BURNLEY SEVENTY YEARS AGO:
By JAMES GRANT. March 18th, 1890.
In my previous paper (see Vol. V. of "Transactions") I attempted by means of a little story, in which two men-uncle and nephew, Stansfeld by name, were the principal figures-to bring before my fellow-townsmen the appearance presented by this town 70 years ago. The different buildings then to be found in St. James's street were mentioned in my previous paper, but we did not follow our friends further than "Bottom of Town Brig," near the Cross Keys Inn. Permit me then to invite you to accompany our friends in their various movements. The first house passed after crossing the bridge (then much narrower than it is now) was occupied by Mr. Marsland, the iron-founder; separated from this house by a street were the ruins of Peel's factory. This factory-a woollen factory-had been burnt down, but the blackened walls remained for many years a saddening spectacle. The ground was not cleared of these ruins, I believe, until the late Mr. Hindle Raweliffe built the houses and shops to which his name clings, and I am told that the cellars of those houses are large, strongly built, and capacious, being in fact adaptations of the cellars at the mill. The road between Mr. Marsland's house and Peel's factory led to Crow Nest, an aristocratic settlement on the outer edge of "The Meadows." The names Crow Nest and Meadows are bucolic: the names remain, the characteristics have changed. Some of our leading Burnley families lived at Crow Nest, amongst others the Beanlands, who having made a competency at "The Thorn," retired to rest in this nest. Anthony Buck, who came to Burnley just before the Burnley Bank broke, set up house here, and so, too, did John Moore, Esq., the first Mayor of Burnley. Amongst the meadows in the rear, Marsland's workshop had just risen from the ground, and there is probably not a single other instance in Burnley where a manufacturing business has been conducted for so long on the same spot. At the foot of Whin Hill, (so spelt by the Rev. John Raws in the Registers at the Parish Church,) stood the little Toll Bar House and its gate-close by the gates of Massey's Fold. The toll bar was kept by George Stansfield, and with him lived his sister Mally Mally is the "old style" for Mary.) They were in the prime of life, and known to every inhabitant of Burnley. When "Mally at the Bar," and her brother were first installed in their home, the Bar-a little round house-was well to the front near the Bridge. It controlled two roads, the one going up Sandy-gate, and the other Blackburn New Road. Later the Toll-house was removed bodily, though not its occupants; it was set up near the Mitre Inn, at the junction of Padiham Road and Accrington New Road; a few years later it was pushed back on to the Ridge-the high land up Padiham Road before the Tim Bobbin is reached, and later still it vanished altogether. When the old toll house was removed, the Stansfields removed to the bottom corner house in Sandy-gate, on the right hand side, and a chain bar was established to prevent the upright Burnley people from sending their carts and lorries up Sandygate and round by the Barracks, and so escaping the toll at the Mitre. The part of Sandygate on the lower side of the canal was known as "Pencilling shop brow," pencilling being a class of work executed by females for calico printers. It was a brick building on the right side of the road going up and has been transformed into a row of cottages, to reach which a number of steps have to be ascended. Massey's woollen factory was just opposite, and this was flanked by two or three cottages. Just above the canal on the left hand side a stone still indicated the beginning of the path which led across the " sheep-fields " into Manchester Road, coming out about the end of the present Piccadilly Road. Higher up the road there ran the long row of cottages, part of which is now in process of demolition. They are now below the level of the road, which has been raised since their erection, parallel circumstances, as e.g. Manchester Road opposite the Canal Tavern, and Cow-lane, near the Craven Heifer, are not by any means uncommon. Folds, the shuttlemaker, had his workshop at the top, and he and one or two others who were above the rank of operatives had built for themselves detached houses on the opposite side of the road., The public-house bearing the singular style "The Hole-in-the-Wall," with its equally singular sign, dispensed its ale to thirsty souls then as now, though neither Massey's nor Keirby's brewery had yet seen the light. Near the stone delph (Pickup Quarry) there were two or three cottages, and the guardian of the delph was old Cunliffe. It was near the Hole-in-the-Wall that the Burnley Summer races, were held, races in sacks and donkey races; but these races did not rank with those at Padiham and Worsthorne, which were bona-fide horse races. "Joan-o'-Mash's regularly practised his horses on the spot where St. James's Church now stands. Joan-o'-Mash's real name was Whitaker, and he was a butcher by trade. Burnley at one time had its own horse-race ground. It was a large flat piece of ground to the left of Brunshaw (Halifax) Road, reaching from the street going up to the lime-kilns to Brunshaw Bottom. The cricket field now forms part of the ancient race-course. It was disused soon after Col. Hargreaves's death, presumably through the influence of the Rev. Wm. Thursby. Later the family who reared Kettledrum let laud for the races on Burnley Moor, but the locality was unhappy, and "the sport" survived the removal of the course from lower levels for only two years.
