In 1868 the Statue of Joseph Howard "Old Blind Joe", erected by public subscription was unveiled in Alexandra Park by the Mayor. He was bellman from 1820 to 1860 and died 17 May 1862 aged 76.

Joe was blind from birth but had a phenominal memory. If he heard a chapter read from the Bible he could repeat it word for word. For many years he was a Wesleyan lay preacher. It was stated that the Statue was not erected to commemorate his services as a bellman but to honour his services to religion.

A Failworth poet Edward Percival penned a poem published as a broadsheet with the title "OWDHAM PARK", in which verse 11 alludes to blind Joe, below. (It would have been fitting to repeat the whole of the poem but I do not have it).

The statue of a good awd man.
The bellman, owd blind Joe.
For forty years in Owdham teawn.
He's braved both wind and snow.
But deaths neaw snatched the bell from his hand.
Un laid th'owd commrade low.
He'll tramp no moor throo Owdham teawn.
Nor halt in th' market place.
We'st yer no moor that well known seawnd.
Nor see that well known face.
Moralising on the life and example of pious old Joe
he reflects that it may not be too late for the careless to
"get on the reet mark" even though late in the race.
Let us hope to meet in heaven.
The bellman, owd blind Joe.

Photograph taken 10 Sep 2007.

View of Joseph Howard "Blind Joe" Statue in the Park, complete with top hat, bell and walking stick.

Photograph taken 10 Sep 2007.

Close-Up view of the inscription on the pedestal of Blind Joe Statue..

Postcard by A. H. & S., M.
The Valley Series.
Unposted, no stamp, not written on.

Postcard by E. P. Co., M.
"The Eclipse Series"
Posted on 10 Feb 1910 to Miss A Milward in Dartford.

Message reads, Dear Friend
Yes by all means send it by sat along GL yes we are having better weather here it has been lovely for the last few days
Kindest Regards from
Yours sincerely
N & S

Reverse side of an identical postcard to the above but with printed Advertisement on the rear

Tea Party & Entertainment
March 28th, 1908.

This use of postcards with printed adverts on the reverse for local events could have been commonplace
(Other examples of postcards with advertisements appear in Duck Pond, Promenade and Park Fountain sections)

Postcard by Allen & Sons. Oldham.
Number 62604 JV
Posted 15 Jul 1918 ? to Miss F Lynn in Penrith.

Message reads,
I am enjoying my holiday immensely going somewhere every day. We had the whole day in Manchester yesterday, finishing up at the Palace, a real treat - today we are going to the Park Hill Gala day. Band etc.
Last Sat we went to Belle Vue and stayed for the fire works, which were grand, the "Bombardment at Mons" - great jollities going on for Peace Day here. I am staying to see it all, so shall not come back till Monday arriving Penrith 6.4 pm
Love from H

Postcard by Lilywhite Ltd. Triangle Halifax
Number ODM. 12.
Unposted, no stamp, but written on

Message reads,
Another well known view

Postcard by A. & S. O.
Posted 11 May 1921 to Miss M.A. Jackson in Cleveleys.

Message reads, Dear Friend
I received your P.C. glad to hear you are having lovely weather as we are.
It has been lovely for walking round.
Love. Jessie Broadbent

Postcard by Milton.
"The ArtletteGlazette Series" 185
Posted on 3 Sep 1910 to Miss Lily Ragland in Cornwall.

Message reads, Dear Lil
Well, dear I hope you will like these P.Cs. I am going on alright. Hope you will write to Mother. Give my best respects to Ernie. Is Charlie still courting I suppose so. Tell Joe & Ernie that if we are all spared to meet we must have a big do. Tony
p.s. Excuse the writing as I am out of training but I think it will pass muster.

Postcard by Valentine's Series
Valentine's Series, No. 62604 JV
Posted 18 Aug 1911 to Miss A Pattyson in Hanley. Stoke.

Message reads, Dear Ada
How is work going down I suppose you have made a start I am having a fine time I have been here for a fortnight I have been out every day this week to different places the weather is grand I don't know how we are going to get back I am sure the strike here is awful & even the cars have stopped running so we are in a pretty mess now I can tell you, give my best love to Mrs Thompson and all in the shop
with very best love Jenny
see you on Monday all being well I don't know how we shall get home

Postcard by Valentine's Series
Valentine's Series, number 62604 JV
Posted 16 Aug 1911 to Miss M Woolas in Beverley. E. Yorks.

Message reads,
I am wondering if I shall get home on Sat as the strike is on here. I had a day in Blackpool yesterday.
Having a nice time & weather

Postcard by A. H. & S. O.
Victory Series.
Posted 14 Aug 1911 to Miss Eliana Bieamam in Morecambe.

Message reads, Dear Sister,
I arrived safe and the weather is fine & grande you talk about fresh air it is breezy it is as bad as being at Blackpool. I hope you are having a good time and getting quite sun burnt they are taking me all over, you talk about invitations to tea it is everybody I come across they want me to go, I am going to Tommy Field this afternoon and then to Prettys to Mytia
From Elizabeth Love

Postcard by Unknown Publisher.
Written on but not stamped, addressed or posted.

Message reads, Dear May,
I hope you have had a good time at Aunt May;s
I am sure you would be pleased to see ma again
I hope you like your shuttlecock & Battledore
Best Love Auntie Janet

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