Chorley Historical and Archaeological Society

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Feb 2014

Fri  14 Feb 2014

This afternoon called at Back Lane, Clayton-le-Woods. The site of the Leyland / Clayton underground reservoir is now filled in and the footing foundations for the new houses are being constructed.


Tue 11 Feb 2014
Stephen Halliwell - Moses Holden 1777-1864. Astronomer and much, much more.

As a member of the Preston Society for 35 years, Stephen said that he came across the name of Moses Holden when researching into Preston’s ‘Learned Societies’. Holden was one of the prime movers of Preston’s Mechanics’ Institute, which aim was the ‘diffusion of useful knowledge’. Holden was also an instigator of the temperance movement, although not an abstainer from alcohol himself.
Stephen’s research into Holden’s life and achievements led him to state not only should his name be better known but deserves a blue plaque in the town.

Stephen Halliwell

The son of a hand loom weaver he was born in Bolton in 1777. At age 5, the family moved to Preston. He was a keen learner and was inspired by tales of Jeremiah Horrocks who witnessed the transit of Venus. During his formative years he taught himself astronomy and mathematics and during his life he purchased many books.
He was a member of the Methodist church and was a good orator. Although not an ordained minister he did an 18 month evangelical tour of the Fylde. This consisted of a fortnightly cycle of visits preaching in many villages around the area. He had a lifelong involvement with Sunday schools, bible groups and an association with Christ Church, Preston.
With his interest in astronomy and science in general he was involved at the outset in Preston’s Mechanics’ Institute. He made telescopes and microscopes and was able to grind his own lenses. He also made an orrery, a mechanised clockwork instrument that demonstrated the relative positions and movements of planets and moons. He made the clock for Christ Church, Preston, which now resides in a room in County Hall, Preston.
Being a promoter of the ‘diffusion of useful knowledge’ Holden did lecture tours. Particularly, triennial lectures at Theatre Royal, Preston. These consisted of 3 lectures every 3 year years. A fourth lecture was given to the working man with an admission cost of 6d.

Between 1815 and 1828 he toured northern towns with his lecture tours, taking his orrery with him. He also wrote a celestial handbook and almanac. He received testimonials from well connected friends and associates, which helped further promote Holden’s interests.
Holden was a keen correspondent with newspapers writing many articles on scientific subjects, all in the name of the ‘diffusion of useful knowledge’.
Stephen’s interesting talk through light on the life of a man who achieved much and left many wondering why there is no blue plaque in the name of Moses Holden.

P. Robinson.

Moses Holden
(1777 - 1864)


 added Sun 02 Feb 2014


The Origin of Park Road
A 7min 55sec video about the history of Park Road by Allan Fearon