Padiham

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Padiham (/ˈpædiəm/) is a small town and civil parish on the River Calder, about 3 miles (5 km) west of Burnley and south of Pendle Hill, in Lancashire, England. It is part of the Borough of Burnley but also has its own town council with varied powers.

No prehistoric or Roman sites have been found in the urban area and Padiham, a name of Anglo-Saxon origin, is not recorded in the Domesday Book. The first recorded mention of the town, as ‘Padyngham’, dates from 1294. For hundreds of years it was a market town where produce from Pendleside was bought and sold. Padiham market is still held every Wednesday and Friday. The town expanded and was substantially redeveloped during the Industrial Revolution and the central area is now a conservation area.

Padiham’s population peaked around 1921 at about 14,000 declining to 10,000 in the early 1960s and 8,998 at the time of the 2001 census. This follows people moving to the south of England in search of work following the decline of the traditional cotton, coal and engineering manufacturing base during that period.

The 1845 map shows the town of Padiham in the early days of the Lancashire cotton industry in Victorian times with three mills already marked. Most of the town at this stage was north of the river. Part of the Huntroyde Demesne is marked in the top left corner. The River Calder, on the right of the map, flows to the north, having been diverted from its original route, away from Gawthorpe Hall (indicated in pink), in the early 19th century because of pollution. In the 1960s the river was re-routed to its original course to accommodate open cast coal mining.

Padiham was an urban district until 1974 and has been a civil parish since 2002. It has its own town council. As with many of the local government areas reorganised in 1974, not all of the townsfolk are happy to be governed largely from Burnley, although the town has long belonged to the Burnley postal town and forms a continuous urban area with it. Councillors for Padiham on Burnley Borough Council are elected to the Gawthorpe Ward, which covers most of Padiham but not the National Trust property it is named after, Gawthorpe Hall. Burnley Borough Council now addresses public correspondence to both the people of Burnley and Padiham. Padiham is part of Lancashire County Council and the Parliamentary Constituency of Burnley.

Padiham railway station was on a branch line (usually known as the Great Harwood loop) of the East Lancashire Line from Burnley to Blackburn which opened in 1877; it was closed on 2 December 1957 and the station later demolished. The railway line was retained for continuing deliveries of coal to Padiham Power Station until the power station closed in 1993. The nearest station is now at Hapton, about 2 miles (3.2 km) south and the line converted to a footpath/bridleway/cycleway called the Padiham Greenway, completed in June 2010. The town is now served by Burnley & Pendle bus services from Accrington, Burnley, Nelson, Colne and beyond, and Lancashire United service 152 from Burnley, Blackburn and Preston.

Junctions 8 and 10 of the M65, both around 2 miles (3 km) from the town centre, give Padiham access to the motorway network.

The nearest airport, Manchester, is 50 minutes’ driving time from the town. The most convenient route by public transport – via Blackburn, then by train – takes approx. 2¼ hours.

In the 19th century, Padiham’s industry was based on coal-mining and weaving. Helm Mill on Factory Lane was the first mill built in 1807. By 1906 there were twenty cotton mills though the best preserved, now converted into flats, is Victoria Mill, built 1852-53 with an 1873 extension, in Ightenhall Street. Industrial development was helped by the proximity of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal about 2 miles (3.2 km) south. By 1848, Padiham had many coal pits around the town, including two large collieries and a number of smaller workings. The availability of coal and water nearby helped the development of the cotton industry in the town. The arrival of the railway at Hapton in 1840 and Padiham itself in 1877 further boosted industry in the town. The last pit closed around 1870, although mining continued in areas outside the town into the 1950s and open cast mining took place in the 1960s east of the town close to Gawthorpe Hall.

Since the 1960s the remaining cotton mills have also continued a decline which began in the 1930s. Padiham’s second role as a manufacturing base has also been in decline since the 1990s. The town’s last major employer in this sector, Baxi, closed its factory in March 2007 with the loss of 500 jobs. A modern business park, Shuttleworth Mead, opened in 2001 on the western edge of the town on the site of the old Padiham Power Station which closed in 1993, supported by £2.2m from the European Regional Development Fund and £2m from the North West Development Agency. Tenants include Supanet, an internet service provider (ISP) and Graham & Brown, a wallcoverings company. In 2007 Fort Vale Engineering moved into the old Mullard/Philips site at Calder Vale Park, Simonstone which had closed in 2004, and developed a brand new purpose built factory. Fort Vale Engineering Ltd employs around 280 people from around the local area and has brought new business to other local employers.

