Accrington

more than a famous football team…….
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Accrington, Lancashire as viewed from the Coppice Nature Reserve.

The factory chimneys of past eras have long since disappeared but the legacy of Accrington’s history as a centre of cotton-weaving, engineering and manufacturing is ever-present in the street-plan of the town and buildings such as the old Howard and Bullough factory in the middle distance and the former Karrimor factory in the centre-right foreground.

 

The photographs which follow show aspects of Accrington’s history and living heritage as well as the town’s surprising connections with American art nouveau glass and with a classic and much-loved children’s book. 

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Accrington Town Hall with the Market Hall to the right

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The grand portico of the Town Hall, Accrington

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Allegorical figures of Agriculture and Abundance on the Market Hall, Accrington

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Two views of Accrington’s Carnegie Library

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Accrington’s late Victorian and Edwardian civic architecture

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The former Children’s Library built in 1937 – inspiration for generations of young minds

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The historic St James’s Church in Accrington

The back of the former Cannon Street Baptist Church on Willow Street, which was built in the 1870s in a fashionable Gothic Revival style. The Modernist former Children’s Library of the 1930s is to the left.

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The former Conservative Club in Cannon Street, Accrington, which was tragically destroyed in a fire in 2016. Built in 1891 with money provided by wealthy industrialist John Bullough, it was, at that time, the largest Conservative Club in England.

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Entrance to the Victorian Arcade on Church Street.

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The former Liberal Club on Eagle Street, now converted into apartments.

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Worth the wait. Queuing for delicious fish, chips and mushy peas outside the Abbey Friar, Abbey Street, Accrington. Abb-solutely perfect!

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Waiting for renewal. Accringtonians with long memories may remember Saul's, an old-style grocery shop of a type which preceded the modern streamlined supermarkets of today. Saul's, with its boxes of tinned food and resident cats, occupied these premises in the 1960s. Despite appearances to the contrary, the structure seems intact and is situated on Black Abbey Street, which still retains some of Accrington's most historic buildings. Please click on this link for more information and references to Accrington's pre-industrial history of farming, hand-loom weaving and a mysterious gardener known as 'Tulip Johnny'.  More information of architectural and historic interest can be found here.

Astonishingly, just days after I took this photograph and before I unwittingly added the above photo and text to my website, this ancient Grade II listed building was badly damaged in a fire. What an unexpected and very sad loss.

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The church of St. John the Evangelist, home of the Memorial Chapel to the Accrington Pals.

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Remembering the Pals on Broadway in Accrington’s town centre.

On 21st February 2015 a valedictory service was held for the Pals at the Church of St John the Evangelist. The Church was built to seat a congregation of several hundred but on that day, as reported in the Accrington Observer, an overflowing number of attendees 'filled even the aisles'. St John's now houses the Memorial Chapel to the Pals where regular services are held. The photograph in this link © Alyson and Andrew Jackson, 1999, shows the chapel with three stained glass windows. Two of these date from the early 20th Century but the third which can be glimpsed on the right, was designed by contemporary stained glass artist Jane Gray and shows St Mark with his symbol of the winged lion. The figures stand against a vivid blue background enriched with yellow stars, a design inspired by the face of St Mark's clock on the Torre dell'Orologio, in the Piazza San Marco, Venice.

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Haworth Art Gallery, known as Hollins Hill in former times, was the home of siblings William and Anne Haworth. It is now a museum and home to Europe’s largest public collection of Tiffany glass. This amazing encounter between American Art Nouveau glass and English Arts and Crafts architecture, windows and interiors was facilitated by Joseph Briggs. 2021 is a very special anniversary year for the Haworth as it celebrates its centenary. 

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Haworth Art Gallery with stone gargoyles and rhododendrons May 2021

Oak Hill Mansion in Oak Hill Park was built during the Regency period, c.1815 for Thomas Hargreaves of the nearby Broad Oak Printworks. Thomas was a very successful businessman, as was his son, Jonathan, who married Anna Harland. One of Thomas’s granddaughters-in-law called Alice became extremely famous! She was Alice Liddell who, as a ten-year-old child, was the inspiration for Lewis Carroll's 'Alice in Wonderland’. Jonathan’s son, Reginald Gervis Hargreaves, who was born at Oak Hill in Accrington, married Alice Liddell in 1880 and thereafter she was known as Alice Hargreaves. Please see more information alongside the photographs below and by clicking on this link.

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Entrance to the Parkinson Rock Garden, Oak Hill Park, Accrington. Click on the green link to read more about Oak Hill Park and the fascinating connection with Alice Liddell, Lewis Carroll and 'Alice in Wonderland’

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Chinese-style pavilion and the Cenotaph, viewed from the Rock Garden in Oak Hill Park

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One of the miniature bridges in The Parkinson Rock Garden, Oak Hill Park. A small ‘wonderland’ for generations of children in Accrington, since it was created in 1932.

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Two views of Oak Hill Park Mansion, a house with notable links to English manufacturing and literature in the form of the Hargreaves family of Broad Oak, calico printing and ‘Alice’.

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‘Hanami’ - viewing cherry blossom in Accrington’s quiet residential streets, Spring 2019

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Trees in the Nature Reserve below the Coppice, May 2021

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Bluebells in Oak Hill Park, May 2021

Echoes of the countryside on the façade of the Market Hall, Accrington

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The colours of the Coppice

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The beautiful countryside of East Lancashire

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Whalley Abbey, April 2019

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Winter at Whalley Abbey, 2003

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Wild landscapes in the Forest of Bowland between Slaidburn in East Lancashire and High Bentham in North Yorkshire.

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Accrington viewed from the Coppice

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A view of Pendle Hill and the East Lancashire countryside from the Coppice