Rawtenstall (/ˈrɒtənstɔːl/ or locally /ˈrɒʔənstɔːl/) is a
town at the centre of the
Rossendale Valley in Lancashire, England,
with a population of 22,000. It is the seat for the
Rossendale, in which it is located. The town lies 17.4 miles north of
Manchester, 22 miles east of Preston and 45 miles south east of the
county town of Lancaster. Nearby towns include Bacup,
6 Culture and community
8 Notable people
9 See also
11 External links
Rawtenstall has been given two possible interpretations. The
older is a combination of the
Middle English routen ('to roar or
bellow'), from the
Old Norse rauta and the
Old English stall 'pool in
a river' (Ekwall 1922, 92). The second, more recent one, relates to
Rawtenstall's identification as a cattle farm in 1324 and combines the
Old English ruh 'rough' and tun-stall 'the site of a farm' (Mills
1991, 269), or possibly, 'buildings occupied when cattle were pastured
on high ground' (Mills 1976, 125).
The earliest settlement at
Rawtenstall was probably in the early
Middle Ages, during the time when it formed part of the Rossendale
Valley in the Honour of Clitheroe, and consisted of simple dwellings
for forest servants and animals. More substantial buildings may have
followed in the 15th and 16th centuries with corn and flour mills.
The town entered a major period of growth during the Industrial
Revolution, as new mills were constructed to process cotton. The
climate and weather were conducive to the industry, as was the town's
nearby location to the rapidly developing industrial and mercantile
centre at Manchester, dubbed 'Cottonopolis'. Only a few of these mills
survive today, and none are still operational. During this period,
David Whitehead and his brother became important entrepreneurs in the
town. They built a number of mills, including one of the earliest
mills in the valley, at Lower Mill, and the still existing Ilex Mill.
They also built substantial houses for themselves at Holly Mount, as
well as large numbers of terraced houses for their workers. The
Rawtenstall quadrupled in the first half of the 19th
century and would double again in the second half.
Other industries active in this period included quarrying and small
scale coal mining, as well as an expanding commercial sector.
As with many small mid-
Lancashire towns, it saw a population decline
in the 20th century, going from 30,000 inhabitants in the 1911 census
to 21,500 in the 1971 census. With the decline of the traditional
manufacturing industries, shoemaking became one of the last survivors.
The firm of H. W. Tricketts, in nearby Waterfoot, had been a major
producer and exporter of footwear across the British Empire, but
eventually the last shoemaking firms closed as production moved
The coat of arms of the former
A local board was formed for the town in 1874 and the district it
governed was extended to cover parts of the townships of Lower Booths
Rawtenstall itself), Higher Booths, Newchurch and
Haslingden in the
ancient parish of Whalley and Cowpe, Lench, Newhall Hey and Hall Carr,
and part of Tottington (Higher End) in the ancient parish of Bury.
Rawtenstall was incorporated as a municipal borough in
1891 and in 1894 a civil parish was created to match the borders of
the borough. Following the local government reorganisation in
Rawtenstall became part of the
Borough of Rossendale.
Rawtenstall is part of the
Darwen constituency, after
the constituency of
Rossendale was abolished in 1983. The constituency
sends one member of parliament to the House of Commons. As of May
Lancashire County Council and the local council, Rossendale
Borough Council, are controlled by the Labour Party.
Jake Berry MP has been the Member of Parliament for
Darwen since 2010.
Its neighbouring communities in the valley are Bacup,
Ramsbottom. The area is bounded to the north by
Whitewell Bottom, to the east by Waterfoot and
Cowpe and to the south
by Townsend Fold and Horncliffe. The
River Irwell passes through the
town on the first part of its route between
Bacup and Manchester. Over
recent years the area has become increasingly popular with visitors,
attracted by historic buildings, dramatic landscapes and fine walking
Like most of the United Kingdom,
Rawtenstall has an oceanic climate.
