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Farnworth Town Hall.jpg
Farnworth Town Hall
Grid reference: SD735057
Location: 53°32’53"N, 2°24’-0"W
Population: 30,271  (2011)
Post town: Bolton
Postcode: BL4
Dialling code: 01204
Local Government
Council: Bolton
Bolton South East

Farnworth is a town in Lancashire's industrialised belt, two miles south-east of Bolton and five miles south-west of Bury.

The townh stands beside the River Irwell and the River Croal. At the 2011 Census, it had a recorded population of 30,271.

The name 'Farnworth' derives from the Old English fearn weorþ an enclosure. Farnworth was recorded as Farneworth and Farnewrth in 1278 and 1279 and as Ffornword in a land survey of 1282.[1]


Middle Ages

Farnworth was originally a hamlet in Barton. In the 13th century it was held by the Lords of Barton and Manchester. By 1320 Adam Lever, Richard Hulton and Richard Redford held the manor as tenants. Later the manor was acquired by the Hultons of Over Hulton. In 1666 there were 91 hearths in Farnworth liable to pay tax. The commons were enclosed in 1798. There was a watermill on the River Croal.[1]

Industrial Revolution

The town expanded rapidly in the 18th and 19th centuries around the coal mining industry. The collieries were part of an extensive mine complex, the Worsley Navigable Levels whose underground canals stretched from the Delph at Worsley and linked the mines to the Bridgewater Canal. Other industry included iron foundries and cotton mills.

The owner of Farnworth Paper mills, T. B. Crompton, patented a continuous-drying process which contributed to the mechanisation of papermaking in 1821.

The adjoining open land of Halshaw Moor became an area for recreation for the town, hosting the annual Halshaw Moor Wakes that were described as:

a saturnalia which was first celebrated in September, 1827, when bull-baiting, badger-baiting, dog fighting, cock fighting, foot racing in almost a state of nudity, grinning through a horse collar, eating a dishful of scalding hot porridge without milk and feeding themselves with their bare hands, and even the more disgusting exhibition of eating a pound of tallow candles, and stripping the wicks through their teeth for wagers, were amongst the orgies on these occasions.[2]

Community facilities

Farnworth Library

Farnworth's Carnegie Library on Market Street is one of the many Carnegie libraries established by the industrialist and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie. The library was built in 1911 and is constructed of red brick with ashlar sandstone dressings, and flat roofed areas surrounding a central dome. It is designated as a Grade II listed building.[3]

Farnworth Little Theatre, established in 1948, is an amateur theatre group and is situated on Cross Street.[4]

The town has two leisure centres. The first is Farnworth Leisure Centre with a swimming pool and is located on Brackley Street.[5] The second one is Harper Green Community Leisure Centre and is located on Harper Green Road.[6]

Farnworth has a number of parks and recreation grounds.[7] The largest is Farnworth Park, close to the town centre, has undergone redevelopment as part of Bolton Council's Children's Strategy.[7] There is also Ellesmere Park on the west side of the town centre, Bradford Street Recreation Ground in New Bury, and Doe Hey Playing Fields in Harper Green.[7]

Royal Bolton Hospital (formerly known as the Fishpool Institution, Townleys Hospital, and Bolton General Hospital) is in Farnworth. An Emergency Department was added when Bolton Royal Infirmary in Bolton closed in the early 1990s and moved to the Farnworth site.

St Gregory's Catholic Club in Farnworth was used to film television comedy Phoenix Nights.


St John the Evangelist's, Farnworth
  • Church of England:
    • St John the Evangelist, consecrated in 1826.[8]
    • St Catharine's Church (shared with the Methodist Church)
    • St George's Church[9]
    • Closed churches: St Thomas' Church, Albert Road (1878-1996), All Saints' Church, Moses Gate (1909-2007), St Peter's Church, Bradford Street (1886-2007, demolished 2012), St James' Church (1864/5-2013).[10][11]
  • Baptist: Farnworth Baptist Church[12]
  • Methodist: Trinity Methodist Church[13]
  • United Reformed Church[14]
  • Salvation Army: Salvation Army Citadel[15]
  • Roman Catholic: Our Lady of Lourdes' Church


  • Cricket: Farnworth Cricket Club, founded in 1870
  • Football: Farnworth F.C. (youth football)[16]
  • Hockey: Farnworth's Harper Green

Outside links

("Wikimedia Commons" has material
about Farnworth)


  1. 1.0 1.1 [1] A History of the County of Lancaster - Volume : {{{2}}} (Victoria County History)
  2. Dyson, Simeon: Rural congregationalism; or Farnworth as it was fifty to seventy years ago: with humorous sketches and anecdotes, illustrating Lancashire manners and customs (1881) page 81
  3. National Heritage List 1113256: Farnworth Carnegie Library
  4. Farnworth Little Theatre
  5. Farnworth Leisure Centre
  6. Harper Green Community Leisure Centre
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Parks, pitches and courts (Bolton Council)
  8. The Church of St John the Evangelist, Farnworth
  9. The Seven Saints Team
  10. Farnworth-with-Kearsley (OnLine Parish Clerks for the County of Lancashire)
  11. Information on Farnworth  from GENUKI
  12. Farnworth Baptist Church
  13. Trinity Methodist in Farnworth
  14. Farnworth URC
  15. Farnworth Salvation Army
  16. Farnworth F.C.
  • Ashmore, Owen (1969), Industrial Archaeology of Lancashire, David & Charles, ISBN 0-7153-4339-4 
  • Mills, A. D. (1998), Dictionary of English Place-Names, Oxford, ISBN 0-19-280074-4 
  • Barton, Benjamin Thomas (1887). History of Farnworth and Kersley (sic). Bolton: The Daily Chronicle.