on the road out of Rishton heading towards Great Harwood, Lee Lane was
originally a dirt track. Now the B6535.
Once the canal was
built and a bridge built over it at Norden, the track was still only wide enough
for a single cart, this was in 1810. By 1814 a deep depression in the land was
filled in, but still Lee Lane remained a single-track path.
In the 1930s Captain Petre from the Dunkenhalgh Estate gave land for a road widening scheme, which was to
include any bends being eliminated as much as possible, footpaths constructed
and the gradient of the road improved.
started on the 6th April
1936, and John Booth, Chairperson of the Buildings and Highway Committee
officially opened the road on The 3rd August 1938. A red, white and blue ribbon
was placed over the road for this official ceremony.
The council surveyor reported at a council meeting on the 7th May 1936, that
work had commenced on the Lee Lane widening scheme on the 6th April. Quotations
were presented for the supply and delivery of reinforcement bars for the
Culvert, also 2,000 linear yards of 6" x 12" Stone edging, and a the supply and
delivery of Inspection frames and covers, along with arterial road type gulley
frames and grates. The quotations from Messrs. The grip Steel Bar Co., Ltd., for
reinforced bars was accepted, and the quotation of Messrs. Peacock Bros (Mellor)
Ltd., for 6" x 12" stone flags, and finally the quotation of John Grundy Ltd,
The quote received from Messrs
Brookes Ltd was accepted by Rishton Council for the supply of stone flags 2 1/2
inch thick, non-slippery, reconstructed, in June 1937. These were to be used for
the pavements on both sides of the new road. A tender was received for the
supply of wood pegs and edgings. This was from George Harwood at a price 2d per
linear foot fixed. This was accepted.
On the 2nd September it was
resolved by the local council that Gas lamps were to be fixed on both sides of
Lee Lane, the type of lamp being deferred until a report was received regarding
a new type of lamp currently being experimented upon.
On October the 7th, The surveyor
hired light petrol rollers for use on Lee Lane surfacing, from Accrington and
Blackburn. The footpath from the Great Harwood boundary to Tottleworth road was
to be billed to Great Harwood Urban District Council. Following an inspection of
the street lamps on Lee Lane, there were 10 complete sets fitted on the South
side of the road, and the 10 existing lamps on the north side were to be changed
to the new type.
On the 2nd June 1938, The surveyor
referred to the lighting conditions at Lee Lane corner, and submitted an
estimate from Blackburn Corporation Electricity Undertaking of the costs of the
removal of the existing street lamp to a new position and the provision of an
additional lamp. Resolved that the surveyor be instructed to obtain an estimate
from the gas undertaking for improving lighting conditions at Lee Lane corner on
the lines indicated.
The surveyor presented an estimate
from the Electricity Undertaking for the removing and re-erecting in a new
position the existing lamp at Lee Lane corner and erection of an additional lamp
between Lee Lane corner and Norden, together with an estimate from the Gas
Undertaking for the supply and erection of a gas unit to replace the existing
electric unit at Lee Lane corner and an additional unit between Lee Lane Corner
and Norden. Resolved that the estimate from the gas under taking be accepted and
the work placed in hand. This was on the 5th July 1938.
A letter was
received from Great Harwood Urban District Council in April 1939, requesting
that support should be given to an application to the County Council for them to
consider the commencement of work at an early date on the proposed road from Lee
Lane corner to the Arterial Road at Whitebirk. The council was of the opinion
that the proposal was at present impractical.
implications should this have happened! The road would have gone from the corner
of Lee Lane at its junction with Wilpshire Road, running North of the Great
Harwood Loop line.
It would certainly have cut through some
beautiful countryside, but it would have also given rise to further housing in
the district, and possibly some new industrial estates (especially in this day
There's a lot of reasonably flat land through there imagine the factories they
could have built (Mullards etc) perhaps with direct access to one of the
railways and the houses, services needed to support them.
The entire area
of "Rishton North" would have been created!
During the Second
World War oil drums were placed along the side of Lee Lane and lit on moonlit
nights. This produced an evil smelling smoke, which covered the entire area and
was burnt to disguise the Bristol aircraft factory at Clayton Le Moors.
The Council Surveyor reported that he had been informed by
representatives of the Ministry of Works and Buildings and the Ministry of Home
Security, on the 11th December 1941, that it was their intention to erect temporary wooden buildings on
sites in Lee Lane and Blackburn Road respectively for use as sleeping quarters
for the military.
The gaps in the thorn fence at Lee Lane
were to be made good by new planting it was reported on the 8th April 1943.
The question of the removal of the wood fences at Lee
Lane and the replacement of thorn bushes were discussed on the 9th September
1943 in a Council meeting, it was to be left to Councillor Leeming and the
Surveyor with power to act accordingly. In the top photo on this page, the wood
fencing can be seen in the background.
The damaged and spoiled trees on Lee Lane were removed on the 15th July 1944.
On the 10th August 1944,
the proposed bus stops on Lee Lane, detailed below, were approved by Rishton
Urban District Council:-
From Great Harwood.
