Montage of Darwen. From top to bottom, left to right: Landscape View of Darwen, Darwen Town Hall, India Mill Chimney, Darwen Jubilee Tower, Darwen Coat of Arms, Darwen Library and Bold Venture Park.
Darwen shown within Lancashire
Area 7.58 km2 (2.93 sq mi)  Population 31,570  (2001 Census) - Density 4,165 /km2 (10,790 /sq mi) OS grid reference Parish Darwen Unitary authority Blackburn with Darwen Ceremonial county Lancashire Region North West Country England Sovereign state United Kingdom Post town DARWEN Postcode district BB3 Dialling code 01254 Police Lancashire Fire Lancashire Ambulance North West EU Parliament North West England UK Parliament Rossendale and Darwen List of places: UK • England • Lancashire
Darwen is a market town and civil parish located within Lancashire, England. Along with its northerly neighbour, Blackburn, it forms the Borough of Blackburn with Darwen — a unitary authority area. It is known locally as "Darren", and its residents are known as "Darreners". The main road through Darwen is the A666 towards Blackburn to the north and Bolton to the south. The town stands on the River Darwen, which flows from south to north and is visible only in the outskirts of the town, as within the town centre it is submerged.
- 1 History
- 2 Government
- 3 Education
- 4 Geography
- 5 Landmarks
- 6 Transport
- 7 Future and regeneration of the town
- 8 Culture and Community
- 9 Notable people
- 10 Photo gallery
- 11 See also
- 12 References
Most authorities trace the name 'Darwen' to the Brythonic derw "oak", originally applied to the river; an etymology supported an older form of the name, Derewent (1208). It has also been claimed that the name Darwen stems from "Dwrgwyn", from the Old Welsh (also a Brythonic language) dwr or "water" and gwyn Brythonic for "white" or "clear". Thus the name may mean "clear water".
The area around Darwen has been inhabited since the early Bronze Age, and the remains of a barrow from approximately 2000 BC have been partially restored at the Ashleigh Barrow in Whitehall. Artefacts including a bronze dagger and urns containing human ashes were found, and a small number of these finds are now on display at Darwen Library Theatre. The Romans once had a force in Lancashire, and a Roman road is visible on the Ordnance Survey map of the area. Mediaeval Darwen was tiny; little or nothing survives. One of the earliest remaining buildings is a farmhouse at Bury Fold, dated 1675. Whitehall Cottage is thought to be the oldest house in the town, and was mostly built in the 17th and 18th centuries but contains a chimney piece dated 1557.
Like many towns in Lancashire, Darwen was a centre for textile manufacture during the Industrial Revolution. Samuel Crompton, inventor of the spinning mule, lived there for part of his life. Rail links and the Leeds-Liverpool Canal arrived in the mid-19th century. The most important textile building in Darwen is India Mill, built by Eccles Shorrock & Company. The company was ruined, however, by the effects of the Lancashire Cotton Famine of the 1860s.
Much of the town was built between about 1850 and 1900; placenames, date stones in terraces, and the vernacular architecture of cellars, local stone, locally-made brick, pipework and tiles and leaded glass, the last now mostly gone, reflect this. It was one of the first places in the world to have steam trams. The arrangement of town hall, market, public transport, eating/hotel facilities and the pre-suburban mixed-size vernacular housing, with local variations according to topography, is very characteristic of northern England. The year 1900 perhaps represents the peak of Victorian optimism in the area. The working classes were then much more identifiable as masses than now. George Orwell, for example, described the sound of clogs on cobblestones of the large number of female millworkers. The rise of the Labour Party from about 1900 coincided with a decline in the Liberal Party, which followed the Manchester School in economics, increasingly seen as permitting unjustified exploitation. However, Darwen usually voted for the Conservative Party until a Conservative government made unpopular administrative rearrangements in the early 1970s.
Andrew Carnegie financed a public library here; the town also had an art and technology college and a grammar school. In common with many northern nonconformist towns, there are many chapels of assorted denominations, which flourished until the psychological blows of the First World War.
