|A SKETCH OF BURNLEY SEVENTY YEARS AGO. By JAMES GRANT. December 6th, 1887.|
At mid-day, on the 16th September, 1818, the mail coach, by name the "Telegraph," left Manchester for Burnley. Upon the box, by the side of the driver, sat an elderly man, by name John Stansfeld, and a younger one in his 18th year. The youth's parents had lived at Goodham Hill, in Burnley, but had died within two days of each other. The boy, Oliver, then nine years of age, had been sent to reside with his uncle, who himself had formerly resided in Burnley, but had removed to Manchester some twelve years earlier. The lad's education was now finished, as the phrase runs. Uncle and nephew were now on their way to Burnley to find a sphere where the youth's energies and abilities might be utilised, while each had a desire, naturally more marked in the elder than in the younger, to see the place he had previously known so well, for the village by the Brun had lately come into some prominence. So taking the coach on this bright autumn day a few hours' ride brought the two to Burnley. They came easily down the road running through the Rawtenstall valley-horses had been changed at Rawtenstall-and turning the road at Horelaw or Wholow Nook, the coach rapidly descended the incline into the hollow of the Calder and the Brun; drove past Hood House on the one side and Healey Fold on the other, then past "Pickup " (Green Hill), the house now occupied by the Dowager Mrs. Artindale. At Spring Hill the coach comes into a straight line for the centre of the town and somewhat furiously it goes along. On the left were a few houses immediately below where now is the railway, and below them some better houses recently built by some of the leading people of the town. Houses border both sides of the road as far as the canal. The coach stops and two girls in charge of their mother. get out, who proceed to the house of Miss Weatherhead in Wood Street, the leading School for "young ladies" of the day. The coach drives on into the town, and at last a sharp turn to the right brings the vehicle to a standstill opposite the door of the Red Lion Hotel. Uncle and nephew turn into the hotel, and are welcomed by James Pate, the landlord. At the close of the meal, partaken of in the low snug room to the right of the entrance from St. James's Street, the two sally forth to see how the land lay. They turn into the street and admire the width and space in front of the hotel-quite "a square," though diamond shaped. Burnley people at that day were proud that they possessed a thoroughfare so wide as St. James's Street.
Where the Bull Hotel stands now, were, at the time of which we are speaking, a number of dark huts and warehouses, where farmers stored their grain. The Old Bull stood facing St. James's Street where are now the premises occupied by Mr. Shepley and Messrs. Burghope & Strange; it was a two-storey building, and was the handsomest public-house in the place. A little lower down the street on the same side was the Bay Horse (not the present building) ; to reach it you had to go down one or two steps. Firth, the saddler, Ratcliffe, tinner, and John Pate, potter, had shops between the Bull and Bay Horse, and below came old Jim O' Nick's fish place; Betty Eastwood, and her daughter, now Mrs. Clegg, who in her 90th year still lives at Greenfield House, in Manchester Road. Lower down came the Masons' Arms; then came Robert Munn's grocery and drapery store, the principal establishment of its kind in Burnley, in the premises now known as Liverpool House; and just below resided James Howorth, grocer; Old Brown, the tailor, and Thomas Sutcliffe, stationer, at the corner of St. James's Row,
Between the Bull and Firth's shop there was a considerable opening, through which one could go, and walking round the rear of the Bull, come out into Manchester road. There was a great area - the Bull yard immediately behind the Bull, and a newsroom over the saddler's shop. Between St Jamess Row and Coal Street were several low-built shops, not the ones which were removed a few years ago, that jutted out into the street, but shops of a lower order. Coal Street, properly Coal Lane, was so called because it was the way to the coal pit, which was in the Bull Croft. Lower down still came a miscellaneous assemblage. In one house with a prominent porch was a butcher's shop, then came a barn, then another butcher's shop, then the home of the Old Huntsman, whose name was John Smith, then another butcher's shop, and the house of old Molly Sutcliffe, who kept a mangle. This was followed by a shippon and barn belonging to old Pate, who farmed the land where now is Hargreaves Street and Victoria Street, then old Tommy Healey's house; old Tommy Healey was the father of Thomas Healey, whose musical abilities Burnley commemorated some years ago by a permanent memorial; he was by trade a shoemaker, and his wife kept a knitting and sewing school. Here was a gate which led to the fields where Holroyd's size-house stands, and a little lower a coal pit, with its coal-heap where now stands Messrs. Collinge's furniture depot. This colliery was worked by a company, of whom Mr. Hammerton (father of Mr. P. G. Hammerton) seems to have been the chief. Mr. John Spencer's factory, lately Messrs. Tunstill's property, came next, and from there to the Cross Keys a succession of cottages and shops, with one mill (still standing), used by Mr. Emmanuel Sutcliffe as a calico printing works, but, as my informant says, "he only printed one or two patterns, blue and white and such like." The Cross Keys was kept by Mr. James Rawcliffe, father of the well-known Old George Rawcliffe.
