Our next road trip took us East along the M65 to the edge of Lancashire, starting with the town of Nelson…
Status: Pendle District, Lancashire, Town, England
Eating & Sleeping: N/A
Attractions: Town Hall, War Memorial, Shuttle Sculpture, Union Bank Building, Boy Scout War Memorial, Market Square etc
Nelson is quite an aesthetic little town, with lots of stone buildings reflecting its heritage in the cotton industry, part of the long chain of mill towns which cross from East Lancashire into West Yorkshire.
We started outside Nelson Library, where we found the “Boy Scout War Memorial” shown on the left. Comprised of a Boy Scout in War Uniform atop a pedestal, it was created by Job Davies in 1919 in memory of the Nelson Scouts killed in World War I.
A more general War Memorial for the town stands to it’s left, in the form of a large cross, again erected after World War I. Newer commemoration sections can be seen behind the Boy Scout, with names from subsequent conflicts.
The Library stands in the middle of the Market Square, and where the Library is now was once the site of a stunning Market Hall with Clock Tower, from 1890, which sadly burnt down in 1932. Its successor was later demolished in the 1970’s, and the Library was constructed.
Following a long pedestrianised street South East takes you past Nelson Town Hall, the headquarters of Pendle Borough Council.
Nelson didn’t even exist on the map prior to the Industrial Revolution. It was only after the Leeds-Liverpool Canal opened in 1816, followed 30 years later by the East Lancashire Railway, that a large industry began to appear in the area. The town of Nelson grew up around the new train station here, and quickly grew. It would eventually become a town in it’s own right, which led to a large Victorian Town Hall being built.
So far I have been unable to find an exact construction date for the Town Hall, but it was presumably mid 19th century.
There are only a small number of Listed Buildings in Nelson Town Centre, strangely not including the Town Hall, or most of the other buildings on the High Street.
I can’t find a date for most of the buildings, however I can say that they are very uniformly designed, which fits in with the idea that the town just sprung up out of nowhere almost over night.
The building on the left is called the “Lord Nelson Inn” and it was actually this building that gave the town it’s name. When the train station was built in 1849, the Inn, then a Coaching Inn, was already here, and leant its name to the new railway station, which became “Nelson Inn, Marsden” Station.
Nelson hadn’t yet grown into it’s own area, so the station had to be differentiated from the surrounding villages of Little Marsden and Great Marsden. As the settlement grew, the name Nelson was then transferred from the Station to the town as a whole which would incorporate both villages.
One of the standout features on the High Street is a large steel sculpture in the shape of a “Shuttle”, a device used in the spinning of Cotton. Standing an impressive 39ft tall, it was installed in 2011, and pays homage to the history of the area, in particular the cotton industry from the 19th century.
It was even deliberately designed to look like it was made out of traditional wood, as opposed to metal.
The Shuttle Sculpture stands in front of the “Union Bank Building” of 1913, which features a 50 ft Clock Tower. It was built in place of a small row of shops, and has to be the most ornate building in Nelson, after the Town Hall.
The Union Bank itself was founded in 1836 in Lancashire, eventually becoming part of Barclays in 1919.
Nelson is located just off the M65 which runs from Preston past Blackburn to Colne, and also has a train station on the Blackpool – Leeds/York railway line, also calling at Preston, Blackburn and Burnley, giving it good overall transport links.
Looking back towards the Library, the Lancashire Hills are visible, such as Pendle Hill, forming a large natural barrier between Lancashire and Yorkshire.
We would be heading in that general direction next anyway, as we made the short journey up the M65 to Colne…