One of Darwen's biggest claims to fame is that it hosted a visit from Mohandas K. Gandhi in 1931. He had accepted the invitation from Corder Catchpool, owner of Greenfield Mill, to see the effects of India's boycott of cotton goods. The unemployed mill workers greeted the man with great affection even when they were out of work, as they understood it was not India but greedy and irresponsible mill owners who were responsible for their situation.
India Mill is now home to many companies, including Brookhouse (producers of aeroplane parts) and Capita Group, which runs TV licensing. Since the 1950s, the textile industry has strongly declined in the region, although many industrial buildings from the period survive, now used for other purposes. India Mill and its famous chimney have been sold in a £12 million deal. Among Darwen's other famous industries are Crown Paints, formerly Walpamur Paints, the earliest British paint manufacturer, which actually named one of its paints 'Darwen Satin Finish'. Crown Wallpaper manufactured wallpaper, Lincrusta and Anaglypta in the town. ICI Acrylics (now called Lucite International) was where acrylic glass (Perspex for windows and signage, and Sani-ware or Lucite used for the maufacture of baths and shower trays) was invented; it is still manufactured in two separate plants within the town. Spitfire canopies and (later) coloured polythene washing-up bowls were first made here.
The municipal borough of Darwen existed for ninety-six years, from 1878. The borough was merged with Blackburn in 1974 under the Local Government Act 1972. The town became part of the Lancashire non-metropolitan district of Blackburn, which was renamed Blackburn with Darwen in 1997, shortly before it became a unitary authority.
The population of the town declined from 40 000 in the 1911 census to 30 000 in the 1971 census.
Locally, Darwen has been represented by Labour, Conservative and Liberal Democrat councillors in the main council wards for the town. In the 2008 local elections, the For Darwen Party picked up the majority of the wards in the town to put pressure on Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council for Darwen to have its own council again. In June 2009 Darwen Town Council was formed.
There are five council wards within Darwen out of the 23 in Blackburn with Darwen Borough. These are:
Coat of arms
Darwen was granted its coat of arms on 7 August 1878. At the foot of the coat of arms is the town motto in Latin Absque Labore Nihil, which translates as "Nothing without labour". The arms depicts three cotton bolls and the River Darwen which runs through the town. The cotton represents the cotton industry in which the town grew and prospered during the Industrial Revolution and the three bolls to represent the three main areas of Darwen - Over Darwen, Lower Darwen and Hoddlesden. At the helm of the coat of arms is a barred helmet representing nobility, and above it the torse in the town colours of blue and gold. At the crest a man stands shouldering a pick-axe, which refers to the town's motto and also represents the mining industry that was present to the east of the town at that time.
After the passing of the Education Act 1870, many schools were established to serve the ever-growing population. Many were later demolished.
The Darwen Academy opened in September 2008 at the premises of the former Darwen Moorland High School on the outskirts of the town, which had closed in July 2008 to reopen as the academy after the summer holidays. All students from Darwen Moorland transferred to the academy. Students have subsequently moved down to the new site, into a state-of-the-art £49m academy, with sixth form and modern facilities. The plan to build the academy proved controversial (see Future and regeneration of the town below).
Darwen Vale High School is also being rebuilt and will be completed in 2012, as part of government's Building Schools for the Future (BSF) initiative.
Neighbouring towns, villages and places. Feniscowles Blackburn Accrington Leyland Haslingden Darwen Chorley Bolton Edgworth
Darwen is a quintessential Lancastrian town in the south-east of the county. Its position in the West Pennine Moors makes its topography relatively arid[clarification needed] and it stands within a valley with the River Darwen flowing at its base. The river passes through the town from south to north, subsequently joining the River Ribble, one of the longest rivers in North West England. The town is mainly accessible from the north (Blackburn) and south (Bolton) by the A666 road. Its weather conditions made it perfect for cotton weaving and as a result it became one of the largest mill towns in Lancashire.
