Monday, 28 April 2014

Old Haslingden (Top Of The Town)

Town Gate, Haslingden - site of the original Market - Left is Stocks House

With such enchanting names like Lovers Lane and Pocket Street (now gone), Town Green (now gone), Sheep Green and Communion Street (now gone). Names that could only ever instill such wandering imaginations of where was that! when was that and who lived there and what went on there!  For the many lovers of old Haslingden these areas will always I am sure be of a special particular interest, because when the population of the area was still in its infancy (a few thousand souls) then this area would have been the nucleus (or hub) to the forthcoming expanding "township" that was to follow.

Besides those names already mentioned there were or are others as well which do or did include, Rake Foot and Rock Hall, Higher and Lower Lane, High Street, Teasdale Street (which was a small cul-de-sac which ran almost opposite where the Unity Club was), Church Lane (which was off Church Street and almost opposite Wilkinson Street), Church Street, Town Gate (which was off Wilkinson Street and almost in line with George Street), Howarth Street (was running parallel to George St and King Street opening into Wilkinson Street or Hargreaves Street), Wilkinson Street, King Street, Kenyon Meadows (1790's the land under Wilkinson Street and part of Marsden Square), Eliza Street,(where now stands the Hargreaves Street Mill) Cockerill Street and  Marsden Square, Dobson Meadows (1790's the land under part of Marsden Square and part of King Street and Eliza Street),  and Tower Hill which ran to the top of Cockerill Street.

The centre to all this was "Town Green" which was a open short narrow street which interlocked with another which ran at right angles to it and called "Town Gate".  The original site of the weekly market which was in those early days held on the Wednesday of each week.  The areas of Town Green and Town Gate became in time very congested for the market, so has the town became more extended down Church Street and then into Deardengate, the line of the market followed that same line.

Well I am sure that I havn't dream't it, but somehow seem to remember there being a pair of well worn wooden stocks which used to be situated quite close to the porch entrance of St. James Church.  It is said that these stocks after spending sometime in storage within the belfry that they had been repositioned close to the Church entrance.  But many years before this the stocks had actually been in situ at "Town Green" were at that time they would have been used as a punishment to offenders of various petty misdemeanours.  The earlier stocks which had been at Town Green had been built with stone sides, but these had at one time been vandalized, and subsequently replaced with these timber ones.

Whilst writing about the stocks and pubs and other landmarks of Top Of The Town in Haslingden, a good account has already been published which was written by (Briar in 1932 and published in the Haslingden Observer at that time - kindly reproduced for the "Haslingden" book by Chris Aspin and Derek Pilkington of the Helmshore Local History Society published in 1979)

Towngate c1930
White Horse Inn - Centre
Old Black Dog - just vis
to right hand

"The old stocks used to stand on Town Green, a short and not too wide street connecting Town Gate and Church Street.  The Old Hare and Hounds formed the boundary on the higher side and the Waggon and Horses and some adjoining buildings- one of which was Stock House whilst another is in old documents described as a "watch house" - formed the boundary on the lower side of Town Green.  The Waggon and Horses abutted on to Church Street and its adjoining buildings on to Town Gate.  The stocks were at a position on Town Green between the Old Hare and Hounds and the Waggon and Horses.
The Waggon and Horses and its adjoining buildings were on an island site, which was bounded on the top side by Town Green, on the left side (facing the Old Hare and Hounds) by Church Street, and on the right by Town Gate, which as it came downwards curved along the front of the Waggon and Horses into Church Street.
Haslingden's original and ancient market was on Town Gate, starting from a point near to the Old Black Dog (opposite Town Green) and extending to the Mason's Arms, which was at the junction of Town Gate and Church Street and which from its corner position was known as "Th' Nook Alehouse".
Town Green has another association of interest.  During the first half of last century but one it was customary for the clerk of the Parish Church (adjacent) to make announcements on Sundays of any sales fixed for the ensuing week, of assessments and matters of that description.  Those announcements were originally made from the churchyard wall, but afterwards on Town Green.  They were made at the close of the afternoon service and they received ready attention from many of those who composed the congregations, especially by farmers from Grane and other outlying districts.

"Briar" reports on the Last use of the stocks: 

 The sides and base of the stocks were of stone, which held in position two heavy blocks of wood.  The upper block of wood had four holes cut in it to accommodate the legs of offenders, two of whom could sit in the stocks at one time.
Sitting in the stocks was one of the penalties for Sabbath breaking, but the stocks were also used for punishment for drunkenness.
The original stocks were destroyed by a drunken man who came out of an adjoining public house and broke the stone uprights.  Temporary stocks of wood were substituted.  These were for a long time kept in the steeple of the Parish Church, but a few years ago they were brought down and placed outside the church, within the railings near to the porch, where they are unlikely to survive many more years.
The stocks fell into disuse because, as time went on, being put into them was regarded more as a joke than as a punishment.  Mr. Thomas Duckworth of Bowker Bank, Crumpsall, who was born at Haslingden, left the town in 1833, and lived to be over 90, once related to me that he could remember only one man being put into the stocks and that he thought he would be the last person for whom they were used.  The man was known as "Young Mischief" who was one of "Shakespear's" lads.  "Shakespeare" was a man named Holt who had some capital and who took pleasure in having about him about half a dozen young fellows to do mischief, such as pulling signs down.  "Mischief" was one of his young fellows.  Mr. Duckworth never knew "Shakespeare" himself to get into trouble.

