Bob Walsh is a name illustrious with Rishton. Bob started his own business by selling firewood. From here he became a coalman, to eventually owning half of Rishton, and making a bob or two in the process.
It is said in the town that people wouldn't begrudge Bob a penny of it either. What he had, he had worked hard for.
Bob went into partnership with 6 other people, there was Bob himself, Ted Edmondson, Albert Dawson, Loll Hacking, Albert Dawson who was a Grocer, and A. N. Other 1, possible Jackson's plumbing who had a shop near the canal bridge on High Street.
The six, so I am lead to believe all chipped in, and it was Bobs job to buy property. The property was rented out, and more properties bought. How Bob came to be the sole owner of them all I have yet to find out.
Robert Walsh lived in Wharf Street, in a bungalow that built on there near to Master Barn Farm, and was living at this address in 1951. When his days of selling coal and firewood were over, he bought a poultry farm. This was near to the canal, at the top of Rishton. It was about this time that Bob was told by a close friend that he had been offered Victoria Street to buy, from the then mill owner who was struggling financially. The friend, who I believe to be Mr. T. A. Pacynko of Spring Street, couldn't raise the capital quickly enough to be able to buy the entire street, and mentioned the deal in passing to Bob.
Bob approached the mill owner and quickly did a deal to buy the whole street for £150.00. This was Bobs first property buy in his own right.
Buying the garage at Whitebirk, Bob applied for a flat to be built over the top of it but his chest was worsening by now, and the building was sold.
Bob moved again, this time into Vine House on Station road. His next, and final move was to buy Barnston from Elsie Smith, have the building demolished, and his own custom house built in its place next to the reservoir.
Bob went on to marry and had 3 children;
- Robert junior, who was born in 1941
- John, born in 1946
- and Peter, born December 1955.
Bob would employ Jobbers to carry out work in his properties in the early days, and continued to buy and rent houses out.
Bob had made most of his money by buying shares into companies, and buying houses around the town outright.
Robert Walsh junior took over the family business. Young Bob, as he became known, carried on buying, renovating, and renting, but soon found it hard going, renovating the properties was taking its toll on the capital and Bob eased off renovating the properties. Fortunately, the grant system was introduced and Bob applied for grants against all of his properties to renovate them. For this he created "Rishton Heating Group" and set up the company in the former building which was the Skating Rink.
About the same time, Bob won the contract from the council to fit heating systems in all the council houses in Rishton and Rishton Heating Group continued until business until the grant work was finished. He then used the company to run his renting business.
Young Bobs own son took over the business next, and he started to buy the mills. Daisy field Mill was the first to be bought, and after some thought, was split into small units which were rented out. Rishton Paper Mill was next, and the same happened here.
The family home was still Barnston in 2005, and many relatives of the Walsh's can be found around Rishton.