Golden Hill Lane runs east to west from the south side of the railway station in the east to Leyland Way in the west where it becomes Longmeanygate. For most of its length it is designated as the B5256. Much of the development along Golden Hill Lane is modern.
Our walk starts at the east end of Golden Hill Lane starting in the short stretch of road called Golden Hill. Looking at the 1848 Ordnance Survey map this appears to have been the route to the level crossing. Somewhere between 1848 and 1894 the level crossing was replaced by the modern artificial hill, Station Brow, and the bridge.
Coal Merchant’s Yard
The Former Police Station
The former and very impressive Police Station at the east end of Golden Hill Lane was built in 1882 to replace the Police Station that was on Towngate. It was significantly larger than the older building and had room for cells and a court house on the first floor. The building has recently been used as a police-station-themed Italian restaurant, but is currently vacant and is for sale. There is planning permission for nine elegant apartments.
The NatWest Bank
The modern NatWest bank stands on the site of the former Wesleyan Chapel that gave Chapel Brow its name. This ‘modern’ building dates to 1927, although the lower section built on the plot west of the bank was constructed in 1974.
Although a very short road, Chapel Brow is full of history with the land behind the buildings on the west side being the former location of the Leyland Gas Works. Our walk starts at the south west end of Chapel Brow, once known as gasworks corner, heading north east to the junction with Golden Hill Lane and Station Brow and the NatWest bank.
The Lancashire Electric Power Company Sub-station.
The Electricity sub-station was built in 1925 by the Lancashire Electric Power Company (LEP). The LEP was formed under the provisions of the Lancashire Electric Power act of 1900 and supplied local towns with electricity until the late 1940s. The building next door, very much in keeping, was erected in 2011.
The Leyland and Farrington Co-op building.
As can be seen easily from the date stone above the east windows, this very splendid brick-built building was erected in 1903. It was used as both a Co-op shop and as the head office for the Leyland and Farrington Co-op. Today, it is well known by many as Rimmers Music store and their music school.
The NatWest Bank
The NatWest bank more strictly stands on the north side of Golden Hill Lane opposite the junction with Chapel Brow. However, I include it here as it is the site of the former Wesleyan Chapel from which Chapel Brow is named. The red brick with white stone section of the building dates to 1927 while to lower ‘extension’ which includes the main door, was built in 1974.
I have always found Sandy Lane interesting. Although most of the properties along it are relatively modern, the road itself does not follow the alignment of the other roads in the area. A few of the properties are significantly older. My suspicion is that Sandy Lane in a much earlier road associated with a much older Leyland.
The junction at the south end of Sandy Lane with Church Road is currently closed to traffic. Sandy Lane runs in a fairly straight line north east to Broad Square and a junction with Balcarres Road. This is where Sandy Lane now ends. Older maps show that what is now Broad Square, Sandy Lane used to turn to the north and follow what is now Balcarres Road passing “Old Hall” to a junction with Turpin Green Lane. Opposite “Old Hall” was a stone cross and a large pond which occupied the modern area of Balcarres Green (the Spider Park) and King Street. This change, I suspect, is connected with the building of the “Garden Village” which started in the 1920s.
Our walk starts at the southern end from Church Street and St Andrew’s Church.
Although this is not strictly in Sandy Lane, I think it is worth pointing out the following. In the wall of Saint Andrew’s churchyard are the remains of an early opening for a pathway leading via steps into churchyard. We noticed this from an early map showing the area. The date above on the lintel reads 1827.
The Crescent at the end of Sandy Lane was built around 1916. I haven’t been able to find a date. Planning approval for building of these houses was granted in December 1908.
Although technically in Pembroke Place rather than Sandy Lane Merlyn House is the former surgery and house of Doctor Cank during the 1930s. The house was originally called Sergeant House, but was renamed when Doctor Cyril Meredith Wilmott and Evelyn Berry moved in after their marriage.
Prospect House is one of nine pre 1893 buildings on Sandy Lane.
The Grade II listed Charnock or Old Hall. The current hall was built in 1660 by Roger Charnock, a Roman Catholic priest. Above the door is a coat of arms inscribed, “IHS AM RC 16 60”. Today the hall has been converted into two houses. The names “Blacklache Hall” & “Leyland Hall” have also been used in the past.
Speculation: IHS is a common Christogram and is frequently interpreted as “Jesus Our Savior”. RC would be Roger Charnock. AM is unknown at present. 1660 would be the year built.
