W. A. (William Alexander) Abram.

Parish of Blackburn, county of Lancaster. A history of Blackburn, town and parish online

. (page 48 of 101)
Online LibraryW. A. (William Alexander) AbramParish of Blackburn, county of Lancaster. A history of Blackburn, town and parish → online text (page 48 of 101)
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Hall, Cable-street.

The Christian Brethren's Meeting House, Russell-street, built in 1872,
contains about 150 sittings.

Th? Catholic Apostolic Church have recently fitted up a preaching place,
with about 200 sittings, in Town Hall-street, in the building formerly used for the Free

Small meetings of Baptists and of Old Scotch Independents are held respectively
in Exchange-street, and in Cobden-rooms, Corporation-street.


The first Sunday School in Blackburn owed its establishment, about
the year 1786, to the Rev. Thomas Starkie, Vicar of the Parish; this
School was superintended by the Vicar, and soon after its foimdation
numbered 300 children. Other Sunday Schools were opened somewhat
later by the Wesleyan and Independent Congregations in the town ; and,
in 1824, it is recorded that the Church of England Sunday Schools in
the town had 1,100 children in attendance; Chapel Street Independent
School 600 ; Clayton-street Wesleyan Methodist School 500 ; Mount-
street Presbyterian School 120; Roman Catholic School 100; and
Unitarian School 56 ; a total of 2,476 children attending the various
Sunday Schools. After the lapse of about 50 years since this return,
and of ninety years since the first of these Schools was founded, it may
be estimated roundly that in 1875 there were connected with Sunday
Schools in that part of the town of Blackburn within the township about
21,000 children and young persons, whereof some 9,500 belong to


Church of England Schools, 8,000 to Protestant Nonconformist Schools,
and 3,500 to Roman Catholic Schools.


In the last generation, a National School in Thunder Alley and
two or three small private schools connected with the larger factories
were all the provision for the education of children of the labouring
class in Blackburn ; but during the interval of thirty years great progress
has been made in the provision of school buildings for Day and Sunday
School purposes, and many large and good Day Schools under Govern-
ment inspection have been established and maintained by the religious
bodies. Among the first important schools erected were those at Brook-
house, built by Mr. Wm. Henry Hornby in 1839-40 ; St. John's Schools,
built in 1844 ; Holy Trinity Schools, built in 1845 ; Park Schools, Grim-
shaw Park Road, built by Messrs. James and William Pilkington and
Edward Eccles in 1850; the Hopwood Schools, Grimshaw Park, built
by the Hopwood family in 1850, replaced by Christ Church Schools in
1858; St. Paul's Schools, in 1858; Chapel-street Independent Schools,
in 1859 ; and the Wesleyan Schools, St. Peter-street, in 1861.

A School Board was established by the spontaneous action of the
burgesses in 1870. The first Board was elected without a contest on
the 27th of December, 1870. Mr. Wm. Ditchfield was appointed Clerk.^

A census of children of school age and attending school was taken by order of the
School Board conjointly with the general Census, April 3rd, 1875. It was found that
the Municipal Borough and Township of Blackburn then contained 1 7,453 children of
school-going age (between 3 and 13 years). Of these, 13,073 were returned as in
attendance at some school, and 4,380 not in attendance at any school. To Church of
England Schools, 6,901 children were returned as attached ; to Roman Catholic
Schools, 2,317 children ; to Nonconformist and British Schools, 2,743 children; to
private schools, middle class and elementary, 925 children ; and to schools out of the
borough, 217 children. An inquiry was at the same time made respecting School
provision. The accommodation in existing schools was found to be for 16,908
children ; and in other school buildings about to be provided, 2,025 > total of prospec-
tive accommodation for 18,933 children. The provision in the principal schools then
in use or projected was as follows : — Parish Church .Schools, 1,040 children ; St. John's
Schools, 1,138; St. Paul's, 503; St. Peter's (new), 604; Holy Trinity, 687; St.
Michael's (with Infant School), 755 ; Christ Church, 1,115 ; St. Thomas's (new), 856 ;
St Luke's, 525 ; Pleckgate, 183 ; Billinge, 261 ; Wensley Fold, 228. [All Saints'
Church School since built, for 300 children.] St. Alban's Roman Catholic Schools,
775; St. Anne's, 868; St. Mary's, 661 ; St. Patrick's, 217; St. Joseph's, 266 [New
Schools under Church now building to provide for about 700 children]. Chapel Street

