Bamber Bridge

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Bamber Bridge
Bamber Bridge Library - - 166306.jpg
The former Bamber Bridge Library
Grid reference: SD564265
Location: 53°43’59"N, 2°39’36"W
Population: 13,945  (2011[1])
Post town: Preston
Postcode: PR5
Dialling code: 01772
Local Government
Council: South Ribble
Ribble Valley

Bamber Bridge is a large suburban village in Lancashire, three miles south-east of the city of Preston. Its name derives from the Old English "bēam" and "brycg", which probably means "tree-trunk bridge". It is mentioned in an undated mediæval document.[2] Bamber Bridge is often referred to as "the Brig" by residents. People born in Bamber Bridge are known as "Briggers". The total population for the three Bamber Bridge Wards was 12,126 at the 2001 census, increasing to a total of 13,945 at the 2011 Census.



By 1764 calico printing had been established in what was then a village; this was the first example of calico printing anywhere in Lancashire. Previously had been mainly carried out in the south of England, before spreading to Scotland and the northern counties.[3][4]

In 1857, as a result of the downturn in the cotton trade, a large manufacturer and spinner in the village (Bamber Bridge SP & WN Co.) reported liabilities estimated at £40,000 to £60,000, and were about to go on short time.[5]

On 31 October 1859, the Withy Trees Mill in the village, owned by Eccles and Company, burnt down. It was reported that the spinning-master and engineer had stayed on after the mill had closed at 6:00 pm to repair some machinery on the third floor. A spark from a lamp is said to have dropped on some cotton waste, igniting it. Nobody was killed or injured, but between 16,000 and 17,000 spindles and 270 looms were destroyed and 250 people lost their jobs.[6]

On 7 June 1862, The Times stated that 600 hands had been thrown out of work with the stoppage of Dewhurst's Mill. The same report described the economic problems of the village: 1 in 5 people in Bamber Bridge and Walton-le-Dale and the surrounding area were now reduced to pauperism.[7]

A petition against the recognition of the Confederate States of America was presented to the House of Commons on Monday, 29 June 1863, by a villager, a Mr Barnes. No mention is made of his first name or whether he represented any organisation.[8]

The trade unionist George Woodcock was born in Bamber Bridge on 20 October 1904. He was a voluntary official of the Bamber Bridge branch of the Weavers' Association after a spell of tuberculosis. He won a TUC scholarship to Ruskin College, Oxford in 1929. He was awarded the CBE in 1953 and appointed a member of the Privy Council in 1957. He was General Secretary of the TUC in 1960 and a member of the Royal Commission on Trade Unions and Employers' Associations in 1965 and served as chairman from 1969 to 1971. He died on 30 October 1979.[9][10]

During the Second World War, Bamber Bridge was home to the 1511 Quatermaster Truck regiment. The unit was racially segregated, and all of the soldiers except the officers were African American. Tensions in the wake of the 1943 Detroit race riot caused a major fight, known as the Battle of Bamber Bridge to break out between white American military police on one side, and black American soldiers and townsfolk on the other.



The first railway through Bamber Bridge was the horsedrawn Lancaster Canal Tramroad, which connected two parts of the Lancaster Canal, and crossed Station Road.

The steam-hauled railway came to Bamber Bridge around the same time as the first cotton mills. A line was built connecting Blackburn with the West Coast Main Line at Farington, with a branch connecting Bamber Bridge directly to Preston. A station was built where the railway crossed Station Road at a level crossing.

The stretch of track through the village was first owned by the East Lancashire Railway, then the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway following incorporation in 1847.

In March 1859, a Hurricane engine bolted off the rails at Bamber Bridge, ran across the level crossings and caught the end of a house, knocking down the gable end. The accident did not end with any death or injury, even though a woman was washing in the kitchen of the house.[11]

The railway was then amalgamated into the London and North Western Railway in 1922, and twelve months later became part of the London, Midland and Scottish Railway (LMS). The LMS plaque was still in existence on the station subway buildings before their demolition in 2005 due to dilapidation.

The line from Farington to Blackburn is now part of the East Lancashire Line.

The direct route to Preston was closed by British Rail in the 1970s, and most of the route is now a cycle route, forming part of the National Cycle Network.


Station Road is the main road through Bamber Bridge, and most of the shops are on this road. It crosses the railway at a level crossing next to the railway station. It was formerly part of the A6, until a bypass was built in the 1980s.[12]

The village is also at the northern end of the A49, where it meets the A6.

The section of the M6 motorway around the village is part of the Preston Bypass opened in 1958,[13] the first motorway in Britain, and includes the junction with the M61 from Manchester. More recently the M65 has been extended to join the A6, also in Bamber Bridge.