"Briar" continues with Publand..1932

Bulls Head on Church Street

Up to a period within the recollection of most people of today Church Street and "the top of the town" was redolent of bygone days.  But it might have been called "Pub-land".  In the palmier days of the district sixteen licensed houses could be seen within a short radius by standing at a point in Church Street near to the Waggon and Horses.  These included The old Hare and Hounds in Town Green, the new Hare and Hounds and the Masons Arms ("Th' Nook Alehouse"), next door to each other in Town Gate, The Staff of Life (at one time known as "Th' Looafe and Cheese," because of its sign). and the Golden Cup, in Lower Lane, a continuation of Church-street, the King's Arms, the George Inn, and the Bull's Head Hotel in Church Street, interspersed by only two shops, the Bird In Hand, on the other side of Church-street, The White Horse (swith its striking porch) and, adjoining it the Old Black Dog (where the clerk of Mytton Church "laid" a ghost by slaying a chicken and buring it and a candle under the hearthstone), in Town Gate, the Volunteers Inn, High-street, and the Prince of Wales Inn, King-street.

Town Gate, Stocks House with the Hare and Hounds on left and White Horse on the right

The lopping off of licences begain in 1907 and it was made possible by the compensation provisions under the Balfour Act.  In that year five licences were extinguished, these being the Old Hare and Hounds, Town Green, the White Horse Inn, Town Gate, the Prince of Wales, King-street, and the Waggon and Horses on Towngate.  Since then other licences in the vicinity have been extinguished.  Unfortunately one result was that premises closed as public houses were opened as common lodging houses.  This seriously injured Church-street, the old business centre, and from this point of view, as well as from others even more important, the Clearance Schemes of the Corporation are welcome.

Map showing where the Pubs were situated 

The Old Hare and Hounds, as originally erected and used, must have been strikingly large and commodious as an inn situate in a town such as Haslingden would be at the time.  Some 150 years ago the building was divided so as to provide a serviceable dwelling house in addition to the inn, which was still left with plenty of accommodation for the social and business events for which the old public houses of the town were used.

Announcements of auction sales at the Old Hare and Hounds during 1787 were in existence at one time.  It was at the Old Hare and Hounds that arrangements were made for the Haslingden horse races, which took place for purses of gold on Laund Hey, now the property of the town and used as a recreation ground.  The races were in existence in 1761.  They were discontinued about the year 1811.

"Briar" writes about the Hoyle Family and other Old Inns

For several generations the Old Hare and Hounds was the property and in the tenancy of the Hoyle family, who combined with the victualling business that of butcher.  They amassed considerable wealth and influence and held a position of no mean influence in the public and town's matters.
When in 1907 the licence of the Old Black Dog was extinguished it had been the oldest inn in the town for a long period.  The licence was at one time traced back to 1693, and it probably existed before then.  The wardens' accounts of the Parish Church during the early part of the 18th century show many entries of money spent there.  The wardens transacted their business at the Old Black Dog, and probably at the White Horse (next door above) as well.
The Old Black Dog seems to have been the head posting house of Haslingden in pre-railway days.  It had stabling for 30 horses.  It was at this house that the ball of the Haslingden Hunt was held, and in its day that was the well social event of the district.  In an advertisement that appeared in 1798 it was described as containing "many convenient parlours and lodge rooms, and particularly one large room for public meetings, 38ft, by 24ft and 14ft high".  In the yard of the Old Black Dog there was a cockpit where many a battle was fought for the amusement of the gentry of the town and visitors.
It was from the horse block in front of the Old Black Dog that John Wesley preached on the occasion of his visit to Haslingden on April 22nd 1788.  The divine had scarcely mounted the steps when a crowd of threatening roughs appeared.  Addressing the leader Wesley said, "You have, sir, the garb and the appearance of a gentleman.  Do not act like a blackguard." He was left to deliver his message in peace.

"Briar" writes about the other old Inns

The Old Hare and Hounds, the White Horse, the Golden Cup, and the Bull Head were nearly equal in age to the Old Black Dog.  The White Horse had a pillared doorway from which it was given the name of "Th' Stoop House."  It was here that there was arrested the young man who murdered his sweetheart, Ellen Strange, at Helmshore.  In appearance this house dwared the two storied Old Black Dog, next door.
The Bull's Head at one time had two pillars forming a porch similar to the White Horse.  Swing signs hung at the Bull's Head, the Golden Cup, and the Masons' Arms, whilst over the George Inn were suspended from an ornamental bracket a bunch of gilded grapes and representations of packets of cigars.

"Briar" writes about The Original Market

To come back to the old market, on Town Gate, Haslingden was one of the four market towns in addition to the ancient borough of Clitheroe which existed in the Hundred of Blackburn for several centuries.  It was the market town for villages around it thaat have become bigger boroughs that it.
The market apparently had its ups and downs.  The "Blackburn Gazette," of September 26th, 1829, recorded an awakening "in the more active and most intelligent part of the inhabitants" of Haslingden, who had re-opened the market on the 15th of that month, when it had been discontinued for some years.  The same paper, on October 3rd of the same year, in referring to the second market, held on the previous Tuesday, said "Amidst a diversified profusion of minor commodities, it was particularly gratifying to observe the large quantities of these prime articles of subsistence, meal, flour, and potatoes, which were brought into the town and the greater part of which, so rapid was the demand from the great number of buyers who thronged the streets, was scarcely any sooner exposed to sale than sold."  It was computed in all 400 packs weight were disposed of.
From the restricted space of Town Gate, the market overflowed into Church-street, Then it came down Church-street and into Market Place and Deardengate, Town Gate and Church-street being deserted by stallholders.  Some years ago there was reversion to Town Gate for the purposes of the pot fair, but in more recent years the Town Gate district has had an appearance so down at heel as to make it unsuitable for that purpose.

