THE ghosts of Timberbottom Farm and Bradshaw Hall won't go away . . .

Mr J. Lomax, of Glazedale Street, Tonge Moor, tells me that he was asked to quote for the felling of Bradshaw Bleachworks chimney (the one that fell on the old Bradshaw Hall memorial porch).

"I went one evening at about 7.30 to look at the site and chimney," he writes. "Standing between the chimney and the porch I suddenly got a very uneasy feeling that someone was watching.

"The chimney was tall and the base square, built in stone, with a large hole in the south-west side. I was about 60 to 70 yards from it when I saw a figure standing in the opening at the base.

"I thought it was someone walking a dog. I walked towards the chimney, and much to my astonishment the figure started to fade.

"At this point I suddenly got a premonition of the chimney hitting the porch.

"Some time later I was told that I hadn't got the contract. I told the site agent about my experience and what might happen to the chimney. The rest is history.

"But who was the figure in the base of the chimney? Was it the spirit of Thomas Hardcastle?"

Another letter came from Mr Arthur Clifford, of Rutland House, Millview, Bridgeman Street, Bolton, who wrote about the skulls.

"Our milk man was James Heywood of Timberbottom Farm," he writes. "When I was eight years old, in 1922, I remember Mrs Heywood delivering the milk and telling my mother that the cat and dog had run off. The previous night she had heard knocking and scratching at the door and thought someone had brought the animals back. When she opened the door, nothing was there, but she heard footsteps go past her across the room and up the stairs. It was said that whenever the skulls at Bradshaw Hall were separated the same thing happened - they found out that Col. Hardcastle had sent one away for remounting."

He also tells me about a friend, Jack Falon, who was courting a maid at Bradshaw Hall. One night she dared him to sit in the colonel's trophy room, at the banqueting table, in the dark, with a skull at each end.

"After a minute there, he felt the hair on the back of his neck stand up, and shot out of the room like a scared rabbit. She apologised with a laugh and said that it took a brave man even to attempt it. Then she went back to placate the spirits of poltergeist."

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