Climate data for Rawtenstall
Average high °C (°F)
Average low °C (°F)
Average precipitation mm (inches)
Rawtenstall bus station, September 2008
The town is served locally by Rosso, with a large bus station close to
the centre, as well as frequent express services X43 to Burnley,
Manchester run by
Burnley Bus Company. The town has had bus
routes since the early 1930s.
planning to replace the station with a modern bus interchange. In
2007 a proposal to demolish the station and build a
Lidl store on the
site was considered. The new
Lidl store was completed in 2009.
Rawtenstall railway station
Rawtenstall railway station also serves the town, but since the
closure of the main line to Manchester, it now operates mainly as a
tourist route, as part of the East
Lancashire Railway, of which
Rawtenstall station forms the northern terminus. The
M66 motorway from
Manchester is linked to
Rawtenstall via the A56 bypass, allowing for a
driving time between
Rawtenstall of around half an
The town has a number of primary and secondary (high) schools,
including Bellmont School, St Paul's C of E Primary, Cloughfold
Primary School, Leabrook School, Alder Grange Community and Technology
School and All Saints' Catholic High School. Though located in
Waterfoot, rather than Rawtenstall, the traditional grammar school,
Rawtenstall Grammar School takes part of its name from the
Rawtenstall also has a public library, built in 1906 with Carnegie
Culture and community
Rossendale Valley's local newspaper, the
Rossendale Free Press was
originally based in Rawtenstall, before being bought out by the
Manchester Evening News in 2009 and subsequently moving to Manchester.
Rawtenstall also has one of the largest indoor markets in Rossendale
(a sign declaring it to be "probably the friendliest market in the
world"), which suffered a serious arson attack in March 2011.
It was home to the North of England's largest dry ski-slope, before it
was closed due to funding cuts.
Rossendale was located five
Rawtenstall town centre in the Oakenhead area, directly
above Whitaker Park and
Rossendale Museum. Over its 40-year existence
it had seen world record attempts and was used by Olympic athletes and
novice skiers. It re-opened once again in November 2011 with new
funding, with a large ceremonial fireworks display on its opening day,
Rawtenstall Cricket Club's
Bacup Road ground
It is also home to the traditional herbalist and temperance bar
Fitzpatrick's Herbal Health, which claims to be the oldest brewer of
sarsaparilla and dandelion and burdock in the country. Fitzpatrick's
gained television acclaim in April 2005 when managers Gareth Hawden
and Chris Law won the Famous Sarsaparilla Taste-off on ITV. It is the
last bar of its kind in England.
Famous fashion boutique Sunday Best is situated on Bank Street. Sunday
The Daily Telegraph
The Daily Telegraph magazine's best shop in Britain award for
women's fashion in 2011 whilst Roland's Florist on
Bacup Road was
runner up in the best florist category. The awards were judged by TV
shopping guru Mary Portas.
Rawtenstall Cricket Club, who compete in the
Lancashire League, have
their home ground, Worswick Memorial Ground within the town.
Police facilities in
Rawtenstall were one of five sites used for the
training of new recruits to the
Lancashire Constabulary. In late 2011,
due to funding cuts,
Rawtenstall Police Station, along with various
other stations in the area, closed down.
Rawtenstall is also the
location of the area's county and magistrates' courts.
Whitaker Park is located on the outskirts of the town centre, and
consists of the former house of the mill owner George Hardman, set in
extensive landscaped grounds. Donated to the township in the early
20th century for the purposes of civic recreation, the house now
contains the Whitaker which is Rossendale's Museum and Art Gallery,
whilst the gardens and surrounding land are laid out as a public park.
The museum contains exhibits of local history, or displays of the
house as it was originally. Part of it houses an extensive exhibition
of taxidermy, whilst other areas are used to display contemporary art.
The park itself has tennis courts, a bowling green, basketball court,
a skateboard area and a playground as well as formal gardens and
The now demolished Valley Centre in Rawtenstall
Rawtenstall was featured in the documentary series Who Do You Think
You Are? which was aired on BBC2 at 9.00pm on 2 February 2006. The
subject, actress Jane Horrocks, was born in
Rawtenstall in 1964.
