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Haslingden hills.jpg
A view of Haslingden
Grid reference: SD783232
Location: 53°42’18"N, 2°19’41"W
Population: 16,849  (2001)
Post town: Rossendale
Postcode: BB4
Dialling code: 01706
Local Government
Council: Rossendale

Haslingden is a town in central Lancashire, in the hills 19 miles north of Manchester. The name means 'valley of the hazels'. At the time of the 2001 census the town had a population of 16,849.

The town's birth as a modern town was at the Industrial Revolution, and at one time it was busy with mills, though it is an older place. Haslingden became a market town in 1676 and was later a coaching station. The Industrial Revolution transformed it in the nineteenth century, like many Lancashire towns, from a country town into a centre of industrial weaving.


Part of what is now Haslingden, along with that of the neighbouring towns of Rawtenstall and beyond that Bacup were part of the Forest of Blackburnshire, that part being the Forest of Rossendale. The Forest was a hunting park during the late 13th and 14th centuries; 'Forest' referred to it being parkland rather than being heavily wooded, as the forest declined much earlier, during the Neolithic period.

Haslingden grew from a market town (a market was established in 1676) and later a coaching station to a significant industrial borough during the period of the Industrial Revolution. In particular with the mechanisation of the wool and cotton spinning and weaving industries from the 18th to the 19th centuries, and with the development of watermills, and later steam power.

Haslingden was incorporated as a municipal borough in 1891. In the 20th century the population declined from 19,000 in the 1911 census to 15,000 in the 1971 census. The 2001 census recorded a population of 16,849 living in the town.


Haslingden's parish church is St James. The church is considered to be the highest parish church above sea level in England.

St James's Church was built in the 18th century on a site occupied by a church building since at least 1284. In that year a deed of gift of the Earl of Lincoln to the monks of Stanlaw granted them the parish of Whalley. When they later took possession and had a valuation of its assets done, they recorded at Haslingden one of the parish's seven independent chapelries.

Beside the Memorial Gardens, the Manchester Road Methodist Church is a classic building with an Italian-inspired interior.


Haslingden is known for its stone quarrying, and Haslingden Flag (a quartz-based sandstone) was exported throughout the country in the 19th century with the opening up of the rail network. It was used in the paving of London, including Trafalgar Square.

Flagstone is a type of sedimentary rock, relatively easy to split or quarry in slabs, and hence ideal for paving. Locally it is also used for making fences and roofing. There are Upper and Lower Haslingden Flagstones and the name is given to layers of the stone that appear throughout the area (not only in Haslingden) although the most spectacular examples are in the Rossendale valley.

In more recent times, Camfil Farr have become the biggest employer in the town. From humble beginnings in 1971 as Automet filtration the air filtration manufacturer has grown organically and by acquisition by Camfil Farr group in 1997. Today Camfil Farr occupy a large site on Knowsley Road and employ in excess of 200 people.

Sights of the town

The Public Hall

The Public Hall was opened in 1868 and built by a private company formed by 'gentlemen representing the working classes and temperance movement'. It was bought by the town council in 1898 but is now largely unused.

The public hall was once a venue of Winston Churchill during his early political career. Emmeline Pankhurst once addressed the people of Haslingden from the stage and, after the Battle of the Somme in 1916, it was a temporary hospital for the survivors of the Accrington Pals who were sent home for treatment.

Used for 50 or more years by Rossendale Amateur Operatic Society, and other local groups, the hall was closed by the Council in 2005 after an audit commission found them to be the worst council in the country and this was shown in the published league tables of the time. The hall has since been sold by the council to a group claiming to represent the Asian heritage community and has been turned by them into a mosque.

The library

Originally Haslingden Mechanics' Institute and opened in 1860, it became the public library in 1905. A blue plaque commemorates Michael Davitt. The young Davitt migrated to Haslingden with his family to escape the effects of the 1840s Irish Potato Famine. He began working in a cotton mill but at the age of 11 his right arm was entangled in a cogwheel and mangled so bad it had to be amputated. When he recovered from his operation a local benefactor, John Dean, helped to give him an education. He also started night classes at the Mechanics' Institute and used its library. Michael Davitt's family home from 1867-1870 on Wilkinson Street is now marked by a memorial plaque.


The Big Lamp was originally erected in 1841; the point from where all distances in Haslingden are measured. The original lamp has been replaced by a replica, the original being lost after being taken to America.

Haslingden's War Memorial is unusual in that it has no names recorded on it. To the northeast there is a 2 kW digital television transmitter serving a wide area.

Cissy Green's Bakery can be found on Deardengate. People visit from across Lancashire to sample the handmade pies which are still made to the original 1920s recipe.

The Holland's Pies factory is north of the town as is, and Winfield's, a large warehouse-style retail development selling footwear and clothing, and promoting itself as a family day out.

Beauty spots

Calf Hey Reservoir in Grane Valley
Haslingden Halo

There is an extensive area of moorland to the east of Haslingden. These moors are divided into Oswaldtwistle Moor and Haslingden Moor. The area forms part of the West Pennine Moors. Plans were made in 2007 to build a wind farm consisting of twelve wind turbines on the moors. This attracted both support and opposition, but the plan was approved by councillors in 2010.[1] Further developments have yet to take place, and the plan remains controversial.

The nearby Snighole (eel-hole) in Helmshore is a well-known beauty spot. The Grane Valley including three reservoirs to the west of the town is popular with walkers.

Victoria Park has a bowling green, children's playground, skateboard park and ball court. The top of the park affords views of Musbury Hill.

The Halo

The Halo is a Panopticon artwork which opened in 2007 and is sited in the hills above Haslingen as the centrepiece of a reclaimed landscape. It glows at night and is an unusual landmark, with an impressive viewpoint.

Outside links


  • Rush, R.W. (1983) The East Lancashire Railway, The Oakwood Press, ISBN 0-85361-295-1
  • Wells, J. and Bentley, E.F. (2000) Bury to Heywood & Rawtenstall, Scenes from the past: 33 - East Lancashire Lines, p. 99-100, Foxline, ISBN 1-870119-56-8
  • Dunleavy, J. Davitt's Haslingden
  • Aspin, C. (1976) Gone Cricket Mad: The Haslingden Club in the Victorian Era, Helmshore Local History Society, ISBN 0-9500725-8-3
  • (1987) Now & Then: Haslingden and Helmshore, Rossendale: Millgate, ISBN 1-870788-00-1