Burnley Historical Society



News and Views


Summer Visit

On our first Summer visit this year members of the society visited the Midland Hotel in Manchester. We were taken on a tour of the outside and inside of the building by a very informative guide. She described the history of the hotel and pointed out many interesting features. Accompanied by the guide we were able to visit some of the areas not normally accessible to the public. The guide also had some interesting accounts of many of the famous people who had stayed at the hotel including Princess Anne. We were shown round the suite of rooms occupied by the Princess on her visit to Manchester. After the tour we enjoyed afternoon tea.

added 26/06/2016 





Historical Society Publications

Until fairly recently stocks of Historical Society publications had been stored for many years at the Central Library.
For reasons which seemed good to the authorities there we then had to move them elsewhere. Fortunately our friends at the New Church were able to store them for us but now they have closed we are in difficulty again. Ken Spencer has kindly offered to store them in the short term at his house but unless we can find a more permanent home for them the Committee have decided to reduce the numbers involved. The great majority of the volumes are copies of Bennett's History of Burnley, Parts III and IV. In previous times this would have been a slow but steady seller, mainly through the Central Library and the local bookshop (Badger Books), with reprints required only infrequently Both sales outlets are now closed to us so the number of volumes ,some 500, is an embarrassment. So, as an experiment, copies of Parts III and IV, which are currently priced at £8.00 each, are going to be offered at £5.00 for the two - a saving of £11.00.
These will be available as follows:
At our Society lectures ( The first lecture in the new season is on 14th September 2017)
At Towneley Hall shop (at a date to be announced)
At Towneley Hall Society lectures (at a date to be announced)
At The Weavers' Triangle Visitors Centre
At Nu-Age Productions, 289 Padiham Road ,


 added 25/05.17




Margaret was born in November 1935 in Wallasey, Cheshire. With her younger sister Joyce she was evacuated to Mold in North Wales for a time during the Second World War, but returned to Wallasey where she attended the local High School.
After A levels Margaret read History at Leeds University and a few years later, with a degree and a teaching qualification, she arrived in Burnley to join the High School staff. During the 1960s she met and married her husband Roy and their children, Edward and Elizabeth, were born. Sadly, Roy died in 1981. Three years later Margaret joined the Padiham Branch of the Workers Educational Association and became involved in activities which were to keep her busy for the rest of her life.
She joined a course tutored by Gill Glenn to research and write a history of the working class St. Giles Street in Padiham, and Margaret was immediately drawn into local history research, an interest which she never lost even after she became ill. She joined other WEA courses, and ran at least one herself; she became treasurer of the Padiham branch and many people still remember the theatre trips she organized in the late 1980s when the group visited theatres in Bradford, Manchester, Blackpool, Lancaster and many other northern venues.
Margaret joined Burnley Historical Society and served on the committee for about 25 years; for much of that time she was Speaker's secretary and brought some very good talks to Burnley. She edited Who was Who in Burnley, which remains one of our best selling publications, and of course gave talks herself. She also contributed several articles to Retrospect on aspects of Padiham history because Margaret was, above all, a Padiham historian.
Education, religion, shops, public houses, people - Margaret was the person to ask for information as she had a great collection of newspaper articles, photographs and items of interest gathered from books, adverts and souvenir programmes. She shared her knowledge through the books she wrote and the talks she gave to many different groups over the years.
Burnley U3A was formed in 2007 and Margaret was a founder member and its first treasurer. She was also co-leader of the Local History Group which, from the start, was involved in local history research resulting in the publication of A History of Mill Street, Padiham in 2009 and The Heyday of Palatine Square two years later.

Margaret had many interests outside local history: she was a great reader and was an enthusiastic member of the U3A book group, was actively involved with the philosophy and architecture groups and had also taken up handbell ringing - which she said was not always successful but it was great fun.
Margaret will be greatly missed, but remembered with affection for all that she did, and the enthusiasm with which she did it.