The "Clearance Scheme" began in the late 1930s 


This is a photo of Stocks House in far better circumstances to the one shown above.  Here it is shown
when it was the Temperance Hotel - You can just make out the Old Hare and Hounds pub to the right of the photo. 

Top Photo: Old photo of Church Street and showing the clearing area of which used to be Town Green 
and most of Town Gate, before the building of the new properties began- the building to the
 left foreground is the old Unity Club which we are currently discussing in another recent blog. 
The clearing area at the front of the photo is were Communion Street would have been and 
Pocket Street would have been just off the photo to the right corner. 

A superb email sent in by John R Edwards in relation to the above photo:

"It certainly is the Unity Club, and just above the roof line is the general store (on the left), up a couple of steps where a woman used to serve you.  You can also see Halstead's butchers shop, the gable end property, on Church Street.  The terrace to the upper right of the Club is where I remember the Bottom's and the Bedford's lived, and you can still see the line of the original Town Gate road in front of the terrace.
In Winter when it was dark I used to earn a penny or two guiding people across the building site, for the new houses, from King Street to the Club with a torch and I even moved planks to make their journey easier.  The tips got better when the people were going home from the Club!!  The cost of the batteries turned out to be a good investment."
John R. Edwards. 



Some little sensation has been created at Haslingden this weekby the discovery by some labourers of some human remains.  For some time past Mr. Thomas Collinge, contractor and builder, has had men excavating a plot of ground, and carrying away the sand there found.  The plot in question lies between BACK HIGH STREET AND LOWER LANE sometimes called WORKHOUSE LANE. Both thoroughfares are reached from CHURCH STREET.  By LOWER LANE you pass the "Staff of Life" Inn and on the right, half-way down the lane, there are two large doors opening into some excavated land.  It was into this delph the carts were backed, and the men busy excavating and loading sand. It was whilst the men where busy excavating that they broke into a cave-like place. Possibly ignorant of the past history of the ground, the men were astonished and their curiosity being aroused they investigated the "cave", finding some human skulls and other remains, and observing that there were certain shelves upon which coffins had been placed at the time of burial.  The older inhabitants knew that there was a private burial place in a corner of this plot, as was evidenced by the existence of a slab tombstone, bearing the usual particulars regarding the interred.  It would appear to have been used as a private burial ground by a family named BILSBORROW, who founded, or officiated in connection with the original Congregational Chapel, Haslingden.  The building which is known as the old chapel, is in BACK HIGH-STREET, not far from the "Volunteers Arms".  As a religious body in Haslingden, the Congregationalists is about 100 years old, and Mr. Stephenson thinks that Mr. Bilsborrow was their first minister.  He was a layman and probably the business of himself and family.  Mr. Stephenson thinks, was that of carriers from Garstang.  It is a fact that the Bilsborrows resided near the chapel and that they used a corner of the garden ground for burial, having there constructed a family vault.  After them some TEASDALE'S had the place, and subsequently the late Mr. George Fielding, grocer, Market Place, Haslingden, became the owner of the ground and property.  Miss Fielding of Ivy House is now the owner, and the plot is at the rear of her property.  There is also standing in this old district of Haslingden, what used to be known as the Catholic Schools.  In the same district there are other old buildings, and anyone may see certain peculiar distinctions from present day property.  A portion of these buildings in this neighbourhood are said to have been used as Government stables.  It is well known that Haslingden at one time was a military depot, and had its barracks not so very far away from this place.  Many of the older people have seen the gravestone in question, and were well aware of a private burial ground there.  Mr. Stephenson has known it for years, and has had an idea, that the ground would give way sometime through age and rough weather or incautious excavation near the corner in question.  Our reporter inspected the place himself on Thursday.  There was an open entrance into the vault, and it seemed as if brick had been used in building the walls.  The vault appeared to be 6 feet or more long and 3 feet 6 inches wide.  It could easily be entered from the crumbling mound of earth, and at the far end there were three iron shelves, upon which the coffins had apparently rested. Quitting this ascending the mound, we saw the gravestone laid flat on the ground. THE INSCRIPTIONS: Appended is a copy of the inscriptions on the stone:- "Here resteth the body of James Bilsborrow (the 's' in Bilsborrow being the one in vogue early in the century) who departed this life, January 28th, 1823 aged 89 years.  Also Mary, wife of James Bilsborrow, who departed this life, April 18th 1804, in the 66th year of her age, Also Mary, their daughter, who departed this life, March 30th 1807, aged 26 years.  Likewise of Nancy, their daughter, and wife of Hugh Kennedy, who departed this life, July 29th, 1827, in the 59th year of her age.  Also Mary, their infant daughter.

A good many people have visited the spot, and a number of contradictory statements are afloat as to the skulls found etc.  One man made a night investigation with a lighted lantern, and being asked if he was not afraid of ghosts, he said "No man, there are no ghosts in these days"  He confessed there was a misty vapour about the vault and that he could not see any coffin, but some skulls and remains only.  He saw four skulls, one bing very large, and there was something of the form of a skeleton there.  He made his investigations on Monday night.  He could not say whether the vault was built of brick or dry stone.  The outer wall appeared to be of dry stone.  The remains have been removed.  It would appear from the inscription that the first body, that of Mrs. Bilsborrow, was interred nearly 85 years ago, and that the last was in 1827, seventy two years ago.

Thanks to Jackie Ramsbottom of Haslingden Roots for providing this material....... 

