Rishton Urban District Council

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Council History

The Rishton local board was formed on November 22nd 1880, this became the Rishton Urban District Council in 1894 when the Local Board was wound up. The Urban District Council formed with just 9 Councillors and ran that way until 1920, when the number of Councillors was increased to 12, a figure which it stood at until its amalgamation into Hyndburn in 1974.

Mayors Chain in 2001
The Mayors Chain showing the REVIRESCO Lion.

The Council buildings were opened on Brook Street in 1909, built the year before, and opened in June.

Mrs. Robert Clayton, of the " Turrets," Blackburn Road, Rishton, attended the Council Chambers on the 19th September 1935, and presented a gold chain and pendant to the Chairman of the Council in memory of her late husband, Mr. Robert Clayton, J. P., to be worn by all succeeding Chairmen during their term of office. The Chairman accepted the chain, on behalf of the Council.

The Chairman of the Council reported upon a Conference held at Accrington Town Hall, on the 11th November 1943, concerning Local Government Reform at which it was resolved to make strong representations to the Government concerning the undemocratic method in which Local Authorities were having their powers in many spheres taken away from them. It was also decided at the Conference to call a further Conference of all Local Authorities in Lancashire and all Members of Parliament representing Lancashire Constituencies at which this matter would be discussed.

On the 15th April 1946, Division of the District into Wards was discussed at the Council meeting. It was Resolved - That the Chairman of the Council, the Chairman of the Building and Highways Committee, the Chairman of the Health Committee and Councillor Bridge be appointed as a Sub-Committee to investigate this matter and to report their findings to the first available meeting.

On the 7th May 1946, the Mayor, Town Clerk and other representatives of the Borough of Accrington attended and submitted their proposals for an amalgamation of districts sufficient to warrant a case being put to the Boundary Commission applying, for County Borough status. Details of the suggested scheme were put forward by the Town Clerk and supported by other representatives. At the conclusion the representatives were: thanked for the lucid way in which they had explained the proposal and were informed that consideration would be given thereto in due course.

Previous discussions having ensued as to the details of the subject and the boundaries of each ward having been agreed, it was Resolved by the Council on the 13th June 1946, that application be made to the Lancashire County Council under Section 37 of the Local Government Act, 1933, for their approval to the division of the district into four wards as defined on the map produced, with a view to the proposal, if approved, being made applicable for the next ordinary Urban District Council Election to be held in March/April 1947.

Mayors Chain in 2004
The Mayors Chain in full.

In 1947, the Council was divided into 4 wards for the purpose of the election of the Urban District Councillors, with 3 Councillors representing each ward.

In 1950, of the 28 chairmen that had previously held chair since the formation of the Council, only 9 were still alive. The Council in that year, being desirous of recognising their services presented them with a pendant. The presentation was made by Sir Robert Adcock, C. B. E., D. L., Clerk to the County Council. Shortly after this 2 of the ex chairmen passed away, Lord Hacking and Ralph Leeming Esq. This left just 8 Chairmen if you included the current one, J. W. Sanderson, Esq., J. P., one of which was J. R. Booth who had given more than 30 years service to the town as a Councillor and retired in 1947.

Rishton and Clayton Le Moors combined to form the Hyndburn Division for the purpose of electing a representative onto the Lancashire County Council during the 1940's. In 1946 F. Worsley was elected following the retirement of George Thomlinson, the current Minister of Education.

Legacy by the Will of the Late T. W. Bracewell, 9th November 1944. The Clerk read correspondence intimating that the late Mr. T. W. Bracewell by his will gave to the Council the legacy of £1,000 free of death duties, such legacy to be known as the "T. W. Bracewell Trust," the income from the sum to be distributed at Christmas among poor residents of the district. The bequest was accepted and administered in accordance with the wishes of the Testator.

On the 17th December 1966, Great Harwood and Rishton U. D. C. 's agree to amalgamate with Accrington.

6th April 1971, Accrington and 6 U. D. C. 's including Rishton agree on a merger under the Governments reorganisation proposals.

On the 5th August 1972 it was announced that the new Hyndburn council was to have 48 seats consisting of councilors from all the U. D. C. 's.

The 9th of January sees the release of a draft scheme for the first elections for the new borough council. Voting is due to take place on June the 7th.

