Rossendale


Rossendale

Infobox UK District
name = Borough of Rossendale


status = Borough
region = North West England
admincounty = Lancashire
area = Ranked 218th
138.05 km²
adminhq = Rawtenstall
onscode = 30UM
population = Ranked English district rank|ONS=30UM
English district population|ONS=30UM
English district density|ONS=30UM / km²
ethnicity = 94.9% White
3.8% S.Asian [cite web
title = Resident Population Estimates by Ethnic Group (Percentages)
publisher = Office for National Statistics
date = 30 October 2007
url = http://www.neighbourhood.statistics.gov.uk/dissemination/LeadTableView.do?a=3&b=277024&c=rossendale&d=13&e=13&g=463797&i=1001x1003x1004&m=0&r=1&s=1206563588092&enc=1&dsFamilyId=1812
accessdate = 26 August 2008
]
politics =
Rossendale Borough Council
http://www.rossendale.gov.uk/
leadership = Alternative - Sec.31
executive = English district control|ONS=30UM
mp = Janet Anderson, Greg Pope
year = 2005

Rossendale is a local government district with borough status. It is made up of a number of small former mill towns in Lancashire, England centred around the valley of the River Irwell in the industrial North West. The district combines urban with rural aspects, and is close to the more populated areas of Bury, Bolton, Burnley and Manchester.

In 2001 the population of Rossendale was 65,652 ( [http://www.statistics.gov.uk/census2001/pyramids/pages/30um.asp Government census records] ),spread between the larger towns of Bacup, Rawtenstall and Haslingden; the villages of Whitworth, Waterfoot, Helmshore, Crawshawbooth and Edenfield, as well as Cloughfold, Greave, Laund, Loveclough, Lumb, Newchurch, Rockcliffe, Shawforth, Stacksteads, Stubbins, Cowpe and Weir. The district was formed on April 1, 1974 under the Local Government Act 1972, from the municipal boroughs of Bacup, Haslingden, Rawtenstall, part of Ramsbottom urban district and Whitworth urban district.

Rossendale is twinned with the German town of Bocholt, located close to the Netherlands border.

Transport

The borough is linked by the motorway network to Manchester, Burnley and Blackburn via the A56/M65 and M66 motorways. Bordering Greater Manchester southwards, it is 17.4 miles to Deansgate (City Centre) via the Edenfield by-pass and M66, about 30 minutes in a car. However it can take up to an hour in busy periods. Alternatively 'B' roads can be taken via Edenfield, Walmersley, Whitefield, and Broughton.

There was once a rail link south to Manchester via Bury, but this was closed in 1966 as part of cuts following the Beeching Report. Part of the old railway reopened in 1991 as the East Lancashire Railway operating a service from Rawtenstall to Bury via Ramsbottom and Summerseat, and manned by volunteers. In September 2003 an eastbound extension from Bury to Heywood was opened. The line is now just over 12 miles long and is open every weekend of the year. There are aspirations to redevelop this line as a link to Manchester providing a commuter service.

The area is well served by public transport, with bus services provided mainly by Rossendale Transport and Burnley & Pendle as well as Northern Blue. Transport timetables can be found on the [http://www.transportforlancashire.com/timetables/timetables.asp Lancashire County Council website] .

History and industry

Rossendale is part of the Forest of Rossendale, which consists of the steep-sided valleys of the River Irwell and its tributaries, which flow from the Pennines southwards to Manchester and cut through the moorland which is characteristic of the area. It was given the designation of "forest" in medieval times denoting a hunting reserve.

