Industrial Heritage - A Guide to the Industrial Archaeology of Bacup & Stacksteads, by Mike Rothwell

Industrial Heritage - A Guide to the Industrial Archaeology of Bacup & Stacksteads, by Mike Rothwell

Published by Bridgestone Press in 2011, 100 pages. A4 size booklet (N7155)

From the introduction: Bacup, and the neighbouring township of Stacksteads are the subjects of this booklet. In addition, the hamlets of Cowpe and Weir are covered, as are the upper reaches of the Dulesgate alley which had close associations with Bacup.

Like other districts of North-East Lancashire, Bacup was principally a textile manufacturing town, developing as a centre for the woollen industry, and moving into cotton by the nineteenth century. The decline of textiles, after the First World War, corresponded with a rapid growth in footwear manufacture, a trade for which the town, and Rossendale in general, became well known.

Although a thriving industry, and major employer, shoe and slipper production left little in the way of physical structures, but rather made use of redundant textile mills. As with cotton, footwear found itself unable to compete with foreign imports, and manufacturing was extinct by the close of last century, although a number of firms survived as importers.

Extractive industries, coal, clay and stone, were once important employers of labour in the district. Small collieries worked on the hillside around the town, especially along the valleys of Greave Brook and the Irwell. A ready supply of fireclay, found in proximity to the coal seams, resulted in the erection of brickworks, with an emphasis on sanitary and drainage pipes. Quarrying had a dramatic impact on the landscape of Bacup, and is most obvious to the south of the town, where jagged spoil heaps and huge quarry holes are its legacy.

A range of other trades was carried on, but most were limited in size. Iron working and engineering was perhaps the most significant, but attempts to establish a textile machinery branch ultimately proved unsuccessful. A Local Board of Health was established in 1863 and in 1882 the Borough of Bacup was incorporated. Major public engineering works were launched, and culminated in Cowpe Waterworks, of which the town was rightly proud.

The population of Bacup grew steadily throughout the nineteenth century. From around 8000 in 1831 it had grown to over 25,000 within fifty years. This expansion lead in turn to the rapid urbanization of the town.

This survey continues the format established in earlier guides. Each site begins with historical details, including notes on employment, motive power and products, followed by a description of the location today. Fieldwork took place between 2008 and 2010, and many sites were visited on a number of occasions.
The booklet is illustrated throughout with several small black and white photographs drawings, as well as 16 pages of black and white photographs in the middle section.

Condition of the booklet is generally very good. The covers are clean and bright, the staple spine is tight and intact, and all pages are clean, intact, unblemished and tightly bound.