20 reasons why we love Lancashire

Horwich Prize Medal Morris Dancers

Horwich Prize Medal Morris Dancers - Credit: Archant

As we raise a glass to celebrate Lancashire Day, Charles Nevin points out just a few of the things that put our county a cut above the rest

1. Our traditions. A proud history of industry and invention, of independence and love of freedom, from the Suffragettes, the vegetarian, temperance and co-operative movements, from the Industrial Revolution, from Hargreaves’ Spinning Jenny to Crompton’s Mule to Richardson’s automatic teamaker and the development of the jelly baby (Nelson, 1864).

2. Our sense of humour: Long ago, this county decided that the best way to get through life was to laugh at it.

3. Blackpool Tower. What finer symbol of our love of life and fun than this imposing tribute to M. Eiffel on the edge of the Irish Sea?

4. The sport. Manchester United, Liverpool, Manchester City, Everton (all originally founded in Lancashire) and more recent Premier League sides than even Joey Barton has had. The finest Rugby League available in these islands. And the county cricket side wins the championship at least every 80 years.

5. Preston. Where else could provide the ancestors of both Butch Cassidy and Mitt Romney?

6. The way the wind whips round you on Liverpool’s Pier Head with the magnificent Three Graces in front and the mighty Mersey behind. Who could not love this combination of Scouse grandeur and style?

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7. The unique atmosphere of Oldham that has produced such diverse talents as William Walton, Mick Jagger’s dad and Christopher Biggins.

8. Peter Kay. One of the latest in a very long line of lanky funnymen

9. The meat and potato pie. A fresh romance begins every time that heady and succulent aroma is released into the grateful Lancs air. And where else has the depth and breadth of our cuisine? From the finest of fine dining to the finest fish and chips, an eating experience which, naturally, we invented.

10. Manchester Town Hall. A magical piece of neo-Gothic wonder, enhanced by the knowledge that it’s triangular because a rectangular site would have cost more.

11. Southport. Blackpool’s demure sister, graced by Lord Street, whose design so impressed the future Napoleon III that he based his new Parisian boulevards on it. And don’t forget the rest of our beautiful coast, its award-winning resorts, sweeping sands and championship golf courses

12. Our way with music, from Oldham’s Walton to Liverpool’s Beatles to Blackburn’s Kathleen Ferrier to Manchester’s Morrissey and more bands then and now than you can shake a drumstick at.

13. Victoria Wood, for the way she marries wit with forthright sentiment.

14. Geographically, we are in the centre of the British Isles?

15. The rain. Yes, I know, but the cotton-friendly rain gave us work and still allows us to boast that our precipitation levels match those of the Amazonian rainforest as well as watering the garden and providing an excellent excuse for not taking the dog for a walk.

16. Bowland. Was ever such beauty so calm and secret?

17. Blackpool in Autumn. Lights, and the town at a roar as the umpteenth generation has a raucously good time.

18. Our writers. If you haven’t already, get into Anthony Burgess, Howard Spring, Walter Greenwood, Shelagh Delaney and the clever people who write Coronation Street. And that chap who worked at Hoghton Tower for a bit, Shakespeare, is pretty good, too.

19. Danny Boyle, the great film and Olympic opening director and all our other artists with light, like Lowry, Stubbs, and Romney.

20. Finally, and most essentially, the People. Friendly but not fawning, proud but not pompous, comic but not cruel, kind but not condescending, self-reliant but not self-regarding, and always willing to sympathise with non-Lancastrians for their cruel bad luck in not being from here.