And now let us trace St. James' Street on the opposite side, beginning at the top of Bridge Street. First came the house of Mr. James Massey-the house is now Mr Crossley's fruit store-then the house of Mr. John Moore, father of the first Mayor of Burnley. Mr. Moore ran what is known as "The Old Mill," near the Old Brewery, before building the great mill at Keighley Green. "The Old Mill" still stands, and the corner in which it is, with the Old Brewery and the arch, is one of the few spots within a mile of the Gaumless which remain almost untouched, unaltered-as they were in the beginning of the century. Then came Robert Lupton's grocer's shop: Mr. Lupton's wife's sister married old James Hartley, of Ightenhill Park, who still walks the earth, a compendium of knowledge affecting Poor Rates and Justices of the Peace. Then Mr. Robinson Greenwood's store for meal and flour, and at the corner, Mr. John Smith, a quaker, kept a grocer's shop.
Across the end of Fleet Street, we come to the Thorn, which at that time included the space since made into shops. It had great gardens behind it where now our Market Place is, and it had " a great big thorn " in the recess in front. Mr. Gilbertson, stationer, occupied the premises under "the Blue Clock," and next to him was a gardener's store and pot shop kept by Mr. Greenhalgh. Miss Demaine, afterwards Mrs. Haslam, mother of Mr. George Haslam, of the Ridge, came next; then Crook, the ironmonger, who was succeeded by Mr. Eastham.
One of the very numerous family of Sutcliffe occupied the next premises-Mr. George Sutcliffe, father of Mr. Thomas Sutcliffe, the oldest printer in the town. Old John Ratcliffe, painter, came next, and then the White Horse Hotel. Up a flight of steps here was Mr. Robert's the watchmaker, then came Miss Robertshaw, cap and bonnet maker, followed by Mr. Broxup, the saddler, which brings us to Chancery Street, then called King Street.
In speaking of old Burnley, the use of phraseology adopted by old Burnley people somewhat helps us to realise things better. To hear an old person speak of old Pate is equivalent to saying that when the speaker was young, Pate was an old man. We thus get a firmer grip of last century, a connecting link with customs even 70 years ago, changing, and you feel sensibly nearer to a man who began life with the great Napoleon, and lived through all his wars.
Crossing King Street, we come to Ned o' Mash's-son of Joan o' Mash-whose real name was Whitaker, and was a butcher by trade; then came the premises of Joseph Sutcliffe, tinner; then John Howard's, and then a private house occupied by Mr. Joseph Massey, one of the leading woollen manufacturers and dyers of the town, father of the late Alderman Massey. The house still stands, though its lower rooms have been turned into shops, and at the time of which we speak Mr. Massey's residence was quite one of the chief points in the town.
