Worden Lane runs south from the top of Fox Lane towards Holt Brow passing Worden Park. Like many roads in Leyland it has had numerous names in the past: Whittaker Lane, then Lodge Lane, more recently New Road, and today – Worden Lane.
A pair of carved date stones in a wall beside Clough House on Worden Lane. One shows 1584 and the second shows 1585. They are not in their original locations as it is thought they came from St Andrew’s Church.
St Mary’s Roman Catholic Church
Established in 1854 by Rev. Henry Anselm Brewer, the Roman Catholic Church of St Mary’s replaced the earlier chapel of St Andrew the Apostle that had been opened in Leyland House. The church was enlarged in 1919 and was used until it closed in 1961 when the new St Mary’s church was built in Broadfield Drive. Only the front wall now remains. There is a graveyard behind which includes a war memorial.
A very minor diversion from Worden Lane takes us to North Lodge and the entrance to Worden Park. The neoclassical North Lodge and gateway with its Tuscan style columns are still one of the main entrances to the parkland. The road that leads from it into the grounds is probably one of the original estate drives shown on the 1725 map. It forms a crossroads with another original drive ‘The Avenue’ which leads down towards the hall.
Worden Park was acquired by the Farington in 1534. It remained in the possession of the family until their home, Worden Hall, was damaged in a fire in 1947. The lands and the ruined hall were sold, in 1950, to Leyland Urban District Council and the current park was opened to the public in 1951.
The hall has been demolished, but many of the early buildings and gardens can still be enjoyed today.
Our walk begins on the north side of the park at the 19th century gateway beside North Lodge heading south towards the junction with the former Hall Lane and the remains of Worden Hall.
The site was included in land granted to the Knights of St John of Jerusalem in the C12 or early C13. Worden subsequently passed from the Bussel family to the Anderton family. In 1534 it was acquired by Sir Henry Farington and it remained in the Farington family until 1947. In 1950 Leyland Council purchased it. It was opened to the public on 18 June 1951 and it remains in use as a public park (1999).
Off Worden Lane, the neoclassical North Lodge and gateway with its Tuscan style columns is the main pedestrian entrance to the parkland for many in the town. The road that leads from it into the grounds, heading south, is probably one of the original estate drives shown on the 1725 map. It forms a crossroads with another original drive ‘The Avenue’ which leads west towards the site of the hall.
Worden Lodge came about around 1761 following an agreement between Captain Isaac Hamon and Sir William Farington. Captain Hamon rented the northwest corner of a close known as Great Low Field, which was part of the Shaw Hall demesne.
All that remains now, at the western end of thecae park, is a short section of standing wall, a gatepost, and some dressed stone blocks in the trees around the car park.
The Service Wing
The Stable Block
Originally, possibly mid 19th century, a conservatory attached to Worden Hall, later used as a greenhouse, it is has a wooden frame on a stone plinth, and glazed walls and roof. A short section of the wall of Worden House remains standing to the right.
The icehouse door, called an ogee, is S-shaped in section and is very unusual. Some of the ornamentation originates from the Parish Church and were relocated when the nave was altered in 1816. This includes two carved figures, either side of the door, which date to around 1500. They sit on two corbels that were clearly not designed to hold them. Other carvings include three shield shapes and a block with a hollow spandrel. There is no public access to the inside of the icehouse.
The Helvellyn Erratic
On the mound of the icehouse is a large inscribed rock with the inscription reading “Greenstone porphyry, Helvellyn, Prof I Phillips, brought from Worden drift”. This is a “glacial erratic”, and was brought from Helvellyn in the Lake District by a glacier during the last ice age.
The Worden Obelisk
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. More photographs can be seen in my blog.
Fox Lane is one of the early roads in Leyland and today it links Severn Stars with Towngate. On the 1844 Village Plan it is named Liverpool Road, but the 1830 and subsequent Ordnance Survey maps name it as Union Street. By 1890 the eastern end was known as Union Street as far west as the alms houses, the centre section was Fox Lane, and the western end around Seven Stars was named Brook Street.
All the older buildings are at either the eastern end, Union Street, or the western end, Brook Street. All the centre section is modern build.
Our walk commences outside the Fox & Lion at the eastern end of Fox Lane.
The Fox & Lion
Looking east from the top of Fox Lane towards St Andrew’s Parish Church. The Fox & Lion was originally a row of cottages and was converted to a public house called The Ring O’ Bells. Sometime around the 1800s, the name was changed to Bay Horse. The Georgian look to the east front of building is fake.
