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History of the North Lancs. DA 1930 - 1990

Written by: Bert Clarke, Chairman 1990


This has been compiled by me with details extracted from Old Minutes and from information supplied by Matt Brady and Tom Seed both past Chairmen of the D.A.

My thanks to both these people for their help.

I hope it is of interest to some members.


The Club is split into Regions for ease of administration. There are thirteen in total. Each Region is then split into District Associations (D.A. for short) and Sections like Mountain Activity Section, Photographic Group etc. How are these formed, in the case of D.A's they are formed by a sufficient number of members in an area applying firstly through their present D.A. then Region and onto H.Q.

The North Lancs. started life by being part of the large Lancashire and Cheshire & North Wales Area.

In 1929 moves were started to form the North Lancs., by drawing up boundaries and in January 1930 the then Chairman of the L.C. & N.W.D.A. Mr. Holt called a meeting of interested persons.

This Inaugural meeting was held in the Criterion Cafe, King William Street Blackburn on January llth.1930 at 7.15pm. With Mr. Holt taking the Chair. He informed members that the L.C. & N.W.D.A. had no objection to the formation of the North Lancs.   It was agreed that part of Lancashire: -

"North of a boundary marked by the Ribble Estuary on the South, continuing along the River Douglas, following the River Lostock to Croston Station, then the road to Chorley and the Railway Line from there through Bolton, Bury, Heywood, Rochdale and Littleborough too, and including Todmorden, to include all the postal districts of the places named.

There then followed the election of Mr. Miller as Chairman and Mr. Emmott as Secretary/Treasurer and National Council Representative. It was agreed to adopt the following rules:--

1) That the management of the D.A. be in the hands of Chairman, Secretary, Treasurer, Camp Steward, Assistant Camp Steward and six other members and a representative appointed by the Club Council.

2) That at official camps of the D.A. an additional fee shall be collected towards D.A. funds over and above the camp fees payable to the farmer. Charges to be 1d. per head for first night and l/2d. For each subsequent night.

3) That the Rules & Regulations for the formation and management of D.A.'s of the Camping Club of Great Britain & Northern Ireland shall apply.

A badge was suggested and adopted, The John of Gaunt's Gate of Lancaster Castle. It was also decided to hold the first camp the week before Easter 193O.

So the North Lancs. D.A. was born January 11th 1930 at 7.15pm.



The first camp was held at Downham April 12th.1930 at which there were 59 persons camping in 29 tents. Nineteen attended by cycle, fourteen pedestrians, two by motor cycle and the rest by motorcar, the camp steward was by chance called Mr. Downham and fees paid to the farmer were 19s.6d. And D.A. fees collected were 13s.Id.

Amongst the sites used that first year was Kettlewell, Coniston, Bolton by Bowland and Samlesbury Hall.

At this last venue on the weekend 20th/21st September 1930 the Feast of Lanterns was held and the first record of a Caravan attending in which A. Taylor and J. Simpson, North Lancs., members camped.

Samlesbury Hall was also the venue of the first. A.G.M. on November 22nd. 1930 at which the balance sheet showed that we received a grant from L.C.& N.W.D.A. of £2.OO and from H.Q. £5.00 and that the total income for the year was £9.10s.l1d and expenses were £7.9s.l0d. Leaving a balance of £2.1s.1d. There had been 23 camps with an average attendance of 17.6 persons in 10.7 units in that first season.

The second A.G.M. in 1931 saw the first change in Officers with both Mr. Miller and Mr. Emmott being unable to continue because of work.    Mr. A. Hodkinson was elected as Chairman and his wife was elected as Secretary/Treasurer and Council Representative,. Mr. Hodkinson continued up to the war in 1939 and Mr. Partington took over from Mrs. Hodkinson in 1935 and he also continued till 1939.

The last minutes of the thirties was of a committee meeting held 24th, July 1939. There are no further minutes until a general meeting on 25th. January 1947 at the Provident Hall Darwen. At this meeting Mr. Hodkinson was elected as Chairman, Secretary, treasurer and Council Rep. No indication was given for the lack of minutes but I think one can safely assume that it was because of the Second World War.