I The School Board was composed as follows : — Mr. W. H. Hornby, junr. (chairman) ; Mr. Mark
Knowles (vice-chairman) ; Revs. R. Dunderdale and W. S. Berry ; Messrs. W. A. Abram, T.
Bertwistle, A. S. Bury, W. Crossley, James Eccles, W. Orreil, Giles Parkinson, Isaac Ward, and
J. A. Watson. — To the second Board, elected in 1874, the Vicar, Rev. Canon Birch, was returned in
place of Mr. Knowles, and appointed vice-chairman ; and Messrs. Launcelot Porter, H. Shuttleworth,
and John Thompson were returned in the stead of Messrs. Eccles, Orreil, and Bertwistle.



Congregational Schools, 1,174 children; Park ^oad Schools, 1,019; Nova Scotia,
406 ; Bank Top, 406 ; Furthergate, 369 ; Mawdsley-street, 552 ; Montague-street,
384 ; St. Peter Street Wesleyan School, 363 ; Barton Street United Methodist Free
Church School, 637 ; Town's Moor Baptist, 103 ; Mount Street British, 231 ; Paradise
Street Science School, H2; Girls' Charity School, 135. The following Dissenting
School buildings were not in use as Day Schools : — St. George's United Presbyterian,
provision for 508 children ; Primitive Methodist, Branch Road, 202 (new schools now
building) ; Montague Street Baptist, 340 ; James Street Independent, 459. The Four
Lanes End (Independent) School, providing for 311 children, has since been opened
as a Board School.

Under the action of the compulsory clause of the Education Act adopted by the
School Board, the number of children in attendance at inspected public elementary
schools had been increased at the end of the year 1874 to 14,846, and the average
attendance to 9,609. (In 1871 the number attending inspected Schools was 10,532,
average 7,023.) There are also still from 500 to 1,000 children frequenting indifferent
private adventure schools of the lower class.

The middle-class population in the town furnishes from 600 to 700 children
attending the superior class of schools. These include the Free Grammar School ; the
Lower Bank Academy, founded by Mr. Edmundson in 1826, and of which Mr. George
Weild is now principal, a well-conducted commercial school with an average of about
90 pupils ; one or two boarding schools for boys in the vicinity of the town ; and
several seminaries in private houses for the daughters of middle-class families.


Blackburn was first constituted a Parliamentary Borough, returning
two Members, by the Reform Act of 1832. The town had then a popu-
lation of 27,091 ; and 627 electors. The first election took place after
the dissolution of Parliament in December of that year. Four candidates
were in the field for the two seats, viz., Mr. William Feilden of Feniscowles
(afterwards Sir William), a Conservative ; Mr. John Fowden Hindle of
Woodfold Park, Conservative ; John Bowring, LL.D., of London (after-
wards Sir John), a Reformer ; and Mr. William Turner of Mill Hill, near
Blackburn, a Whig. Mr. Feilden and Mr. Bowring were the favourite
candidates, and it was expected they would be returned together, but
Mr. Turner brought local influences to bear that secured his election
against Dr. Bowring. The nomination took place on Tuesday, Dec.
nth, 1832. Returning officer, John Fleming, Esq. The hustings were
erected in the " Bull Meadow," on the site of the present Reform Club,
Market Place. Mr. Feilden was nominated by his uncle, Mr. Joseph
Feilden, and by Mr. James Cunliffe, banker. Mr. Hindle was nominated
by Dr. James Barlow and Mr. Wm. Henry Hornby. Dr. Bowring was
nominated by Mr. James Pilkington and Mr. Joseph Eccles. Mr. Turner
was nominated by Mr. John Hargreaves (Coroner) and Mr. Thomas
Dugdale. On the eve of the poll Mr. Hindle retired. The first day's
polling resulted — Feilden 346 ; Bowring 324 ; Turner 314. The second
day's poll ended Feilden 376 ; Turner 347 ; Bowring 334. The defeat


