Sat 27 Jun 2009
extract from the Chorley Guardian 22 Apr 1960
Sun 21 Jun 2009
Tockholes Field walk
by John Harrison
Our first field
walk of the year coincided with the summer solstice.
Unfortunately the weather was mostly overcast so anyone hoping
to watch the solstice sunrise from Chorley would be
disappointed. The walk around Tockholes was lead by our
treasurer John Harrison and John began by explaining the reason
for a walk in Tockholes, which is just outside the Chorley
boundary. The manor house for Tockholes was at Hollinshead Hall
(now a ruin). One of the leading figures in late 18th century
Chorley was John Hollinshead. He was responsible for the
development of Hollinshead Street, gave Chorley it’s first Town
Hall, financed canal development, and was involved in coal
mining and stone quarrying. When he died in 1802 he was Lord of
the Manor of Tockholes and owner of Hollinshead Hall. Another
famous sons of Tockholes was Alfred Ephraim Eccles. He was a
White Coppice mill-owner and Lancashire Temperance Reformer. He
was born in Tockholes in 1830. His father had built the first
cotton mill in Darwen. Nineteen of us started the walk at the
car park was the site of Hollinshead Mill, a weaving mill built
of stone by Eccles Shorrock, the lord of the manor in 1859. He
was the last owner of Hollinshead Hall, the manor house for
Tockholes. At its peak the mill had 333 steam-powered looms and
employed 150 people. It was demolished in 1903 by Liverpool
Corporation. For a time Shorrock used locally mined coal from
nearby Cartridge Hill to power his mill.
Hollinshead Cotton Mill c1860
the ‘Royal Arms’ we walked along the side lane to Ryal Fold and
its 1676 Farmhouse which is a grade 2 listed building. The
adjacent barn was build using a particular form of stone bonding
called ‘watershot’. The stones being set slightly sloping
downwards towards the outside of the building. This encourages
any water to run out and down the wall. Across fields we reached
Pleasant View cottages which used to be the site of Tockholes
Mill, which predated the Hollinshead Mill. It was built around
1838 by the Remaynes who lived at Fine Peters, the adjacent
property. It employed about 150 people at its peak but failed
around 1860. Fine Peter’s was described by Pevsner as “An odd
looking building”. Hundreds of years ago, allegedly, the tenant
of Fine Peters was a forger who supposedly kept his machinery in
a flagged loft. One day he was arrested in Preston and law
officers were sent to Tockholes to obtain evidence. His brother
heard in advance and removed the printing press and notes.
Window in the Victoria Hotel.
In doing this
he saved his brother’s life as forgery was a capital offence.
Following Dean Lane we had good views of the surrounding
countryside including Cartridge Hill and Darwen Tower, completed
in 1898 to commemorate Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee and also
to celebrate the victory of the local people for the right to
access the moor. Following minor lanes we reached Victoria Hotel
on the main Tockholes Rd then along the road to Silk Hall with a
date stone of 1754.
Then to the
Rock Inn were we continued down the steep Rock Ln. An
interesting lintel over a door way through a garden wall on the
right showed the date stone 1692. In originally came from the
demolished Garstang Hall which was near the start of our walk.
Continuing down the lane we looked at the graveyard in St
Stephen’s Church which reputedly contains 20,000 burials. We
looked at the grave of John Osbaldeston (1777-1862) who invented
the weft fork which stopped the power loom when the thread
broke. He left instructions for this inscription to be placed on
“Here lies John Osbaldeston, a humble inventor, who raised many
to wealth and fortune, but himself lived in poverty and died in
obscurity, the dupe of false friends and the victim of misplaced
But all it says is “Inventor of the weft-fork.”
1692 date stone from Garstang Hall
CHAS members on the old road
Higher Hill Farm.
Gabled and jetted porch
Higher Hill Farm.
(privy or primitive toilet)
Higher Hill Farm.
We followed Chapels Lane to the site of the old village Pincroft
and a stone water trough. Until the 1960s the water springs
around Tockholes were the only water supply for the residents as
mains water was not yet available. We then walked to the finest
building on the walk, the 17th century Higher Hill Farm built by
Ralph Walmsley in 1612. It display as fine gabled and jetted
porch. Also clearly visible is complete “garderobe” (privy or
primitive toilet) set on corbels. Back at the car park we
thanked John for his excellent and extremely informative walk.
Only part of the information has been documented here as he told
us so much. BH. (with some extracts from John's
Fri 19 Jun 2009
The statue of
Benjamin Disraeli the Earl of Beaconsfield (1804-1881) was
removed recently from the building at the junction of Cleveland
St and Chapel St Chorley. The building is in need of structural
repair and the statue had to be removed. It is now in the yard
of Rawcliffe’s Monumental Masons on Southport Road adjacent to
the Cemetery. It is being restored to its former glory and in
fact it has come home to the location of its birth. In the 1880s
the statue was carved by Thomas Rawcliffe the great grandfather
of the current proprietor Michael Rawcliffe. They are currently
chipping through three layers of paint; a first layer of black,
a second layer of cream and a top coat of white. The stone
underneath is in excellent condition and all that remains is to
decide where to put the statue when it is restored. To return it
to its former position at roof height would help preserve it but
would cost many thousands of pounds. Putting it somewhere at
ground level would give people a good chance to see it up close
but it would also be more liable to damage. Displayed by the
door to Mr Rawcliffe's office is a newspaper clipping from 1888.