The road by Sandygate was long the connecting road between Burnley, Padiham, and Blackburn. It passed along by the back of the Barracks, and along the Ridge by the Tim Bobbin. There was not until the early decade of this century any public roadway where now is Westgate and that part of Padibam Road lying above Westgate as far as Gannow Top. A little way in the rear of the toll-bar stood a fine house with a great square garden in front of the door, occupied by " Old Hopwood." It still stands and is known as the Plane Tree Inn. This Mr. W. Hopwood built Oak Mount, about the time that Mr. Thomas Holgate built Ashfleld. The new road, which had just been opened out, was called Blackburn New Road, and houses followed on both sides. On the left hand side stood for a long time a drinking trough fed from a spring; the latter being in convenient proximity to the brewery just about to be built was speedily utilised. Just above the canal, on the left-hand side, after crossing the "Navvy Bridge," was a well or spring. The way to it was through a big thorn hedge on which "heps" and "ages" grew, down a few earthen steps into a meadow. The water was supposed to be of a medicinal character, and to have some connection with a spring which undoubtedly possessed those qualities, and was just beginning to attract patients in the valley where is now the Cemetery. The clough in which this mineral water was found soon acquired the name of Spa Clough. The water was found to be so attractive that a spa house was built. It appears to have been a substantial stone building without side windows, but lighted by sky-lights. It contained three rooms ; in the first room was a well from which the patients drank, inside were two rooms, one for males and the other for females, in each of which there was a square bath with forms around. The water was intensely cold, was quite clear in appearance, it had a distinct taste, and a still more distinct smell ; its properties were supposed to be of avail in cases of rheumatism. The waters acquired considerable notoriety. On fine Sunday afternoons many people made pilgrimages to the place. Stalls for the sale of gingerbread and the like were set up near the house. One penny admitted each person to the house, and once in he could drink or bathe to his hearts content or his bodys discomfort. A song was composed in honour of the spring and sung to a special tune. The refrain seems to have been-
We'll go to the Spa, We'll go to the Spa,
Old Ambrose can cure all.
A son of "Old Ambrose," the keeper of the Spa, is living to-day in Padiham Road, as worthy a citizen as can be found.
Immediately after crossing the "Bottom of Town Brig," a road to the right led to Massey's dye-house. When the Margerison family came to Burnley, they built a new print works on the site of this dye-house, though part of the old building is still, I believe, preserved. I need scarcely tell my readers that the print works are now used as a paper making factory. By the side of the road there was a little house in which lived Bella Stott and Harriet Bamford-two ancient dames who wore Quaker bonnets and kept a school. All this land was farmed by the Masseys, The Masseys were then, with the Holgates and Crooks, the most influential people in Bumley. Mr. Joseph MasseyI, father of the late Mr. Alderman John Massey, lived at the turn of the road to the dye-works. The garden came to the edge of the road, and the choice strawberry beds made many a Burnley lass's mouth water. Farm buildings were to the rear of the house.
The mention of the Margerison name reminds us of a family, no bearer of whose name survives in Burnley. Mr. Thomas Margerison married for his second wife a Miss Currer, and my mother recollects seeing Mrs. Thomas Margerison and her sister coming to call upon Dr. Meanley, who lived in St. James's Street, when that gentleman had married a second time. The two ladies wore lavender silk, it being the custom then to pay such calls in dresses worn at the wedding. Richard Charles, the well-known librarian of the Literary Institute, came to Burnley with__the Margerison family. At this time Mr. Richard Clegg lived at Whittlefield, and Royle was tenanted by Mr. Fielding, the steward for the Parker estate.