A row broke out on the 24th February 1973, when Rishton, Great Harwood, Oswaldtwistle, and Clayton Le Moors favour the name "Hyndburn" for the new district, while Accrington, Altham and Church favour "Accrington".

The results from the 7th June elections see the Liberals holding the balance of power. Labour won 24 seats, the Conservatives 21, and the Liberals just 3 seats in the newly formed Hyndburn council.

10th July 1973 sees the last civic procession through the town. 300 people turn out to be lead by Councillor J. K. Jackson.

Chairmen of Rishton Urban District Council 1894 - 1974
1894-1897 James Hanson 1944-1946 J R Booth
1897-1899 J Marshall 1946-1948 H W Sutcliffe
1899-1901 J Whittaker 1948-1950 J Bridge
1901-1903 W Wilson 1950-1952 J W Sanderson
1903-1905 T Clayton 1952-1953 G Hoyle
1905-1906 C Heap 1953-1954 H Ramsbottom
1906-1908 J H Hothersall 1954-1956 R Lightbown
1908-1910 B Smith 1956-1957 J O’Rourke
1910-1912 H H Cormack 1957-1958 D J McNeil
1912-1914 F Pickup 1958-1959 J W Banks
1914-1915 Douglas H Hacking 1959-1960 R H Whittaker
1915-1918 J Bateson 1960-1961 J Eyre
1918-1924 R Gilroy 1961-1962 J P Ernstzen
1924-1926 J R Booth 1962-1963 J Tattersall
1926-1927 J T Hope 1963-1964 J R Aspden
1927-1928 G Knowles 1964-1965 J T Calvert
1928-1929 T W Bracewell 1965-1966 T Threlfall
1929-1931 H A Airey 1966-1967 J C MacKenzie
1931-1933 B Ainsworth 1967-1968 D J McNeil
1933-1935 R Leeming 1968-1969 L Rushton
1935-1936 J W Edmondson 1969-1970 J P Ernstzen
1936-1938 A Trengrove 1970-1971 J R Aspden
1938-1940 A Smith 1971-1972 Mrs A K M Walker
1940-1942 W Sturzaker 1972-1973 F Edmondson
1942-1944 F Worsley 1973-1974 J K Jackson

On Thursday 06 August 1998, A SCHEME to promote civic pride and community spirit in Hyndburn was set to get off the ground. The Outer Town Initiative aimed to improve the environment in the borough's outlying areas through council and private funding.

There were proposals for projects in Church, Clayton-le-Moors, Rishton, Great Harwood and Oswaldtwistle. A council report stated: "The project aims to benefit the quality of life of residents and foster civic pride by improving the environment and tackling eyesores and dereliction. It also aims to promote community life by assisting projects initiated by local groups and encouraging the involvement of young people."

Town hall chiefs were set to consult with businesses, residents and voluntary groups in the districts to discuss the scheme. A total of £200,000 was set aside and council officials were hoping to attract private funding to sponsor schemes. A list of projects has already been drawn up, ranging from building facelifts to the improvement of the centre of Oswaldtwistle.

Reported in the local press on Friday 13 August 1999 were plans for the towns in Hyndburn to be given individual councils as early as the year in a major shake-up of decision-making in the borough.

The Conservative leader of Hyndburn Borough Council Peter Britcliffe, announced plans to split the borough into five separate power bases.

Under the reorganisation, Great Harwood and Rishton, Clayton-le-Moors and Church, Accrington North, including Huncoat, Accrington South, including Baxenden and Oswaldtwistle would all have their own councils, chosen because of their roughly equal populations.

The set-up could be similar to the situation in Pendle, where five different committees decide on a specific area's issues, such as planning and housing, before final decisions are taken at full borough council level.

Hyndburn could also introduce a cabinet which would issue policy guidelines from the group in power, which was then the Conservatives.

Local representatives from each town, such as residents and traders, could also sit on the councils and influence decisions.

Each council would have its own budget, plus an area office and manager to help them find their feet.

The council is drawing up suggestions for reshaping electoral wards in the borough, which will be submitted to the Local Government Commission for England, in a bid to help them restructure the council.

A pilot scheme is set to the test the water on the new set-up in the new year - and Councillor Britcliffe believes it will be a make-or-break issue at next year's local elections.