Click here for a transcript. BH.
Some additional notes on
Disraeli from Joan Dickinson.
April 19th, was to commemorate the death of
Benjamin Disraeli, the first and only Jewish
Prime Minister (First Earl of Beaconsfield), who
died on April 19th 1881. The Primrose was his
favourite flower and Queen Victoria sent a
wreath of primroses to his funeral. A bronze
statue of him was unveiled in London a couple of
years later in 1883. Following his death a group
of Conservative M.P.s, led by Randolph
Churchill, formed the Primrose League. There is
a statue to his memory in Bolton and in Chorley,
the Chorley one being erected in 1886 on the
building on the corner of Chapel Street/New
Market Street. T. Rawcliffe, from Chorley,
Stonemasons, (the great grandfather of the
present Mr. Rawcliffe) sculpted both of these.
Perhaps the Chorley connection was with Douglas
Hacking O.B.E.,M.P. who was Chancellor of the
21/12/1804 of Jewish Parents
Baptised 31/7/1817 into the Church of
In-between 1821 and 1825 He worked for a
firm of solicitors, as a journalist, and
became an author
1835 Joined the Conservative Party
1839 Married widow Mrs. Lyndham Lewis
1844 Opposes the Poor Law and supports
the Factory Reform Act
Attacks the Corn Laws
1847 his mother dies
1848 his father dies
1853 Honorary Degree Oxford
1868 becomes Prime Minister, his wife
becomes Viscountess Beaconsfield
1874-1880 Prime Minister
1872 Lady Beaconsfield dies
1881 Benjamin Disraeli dies
Chorley's statue of Benjamin Disraeli before removal.
Another version of
Disraeli in Queen's Park, Bolton.
Also carved by Thomas Rawcliffe.
Robert Taylor (l) and Michael Rawcliffe.
Thomas Rawcliffe 1880s
Robert restoring Benjamin to his former glory.
Fri 19 Jun 2009
from my visit to Rawcliffe's I called at Astley Hall to look at
the refurbished garden area. Definitely worth a visit if you're
in the area. BH.
Tue 09 Jun 2009
Alan Davies – Women and Children in Mines
usual members were present to hear Alan Davies give an
illustrated talk on Women and Children in Mines. However, those
present were treated to a fascinating evening.
Alan’s talk was inspired by parliament’s Children’s Employment
Commission of 1842. He came across the commission’s enquiry into
the general working conditions in mines during 15 years working
in a mining museum. The commission’s report covered children’s
employment in all manufactures. It also gave an insight into
technology of the mining industry at that time.
The report was influential in bringing changes to legislation
concerning the coal industry in the mid 19th Century. It was a
massive work and ran to 11 volumes. It was the first to be
illustrated with pictures by artists.
Anthony Ashley Cooper, 7th Earl of Shaftesbury
(1801 - 1885) English politician and philanthropist.
He was largely responsible for the Coal Mines Act of 1842
Operating the winding gear at the pit head.
by those who worked in the mines painted a vivid picture of the
terrible conditions they endured. It was printed in the local
dialect of those questioned.
The working day often stretched from 12 to 16 hours in what has
always been a dangerous industry. Evidence told of children of
aged 5 and upwards who were engaged in jobs, such as tending
winding gear, where they often held the lives of other workers
in their hands.
Alan’s talk was full of the tales of tragic accidents that were
so common that only the larger, better managed pits kept a
record of them. No compensation was due until after the Workmens’
Compensation Act in the 1880’s.
Pit brow lasses at Atherton 1905
of the treatment of children, which included probable abuse, was
too shocking for Victorian morality to make it to print. The
report led to the Coal Mines Act 1842, which forbade females
from working down the mines and boys had to be at least 10 years
old. Although, even 20 years later there were instances of women
Alan’s fascinating talk gave us a stark reminder of the harsh
lives mining people would have led in our local area and not
that long ago.
Peter Robinson (l) chats to Alan Davis (r) before the meeting.
Mon 08 Jun 2009
The new owners
of Jones Farm, Whittle-le-Woods have kindly shown me a copy of
the Archaeological Building Survey carried out on behalf of
B.A.E. Systems Ltd. The followings information is borrowed from
The building is a 17th century grade II listed detached two
storey stone built Farmhouse. Although there appear to be no
records detailing the construction date of Jones’ farmhouse, the
architectural style places its origin firmly in the middle years
of the 17th century. If indeed the first inhabitants of the
farmhouse were the Jones family then the remaining records do
reinforce this postulated date of construction, as no Jones’ are
recorded in the township book in the entries for 1620, but they
first appear in 1675.The building was then modified into a form
of laithe-house by the addition of a shippon/stable and hayloft
in the 18th/19th centuries.
Jones Farm as viewed from Dawson Lane, Whittle-le-Woods.