As we approach the fifties in our story, letís pause and reflect, on those early campers who attended meets on cycles and by walking carrying all their equipment with them. And look at us today in our centrally heated caravans with hot water and showers, fridges and cookers, lets therefore not forget, the Association of Lightweight Campers, the first Section of the Camping & Caravanning Club.

However, back to the plot, as the thirties ended it showed more people using motorcars but after the war this caused problems due to Petrol Rationing. The committee meeting minutes of the late forties records this on numerous occasions so much so that meets were only held on a fortnightly basis. At this time the formation of the Regions came about with D.A.ís grouped into Regional Areas for ease of administration.



In 1948 H.Elton took over as Chairman of the North Lancs. With E. R. Petty as Secretary and Mrs. H. Petty as Treasurer. In 1950 R. Pinder was appointed Secretary and Mrs. E. Pinder as Treasurer. 1952 saw the election of P. Wagstaff to the Chair.

1953 saw a change in positions of officers with Matt Brady being elected Chairman, Mr. Ogden Secretary, and K. Harman who had been Treasurer for the previous two years continuing in that office.

Matt Brady continued in office until 1968 the longest serving Chairman, Mr. Lockwood took on the position of Secretary from 1958 till 1966 and he is the longest serving Secretary, In this time J. Watson took over as Treasurer for two years and W. Cook followed on from him serving for nine years till he stepped down in 1970.

The 1963 A.G.M. Saw the first moves to form the Central Lancs. D. A. when Mr. T. Marsden asked that a section be formed to arrange alternative meets. This was supported by Mr. Sunder and who added that if all members turned out at one meet there would not be room to accommodate them and that and additional section would be to the benefit of all.

After some discussion Mr. Lamb proposed and Mr. Taylor seconded that the new section be given the D.A.'s blessing, the voting was unanimous in favour.

The following year after a successful camping season the Secretary of the Central Lanes, had placed on the agenda that, the Section be given D.A. status. Mr. Appleton proposed and Mr. Lockwood seconded that this be so, the members present gave their unanimous approval and the D.A. Secretary was to inform Region of the A.G.M.'s decision. And so the Central Lancs. D.A., was formed the year 1964,

At the 1967 A.G.M. The Lakeland Section was formed at the request of Mr. Crawley

1967 was the year when the Country was struck by the "Foot & Mouth Disease" in cattle, H, Q. directed that members should not camp during the outbreak. At the committee meeting of 10th. January 1968  the matter was raised and discussed at length and the meeting ended with Mr. H. Lockwood resigning as Secretary as he could not bring himself to sit on the same committee as those who deliberately disregarded H.Q. and not own up to there responsibilities.

At the committee meeting of March 3rd.1968 it was reported that a letter had been received, signed by 54 members requesting that an Extraordinary General Meeting be called, this had been done and the meeting was called for 16th.March 1968, At this meeting the whole committee resigned, Mr. J. Parker took over as Chairman and Mr. Kendal as Secretary, the minutes of this meeting were not recorded in the minute book as they ran to twenty six pages.



At the A.G.M. on October 6th.1968 they were accepted as read with some members objecting to them not being able to air the subject fully and to inform those members who had not attended the A.G.M. of the details. Mr. J. Parker was elected as Chairman with Mr. J. Kendal Secretary and W.Cook as Treasurer.

It was also at this meeting that the Lakeland Section thanked the N.L.D.A. for their help by supplying them with a toilet tent. Also for their help in seeking full D.A. status, this was given the full approval of the members present, and so the Lakeland D.A. was born in 1968.

At the 1972 A.G.M. under the heading "Dales Section Report" it was recorded that they had held an Inaugural meeting to form the Dales Section and would be independent of the D.A. for their meets. They invited all to join them in 1973.

At the 1973 A.G.M. Mr. R. Page reported that they had had a very good season and that at a meet at Kettlewell their committee had decided to apply for full D.A. status. This had been reported to Region and the report was agreed and accepted by the members present. And so the N.E.L.D.A. was born.

