is a town within the Hyndburn
borough of Lancashire
, in North West England
. It lies about north of Manchester
and north of Greater Manchester
situated on the mostly culverted River Hyndburn
. The town has a population of 35,203 according to the 2001 census
and the urban area has a population of over 70,000.
The town is a former centre of the cotton and textile machinery industries; however industry present is now more modern and diversified.
Accrington is commonly abbreviated by locals to "Accy".
There are two derivations for the name of Accrington. Both agree that "ton
" means "a town or enclosure of
", from Anglo-Saxon
; however one derivation states that ring means "the people of
" and "accr
" is a distortion of a family called alker. Nevertheless there is little evidence of this as it would have been the chief or land owner in the area. The alternative derivation states that "accring
" is derived from "acorn ringed
" which is plausible due to the numerous oak
trees which formerly encircled the town but were lost during the industrial revolution. This is still reflected in the name of the district's largest park, Oak Hill Park.
The King's Highway which passes above the town was at one time used by the kings and queens of England when they used the area for hunting when it was one of the four forests of the hundred of Blackburnshire.
For many decades the textile industry was the central activity of the town. Mills and dye works provided work for the inhabitants; but often in very difficult conditions. There was regular conflict with employers, most famously in the 1842 'Plug riots' where a general strike spread from town to town. The workers unplugged the boilers needed for the operation of the machinery as thousands of strikers walked over the hills from one town to another to persuade people to join the strike. The strike joined up with the Chartist movement but eventually proved unsuccessful in its aims.
The town is famed for manufacturing the hardest building bricks in the world, "The Accrington NORI"; which is IRON spelt backwards.
One well-known association the town has is with the 'Accrington Pals', the nickname given to the smallest home town battalion of volunteers formed to fight in the first world war. The Pals battalions were a peculiarity of the 1914-18 war: Lord Kitchener, the Secretary of State for War, believed that it would help recruitment if friends and work-mates from the same town were able to join up and fight together. Strictly speaking, the 'Accrington Pals' battalion is properly known as the '11th East Lancashire Regiment': the nickname is a little misleading, since of the four 250-strong companies that made up the original battalion only one was actually composed of men from Accrington. The rest volunteered from other east Lancashire towns such as Burnley, Blackburn and Chorley.
The Pals' first day of action, Saturday 1 July, 1916, took place in Serre in the north of France. It was part of the 'Big Push' (later known as the Battle of the Somme) that was intended to force the German Army into a retreat from the Western Front, a line they had held since late 1914. The German defences in Serre were supposed to have been obliterated by sustained, heavy, British shelling during the preceding week; however, as the battalion advanced it met with fierce resistance. 235 men were killed and a further 350 wounded — more than half of the battalion — within half an hour. Similarly desperate losses were suffered elsewhere on the front, in a disastrous day for the British Army.
Later in the year, the East Lancashire Regiment was rebuilt with new volunteers — in all, 865 Accrington men were killed during World War I. All of these names are recorded on a war memorial, an imposing white stone cenotaph, which stands in Oak Hill Park in the south of the town. The cenotaph also lists the names of 173 local fatalities from World War II.
After the Great War and until 1986, Accrington Corporation buses were painted in the regimental colours of red and blue with gold lining. The mudguards were painted black as a sign of mourning.
The 2001 census gave the population of Accrington town as 35 203. The figure for the urban area was 71,224, up 1.1% from 70,442 in 1991. This total includes Accrington
, Great Harwood
. For comparison purposes that is approximately the same size as Aylesbury
The borough as a whole has a population of 81 496. This includes Accrington Urban Area and other outlying towns and villages such as; Altham, Aspden, Baxenden, part of Belthorn, Huncoat, Rishton and Stanhill.
The River Hyndburn and its tributaries flow through the area and the borough and constituency are named after it.
The town has strong local travel links as Accrington railway station
lies on the East Lancashire Line
serving trains running locally and trains running from Blackpool
. There are also buses to Manchester every thirty minutes as well as more frequent services to other towns in east Lancashire. The main road running through the town centre is the A680
running from Rochdale
. The town is served by junction seven of the M65
and is linked from the A680 and the A56 dual carriageway
which briefly merge; linking to the M66 motorway
heading towards Manchester. The closest airports are Manchester Airport
at , Blackpool Airport
at and Leeds Bradford Airport
There was once a rail link south to Manchester via Haslingden and Bury, but this was closed in the 1960s as part of cuts following the Beeching Report. The trackbed from Accrington to Baxenden is now an attractive linear treelined cycleway/footpath.
Accrington is represented in parliament by the Labour
MP Greg Pope
as a part of the constituency of Hyndburn. Note that the constituency boundaries do not align exactly with those of the district of the same name.
Accrington was first represented nationally after the Redistribution of Seats Act 1885 after the 1885 general election by Accrington (UK Parliament constituency). This seat was abolished in the 1983 general election and replaced with the present constituency of Hyndburn (UK Parliament constituency).