Darwen Jubilee Tower
In 1897 a town council meeting met to deliberate how best to celebrate the forthcoming Queen Victoria Diamond Jubilee. In this meeting the idea of building the tower, in conjunction with public access to the moors, was put forward. Through a competition for designs, Ralph Ellison from the Borough Engineers won and on 22 June 1897 work began on his plan. On 24 September 1898 the opening ceremony was held, attended by over 3,000 people. Present at the ceremony were Councillor Alexander Carus, Mayor Charles Huntington, the High Sheriff of Lancashire and Lord of the Manor Rev. W.A. Duckworth.
The tower, which is open to the public, overlooks the town from the moors and stands at an altitude of 374m and a height of 26m. A spiral staircase leads to the top of the tower, from where on a clear day one can see Blackpool Tower, the Isle of Man, North Wales and the Furness Peninsula. In November 2010, the dome of the tower was blown off by strong winds.
Originally situated in the Peel Street Baths (now the Co-operative supermarket in the Circus), the library was transferred to the new technical school building in 1895. Today Darwen Library stands at the corner of Knott Street and School Street to the north of the Circus. It was commissioned by Andrew Carnegie, a Scottish migrant to the USA who made his fortune as a producer of iron and steel. He donated £8,000 in response to a speculative appeal for funds by the Library Committee. The opening took place on 27 May 1908 and was attended by Mayor Councilor G.P. Holde, Councillor Ralph Yates and Carnegie himself, The library has served the town ever since, with the original lecture hall being transformed into the Library Theatre in June 1971.
Darwen Town and Market Hall
The Market Hall was opened on 11 July 1882 and the clock tower was added in 1899, when Dr. Ballantyne became mayor. In the 1930s part of the market ground was made into the town's bus station and still remains today. In 1992 a three-day market was introduced. Although local government proceedings were transferred to Blackburn in the 1970s, the council chambers remained in the building, and were used by the magistrates' court from 1983 until 1992. The town hall currently houses offices of Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council and the local Neighbourhood Policing Team, and five shop units opened in 2011, and is a venue for meetings of the Darwen Town Council established in 2009.
Bold Venture Park
Bold Venture Park stands to the west of the town, at the foot of the moors and the path which leads to the Jubilee Tower. The land in which the park lies was bought by Rev. W.A. Duckworth. It was built by W. Stubbs of the Borough Engineers and Thomas Hogy the landscaper and gardener, and opened in 1889.
Sunnyhurst Woods was originally owned by the Brock-Hollinshead family and used for hunting stag. The area was later sold to Eccles Shorrock. To commemorate the coronation of Edward VII the land was turned into a public park on 2 July 1903.
Darwen sits in a large valley strung along the A666 road along the valley floor. It is connected to the motorway system at Junction 4 of the M65 at Earcroft, on the town's northern boundary, and considerable traffic passes through the town centre along the A666, causing high levels of air pollution. The local council has recently attempted to address the situation by adding a new road layout to the town centre, with public transport and junction improvements to reduce traffic.
Darwen stands athwart the Ribble Valley railway line, operated by Northern Rail. Darwen railway station has one train per hour between Clitheroe and Manchester (via Bolton). Darwen's bus terminal (Darwen Circus) hosts buses up to every 12 minutes to Blackburn/Accrington on weekdays. There is also a service, every 30 minutes on weekdays and hourly on Sundays, to Bolton and Clitheroe, but the Bolton service terminates at 7:00pm. Both services are operated by Transdev Lancashire United.
In 2008 the "Pennine Reach" scheme, to improve public transport between Darwen, Blackburn and Hyndburn, was proposed by Lancashire and Blackburn with Darwen councils, including plans for the addition of bus lanes to the A666. However, it has been controversial, with some residents placing "Say no to Bus Lane, we don't want it" signs in their windows, and the neighbouring district of Hyndburn pulled out of the scheme. The scheme was put on hold in 2010 as local authorities reviewed their spending after their budgets were cut, before being abandoned later in the year due to lack of government funding, and the councils are now looking at other ways to improve public transport.