of Dr. Bowring, the popular candidate, led to some disturbances in the

At the next General Election in 1835, James Pickup, Esq., was returning officer
for the borough, and the candidates nominated were the retiring Members, Mr. William
Feilden and Mr. William Turner ; and Dr. Bowring. The polling took place on June
6th and 7th, 1835. At the end of the first day, Mr. Turner and Dr. Bowring had the
majority of votes ; but at the close of the poll on the second day the numbers were —
Turner 432 ; Feilden 316 ; Bowring 303. Dr. Bowring was, however, in the mean-
time, elected Member for Kilmarnock, in Scotland. Rioting supervened on the result
of the election being known in Blackburn. A procession of many thousands of the
working classes met Dr. Bowring on his passage through Blackburn on his way to
London from his Scottish constituency.

At the dissolution in July, 1837, on the death of William IV., the borough was
not seriously contested. Mr. Feilden and Mr. Turner were again nominated, and also
Mr. J. B. Smith, of Manchester, but the latter retired before the poll was taken, which
resulted — Turner 515 ; Feilden 416; Smith 9.

At the General Election on July ist, 1841, the nominated candidates were — Mr.
William Feilden and Mr. John Hornby, Conservatives ; and Mr. William Turner,
Whig. The polling issued in the return of the two former : — Feilden 441 ; Hornby
427 ; Turner 426. The military had to be fetched to stop the rioting on this occasion.
Mr. Turner being defeated by a single vote, petitioned for a scrutiny, which commenced
on Wednesday, April 20th, and lasted seven days. At the close, Mr. Hornby was
decided to have sustained his election. Mr. Turner died within three months of the
failure of the petition.

The next Election occurred on the dissolution in July, 1847. Sir William Feilden
retired from parliamentary life, and the candidates nominated were : — Mr. John
Hornby, Conservative ; Mr. James Pilkington, Liberal Free Trader ; Mr. William
Hargreaves, of the Grange, Milnthorpe, Whig ; and Mr. W. P. Roberts, Chartist.
The contest resulted in the return of Mr. Hornby and Mr. Pilkington ; the polling
being — Hornby 649 ; Pilkington 602 ; Hargreaves 392 ; Roberts 68.

Parliament was again dissolved July 1st, 1852. In Blackburn the candidates at
this Election were the retiring Members, Mr. Hornby and Mr. Pilkington ; and Mr.
William Eccles, as a Liberal-Conservative. Parties were in some degree confused in
this contest. The result of the poll was — Pilkington 846 ; Eccles 580 ; Hornby 509.
Mr. Hornby's supporters petitioned against the return of Mr. Eccles on the ground of
bribery and corruption, and the House of Commons Committee declared the charges
proved and the election void. Mr. Eccles, unseated in March, 1854, died on June
17th following, aged 59.

The extraordinary Election occasioned by this vacancy took place in March, 1852.
The candidates were : — Mr. William Henry Hornby, brother of the former Member,
Conservative ; and Mr. Montague Joseph Feilden, a younger son of the late Sir
William Feilden, Liberal. The contest was fierce, and resulted — Feilden 631 ;
Hornby 574.

At the General Election in March, 1857, the borough was not contested ; as Mr.
Jonathan Peel of Knowlmere, who had made overtures to the constituency, did not
persevere in his candidature. The other candidates were Mr. Pilkington, the retiring
Member, and Mr. William Henry Hornby, whose claims were now so generally
admitted that he secured the seat, along with Mr. Pilkington, without a poll.

At the General Election of 1859 three candidates were presented to the constitu-



ency : — Mr. Pilkington, Liberal, and Mr. Hornby, Conservative, the retiring Members ;
and Mr. John Patrick Murrough of London, as an advanced Liberal. The poll, taken
April 30th, resulted : — Hornby 832 ; Pilkington 750 ; Murrough 567.