Irwell Sculpture Trail
Irwell Sculpture Trail also runs through the town, where four of
the sculptures are located; the Whispering Wall, the Gateway, the
Willow Tree and the Bocholt Tree. The last, by sculptor Bernard
Tindall, celebrates Rossendale's twinning links with the town of
Bocholt, Germany. The Shoe Trail also hits the outskirts of the town,
and goes through nearby places such as Whitaker Park.
Rawtenstall's shopping centre had become deserted and boarded-up, and
after 2003 various proposals were put forward regarding reconstruction
or refurbishment. An agreement between
Rossendale Council and the
owners of the
Rawtenstall centre, Ashcap, in February 2011, was said
Rawtenstall town centre". In late 2011 the shopping
centre was demolished, creating a new town square area, where local
markets and other events are infrequently held.
funded the demolition using money set aside for a public pool in
neighbouring town Haslingden. This move was slammed by critics and the
In 1993 the first professional beauty salon in
Rawtenstall opened on
Ormerod Street and still trades today as Polished Beauty Clinic.
Further information: Category:People from Rawtenstall
Elizabeth Bainbridge – retired opera singer
Ernest Tomlinson (1924–2015) – composer
Fred Tomlinson (1927–2016) – singer, songwriter and composer
Jane Horrocks – actress, voice artist, musician and singer,
Lee Cartwright – retired footballer who made over 400 league
appearances for Preston North End
Winston Place (1914–2002) –
England Test match cricketer
Phil Lester – YouTuber and former
BBC Radio 1
BBC Radio 1 personality
Thomas Hamer – Parasport swimmer
The historian and antiquarian
George Ormerod lived in
a brief period in 1808.
Listed buildings in Rawtenstall
^ a b "The Parish of Whalley: Lower Booths", A History of the County
of Lancaster, 6, 1911, pp. 435–436
Rawtenstall CP through time". visionofbritain.org.uk. GB Historical
GIS / University of Portsmouth. Retrieved 25 July 2013.
^ "Scunthorpe historic weather averages in the United Kingdom".
Intellicast. Retrieved 27 March 2009.
^ Gould, Peter (2008). "
Haslingden Corporation Transport". Peter
Gould: Local Transport History. Retrieved 5 June 2009.
^ "Profile: A century of service in Rossendale". Bus and Coach. com.
Plum Publishing Limited. 18 July 2007. Retrieved 5 June 2009.
^ Magill, Peter (4 December 2007). "
Lidl plan for
Lancashire Telegraph. Retrieved 5 June 2009.
^ "Welcome to the Library and Information Service web site - History
Lancashire County Council. Archived from the original
on 12 June 2011. Retrieved 26 February 2008.
Rawtenstall Market boss defiant after arson attack". Lancashire
Telegraph. Retrieved 21 April 2011.
^ a b "
Rossendale shuts for the final time".
^ Pike, Stuart (22 July 2011). "
Rossendale to take off once
Rossendale Free Press. Retrieved 23 November 2011.
^ Pike, Stuart; Thacker, Simon (18 November 2011). "Fury as police axe
three of the Valley's four police stations".
Rossendale Free Press.
Retrieved 23 November 2011.
^ "Wrapping off £12m town centre". menmedia.co.uk.
^ "Deal 'on the table' for Rawtenstall's Valley Centre". Lancashire
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Rawtenstall.
Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Rawtenstall.
Geography of the
Borough of Rossendale
Brown Wardle Hill
Hail Storm Hill
Calf Hey Reservoir
Ceremonial county of Lancashire
North West England
North West England Portal
Blackburn with Darwen
Boroughs or districts
City of Lancaster
City of Preston
Lytham St Annes
See also: List of civil parishes in Lancashire
Leeds and Liverpool
Population of major settlements
Grade I buildings
Grade II* buildings