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Image Number: 676


To the west of the Pendle towns lies Clitheroe, a small, ancient market town and borough, located 30 miles to the north west of Manchester and 20 miles north east of Preston. The town had been but a minor market town until the onset of the Industrial Revolution, when Clitheroe became a centre for cotton spinning and weaving, as well as textile machinery making, particularly the manufacture of power looms. Clitheroe's early mills were water-powered, drawing power from the River Ribble, the banks of which were rich in natural limestone, thus supplying quicklime and plaster for building throughout Lancashire.

"No more beautiful nor even romantic country in its way can you find in Lancashire than that which lies at the foot of Pendle, stretching away in all directions rich and green, through many undulations of field and moorland, to distant hills and fells, with the Ribble and the Hodder flowing between. On a lofty limestone crag, not far away from Pendle, is the Castle-keep of Clitheroe lifting itself squarely from a fringe of shrubs and trees, and with the town clustered about it or straying away to the lower ground. There is still an old-world atmosphere about Clitheroe - once held in repute for "Lime, Law and Latin" - and in few other places will you find a contrast of its kind so sharp as that which exists here, the ruined keep of a Norman stronghold looking down, across a short interval of space, to a modern spinning mill. The town looks more like a place where men should buy and sell cattle - which, indeed, they still do on certain fair days held here - than the habitat of the spindle and the loom, both of which are busy, however, in the production of such fabrics as muslins, jacconettes, cambrics and printers' cloths. When you have left Clitheroe behind you, and through richly-verdured and leafy lanes, have reached Pendle, you should climb the steep sides of that hill where the sheep are pastured, for when you have reached the top of the ridge you will have a great prospect before you, turn wherever you will."

~ John Mortimer, "Industrial Lancashire: Some Manufacturing Towns and Their Surroundings", (1897).


"From Pendle, passing a little way to the south west, you come to Longridge Fell, and from the further point of that elongated ridge you see below you the half-agricultural, half-manufacturing village of Longridge, where they weave cambrics, jacconettes, and fancy muslins, and across the Ribble Valley the chimneys, spires and towers of Proud Preston assert themselves."

~ John Mortimer, "Industrial Lancashire: Some Manufacturing Towns and Their Surroundings", (1897).


Located to the south of Preston, on the edge of the West Pennine moors, is the town of Chorley. A market town since 1498 to date, Chorley's cotton industry engaged in spinning, weaving and calico printing.

"At this town, which stands on its own eminence near the springs of the River Chor, you are nearly in the middle of the county, and here, with collieries scattered about and stone quarries, you have much cotton spinning, weaving of muslins and calicoes, and likewise calico printing. They employ here about three hundred and eighty-two thousand spindles, and about nine thousand looms, and at the last census over twenty-three thousand persons were resident in the parish. Among the public buildings is a Town Hall, built in the Italian style, with a clock tower, from which the accompanying view of Chorley is taken."

~ John Mortimer, "Industrial Lancashire: Some Manufacturing Towns and Their Surroundings", (1897).


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