The larger settlements grew into market towns, typically through the late Middle Ages. Farming and a cottage woollen industry developed during the reign of Henry VIII, but Rossendale's population only really expanded during the period of the Industrial Revolution. The population was 16,033 in 1801; in 1901 it had grown to 89,540 ("relevant censuses"). Its wet and damp climate are ideally suited to the development of watermills, and later to the mechanisation of the wool and cotton spinning and weaving industries in the 18th and 19th centuries. In the middle of the 19th Century a felt industry developed, and from this the manufacturing of slippers so that footwear also became a major employer in the area. [A Rossendale Anthology; Ronald Digby; Forest Press, Bacup 1969 ]

The area became one of the cradles of the Industrial Revolution, and was known as 'The Golden Valley'. There was great hardship among working people during this time, but many fortunes were made among the mill-owning classes. [ Lancashire - The First Industrial Society; Chris Aspin; Carnegie 1995; ISBN 1-85936-016-5 ] There was large-scale immigration from Ireland to find work building the railways and in the mills, which led to several instances of serious civil disturbances between the two communities. Michael Davitt, the Irish republican leader was among these immigrants, settling in Haslingden, where he received his education after losing an arm at the age of 11 in a mill accident.

The area is also notable for its quarrying, and Rossendale Flagstone was used widely throughout the country in the 19th century. The flagstones in Trafalgar Square in London were quarried in Rossendale. [Building Blocks; D. Revell and A. Baldwin; 1985; ISBN 0-947738-13-4] Upland farming is still carried out, largely of sheep but also of cattle. The history of Rossendale is well documented, largely through the efforts of the historian Chris Aspin, a specialist on the textile industry, and Derek Pilkington, whose efforts led to the preservation of Higher Mill in Helmshore, now Helmshore Mills Textile Museum.

The Whitworth Doctors were local surgeons and bone setters whose reputation spread far and wide, so that they treated patients from throughout the country, including Princess Elisabeth and the Archbishop of Canterbury. In 1819 William Hewitt described them as "the most remarkable men of their class that ever appeared in England".

With the steady decline of the cotton industry Rossendale suffered from serious economic decline which has only recently halted, and the area still has pockets of poverty. However, the opening of fast road connections with Manchester, allied to the attractiveness of the local countryside has meant that Rossendale has developed a sizeable commuter population. In its wake this is bringing some signs of economic revival, and Rawtenstall in particular now houses a number of shops that sell niche fashion and luxury consumer goods alongside Asda and Tesco superstores. This, coupled with redevelopment plans to regenerate the Valley Precinct and bus depot (both in Rawtenstall), are intended to attract more businesses and visitors into Rossendale.

R.S. Ireland (The Real Lancashire Black Pudding Co.) is based near Waterfoot; a family run business of specialist Black Pudding Makers, using only traditional methods and with a recipe dating back to 1879. Rawtenstall has Fitzpatricks Herbal Health, this is the last remaining functioning temperance bar in England, that makes and sells its own non-alcoholic drinks, such as sarsaparilla, black beers, and blood tonic.

Talks of turning the current railway into a commercial commuter line would be an obvious advantage to the area, and the idea of applying for the [http://www.metrolink.co.uk/ Metrolink] system to be extended to Rossendale are probably a long way off. Existing plans to extend to Rochdale, Oldham, Tameside and Manchester Airport have been put on hold, estimated to cost around £900 million. [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/manchester/5152948.stm Documented by the BBC here] .

Etymology

The name "Rossendale" first appeared in 1292. A record of the name as "Rocendal" (1242) suggests Celtic "ros" "moor, heath", with Old English dæl "dale, valley", hence "moor valley" i.e. the valley of the River Irwell. [ Oxford Dictionary of British Place Names; A.D. Mills; OUP 1991; ISBN 0-19-852758-6.]

The Arts in Rossendale

Rossendale is the home to a large community of artists with several painters' studios, many of which are centred on the area around Waterfoot. A theatre and arts centre known as 'The Boo' is the home of the Horse and Bamboo Theatre Company who specialise in visual theatre, often using distinctive masks. The Littoral Arts Trust, dedicated to arts, social and environmental research is based in the Rossendale Valley. The first part of the Irwell Sculpture Trail runs from Deerplay, above Bacup, to Stubbins.

The actress Jane Horrocks was born in Rawtenstall, Rossendale, and the composer Alan Rawsthorne was born in Haslingden. Betty Jackson, the fashion designer, is a native of Bacup.

In the eighteenth and nineteenth century the Larks of Dean were an unusual group of working-class musicians whose music-making at the Baptist Chapel in Goodshaw Fold became an important local feature. There is also a brass band tradition as well as an amateur theatre scene.