TAKEN FROM A NEWSPAPER CUTTING DATED 1935 (added this on 20th March 2015)


Mr. A. Boothroyd, an Inspector of the Ministry of Health, held an inquiry at the Haslingden Council Chamber yesterday forenoon with reference to the application of the Town Council for confirmation of the Tower Hill Clearance Order (Clearance Areas Nos. 6 and 9), made by them under Section 2 of the Housing Act, 1930.  In Addition to the Town Clerk (Mr. G.R. Bull) there were present Councillors T. Brown (chairman of the Health Committee), W. Boyson (chairman Housing Committee), and Platt, Dr. Martin (medical officer), and Messrs. T.E. Amos (chief sanitary inspector), Arnold Warburton (additional sanitary inspector), R Taylor (borough surveyor) and F.A. Green (borough treasurer)


In outlining the application for the Corporation, the Town Clerk said that the area was reported to be in an insanitary condition in April, 1931 by Mr. R. Austin, then senior sanitary inspector, and stated the formalities that had since been gone through.

The submission of the Corporation was that the dwelling houses in the area were by reason of disrepair and sanitary defects unfit for human habitation and by reason of the bad arrangement of the streets dangerous or injurious to the health of the inhabitants of the area, and that the most satisfactory method of dealing with the conditions was the demolition of all the buildings.  "When I speak of bad arrangement of the houses, I do so with emphasis, as many of the houses are back to earth and consitute almost underground dwellings".

The clearance Order was made by the Council on July 3rd last, and as the Housing Act, 1935, did not receive Royal Assent until Aug 2nd last the Order was not subject to the provisions of this later Act.

The last date for the receiving of objections was July 27th last, and before that date only two persons gave notice of objection -- Mrs. Mary Curran, owner of seven houses in the area, and Mr. H. Smith, acting as agent for the owners of twelve dwelling houses and one store room.

According to the official representation of the medical officer of health 108 persons would be displaced by the clearance, and to accommodate these the Corporation were erecting twenty two-bedroom type and nine three-bedroom type houses and five flats on Longshoot.  These houses and flats have been approved by the Ministry of Health as affording accomodation for a maximum of 135 persons.


The area comprised 36 dwelling houses, particulars of ownership of which were as follows:-
2, 2a, 4-8 Heys Court; 8-14, 3-7, Cockerill Street; 29 Wilkinson St., belonging to the executors of G. Trickett, on whose behalf Mr. H. Smith had made objection.  21-25 Wilkinson Street., 35-39 Rakefoot, 13-15 Tower Hill, belonging to Mrs. Mary Curran, who had objected. 41,43, 43a-49, Rakefoot, 5-11 Tower Hill, belonging to James Robert Barlow and Albert Edward Barlow, who had not objected.  51-53, Rakefoot, 40 and 42 Hargreaves Street and 1 and 3 Tower hill, belonging to John Thomas Hindle, who also had not objected.

In addition to the foregoing there was an old stable, No. 8 Cockerill Street, owned by Messrs. W. H. Shaw and Co., and an old stable, 3 Cockerill Street., owned by the executors of G. Trickett. No. 53 Rakefoot was used as a lockup shop and No. 1 Tower Hill was closed.


Of the 36 houses only two were through houses, ten being single houses, fifteen back to back houses, and nine back to earth houses.  The population of the area at the date of the official representation was 108 persons, distributed in 34 families.  The number of persons to the acre was 265.36

The houses included some of the oldest in the town, built long before any local building bye-laws were in force.  They were small, crowded together, and badly arranged.  From the practical health point of view the area was definately detrimental to the health of the inhabitants, the bad construction of the houses, the barrowness of the streets, the insufficiency of effective lighting and ventilation facilities making it impossible for the interior of the houses to receive an adequate amount of sunshine and for efficient ventilation to take place.  He was credibly informed that in some of the houses it was impossible for a person to read a newspaper in full daylight.

All the houses were in a bad state of disrepair.  They were damp, without proper washing facilities.  Their water supply was unsatisfactory, as was their sanitary accomodation.  The drainage facilities were crude, and had caused considerable trouble.  No houses in the area had any yard space for the drying of clothes.

The state of the fittings in most of the houses was deplorable and a process of gradual and general deterioration had progressed to such an extent that they were now definately unfit for human habitation.

In the notice of objection to the order submitted on behalf of the exors. of G Trickett, it was stated that the occupiers of the property referred to therein have no desire to leave the area.  This was untrue.  Of twelve occupiers concerned who were visited by the assistant sanitary inspector, no fewer than nine definately stated that they wished to leave the area.  Again, It was stated that the sanitary arrangements were good and clean.  That that was untrue would abundantly appear from the evidence to be given.


Coun. T. Brown, chairman of the Health Committee of the Town Council, gave evidence, stating that the area had been under discussion by the Council for four years.  He considered the area to be one of the worst in the borough.

Coun. Wm Boyson, chairman of the Housing and Town Planning Committee, gave evidence as to the provision of persons who would be displaced by the proposed clearance, and said that the fourteen three-bedfoom type houses, 32 two bedroom type houses and eight flats are now in course of construction at Longshoot;.  Twenty two two bedroom type houses, and five flats were reserved for persons displaced in this area.

Dr. W. M. Martin, medical officer of health, gave evidence as to his representations to the Health and Sanitary Comittee on the conditions in the area.  He considered the area to be one of the most insanitary areas in the borough.  It was wholly within Town Ward, and no new houses had been erected within it for many years.  The width of the streets in places was only 18ft., whilst the surface of Cockerill Street, between the houses included in the area, is approximately 10ft below the level of Wilkinson Street adjoining.  In some of the houses the windows were fixed or otherwise unable to be opened.  Appromimately 70 per cent of the houses in the area are


Owing to the absence of effective damp proof courses, or to defective pointing or defective roofs.  In a recess off the living room in No. 5 Tower Hill there is a natural outlet of a spring, the water from which is constantly running and percolating through the foundations.