There are lots of interesting reminders of Leyland past as you walk along Hough Lane and Towngate. We start at the north east end of Hough Lane and head south west.
Lower Bank House is large town house built in 1892 for one of Leyland’s industrialists. Today it is used as Lower Bank Dental Surgery.
Grundy Terrace was formerly known as Mindor Terrace. It became Grundy’s dental surgery which is when the terrace took on the name it has today. I have read lots of posts on Facebook suggesting that Mr Grundy may have been “overzealous” in his treatments. The large window, above the silver car in the photograph, in the end wall is reputed to be one of the surgery windows.
Water Street & Towngate
Reaching the western end of Hough Lane, we now turn south into Towngate. The northern end of Towngate from Hough Lane to Mrs Jolly’s Corner (the junction with Broad Street near Garden Terrace) was originally called Water Street; with the southern end of Towngate being called Chapel Street.
James Sumner began experimenting here with steam locomotion in the early 1890s. This led to the production of a steam-powered lawn mower leading to the formation of the Lancashire Steam Motor Company in 1896. Later, the building became George Damp & Sons Ltd, an engineering blacksmith. As you can see from the plaque, the Lancashire Steam Motor Company later became Leyland Motors and then Leyland Trucks.
Known by many local people as Mrs Jolly’s Corner. Mrs Jolly had a small sweet shop here. On the south west face, currently a Barber Shop, is a plaque with a 1907 date.
CETL: Chorley Electrica.l Around 1800 the “The Sun” Public House stood on this site. After changing names to “The Shoemakers” or “The Cordwainers Arms”, it became known as “Bannisters Ship Inn” by the early 1820s. Prior to being used by “Chorley Electrical” it was “The Original Ship”.
The old Constabulary Station was built c. 1857 and its two cells were used until 1882 when the larger Police Station was built on Golden Hill Lane. From the 1930s the building was used as Leyland’s Library until the current library was built in the mid 70s.
Most of Towngate between here and the top of Fox Lane has been demolished. The land is currently used by Tesco. The planters outside the arcade of shops between Tesco and Leyland Cross and the Drinking Well mark the approximate location of the junction of Towngate with the now long demolish Cow Lane. Cow Lane, like Sandy Lane, is another road does did not match with the modern structure of Leyland.
Very little evidence remains of the steam trams that operated in Darwen in the late 1890s and early 1900s. So far, I have only been able to locate the two waiting rooms, one for the ladies and one for the gentlemen, adjacent to each other on Belgrade Square near The Circus and the original turning triangle (steam trams could only run in one direction) to the south along Bolton Road.
Based on size and an external staircase shown on early maps beside the north building, my suspicion is that the southern waiting room (first picture below and adjacent to Belgrave Road) is the Ladies’ waiting room.
Now situated at Churchtown, Southport, Mersyside this 18 century commemorative obelisk was formerly at Worden Hall, Leyland. Following the fire at Worden Hall the obelisk was sold around 1948 to Colonel Roger Fleetwood Hesketh of Meols Hall and placed here in 1950. It is made from dressed gritstone blocks, of square section. The pedestal is c. 2m high, with a chamfered base, one broad band and a cavetto-moulded cornice with a worn inscription running round the east, north and west sides: Rebuilt in Commemoration of the Glorious illegible.
At the north end of Lune Street just south of the modern ring road is this striking memorial. It is dedicated by the trades union of Preston to the memory of all workers worldwide who are killed, injured, suffer ill health or detriment as a consequence of work. Remember the dead, fight for the living.
In Lune Street, Preston, four workers were shot and killed by the military during the general strike of 1842. Several thousand Preston workers were demonstrating against wage cuts , and for the ‘charter’ of democratic rights.
Bronze tablet on memorial.
Remember, Remember, People of proud Preston that progress towards justice and democracy had not been achieved without great sacrifice.
Remember, Remember, People of proud Preston defend vigorously the rights given to you. Strive to enhance the rights of those who follow.
There were originally over 1,200 such anti-aircraft gun sites built during World War 2, with only about eighty now surviving. This site was rediscovered in 2013 during investigations carried out for Redrow Homes prior to starting house building on the site.
It comprises a light anti-aircraft gun emplacement, a static Bofors 40mm gun, with an attached pillbox. It was built to defend the nearby Royal Ordnance Factory on Euxton Lane.
The site has been preserved and can be accessed via the modern housing estate.