Bamber Bridge railway station has hourly direct trains to Preston, Lytham St Annes, Blackpool South, Blackburn, Accrington and Burnley and various railway stations in between. Trains to Bradford, Leeds, York and Blackpool North that pass through the unmanned station normally require a change at either Blackburn or Preston, except for one service each way daily which calls at Bamber Bridge. On Sundays between April and October, the "Dalesrail" service operates from Blackpool North to Carlisle via Blackburn, Clitheroe and the Settle–Carlisle Line, calling at Bamber Bridge.


Bamber Bridge has two Anglican churches, both parish churches in the Diocese of Blackburn. The first to be built was St Saviour's Church, on Church Road at the south end of the village, was built in 1837 on land given by Mr. R. Townley Parker (Guild mayor of Preston in 1862) and was considerably altered and enlarged in 1886/87, when the altered church was opened by Lord Cranbourne. The land for the churchyard was donated by Mr. R. A. Tatton of Cuerden Hall.[14] It is a Grade-II listed building.[15] St Aidan's Church, on Station Road, was founded in 1895.[16]

The village's Roman Catholic church, St Mary's, is on Brownedge Lane, and was built in 1826, as a replacement for a chapel. A spire was added in 1866, and the church was partly rebuilt by Peter Paul Pugin in 1892. The church has a neo-gothic altar.[17] Bamber Bridge is in the Diocese of Salford.

Bamber Bridge Methodist Church is on the corner of Wesley Street and Station Road, and was opened in 2006, as a replacement for an older building on the same site.[18]

Bamber Bridge is also home to Valley Church[19] which meets in Fourfields House on Station Road. The church was planted in 2007 by Pastors Ed and Michele Carter, with the vision of 'empowering a new generation'. Valley Church is a church plant from Fulwood Free Methodist Church[20] and originally met in Walton-le-Dale Arts College and High School before outgrowing the facilities there and moving to Fourfields House in 2011. The church meets twice every Sunday for services with vibrant music and life-relevant teaching.

Altar designed by Peter Paul Pugin. Located within Brownedge St Mary's & St Benedict's RC Church, Brownedge Lane  
St Aidan's Anglican Church, Station Road  
St Saviour's Anglican Church, Church Road  
St Mary's RC Church, Brownedge Lane  
New Methodist Church in Bamber Bridge, completed in 2006  

Notable people

  • Kevin Brown (born 1950), a blues musician was born in Bamber Bridge.[21]


("Wikimedia Commons" has material
about Bamber Bridge)
  1. "2001 census returns for the three Bamber Bridge Wards". Neighbourhood Statistics. Office For National Statistics. Retrieved 10 March 2016. 
  2. "Bamber Bridge" A. D. Mills, A Dictionary of British Place-Names. Oxford University Press, 2003.
  3. The Times, Friday, 27 June 1913; p. 31; Issue 40249; col B
  4. The Calico Printing Industry of Lancastria in the 1840s by K. L. Wallwork. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, No. 45. (September , 1968), pp. 143-156.
  5. The Times, Wednesday, 27 May 1857; p. 10; Issue 22691; col F
  6. The Times, Friday, 4 November 1859; p. 4; Issue 23455; col E
  7. The Times, Saturday, 7 June 1862; p. 12; Issue 24266; col F
  8. The Times, Tuesday, 30 June 1863; p. 7; Issue 24598; col D
  9. The Times, Monday, 19 November 1979; p. 25; Issue 60478; col C
  10. Geoffrey Goodman, "Woodcock, George (1904–1979)", Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004
  11. The Times, Monday, 14 March 1859; p. 9; Issue 23253; col F
  12. "A6 - Roader's Digest: The SABRE Wiki". 18 November 2016. Retrieved 4 April 2017. 
  13. "Motorway Database » M6". CBRD. 5 December 2008. Retrieved 4 April 2017. 
  14. "Church database". GENUKI.,GR=249,FT=Bamber%20Bridge%20St%20Saviour%20Church%20Road%20Church%20of%20England. Retrieved 4 April 2017. 
  15. "Detailed Record: Church of St Saviour, Church Road, Bamber Bridge, South Ribble, Lancashire". Images of England. English Heritage. Retrieved 1 October 2008. 
  16. "Church database". GENUKI.,GR=248,FT=Bamber%20Bridge%20St%20Aidan%20Station%20Road%20Church%20of%20England. Retrieved 4 April 2017. 
  17. "St Mary's Brownedge, Bamber Bridge". Retrieved 4 April 2017. 
  18. "Bamber Bridge Methodist Church". Bamber Bridge Methodist Church. Retrieved 4 April 2017. 
  19. "Valley Church — Welcome Home". Retrieved 4 April 2017. 
  20. "Fulwood Free Methodist Church | Be Disciples, Make Disciples". Retrieved 4 April 2017. 
  21. Bluesweb. "Dixiefrog Records". Retrieved 4 April 2017.