Bowland on our Doorstep





This is the first of a series of conversations with Mums 2 Mums for Thinking Out Loud.



'The Mums' recall their first visits to Downham and Pendle Hill with In-Situ, the joy of discovering a new world on their doorstep and their ambition and excitement as a generation of women exploring and forging new paths...



We never knew that we had this kind of like, on our doorstep. Like we’d take the kids to Blackpool, and spending money elsewhere, but things were on our doorstep. Like we went to Downham and all different places and Bowland, we all got together - it was just so nice that everyone got involved in it and being part of the family.

We took it for granted, don’t we -

We didn’t know that there were these kind of places to go, where you could go for a picnic or something, we didn’t take advantage - we didn’t know to be honest, we didn’t know to be honest, we didn’t know

We are so rich. Lancashire is so rich, but the thing is, we didn’t know. We were just going to Blackpool, go to the beach.





When we think of outdoors we think of the Lake District, but if we think about it realistically, we don’t need to go to the Lake District. I think like I said we take it for granted, we all go out with our kids on Pendle hillside, and we don’t really think about it, but Covid has been this opportunity to explore further afield, five minutes from where we are you know on our doorsteps, there’s this greenery. Green spaces where we are




We didn’t know that there were these kind of places to go, where you could go for a picnic or something.



We look out on the Pendle hillside but don’t really think about it, but Paul gave us the opportunity to explore further afield - five mins from where we are, there’s this green space, this luxury, this scenery that we don’t take advantage of

We didn’t know, but the countryside it gives us peace, as well, cause with our hectic lives its so hard to relax and take a minute there, its like when you go and you’re walking round, well you just feel peace, you feel at peace. That’s really a good feeling that you have.

The ladies have been back a few times to Downham.

Cause kids love nature. Playing with water. They just

…no internet!


It was really funny though, because when we landed at Downham it was like the Asian Invasion! There were all of us guys, and our children and our family members - there must have been 50 of us that day, descending on Downham and it was so funny, because we were really in awe, we were loving it, as a group, we were happy and to us, religion and race does not matter, we are who we are. But when we landed there, people were taken aback. Especially in Clitheroe. They were looking at us a bit…where have these come from….but we weren’t bothered, and I thought no, we are who we are, and we were that infectious that they’d come towards us and they’d love our personalities and it shines through and people are just…they come towards us



I used to think when you climbed Pendle Hill, that’s it, after that, there’s nothing - that’s it, the world ends

I feel like we do have a right to space as well as much as other people so we do feel good we feel good about it that we go to this spaces - because we do usually go Blackpool Pleasure Beach - they haven’t seen us here much, Asian people, so its like we need to go there more often - its a free country.

Take advantage of nature

Social media - take them out of there, its just fresh air, smelling the grass,

Its all free as well

From our house it takes just four minutes to get to Pendle Hill...

I used to think when you climbed Pendle Hill, that’s it, after that, there’s nothing - that’s it, the world ends. But it wasn’t until I was very very old that I was like. Oh!

Cause is it flat and stuff?

Yeh its’ flat.

Can you see all around you? Is it like a proper vision?

We always say this side of Pendle Hill is a lot nicer than the other, don’t you think? We’ve got the nicer side. Cause the other side, when you drive round it, its not as pretty. We always say, when you see Pendle Hill, we know we’re home

Well let’s do it. Let’s go.

We’ll arrange it

Yeh definitely.

Have you been…

Yeh

She’s been up it….

You can see Blackpool from the top can’t you…

Yeh




We always say this side of Pendle Hill is a lot nicer than the other, don’t you think? We’ve got the nicer side.


When I first went up I was about six, which is quite a young age to go up. And I was alright and then half way my dad had to drag me and my uncle had to drag me up!


I was 25 - I was ok, then cause I was fit.

I’ve not been for a long time and I’ve not been right to the top cause obviously the kids stop me….too young to go right to the top, but I’d love to go right to the top. I must have done as a kid….

