On the Road and In Your Backyard

On The Road and In Your Backyard is a weekday feature spotlighting reader submissions. From the exotic to the familiar, please share your part of the world, whether you’re traveling or just in your locality. Share some photos and a narrative, let us see through your pictures and words. We’re so lucky each and every day to see and appreciate the world around us!

Submissions from commenters are welcome at tools.balloon-juice.com


Have a wonderful day, and enjoy the pictures!

It being the first of the month – rabbit rabbit.

Today, pictures from valued commenter Litlebritdifrnt.

Little known fact. Lancaster and its surrounding areas were absolutely devastated during what is known as “The Cotton Famine” during the American Civil War. The lack of raw cotton to fuel the cotton mills in the North West of England was devastating. James Williamson who owned several cotton mills in the area saw his workers laid off and basically starving for lack of work. He decided that the best thing to do was to put them to work doing something else so he devised Williamson’s Park. He purchase land high above the City with the absolute best views over Morecambe Bay and the Lake District and put his men to work building the park. It saved the City and the lives of thousands of workers and made Williamson (later Lord Ashton) a beloved soul in the history of the City.

Taken on 2018-07-03 00:00:00

Williamson’s Park, Lancaster, England.

A great deal of the work that was done by Williamson’s workers was digging out the Lake from the massive hill in which he chose to put the park. I can tell you without fear of hesitation that myself and my sister spent hours upon hours of our summer holidays splashing about in the Lake and sitting under the fountain. We would then go exploring in the woods of the park, sliding down the rocks, getting absolutely filthy dirty and stinking until going home at nightfall to our Mum whereupon she would look at us with sheer despair and trying to figure out how she was going to get our clothes clean ever again.

Taken on 2018-07-03 00:00:00

Williamson’s Park, Lancaster, England.

When Lord Ashton’s wife died he built this memorial to her. In Taj Mahal style almost. After Lord Ashton died his son bequeathed the park and everything in it to the people of Lancaster, who had built it. It remains a free public space to this day.

Taken on 2018-07-03 00:00:00

Williamson’s Park, Lancaster, England.

Williamson chose the highest point in Lancaster for his park and therefore his Memorial is the most iconic view of the City’s landscape other than the Castle. No matter where you go in Lancaster you can see it on the hill and you can therefore navigate your way home using it. My husband found this extremely useful while biking round the city. Here you can see Morecambe Bay and the Lake District beyond taken from the mid point of the memorial.

Taken on 2018-07-03 00:00:00

Williamson’s Park, Lancaster, England.

Several times a year the Duke’s Playhouse a renowned Theatre Group in Lancaster since the 80s has done “Plays in the Park” where they take audience members around the park to various locations to perform acts. They have done “The Hobbit” “Midsummer Night’s Dream” and lots of others. This one is “The Four Musketeers”. It was due to open a couple of days after we visited. This is taken from the Memorial looking toward the Butterfly House (more of that later).

Taken on 2018-07-03 00:00:00

Williamson’s Park, Lancaster, England.

The Pendle Witch trials are a notorious park of Lancashire History dating back to 1612. To recognize the fact there are Witch 400 markers all over Lancashire marking the horrific march the accused women were forced to take to their trial and eventual hanging in Lancaster Castle. This is one of such markers.


Thank you so much Litlebritdifrnt, do send us more when you can.


Travel safely everybody, and do share some stories in the comments, even if you’re joining the conversation late. Many folks confide that they go back and read old threads, one reason these are available on the Quick Links menu.


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10 replies
  1. 1
    JPL says:

    Thank you Littlebrit, and what a neat story to go along with the pictures.

  2. 2
    scav says:

    What’s more, the mill workers voted to continue supporting the embargo on slave-picked cotton despite its cost to themselves — and their sacrifice was noted by Lincoln. More here

  3. 3
    arrieve says:

    Great stories to go along with the pictures — I didn’t know any of this. Thanks for sharing!

  4. 4
    biff murphy says:

    Thanks for the pics and history!

  5. 5
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    Balloon Juice, come for the snark and the pet pictures, stay for the history lessons.

  6. 6
    Betty says:

    What a nice story and lovely park. Thank you.

  7. 7
    TomatoQueen says:

    Wonderful story that should be more widely known, and beautiful pics–and a sunny day too.

  8. 8
    StringOnAStick says:

    I love local history! Thanks for this. Is the Witches 400 name indicating that 400 woman lost their lives during that particular group insanity?

  9. 9
    sukabi says:

    @StringOnAStick: 400th anniversary of the trial / hanging of 9 accused witches.

    The sustainable 51-mile long-distance walk commemorates the 400th anniversary of the hanging of nine of the Lancashire Witches. Starting in Barrowford and finishing at Lancaster Castle, where the witches were tried, the walk follows the most likely route that the witches were taken, on their way to be sentenced and hanged.

  10. 10

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