Old Pate's house was on the site now covered by the Dog and Duck. Pate farmed the land immediately in rear of his premises; his son Willam who was by trade a shoemaker, had a large and attractive garden. Indeed, almost the whole line of St. James's Street had a deep fringe of garden in the rear of the houses, and Burnley children were then much more familiar with apple trees and gooseberry bushes than are the children of our time. Grimshaw Croft-a real croftt, the name survives in Pickup Croft-was entered by a gate where the Royal Oak stands, Curzon Street being then "mowing grass." Below were another butcher's shop and two or three cottages, then Bethesda Street, and then the group of buildings still standing. One was John Howard's, a clothier's shop, and another the residence of Mr. John Spencer, who ran the factory directly opposite. Another private house, two shops, and a few cottages reached to Brown Street-to Hopwood's factory. This factory has undergone a change some-what similar to the one on the opposite side of the way, except that Spencer's mill has been completely absorbed, and Hopwood's mill only adapted. Beyond, where the Commercial Inn is, was a square piece of open ground with a few scattered trees growing. Here the sweepings from the neighbouring factory were brought -there were several such elegant "open spaces for the same purpose in different parts of the town. These sweepings were allowed to "rot" sufficiently to make them useful as manure-and sometimes this process was hastened by the outbreak of fire from spontaneous combustion in the summer time. A few low houses bring us to Veevers's Factory, now becoming a thing of the past by successive removals and renovations, and presently we reach the bridge over the Calder at the Cross Keys. The bridge was but a narrow one, and near it was Crow Nest, one of the most aristocratic parts of the town. Mr. John Moore at one time lived there, so did the Beanlands. Mr. Buck-Anthony Buck-lived here when he first came to this town. John Stansfeld and his nephew did not go so far along Cheapside as the Gross Keys to night. They turned to the left past Spencer's Mill, and crossing a temporary bridge, where now is Newtown Bridge, crossed the rippling river, clear and sweet, and wended their way slowly up the lane in the direction of Manchester Road. The road was not much better than a country lane. The bridge to Newtown was but for foot passengers. A dozen or so cows were being driven down the lane on their way to a croft near the Clubhouses; they made their way through the water as the cowboy somewhat gloomily sang a tune which had been composed by a famous Burnley singer not then forgotten-" Robin o'Green."
The travellers passed along Cow Lane into Manchester Road, and from the top of Hammerton Street looked over the site of Hargreaves Street and the busy offices and workshops near it, and saw the outline of St. James's Street, with nought but fields and meadows and gardens reaching to the river at their feet. Thirty years later every yard of the land and all around had been covered with buildings, except the vacant land above the Mechanics' Institute, where our new Municipal Palace now rears its fine and imposing frontage against the sky.
Our travellers walked slowly back to their hotel, as evening was rapidly hasting to darkness. They passed down the left side of the road-a low wall separated the road from old John Greenhalgh's garden, with gooseberry bushes down the slope from the road-and by the Bull Croft-meadow-land mainly-occupying the ground covered by the buildings which now reach from Dr. Coultate's old house to the Union Club-not a building of any kind there - to their hotel.
The old " Old Red Lion" disappeared in 1868, and by its removal the last indication of the original width of what is now a good broad road, was taken away. " The Bull," I may here mention, was strictly speaking, "The Black Bull."
Next to the Red Lion, coming up Manchester Road, was a spacious yard, in which was a large warehouse used by James Pate. Close to was the local gaol, popularly known as "T Black Hoyle" (it seems a pity to disturb the pronunciation of the words) in this square building offenders against His Majesty's laws were incarcerated until such time as they could be brought before one of the Justices of the Peace; the rings used for the detention of prisoners may still be seen in Mr. Henry Holdsworth's shop; it was then a two-storey building, the men occupied the bottom floor, and the women found accommodation in the room above, reached by a flight of steps on the southern side. In proximity to this somewhat sombre building was Bill Pollard's smithy, then came Henry Whitaker's wheelwright's shop; a portion of the land here was used as a pig market so late as the time of my boyhood.
