The cokeworks labourer who loved Blanchland

Blanchland School 1860
Blanchland schoolboys, possibly circa 1860. George Carr could be among these young scholars, and the Master could be Thomas Iley, who taught in the village for many years. Photo given by Allan Shaw of Ilkley.

Of all the poets who have attempted to express the delights of Blanchland in verse, George Carr has to be the most prolific.

He was born in Blanchland in 1850 to a young unmarried woman called Hannah, and was brought up by his grandmother, also called Hannah. He married at 24, and moved to Crook, County Durham, where he was employed in the cokeworks for around 30 years. He and Elizabeth (nee Oyston) had lots of children, but George always remembered his happy childhood in Blanchland and loved to return to the village to see old friends and reminisce about times gone by.

George's best known poem is Bonnie Blanchland, written around 1890, more than 300 stanzas of everything Blanchland, including the massacre of the monks, the day the lead miners nearly blew up Baybridge, and the annual show.

You can download the full, illustrated pdf version of Bonnie Blanchland (3 Mb)

By Motor to Bonnie Blanchland by George Carr

The year before his death in 1916, George again wrote a poem about Blanchland. This time it was a journey to the village by car, in those days a novelty to most people. To read this poem, click on the image to the left.