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I live in a small village called Littleport which is set in the fenland
countryside of East Anglia in UK. Close by is the city of Ely which boasts a very
famous cathedral dating back over 1000 years. The Ship Of The Fens which took 300
years to build towers over the flat landscape and attracts many visitors.
Littleport – at least not normally.
However, last weekend was a bit different.
our quiet streets came alive to the distinctive sight and sound of hog riders as
they rode their Harley-Davidson’s
Why did they come?
Well,our village is the ancestral
home of William Sylvester Harley of the Harley-Davidson name. In actual fact his
father who was also called William was born in the street where I live.
still several Harley's living in the area and Littleport is claiming fame by association
and has an expensive metal statue of a Harley opposite St George’s Church, an estate
agent named Harleys and also a shop selling the bikes.
Yes, Littleport is doing its
bit for international relations and apart from the Littleport Riots in the 1800’s
and the terrible floods in 1947 that’s probably how Littleport will be remembered.
It's generally a quiet place which most people will never have heard of but at least
now if anyone asks if you know the connection between Harley-Davidson and Littleport
you'll be able to tell them.
And don't forget to say Jean told you!
If you want to
know what I think about the place you can read my poem:
Set within the fenlands is the village I call home Littleport’s expanding fast, it
certainly has grown The locals are all friendly and most will say “hello” They’ll
smile and pass the time of day – it wasn’t always so
Back in the 1800’s that may
not have been the case For taxes led to riots causing havoc in the place Some labourers
went to prison, five hung by their necks Others went to New South Wales, names changed
to keep respect
Years have passed now senseless crime gives Littleport a name Like
vandalism, petty theft by people with no shame If punishments as years before were
deportation, hanging, prison These mindless individuals might have a different vision
Littleport’s got a lot to offer, has all the shops we need Butcher, baker, grocer,
library for those who read We have a new health centre, optician, dentist too Turf
accountant if you want to bet, Tattoo parlour –yes that’s true
We’ve a handy bank,
Post Office and a useful launderette Sports centre, pubs and garages, and free parking
don’t forget Two local schools and playgroups, a drop in centre too, Chapels, Halls,
St. George’s Church to suit your point of view
If you’re looking for a carpet, hardware
or DIY Special gift or wedding suit, Main Street’s the place to try We’ve restaurants
and takeaways for all who like to eat Hairdressers and chiropodist for bad hair or
There’s an accountant if you need one, solicitors as well And even
estate agents if you’ve a house to rent or sell We’ve a very pleasant river, fire
station that’s just fine And a useful railway station which serves the London line
As transport links get better the employment’s not just farming Industrial parks
are growing up with a speed that’s quite alarming But still we have the rich fen
soil and dark and fertile means Sugar beet, potatoes, wheat, barley, oats and beans
Historically there’s been an annual show where produce was displayed But development’s
meant the site has gone so locals are dismayed For people came from miles around
to celebrate the day Even Harley riders from as far as USA
Yes, Littleport has got
quite a lot, for a village its okay It’s where I chose to make my home and where
I’ll likely stay
The History Bit:-
William Harley, father of William Sylvester Harley was born in a house in Victoria
Street, Littleport on May 2, 1835. He left Littleport in 1859 and emigrated to Oswego,
USA and enlisted in the army. He fought on the side of the Unionists in the American
William Sylvester Harley was born on December 29, 1880 and went on to
form the Harley-Davidson Motor Company with Arthur Davidson in 1903.