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The Parish of Accrington
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The town of ACCRINGTON stands at the junction of three important lines of railway, 5-1/2 miles from Blackburn, in a district abounding with coal and water, and is one of the great centres of the cotton manufacture, with its various branches of industry. There are also in the town and immediate neighborhood extensive calico printing establishments, turkey red die works, iron foundries, chemical works, and numerous other works.

The government of the town was vested in a local board from 1858 to 1878, when, owing to the great increase of the inhabitants, and the duties of the board becoming more onerous, it was determined to make application for the granting of a municipal charter, and Major Donelly, R.E., being commissioned by the Privy Council, held an enquiry on the subject on the 14th August, 1877; and the charter constituting Accrington into a MUNICIPAL BOROUGH arrived in the town, on the 19th February, 1878.

The first election took place on the 1st May of that year, and John Emmanuel Lightfoot, Esq., was elected Mayor. The borough includes the townships of New and Old Accrington, with the greater portion of Baxenden, and is divided into four wards, viz., North-East, North-West, South-East, and South-West; for each of which six councilors and two aldermen are elected. There are thus thirty-two members of the body corporate, including the mayor.

The area covered is 3,425 acres. The principal borough officials have their offices in the Town Hall, a noble building in the modern Italian style of architecture, erected in 1857; adjacent is the Market Hall, another handsome erection.

The population in 1841 was 8,719; 1851, 10,736; 1861, 17,688; 1871, 21,778; and in 1881, 31,435. The rateable value is £112,952.

Of late years many improvements have been effected, and the most recent are the Tramway lines, just completed, connecting the adjoining villages of Clayton, Church and Baxenden with the town. A new Cattle market or Fair ground has also been just completed on a site near King street.

The Church, dedicated to St. James, is an ancient edifice, dating from 1554, and re-built in 1763. Considerable improvements have lately been effected in the interior, and the organ has been re-built by Broad Oak, in memory of the late Benjamin Hargreaves, Esq., of Arden Hall. It contains 1,300 sittings, all free. The benefice is a vicarage of the annual value of £400, in the patronage of Hulme’s trustees, and held by the Rev. John Rogers, M.A. Population of the parish in 1881, 15,849.

Christ Church, Manchester Road, is a handsome edifice erected in 1840. It contains 980 sittings, of which 300 are free. The benefice is a vicarage of the annual value of £300, in the patronage of five trustees, and held by the Rev. Henry Palmer. Population of the parish in 1881, 6,336.

St. John the Evangelist’s Church, Burnley Road, was built in 1868, and consecrated in 1870. It is a handsome Gothic edifice, with a spire rising to the height of 128 feet. There are 882 sittings, of which 441 are free. The benefice is a vicarage of the annual value of £327, in the patronage of the vicar of St. James’.

St. Mary’s School-Chapel, Wood Nook, contains 400 sittings, and service is conducted by the vicar of Christ Church. At Scaitcliffe is another School-Chapel, dedicated to St. Peter. Service is also held in St. Andrew’s School-Chapel, Hyndburn Street, and St. Mary Magdalen’s School-Chapel, Knowlmere Street.

St. John’s Church, Baxenden, is a handsome Gothic edifice, erected in 1877, at the expense of the late Miss Margaret Pilling Taylor, of Moreton Hall. It contains 533 sittings, all free. The living is a perpetual energy of the annual value of £150, in the patronage of the Bishop of Manchester, and held by the Rev. Isaac Downham; population of the parish in 1881, 1,524.

The Catholic Church, dedicated to the Sacred Heart, is a noble structure in the Gothic style of the 13th century, erected in 1867-8, at a cost of about £7,000. It is 112 feet long and 28 feet broad, and is capable of accommodating 1,000 persons.

The interior of the church was recently beautified, and a costly and magnificent high altar erected. The cost of the latter, which amounted to about £700, was defrayed by James Lomax, Esq., of Clayton Hall. It is from the design of C. Pugin, Esq., London, and the work executed by the firm of Messrs. Early and Powell, Dublin. It is of Caen stone, with super-altar and pillars of Irish marble, and the tabernacle is of exquisite workmanship, surmounted with a figure of the pelican feeding its young, cut in alabaster. The Revs. Thomas Brindle, Matthew Newsham, and Charles Karslake, S.J., are the present pastors. Before the erection of this edifice the Catholics worshipped in a small chapel dedicated to St. Oswald, erected in 1852 in Hyndburn Road.

The Baptists had a place of worship here as early as 1765, and in 1836 the chapel in Blackburn Road was built, at a cost of about £1,800. This, however, has been superseded by an elegant structure erected in Cannon Street, in 1873, at a cost of about £10,000. The design was furnished by Mr. George Baines, of Accrington, and is a handsome Gothic edifice, with lofty spire, and possessing accommodation for 800 worshippers. Rev. Charles Williams, minister.

The Baptist place of worship, Blackburn Road, is a small plain building. The Particular Baptist Chapel, Bridge Street, was erected in 1850. The Baptists have also chapels in Barnes Street, Frederick Street (built 1884), and Infant Street.

