Chorley Historical and Archaeological Society

News and Views

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Jan 2015

Tue 13 Jan 2015
Dr Eric Isaac – ‘Man on the Moor’

Eric said he had earned his PhD on research into sediment in Anglezarke reservoirs and later taught geography and geology.
With a large number of slides he explained how geological faults under the moors led to mineralisation and without these factors there would have been no human activity there.
His talk spanned 4,500 years beginning with the ice melting away. Evidence of early man’s activity came from examples of flint scrapers and arrowheads. Eric invited questions and comments from the audience and Boyd said the society’s website held a detailed report on flint finds around Rivington. [Survey and Excavation on the Anglezarke Uplands, Lancashire (1996)]

Most of his talk, though, focused on the last 200 years. Records showed that Anglezarke’s population exceeded 200 in mid 19th century. The last census showed it was now around 30.
Mining to extract stone for grindstones, a Black Coppice speciality, is evidenced by bills of laden. Aerial photographs evidenced areas that grew crops, such as turnips and oats, on the moors, mainly for feed for horses.
More modern evidence of man’s activity was trenches that were dug in straight lines. These were dug by unemployed men in the 1930’s with the aim of increasing the flow of water off the moors. His research revealed, however, that a slower water flow caused less sediment than a faster flow.

Dr Isaac and a de-commissioned Lee Enfield

Eric brought with him numerous exhibits that included a Canadian made rifle. It was used by Canadian soldiers of the 1st Toronto Rifles who trained on the moors 1943 in preparation for the Dieppe landings.
His informative talk that was sprinkled with humour, concluded with modern man’s activity in the form of the Winter Hill transmitters.

Peter Robinson

Jan 2015
Old Leyland Reservoir Memorial Garden,
Clayton Green, Clayton-le-Woods, Chorley

If you have travelled along the A6 Preston Road through Clayton-le-Woods opposite the Pines Hotel you may have noticed this mound by the road. It is a 1/4 scale (linear) representation of the surface features of the original Leyland Water Supply Reservoir that was demolished in 2013.

The reservoir was located at the junction of Fiddler’s Lane and Back Lane, Clayton-le-Woods PR6 7QA. No trace of the reservoir remains as the site has now been used for new houses. An illustrated information board is currently being designed by Chorley Historical and Archaeological Society and this will be erected on site.

The underground reservoir was built in 1883 to give Leyland its first clean and reliable public water supply.
It was of brick vaulted construction with a capacity of 1,530 cu/m. (336,000 gall).
The water came from a nearby deep well and was pumped, using steam power, up to the reservoir for storage.
It then flowed by gravity through an 8in cast iron pipe via Back Lane and Lancaster Lane to Leyland, 3.8km to the west.
As the Victorian Industrial Revolution gained momentum one of the main restrictions on progress was the inadequacy of water supplies.
The majority of water in towns was obtained from unreliable local wells and there were frequent outbreaks of sickness attributed to its poor quality.
Industry was also affected as water supplies were insufficient for its needs.

The underground reservoir photographed in 1980

Before demolition in 2013 the site was opened to the public for 2 weeks by Kingswood Homes, the building company. Over 20,000 people visited in that short period.

People queuing to visit the reservoir in Oct 2013

This is the view that visitors had in Oct 2013

After demolition the site was cleared for building.

Two houses now occupy the site where the reservoir used to be.