Crow Wood consisted of a cluster of cottages, and not far from it was what was known as Danes House Pit, though colloquially known as Pewter Pit. Pewter, I may remind my readers, is an alloy of lead, tin, and antimony, and was formerly largely used in the manufacture of domestic utensils. Old Mrs. Hamerton, the grandmother of Mr. Philip Gilbert Hamerton, the great art critic, freely asserted that at the time of Jacobite rising in 1745, when Prince Charles Edward journeyed from the north as far south as Derby, the inhabitants of this district concealed their pewter vessels in this disused pit to prevent their conversion into bullets. The history of the Towneley family brings us into direct connection with that rebellion, and Mr. Tattersall Wilkinson has in this chamber related the tradition told to him by his grandfather that his great-grandfather and others underwent at the time of the Stuart invasion some practice in drill in the secluded ravines of the moorlands above Extwistle. There is therefore good reason to support the correctness of the interpretation of the name of this pit given by Mrs. Hamerton.
Spring Gardens" were not yet in existence. A little later Richard Harrison, grandfather of the present proprietor, took some grass land and began to cultivate plants and vegetables. A pond at the bottom of the garden has been the scene of various adventures. A hut for the storing of tools, &c., was ere long followed by the white-washed house so well-known to old inhabitants of Burnley. The garden bids fair to be swallowed up by the pushing growth of the town in the Stoneyholme direction, and like "Spring Gardens " in Manchester and "Covent Garden" in London will, we fear, soon be a memory only, the name alone remaining as a ]andmark for the researches of the members of the Burnley Literary and Scientific Club 100 years hence.
In our previous paper we pointed out that at the time of which we speak the whole of Bankhouse district was meadow land. At the top where Mr. T. Roberts now lives was a blacksmith's shop, and a coalpit was to be found a little further on in the direction of Keighley Green. Bankhouse was of course in existence, and a little higher up were the barn and farm buildings known as "Bankus" or "Bonkus" barn. To reach Royle from the Bank, (now Bank Parade) one had to pass through six gates. The pits we have mentioned were connected with each other and with the canal loading place by waggon "runs" ; the waggons ran in batches forming a train, and were drawn by horses; the " dock" or "pool" in the canal near the Canal Bridge, in Burnley-lane, was made to enable the canal boats to be more readily filled from these pits: the cart road to the Danes House Pit was from Brown Street, crossing Royle
Road by a lane bordered with hedgerows, in summer time glorious with wild roses and honeysuckle. Our friends had waded across the stream into Stoneyholme district, and now made their way back towards the town. They passed the edge of what had once been a cornfield; its ploughed furrows would be seen no more ; the new poor-house had just been built, and in one of its yards, they saw an old woman named Margaret Dill-old Maggie Dill she was known as-sitting in the sun. Old Maggie was then 101 years old: she died the following year.The workhouse was the first building erected in this part of the town ; almost at the same time Salford mill was built, by Messrs. Hopwood & Pollard. Salford bridge, then considerably narrower than now, was crossed. A footpath had run by the edge of the river to the foot-bridge in Curzon street, and another footpath let the boys run down to the water meetings just below. The club houses were such as they are now. It is worth remarking, I think that it was in a little street off Brown street, where "gas " was first made in Burnley; the street is still called Gas street: the first large building that was illuminated by gas was the factory at the end of Brown street. The town was first lit by gas in 1823, as we read "to the amazement of its inhabitants." There are few parts of Burnley which retain greater evidence of a decent measure of antiquity than Salford. Salford is a name found in various localities, and is said to signify the ford near the willows. The corner of Brown street, leading into Salford, has long been a turning point in Burnley. Here stood the factory run at this time by Gross and Tattersall, a building which has since been transformed into a theatre, and has enjoyed undoubted supremacy amongst the buildings in our town as an object of attack for devouring flames. Next door to the factory (on the right-hand side) in a house, since subdivided, lived Miss Peel, one of the family who lost their property at Whin Hill by fire, already alluded to. She was the foundress of Miss Elizabeth Peel's Charity, which is distributed yearly to needy and indigent persons in the townships of Burnley and Habergham-Eaves. When old Dr. Coultate, the father of the Dr. Coultate who was the first president of this club, came to Burnley, he lived in the same house ; it has steps to the front door. The doctor afterwards removed to Mr. Joseph Massey's house, just above the " Dog and Duck," and later to " Old Bill Crook's" house, a building which stood near where the present Market Hall stands. One evening our friends spent with old Harry Crook, who lived at Swallow Hall. This house (still standing) stood in its own grounds near the river, close to the old brewery, and, when the river was high, part of the dwelling was flooded. Crook built a barn and stables on the opposite side of the river, To meet our friends, Crook had invited his brother-in-law and partner in the brewery-Tattersall, also Wm. Hopwood. Joseph Massey, Dr. Knowles, and one or two others-as jolly a party as could be conceived. We do not dwell upon the incidents of the evening.
