Accrington Moorhead Sports College

Accrington

Accrington 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".

History

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.

Accrington Pals

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.

Geography

The Conurbation

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, Church, Clayton-le-Moors, Great Harwood and Oswaldtwistle. For comparison purposes that is approximately the same size as Aylesbury, Carlisle, Guildford or Scunthorpe urban areas.

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.

Transport

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 to York. 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 to Whalley. 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 at .

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.

Social

Governance

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.

Education

The schools of Accrington include:

Rhyddings Business and Enterprise High School, in nearby Oswaldtwistle, also serves the area.

Health

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.

Media

The chief publications in the area are the Accrington Observer, part of MEN media, and the Lancashire Telegraph.

Sports

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 club.

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.

Tiffany Glass

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".

Notable residents

References

Further reading

  • William Turner Pals: the 11th (Service) Battalion (Accrington), East Lancashire Regiment ISBN 0-9507892-4-

External links

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