Chorley Historical and Archaeological Society

News and Views

Mar 2007 Apr 2007 May 2007 Jun 2007 Jul 2007
Aug 2007 Sep 2007 Oct 2007 Nov 2007 Dec 2007
Jan 2008 Feb 2008 Mar 2008 Apr 2008 May 2008


Feb 2008


Sat 23 Feb 2008

Parliamentary Papers

On 23rd February, John Harrison attended a Study Day on Parliamentary Papers at the Institute of Local and Family History at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLAN).
Parliamentary papers are produced by, for or at the request of the Houses of Parliament. There are many different kinds of paper, covering a huge variety of topics. They give a wonderful insight into the nature and workings of society, particularly from the 19th century onwards with the impact of industrialisation and urbanisation. The investigations, reports and regulations provide a wealth of material from the well-known Commissions investigating factory conditions through to obscure reports on Window Cleaner Accidents!
All these papers (50,000 just from the nineteenth century) have been published and indexed for many years. Complete sets are held in the libraries of Lancaster, Liverpool and Manchester Universities. However, they have now all been digitised and are on-line at
The second part of the Study Day involved hands-on experience of exploring this huge web site. By putting “Chorley” into the search engine John found thousands of references, starting in the 18th century with the 1715 Jacobite rebellion, Turnpikes, Enclosure Act, Canals and the separation of the parish from Croston. He hardly had time to dabble into the 19th century and did not have time to get into all the 20th century papers.

It is also possible to search by name, although this is not advised if you are interested in “John Smith”! John has been gathering information about the great Victorian Civil Engineer and Public Heath investigator, Robert Rawlinson, and was fascinated to discover dozens of references to him. He was also able to find details of 1920 pension payments to one of his wife’s ancestors, who had been Chief Warder at Preston Prison.
Access to the site is via an “Athens” password. Some similar password-guarded sites can be accessed via our public library, so John will be checking this out. Watch this space!
Future events at the Institute of Local and Family History include:-
•29 March: On the Parish. The Poor Law and its records pre-1834.
•19 April: Please Sir, I want some more: The Poor Law and its records, 1834-1948.
•10 May: Using Field Work: Interpreting buildings and landscape in local history.
Further details can be obtained from:-
Department of Humanities,
University of Central Lancashire,
Tel: 01772 893053

Tue 19 Feb 2008

While walking along Bolton Road Chorley near the junction with the new Myles Standish way I had a look at the sad building of Duxbury Lodge, the East Gate House. It has been empty for many years and apparently a grade 2 listed building. It is open to the elements and vandals. The interior has been ransacked and set on fire. Such a shame for such a former excellent building.  BH.

Tue 12 Feb 2008

Steve Williams on the Chorley Pals remembered (1914 – 1919)

When the Great War broke out in 1914 Captain James Milton from Chorley took steps to form a ‘Pals’ battalion in Chorley and district. By the 3rd September, thirty men had signed up and they were eventually formed into a Company to join a newly raised battalion at Accrington. By the end of September the Chorley Pals Company as they became known was up to full strength, with some 212 men and 3 Officers. They became C Company of the 7th Battalion of the East Lancashire Regiment, although this was changed to the 11th Battalion on the 10th December 1914, known thereafter as the ‘Accrington Pals’ (although men from Chorley, Blackburn and Burnley were in the ranks).

Thanks to the 'Chorley Pals Memorial' website for the text and images.

Market Street, Chorley, recruitment office.


Sat - Sun 9-10 Feb 2008


38 members and friends sped off to the Capital to view the ‘Terracotta Army’ and ‘Tutankhamun’ exhibitions. What a wonderful experience we had. The Terracotta Army soldiers were intended to protect Qin Shihuang – First Emporor of China – who lived from 259-210 B.C. He became King of Qin at the age of 13.
Around 7000 Terracotta soldiers have been found along with Bronze chariots, birds and real horses. The figures and artefacts on exhibit had you awestruck with the enormity and intensity of detail and time spent in their making. Although both exhibitions were ticket timed- we still had a ¾ hr wait to enter the Tutankhamun exhibition, but the wait was blown a way on entry.


some of the Terracotta Army

Tutankhamun became King at the age of 9yrs. and reigned until his death at the age of 19 (circa 1332-1322 BC ). His family tree is recorded as possibly stretching from Tiye and Amenhotep 111 through Nefertiti, Akhenaten, & Kiya to Ankhenamun and himself.
His forebears brought a whirlwind of change to Egypt, and he was left to reap the harvest of his father’s heresy. (Sunday Times)
It was wonderful to see so many artefacts made out of wood, marble and gold, finely and immaculately painted and engraved with wonderful colours and symbols and still looking as fresh today as they were all those centuries ago.
A wonderful weekend was had by all and the weather added to this by being like an Indian Summer in February.

an image from David Wilding.

a group photo from Dot Waring.


Tue 05 Feb 2008

Yarrow Valley Country Park Advisory Group.

Joan and Boyd attended the ‘Yarrow Valley Country Park Advisory Group’ meeting at Birkacre, Chorley. A first draft of a proposed constitution was circulated so that the group can be formalised as an independent group separate from Chorley Council. This would be a requirement if the group is to be able to apply for grants. The Yarrow Valley User Survey for 2007 was also circulated and provided lots if statistical information about the visitors to the park. Some interesting facts are as follows:
Most visitors (35%) are over 60, though there has been some increase in visitors under 18 (11% in 2005 to 14% in 2007).
Most people (41%) live between 2 and 5 miles of the park.
Most people (74%) arrive by car though here is some increase by bicycle (3% in 2005 to 6% in 2007).
The existing three history pamphlets available for the park are to be combined into a new and updated one, probably a fold-out A3 size.