In sixteen houses there is no proper accomodation for storage of food.  No washing accomodation is provided in 35 of the houses.  In the remaining three the occupiers have been responsible for providing their own gas boilers.  Overcrowding was present in only one house.  In fifteen houses adults and children occupy the same bedroom.

No houses in the area have any yard space for the drying of clothes, advantage being taken of the fact that Heys Court, Cockerill Street and Tower Hill are cul-de-sacs.

The average rental was 4s. 3-10d a week.  The total rent was £7/9/2 per week.  The highest rent paid was 8s 2d (in respect of the lock up shop 53 Rakefoot) and the lowest 3s per week.

Mr. T.E. Amos, senior sanitary inspecter, produced eight photographs of the area which were enlargements of snapshots taken by him on July 31st 1935


Mr. Arnold Warburton, assistant sanitary inspector, said that in consequence of the notice of objection made on behalf of the exors. of G. Trickett he visited the houses 2-8 Heys Court and 3-14 Cockerill Street and 19, Wilkinson Street.  He found ten of the twelve occupiers at home.  The other two houses were shut up.  Of the ten occupiers interviewed nine definately stated that they were anxious to leave the area.  The remaining one said it was immaterial to him whether he did so or not.

In describing the area, Mr. Robert Tayor, borough surveyor said heys Court is irregularly shaped.  Tower hill is a peculiar stgreet with man novel features.  He found that no new houses had been erected in the area for at least the last forty years.  The streets in the area are both narrow and badly arranged and injurious and dangerous to health.  This completing the application for the Corporation.  The Inspector asked if any property owner concerned was present to make objection.


Mrs. Mary Curran was the only one to answer.  She said that there were real good houses that were being taken from her.  The question of their being put into repair should have been considered.  It was not right to condemn property like that without some compensation being given.  The Inspector: Do you maintain that the houses in their present condition are fit?  Mrs. Curran: Well, some are.  Have you gone into the possibility of putting them into repair? - No.  The Inspector said he would visit and inspect all the houses.  If Mrs. Curran liked to be present he would be pleased to see her there, but there was no necessity if she did not want.  Mrs. Curran: I don't wish to go.  They ought to do fair with people with property.  The Inspector said the property would be fairly inspected and he would see that Mrs. Curran's objection was fairly placed before the Ministry.  The inquiry then closed.

Thanks to Jackie Ramsbottom of Haslingden Roots for supplying this old newspaper cutting from c1935.

Showing Ginnel entrance midway along Wilkinson Street

On 13th March 2016 Michael Mullaney added: My first photo is of the Ginnel on the front of Wilkinson Street, it was in the top half of Wilkinson Street just below the Middle shop and allowed pedestrian access to the back of Wilkinson Street which went by the more local name of "The Irish Back".

Early urban development constructed properties in the simplest and cheapest way.  This usually took the form of long terraced rows forming a square or triangle.  In order that people could gain easy access to the backs of the properties many of which would be "back to back houses" Ginnels were constructed for this purpose.  Back Wilkinson Street (Irish Back) had three access Ginnels/Alleyways.

Back Wilkinson Street (Irish Back)
(Photo: kindly contributed by Michael Mullaney

On 13th March 2016 Michael Mullaney added: The Ginnel exits along the side wall of the small two storey out building which brings a further reason for the Ginnel.  In viewing the picture above (eg: Wilkinson Street), its clear that the third level of houses in Wilkinson Street are being used as possibly some of the first factories with hand loom weaving taking place on an industrial scale.  The two storey out building housed a stairway to allow rorkers to get to the top floor without disturbing the residents with their coming and going.  The Ginnel in King Street accessed the back from its lower end whilst a third Ginnel accessed it from the top end and Rake Foot.  Properties on Rake Foot were constructed in the Back to Back style, again easy access was required from the surrounding streets.  Two storey Back to Back properties usually had the upper floors constructed from stone flags.  This was not a cheap way of making a bedroom floor but an early attempt at making a building fire proof from accidents with open fires and compact building methods.  Note the larger properties at the lower end of the back, these are the grander houses on the corner of Wilkinson Street and King Street.

Showing the ginnel on King Street
Photo: Kindly contributed by Michael Mullaney

On 13th March 2016 Michael Mullaney added: This ginnel was in the top half of King Street which shared a corner with Wilkinson Street. Note the grand architecture around the second door.  The property just out of sight but forming the corner of Wilkinson Street I think was known as Marsden House and had a grand entrance hall with sweeping staircase.  The picture was taken just prior to being demolished to make way for the new flats on Marsden Square.

Corner of Towngate/King Street at "Top O'th Town" (Click over image to enlarge)

Photo shows young boy (John Bedford) stood on Towngate (sadly now demolished) John Gray's Mothers Shop was on the corner and also the shop you can see directly at the back of the photo was Rosie Jagger's Shop which was on the corner of High Street.

Note the beautiful flagstones and curbstones and the pitch back shoddies of the house construction.

Photo: kindly contributed by John Bedford and uploaded here on 9th April 2016

Back of Towngate (Top O'th Town) now demolished (Click over to enlarge)

This photo was taken from about the middle of the Towngate row of houses and at the back of the houses which you dropped down into via steps. Also interested to see lady peeping from a cellar dwelling.  Back row left to right: Thomas Riley, Mary Riley and William Riley, the front row left to right is Janie Riley and Margaret Riley.