Originally constructed as houses, these were converted to shops and are currently derelict. They have recently been sold …
The Step Houses
A terrace of twenty-six brick-built cottages used by hand loom weavers. Originally known as the Friendly Society Houses, they are built around 1801.
The cutting of the Lancaster Canal began around 1792 and the canal has always existed as two separate sections. The southern cutting ran from Aspull, in the south, to Walton Summit. The northern section ran from Preston to Kendal. The small section between Walton Summit and Preston, which required crossing the River Ribble, was never completed and a temporary tramroad was opened in 1803 to enable the transfer of cargo between Walton Summit and Preston.
The Southern Cutting
The southern cutting from Johnson’s Hillock to Bark Hill at Aspull became part of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal in 1810 and is still navigable today. At Johnson’s Hillock there is a short arm of the original Lancaster Canal running northwest from the wooden lock bridge to Town Lane.
Almost all of the cut between here and Walton Summit was filled by rubble from the construction of the M61 motorway. Through lack of use and the significant cost of constructing bridges and tunnels to accommodate the motorway, it was decided in the 1960s to close this section of the canal. Only a few very short sections of the cut are visible along with the remains of a few bridges and basins.
The two Whittle Tunnels and Moss Bridge can still be found in good condition at Whittle-le-Woods. Summit Bridge and White Bride stand in isolation in woods close to Walton Summit and can be accessed by a footpath that runs under the M61 motorway.
Footpaths can now be walked that follow the line of the canal cutting as we head north from Whittle Tunnels.
Following the former canal cutting as it passes between Brindle and Clayton Brook on its way to Walton Summit we come across the sites of White Bridge and Summit Bridge. White Bridge has been removed and replaced by a grass bank crossing the cutting. Summit Bridge stands isolated in woodland and crosses a muddy ditch.
The Northern Cutting
The northern cutting of the canal now starts at Maudlands, on the north west side of Preston, and can be navigated as far as Tewitfield.
Originally, the canal ran as far south as the basin and coal yards on the southwest side of Corporation Street between Ladywell Street and Ring Way. Heading north towards Maudlands, there is no cutting visible as UCLAN have built over the land. However, there are still indications of a number of the bridges and banks to be seen.
Signs of the tramroad can still be found at Walton Summit, in Preston city centre, and near to Walton-le-Dale where the course of the tramroad is used as a footpath. There is also a large trestle bridge crossing the River Ribble in Avenham Park, but this is currently closed. Two very small sections of the tramroad were excavated in Bamber Bridge and have been preserved at Worden Park in Leyland.
Golden Hill Lane runs east to west from the end of Station Brow in the east to Leyland Lane 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 on the short stretch of road, Golden Hill. Looking at the 1848 1:10,560 Ordnance Survey map Golden Hill may have been the route to the level crossing – it’s difficult to be certain. Somewhere between 1848 and 1894, the level crossing was replaced by the modern man-made hill, Station Brow, and the bridge.
Coal Merchant’s Yard
This building has been used for many years as an office for local coal merchants. The 1848 1:10,560 Ordnance Survey map shows a coal yard in approximately this location, with a small number of associated buildings. The 1894 1:2,500 Ordnance Survey map shows this building and a small number of weighing machines outside.
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 courthouse 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.
The Queens & The Viceroy
Built as one building around the mid 1850s, the building to the left has always been a public house. The building on the right, now The Viceroy, was originally The Leyland & Farington Co – op shop on Golden Hill Lane. A loading hoist can still be seen on the west side of the building in the small alley running towards Grundy Street. There are two iron support beams. The top beam has the words “Leyland & Farington” embossed into the ironwork. The lower beam, now covered by a shutter, is embossed “Co-operative Society”.
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 southwest end of Chapel Brow, once known as gasworks corner, heading northeast to the junction with Golden Hill Lane, Golden Hill, 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. I suspect 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 northeast 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 of Church Street and St Andrew’s Church.
St Andrew’s Church Wall
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 the churchyard. We noticed this from an early map showing the area. The datestone 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 more precise date. Planning approval for the 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 Leyland Motors Day Continuation School
The Leyland Motors Day Continuation School was opened in the 1930s and was in use until its closure in the 1970s. It was used for young employees of Leyland Motors and provided a continuation of education. More recently this building is now home to Broadoaks Child Development Centre.
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.