Where Red Lion Street is now was a gate leading to Red Lion Croft, a path through which led to Lane Bridge. Coming higher up was the cabinet maker's works of Mr. Wm. Birtwistle : in this workshop the father of our esteemed Mayor (George Sutcliffe, Esq.) served his time. A little higher still was Tdm Whitaker's house and cart shed, and near here was the beginning of a cart-road which led through the fields to Drift Coal Pit - the entrance to the pit, or the mouth as it was called, was near the Rose and Thistle Hotel, and the Drift - for such it was in feature more than a pit-went under the canal. Parker Lane was then a country lane, just wide enough to admit of a cart-it had gardens on each side-the street which has taken its place is still called Parker Lane, and the name seems to have been derived from a Robert Parker, who lived at the White Lion.-The area above the present Post Office as far as the river was a field in Pate's tenancy. The opposite bank was known as Windy Bank (it is now Saunder Bank) and at the corner of Lane Bridge was the foundry which we all remember when in the occupation of Messrs. Graham and Sons -70 years ago the foundry was the property of Mr. Thomas Smith, and he lived close to the workshop in a house facing Foundry Street. The opposite side of Foundry Street was cornered by the Canal Tavern, to reach which more steps were required than are now or have been for many years.
Manchester Road, besides being wider than it formerly was, has had its fall considerably equalised; opposite the Canal Tavern the height of the road was reduced. This work was undertaken in the time of distress amongst the artisan population of the neighbourhood, as a kind of "Relief Work "-much as the alteration in Coal Clough Lane was made during the more recent years of the cotton famine. A little higher up Manchester Road was Fishwick's timber yard-one of the same family of which an hon. member of this club, Colonel Fishwick, is a member.
Next morning our friends prepared for a stroll in another direction. This time they turned towards the "Top of the Town," a name which, with its counterpart, "Bottom of the Town" in days then passing away approximately indicated the limits of the village. It would appear that the name Market Street was given to the central portion of the village, reaching out on both sides of the centre point-eastwards to a point a little further than the Boot Inn, and westwards as far as the White Horse Hotel. It will be remembered by many here that at these points projecting buildings both from the south side were to be found, apparently bounding the central area. Turning to their left, John Stansfeld and his nephew passed the Swan Hotel, and Miss Eastwood's the confectioner, Dr. Meanland's surgery, and halted for a moment opposite Mr. John Riley's (the premises occupied till lately by Messrs. Bayne). This was quite a point in the village. From it the Manchester coaches started. Next was passed the shop of Mr. Thomas Gilbertson. A relic of old Burnley still remains in the Clock Face. Between the Clock Face and the White Lion were buildings occupied by a hatter, an oatcake baker, and a butcher. The third of these buildings is still used as a butcher's shop. Just as they reached Henry Eastwood's (the butcher,) the post coach, from Leeds, "The Invincible," came dashing by and stopped at the Bull. Seeing the coach halt at the Bull, our travellers turned right about and, in so doing took the lower side of St. James's Street, and walked as far as the top of Bridge Street. They crossed the top of Mally Riding's Hill-for down the hill lived Mrs. Riding, who kept a dame's school. These schools were quite numerous in Burnley, there being several in St. James's Street. But, of course, they were small and of doubtful quality. The only day school then in existence in the town was the Grammar School. The late Archdeacon Master incurred a good deal of ill-will by clearing away some old property near the church to make room for a new day school, which was built in 1828. Our friends did not turn down this hill, though it would have led them through a district rather above than below any other part of the town in respectability, but walked on towards Bridge Street. At the door of an ironmonger's warehouse, the one now occupied by Messrs. Cowgill and Smith, stood a particularly fine, tall, well-built man, one who had the reputation of being the best company man in Burnley. His Brother, Dr. Samnel Haworth, lived next, and the block was closed by places in the occupation of the Holgate family. The end house was their dwelling-house, and the memory of their bank and their wine and spirit stores still remains. Besides conducting these enterprises the Holgates had a woollen manufactory, and were, indeed, the principal business people in Burnley. Our travellers now turned back, passed along St. James's Street, Blucher Street (now merged into St. James's Street) into Church Street. Henry Langfield carried on business here as a grocer and tea-dealer, and on the opposite side, near the Boot, was the Post Office.
The houses which jutted out into the road-you remember them well, Mrs. Higgin, saddler, was the occupant of the corner one-were in 1818 private houses.
A little beyond-in Blucher Street-were the premises of Brown Fletcher, plumber and glazier.
The White House at the foot of Yorkshire Street was at one time the curate's residence, and from there for a considerable distance a low wall skirted the river. The sight of the sweet smiling river was pleasant to the eyes of the two, who were accustomed to see their river in Manchester of quite another hue. Trees grew at the sides of the Brun, and fish could be caught in it. The house occupied by Mr. Grimshaw was a great house then, occupied by Mr. William and Miss Ellen Greenwood. It was known as Well Hall House.
