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Rawtenstall (Lancashire)

Rawtenstall shown within Lancashire
Population 22,000
OS grid reference SD808226
District Rossendale
Shire county Lancashire
Region North West
Constituent country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Postcode district BB4
Dialling code 01706
Police Lancashire
Fire Lancashire
Ambulance North West
European Parliament North West England
UK Parliament Rossendale and Darwen
List of places: UKEnglandLancashire

Coordinates: 53°41'56?N 2°17'28?W? / ?53.699, -2.291

Rawtenstall is a town at the centre of the Rossendale Valley, in Lancashire, England. It is the seat for the Borough of Rossendale, in which it is located.


[edit] History

The name Rawtenstall has been given two possible interpretations. The older is a combination of the Middle English routen (‘to roar or bellow’), from the Old Norse rauta and the Old English stall ‘pool in a river’ (Ekwall 1922, 92). The second, more recent one, relates to Rawtenstall’s identification as a cattle farm in 1324 and combines the Old English ruh ‘rough’ and tun-stall ‘the site of a farm’ (Mills 1991, 269), or possibly, ‘buildings occupied when cattle were pastured on high ground’ (Mills 1976, 125).

The earliest settlement at Rawtenstall was probably in the early medieval period, during the time when it formed part of the Forest of Rossendale in the Honour of Clitheroe, and consisted of simple dwellings for forest servants and animals. More substantial buildings may have followed in the 15th and 16th centuries with corn and flour mills.

The town entered a major period of growth during the Industrial Revolution, as new mills were constructed to process cotton. The climate and weather were conducive to the industry, as was the town's nearby location to the rapidly developing industrial and mercantile centre at Manchester, dubbed 'Cottonopolis'. Only a few of these mills survive today, though none are operational any more. During this period, David Whitehead and his brother became important entrepreneurs in the town. They built a number of mills, including one of the earliest mills in the valley, at Lower Mill, and the still existing Ilex Mill. They also built substantial houses for themselves at Holly Mount, as well as large numbers of terraced houses for their workers. The population of Rawtenstall quadrupled in the first half of the 19th century and would double again in the second half. Other industries active in this period included quarrying and small scale coalmining, as well as an expanding commercial sector.

Rawtenstall was incorporated as a municipal borough in 1891. As with many small mid-Lancashire towns, it saw a population decline in the 20th century, going from 30,000 inhabitants in the 1911 census to 21,500 in the 1971 census. Under the Local Government Act 1972, the town became part of the Rossendale district with other settlements. With the decline of the traditional manufacturing industries, shoemaking became one of the last survivors. The firm of H. W. Tricketts, in nearby Waterfoot, had been a major producer and exporter of footwear across the British Empire, but eventually the last shoemaking firms closed as production moved overseas.

[edit] Governance

Rawtenstall is part of the Rossendale and Darwen constituency, after the constituency of Rossendale was abolished in 1983. The constituency sends one Member of Parliament to the House of Commons. The current MP is Janet Anderson, of the Labour Party. As of August, 2007, Lancashire County Council is controlled by Labour, but the local council, Rossendale Borough Council, is controlled by the Conservative Party.

[edit] Geography

Its neighbouring communities in the valley are Bacup, Haslingden and Ramsbottom. The area is bounded to the north by Loveclough and Whitewell Bottom, to the east by Waterfoot and Cowpe and to the south by Townsend Fold and Horncliffe. The River Irwell passes through the town on the first part of its route between Bacup and Manchester. Over recent years the area has become increasingly popular with visitors, attracted by historic buildings, dramatic landscapes and fine walking country.

[edit] Transport

The town is served locally by Rossendale Transport, with a large bus station close to the centre, as well as frequent express services to Burnley, Nelson and Manchester run by Transdev Burnley & Pendle. Rawtenstall railway station also serves the town, but since the closure of the main line to Manchester, it now operates mainly as a tourist route, as part of the East Lancashire Railway, of which Rawtenstall station forms the northern terminus. The M66 motorway from Manchester is linked to Rawtenstall via the A56 bypass, allowing for a driving time between Manchester and Rawtenstall of around half an hour.

[edit] Education

The town has a number of primary and secondary (high) schools, including Alder Grange Community and Technology School. Though located in Waterfoot, rather than Rawtenstall, the independent Bacup and Rawtenstall Grammar School takes part of its name from the town.

Rawtenstall also has a public library, built in 1906 with Carnegie funding.[1]

[edit] Culture and community

The Rossendale Valley's local newspaper, the Rossendale Free Press is based here. Rawtenstall also has one of the largest indoor markets in Rossendale (a sign declaring it to be "probably the friendliest market in the world") and is home to the North of England's largest dry ski-slope. Ski Rossendale is located five minutes outside of Rawtenstall town centre in the Oakenhead area, directly above Whitaker Park and Rossendale Museum.

It is also home to the traditional herbalist and temperance bar Fitzpatrick's Herbal Health, who claim to be the oldest brewers of sarsaparilla and dandelion and burdock in the country. Fitzpatrick's gained television acclaim in April 2005 when managers Gareth "G" Hawden and Chris Law won The Famous Sarsaparilla taste-off on ITV.

Rawtenstall Cricket Club, who compete in the Lancashire League, have their home ground, Worswick Memorial Ground within the town.

Police facilities in Rawtenstall are one of five sites used for the training of new recruits to the Lancashire Constabulary. Rawtenstall is also the location of the area's county and magistrates' courts.

Whitaker Park is located on the outskirts of the town centre, and consists of the former house of the mill owner George Hardman, set in extensive landscaped grounds. Donated to the township in the early 20th century for the purposes of civic recreation, the house now contains the Rossendale Museum, whilst the gardens and surrounding land are laid out as a public park. The museum contains exhibits of local history, or displays of the house as it was originally. Part of it is used to house an extensive exhibition of taxidermy, whilst other areas are used to display art. The park itself has tennis courts, a bowling green, basketball court, a playground and an aviary, as well as formal gardens and fountains.

[edit] Other

Rawtenstall was featured in the television programme Who Do You Think You Are? which was aired on BBC2 at 9PM on 2nd February 2006. The subject, actress Jane Horrocks, was born in Rawtenstall in 1964.

The Irwell Sculpture Trail also runs through the town, where four of the sculptures are located; the Whispering Wall, the Gateway, the Willow Tree and the Bocholt Tree. The last celebrates Rossendale's twinning links with the town of Bocholt, Germany.

[edit] Notable people

The historian and antiquarian George Ormerod lived in Rawtenstall for a brief period in 1808.

[edit] References

[edit] External links

(Source: Wikipedia)
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