Photo: kindly contributed by John Bedford and uploaded here on 9th April 2016 

A rare photo of long gone Sheep Green along with a very young Jimmy Babbister  (Click over photo to enlarge)
Photo: Kindly contributed by John Bedford and uploaded here on 13th April 2016


Old Haslingden (below Wilkinson Street)

And below we continue with "Older Haslingden" with photos and details of properties which were below the Wilkinson Street line. 

Map showing the areas which the photos below relate to (Click over to enlarge)
Map kindly supplied by Jackie Ramsbottom

CHAPEL STREET (How it is today - photo below)

Chapel Street in 2016 (March 27th)  (Click over top or bottom to enlarge)
Photos: Kindly supplied and copyright held by Robert Wade (Wadey)

The photos you see here depicts the view looking from down near Bury Road to the top of Chapel Street how it is today (2016). The only original old buildings on view in these photographs is the Cave Adullam Baptist Chapel on the top right and part of the Hargreaves Street factory on the top left and in the bottom photos it shows the butchers shop on the corner and the old New Inn (Thorn) pub.

So we now move on and check how it used to be:

CHAPEL STREET - (How it was)

Haslingden Industrial Co-operative Society - In 1852, from a cellar shop on the corner of Bury Road and Chapel Street, the founders of the Haslingden Industrial Co-operative Society made their first sales. 

No.6 Chapel Street - next door to Luke Ralph's

Today lets start off our journey from the corner of Bury Road with Chapel Street and the very first building you met as you turned into Chapel Street was No. 6 which adjoined and was to the left hand side of Luke Ralph's Works which can be seen in the photo below


Luke Ralph's Works on Chapel Street  (Click over photo to enlarge) 


Another photo of Chapel Street from Luke Ralph's up to King Street

This photo shows the funeral cortage of the Rev Wm. Hoare coming down Chapel Street having left the King Street Methodist Chapel (the large building which you can see further back in the photograph on the left hand side). In the very far distance at the top of Chapel St you can see the outline of some of the old Sheep Green properties.

If you notice half way up Chapel Street on this photo there is a gap between the houses and this is where "Chapel House" used to be (Chapel House is shown in the next photo below)

On 25th March Marie Ives commented:  The grocers shop shown on the right of the photo (eg: D. Watson) was at the beginning of the century a Saddlers where my Mum's uncle served his time. Later it became a Grocers as you see in this photo and eventually a Butchers shop which it remains today.

The photo below is Chapel House which was just a little higher up than Luke Ralph's on the left hand side and set back slightly by its garden.

Chapel House once the home to the Haslingden Academy  (Click over to enlarge)

(Photo: extracted from the book Haslingden by Chris Aspin and Derek Pilkington)
In the middle of the 19th century the building housed the Haslingden Academy. It survived as a building until 1979 when it was sadly demolished. Chapel House was set back from the other houses and it was fronted by a garden which you can see in this photograph. The area which ran down the side of Chapel House led to Chapel Court.

On 25th March 2016 Marie Ives commented:  The Chapel House was later a lodging house for single men when I was a girl, then owned by Mrs. Vizzard who lived next to my Grandad's workshop.  Later it was owned by Dick Gunton whose wife had the shop at the end of the next row further up the street.

Chapel Street
Photo: Arthur Kirby

Chapel Street
Photo: Arthur Kirby

Chapel Street
Photo: Arthur Kirby


On the left of the photograph is the top of Chapel Street  (Click over to enlarge) Photo: Kindly contributed and copyright held by Heather Holden

This is a superb photo having been taken from up on Rake Foot looking down over Sheep Green, Hargreaves Street Mill with its tall chimney (before being lowered) and on the left shows the Cave Adullam Chapel and the houses on Chapel Street.  Photo taken August 1970.

Photo: Kindly contributed and copyright held by Heather Holden

I would think that what we have here (above) are a almost conclusive collection of photographs for Chapel Street which can bring back so many memories to some and to others hopefully it should show them of just what it was like in this area up until the 1970s

Lets move on with our journey and explore the adjoining King Street

King Street

Photo: was taken by Mr. Arthur Kirby

If you walked half way up Chapel Street on the left hand side was the junction with King Street, as shown in this photo. From this photo you can see the old King Street Methodist Chapel and the School room which closed down many years previous and  the schoolroom had been used for some time as a theatrical costumers business. 

King Street showing Chapel on the right
Photo: Arthur Kirby

This photo was taken from Chapel Street looking up King Street  (Click over to enlarge)

Here again you see the Old Chapel on the right hand side along with the shop on the corner with Hargreaves Street Also on the left at the end of the row of terraced houses would have been the Craven Heifer pub (demolished at the time of this photograph) Further on after crossing the junction with Hargreaves Street, you see the newer Council House premises and the Flats on the right hand side on Marsden Square.

Notes kindly offered by Eddie and Joan Redfern (7th Feb 2021)

The photo of King Street brought back memories for Joan,(Ne: Flynn)my wife. She tells me that the houses in the picture l to r were numbers 21, 19, and 17.The Ridings lived in number 17 and Joan with her mother, sisters, aunt and uncle lived in number 19.Later Joan, her mum and sisters moved into number 21 which left Hannah and Jim Dine her aunt and uncle in number 19. She tells me that the ginnel led to a garden at the bottom. If you turned left at the end it led to the lavatory for number 21. There was also a washouse behind 21 with a sink and mangle in. It was shared with number 19 as they were relatives.Marsden House is mentioned in the piece as round the corner from King Street. Joan remembers that Fred Sumner and family lived there.Jim Dine was a keen supporter of Blackburn Rovers and he joined a coach full of supporters which went from Haslingden to Ewood Park every home match.Joan and family moved into a new council house on Kent Walk, Helmshore. Hannah and Jim moved into a council house on Brooklands Avenue, Helmshore when King Street was demolished.