A delightful drawing of Jones Farm
by John Stanley c1960
Jones Farm north elevation.
Fri 05 Jun 2009
Jones Farm on
Dawson Lane Whittle-le-Woods has been empty for many decades. It
has now been bought and is in the process of renovation. The new
owner is going to try and keep as many of the original features
as possible. I called on site on Fri and the digger driver told
me he had just found the original well which had 2 large stone
slabs over it. I took a quick photo before he made it safe
again. The depth is 7m to the water and 11m to the bottom.
Jones Farm, Whittle-le-Woods.
Wed 03 Jun 2009
Archaeological Society their own member Ian Trumble gave a
presentation on the work he had done at Star Carr in North
Yorkshire as part of his Archaeology degree at Manchester
Star Carr is a Mesolithic (middle stone age) archaeological site
in North Yorkshire about five miles south of Scarborough. It was
discovered by John Moore in 1947 during the clearing of a field
drain. The occupation seems to be from 12,000-6,000 BC at a time
when the UK was still linked to mainland Europe. The first
excavations were carried out during 1949-51,
Star Carr location
density of finds
main feature is a birch brushwood platform which stood on the
edge of the former Lake Pickering. The platform would have been
laid down to consolidate the boggy water’s edge. A fragment of a
wooden oar implies that the people who occupied the site also
built boats, probably coracles or simple canoes used to travel
or fish but no fish bones were found. Amongst other finds were
barbed antler points, probably used as harpoons or spears and
many flints and burins (a burin is a special type of lithic
flake with a chisel-like edge which prehistoric humans may have
used for engraving or for carving wood or bone.)
The most famous find is the top part of a stag skull, complete
with antlers. The skull had two holes perforated in it and it
has been suggested that it was used as a hunting disguise, or in
some form of ritual or story-telling.
Tue 02 Jun 2009
Thanks to Bill
Aldridge of Wigan Archaeological Society I was made aware of the
excellent work of Eyre Crowe (1824-1910) an English painter,
principally of historical art and genre scenes. One of his
paintings is "The Dinner Hour, Wigan" (1874) which is in City
Art Gallery in Manchester. BH.
There is good description of the painting which is quite long
but worth reproducing in full.
Young women at
rest are the focus of this composition. The young women
(primarily placed in groups of two) read, chat, drink, walk and
rest along a stone wall in the lower third of the composition.
They are dressed simply—most with white aprons and in simple
solid color garments. The viewer's eye is drawn to the two
centrally placed women who wear skirts of red and blue,
respectively. Balance is achieved by the inclusion of other red
and blue garments placed to the left and right of the central
women. Most wear a heavy clog type shoe, although the woman
right of center is shoeless. The women's hair is pulled back in
a netting and several wear striped shawls over their shoulders.
In the lower left-hand corner, an older woman bends down to
attend to some drinks pails. Her dark and patterned shawl covers
her head as well as shoulders.
The Dinner Hour, Wigan (1874)
Tall brick and
large windowed buildings serve as the backdrop for this
composition. Two narrow and smoking chimneystacks dominate the
top left. The negative space in between the chimneys balance the
factory building on the right, as another chimney is obscured by
the building. The roofs of the taller building sport what appear
to be skylights.
The center of the composition, behind the two centrally placed
young women and enclosed in the perspective of the lane between
the buildings appears a figure in a dark coat and hat. He walks
with a cane, and in the opposite direction of the young women in
A later 19th century image, this painting depicts women factory
workers at rest rather than at the laborious tasks of the cotton
mills. As the conventional trends of the time dictated,
pictorial painted images needed to be easy for the eye as well
as the conscience.
Although not within their place of work and pictured outside the
walls of the cotton mills, the mill girls themselves appears to
portray the Victorian sentimentality of the workplace and a
middle class sensibility of rest. No evidence of hard work is
portrayed, and the reference to the working class is illustrated
through the women's poses (classical and relaxed), cleanliness,
simple garments, hair netting and bare feet. A sense of
camaraderie is portrayed through the placement of the young
women in pairs.
The solid, angular and austere factory buildings in the
background serve as a backdrop for this image. They appear
impenetrable, with their windows darker still. The smoking
chimneys give evidence to the technology of the steam engines
that power the speedy looms, but no evidence is given to the
conditions inside the workplace—save for the netting on the
girls' hair (pictured as a reference to the danger of accidents
to the hair.)
Perhaps the most obscure image is the most important. The tiny
central image of a dark and silhouetted man serves as the center
of the young women's universe. The mill owner is the figure
around which their life depends and is focused. The action of
the painting illustrates this as well.
The clothing of the working-people (of Manchester), in the
majority of cases, is in very bad condition. The material used
for it is not of the best adapted. Wool and linen have almost
vanished from the wardrobe of both sexes, and cotton has taken
their place… the dresses of the women are chiefly of cotton
print goods, and woolen petticoats are rarely seen on the wash
line… the Irish have introduced… the custom, previously unknown
in England, of going barefoot. In every manufacturing town there
is now to be seen a multitude of people, especially women and
children, going about barefoot, and their example is gradually
being adopted by the poorer English.