<div style="display:inline;"> <img height="1" width="1" style="border-style:none;" alt="" src="//googleads.g.doubleclick.net/pagead/viewthroughconversion/1028731116/?value=0&amp;guid=ON&amp;script=0">
CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Lancashire Life today click here

What the locals really think of Bury

PUBLISHED: 15:02 26 January 2016 | UPDATED: 19:09 24 April 2016

BPXAYW Sir Robert Peel statue and the church of St Mary, the market place Bury Lancashire England

BPXAYW Sir Robert Peel statue and the church of St Mary, the market place Bury Lancashire England

© Peter Oliver / Alamy Stock Photo

Bury is seldom out of the headlines and invariably for all the right reasons. Roger Borrell and photographer Kirsty Thompson took a tour

They say Bury is not just about black pudding and that is certainly true. But it’s not a bad place to start, is it?

The Lancashire delicacy, once condemned as the work of the devil by the health police, now finds itself on a list of superfoods along with more exotic things like goji berries and acai juice. Put that in your Nutribullet and whizz it!

This is, of course, music to the ears of the lads and lasses at the Bury Black Pudding Company, where marketing manager Peter Winkler said: ‘It was a lovely bit of news to kick off 2016 and things have gone a bit crazy since then.’

Darren Beale from MuscleFood.com , which tracks culinary trends, started the ball rolling when he said: ‘Some of the foods have been on the up for a while - like avocado oil and maca root. But others, like black pudding, have been a total surprise to us.’

It’s no surprise to Peter Winkler. ‘When you look at what goes into black pudding, there is no way it couldn’t be a superfood. The blood is rich in iron along with magnesium and zinc. One pudding has 2.5 times the recommended daily iron intake. Then there are onions, which are an antioxidant as well as an anti-inflammatory, and there’s barley, a super food in itself which helps the immune system. And, contrary to popular belief, it only has 2.5 per cent fat. But you have to be careful - some Scottish brands are 50 per cent fat.’

In recent times, the company has increased its production base in the town and is turning out, on average, 40 tonnes a week. Over Christmas that increased to 60 tonnes – who would have thought the festive season was a time for so much healthy eating?

Black pudding has kept Bury in the news, but it is far from being a one story town. Readers of last month’s Lancashire Life will know that it has also been the temporary home of the world’s most famous steam train, Flying Scotsman, restored at Riley and Son engineers and running on the East Lancashire Railway line.

And talking to locals, you discover that it also has a world class military museum, a brilliant theatre and music venue which is about to get even better, an award-winning food market, a landmark dining pub brought back from the brink and a local man who was probably responsible for starting the whole micro-brewery revolution. This really is a town that has re-invented itself after years of post-industrial decline

 

 

Pie and a pint at The Clarence Pie and a pint at The Clarence

The great pub revival

The Clarence in Bury’s Silver Street could almost be a metaphor for the town’s fortunes. It was once much-loved but it fell into decline as part of a national chain with the roof leaking water and the fabric starting to crumble. Like the town, its revival has been remarkable and it is now regarded as one of Lancashire’s up-and-coming dining pubs with food produced by former Gary Rhodes protégé Liam Rutherford. It also has its own expanding micro-brewery.

The revival has been the vision of Lee Hollinworth and his wife, Lottie, who launched Automatic, a swish bar and café at The Met, Bury’s arts hub, about 14 years ago. They bought The Clarence from a big chain four years back when it was a run-down Victorian boozer with a less than glowing reputation.

‘We knew it was in a sorry state,’ said Lee. ‘It had been empty for a year and water was pouring in. But when we started looking closely at what needed to be done, we opened a can of worms.’

For a start, a huge concrete buttress had to be installed just to prevent the building from collapsing. But they had a clear vision for the four storey building and spent a couple of years getting it right. ‘People bought into it,’ said Lee. ‘But they also said we were mad!’

Liam Rutherford (Head Chef) and Lee Hollinworth in the Kitchen restaurant at The Clarence Liam Rutherford (Head Chef) and Lee Hollinworth in the Kitchen restaurant at The Clarence

The transformation - costing around £750,000 - has been astonishing. The walls have been stripped to the red brick, original features have been restored and enhanced and it now looks like the sort of sophisticated ale house you might find in affluent Islington.

Not only is the food terrific but the micro-brewery, currently housed in the basement and lovingly tended by Craig Adams, is getting such a strong following that it’s expanding onto a new site.

‘My dad was passionate about real ale,’ said Lee. ‘He was very disappointed when my first job was working behind a cocktail bar. We started running the Bury Beer Festival five years ago and that rekindled my interest in real ale.

‘Bury has a strong tradition in brewing. Dave Porter has been building affordable micro-breweries here for many years and he has really been responsible for the boom in small scale beer production. He has made it accessible.