Padiham was originally a rural village lying by the River Calder. It is still surrounded by attractive countryside on an arc running from the north-west to the north-east in the foothills of Pendle Hill.

There are five significant halls in the local area: Huntroyde Hall, dating from 1576, and Simonstone Hall, dating from 1660, in nearby Simonstone, are both privately-owned. Gawthorpe Hall was donated to the National Trust in 1970 but is jointly managed with Lancashire County Council which has a 99-year lease. Gawthorpe is in the Ightenhill district.[18] The Trust also runs an office and a tea room in the courtyard of the property. Gawthorpe was the family home of the Shuttleworth family who occupied Shuttleworth Hall near Hapton from the 12th century. The current building dates from 1639 and is still a working farm. Read Hall and Park is in the nearby village of Read, about 1 mile (1.6 km) west of Padiham on the A671.

St Leonard’s Church, the town’s parish church, dates from 1866–69 and is a Grade II listed building. It was built on the site of earlier churches dating back to at least 1451. The original churchyard did not extend as far to the north as it does today. In 1802 proposals were made to extend the churchyard and remove “nuisances” on the north side of the church. In 1835 the churchyard was extended northwards and it seems likely that at this time the former premises of Padiham Grammar School were purchased and demolished.

Sherry’s Lancashire Cotton Mill is a working 19th-century cotton mill which is open to the public.

Padiham Town Hall on Burnley Road, designed by Bradshaw Gass & Hope and built in 1938, is a Grade II listed building.

Padiham Memorial Park at the top of Church Street, was designed by Thomas Mawson, an influential and prolific landscape designer. It was officially opened in 1921 as a memorial to those from the town who gave their lives in the First World War. It also records those who gave their lives in the Second World War.

The park covers 12 acres (4.9 ha) on two sites divided by the River Calder. The upper section is mainly formal, dominated by Knight Hill House, currently used as an Age UK (formerly Age Concern) day centre, and has a rose garden, lawns and two memorials. The lower section, off Park Street, has two bowling greens, tennis courts, skate park and Padiham’s leisure centre. The park is a Green Flag award winner. The park still had the remains of some World War II air raid shelters in 2008.

Padiham War Memorial itself is at the main entrance to the park in Blackburn Road. There is a second memorial at All Saints’ with St John the Baptist off the A671, Padiham Road opposite the George IV pub. A local man, Thomas Clayton, funded the park in his will; public subscription provided additional money for the park’s many features.

Near the war memorial, the Air Crash Memorial is a memorial to several young people from the town killed on 3 July 1970 when a Dan Air de Havilland Comet deviated from its intended course and crashed into high ground at Sierra Del Montseny, Girona in north-eastern Spain. The aircraft, destroyed on impact and subsequent ground fire, contained three flight crew, four cabin crew and 105 passengers aboard, all of whom suffered fatal injuries. It was the airline’s first fatal accident involving fare-paying passengers. The tour operator, Clarkson’s, was at the time the largest package holiday company in Britain.

A number of other buildings in the area, less significant than Gawthorpe and others mentioned above, are still of historic interest. Hargrove can be seen from a public footpath off the Padiham by-pass and is just north of the town and the 1950s council housing estate north of Windermere Road. For over 400 years the house was the home of the Webster family of yeoman farmers. The house today is probably 17th century and part of the Huntroyed estate. Coal from a local outcrop heated the house for many years. Stockbridge House in Victoria Road was occupied by farmers called Holt in 1802 and has a Jacobean chimney. High Whitaker Farm is north-east of Hargrove, also accessible by public footpath from both Higham Road and Grove Lane. The building is 16th century and said to have been used to hide Catholics at the time of Henry VIII. Other houses of note are Priddy Bank Farm and Foulds House Farm, both off Sabden Road, and Arbory Lodge on Arbory Drive.

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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