The next Election was on the dissolution in July, 1865. The retiring Members,
Mr. Hornby and Mr. Pilkington, were candidates, and it was the disposition of
influential persons of both parties to re-elect these gentlemen. But a section of the
Liberal party opposed the arrangement, and nominated Mr. John Gerald Potter, of
Mytton Hall. The Conservative Committee upon that nominated Mr. Joseph Feilden
of Witton House, as its second candidate. The poll closed with the following result: —
Hornby 1,053; Feilden 938; Pilkington 771 ; Potter 576. Two Conservatives were
thus returned, and Mr. Pilkington, who had sat in Parliament eighteen years, was
defeated. The constituency at this election, the last under the old £ 10 franchise,
numbered 1,845 electors.

Consequent upon the Reform Act of 1867, the dissolution of Parliament in Novem-
ber, 1868, occurred. By the Boundary Act of 1868, the boundaries of the Parlia-
mentary Borough of Blackburn, originally coincident with those of the township, were
extended to include the suburban parts of Witton township lying between the Blake-
watar and the Darwen, and of Livesey as far south as the hamlets of Waterloo and
Moorgate. The new franchise and this extension of limits combined, increased the
number of electors to 9, 708. The candidates nominated were the retiring Members,
Mr. Wm. Henry Hornby and Mr. Joseph Feilden, Conservative, and Mr. John Gerald
Potter and Mr. Montague Joseph Feilden, Liberal. The poll was taken on Tuesday,
November 15th, 1868, and resulted in the re-election of the former Members. The
numbers were — Hornby 4,907 ; J. Feilden 4,829 ; Potter 4,399 ; M. J. Feilden 4,164.
A petition against the return was heard at the Town Hall, Blackburn, by Mr. Justice
Willes, March 13-16, 1869, by whom the election was pronounced void on account of
intimidation of voters by expulsion from several factories by partizan workmen.

At the extraordinary Election which followed upon the judgment, the Conservative
Candidates were Mr. Edward Kenworthy Hornby and Mr. Henry Master Feilden,
both sons of the former Members. The Liberal Candidates were Mr. John Gerald
Potter and Mr. John Morley (editor of the "Fortnightly Review," and a native of
Blackburn). The result of the polling, March 30th, was as follows : — Hornby 4, 738 ;
Feilden 4,697 ; Potter 3,964; Morley 3,804.

The last General Election transpired in January, 1874. The candidates in this
borough were Mr. H. M. Feilden, Conservative (Mr. E. K. Hornby retiring) ; Mr.
Daniel Thwaites, an independent candidate ultimately adopted by the Conservative
Committee ; Mr. William Edward Briggs and Mr. Richard Shackleton, Liberals. The
polling, on Thursday, February 5th, 1875, resulted in the return of Mr. Feilden and Mr.
Briggs — the numbers being declared : — Feilden 5,532 ; Briggs 5,338 ; Thwaites 5)323;
Shackleton 4,852. This was the first election in which the voting was taken by Ballot
under the provisions of the Ballot Act of 1873.

Mr. H. M. Feilden, the senior Member, died September 5th, 1875, and for the
vacancy thus caused in the representation, Mr. Daniel Thwaites again presented him-
self as a candidate. Mr. William Coddington (Mayor 1874-5), who appeared as a
second Conservative Candidate, retired. Mr. John Tomlinson Hibbert (formerly
Member for Oldham) was induced to contest the seat with Mr. Thwaites in the Liberal
interest. The election took place on September 30th, 1875, and the numbers declared
were : —Thwaites 5, 792 ; Hibbert 4,832. Mr. Thwaites was thus returned. Number
of Electors on the Roll, 11,709.


The town of Blackburn possessed no local governing authority
(beyond the town constable) prior to the appointment by statute, in
1803, of a body of twelve Police Commissioners, who were invested
with the duty of paving, lighting, watching, and cleansing the town.
These Commissioners had the power of selecting persons to fill vacancies
on the Commission. The powers of the Police Commissioners were
merged in those of the Blackburn Improvement Commissioners, appointed
under a local Act of Parliament passed in 1847 ; and Mr. John Har-
greaves, Clerk to the former, became Clerk to the latter body of Com-
missioners. William Hoole, Esq., was Chairman of the Improvement
Commissioners. The Commissioners laid out the new Market Place,
built the Market House, and published a code of Bye-Laws for the
regulation of the town in sanitary respects. In 1854, the borough
having been some time incorporated, the functions of the Improvement
Commissioners were transferred to the Town Council, and the Com-
mission was wound up.