Future and regeneration of the town
Since the opening of the M65 motorway in 1997, many businesses have been attracted to the area, with industrial estates growing to the north of the town at Junction 4 of the motorway. The motorway services opened up a lot of easily accessible land for businesses, allowing large industrial units to be built.
In 2004 Crown Wallcoverings, previously one of the biggest businesses in the town, closed with the loss of more than 200 jobs. The Crown building was a large redbrick ten-storey building with numerous chimneys. In 2006 the empty building and 60-metre high (200 ft) chimney was demolished. In 2008 building work started on the site to build 79 two-bedroom apartments and 56 three-bedroom family homes. The building of these homes was halted during 2009 due to a lack of buyers because of the economic downturn.
In December 2006, Darwen's Leisure Centre closed so that a new £12.7m leisure centre could be built. The previous leisure centre's facilities were run-down and there was a crack in the pool. The new "state-of-the-art" leisure centre was planned on its original site. However, the leisure centre was left empty and untouched for over a year while original plans were scrapped, as they did not include a sports hall as the old leisure centre had. The plan was to have a split site, and the sports hall facilities would be part of Darwen Vale High School. The residents of Darwen wanted all facilities on one site, so the plans were altered. In February 2008 work began on demolishing all the buildings. The centre's original porchway was dismantled and will be rebuilt next to the White Lion pub, to act as a freestanding archway into the centre, so as to preserve its Roman Baths-style facade.
The new leisure centre opened on 29 January 2010 and features a 25-metre, 8-lane swimming pool, children's pool, activity rooms, a gym with 80 pieces of equipment, a large health suite, a cafe and a 63-space car park. The Roman-Baths-style façade was rebuilt next to the White Lion pub, providing a freestanding archway. To many residents of the town, the new leisure centre is a great success, but some dislike the architectural design of the building, and the fact that the large windows of the swimming pool look out onto the road, where passers by and standing traffic can easily see in, is a concern.
Behind the leisure centre is the new Health Centre, relocated in September 2005 from its original smaller site, which is being redeveloped into houses and apartments.
In 2006/2007 the Darwen Town Centre Masterplan was announced. It included traffic improvements, public transport improvements and new street furniture. As the A666 enters the centre, it originally split into a one-way system. However, at peak times traffic was heavy, and pollution was a worry. The Masterplan scrapped the one-way system and the original A666 one-way system towards Bolton was closed to all traffic except buses. Pavements were widened, and new street furniture and bus stops added. Cobbled roads were introduced here and the original bus station in front of the Market was made smaller to make a larger area for events and pedestrians. The A666 was redirected along the previous one-way system to Blackburn to make a two-way road. However, at one point a small one-way system occurs as the road was not wide enough for two-way traffic. The A666 now passes both ways in front of the new leisure centre. This was given the go-ahead and implemented in the following years.
Another part of the masterplan was to demolish the three-day market and build a new one 200 metres/yards away so that an open day market and events area could be used. However, no more information has been announced on this.
The most controversial recent project was the new £49m Darwen Academy, built in the Redearth Triangle on the outskirts of the town centre across from Sainsbury's. The plans of the Darwen Aldridge Community Academy were first shown over five years ago, and since then the residents of Redearth Triangle fought a legal battle to stay in their homes. The battle went on for almost a year and ended up in the High Court. However, residents lost the battle and ended up moving to other accommodation. Demolition began late 2007 and building work took place soon after. Darwen Aldridge Community Academy was officially opened in 2011 by Prince William and Kate Middleton only a few months before their wedding. The Academy and sixth form have both made record breaking GCSE and A-Level results in 2011. Labour leader Ed Miliband also visited the school in 2011.