Nearing the Church was passed the Nelson Hotel now known as the White Hart, kept by a man named Heap, who had been a recruiting sergeant-then a line of thatched cottages bordering the churchyard and the site of the present schools. The churchyard was entered by a covered wooden gateway. There were seats in the gateway-the lych.gate-the gate of the dead, in which the mourners sat awaiting the arrival of the minister.
The visitors here saw a funeral which had come in from Briercliffe, and they had alighted upon a young man whose name was Clegg-Henry Clegg. He remained with our friends for the space half-an-hour, telling them about the church and its devoted minister, and describing the lives of the inhabitants of the village.
Henry led the way past the house near the church known as the "Lobby "-a house built really in flats and let off to lodgers, and the old hearse-house, over the narrow bridge up School Lane, to the front of the Grammar School, when he left them, going up Colne Road to his home.
On the afternoon of Easter Day, this year, 1887, I myself stood by Henry Clegg's dying couch. As everyone knows, he had for half a century been the parish clerk of Burnley, and until within a very few days of his death his memory was absolutely untouched by time or disease. He was born on St. Patrick's Day, 1797, and died on Easter Day last, living the whole of his long life of 90 years within sight of the church he loved so well.
Soon after Henry Clegg had left our friends they came across a party on a visit to Bank Hall who were going to have the rights and wrongs of their contention settled by Justice Hargreaves who held court sometimes in his own house. Our friends followed a little way, but having ascertained what was the matter determined to retrace their steps. They did, however, halt a moment at the plantation and the dividing lane known as Cock-pit Lane. Brown Hill was not then built. When Mr. George Holgate built it, so great an event was the building of such a mansion regarded that the roofing thereof was celebrated by the firing of muskets from the top. It displaced a bona fide cock.pit, at the entrance to which were two gate-posts with carved cocks at the top-an unblushing memorial of a species of sport long since disappeared-except we regard as a modified survival, the men races at Glen View, or the football matches at Turf Moor. Here they reached the entrance to what is still known as "The Park." It was then park-like land-a stretch of grass land down from the high ground above the church to Salford Mill. At the top was the road corresponding to the Bank Parade of our day. Where Mr. Thos. Roberts lives stood Col. Hargreaves's smithy. A few yards past the smithy was a coal pit-the shaft of the pit arched over, as I believe, to be found in the cellar of one of the houses in the large block adorned by the tenancy of a past secretary of this club. These coal pit mouths-made, I hope, secure-are to be found all over Burnley. Besides those we have named to-night there is one near Messrs. Baldwin's Brush Works, there is another underneath the Market steps, yet another in Mr. Watson's wood yard in Hammerton Street, and so on. The two little cottages so well-known on the Bank were there-one of them has a little coloured window, but all down the slope no buildings were to be found except Bankhouse and Bankhouse barn and farm buildings. Following the road through Keighley Green, the travellers left Mr. Webster Fishwick's house and tanyard to the left and saw Bishop House, an old-fashioned dwelling of considerable size, snugly ensconced by the river side, where it remained till expelled to make room for Messrs. Spencer and Moore's gigantic mills. A pathway from here led to "The Butts" a little higher up the stream. Lower down the road was Keighley Green Chapel, now the Court House, and presently passing by the water-side they crossed Bridge Street bridge-then much narrower than now-and reached once more their hostelry.
Instead of walking down Keighley Green, the two might have come down Mill Lane, which then ran under the arch near the Old Brewery and round by the old mill joining the Keighley Green road, near the bridge. This was the cartway; but flights of steps breaking off near the Crown Inn and passing the edge of the mill dam would bring foot passengers by a straighter route to the bridge.
In the evening a party, of whom our friends formed a part, attended a theatrical performance held in the Hall Inn, kept by Thomas Brooks. To-night the play was "The Red Barn Murder," and a sufficiently exciting tragedy was produced. The price for admission into the pit was 2s., into the gallery 1s. The large room at the Hall Inn had no competitors for public entertainments. Occasionally a travelling company would engage a barn for an evening-Bankhouse Barn, and Henry Crook's barn (now the Butchers' Arms) were the most attractive places for this purpose.