By Petition dated Nov. 28th, 1850, the inhabitant landholders and
ratepayers of the Parliamentary borough of Blackburn petitioned the
Queen in Council for a Charter of Incorporation for the borough, setting
forth that the " important, populous and increasing borough of Black-
bum is without any efficient or responsible local government adequate
to its necessities," and that the petitioners desired " the control of the
municipal affairs of the said borough should be vested in a responsible
local government." Compliant with the prayer of this Petition, the
Queen in Council, by writ of Privy Seal, granted a Charter of Incorpora-
tion to the borough, which bears date the 28th August, isthVictoria(i8si)
The Charter, reciting the provisions of the Municipal Corporations Acts and the
consideration of the Inhabitants' Petition, grants that the inhabitants of the said
borough of Blackburn shall be for ever hereafter one body politic and corporate in
deed, fact and name, to be called " The Mayor, Aldermen and Burgesses of the
Borough of Blackburn." The said body corporate to have, exercise, &c., all the acts,
powers, authorities, immunities, and privileges held, enjoyed, &c., by the boroughs
named in the schedules to the Act for regulating Municipal Corporations in England
and Wales ; that the said Mayor, Aldermen and Burgesses shall have a Common Seal
and shall assume armorial bearings and devices ; that the said Mayor, Aldermen and
Burgesses shall be able to purchase, take, and acquire lands, tenements, &c., to any
value, situate within the borough, and other lands, tenements, &c., out of the borough
not exceeding the sum of ;f 5, 000 by the year, to have and hold to them, their succes-
sors, for ever ; that the Council of the said Borough shall consist of a Mayor, twelve
Aldermen, and thirty-six Councillors, the first election of Couni-illors to be holden on
Nov. 1st, 1851, and the first Aldermen with the first Mayor, to be elected on Nov.
10th ; and the first election of auditors and assessors to be held on March 1st, 1852 ;
that the said Borough be divided into six Wards, to be respectively called St. Mary's,
St. John's, Trinity, Park, St. Peter's, and St. Paul's Wards, the boundaries whereof



are described ; that each of the six Wards shall return and have six Councillors ; that
Thomas Crooke Ainsworth, Esq., make out, on the 15th Sept., 1851, a Burgess Roll,
to be completed on or before the 24th October ; and that William Hoole, Esq., act as
returning officer at the first election of Councillors, Aldermen, Mayor, Auditors and

The Seal of the Municipal Borough of Blackburn bears the arms of the borough,
with the words " Seal of the Mayor, Aldermen and Burgesses of the Borough of
Blackburn, 1851." The Borough Arms, enrolled in the Herald's College in the same
year, are : — "Argent : a fesse wavy sable, between three bees volant, proper ; on a
chief, vert, a bugle horn stringed, argent, between two fusils, or." Crest: — "On a
wreath of the colours, a shuttle, or ; thereon a dove, wings elevated, argent, and holding
in its beak the thread of the shuttle, reflexed over the back, and an olive branch,
proper." Motto : — "Arte et labore."

The first election of Councillors for the several wards of the newly-incorporated
borough took place on the first of November, 1851. The Councillors elected were : —
St Mary's Ward : — ^John Folding, Oliver Roylance, Leonard Wilkinson, James Boyle,
Christopher Parkinson, Henry Briggs. St. John's Ward : — Thomas Hart, Benjamin
Brierley, Thomas Button, William H. Cartwright, John Thwailes, Doctor W. Forrest.
Trinity Ward : — Daniel Thwaites, William Kenworthy, James Forrest, William Yates,
Richard Backhouse, John Rutherford. Park Ward : — William Pilkington, Robert
Hopwood, junior, Henry Shaw, Thomas Dugdale, John Baynes, Thomas Bolton.
St. Peter's Ward : — William Dickinson, Charles Boardman, Joseph Harrison, William
Peel, John Ratcliflfe, George Stones. St. Paul's Ward : — James Cunningham, John
Railton, Robert Raynsford Jackson, James Pemberton, Miles Baron, George Dewhurst

At the first meeting of the first Council, Nov. lOth, 1851, the Aldermen were
elected : — To serve five years : — William Henry Hornby, Richard Martland, John
Livesey, William Hoole, William Eccles, Thomas Thwaites, Esqrs. To serve two
years : — James Pickup, Robert Hopwood, senr., William Sames, James Hartley,
William Mosley Perfect, George Jackson, Esqrs.