There has been a long tradition of dialect poetry and writing in Rossendale. Local poets have included Andrew Houston ("The Rossendale Bard"), Walter Hargreaves ("Shepster") and Clifford Heyworth ("Bill o' Bows"). wrote many of his poems, and is a favourite spot for walkers - a popular activity in Rossendale that does not appear to be in decline.

The Halo is an artwork in the form of an 18m-diameter steel lattice structure supported on a tripod overlooking Haslingden in Rossendale, positioned to be clearly visible from the M66 and A56 approach to Lancashire. It is lit after dark using low-energy LEDs powered by an adjacent wind turbine. It is the fourth Panopticon in Lancashire. It, and the adjacent landscaped area at Top o'Slate, was opened to the public in September 2007, and was designed by John Kennedy of LandLab.

Sports and entertainment

Three Rossendale towns have cricket clubs in the Lancashire League - Bacup, Haslingden, and Rawtenstall. The overseas professionals who are associated with the League have therefore often lived in the Rossendale Valley. For example, Everton Weekes was long associated with Bacup; Clive Lloyd with Haslingden.

The popular comedy series, The League of Gentlemen is apparently based upon Rossendale (and perhaps Bacup in particular), playing upon stereotypes and exaggerations of the area. Subsequently, the producers filmed in various northern towns, one of which was Bacup itself, which Jeremy Dyson (writer) and Steve Pemberton (actor) proclaimed, "Bacup was the furthest we went into Lancashire. Bacup was our hot favourite, but it was too frightening - when we arrived there was this cartoon drunk with a bottle shaking his fist at us. Bacup in real life was worse than Royston Vasey". http://www.geocities.com/gwaddingham/log.htm

Various towns within the Rossendale valley were used for filming scenes of the BBC TV series Hetty Wainthropp Investigates during the 1990s.

The area has a sizeable ski slope, appropriately named Ski Rossendale, which attracts many visitors. The slope has spawned and aided the Brass brothers, Steve Bailey and Danny Wheeler; and more recently Johnny Greenwood, Colum Mytton and Molly Percival to fame in the snowboarding world.

Rossendale also hosts the [http://www.rossendale-bikeshow.co.uk/ Rossendale Motorbike Show] which brings in motorcycle enthusiasts from across the country.

Based in Nelson, the [http://www.rmscc.co.uk Rossendale Model Stock Car Club] races scalextric-like 1/32 scale model stock cars.

References

Notable residents

*Natalie Casey - Actress/Presenter (Hollyoaks)
*Jane Horrocks - Actress
*Ted Robbins - Actor/Comedian (Phoenix Nights)
*William Roache - Actor
*Phil Neville - Football Star (Everton)
*Sam Aston - Actor (Coronation Street)
*Emily Aston - Actress
*Jennie McAlpine - Actress (Coronation Street)
*Andy Kershaw - DJ/reporter
*Liz Kershaw - DJ

External links

* [http://www.rossendale.gov.uk/site/index.php Rossendale council website]
* [http://www.rossendalebus.co.uk Rossendale Transport website]
* [http://www.rltrust.co.uk/ski_rossendale.asp Ski Rossendale]
* [http://www.the-stags.co.uk/home.asp Rossendale United F.C.]
* [http://www.rossendalerugby.co.uk/ Rossendale Rugby Union Club]
* [http://www.therossendalefreepress.co.uk/ Rossendale Free Press]
* [http://www.rossendale-bikeshow.co.uk/ Rossendale Motorbike Show]
* [http://www.east-lancs-rly.co.uk/index2.php East Lancashire Railway Website]
* [http://www.rsireland.co.uk R.S.Ireland website - black puddings]
* [http://www.fitzpatricks1890.co.uk/index.php?page=home Fitzpatricks Temperance Bar website]
* [http://www.horseandbamboo.org Horse + Bamboo Theatre website]
* [http://www.lancashire.gov.uk/education/museums/helmshore/index.asp Higher Mill Textile Museum]
* [http://www.rossendaleonline.co.uk/gallery Photos of Rossendale]
* [http://www.rossendaleradio.co.uk/ New Rossendale radio station, launching 2009]


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