infobox UK place
country = England
population= 16,849 (2001 Census)
region= North West England
constituency_westminster= Hyndburn, Rossendale and Darwen
postcode_district = BB4
Haslingden is a small town in the
Rossendale Valleyin Lancashire, lying 19 miles (30 km) north of Manchester. The name means 'valley of the hazels', though the town is in fact set on a high and windy hill. In the early 20th century it was an independent borough, but following local government reorganisation in 1974 it became part of the Borough of Rossendale. In 1831 there was a population of 7,776. It forms part of a conurbation with Bacupand Rawtenstall.
Haslingden is the birthplace of the composer
Alan Rawsthorne(1905-1971), was the home for many years of the Irish Republican leader, Michael Davitt(1846-1906), and Haslingden Cricket Club is a member of the noteworthy Lancashire League.
Part of what is now Haslingden, along with that of the neighbouring towns of
Rawtenstalland beyond that Bacupwere part of the Forest of Blackburnshire, that part being the Forest of Rossendale. The Forest was a hunting park during the late 13th and 14th centuries; 'Forest' referred to it being parkland rather than being heavily wooded, as the forest declined much earlier, during the Neolithic period.
Haslingden grew from a market town (a market was established in 1676) and later a coaching station to a significant industrial borough during the period of the
Industrial Revolution. In particular with the mechanisation of the wooland cottonspinning and weavingindustries from the 18th to the 19th centuries, and with the development of watermills, and later steam power.
Haslingden was incorporated as a
municipal boroughin 1891. In the 20th century the population declined from 19,000 in the 1911 census to 15,000 in the 1971 census. The 2001 census recorded a population of 16,849 living in the town.
Haslingden is notable for its stone quarrying, and Haslingden Flagstone (a quartz-based sandstone) was exported throughout the country in the 19th century with the opening up of the rail network. It was used in the paving of
London, including Trafalgar Square.
Flagstone is a type of sedimentary rock, relatively easy to split or quarry in slabs, and hence ideal for paving. Locally it is also used for making fences and roofing. There are Upper and Lower Haslingden Flagstones and the name is given to layers of the stone that appear throughout the area (not only in Haslingden) although the most spectacular examples are in the Rossendale valley.
Anglicanparish church, St. James', was built in the 18th century on a site occupied by a church building since at least 1284. In that year a deed of gift of the Earl of Lincolnto the monks of Stanlaw granted them the parish of Whalley. When they later took possession and had a valuation of its assets done, they recorded at Haslingden one of the parish's seven independent chapelries. Beside the Memorial Gardens, the Manchester Road MethodistChurch is a classic building with an Italian-inspired interior.
The Public Hall
The Public Hall was opened in 1868 and built by a private company formed by 'gentlemen representing the
working classes and temperance movement'. It was bought by the town council in 1898 but is now largely unused.Used for 50 or more years by Rossendale Amateur Operatic Society, and other local groups, the hall was closed by Rossendale Council in 2005 after an audit commission found them to be the worst council in the country (bar none).Fact|date=March 2008The hall has since been sold by the council to an Asian group and is in the process of being turned into a mosque.The public hall was once a venue of Winston Churchillduring his early political career. Emmeline Pankhurstonce addressed the people of Haslingden from the stage and, after the Battle of the Sommein 1916, it was a temporary hospital for the survivors of the Accrington Palswho were sent home for treatment.
WesleyanSchool formerly on the site of the current health centrewas the was the first site in the world to introduce standardised intelligence tests for five to six year olds. [http://archive.thisislancashire.co.uk/1995/10/13/865041.html] Haslingden High Schoolis a specialist arts college.
Mechanics' Instituteand opened in 1860, it became the [http://www.lancashire.gov.uk/libraries/librarydetails/libsearch1.asp?name=Haslingden public library] in 1905. A blue plaque commemorates Michael Davitt. The young Davitt migrated to Haslingden with his family to escape the effects of the 1840s Irish Potato Famine. He began working in a cotton mill but at the age of 11 his right arm was entangled in a cogwheel and mangled so bad it had to be amputated. When he recovered from his operation a local benefactor, John Dean, helped to give him an education. He also started night classes at the Mechanics' Institute and used its library. Michael Davitt's family home from 1867-1870 on Wilkinson Street is now marked by a memorial plaque.
Haslingden was once connected to
Accringtonand Buryby railway (Rush, 1983). The East Lancashire Railway built a station here, which remained open under British Railwaysuntil the 1960s, when the line was closed due to the Beeching Report(Wells and Bentley, 2000). Much of the trackbed of the railway is no longer visible, with the A56 by-pass built over it between Grane Road and Blackburn Road, however, the line can still be traced through Helmshoretowards Stubbinswhere several magnificent viaducts still remain.
Other notable places
The town centre is home to the famous Big Lamp originally erected in 1841 and from where all distances in Haslingden are measured, although the original lamp has been replaced by a replica. Cissy Green's Bakery can be found on Deardengate. People visit from across
Lancashireto sample the handmade pies which are still made to the original 1920s recipe. To the north of the town is the Holland's Piesfactory, and Winfield's, a large warehouse-style retail development selling footwear and clothing, and promoting itself as a family day out.
Snighole("eel-hole") in Helmshoreis a well-known beauty spot. The Grane Valley including three reservoirs to the west of the town is popular with walkers, but there are also lovely walks in all directions.
Victoria Park has a
bowling green, children's playground, skateboard parkand ball court. The top of the park affords wonderful views of Musbury Hill.
St. James' Churchyard also gives lovely views towards Accrington and down into the old railway cutting which now houses the Haslingden bypass.But the best views are from the Halo on Top o'Slate.
The Halo is a Panopticon artwork sited in the hills above Haslingen as the centrepiece of a reclaimed landscape. It glows at night and is an unusual landmark, and an impressive viewpoint.
Michael Davitt- in 2006 a revamped memorial to Davitt was unveiled by the Irish President Mary McAleesein Wilkinson Street as part of the Davitt centenary celebrations.
Indian cricketer Vinoo Mankadplayed for the town's Lancashire League cricket team.
West Indiesand Lancashire C.C.C. cricketer Clive Lloydalso played for Haslingden in the early days of his career.
* Rush, R.W. (1983) "The East Lancashire Railway", The Oakwood Press, ISBN 0-85361-295-1
* Wells, J. and Bentley, E.F. (2000) "Bury to Heywood & Rawtenstall", Scenes from the past: 33 - East Lancashire Lines, p.99-100, Foxline, ISBN 1-870119-56-8
* Dunleavy, J. "Davitt's Haslingden"
* Aspin, C. (1976) "Gone Cricket Mad: The Haslingden Club in the Victorian Era", Helmshore Local History Society, ISBN 0950072583
* (1987) "Now & Then: Haslingden and Helmshore", Rossendale: Millgate, ISBN 1870788001
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