Showing part of King Street to the left hand side of this photograph

This photograph shows part of King Street on the left hand side with the junction with Wilkinson Street and top house on the left hand side was the house owned by William Cockerill. Also part of Wilkinson Street is shown to the back right hand side of the photo.  The photo is depicting a celebration being held on Marsden Square.

Also there was another 4 houses to the top right hand side of King Street which were above the area of Wilkinson Street and hidden from view in this photograph.  The line of properties on the right hand side finished with Fountain House (shown below)

Fountain House and Works which is at the top of King Street

Fountain House which is still present today (2016) lies to the top of King Street and on the corner with Rakefoot leading to Haslingden Old Road, with Church Street leading back down to Haslingden and  High Street across which would lead on to Hud Rake.

You can see from this photo that many years ago the top house in King Street (Wm Cockerills House) gabled with Town Gate a busy area of the Top O'th Town

The next area we should explore would be GEORGE STREET, PICKERING AND BACK PICKERING STREETS

GEORGE STREET (with Pickering and Back Pickering Street)

Having come back down Chapel Street and we are back on Bury Road and we came to the shops shown in this photograph below which was Barnes Clothes Shop and Taylor's Chip Shop next door on the corner with George Street.

Showing shops on Bury Road between George St and Chapel Street
(Photo: kindly supplied by Jackie Ramsbottom)

So if we come down past these shops and then start to go up George Street, the very first street we come to on our right hand side would be Back Pickering Street which was up by the side of Jim Barlow's Ironmongers shop.  You can just see the start of it in this photo (above) with a small mini car parked at the entrance to it. 

Back Pickering Street looking down to Market Place   (Click over to enlarge)
Photo: Kindly supplied and copyright held by Michael Mullaney

So this photo above is showing Back Pickering Street but looking from the top down towards Market Place.  In fact I have just noticed the mini which is parked in the above photo at the entrance to Back Pickering is also again shown here in this photograph.

Back Pickering Street towards King Street Chapel and Square Factory Chimney
Photo: Kindly supplied  and copyright held by Marie Ives

So continuing with our journey up George Street having now passed Back Pickering Street and Jim Barlow's Ironmongers and Cycle Shop and a private house, the next street that came up on the right hand side was Pickering Street.  This street again was cobbled with setts and was to the backs of the Courts and Police Station.

Photo of Pickering Street just before demolition
Photo: kindly supplied and copyright held by Marie Ives

Marie Ives commented: The above photo is a view of Pickering Street where Luke Ralph's first workshop in Haslingden was, as well as the stables next door (see next photo below).  When we were kids this stables and yard was Matt Higgins Yard.  Don't know who he was and this was the war years.

Alleyway Pickering St to King Street
Photo: Kindly supplied and copyright held by Barbara Greenwood

This is the alleyway which ran from the top of Pickering Street and all the way into King Street which you can just see a front door of one of the properties. 
At the bottom left was a yard with a single house, also on the left were back doors to Hargreaves Street. Also on the left was the back to No.19 Hargreaves Street which was the Police Station. (information supplied by Marie Ives)
Continuing on past the bottom of Pickering Street whilst on George Street, the next building you came to was the old Haslingden Court which you can see in this next photo:


Haslingden Old Townhall and Court on George Street  (Click over photo to enlarge)
Photo: kindly contributed and copyright held by Michael Mullaney.

You can also see to the bottom right hand corner the stone setts which was the start of Pickering Street.
If at this point we continue up on George Street we did have the George Street Mission on the left hand side, which sadly was burnt down and later demolished, and this was next door to the IDL Club has it stands today.  The IDL Club was originally the old Conservative Club, and finally you would have come to the Hare and Hounds pub on the corner which was demolished many years ago.  At this point you would have reached Wilkinson St.


George Street Mission after fire and the current I.D.L. Club with the spare land where the Hare and Hounds Pub was.

Heading up George Street on the right hand side was the shop which everyone knew as the "Cook Shop" which was well known in the town for supplying "hearty grub" at the right price.  I


In this 1979 photo you can see the "Cook Shop" on the above photo, its the 2nd building on the left of the photo (marked in red). It was really well known by most people and always busy serving great down to earth food and at great prices..... Just another what's sadly missed.

Can you remember the "Cook" Shop?  (Click over to enlarge)

Kindly sent in by Stella Waters on 1st April 2016:

Hi Bryan,  Seeing the photo of the cook shop on George Street brought back memories.  My grandparents Doris and Jack Pilkington had the shop between about 1946 - 1963.  Workers from the local mills and Ivanovic's candlewick bedspreads on Hargreaves Street used to come in for their dinners.  Sometimes people used to bring their own dishes to take their potato pie and mushy peas in.  The Policemen from the police station round the corner used to come in for the prisoners dinners.  Potato pies were cooked fresh every day in great big dishes.  College puddings were very popular, these were mixed fruit puddings steamed in little dishes with a rag on top tied with string.  The kettle was always on the boil over the black leaded range for the teas and coffees.  Pop in glass bottles with metal tops was kept under the high counter in wooden crates, the empties were always returned.  On Saturday afternoon Grandma with her clogs on would mop the flag floors, then sprinkle them with sand.  All washing up was done in a great big brown stone si nk.  All left over food was put in a large bin and collected by the farmer for pig swill!  Happy days except for my dad having to spend all Sunday afternoon - Peeling Onions!
Best Wishes,
Stella Waters


Hargreaves Street

Hargreaves Street is entered from in the West side by Church Street or from the East, from off Haslingden Old Road. From Church Street side before long It intercepts by a cross road which is George Street, then a small street named Howarth Street, then again another cross road called King Street, the other streets leading off Hargreaves Street were Eliza Street, Marsden Square and Cockerill Street.

