Ormskirk is my district town, it is in charge of the West Lancashire district, which is where I live, so what better way to kick of Lancashire day?
Status: West Lancashire District, Lancashire, Town, England
Travel: Car, Merseyrail (Ormskirk – Liverpool Stations), Northern Rail (Ormskirk – Preston)
Eating & Sleeping: Pound Bakery, Costa Coffee
Attractions: Clock Tower, Market, Parish Church, Earl of Beaconsfield Statue, Buck I’ Th’ Vine Inn, Sergeant Major Nunnerly Memorial, Victoria Gardens, Tower Hill Water Tower etc
We arrived just outside the main town centre, and as we walked through to the main streets, we passed this beautiful old pub, called the Buck I’ Th’ Vine. It’s a charming 18th century building, originally built as a Coaching Inn, as the road was part of the turnpike road between Liverpool, Ormskirk and Preston.
At the rear of the building is a courtyard where horses were changed to allow travellers to continue their journey. It is now a pub, and a fantastically preserved building.
The parish church of St Peter and St Paul is famous for having both a tower and a spire, which is very unusual for a parish church. Also, they are not even at opposite ends of the building they are sat right next to each other which makes it quite interesting. The church is from the 12th century, with some of the walls going back as far as 1170.
The spire was added first, in the late 14th century, and the tower later between 1540 and 1550. There are only 3 churches in England that have the tower and spire laid out this, a “Western Tower with a Central Spire”. It was restored in the late 1800’s (1877 – 1891), and it was later modernised.
Walking down the road slightly from the Church, we found the Civic Hall, a stunning Victorian red brick building. From 1884 it was the base of the Ormskirk Branch of the 3rd Volunteer Ballation, which replaced the 4th Ballation, South Lancashire Regiment. It was known as the Drill Hall, and it eventually became the towns Civic Hall.
In the middle of the market place, this striking clock tower dates back to 1876, as do many other buildings in the town that are also a similar age, such as the Corn Exchange that was built in 1896, the Library from 1854 and the main parks from 1894.
When it was built, there was a table of tolls at the base of the Clock Tower, which listed how much easy market stall holder had to pay in taxes.
Just next to the Clock Tower, in the centre of the market square is a large sundial like feature, which points North, East, South and West. Southport is shown as North of Ormskirk, Preston and Wigan are East, and Liverpool is South West.
This is a statue of Benjamin Disraeli, the first Earl of Beaconsfield and it stands at the end of the market streets heading towards the bus and train stations. It was erected in 1884 after his death in 1881, and served as British Prime Minster from 1874 – 1880. He was notable for his negotiation skills, especially when dealing with Europe, and in 1878 he won a settlement against Russia that was beneficial for Britain which astounded the Russians the European community, cementing his place on the political field. He was not, however from Ormskirk, he was born in London, but memorials to him stand through the country.
Behind him you can see the entrance to the bus station, and just past that is the small road leading down to the train station, with the tracks running under the bridge in front of the bus station.
Now pedestrianised, the market place is a good place to shop and relax, and as it’s only a few minutes walk away from the parish church and the train station, it is ideally located.
Of course, with all the talk of a street market, and market streets, there is also a market hall, although the future of the building currently hangs in the balance as of 2013/14 with possible plans to close it, although these are being fiercely opposed.
The building is located only a few minutes away from the station, very close to the pedestrianised streets.
Ormskirk has good rail links to Liverpool on the Merseyrail Network, as it one of the four main terminus’s of the Northern Line, along with Southport, Kirkby and Hunt’s Cross, a suburb of Liverpool. Shown above is the Merseyrail station in the town. The station opened in 1849, built by the East Lancashire Railway. The Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway took over in 1859, and the London, Midland and Scottish Railway took ownership in 1923, before the railways were nationalised and the Government became the owners of all British stations in 1948.
There are regular trains to and from Liverpool city centre, as well as a less frequent service heading the other way to Preston. Not far away is the M58 that links up to the M6 (For Scotland and London) and the M57 (For Liverpool). Both the station, and the road bridge with three arches that crosses it are Grade II listed structures.
Ormskirk is a pleasant, ancient little market town, that is also famous for its gingerbread. During the English Civil War, the parliamentary forces under Charles II were based in Ormskirk. So come one down and visit the best of Lancashires market towns, and see what all the fuss is about with our Gingerbread!