Interesting Facts about Lancashire

Lancashire_rose.svgLancashire is a county in North West England.

  • The emblem of Lancashire is the Red Rose of the House of Lancaster.
  • Lancashire towns (e.g. Oldham, Manchester, Burnley) played a key role in the industrial revolution, though 80% of the county area is classed as rural.
  • In 1971, before the break up of Lancashire, Lancashire had a population of 5,129,416 – the highest outside London. Post ’74, boundary changes – without Manchester and Liverpool – the population is 1,171,600. (2011 census)
  • Lancashire did not exist in the 1086 Doomsday survey, it was one of the youngest counties to be created in the comparatively late year of 1182.
  • Lancashire Day is held on 27th November. In 1295, 27th Nov, Lancashire sent its first representatives to King Edward I’s ‘Model Parliament’.
  • In the 1974 boundary reforms, Lancashire lost some of its area to Cumbria, Merseyside and Greater Manchester. It was controversially given a small part of Yorkshire around Barnoldswick.
  • The Lancashire dialect (Lanky) has been officially recognised by authors of the English dialect. Common Lancashire dialect includes  using “tha” or “t'” (thou) and “thi” (thee) instead of “you”.
  • For example  This is mine an’ that’s thine!” “Hast ta geet a fiver tha con lend me?”
  • The Lancashire dialect is strongest in old colliery towns, such as Wigan, Leigh and Radcliffe.
  • Despite many fine points, Lancashire has often struggled to escape the shadow of its more illustrious neighbour  – Yorkshire.



  • The first motorway in Britain was built as the 8.5 mile Preston bypass (opened 1958); this would become the M6 which travels from London up to Carlisle and Scotland

Sankey Viaduct built by George Stephenson 1828-30 on Liverpool-Manchester railway.

The world’s first intercity railway was built by George Stephenson between Liverpool and Manchester. Opening in 1830, it was the first railway to rely on steam power, the first to have double track and the first to be properly signalled and timetabled. It heralded the age of the railways, and was a very profitable enterprise.


Photo: Bridgewater Canal, Paul

The Bridgewater canal was considered to be the first proper canal in Britain. It ran between Leigh and Manchester and later linked up with Liverpool. It included an aqueduct to cross the River Irwell.



  • Blackpool became a popular seaside resort offering an escape for factory workers in Lancashire Mill towns.
  • These week long holidays were known as “Wakes Weeks”. Often different towns would take the two week holiday at different times to spread out the tourist rush throughout the summer. Workers would take trains or “Charabangs” to go on holiday.
  • Blackpool Tower was opened on 14 May 1894. It was inspired by the Eiffel Tower in Paris and is 158 metres tall. It takes 7 years to paint from top to bottom.
  • Blackpool illuminations are a major tourist attraction and include over one million light bulbs.
  • The Pleasure Beach at Blackpool attracts around 8 million visitors each season



Morecambe by Matthew Hartley

  • In the late 19th Century, Morecambe became a popular tourist destination, like Blackpool. It attracted many workers from Scotland and West Yorkshire, especially Bradford due to good rail-links.
  • From Morecambe, there is a great view across Morecambe Bay of Cumbria. The Lake District peaks can be seen in the distance.
  • The comedian Eric Morecambe, who partnered with Ernie Wise, came from Morecambe.
  • Yorkshire playwright, Alan Bennet had a long association with Morecambe.


Lancashire played a key role in the industrial revolution. Lancashire towns, such as Oldham, Manchester and Burnley and Baccup became known for their cotton mills.


Burnley c 1900.

  • In the 1830s, the Lancashire cotton industry employed 16% of the total British industrial workforce, contributing 8% of UK’s GDP.
  • The intense industrialisation also led to dire working conditions for the workers, who had a low life expectancy, living in cramped conditions.


  • Lancashire towns were a major part of the early competitive football and rugby leagues. Some became rugby towns like Wigan, St Helens, Widnes and Leigh. Others were more noted for football, e.g. Preston, Manchester, Liverpool and Burnley
  • Preston North End, were founder members of the Football league and won the first league title in 1889-90. This was the the world’s first major national league.
  • Manchester United is the best supported football club in the world, with 670 million plus supporters world-wide, this beats 2nd place Barcelona, with an estimated 270 million.

    Liverpool Kop

    Liverpool Kop

  • Liverpool were one of the dominant European teams of the 1970s and 80s.
  • The Kop  – the big stand behind the goal, was named after a hill in South Africa which saw a battle in the Boer War. Liverpool are fives times European champions.
  • Lancashire CC have played at Old Trafford cricket ground since 1864.
  • The golden period for Lancashire CC was the 1920s and 30s when they won the County championship title five times between 1924 and 1934. Large crowds of 20,000 + would often turn up for three day games.
  • Yorkshire CC have won 33 County Championships compared to Lancashire’s eight.

Lancaster and War of the Roses


City_of_Lancaster David P

  • Lancaster is the historic capital of Lancashire. Though in modern times, the administrative base is Preston.
  • Lancaster has unique ties to the British Monarchy. The Duchy of Lancaster is an important state for the British Monarch. The House of Lancaster was a branch of the English Royal family.
  • The War of the Roses 1455 and 1487 was a fight for supremacy of the Royal family between the House of York and the House of Lancaster.
  • Henry Tudor, a claimant from the House of Lancaster defeated the last Yorkist king, Richard III. Henry Tudor assumed throne as Henry VII and married Elizabeth of York.

Co-operative movement

rochdale pioneers-co-op

The worldwide co-operative movement began in Rochdale, when local workers formed a mutual co-operative society, designed to share profits equally amongst workers and customers.

Wigan Pier

Wigan Pier was made famous through George Orwell’s classic account of working class life in the Great Depression ‘The Road to Wigan Pier’


Wigan Pier was the butt of many comedian jokes, such as George Formby (snr) as the famous pier of Wigan didn’t really exist.


  • However, up until 1929, there was a Wigan Pier of sorts – which used to be a device for tipping coal into canal boats.
  • Wigan is derived from the Saxon word ‘Wiggin’ – which means to have numerous fights. More on Wigan Pier
  • Wigan RLFC were one of the most successful rugby league clubs in the 1980s and 1990s.

Pendle Witches


In the Sixteenth Century, twelve people living near Pendle Hill, Lancashire were accused of witchcraft and murdering 10 people. The trial at Lancaster Assizes was well documented and it became one of the most famous witchcraft trials in England.

George Fox, the founder of the Quaker Movement is believed to have had a vision on Pendle Hill in 1640, which gave inspiration for his new religious movement.

The Rake – Ramsbottom


Every year, the Rake in Ramsbottom is the venue for a cycling hill climb event. It has been used as the venue for the UK national hill climb championship on numerous times. The hill is noted for its steepness, reaching 23% towards the end.


Dunsop Bridge in the Ribble Valley near the Trough of Bowland is the geographical centre of the British Isles


Morecambe Bay offers views of Cumbria on a good day.


The Trough of Bowland is an area of outstanding natural beauty to the South-east of Lancaster.

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