Margaret also edited for the Burnley and District U3A's Local History Group a book entitled "Some prominent Padiham people of the past 1820 - 1920". This has been published recently by the U3A, price £6.50 and is now on sale at the Weavers' Triangle Visitor Centre, 85 Manchester Road, Burnley  and at the Mooch Café, 87  Burnley Road, Padiham. We hope also to have it on sale at our first meeting in September. 

hNew venue for meetings

As mentioned in the August 2016 Newsletter, we are leaving the New Church
at the end of this season. We have now found a new place for future meetings
from September 2017 onwards. This will be the Parish Rooms at St. John the
Baptist church on Ivy Street. It should be very good as the hall is the size we
want with the requisite number of chairs, kitchen and toilets. There is also a
large car park just outside the hall so no more on street parking.
Many members will already know where St. John's is but if you don't it is just
off Briercliffe Road. If you are coming from the Prairie it is on the left the next
street past Brennand St. If you are coming from the Centre it is on the right
just after Newman St and the LIdl traffic lights. Turn right at the pelican
crossing, When you turn into Ivy St. the car park entrance is immediately on
your right. The entrance to the Parish Rooms is at the far end of the car park
through a pair of large metal gates. The Parish Rooms are then just on your
If you are still not sure you can always Google "St. John the Baptist church,
Ivy St., Burnley" and you will get a street map with the church marked.

added 11/02/2017 


If you are interested in online social networking services or even if you are not why not try our Facebook page. This is edited by Philip Cregan and people with access to Facebook and, if not, it is easy to log on to it, will receive updates about the Society and other local history news. The page is proving very popular having now attracted over 200 "likes". Phillip has asked members to send him photographs and information by email.
Find us on Facebook at "Burnley and District Historical Society"




Lecture Programme 2016 - 2017

Thursday, 6th April, 2017

Kathy Fishwick
Weavers' cottages of North East Lancashire   


Kathy Fishwick gave us an informative and entertaining talk on "weavers' cottages", which came in all shapes and sizes and were not always the two up and two down ones of popular imagination. In the course of her descriptions of vernacular architecture she also gave us an outline of the development of handloom weaving in the era before large scale industrialisation.


Thursday, September 14th, 2017

Kevin Illingworth

Traditional buildings in NorthEast Lancashire

The lecturer is a member of various vernacular architecture groups in the north of England and has a background in the building industry. All of this enabled him to give an interesting and informative talk on the history of many old buildings in our local area including Worsthorne (Jackson's Farm), Hurstwood ( Spencer's House and Tattersall's Farm) and many others.



Thursday, October 12th, 2017

Isobel Stirk

The Bronte family

The speaker is an expert in 19th century English Literature and is obviously attached to the Bronte family as she gave us a sympathetic account of the life and times of that doomed but brilliantly talented family, a talk which was appreciated by a full house.



Thursday, November 9th, 2017

Dr Ali Ronan and Denise North
The Women's Peace Crusade 1917-18

This was a talk with accompanied by a slide/film show outlining one of the
many, alas, unfruitful attempts to achieve a negotiated peace in the midst of
the World War I carnage.
The majority of the women were from the working class and were led by a
small number from the middle class with backgrounds in the suffrage, socialist
and co-operative movements.
Their efforts by marches, meetings and propaganda eventually failed due to
the refusal of the power obsessed leaders of the government to listen.
Locally the movement was very strong, especially in the Nelson area.
A moving way to commemorate November 11th.


Membership Secretary

Following the resignation of our long serving Membership Secretary Molly Haines, Roger Creegan has kindly volunteered to fill the vacancy and has now taken over. So any queries about membership matters can now be referred to him. He can be contacted at 01282 436542 or at rmcreegan@btinternet.com

 added april 2017


Libraries to be reprieved? No. 1


Following the recent County Council elections and the success of the Conservative party in gaining control of the new Council, the new Cabinet member for community and cultural services, County Council Peter Buckley has announced that the council are considering the phased reopening of 14 libraries, nine of which will be run directly by the county council and five as independent community libraries and retaining a full service at six libraries which were due to close or to offer a reduced service. The cabinet will also defer decisions relating to twelve other libraries. Three libraries cannot be opened because of the surrender of leases. This accounts for all twenty six libraries recently closed. This is a welcome ,if unlooked for, bonus prompted , one supposes , not merely by the change in the composition of the county council but also by pressure on the government from many quarters and its realisation that it has, after all, a statuary duty to provide a satisfactory library service.
The Burnley Campus Library will reopen and consideration will be given to reopening Briercliffe and Rosegrove Libraries and Pike Hill Library will become one of the independent community run libraries. On a sourer note time and money will need to be spent on recruiting and training staff, building repairs, reconnecting ICT and other infrastructure and reallocating book stock, money which could have been saved by not closing them in the first place. It is anticipated that around £3 will need to be spent Celebrations in breweries comes to mind!
There has been a lot of opposition across the country to library closures. If you are interested details of ongoing protests etc can be found on the web at "The Library Campaign" (www.thelibrarycampaign.com)

added 01/08/2017