Membership of the Club has grown from 15,000 in 1952 to 51,000 in 1960, to 110,000 in 1970 and 187,000 in 1980 and in 1988 stood at 185,000 so you can see that the sixties and seventies were boom years for the Club. This was also true of D.A.'s and I don't think the North Lancs. were any different to others. During this time caravans came to the fore and at our meets we now have 75% caravans attending.

Tom Seed recalls that he was first elected to the committee in 1962 under the Chairmanship of Matt Brady and remembers many "discussions" between Caravanners and tenters being responsible for some of the breakaways. All D.A.'s now have a majority of vans in attendance at their meets but there are still Tents and Trailer Tents and ALL are always welcome.

Tom says that many Caravanners of today would be surprised to know that the early caravans did not have any toilet compartments but were just a "box on wheels". Caravanners had to have toilet tents and the D.A. had to supply a toilet tent for tenters and that the Committee were responsible for putting it up and it taking down. Inside the toilet tent was a hole in the ground and a three legged seat, luxury what.!

An important event was the starting up of the Newsletter and the North Lancs. were one if not the first to have one. The first edition of the Newsletter was written by Colonel Appleton and Tom Scott in November 1964 so the Newsletter is 26 years old this year.(1990) In 1976 with Mrs. Leslie Bacon as Editor and Miss Rose Bradley as printer, the newsletter won the Burnham Newsletter Trophy awarded by H.Q. for the best in the Club.



In the sixties the D.A. took an active part in the Regional Meet being responsible For the starting of a number of events still being run at the Region Meet. The North Lancs. supplied the entertainment on the Saturday night and this was the start of the D.A. concert party which ran for a number of years.

The Settle Carnival was another event the D.A. took a large part in contributing greatly by collections taken during the weekend, to the building of the Settle Swimming Pool. The Preston Guild, held only every 21 years, was entered by the D.A. with the theme "Tutankhamen" from an exhibition of the same being held in London at the time. Martha Seed and Eileen Cooper designed and made patterns for the costumes and over 40 members were involved in the making of costumes and props. This parade was entered into both the Preston Guild and Settle Carnival in 1973 and proved a. huge success.

The eighties have seen attitudes change and of course ideas also, people move on as their children grow up and have families of their own. The D.A. is still alive and kicking that's for sure but with different interests  it means different approaches to things and it's not easy to hit on the right solution. There seems to be a lack of people wanting to commit themselves to long term planning but unfortunately we have to, the D.A. like most other D.A.'s are planning for 1991 or even 1992,

Before closing I must mention some of those people who have given a good deal of their time not only to the D.A. but the Club. Mr. A. Hodkinson was Chairman from 1931 up to the war and then till 1948 making 17 years in all even though 7 of those were lost to the war it is still a long time. He is also the only person to hold all three executive positions and in 1947 held all three at the same time

Matt Brady served as Chairman from 1955 to 1968, thatís 13 years and makes him the longest, consecutively serving Chairman of the D.A. H. Lockwood served as Secretary from 1958 to 1967, thatís 9 years and makes him the longest consecutively serving Secretary for the D.A. The honour of the longest consecutively serving officer goes to Harold Cooper who came to office in 1973 and is still Treasurer of the D.A. today 1990, making 17 years as Treasurer for the D.A.



The turn of the Century has arrived and things haven't changed very much, the same problems seem to be with us. Dogs not on leads. Parents not looking after their own children. Litter on the camping field.

As they say:-  You can please some of the people some of the time, but not all of the people all of the time.

You can see how camping as we know it has changed over the years, they say those were the good old days, I think I would rather have these days with all the "Mod Cons" all the amenities of a modern caravan, maybe I have gone soft.

I  think all officers and committee should be thanked for the work they do and their personal time that they given up for the benefit of the D.A. and it's members but those named above deserve special thanks for between them they have given the D.A. 57 years service.

Before you know it the turn of the Century will be with us and the Club itself will then be one hundred years old.,

And all this from a few cyclists with an interest in camping. !

Happy Camping.