‘I’m incredibly fond of Bury. It has so much going for it. I’ve never known a town with so many enthusiasts for so many different things. The one thing we are not so good at is shouting about it.’

Chief Executive, Victoria Robinson outside The Met Chief Executive, Victoria Robinson outside The Met

 

 

Hail fellow, well Met

When it comes to live music and theatre Bury punches well above its weight and that is largely down to The Met, a glorious old pile built by Lord Derby back in the 1850s. It helps to bring in 45,000 into the area each year.

However, even its biggest supporters would admit that a refurbishment is long overdue. Happily, that can now start next month thanks to the Arts Council, Bury Council and local benefactors who have provided the cash for £4.6 million of improvements.

The money will mean the restoration of the building’s heritage features and transform the interior to increase capacity and improve facilities for customers and performers. It will also enable The Met to attract more high profile artists and theatre productions, thanks to new and improved studio and theatre spaces, a new bar area, workshop, dressing rooms and a new and more accessible lift in the centre of the building.

David Agnew, artistic director, said the last five years had seen major growth, with development of festivals and the opening of a recording studio. But there was a dire needs for improvements and these should now be completed by November.

Victoria Robinson, The Met’s chief executive, added: ‘The council here is really forward thinking – there is a strong focus of culture. Bury has become a really good cultural destination.’

For more information go to themet.biz

 

Paul Dalton at The Fusilier Museum Paul Dalton at The Fusilier Museum

Fusiliers’ storming history

As well as the East Lancashire Railway, Bury has another major attraction – the award-winning Fusiliers Museum, official home of the Lancashire Fusiliers, commemorating more than 300 years of the regiment’s history.

It’s most recent achievement was to bring together a unique collection of Victoria Cross medals won by Fusiliers. The exhibition was titled: ‘6 VCs Before Breakfast’ and it caused quite a stir among military history buffs and well as fascinated casual visitors.

Helen Smith, the museum’s general manager, said it took a year to find a missing sixth VC but the visitor figures had made the effort very worthwhile. ‘It was a massive event,’ she said. ‘We normally have 25,000 visitors a year but for this exhibition we had 12,000 in the first four weeks. People were waiting at the door for us to open.’

The exhibition, which runs until July, tells the background to the ill-fated Gallipoli landings during the First World War when the medals were earned by members of the regiment.

The next big event at the museum will be the centenary of the Battle of the Somme. Researchers are working to eke out the stories of the men who fell during the battle – many of them from the Salford area. ‘There were 72,000 bodies never found and we are trying to ensure the stories of these soldiers are not forgotten’ added Helen. w

Find out more at www.fusiliermuseum.com

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Lancashire Life visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Lancashire Life staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Lancashire Life account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More from Out & About

10 minutes ago

Lancashire’s Walney Island looks like becoming an established breeding ground for grey seals.

Read more
Friday, November 17, 2017

This remarkable garden can whisk you on a horticulture tour of the world. Linda Viney took a trip

Read more
Monday, November 13, 2017

A fantastic end to 2017 is in store at the annual equestrian event in the centre of Liverpool.

Read more
Monday, November 13, 2017

John Lenehan heads for Gisburn to walk by the Ribble and sample the delights of the Auction Mart Cafe.

Read more
Monday, November 13, 2017

This busy community might sometimes feel like the village that time forgot, but it’s full of people who help themselves. Martin Pilkington reports

Read more
Silverdale
Monday, November 6, 2017

Follow our short guide to a festive trip to Lytham this Christmas.

Read more
Christmas
Monday, November 6, 2017

Windermere is dependent on tourism, but when the holidaymakers have left there remains a thriving village community

Read more
Windermere
Monday, November 6, 2017

The 218th Westmorland County Show welcomed HRH The Prince of Wales

Read more
Thursday, November 2, 2017

Is it a helicopter? Is it a plane? It’s neither. Or maybe both. Paul Mackenzie meets a man offering a unique bird’s eye view of the Lake District.

Read more
Lake District

It may only be a small town, but these home grown products are causing a big stir

Read more
Ormskirk
Wednesday, October 25, 2017

While conservation work is important globally, The Lancashire Wildlife Trust is stressing the need to think locally too. Alan Wright discusses the important of wildlife close to home.

Read more
Lancashire Wildlife
Monday, October 23, 2017

There are many reasons why the Forest of Bowland is designated Area of Natural Beauty, we’ve picked our favourite spots that we think you will love too.

Read more
Bowland
Wednesday, October 18, 2017

The ‘Rural Oscars’ Are Back

Read more
Monday, October 16, 2017

It may not be the Serengeti but the stunning countryside around Nicky Nook will make a perfect location for eco-holidays. Roger Borrell reports.

Read more
Bowland Scorton
 
Great British Holidays advert link

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter


Subscribe or buy a mag today

Lancashire Life Application Link

Local Business Directory

Lancashire's trusted business finder

Job search in your local area



Property Search