I have been a couple of months ago, and my husband was like, he said this stuff’s on our doorstep and we’re always looking for places to go, from our house it takes just four minutes to get to Pendle Hill and he said this is just on our doorstep

I think we should

Shall we go up Pendle Hill…?



I’ve not been right to the top cause obviously the kids stop me… but I’d love to go right to the top. I must have done as a kid…


My friends go every Sunday - they go and they try and beat their last time. Go up Pendle Hill, and they’re down to 12 minutes? Is that possible?

25 minutes or something?

50 minutes? ….

Coming down is just as hard as going up -

its the steps are so steep!

Coming down Pendle Hill is quite hard, the steps are quite steep!

When we arranged it we went with a walker and he took us all the way round and it took us forever to get up….came down the stairs….

but honestly on a good day it’s really nice….








I think we should walk to the Clarion….you know when we watched that movie, Suffragettes, we should walk to the Clarion


I remember someone saying that going out for Pakistani’s in open spaces was actually deemed quite dangerous?


I remember someone saying that going out for Pakistani’s in open spaces was actually deemed quite dangerous? Because if you were going to walk, and a set of English people walking past, there was that thing called Paki-bashing in these days? And that’s what stopped people accessing the wider landscape?

The difference now, now, we’ve got transport. Before, I don’t think Asian’s travelled out.

We’ve got cars.

Now, as a community, we’re branching out, a lot. We’re going out for walks. Back in the day when we were younger, I don’t think we did a lot of walking. But now, with our children, what we’ll do is…we’ll walk along the canal path.


We were lucky cause [her] and [her] are sisters and they grew up next to [her] and [her] on Every Street

We’ve got a funny link - how we’re all linked -

Me, her and [her], me and her we were bred in the same street, and she just lived up the road

[She] and my sister went to nursery together

Two houses apart. We shared the same back street

So we had a lot of time together



We all had a good childhood - around the same area, Every Street, we shared the same street, but we were fearless then.


We’d just sit on backstreets. We had a canal and this mattress there and we’d go all the kids together and well, we all jumped on the mattress - it sunk! My sisters were all in the water…they were soaking, we had to get out, but we were so innocent, it was just like our boat. We just had to stand on it but it couldn’t take us

We were all running around the same area. We all had a good childhood - around the same area, Every Street, we shared the same street, but we were fearless then. We didn’t have the social media to scare us. We’d all go out and when our parents called us we came in and no-one was really worried about nothing.

But life was simpler weren’t it. It was a simpler time. You know you didn’t have the concept of having twenty dishes, or going to shop, everything was done in local amenities within spitting distance.

We never had to venture out,

our community was simple. Apart from family politics, everything else was simple.

… everything was simple.








But then the council came and, what they did is they did fast one, they did a regeneration, they did a fast one, and they moved us out of our area, so where we lived, they said we had no choice so they segregated us. All were thrown here and everywhere, so all our community, that was blossoming and really tight knit, where our Mothers would leave a key in the door without any worries, leave the doors open till God knows what time, they came and what they did is they offered us peanuts, made us move, never gave us choice, offered consultations, dissolved the community and sold those houses they gave us peanuts for, for £100,000. And that’s what they did, the council did, and so our community was completely torn to bits.


So where we lived, they said we had no choice so they segregated us...our community, that was blossoming and really tight knit...was completely torn to bits.




Your family moved,

Yeh, yeh,

And your family moved…

Your Mum stayed didn’t she. Your mum put her foot down and said she wasn’t moving

But we moved.

This was in 2001.



And the park was gone,

Where the school is now

And a church was there as well.

Everything that we knew, everything got disturbed. And I think that’s where….that’s where it all started.



So now, what we're, we’re going back to basics, we’re getting back in touch with nature. What’s on our doorstep.







And you’ve taken us to places we didn’t know existed. No literally.