William Henry Hornby, Esq. , was chosen first Mayor of the Borough at the same
meeting of the Council; and on Thursday, March 25th, 1852, a rich and costly gold
chain and civic badge was presented to Mr. Hornby as Mayor, bearing the inscrip-
tion : — "Presented to William Henry Hornby, Esq., J. P., by a number of the Bur-
gesses and other Inhabitants of Blackburn, as a memento of their esteem for him as a
fellow-townsman, and especially to mark their gratification at his having been chosen
to serve as Mayor by the first Municipal Council for the Borough, to which he was
elected on the loth November, 1851."


William Henry Hornby, Esq.
Robert Hopwood, junior, Esq.

Thomas Dugdale, Esq.

William Hoole, Esq.

William Pilkington, Esq.

John Baynes, Esq.
1859-60. James Cunningham, Esq.
1 860- 1. Thomas Thwaites, Esq.
1861-2. RobeitHopwoodHutchinson.Esq.
1862-3. James Barlow S. Sturdy, Esq.

1853-4. ]
1854-5. >
1856-7. 1
1857-8. )

Thomas Lund, Esq.
William Stones, Esq.
James Thompson, Esq.
John Dean, Esq.

1867-8. ^

1868-9. i J°^" ^""*' ^"^"

1869-70. John Dean, Esq.

1870-1. Thomas Hartley Pickup, Esq.

1871-2. Thomas Bury, Esq.

1872-3. John Thompson, Esq.

1873-4. John Pickop, Esq.

1874-5. William Coddington, Esq.









The Town Council of Blackburn for 1874-5 was composed as follows : — William
Coddington, Esq., Mayor. Aldermen : — ^John Pickop, R. H. Hutchinson, John
Thompson, William Dickinson, John Ratcliffe, Roger Haworth, Thos. H. Pickup,
Thomas Lewis, John Robinson, Thomas Bury, Robert Duckworth, Henry Duckworth.
Councillors : — William Chambers, J. C. Fisher, W. H. Hornby, junior, Richard
Shakeshaft, James Beads, Edward Dugdale ; James Briggs, John Ingham, A. S. Bury,
R. D. Coddington, Robert Parkinson, Joseph Eatough ; Thos. Higson, T. Fletcher, John
J. Thompson, Denis Towers, James Dickinson, George Duerden ; Isaac Ward, R. H.
Pemberton, W. Stuart, John Stones, Robert Parker, John Lund ; Eli Heyworth, W.
Dixon, William Coddington, R. Alker, Wm. E. Briggs, Robert Whitaker; William
Taylor, William Kay, C. H. Brindle, William Arthur, Henry Shaw, Thomas Brooks.

Town Clerks: — John Hargreaves, Esq. (1851-4); Thomas Ainsworth, Esq.
(1854-9) ; Henry Saward, Esq. (1859-65) ; C. G. H. Beck, Esq. (1865-75); W. E. L.
Gaine, Esq. (1875).


The Town Hall occupies a site of 3,832 square yards on the north side of the
New Market Place. The comer-stone was laid Oct. 28th, 1852, by Joseph Feilden,
Esq., lord of the manor, and the Hall was completed and opened Oct. 30th, 1856, by
William Hoole, Esq., then Mayor. It is a large and handsome fabric in the classic
style. The west front, 120ft. wide, with an elevation of 62ft., presents the main
entrance in the centre, by three massive arched doorways. The front is emboldened
by Corinthian columns resting upon a rusticated basement ; upholding a broad entab-
lature surmounted by a perforated parapet. On the south front is a doric porch in the

Online LibraryW. A. (William Alexander) AbramParish of Blackburn, county of Lancaster. A history of Blackburn, town and parish → online text (page 48 of 101)