The Borough of Hyndburn currently has a Conservative majority under the leadership of Peter Britcliffe. Hyndburn consists of 16 wards of 35 councillors. Due to its size Accrington is represented by a number of wards in the Borough of Hyndburn. The town largely consists of the Milnshaw, Peel, Central, Barnfield and Spring Hill wards, although some parts of those wards are in other towns in the borough.
Accrington became incorporated as a municipal borough in 1878. Under the Local Government Act 1972, since 1974, the town has formed part of the larger Borough of Hyndburn including the former Urban Districts of Oswaldtwistle, Church, Clayton-le-Moors, Great Harwood and Rishton.
The schools of Accrington include:
Rhyddings Business and Enterprise High School, in nearby Oswaldtwistle, also serves the area.
The local hospital
is Accrington Victoria Hospital however, as it only deals with minor issues, A&E
is provided by the Royal Blackburn Hospital. Other services are provided at the Accrington Pals Primary Health Care Centre and the Accrington Acorn Primary Health Care Centre. Some wards in Accrington rank amongst the most deprived in terms of healthcare and life expectancy in the country. According to the 1991 census 28% of houses in the borough were considered 'unfit', chiefly those in Accrington and Church. A current urban regeneration scheme, Elevate East Lancashire, is attempting to remedy these problems.
The chief publications in the area are the Accrington Observer, part of MEN media, and the Lancashire Telegraph.
The town's other famous association is with Accrington Stanley F.C.
, the butt of many (largely affectionate) jokes. The club's name is often invoked as a symbol of British sport's legion of plucky but hopeless causes (much like British ski-jumping's 'heroic failure' Eddie 'the Eagle' Edwards
). The club entered the Football League
in 1921 with the formation of the old Third Division (North)
; after haunting the lower reaches of English football for forty years, they eventually resigned from the League in 1962, due to financial problems, and folded in 1965. The club was reformed for the 1968/69 season and then worked their way through the 'non-league' divisions to reach the Nationwide Conference
in 2003 and in the 2005-06 season Accrington Stanley
, after winning against Woking with 3 matches to spare, secured a place back in the Football League
and the town celebrated with a small parade and honours places on senior executives of the team. Coincidentally, one of the teams relegated - and thus being replaced by Stanley - were Oxford United F.C.
, who were voted into the Football League to replace the previous Accrington Stanley. The football stadium is called the Fraser Eagle Stadium, with the Fraser Eagle coach & bus company, who are also sponsors of Burnley F.C.
, sponsoring the team. Accrington is the smallest town in England and Wales with a Football League
An earlier club, Accrington F.C., were one of the twelve founder members of the Football League in 1888. However, their time in league football was even less successful and considerably briefer than that of Accrington Stanley: they dropped out of the league in 1893 and folded shortly afterwards due to financial problems. The town of Accrington thus has the unique 'distinction' of having lost two separate clubs from league football, over the years.
The Haworth Art Gallery in Accrington contains an outstanding collection of Tiffany glassware presented to the town by Joseph Briggs, an Accrington man who had joined Tiffany’s in the late 19th century and eventually became art director and assistant manager. The Art Nouveau vases are considered to be the most important such group in Europe. One of the most striking items is a glass mosaic exhibition piece, designed by Briggs himself and entitled "Sulphur Crested Cockatoos
- Jon Anderson, singer with rock band Yes
- David "Bumble" Lloyd, a former cricketer, now a pundit for Sky Sports.
- Graeme Fowler, Foxy Fowler, (cricketer), former England batsman, cricket coach and occasional pundit on BBC Radio's Test Match Special
- Jeanette Winterson, an author whose Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit is an account of her childhood in the town.
- Harrison Birtwistle (composer).
- John Virtue, artist
- Ron Hill, long-distance and marathon runner, born 25th of September, 1938, won Commonwealth Marathon Gold in 1970.
- John Rex Whinfield, chemist, inventor of Terylene (polyester), the first completely synthetic fibre invented in UK.
- Julie Hesmondhalgh, an actress who plays Hayley Cropper in the TV Soap Coronation Street.
- Yvette Livesey, ex beauty-queen and former squeeze of the late Tony Wilson
- The footballer Mike Duxbury was born in the town.
- Andy Hargreaves, Thomas More Brennan Chair in Education at the Lynch School of Education at Boston College.
- Famous ex-residents include darts player Ronnie Baxter, and former Lancashire all rounder Bob Ratcliffe
- Mystic Meg was born in the town as Margaret Anne Lake on 27th of July, 1942
- Tony Mills, ex-body building champion and renowned bare fisted boxer. 1950-2007
- Netherwood Hughes, 108 year old World War I veteran
- William Turner Pals: the 11th (Service) Battalion (Accrington), East Lancashire Regiment ISBN 0-9507892-4-