Culture and Community
The Darwen News published a Maudley Medley on 9 March 1878 which still resigns in popularity today:
- 'Tween two hillsides, both bleak and barren,"
- Lies lovely little "Dirty Darren" 
In Lancashire dialect, the name Darwen is pronounced Darren, and the locals refer to themselves as Darreners. They are generally resistant to any attempts at submerging the identity of the town within Blackburn. A motorway service area at junction 4 of the M65 motorway lies within the town, and was originally named "Blackburn Services". Following local protests it has been renamed "Blackburn with Darwen Services".
Darwen has a few footnotes in entertainment history: its theatre (now demolished) had appearances by Charlie Chaplin, and it featured in a film by Norman Wisdom. George Formby's wife was from Darwen.
The Beatles played in Darwen on Friday 25 January 1963, at the Co-operative Hall. They headlined the "The Greatest Teenage Dance" which was commissioned by the Darwen Baptist Youth Club. Support acts included The Electones, The Mike Taylor Combo and The Mustangs with Ricky Day.
Darwen Live (formerly Darwen Music Live) is a free two-day music festival held each year over the second bank holiday in May. The main stage is built outside the town hall, and other smaller music stages are usually based around the town in pubs and bars. The festival has attracted artists such as The Buzzcocks and China Crisis, as well as being a showcase for local bands.
Darwen has a brass band, named 'Darwen Brass'. The band, under MD Steve Hartley, won four consecutive first place prizes in NWCBBA (North West Counties Brass Band Association) contests in the 2009/10 season. The contest successes were in Fleeetwood, St. Helens, Preston and Tameside (competing within the 4th section). Following this success, the band was promoted to the 3rd section for the 2010/11 season and finished third at the Fleetwood contest.
The town was the home of Darwen Football Club, formed in 1870 and the first English football club to have paid professional players. The team reached the semi-final of the FA Cup in 1880-81 and played in the Football League between 1891 and 1899. The club was wound up at the end of the 2008-09 season and replaced almost immediately by A.F.C. Darwen. The new club plays in Division One of the North West Counties Football League and is based at the Anchor Ground. Darwen also has a cricket club, Darwen Cricket Club, currently based at Birch Hall Cricket Ground. The club plays in the Northern Premier Cricket League.
To the north-west of the town lies Darwen Golf Club. The characteristics of the course have changed little since the club was established in 1893. Due to its geographical location within the moors, the course is regarded as a tough test of golfing ability. From its peak viewpoint the course has panoramic views of the surrounding area as far out as Blackpool and cascades down into the shadow of Darwen Tower.
Until the Sports Centre was demolished, Darwen was home to the North West Open Karate tournament, which hosted many national and world champions. Tower Shukokai Karate Club was resident at the sports centre from 1988 and remains active. Tower's instructors, Andy Allwood, 5th Dan, and Martyn Skipper 4th Dan, both won this tournament in their respective weight categories (Allwood, heavyweight, in the 1990s and Skipper, lightweight, in 2006 after the tournament had relocated to Bury).
- Margaret Chapman (née Duxbury), an illustrator and painter
- Dick Burton golf's Open champion, 1939 (who went on to hold the Claret Jug for seven years after the Championship was suspended because of World War II)
- Bryn Haworth, British singer-songwriter was brought up in Darwen
- Edward Harwood, composer (1707–1787)
- John Harwood, Mayor of Accrington 1912–1915; raised the Accrington Pals (11 Battalion East Lancashire Regiment)
- The Potter family who among other things made paper in Darwen, were related to Beatrix Potter
- Neil Arthur, lead vocalist of 1980s group Blancmange
- Sam Wadsworth, England international footballer 1922–26. Captain of the England team. Member of the Huddersfield Town team which won a hat-trick of Football League Championships 1923–4, 1924–5, 1925–6.
- James Watson, award-winning author
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- ^ A brief history of Walpamur paint.
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- ^ Guinness Book of Records.[year needed][page needed]
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- ^ "Council Meetings". Darwen Town Council. http://www.darwentowncouncil.org.uk/meetings.html. Retrieved 2011-11-08.
