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Barnoldswick (colloquially known as Barlick) is a town and civil parish within the West Craven area of the Borough of Pendle in Lancashire, England just outside the Yorkshire Dales National Park and the Forest of Bowland Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The town is built in the shadow of Weets Hill, and Stock Beck, a tributary of the River Ribble runs through the town. It has a population of 10,859.

Historically a part of the West Riding of Yorkshire, and nestling on the lower slopes of Weets Hill in the Pennines astride the natural watershed between the Ribble and Aire valleys, Barnoldswick is the highest town on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal, lying as it does on the summit level of the canal between Barrowford Locks to the south west and Greenberfield Locks just north east of the town. It is approximately 30 miles (48 km) from the cities of Leeds, Manchester and Preston, and 27 miles (43 km) east southeast from the county town of Lancaster. Nearby towns include Clitheroe to the west, Nelson and Burnley to the south and Keighley to the east southeast.

Barnoldswick dates back to Anglo Saxon times. It was listed in Domesday Book as Bernulfsuuic, meaning Bernulf’s Town (uuic being an archaic spelling of wick, meaning settlement, in particular, a dairy farm).

A Cistercian monastery was founded there in 1147 by monks from Fountains Abbey. However they left after six years, before construction was complete, driven out by crop failures and locals unhappy at their interference in the affairs of the local church. They went on to build Kirkstall Abbey. They returned after another ten years to build the isolated Church of St Mary-le-Gill close to Barnoldswick to Thornton in Craven road.

For hundreds of years Barnoldswick remained a small village. However, the arrival of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal, and later the (now closed) railway, spurred the development of the existing woollen industry, and helped it to become a major cotton town. The engine of the last mill to be built in Barnoldswick, Bancroft Mill, has been preserved and is now open as a tourist attraction – a 600HP steam engine which still can operate.

From 1894 until 1974, Barnoldswick formed an urban district within the administrative county of the West Riding of Yorkshire (although Blackburnshire in Lancashire sometimes claimed the area. More informally, until 1974 post used to be addressed via Colne, Lancashire, to addresses in Barnoldswick. Barnoldswick has had a Burnley telephone code even when it was in Yorkshire. Following the Local Government Act 1972, Barnoldswick and a number of surrounding Yorkshire villages, including Earby and Gisburn, were transferred to the Borough of Pendle in the Non-metropolitan county of Lancashire in 1974.

At present, Barnoldswick has a town council, and forms part of the West Craven Area Committee on Pendle Borough Council.

Barnoldswick is home to Silentnight Beds, the UK’s largest manufacturer of beds and mattresses. Silentnight is part of the Silentnight Group with the head office and manufacturing premises in the town.

Rolls Royce plc is a large employer based in the town. It was originally a cotton mill that Rover used to produce the production version of Whittles gas turbine and was purchased by Rolls Royce in 1943. The model number of many Rolls Royce jet engines start with the initials RB (e.g. RB199) which stands for Rolls Barnoldswick, as Rolls Royce aero’s design centre was situated in Barnoldswick.

Hope Technology, a manufacturer of mountain bike parts such as disc brakes, hubs, and headsets, is based in Barnoldswick.

Albert Hartley Textiles is the last remaining textiles mill in the town and is a big employer for the local area. Originally there was 13 mills in the town, the last being constructed in 1920. There are currently plans to renovate the mill and create a local apprenticeship scheme. Put in place by Manchester-based property developers, Capital & Centric Plc the scheme would involve construction of a new factory and a medium sized supermarket. In August 2012, the plans were approved over two other competing schemes, the council citing that, in addition to adhering with planning policy, the Harley site was favoured because of the job creation for the town.

Barnoldswick is often cited as the largest town in the British Isles not to be served by any A-roads. However, in spite of this, road links to the town are comparatively good; easy access to the M65, A65 and A59 means that Manchester, Preston, Leeds, Bradford and York can all be reached in an hour by car.

Barnoldswick was formerly served by Barnoldswick railway station, the only station on the Midland Railway’s branch line off the Skipton to Colne Line, though this was shut under the Beeching Axe in 1965. The pressure group Selrap is currently campaigning for the reopening of the Skipton to Colne line, and although their plans do not include the Barnoldswick Branch, rail travel to the town would be improved by such a reopening. At present, would-be rail passengers must travel via Colne for trains serving Lancashire, or via Skipton for trains serving North and West Yorkshire.

Note: this page is partly based on a Wikipedia page. Text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. Where possible, text is being updated to original, fully referenced research. ‘Our photos’ means we took the photographs. The Street View and street map visuals are courtesy of Google.

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