Let us now pass briefly along Stanley Street-a busy hive of industry to-day. Here Mr. Wm. Fishwick did a large business as a timber merchant. He lived at Finsley House. The house still stands near Messrs. Witham Bros.' mill. It had a white. painted door, with a small square flower garden in front; behind the house was a large garden reaching to the canal, full of fruit trees. Near this house was a corn mill run by Mr. Winterbottom. It later became converted into a cotton mill. It was twelve o clock when our friends passed " The Bastile," and from out its portals there came quite a crowd of boys and girls let loose from school. The school was kept by a Mr. Cooper, and seems to have had quite a respectable claim to be regarded as a school. Mr. Cooper was a musician, and in his school he had a veritable organ, with upright gilded pipes, of good size. It seems to have been played, though, by an assistant master. The girls were instructed in knitting and sewing by a Mrs. Barker. Mrs. Barker was a widow. Her husband had been a sergeant in King George's army, and had fallen on the field of Waterloo. She enjoyed a pension for herself and her two young daughters from Government. Mr. Cooper himself lived at the house known as the Ship Inn, then a house standing in its own grounds. Near here, too, were the the Infantry Barracks, though they do not appear to have remained long. The troops practised and were inspected in a field off Parker Lane, near the site of Enon Chapel. At a little later period there was another school in this locality. The house was against the Gashouse, and to reach it the scholars had to ascend a flight of steps. The master was Mr. John Maden, whose wife had previously been assistant to Mr. Cooper. Just above Mr. Coopers house, and on the same side of Foundry Street, there stood a cotton factory run by Mr. John Sellers. It had been built by Mr. Cooper, and was commonly known as "Cooper Factory." At the top of Hufling Lane-on the left hand side-stood a row of cottages bearing the title of Organ Row. The builder's daughter married Jonas Smith, who was at this time organist of St. Peter's Church. He lived in St. James's Street at the shop near Messrs. Cowgill and Smith's, now and for a long time a boot and shoe shop.
The party returned from their country walk towards the town early in the afternoon. The road was quite a good one, for it had been for 800 years the ordinary route between Burnley and Lancashire towns beyond and Halifax and Yorkshire district. Henry de Lacy's cavalcade had many times come along the road on the heights of the Portsmouth valley in their yearly pilgrimages from Pontefract to Clitheroe, and it was still used as the highway between Lancashire and Yorkshire. Indeed it was then called Halifax Road.
At Brunshaw there were three or four cottages, in one of which lived James Hey, the parish clerk; the house now occupied by Mr. Storey was also standing. In it lived Mr. Henry Eastwood, the butcher. his shop was near the White Lion Inn, nearly opposite Mr. Munn's; it is still a butcher's shop. Mr. H. Eastwood's son, Mr. Richard Eastwood, was a solicitor. He served his articles with Mr. Grimshawe, in Yorkshire street. This Mr. Grimshawe was one of the family of Grimshawes, resident at Fulledge; another member of the family was a surgeon. His surgery was where the Burnley Advertiser office was for a long time. It is recorded of him that before his death he directed that all his books should be burnt, so that none of his patients should be compelled to pay their debts. Fulledge House was then in its prime; all around it was meadow land, broken only by a coal pit in what is now Plumbe street. Just at the end of the lane leading to the coal-pit were a few cottages occupied by banksmen and colliers. Old Abraham was the man in charge of the pit, and his form can still be recalled by some few of Burnley's oldest inhabitants. The Stansfelds passed through the toll-bar (near where the Wellington Inn stands) and past the end of the road to Causeway Side and Bacup. Here they met a party driving over the hill to see the famous Whitworth doctor. They had with them a man suffering from a damaged ankle, and the repute of Dr. Taylor was sufficient to cause the poor man's relatives to send him past the surgery of Dr. Knowles to Whitworth. When this party reached Whitworth, they came across a great number of patients who were being treated by the renowned doctor. In one of the houses of the village there was a young man who had some malformation of the foot, his name was Archibald Campbell Tait, and in later years he became Archbishop of Canterbury. On the Bacup road, opposite the Woodman Inn, there was a double-gate toll-bar, one gate protecting the Bacup road, and the other the entrance to Hufling lane.