- ^ "Darwen town hall shopping up and running". Lancashire Telegraph (Newsquest Media Group). 2011-07-29. http://www.lancashiretelegraph.co.uk/news/darwen/9169048.Darwen_town_hall_shopping_up_and_running/. Retrieved 2011-11-08.
- ^ "Darwen – Town Centre Trail". Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council. http://www.cottontown.org/HeritageTrail/darwenTownTrail.html. Retrieved 2011-11-08.
- ^ "Worries raised over Darwen Town Hall". Lancashire Telegraph (Newsquest Media Group). 2011-07-27. http://www.lancashiretelegraph.co.uk/news/darwen/9163461.Worries_raised_over_Darwen_Town_Hall/.
- ^ Watkinson, David (18 July 2008). "Major blow for bus lane". Lancashire Telegraph (Blackburn): p. 5.
- ^ "Lancashire councils budgeting for spending cuts". BBC News. 16 June 2010. http://news.bbc.co.uk/local/lancashire/hi/people_and_places/newsid_8741000/8741740.stm. Retrieved 24 March 2011.
- ^ Hopper, Chris (19 December 2010). "Parts of East Lancashire bus lane scheme to be revived". Lancashire Telegraph (Blackburn). http://www.thisislancashire.co.uk/news/8746986.East_Lancs_bus_scheme_could_be_back_on/. Retrieved 24 March 2011.
- ^ "More paste, less heed!". Lancashire Telegraph (Blackburn). 22 March 2005. http://www.lancashiretelegraph.co.uk/archive/2005/03/22/Lancashire+Archive/5789832.More_paste__less_heed_/. Retrieved 24 March 2011.
- ^ ""''Hands off our name''", say Darreners". Lancashire Telegraph (Blackburn). 27 May 2004. http://www.thisislancashire.co.uk/archive/2004/05/27/Lancashire+Archive/5838873.Hands_off_our_name__say_Darreners/. Retrieved 4 June 2011.
- ^ "MP steps up M65 name campaign". Lancashire Telegraph (Blackburn). 3 September 2003. http://www.thisislancashire.co.uk/archive/2003/09/03/Lancashire+Archive/5884245.MP_steps_up_M65_name_campaign/. Retrieved 4 June 2011.
- ^ "Darwen Live 2008". Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council. 25 May 2008. http://www.blackburn.gov.uk/server.php?show=ConWebDoc.37946. Retrieved 15 November 2009.
- ^ Darwen Brass.
- ^ "Darwen Brass". Brass Band Results. 2011. http://brassbandresults.co.uk/bands/darwen-brass/.
- ^ "Darwen FC and the first professional footballer". Darwen Online Blog. 5 January 2009. http://www.darwenonline.com/2009/01/darwen-fc-and-first-professional.html. Retrieved 15 November 2009.
- ^ Darwen Golf Club website.
- ^ Tower Shukokai Karate Club.
- ^ "My mate's got me a flash new Merc". Lancashire Evening Telegraph (Blackburn). 10 September 2001. http://www.thisislancashire.co.uk/archive/2001/09/10/Lancashire+Archive/6010403.My_mate_s_got_me_a_flash_new_Merc/. Retrieved 12 January 2010.
Ceremonial county of Lancashire Unitary authorities Boroughs or districts Major settlements
- Great Harwood
- Lytham St Annes
See also: List of civil parishes in Lancashire
Rivers Canals Topics
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Darwen — (Over D.), Stadt (municipal borough) in Lancashire (England), 5 km südlich von Blackburn, erst in neuerer Zeit von Bedeutung, mit (1901) 38,211 Einw., hat Baumwollspinnerei, Papier und Tapetenfabrikation, Maschinenbau und Eisengießerei … Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon
Darwen — Darwen, Over D., Fabrikstadt in der engl. Grafsch. Lancaster, (1901) 38.212 E.; Kohlengruben … Kleines Konversations-Lexikon
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