A LIFETIME OF CHANGE
Notes added May 2021

Baby Harold Ross - Copy.jpg
Harold Ross Eccles in 1938

Our Universe is a state of constant evolution.

It is reason for time, art, ideas and life itself.

In a world we are privileged to call Earth.

And how things have changed in my lifetime!

 

I was born Harold Ross Eccles on the 13th of November 1937, in a small nursing home at Bank Top, Blackburn, Lancashire, England. The first of two children, Harold and a sister Mary born just after the outbreak of WW2.

My parents lived in Mellor Village, located atop a small Pennine hill bordering the scenic Ribble Valley.

Our home, an old hand-loom weaving cottage, predates the Industrial Revolution and has been occupied by family members since great-grandfather's day. Mains electricity and public gas supply were 1930's upgrades. Water was hand-pumped from a well in the garden. Heating was via an open fire and a cast iron stove fired with coal, which was in plentiful supply from local mines.

Our School Map of the World was mostly coloured red to denote the British Empire. 

Including; Canada, India, Australia and a large part of Africa.

Neighbours related tales of the Boer War and, charging into battle on horseback with sword drawn. (My uncle in the Scots Greys at the start of WW2, who barely survived to tell this tale!).

Village talk was of military service, mill-working (most people worked in Mellor Mill long demolished!), the Great Depression, cotton riots, long hours, lockouts, women's emancipation, industrial accidents, grinding poverty, workhouses, hardship and even starvation.

Northerners, like Scots or Irish, saw themselves as quite distinct and separate from "Southerners". 

There was a strong sense of English social divide. Kept alive by a Class System operated by a property-inheriting southern-based " ruling class", who cultivated their own peculiar accent.

Known as "received pronunciation" or talking posh!

Fealty to Royalty, the military command structure, entry to university and the professions, were all designed to perpetuate this class system. Privilege Ruled! And rules were there to be followed by the lower "Northern" Classes.

Food was in short supply and rationed. Supplemented by allotment vegetables and rabbits fed on dandelion leaves, collected from the roadside. I was aged about 9 or 10 before I recall seeing a banana or orange.

Even though war was in progress, people focused on helping each other to solve the problems of daily living. 

Community spirit was good.

A reinforced shelter in the garden, provide protection from the clearly visible waves of Nazi bombers, passing overhead on their way to devastate Liverpool etc. Barrage balloons floated above a haze of industrial coal fired pollution over Blackburn. Armaments production saw 100 mill chimneys belching toxic smoke and chemical effluents into the Blakewater River. The local aircraft factory, Samlesbury, covered in camouflage paint, remained undamaged. Producing 3000 bombers, mostly Halifax and Hurricanes by 1945. Noise on the flight path being a constant reminder of an ongoing war.

Many widows and spinsters were testament to husbands and boyfriends killed in seemingly never-ending military actions, needed to protect "Our Glorious Empire". Memorials, a central feature of every village, acted as stark reminders of the countless dead.

Local, mostly Tenant Farmers paid homage and rent to a Landlord System still in place to this day!

Horses were used to till the fields.

Irish farmworkers were recruited every summer to help harvest the crops.

The old Roman Road from Mamucium (Manchester) to Bremetennacum (Ribchester) passed close by.

A sense of history, past conflicts of Empire and long tradition prevailed.

Some of the events of Year 1937 are listed as follows:

  • Spanish Civil War was in progress. Guernica bombed.

  • Eamon de Valera elected President of the Irish Free State. Name changed to "Ireland".

  • Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected President of the USA for the second time.

  • Golden Gate Bridge opens.

  • Hindenburg Disaster

  • Sino-Japanese war begins. Japan occupies Beijing.

  • Joseph Stalin hold trials against Trotskyists.

  • NKVD Grand Purge Operation Order signed.

  • Italian Fascist atrocities in Ethiopia.

  • Hitler secretly plans to expand the German State.

  • World population circa. 2 billion (now approaching 8 billion!)

  • Population of Nigeria circa. 20 million (now approaching 200 million!)

So I have been witness to a world of incredible change.

Change that is now accelerating in an exponential manner.

This website places on record some of the ideas and experiences, that have come to mind during this long period of change.

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Harold - Copy.jpg
Portrait of the Artist as a young man
Studio photo taken before the outbreak of WW2
An extended biography and book "Ross a journey into art"
is available 

rosseccles.com