Next morning our friends started off early for a walk round the country side. They passed up Mill Lane by the steps, by its well-known mill dam, and out on the Parade. The pair walked up Burnley Lane, past Bank Hall, then a new building, a Baptist Chapel, and scattered houses. It is scarcely necessary to say that 99-l00ths of Burnley Lane is strictly modern. Turning to the left opposite John o'Nobody's they crossed the canal and descended into the valley of Pendle Water. They followed its course through lands innocent of sewage works, among fair meadows and smiling fields, and returning by "Pendle Hippings," made their way homewards by Park Lane and Gannow. Gannow House existed, and here and there were groups of houses, and occasionally a workshop.
A happy company assembled in the Red Lion that evening, and they talked over the recent events in the history of the country. One of them described the rejoicings in Burnley after the victory of Waterloo, when a public feast was held in the Bull Croft: provisions were given freely to every applicant, but everyone had to bring his own knife and fork and plate. Another, who had been present at the celebration to commemorate the coming of age of the late Robert Townley Parker, Rsq., the year before Waterloo was fought, created much amusement by his recital of the doings then. Mr. Fielding, steward of the estate, lived at Royle at the time, and a great feast was made. An ox was roasted whole; all comers were supplied; each one had to take his own bread-oatcake chiefly being provided. It is hardly necessary to say that such an event created quite a prodigious stir in the whole neighbourhood, and everybody seemed to consider it his duty to put in an appearance. I know of one case where a little boy two or three years old was carried on his brother's back all the way from Briercliffe to be present. And so with stories like these the time went merrily by till bedtime. About half-past nine the whole company turned out to see what was the cause of a commotion they heard in the street. It was only an incident of civilization-a man had got drunk. William Chaffer, the village constable, was hauling him off to the lockup, and as usual was followed by a crowd attracted by the sight. The late Mr. James Roberts used to say when detailing his reminiscences (as he liked to do) that he could remember the time when Burnley was kept in order by one constable and one parson.
The last morning was spent in a walk on the Cliviger side of the canal. No houses on that side of the water were to be found except Fulledge House, a few farm buildings and cottages, and the outposts of Towneley Hall. At Rose Cottage the first Roman mass in Burnley since the Reformation had just been said. The name "Priest's House" still clings to that dwelling. The return journey was made in company with old John Todd, who, then in his 61st year, was vigorous and well. He told them how he had founded a Sunday School in the town in 1787, and how that school had been the forerunner of many others. He promised to send them a copy of the sermon preached by Dr. Collins, the then incumbent of St. Peter's, in commemoration of the beginning of that work, on November 4th in that year. He gave them many additional particulars about the town which deeply interested them. The afternoon was spent in completing the business on which they chiefly came, and the next morning (Friday) they mounted the coach once more, and returned to Manchester.
John Stansfeld has long been dead; his companion still lives, though he is very feeble. He has seen Burnley grow from a pretty village, with its twin streams coursing merrily under its wooden bridges, through many stages until it has become a large town-full of an active people, stretching out its arms octopus-like in every direction. Who, looking back upon the picture we have tried to present to-night, when Burnley had 5,000 inhabitants, and remembering what Burnley is to-day, would say that in 70 years from now the whole distance from Bradley Hall in Nelson to Isles House in Padiham, will not be one town, a town of half a million inhabitants, owning the sway of one Mayor, the descendant, maybe, of some old Burnley inhabitant we have named to-night? But it is not ours to ponder. Yet hear, if you kindly will, the words of a letter I have just received from our old friend of whom we have been speaking. The hand-writing is that of his daughter, but the words are the words of the father, and the signature is his own. "So you are going to tell about Burnley 70 years ago. I have seen changes. I remember Burnley well, and have a deep affection for it. What the town will grow to I cannot tell. But I never forget my birthplace, and you, as a native like myself, will never forget that you are a citizen of no mean city."