Stockport & South Manchester

Campaign for Real Ale

Campaign for Real Ale

Weekday Wander - Rawtenstall (Roll up, roll up see the tattooed lady!)

Wednesday 1 November 2023 11:15

Roll up, roll up see the tattooed lady! *

Meet opposite Chorlton Street Coach Station at 11:15 ready for the 11:20 X43 WitchWay bus bound for Burnley

Okay I can't guarantee a tattooed lady but we will be visiting Rawtenstall not, unfortunately, during the Annual Fair but on a Wednesday in November. None of the outlets does food, but there are several pie, sandwich and chip shops in the town. Had we visited on Thursday there would also have been the street food outlets in the market.

* Full words to Rawtenstall Annual Fair can be found at the bottom of this article and can be heard here.

bank-street-rawtenstall-192030s-2GAY4D4.jpg Take a look at this 1920/30 photograph (click the picture to see full page) of the main thoroughfare, Bank Street, in Rawtenstall. Pay particular attention to the lines laid down the centre of the road. Questions will be asked when we arrive.

Our first stop is at the far end of the sett covered (usually erroneously referred to as cobbled) main street. The Hop Micro Pub lives up (or should that be down) to its name of micro, but its small bar is still big enough to offer five real ales. There is an upstairs lounge as well as an outside (weather permitting) drinking area. WARNING: It is not only a modern bar, but has adopted the modern practice of electronic payments only.

A few yards further along, and adjacent to the site of the market, we find Northern Whisper Tap Room. As you would expect, all the beers, five or six, are from Northern Whisper, complemented by about a dozen fonts. Though this is the brewery tap, the actual fermenting vessels et cetera are a little up the valley towards Bacup at Cloughfold. The decor is a little industrial, but the welcome is warn and everyman and is dog is welcome. Had the market been open you could have brought your street food in and eat it with your pint.

Our next venue only serves one beer, but mustn't be missed if in Rawtenstall. This is the world(?) famous Mr Fitzpatrick's Temperance Bar. Again this is the tap, with the brewery being in Waterfoot (don't they have wonderfully named villages around Rossendale!). Though there is only the one beer, Root Beer, there are dozens of other cordials on offer (though the once famous Bulls Blood no longer appears among them). Whether a bus load of CAMRA members will follow the leader into this posh pop shop we will see on the day!

The next beery haunt is Casked Ale House & Ginporium, guess what is on sale here. Up to six, mainly locally sourced, cask beers are available on hand pump plus several modern keg beers. Inside the decor is again of the modern, open plan, stark style, with the window stencils/artwork being of note. That other modern trait is also adopted; all payments have to be electronic.

Our last venue is anything but modern. The Buffer Stop occupies the former waiting room of Rawtenstall station, and still serves that function for the East Lancashire Railway. Being a Wednesday in November there are unfortunately no trains, steam, diesel or Hornby. But come along at the weekend and there is a better service than at Reddish South. Up to five cask ales are usually on offer, and again the emphasis is on local breweries. Allow 10 minutes to return to the bus station, not that it is far but there are a number of busy roads to cross.

11:1511:20Meet opposit Chorlton Street Coach Station Stop EZ
11:2012:10X43 WitchWay bus at 11:20am towards Burnley
12:2013:30Hop Micro Pub70 Bank Street, Rawtenstall BB4 8EG 
13:3014:30Northern Whisper Tap Room18 Newchurch Road, Rawtenstall BB4 7QX 
14:3015:00Mr. Fitzpatrick's5 Bank St, Rawtenstall, Rossendale BB4 6QS 
15:0016:00Casked Ale House & Ginporium14-16 Bury Road, Rawtenstall BB4 6AA 
16:0017:00Buffer StopsBury Road, Rawtenstall BB4 6AG 
17:2618:20X43 WitchWay Burnley to Manchester bus

Weekday Wander Archive page

Rawtenstall Annual Fair

Down behind the gasworks, down in Rawtenstall
That's a little town in Lancashire
Last Saturday night, me and the lads
Ee by gum we had some right good fun.
There was ice cream, switchbacks, coconuts and waxworks,
Figure eights and roundabouts.
We all payed our tanners and then we all went in.
And wasn't we all delighted when we heard the showman's din?
He shouted :

"Roll up, roll up, come and see the fat girl
Forty stone of loveliness and ev'ry bit's her own"
In went the lads and ee but she were big
And all the lads wi' walkin' sticks were givin' her a dig
She was a right big lassie, we didn't know her chassis
Was blown up with air I do declare.
Everythin' were champion until some silly clown
Stabbed her with a pin, shots the showman with a frown
"All hands to the pump lads, the vessel's goin' down"
At the Rawtenstall Annual Fair.

Roll up! Roll up! See the House of Mysteries!
Ladies pay a tanner to be' tickled in the dark!
In went the lads just to 'ave a peep
But the showman pulled his lever an' we landed in a heap.
Down he shot 'em straight to the bottom
Frills and bows for everyone to see
There was screamin', shoutin', everything were strife,
I saw some funny things I never saw in all my life
I even saw some things I've never seen upon the wife
At the Rawtenstall Annual Fair.

Roll up! Roll up! Come and see the mermaid!
See the lovely mermaid half a woman half a fish!
In went the lads and just for a prank
Little Willie 'Iggins poured some whisky in the tank.
Well she got frisky, swimmin' in the whisky
And when she come up for air
She bowed to the audience and gave her tail a swish.
Her tail it came off and she really looked delish.
She said "Now what's your fancy lads a bit of meat or fish?"
At the Rawtenstall Annual Fair.

Roll up! Roll up! See the tattooed lady!
See the lovely lady all the pictures on her skin!
In went the lads and they all gave a cheer
'Coz tattooed on her back was all the towns of Lancashire.
There was Oswaldtwistle, Manchester City
The town hall standin' in the square
There was Bolton, Burnley, Ashton-under-Lyne,
Coal pit up at Wigan was lookin' mighty fine.
But someone shouted "Daddy, don't go down the mine"
At the Rawtenstall Annual Fair.

Weekday Wander Archive page