The New Jerusalem Church in Abbey Street is a beautiful Gothic edifice, erected in 1849, at a cost of about £4,000. It will seat 650 persons. Rev. William A. Presland, minister.

The Wesleyan Chapel, Abbey Street, is in the Italian or Lombardic style of architecture, and was erected in 1866 at a cost of £8,000, including the site. It has accommodation for 800 persons.

The Wesleyan Chapel, Union Street, is a large edifice, rebuilt in 1845, having accommodation for about 1,500 worshippers. It has within the last few years been reseated, and has had lighting and heating apparatus put in at a cost of about £1,000. At Antley is another large Chapel belonging to this body, who also have School-chapels at Green Haworth and Hannah Street.

The United Methodist Free Church, Avenue Parade, is a neat building erected in 1864, and enlarged in 1882. It will seat 500 persons.

The Primitive Methodists have a handsome chapel in Whalley Road, erected in 1859.

The Independent Chapel, Oak Street, was erected in 1842; Rev. J. Constance, minister.

The Independent Chapel, Whalley Road, is a neat edifice, erected in 1877, at a cost of £1,000. It will seat 400 persons.

The Unitarian Chapel, Oxford Street, was built in 1868; Rev. Joseph S. Harrison, minister.

The Mechanics Institution was formerly held in the Peel Institution, but it now occupies a handsome building in St. James’ Street. The premises were purchased about eight years ago, and several alterations and additions made, which brought the cost of the building to over £6,000. The library contains over 5,000 volumes; and there are news rooms, class rooms, a lecture hall, laboratory, and billiard room. A School of Art and Science Classes are successfully conducted. The former has about 100 students, and the latter 112. Mr. A. Langham is honorary secretary, and Mr. B.T. Gossling librarian.

The Liberal Club is at present held in Bank Street. It is, however, shortly to be transferred to the more commodious premises now being erected. The new building is a very handsome one, fronting Eagle Street and Willow Street, adjacent to the Railway Station. The designs were supplied by Messrs. Maxwell and Tuke, of Manchester and Bury, and the contractors are Messrs. G. Cunliffe & Son, of Accrington. The cost of the building, including site, will be about £8,000.

The Conservative Club, Blackburn Road, is a commodious building, opened in September, 1882, the cost of erection being about £4,000. The club was formerly held in premises in Abbey Street, which had become inadequate for the purpose.

The Accrington and District Dispensary is held in Paradise Street; Mr. T.J. Monaghan, resident surgeon.

In the town are a Literary and Philosophical Society, a Temperance Society, an Agricultural Society, a Cricket Club, and a Football Club. The Manchester and Liverpool District Bank, and the Union Bank of Manchester, have each a branch here. The Savings Bank, held in the Town Hall, was established in 1817; Mr. W.H. Dewhurst, secretary.

The Gas and Waterworks Company have their offices in Hyndburn Road, and have works at Accrington, Oakenshaw, and Great Harwood. They supply gas and water to Accrington, Baxenden, Huncoat, Church, Rishton, Clayton-le-Moors, and Great Harwood. They supply gas and water to Accrington, Oakenshaw, and Great Harwood. The works were established by special Acts of Parliament, 1841, 1854, and 1863. The capital of the company is £243,119 2s.2d., and the annual consumption of gas amounts to 161,072,000 cubic feet. Mr. Alderman Rhodes, J.P., is chairman of the Company, and Mr. Charles Harrison, secretary.

The Accrington and Church Industrial Co-operative Society is an extensive trading company, having about 5,000 members. A small percentage of the profits is expended for educational purposes.

The Newspapers published in the town are the Accrington Times and the Accrington Gazette. The Preston Guardian and the Preston Herald have also offices here.

The county court is held in the Town Hall; W.A. Hulton, Esq., judge. Petty Sessions are also held in the Town Hall. The Borough Magistrates are the Mayor, J.E. Lightfoot, Swain Rhodes, James Barlow, F.N. Haywood, Riley Ormerod, Samuel Bury, John Bullough, Thomas Haworth, W.H. Herald, Dr. Popjoy, William Smith, and William Green, Esqrs.; Mr. R. Broughton, clerk.

A Borough Police Force has been recently formed, with great advantage to the borough. The Police Station is in Union Street; Mr. James Beattie chief constable.

The Cemetery is in Burnley Road, and stands in the township of Huncoat. It covers an area of 20 acres, but at present there are only thirteen laid out. There are three mortuary chapels, for the Church of England, the Nonconformists, and the Catholics; Mr. James Horne, registrar.

The Recreation Grounds, recently formed, are pleasantly situated in Milnshaw. They cover an area of six acres, and they appear to be well adapted for the purposes of a public park--now an almost essential thing for every well regulated town of importance.

From: Directory & Topography of Blackburn, Accrington, Darwen, Clitheroe, Great Harwood, Rishton, Church and Oswaldtwistle, Clayton-le-Moors, and Adjacent Villages and Townships. By P. Barrett & Col. Preston, 1884, pages 368-372.

Entered here 23 August 2004 by Lynn Ransom Burton.

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