He said: "This is our devolution revolution. We want to give power back to people in all of Hyndburn's towns and give them an arena to shout about what affects them most in their own area.

"We have got to change the way the council is run and by devolving, we will slim down the centre and make Hyndburn a more efficient, effective and dynamic local authority.

"If we are returned to power in May these councils will be set up, so it is the people's choice at the ballot box. This is a major step that will affect everyone's life."

On Friday 02 April 1999, Lancashire folk pondered their origins.

IT'S a question people field every year when they go on holiday, be it abroad or in Britain. "So what part of Lancashire do you come from then?"

  • Do people from Nelson say they are from Pendle?
  • Do folk from Bacup say Rossendale?
  • And do residents in Rishton say Hyndburn?

People have had 25 years to get used to their new identities since a massive local government shake-up brought the six districts of East Lancashire into being on April 1, 1974. Before then, each town, and many villages, had their own small councils providing services for the people of their areas.

Some people fondly look back on the days of urban districts such as Trawden, Longridge, Padiham and Church and municipal boroughs such as Nelson, Clitheroe, Bacup and Haslingden. But has local identity suffered since each of those places were incorporated into the larger districts we now pay our council taxes too?

MARGARET ARNOLD MBE served on the former Brierfield Urban District Council between 1964 and 1974 before becoming a Pendle councillor for two years. She said: "In the end I resigned, because I was not interested in what was going on in places like Barnoldswick. I am from Brierfield and I joined the council to serve Brierfield.

These new boroughs are too big and cannot keep in touch with the people the same as the smaller councils did."

COUN JOHN GREENWOOD was the last chairman of Padiham Urban District Council before it was absorbed into Burnley Borough Council in 1974, and he retires from the Burnley authority in May after 25 years service. He said: "There were a lot of arguments at the time about Padiham coming under Burnley.

"I still get people coming to me on the street and saying it was better when Padiham had its own council and it has taken a long time for people to accept the present situation."

JOHN B TAYLOR, a historian, believes the name of Rossendale was well chosen for his area. He said: "Rossendale has been an area since mediaeval times and people always associated with the valley. Of course the people who drew the lines on the maps in 1974 did not keep strictly to local identity and geography and Whitworth was never thought of as part of Rossendale.

"And people from Ramsbottom were always thought of as being from the Valley, but it was decided by the authorities in 1974 that Ramsbottom should come under Bury. But deep down, most people in Rawtenstall, Bacup and Haslingden have a liking for the Valley and I am pleased that the name Rossendale, taken up on April 1, 1974, has, by and large, stuck."

Controversy raged for many years about Darwen's incorporation into Blackburn in the 1974 changeover, with some Darreners resenting the move. When the council achieved unitary status in 1998, the council was renamed to include Darwen. But there are other parts of the borough where local identity does not quite fit in with the lines drawn on the maps.

GEOFF HUGHES, the parish clerk of North Turton Parish Council, remembers the public meetings that were held in Belmont and Edgworth when the decisions were being taken in the lead-up to 1974. He said: "There was a strong feeling that people wanted to remain in Lancashire and not be in Greater Manchester. But I would estimate that 65 per cent of the people who live in the North Turton Parish have more of an affinity with Bolton than with Blackburn.

"The old Turton Urban District Council was the largest UDC in Britain and it incorporated Harwood, Egerton, Bradshaw and Bromley Cross, which now come under Bolton. The North Turton Parish still covers a large area and the people who live here do have a strong affinity with the area."

COUNCILLOR HARRY TOOTLE, who lives in Accrington and is also a local historian, says he would never dream of putting the word Hyndburn on a letter or telling somebody where he hailed from that he lived in Hyndburn. He said: "People would not necessarily know where Hyndburn is, whereas they would be more likely to know where Accrington is. "The towns in Hyndburn still have their own boundaries and their own identities and I can't ever see anybody saying they are from Hyndburn, although of course you can never tell what time will bring."

In some areas, though, there has been a limited shift back to power being devolved to smaller areas. Blackburn with Darwen Council was one of several authorities in the country to gain independence from a county council and many commentators see unitary councils as the future.

Meanwhile, in Pendle, an innovative method of local governance has seen a system whereby each area in the borough, Brierfield, Nelson, Colne, Barrowford and Barnoldswick, has been given its own council committee to make local decisions on issues in each patch.

