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Chorley Historical and Archaeological Society
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Aug 2022
Remembering the Weavers’ Uprising 1826
27 April 1826 was one of those dates in the history of Chorley when the town was “on the brink.” The country was in the midst of an economic crisis. The cotton industry was depressed, and there was unemployment and wage reductions. Lancashire handloom weavers suffered more than most. A crowd of mainly handloom weavers marched across the edge of the West Pennine Moors to attack mills in Chorley.
The story is told in full in Jim Heyes’s “A History of Chorley”(Pp 94-96) and put into its Lancashire context in William Turner’s book “Riot! The Story of the East Lancashire Loom-Breakers in 1826”. The day before the attack on Chorley mills, troops had clashed with a group of 3000 protesters at Chatterton in Rossendale. Six men and women were killed and many more were wounded. This was seven years after Peterloo and the magistrate who read the Riot Act in Chorley, was John Silvester, of Chorcliffe House, who had also read the Riot Act at Peterloo.
1826 will be the 200th anniversary of the Weavers’ Uprising. A Bicentennial Committee has been formed and more information can be obtained at

Twitter: @uprisingweavers
Four blogs for the Open University:
True Level Media documentary:

At our recent Committee meeting we agreed that we should like to be a part of activities which give recognition to, and a wider understanding of, the 1826 Weavers Uprising. In particular, we wish to promote wider knowledge of the events on 27 April 1826 and the context in which they occurred.

Although the anniversary is almost four years away activities and events are likely to start in advance, so, as they say, watch this space!

John E Harrison
August 2022

Tue 09 Aug 2022
Steve Halliwell– 'Moses Holden (1777-1864) - Self-educated Genius'.
Steve made a very welcome return to the Society to give his updated presentation 'Moses Holden (1777-1864) - Self-educated Genius'. Since his previous visit in Feb 2014 he has discovered many new facts and has updated his book to publish the second edition of ‘Moses Holden Preston's Pioneering Astronomer (1777-1864)’.
Moses began his life in Bolton in a weaving family and moved to Preston at the age of 5. He was self taught and fascinated by the work of the astronomer Jeremiah Horrocks (1618-1641) who was known for the first observation of the transit of Venus from Much Hoole near Preston 1639. Moses vowed to commemorate the work of Horrocks some day and eventually he did with a memorial in Toxteth.

Steve Halliwell.

An Orrery of the type that Moses Holden made and used in his lectures.
Moses was a non-ordained minister and eventually moved from Methodism to the Church of England. His skills as an orator came in handy with his scientific and astronomical lectures. Between 1815 and 1828 he toured the north of England extensively, travelling mostly by canal. For one series of lectures in Liverpool in 1844 he made a profit of around £120, approximately £10,000 at today's prices. He married in 1816 and had 3 children. He was involved in the creation of the ‘Institution for the Diffusion of Knowledge’ in 1828 and that organisation has now evolved into UCLAN (University of Central Lancashire).
The Moses Holden telescope at UCLAN's
Alston Observatory.
Moses was also skilled in optics and ground his own lenses for this telescope & microscope. He also made an ‘Orrery’ and mechanised model of the solar system that he used in his lectures. He also made his own magic lantern to project onto large screens. Moses Holden died at his home in Jordan Street, Preston on 3 June 1864, aged 86. He is buried in Preston Cemetery off Blackpool Road. The UCLAN Astronomical Observatory is at Alston near Longridge and in recent years they have been provided with a new telescope with assistance from a descendant of Moses Holden. The telescope has been named after him.

The first Moses Holden book.

Moses Holden - 2nd edition.

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