forgotten Yorkshire - Credit: Archant

When I returned from a visit to the washroom, he had gone, and so had my briefcase containing not just my conference notes, but books and many priceless documents.

Imagine my consternation when some weeks later the manuscript of a book entitled Forgotten Yorkshire and Parts of North Derbyshire and Humberside was brought to my attention. It so closely resembles my own book Forgotten Lancashire and Parts of Cheshire and the Wirral that I can only say that it is an act of plagiarism so foul and putrid that all the perfumes in Debenhams could not remove it.

It includes a chapter on the great Lancastrian writer E.H. Torrence, who has unaccountably been translated into a Yorkshireman, as well as a detailed account of J.R.R. Sharp, whose Lard of the Puddings will be familiar to many readers of Lancashire Life.

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More disturbingly, it tries to claim that Britain’s greatest playwright, William Sharpespeare, also hails from Yorkshire. And it makes the bizarre assertion that God was a Yorkshireman, based on nothing more than the spurious notion that the fish and chip shops and curry houses of that county are some of the best in Britain.

I cannot imagine anyone in Lancashire who would want to buy such a book, even if they have friends, family or work colleagues who hail from across the Pennines. In any case, I have informed my solicitors about my concerns and they will no doubt take every step necessary to ensure that this book is not published.

On a more positive note, I can highly recommend the Moto Services at Birch. Located between junctions 18 and 19 on the M62, in Heywood, it has been ranked as the second best in the UK. The eastbound side is the older and smaller of the two, while westbound is a lot more airy. It boasts a Burger King, Greggs, M&S Simply Food, Ladbrokes, Fonebitz, and Travelodge and is well worth a visit. But beware anybody who resembles Frank Gallagher from Shameless.

Forgotten Yorkshire and Parts of North Derbyshire and Humberside by Dr Eric. K. Shipley is published by TMB Books and costs £9.99