Turn Right At Mottram Roundabout - Episode 24

Tue 10th January 2017 | General
By Stewart Taylor

Our destination in Episode 23 was probably easily recognisable as Liverpool and, specifically, City of Liverpool FC.

The photo showed the outside catering facilities at the Delta Taxis Stadium which City of Liverpool share with Bootle FC.

The quick link kept up the theme of architecture by asking for a link to a famous marble statue by Antonio Canova. The statue in question is called The Three Graces which is the collective name for three iconic buildings which are a feature of the City of Liverpool waterfront. These are the Royal Liver Building, the Cunard Building and the Port of Liverpool Building.

Frequently in the news these days is the subject of energy, more accurately sources of energy to keep the lights on, which, almost inevitably it seems, is controversial. Perhaps we can look briefly at the options and the problems, perceived or real.

We have coal, oil and gas. Established and efficient sources of energy now vilified by many on environmental grounds but still plentiful on the global scale. However, there are geo-political aspects of the supply of these traditional fossil fuels which make many commentators a little uneasy

We have nuclear energy which whilst it doesn’t contribute global warming gasses to the atmosphere has historical safety issues and long term end-of-life concerns.

We have a range of “renewable sources” such as wind, solar, hydroelectric and tidal which have their uses and are considered to be, generally, environmentally friendly. However, these sources can readily be described as unreliable (wind and solar) or small in output (hydroelectric and tidal).

We have energy from waste which was referred to in a previous episode of Turn Right at Mottram Roundabout. Again, useful but limited in scope.

We might one day have shale gas – a controversial subject in our region particularly on the Fylde Coast – which may eventually be a cheap source but there remain environmental concerns not only in use but also in the extraction.

So there we are, a range of energy sources all of which have some downside(s). 

Back in the days when I had to work for a living I was quite fond of saying words to the effect that I can find 100 people to give me problems but find me one who can come up with solutions. Taking that principle on board and relating it to energy sources I bring you something new which is – elephant grass.

By now the reader will be thinking that I’ve truly lost the plot this week but please bear with me – all will become clear. I must at this stage say that the idea of the use of elephant grass as a fuel source is not mine.

Our destination this week takes us to a town which has a valid claim to be “carbon neutral” and the reason for that is the commissioning in 2007 of a biofuel power station which runs on elephant grass. Elephant grass, Miscanthus, is not exactly native to North West England being widely found in the natural environment of East Africa – where elephants roam presumably.

Given that, it seems to be a strange choice of input to a biofuel system but it is the case and, seemingly, it works. Crucial to this, in the overall environmental concept, is that the crop is grown locally to where the plant is located which puts us into a fairly rural part of our region.

The success of this power station in providing energy for over 2,000 homes in the town leads us to think about how this concept could be extended across the remainder of our green and pleasant land but we’d perhaps better leave that one for another day.

Back to the town and we find another of our towns with a long history, being referenced in the Domesday Book. Throughout the Middle Ages and beyond, towns in rural settings became market towns with this one being granted the right to hold a weekly market in 1153. 

There is a wonderful reference to this town in the time of the English Civil War when after the Parliamentary forces had spent considerable time and resources they finally entered the castle only to find the defenders to be drunk or had gone into the town and were drinking in the taverns.

The centre of the town is particularly attractive and, with reference to those civil war days, boasts no fewer than five pubs, including the Grade II listed Royal Oak, which, for a population of less than 5,000 could be considered to be adequate provision. 

The history of football in the town is not well documented although there is a suggestion that organised football was played during the latter decade of the 19th century. The football club was reformed in 1971 under a slightly different name to that which they play under today. The current ground has been occupied since 1982 and from then the story is mainly one of success in County League competitions. The club entered the Second Division of the NWCFL for the 2003-04 season.

No quick link as such this week but a slightly cryptic question. 

Might an aristocratic member of The Goon Show have lived here?


Our Sponsors & Partners