28 June 2021

Image of Old Kirkhamian, Martin Ramsbottom

It is with great sadness that we have been informed of the death, at the age of 81, of Old Kirkhamian, Martin Ramsbottom. A County Librarian in his working life, Martin was best known locally as a leading authority on the history of Kirkham, and author of many publications.

A lifelong resident of Kirkham, Martin was a passionate enthusiast of local history, always keen to share his knowledge and expertise with others. He was particularly interested and knowledgeable about Kirkham's social history, and the early development of public welfare provision; he was the leading authority on the history of Kirkham's workhouse, which was the subject of the PHD thesis which he gained from Oxford Brookes University in 2011.

Martin was one of the driving forces behind the establishment of the Kirkham-in-Amounderness Museum in the late 1990s, which sadly had to close when its premises adjoining the Swimming Pool were sold.

He loved leading walking tours of Kirkham for local groups, and published several books and pamphlets, including his “town trail”; it was a great frustration to him that his legs gave up on him and forced him to retire from doing what he loved. Well after his retirement, he was to be found working in the old Scroll Bookshop, from where he took particular delight in selling local history publications under his own publishing label, Hedgehog Publications, a name which reflected his love of that endangered and much-loved species.

When increasing frailty caused him to move into full-time care in autumn 2020, Martin graciously bequeathed the extensive personal archives and memorabilia which formed the core of the Kirkham Museum's content to the care of St Michael's, the town's Parish Church. This is a fitting home for his work, given that he was the author of a published History of the Church, and his family's longstanding connection to the Church..

His collection will form the basis of the Church's Local History and Heritage Centre which has been developed in the refurbished Gallery Area of the Spire Development. The collection will be a resource for the local community,  available for viewing by appointment once the Church Building re-opens more fully after the lifting of Coronavirus restrictions, and will serve as a lasting memorial to a man who did so much to preserve the town's history and heritage.

Pictured are some of his many publications, and a photo supplied by a member of his family, who have seen and approved this post.

Adrian Long

Tags: 2020-2021 OKA