The Stansfelds called to see a leading inhabitant of the town-Mr. Tattersall-who lived at the house now known as the Yorkshire Hotel. The house had a triangular garden in front, and at the apex towards the Culvert was the entrance gateway. Kitchen and flower gardens extended a considerable distance to the rear, covering the ground now occupied by Sion Chapel, Chapel Street, and adacent buildings ; a very pleasant orchard could be seen from Gunsmith Lane, its boundary on the north. In this house our friends met with the young man of the house, the late Mr. John Tattersall, whose characteristics are not likely to be forgotten by those who knew him. After Mr. Tattersall's death, the house was often adopted as a temporary home for officers in Her Majesty's service, who found but small convenience at the Barracks. The young ladies of that day frequently cast sly looks at the windows of this house as they passed and re-passed from neighbouring mansions, and from here General Scarlett went to Bank Hall to claim his bride. Captain Halsted occupied this house before Mr. Tattersall ; he is remarkable as being one of the last to cease wearing wigs after the fashion in vogue a hundred years ago. Across Gunsmith Lane was a large barn which subsequently became a joiner's shop, in which Mr. Obadiah Folds worked. Mr. James Folds, the father of the old man bearing the same name, who has lately gone from us, bought a good deal of property here from the Hitchons, and amongst other buildings added a house for himself which now stands in the yard at Rishton Mill, and the Star Inn. Towards the bottom of Gunsmith Lane a path led to Well Hall, where lived Mr. William and Miss Ellen Greenwood. In the rear of the hall, the front of which was separated from Church Street by a garden reached from the street by two or three steps, were several comfortable cottages known-I know not why-as " Bedlam," and in the large yard attached to the house, was a pump connected with a well of never failing water. This well was one of many scattered about the town, for every household had to secure its own supply either by collecting rain water or by sending to " Shorey " or other well. The well at Well Hall is still in existence, and is largely used by Mr. Grimshaw for the purposes of his business. It seems to have been of so much note (it is forty yards deep) as to give its name to the house in whose precincts it was situate. Our friends were fortunate in one thing to-day. Just as they passed along Church Street, they saw a gentleman in clerical garb dismount from his horse and enter the Church. He had ridden over from Walton-le-Dale, of which place he was incumbent. He had come to Burnley to visit his parishioners, for he was also incumbent of Burnley.
Our friends stayed some time in this part of the town. They did not turn into the church-yard through its lych gate, but passed on towards the bridge. Nearest the bndge-of course then only a narrow one-was Tom Tattersall's stables, then a cottage, and then a house known as "The Lobby." This Lobby was really an ancient house built on the flat system. The ground floor was two or three steps above the level of the road. It consisted of a large living room for the family, who had "a pair or two of looms in the window side." Up a flight of steps another living room, occupied by a second family, was reached. Betty and Sally Pollard lived here at this time. They were heald-knitters, and died unmarried. These sisters afterwards lived in an upper room in that part of the old property facing the church. which was removed a few years ago, nearest to the Stocks. Their dwelling was a considerable rendezvous for the parishioners who came to church from Briercliffe and Worsthorne on Sundays. They brought their tea with them, and the sisters provided hot water. On Sunday afternoons the country folk came quite in caravans to church. Smith, of Dineley, would come with his four daughters, each on a "galloway," and these were but samples of many more such yeoman church-goers. On week-days the farmers sent their younger sons with hedgehogs to the churchwardens. These creatures were supposed to be inimical to the interests of the farmers, and a price was put upon their heads. Fourpence per head was paid for a time, but gradually the price fell to 2d. In those days Burnley Church was the only church between Colne and Padiham, and consequently people flocked in from the villages of Worsthorne, Extwistle, and Marsden. The horses were put up at the Parker's Arms (now the Talbot,) or at Johnny Riding's at the Sparrow Hawk. Our friends stayed two Sundays in Burnley, and attended church both days. The church had been newly carpeted with rushes, for the annual rushbearing was still a feature of the town's life. They also had a walk round Dawson square. It had not long been built, and seems to have been built over what was known as Burnley Green. And here my rambling paper ends. I trust my hearers have not been weary whilst I have mentioned some of the trivial things of this town 70 years ago. There is such a thing as local as well as national patriotism, and, cradled as I was in the very heart of old Burnley, my interest in Burnley buildings and Burnley people does not diminish, nor do I hope it will wither as age advances.