COUN ALAN DAVIES, the leader of Pendle Council, says that the model used in Pendle fits in with the current government's drive for greater links between council's and people. "I am sure some of those links were lost in 1974 and our decision was a deliberate strategy to bring decisions as close to the people as it is possible to do," he said."

On Friday 23 November 2001, NORDEN ward councillor Russell Davies decided to step out of the running for the 2002 Rishton ward elections in April.

The town was set to lose one of its three seats under a boundary shake-up, which transformed the area into one ward called Rishton instead of the current two.

All Hyndburn councillors were up for re-election in April after a major reshuffle which reduced the number of ward councillors from 47 to 35, the number of wards from 17 to 16.

A meeting was held between the Eachill and Norden ward councillors Ann Scaife, June Butler, Russell Davies and Stanley Horne to decide who would abstain and the mutual decision was reached.

Coun Davies, who has been ward councillor for four years, said: "My decision was based on the fact that there are two Rishton councillors who live in Rishton and that Stanley is more senior than me, so I thought it only fair to step aside and allow those three to carry on. Stanley has put a lot of work in for the party and it would be wrong of me to try and take that away. Central government is making it difficult for smaller boroughs like ourselves with this decision and there is going to be immense pressure put on the remaining councillors now. The pressure on them will be astronomical and it is unfair."

The Government Commission reviews electoral boundaries every 20 years to accommodate new houses and the demolition of older properties and after the last review in 1999 it was decided to cut down and have predominantly two-member wards.

Councillor Ann Scaife said: "Fortunately, this decision has worked out amicably in our ward, but the problem is on everybody's doorsteps. Rishton will be run by three councillors instead of four but we are part-time not full-time, so the area would be best off with four. There is a lot of work to do and it will be the same amount of work but with less people. People have jobs to go to and I don't know if I could be doing what I am doing now if I was still working".

In September 2000 an area council was formed by residents, with the backing of Hyndburn Borough Council, to promote the needs of the town.

The 16th January 2005 was a sad day for Rishtons former glories. Peter Monk passed away in hospital, after spending the previous month there. Peter was the last Council clerk for Rishton Urban District Council, and although he carried on working for Hyndburn Borough Council after, finally left to work in Preston. His family home on Woodside Avenue was left with his wife Eileen, and his children Gillian and Adam. Peter was just 69 years old, and will be remembered fondly for his work with Rishton Council.


1925 Health Report
1935 Health Report
1936 Health Report
1938 Health Report
1942 Health Report
1943 Health Report
1944 Health Report
1945 Health Report
1946 Health Report
1947 Health Report
1925 Sanitation Report
1935 Sanitation Report
1936 Sanitation Report
1945 Sanitation Report
1946 Sanitation Report
1947 Sanitation Report
2001 Area Council
2002 Area Council
2003 Area Council
2004 Area Council
2005 Area Council
2006 Area Council
2007 Area Council
2008 Area Council
2009 Area Council
2010 Area Council
2011 Area Council
2012 Area Council
2013 Area Council
2014 Area Council
1884 Pavements
1884 Lodgings
1884 Nuisances
1884 Police Law
1884 Slaughter Houses
1884 Streets
1927 Drainage
1927 Bins
1927 Lodgings
1927 Offensive Trades
1927 Tents and Sheds
1928 Nuisances
1925 26 Minutes
1935 36 Minutes
1936 37 Minutes
1937 38 Minutes
1938 39 Minutes
1939 40 Minutes
1940 41 Minutes
1941 42 Minutes
1942 43 Minutes
1943 44 Minutes
1944 45 Minutes
1945 46 Minutes
1946 47 Minutes
1947 48 Minutes
1951 52 Minutes
1952 53 Minutes
1953 54 Minutes
1884 Demolition
1884 Human Hab.1884 form for unfit for human habitation
MPs for RishtonAn entire list of M. P. s for Rishton, from 1200 to present day.
MayorsThe Mayors of Hyndburn.
Rubbish Tip


Lancashire Evening Telegraph 13th August 1999.

A Chronology of Accrington and Men of Mark, by R. S. Crossley, Published 1924.

Rishton on Record, the Festival of Britain 1951.