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Nelson, Lancashire

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Title: Nelson, Lancashire  
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Subject: Colne, Burnley, Lancashire, Pendle, Barrowford
Collection: Civil Parishes in Lancashire, Nelson, Lancashire, Post Towns in the Bb Postcode Area, Towns and Villages in Pendle
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Nelson, Lancashire


Marsden Park, Nelson
Nelson is located in Lancashire
 Nelson shown within Lancashire
Area  4.64 km2 (1.79 sq mi) [1]
Population 29,135 (2011 Census)
   – density  16,187/sq mi (6,250/km2)
OS grid reference
   – London  184 miles (296 km) SSE 
District Pendle
Shire county Lancashire
Region North West
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town NELSON
Postcode district BB9
Dialling code 01282
Police Lancashire
Fire Lancashire
Ambulance North West
EU Parliament North West England
UK Parliament Pendle
Website Pendle Borough Council
List of places

Nelson is a town and civil parish in the Borough of Pendle in Lancashire, England, with a population of 29,135 in 2011. It is 4 miles (6.4 km) north of Burnley on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal.

It developed as a mill town during the Industrial Revolution, but has today lost much of its industry and is characterised by pockets of severe deprivation and some of the lowest house prices in the country.[2][3]


  • History 1
  • Governance 2
  • Demography 3
  • Economy 4
  • Transport 5
  • Sports 6
  • Recreation 7
  • Media 8
  • Notable people 9
  • See also 10
  • References 11
  • External links 12


An Iron Age hillfort called Castercliff is on a hill to the east of the town.[4] The area was historically known as Marsden. The modern town spans two townships of the ancient parish of Whalley.[5][6] Little Marsden was on the southwest of Walverden Water, its lands considered part of the manor of Ightenhill and Great Marsden to the northeast, part of the manor of Colne.[7][4] Great Marsden included the southern parts of Colne,[1] and Little Marsden included all of modern-day Brierfield.[7][4] Walverden Water joins Pendle Water next to Nelson & Colne College, that river formed the boundary of the Forest of Pendle. Both the manors and forest where parts of the Honour of Clitheroe. The forest of Pendle was made famous by the Pendle witch trials of 1612. One of the accused in the less well-known witch trails of 1634, Margaret Johnson, confessed that she first met her familiar in Marsden.[4]

A small mill had been established by the Ecroyd family at Edge End as early as 1740,[8] and there were two coal mines nearby,[8] but it was the coming of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal in 1796, followed by the East Lancashire Railway Line in 1849,[9] that spurred its development as an industrial town, with an economy based mainly upon cotton weaving. The first Ordnance Survey map of the area, published in 1848 shows three small villages; Marsden (around St Paul's church), and Hebson and Bradley, both on Walverden Water in the modern-day centre of town. Also apparent are the estates of Marsden Hall to the east and Carr Hall across Pendle Water to the northwest.[7] And the turnpike roads of the Marsden, Gisburn and Long Preston trust (Scotland Road) heading north and the Blackburn, Addingham and Cocking End trust (Manchester Road) heading east.[7] Brierfield railway station was originally called Marsden and Nelson railway station became known as the Nelson Inn, Great Marsden, after the adjacent public house, the Lord Nelson Inn (named after Admiral Lord Nelson). As the villages developed into a town, the name Nelson was chosen to differentiate it from Marsden across the Pennines in the neighbouring county of Yorkshire (West Riding).[10]

An 1895 stationary steam engine built by William Roberts & Co of Nelson installed at Queen Street Mill Textile Museum, Burnley

There was a worsted mill at Lomeshaye close to a "cotton factory" and another cotton mill along the canal at Reedyford by 1848.[7] Walverden Mill in Leeds Road was built in 1850,[11] and was soon followed by others. From 1862, Phoenix Foundry, the steam engine factory of William Roberts stood at the site of the shopping centre’s car park, and has been called "Nelson’s most significant engineering site". The town became associated in the 20th century with the production of confectionery as well, including Jelly Babies and Victory V and was where the package holiday company Airtours (formerly Pendle Travel and now part of Thomas Cook) began life as an independent travel agent. The textile industry, in particular, has now sharply declined, leaving the town with low property prices and higher than average unemployment.


Nelson was granted its silver jubilee in 1935, saying that they would rather spend public money on free dinners for school children and the jobless.

The town became, under the [12] It currently has three tiers of local government, Lancashire County Council, Pendle Borough Council and a town council, with 24 councillors, which was elected for the first time on 1 May 2008.[13]

Pendle Borough Council has been governed since 2004 by the Liberal Democrats, led by Alan Davies (Liberal Democrat). The mayor – a ceremonial post, which rotates annually – is currently Anthony Beckett (Conservative). The borough comprises sixteen wards in total, six of which – Bradley, Clover Hill, Marsden, Southfield, Walverden and Whitefield – represent the town.