George Street and Hargreaves Street intercept  (Click over photo to enlarge)
Photo: was taken by Mr. Arthur Kirby

This photo on the left hand side is the corner of the Court which was seen in the earlier photo and you can get a good view of part of Hargreaves Street which here shows the section which goes off to the left and joins up with Church Street.  On this section shown above was the Ivanovic Bedspreads Works and also built within the walls was the Duckworth "Spewing Duck" Memorial which has been retained and built into the wall in the small cul de sac in the modern buildings.

Hargreaves Street left hand side looking up from Church Street corner

In this photo above it shows the left hand side of Hargreaves Street, you will have already seen the photo of the right hand side of Hargreaves Street in the previous photos.  In this photo on the first property you see the sign of the St. Johns Ambulance who held their meetings in this old shop. Then you carry on and see the double shop front of Mr. Clegg's clothes shop on the left were we used to get our school uniforms from.  You also see directly in front the old Town Hall and Court building and just caught in the photo behind them was the Old Police Station and also Hargreaves Street Mill Chimney. Just opposite the Police Station was another street called Howarth Street - at the moment I don't have any photos of this Street.

Church Street

Nurse Edith Cavell Memorial Service - Procession heading up Church Street  (Click over to enlarge)
This is a procession leading up to the Parish Church for the Memorial Service of Nurse Edith Cavell who was executed in Belgium on the charge of helping Allied soldiers to escape..
Photo shows Church Street how it used to be with the "Bird In Hand", and the "Masons" on the left hand side and the "Bull's Head" on the right hand side as you look at the photo. Also the Church Lads Brigade are at the forefront of the photograph.
Photo: Uploaded here on 26th April 2016 

Hargreaves Street intercept with Church Street  (Click over to enlarge)
Photo: was taken by Mr. Arthur Kirby

In this photo you just see the end of Hargreaves Street as it intercepts with Church Street, and you can see Halsteads old Butchers Shop along with others together with the old Bird In Hand pub at the end of the row. The shop on the corner displays the St. Johns Ambulance sign in their window and it was from here that the organization had their meetings, you can also see this in the photo above.

Church Street showing the shops and the Bird In Hand Pub

Has you then turned up Church Street these were the buildings which would have appeared on your right hand side (although in this photograph you are looking down on them.  You can still see the old buildings which were next to the Swan Hotel on the bottom corner, then coming up you can see the entry into Hargreaves Street.  If you continued up here and just as you had left the Bird in Hand Pub you would come to Wilkinson Street on your right hand side. 

So if we now retrack to the bottom of George Street where it joins on with Market Place and make our way to the bottom of Church Street, you would have passed several old shops on your right hand side and this area was better known as Market Place.  From this postcard below you can also see that the original Big Lamp was situated close to here. 

Market Place (with lead offs to Church St and George St)

So on the corner of Market Place was the Swan Hotel and we could now turn up into Church Street.  You can see in the above photo the building which later became the Trades Club which is on the left hand side corner. next to that but higher up was Tony Haworth's Dads (then Tony's) Butchers Shop, and the larger buildings to its right was Frank Heaps Chemist and Opticians, just out of the picture on the next block was Mr. Goldworthy's the herbalist

Up the side of and around the back of the Public Hall and Church Street we have or had:

Salem Street


Photo shows the houses on Salem Street (Click over to enlarge)

Hartley Street


Hartley Street 
(Photo: kindly contributed and copyright held by Chris Kirby)

This photograph is Hartley Street looking from Salem Street (where the St. James C of E School is today) which was immediately at the back of the Public Hall. The building on the right of the photo is what was the "Public Hall". Just past the Morris Minor car and opposite the other car parked up was the entry into Lover's Lane which was running parallel and to the back of Church Street.

A photo of Hartley Street looking towards Salem Street 
Photo: Kindly contributed and copyright held by Chris Kirby

I love this photo it means such a lot to me.  My Dad's Auntie Martha (Yorke) lived in the house set back with the Morris Minor car outside.  I remember going with my dad as a young boy (over 63 years ago!), and can picture her now rocking away in front of the fire.

On the right side entry was to Lover's Lane.  On the left hand side was the gable to the large properties on Church St, then you had Hughie Durnings (Joiner and Undertaker) and then the back entrance to the Public Hall.

Lover's Lane


Lover's Lane 
(Photo: Kindly contributed and copyright held by Chris Kirby)

This was accessed from Hartley Street as seen from the two earlier photos. You could continue up this Lane to the Church or you could cut out by the alleyways on your right hand side which led on to Church Street.

Sheep Green

A rare photo of long gone Sheep Green along with a very young Jimmy Babbister  (Click over photo to enlarge)
Photo: Kindly contributed by John Bedford and uploaded here on 13th April 2016 

Thanks to the following who have so kindly helped with their contributions to make this blog possible:  Michael Mullaney, Marie Ives, Barbara Greenwood, Jackie Ramsbottom, Chris Aspin, Chris Kirby, Robert Wade, Heather Holden, John Bedford. Eddie and Joan Redfern