To Great Harwood.
yards. West of
yards. East of
At Heap's Farm.
yards. East of
junction with Wilpshire Road.
yards. West of
junction with Wilpshire Road.
had been received from the County
Surveyor on the 14th March 1946, asking for Schemes of road improvement in this district which
should be given priority. The following schemes were recommended for
inclusion: The re-alignment of the Railway Bridge at Norden to remove the
acute corner and the junction of Harwood Road and High Street.
On the 24th May 1951, Gas
Lamps were removed and the spigots cleaned off
and painted which were found to be in not bad condition, and the manufacturers
were instructed to proceed with the making of the brackets and
switch-boxes for new electricity lighting. The Gas Board and the
Electricity Board were instructed to deal with the old and new services.
The old lanterns and time clocks were offered for sale to the Great Harwood U.D.C.,
and they were
asked if they would undertake the maintenance of the
gas lamps which remained on Lee Lane and Tottleworth on a time and material basis.
On the 12th July 1951, The Council Clerk reported that the Great Harwood U. D. C, were prepared
to maintain the gas street lamps on Lee Lane
and Tottleworth on a labour and materials basis plus 20 per cent.
establishment charge. A letter of thanks was forwarded to the Great
Harwood U. D. C, for their offer.
Repairs were carried out to certain fencing, and
correspondence was passed between the County Council and the
Surveyor with respect to the abundance of weeds in the hedge. It was
Resolved on the 17th July 1952, That the Surveyor was to instruct two men to clear the weeds as
quickly as possible.
On the 15th October 1953 the Urban
District Council applied to Lancashire County Council for a further £10,000
for the road to widened between the canal bridge and the railway bridge, in the
hope of removing the dangerous bend in the road.
The view from Lee
Lane is quite astonishing as it lies in the Norden Valley, but on most days
Accrington, Burnley, and Blackburn are easily visible.
AN accident in which a bus shelter
was demolished on the Friday 24th April 1998, fuelled
residents' fears about the speed of traffic. More than
80 people had already signed a petition calling for
measures, including a speed camera, to put the brake
on cars and lorries going past their homes, on
Blackburn Road. Keith Edmundson, who lived in
Blackburn Road, Great Harwood, expressed renewed
concern following the weekend accident, when a car
crashed into a bus shelter near the Lidgett pub.
The driver and passenger were both
taken to hospital with minor injuries. Mr Edmundson
said: " It's a good job there wasn't anyone standing
there. The police got the council to remove the
shelter, it was that bad."
The accident, which happened during
rain on Sunday, involved a car travelling towards
Rishton from Great Harwood town centre. Police said as
the car began to go round a right-hand bend, near the
Lidgett pub, it went out of control and collided with
the shelter on the left-hand side. Inspector Bob Ford,
of Great Harwood police, said inquiries into the
accident and whether speed was a factor were
continuing. He added: "We are concerned about the
speed of some vehicles using Blackburn Road and will
be looking to tackle that." Inspector Ford said the
use of hand-held speed detectors and other targeting
measures were being considered.
Mr. J. P. Duckworth of Bostons
responded with the following letter, printed on
Tuesday 12 May 1998:
A bizarre traffic-calming scheme
for Lee Lane, Rishton, was put forward for
consultation in mid-January - the end aim to be a
reduction in the speed limit to 40mph. Unfortunately,
the standard procedure of creating a need for these
measures - residents' complaints - could not be
elicited from the sheep in the adjoining fields. Some
time after this, Keith Edmundson and Paul Dunn started
receiving publicity about their campaign and petition.
Mr Dunn is a leading light of
Prospects, an organisation which I applaud in its
efforts to improve the lot of local people and their
environment. But I also recall that it is in
part-funded by and is a pet project of Hyndburn
Council. Thus, we have you reporting council leader
George Slynn's effusive gratitude for a 160-signature
petition to give him a mandate for more flawed
traffic-calming - all good stuff days before the local
Everything is not what it seems
though. Through another pair of eyes, the campaigners'
worries can be laid firmly at the feet to the man
accepting their petition. It should be noted that
Blackburn Road has had the benefit of traffic-calming
for the past couple of years or so. As I told
Councillor Slynn at the time of its inception, and in
print later, the design of this scheme was dangerous
and was likely to lead to the demolition of the bus
shelter and minor accidents at other points. The width
restrictions imposed by the planners, on a road which
reduces from four car widths to three, coupled with a
few of the residents insisting on double parking, must
mean at the very least damaged wing mirrors. It should
be noted that the parking restrictions on this road
have not been revoked, but just, for some reason, not
enforced. I bet George didn't tell the campaigners
that just before the local elections!
I would be interested to see the
campaigners' survey figures to back up the claims of
increased HGV use and 80 mph cars. My observations
suggest that since the completion of the M65 and the
end of the motorway construction traffic from
Clitheroe, HGV usage has dropped dramatically. Might I
suggest the planners and their masters rethink and
correct their earlier schemes before rushing off to
spend more of our money, on new flights of fancy. J P
DUCKWORTH, Bostons, Great Harwood.
Urban District Council Minutes
Lancashire Evening Telegraph, Friday 24th April 1998,
Tuesday 12 May 1998.