Lancashire County Council has been governed since 1994 by Labour. The town is represented on the council in three divisions: Brierfield & Nelson North, Nelson South, and Pendle Central.[14]

The Member of Parliament for Pendle, the constituency into which the town falls, is Andrew Stephenson (Conservative), who was first elected in 2010.

Nelson lies within the North West England European Parliament constituency, which elects eight MEPs by proportional representation - currently three Conservative (ECR), two Labour (PASD), one Liberal Democrat (ALDE), one UKIP (EFD), and one BNP (NI).[15]


Year 1911 1921 1931 1939 1951 1961 1971 2001 2011
Population 39,479 39,841 38,304 34,803 34,384 32,292 31,286 28,998 29,135
Council houses in Bradley ward

The United Kingdom Census 2011 showed a total resident population for Nelson of 29,135. The town forms part of the Burnley-Nelson urban area, which has an estimated population of 149,796; for comparison purposes, this is about the same size as Huddersfield or Oxford.[16]

The racial composition of the town in 2011 was 57.8% White, 40.4% Asian, 0.1% Black, 1.5% Mixed and 0.2% Other.[17] The largest religious groups are Christian (39.0%) and Muslim (37.6%).[18] The town is strikingly segregated: the Marsden ward, which in 2006 elected the borough's first British National Party councillor, is 92.6% White, while the Whitefield ward is 72.8% Asian or Asian British.[19][20]

59.02% of adults between the ages of 16 and 74 are classed as economically active and in work.[21]


The town centre is home to a low number of high street multiples, including: Farmfoods, Greggs, Optical Express, Specsavers, Wilko, Superdrug, Home Bargains, Post Office, Thomas Cook, Martin McColl, Poundworld, Store Twenty One, Select Fashion, Boots and Betfred.

A Tesco Metro, which opened in February 2008, closed in August 2010, as did Ethel Austin, Bonmarche, B&M Bargains, Iceland, Poundstretcher, Woolworth's and Argos. On the edge of the town centre, there is a Morrisons, which, when opened in September 1999, and was the chain's 100th supermarket overall; there is also a B&Q in the town, just off the M65, a Plumbase (on Kenyon Road), and a Lidl, which opened in February 2001.

As well as motor dealerships from Citroën (Walker Farrimond), Peugeot (Perry's) and Land Rover (Hillendale), the town has a branch of We Buy Any Car. The town's shopping centre, originally called the Arndale Centre, was renamed the Admiral Shopping Centre in 1998, but it has since been renamed the Pendle Rise Shopping Centre. Shell (which includes a Subway), Esso, BP and Morrisons operate petrol stations in the town.

Another shopping centre in Nelson is The Victory Centre, however, a branch of William Hill is currently the only remaining store. The main road through the town, originally pedestrianized, was converted back to a road in August 2011, in order to boost trade. Nelson Market, previously Admiral’s Market, is a covered market below the Pendle Rise Shopping Centre.


Nelson is served by Junction 13 of the M65 motorway, which runs west to Burnley, Accrington, Blackburn and Preston, and northeast to Colne. From the town centre, the A56 runs southwest to the M65 at Brierfield and northeast to Colne and beyond, while the A682 – Britain's most dangerous road[22] – heads north into the Yorkshire Dales.

In November 1969, a multi-storey car park with space for 350 cars was opened in Nelson.[23]

In December 2008, the town's new bus and rail interchange was opened at a site which used the existing railway station.[24] The new interchange facility cost £4.5 million and included enhancements such as cycle stands, taxi and car drop off facilities, electronic information displays, a direct link to the railway station including a passenger lift and an enclosed passenger concourse with 10 bus stands.[25]

Rail services to and from Nelson are provided by Northern Rail. The Interchange has an hourly stopping service west to Blackpool South via Blackburn and Preston, and east to Colne.

The main bus operator in Nelson is Transdev in Burnley & Pendle, although Pennine and Tyrer Bus operate some services. National Express operates one coach service to London Victoria Coach Station each day from the Interchange. The town has good bus links into Manchester, compensating for the lack of a frequent rail link: the X43/X44 Witch Way service (operated by Transdev in Burnley & Pendle) runs via Burnley and Rawtenstall to Manchester city centre, using a fleet of specially-branded double-decker buses with leather seats.