And Downham’s just 15 minutes down the road, just a curlywurly road. you know, down the Burnley Road and it’s like a different world.



And you’ve taken us to places we didn’t know existed. No literally.


So every summer now, we don’t associate ourselves with going on holiday we start thinking like Summer’s coming - let’s plan Bowland Forest, let’s plan, Pendle Hill - Downham…we’re thinking about getting in touch with nature on our doorstep, rather than venturing out - especially with Covid and that, we’re trying to get in touch with how to entertain ourselves locally. I mean don’t get me wrong, holidays are nice, but Covid’s made us get in touch with what’s on our doorstep.

Normally we go on holidays and stuff, normally we go Turkey, Spain’s a popular one with us. Pakistan, obviously that’s not happening so we better get in touch with nature. Before here the only destination was Pakistan - now [she]’s off to Wales…Newquay, London…now we’re venturing - since Covid, we’re realising, 'Let’s explore England!'



So now, what we're, we’re going back to basics, we’re getting back in touch with nature. What’s on our doorstep.

If you go on Instagram and people will show you places and say would you believe this is the UK? And it doesn’t look like it and you scroll down the comments just to see where it is and think ‘I wouldn’t mind going there’.

I went to Ingleton Waterfalls, and the amount people messaged me and comments posted, people were like WHERE ARE YOU? And I was like I’m only 50 mins from us, here!

I went to Wales and she thought I was taking the mick but I said do I need my passport? Because I’ve never been! She was like, you’re having a laugh and I was like, no, do I need a passport If you’re crossing a border or something

But that’s how sheltered an existence we’ve led - we don’t know stuff.




I don’t think social media’s all bad.

Like when you went to see the Llamas! I was like, Where are you?

Just up thingy…

…literally 8 minutes from [her] house.

Really? Near my house?

You know where those alpacas are?

Near my house?

Halifax Road

Keep walking, you know as you get to Briercliffe? Well, stop, there’s two big gates isn’t there, well, go down the gates and there’s literally - you’ll see a forest, and you don’t feel like you’re in England. Literally 3 minutes.

5 minutes. 7 minutes from hers. Just on our doorstep, and I thought well I’ve never seen an alpaca in my life, but I saw one. Kids were on pushchairs, [he] was on a bike, we were all on foot, and we were all fasting, just our family we didn’t have any friends with us, just nine of us, it was just our family,

…yeh! Just off Halifax Road.

That’s Nelson. That’s our area.

If you ever post off Halifax Road, people are like Where’s that?

Well that’s were I live. That’s our house that.

Bowland on our doorstep.




Mums 2 Mums, August 2021



This writing has been created and shared as part of Thinking Out Loud - a series of texts and conversations from a wide range of perspectives within In-Situ's practice, that explore the social role of art in everyday life.


Over a number of weeks, the Mums spoke in conversation with Anna Taylor. This was recorded and the resulting text was transcribed and edited and formatted by Anna. Each section is verbatim text, and has been formatted and images provided by the Mums.



Mums 2 Mums are a parenting group based in Nelson, brought together by Marsden Heights school. The group of around 25 women span two generations and are of mainly Pakistani heritage, with children ranging in age from 1 to 25. Within the group there is a core who grew up in the same area of Nelson, and who are sisters or have been neighbours since childhood. Mums 2 Mums began working with In-Situ in 2015, and they have collaborated on numerous projects including the early community engagement development of the Pendle Hill Landscape Partnership with In-Situ.


Anna Taylor is part of In-Situ, where she works on programme and communications, and developing Thinking out Loud. Anna grew up in East Anglia in a large family and as part of a faith community. She studied history of art in Sheffield and then art writing in London. Her first 'proper job' was at Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, where she started as an unpaid intern and then worked on gallery and offsite projects. She has since worked in arts organisations in programme, development and communications. Anna is an artist-writer and is Mum to 3 children aged 10, 11 and 13.



Images: From Ruhksana's iPhone