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1923 Driving License

The previous owners of Rishton "Creamery shop" which was at 86 High Street in Rishton, was once owned and run by the Smith family, who went on to buy "Barnston" off Mrs Parker on Blackburn Road after Chris Parkers death. William Smith, still living at 86 High Street in 1923 was one of the first people in Rishton to own a motor car. He received his first driving license on the 25th August 1923, at a price of 5/-. The license was only valid for a period of 12 months, lasting till 24th August 1924.

Could this have been the first driving license bought in Rishton?

It was resolved by the Rishton Urban District Council on the 7th September 1939, that notices should be placed at the boundaries of the district urging motorist to drive carefully in view of the fact that Rishton was a reception area for evacuees during World War 2.

A picture

On the 5th October 1939, The Council clerk was instructed to write to the Traffic Commissioners regarding the inadequacy of the transport service in the district.

The Council surveyor was instructed to recommend permanent markings at all bends and road junctions on main roads, and painted white lines on the remaining length of main roads, to the County Surveyor and the Divisional Road Engineer as well as the Ministry of Transport under the Aids to Movement on the 7th March 1940.

The Council Surveyor read a letter from the County Surveyor on the 12th November 1942, enclosing a circular letter from the Ministry of War Transport regarding the replacement of sign posts and informed the Committee of the result of his negotiations with the Superintendent of Police regarding the matter. Resolved (1) that the Surveyor be instructed to arrange for the re-erection of the sign posts on Lee Lane corner; (2) that the sign posts at New Inns be not replaced for the time being; (3) that an application be forwarded to the Department concerned for sanction to purchase new sign posts for Harwood Road corner; and (4) that, if approval is received, the siting of the Harwood Road sign posts be left in the hands of Councillor Leeming and the Surveyor.

Proposed Class 3 Roads. A circular was been received on the 9th May 1946, from the Ministry of Transport stating that on the application of the Local Authority Unclassified Secondary Roads which are of more than local importance may be classified as Class 3 Roads. The Council Resolved - That after consultation with surrounding local authorities, application was made to the Ministry of Transport for the Classification of the Unclassified Secondary Roads. The application for the classification of all unclassified roads Nos.367, 373, 374 and 378 was not successful on the 11th July 1946, and only the portion of Road 367 (Whalley Old Road) from Blackburn boundary to Harwood Road junction and 388 (Harwood Road), were classified by the Ministry of Transport. The length classified is one mile.

Unclassified Secondary Roads. The Clerk submitted a letter received from the Clerk of the County Council on the 19th December 1946, stating that after the 31st March 1947, the unclassified secondary roads would not attract the 33% per cent grant which has hitherto obtained in view of the classification as Class III Classification Roads of the remaining Unclassified Roads.

A TRANSPORT consultation document published by the Government on the 21st August 1997, gave us all hope that there could, at long last, be a serious attempt to solve Britain's traffic congestion problems. Although no firm decisions was taken, the Government made a wide range of suggestions and was to wait for responses before publication of a White Paper in 1998. In other words, we had a Government which appeared to be serious about resolving a situation which was in danger of strangling the country.

We welcomed the fact that the problem was being approached with a degree of seriousness and not merely being paid lip service as happened in the past in a long series of nonsensical debates. The Government said it was keen to see an integrated system of public transport.

The Government was also asking for views on increasing the price of public parking, taxing company car parking spaces and charging for the use of certain roads, But other forms of transport have got to be in place before such draconian measures are introduced. Most of the cars which clutter our towns and cities during the day only travel a few miles. Their drivers became accustomed to using cars for short journeys to work or the shops because there was no suitable public transport alternative.

When buses were de-regulated a few years ago people said it would decimate services. It did. The Government was suggesting re-regulation of buses outside London. This would have been a vital step towards an integrated transport system.

And the railways have a vital part to play in such a system. Much of the freight which finds its way onto lorries cluttering our roads could be moved by rail, as it is in continental Europe. Our network was ripped apart by the Beeching cuts in the 1960s. Many of those decisions were simply disgraceful. But, properly organised, the surviving rail network is still capable of taking many more people and freight away from our roads.

The Government also wanted to see safer cycling and walking routes, But so far attempts to provide cycle routes in our area proved ham-fisted. The narrow lanes provided in Rishton merely forced the cyclist into the main roads.

The Government faced a massive problem in tackling traffic congestion, and it had to realise that it couldn't cure one ill by tackling another in isolation. The co-operation of the public was vital. Most people realise that things couldn't go on as they were, But they needed to be convinced that they could leave their vehicles at home, confident that they would be able to board a bus or train which would get them to their destinations on time and in pleasant conditions.

References

Lancashire Evening Telegraph 21 August 1997

Barry Smith (formally of Barnston)