The town is home to Nelson F.C., who were Football League members from 1921 until 1931 and played in the lower semi-professional leagues until resigning from the North West Counties League in 2010, and to Nelson Cricket Club. Cricket was particularly popular in the town during the inter-war period, when the club enjoyed the services of Learie Constantine, the West Indian cricketer; when in 1969 Constantine became the first person of African descent to be given a life peerage, he chose to be gazetted as Baron Constantine, of Maraval in Trinidad and Tobago and of Nelson in the County Palatine of Lancaster.[26]

Speedway racing was staged at Seedhill Stadium from 1967 to 1970. The Nelson Admirals were founder members of the British League Division Two.) The team later moved embloc to Odsal Stadium, Bradford. The track was also used for stock car racing.

The town also has two golf clubs, a municipal at Marsden Park and a private club in Kings Causeway known simply as Nelson Golf Club.


The town is home to several parks the most notable of which are Victoria Park and Marsden Park. The recently opened Arts, Culture and Enterprise Centre (The ACE Centre) [2] provides the residents with a new multi-purpose venue and incorporates a cinema, theatre and bistro. The Heritage Trust for the North West have numerous campaigns and projects in the area. One of which has seen the restoration and conservation of a whole street of Victorian workers housing, a former primary school and cotton mill, as it was feared that the Industrial Heritage of the town was at risk.[27] St Mary's Church is also another major project in the town, which is planned to open as an exhibition centre in Summer 2012.[28]


Local radio for Nelson is currently provided by 2BR and BBC Radio Lancashire, and – since September 2007 – by community radio service Pendle Community Radio, aimed primarily at the local Asian community. There are two local newspapers: the Nelson Leader, published on Fridays, and the daily Lancashire Telegraph, which publishes a local edition for Burnley and Pendle.

Notable people

See also



  1. ^ Colne Water formed the border between Great Marsden and Colne townships.[7]


  1. ^ Office for National Statistics. Accessed 15 April 2008.
  2. ^ Accessed 4 August 2008. The most deprived Lower Layer SOA ranks 262nd out of 32482, placing it in the 1% most deprived areas in the country.
  3. ^ Sold House Prices. Nelson appears in 10th place in the list of towns with the lowest property prices (averaging £97,307); Oxford Street in Brierfield, Nelson appears in 4th place in the list of streets with the lowest property prices (averaging £19,943).
  4. ^ a b c d Farrer and Brownbill 1911, pp. 536-541
  5. ^ "Great and Little Marsden CP/Tn through time". GB Historical GIS / University of Portsmouth. Retrieved 25 February 2015. 
  6. ^ An Early History of Burnley, Pendle and West Craven Clayton 2006, p.118
  7. ^ a b c d e f Lancashire and Furness (Map) (1st ed.). 1 : 10,560. County Series.  
  8. ^ a b Metcalfe 2005, p.7.
  9. ^ a b Metcalfe 2005, p.8.
  10. ^ Nicolaisen 1970, p.140
  11. ^ Metcalfe 2005, p.8
  12. ^ a b Accessed 23 April 2008.
  13. ^ Pendle Borough Council. Accessed 15 April 2008.
  14. ^ Lancashire County Council. Accessed 24 April 2008.
  15. ^ European Parliament official site. Accessed 24 April 2008.
  16. ^ Office for National Statistics. Accessed 6 September 2007.
  17. ^ 2011 census. Accessed 24 November 2013.
  18. ^ 2011 census. Accessed 24 November 2013.
  19. ^ 2011 census. Accessed 24 November 2013.
  20. ^ 2011 census. Accessed 24 November 2013.
  21. ^ Office for National Statistics. 2001 census. Accessed 24 April 2008
  22. ^, 24 June 2007. Accessed 6 September 2007.
  23. ^ "News: Multi-storey car park".  
  24. ^ "Interchanges". Lancashire County Council. Retrieved 2011-10-23. 
  25. ^ "Nelson Interchange". Lancashire County Council. Retrieved 2011-10-23. 
  26. ^ The Edinburgh Gazette: no. 18759. p. 235. 28 March 1969.
  27. ^ HTNW (2010) "Lomeshaye Mill, School and Bridge Cottage",
  28. ^ HTNW (2010) "St Marys Church, Nelson",
  29. ^ El Bombín: Tales of British Football Coaches Around The World. Accessed 24 April 2008.
  30. ^ "John Simm: The time of his life", The Independent, 11 February 2007. Accessed 24 April 2008


  • Farrer and Brownbill (1911), The Victoria History of the County of Lancaster Vol 6,  
  • Clayton John A. (2006). The Valley of the Drawn Sword - The Early History of Burnley, Pendle and West Craven. Barrowford Press.  
  • Metcalf M. (2005). Nelson (Images of England). Tempus Publishing Ltd.  
  • Nicolaisen W. F. H., Gelling M., & Richards M. (1970). The Names of Towns and Cities in Britain. B. T. Batsford Ltd.  

External links

  • Media related to at Wikimedia Commons
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