Bacup (/ˈbeɪkəp/ BAY-kəp) is a town in Lancashire, England, in the South Pennines close to Lancashire's boundary with West Yorkshire. The town is in the Rossendale Valley and the upper Irwell Valley, 3.5 miles (5.6 km) east of Rawtenstall, 6.4 miles (10.3 km) north of Rochdale, and 7 miles (11 km) south of Burnley. At the 2011 Census, Bacup had a population of 13,323.
Bacup emerged as a settlement following the Anglo-Saxon settlement of Britain in the Early Middle Ages. For centuries, it was a small and obscure centre of domestic flannel and woollen cloth production, and many of the original weavers' cottages survive today as listed buildings. Following the Industrial Revolution, Bacup became a mill town, growing up around the now covered over bridge crossing the River Irwell and the North-South / East-West crossroad at its centre. During that time its landscape became dominated by distinctive and large rectangular woollen and cotton mills. Bacup received a charter of incorporation in 1882, giving it municipal borough status and its own elected town government, consisting of a mayor, aldermen and councillors to oversee local affairs.
In the late 20th century, Bacup became part of the borough of Rossendale. Bacup's historic character, culture and festivities have encouraged the town's suburbanisation and redevelopment as a more cosmopolitan commuter town for Manchester and other North West towns and cities, whilst English Heritage has proclaimed Bacup as the best preserved cotton town in England, and its town centre is designated as a protected area for its special architectural qualities.
Yorkshire Street, Bacup's main thoroughfare
Shown within Rossendale
|Population||13,323 (2011 Census)|
|OS grid reference|
|• London||175 mi (282 km) SSE|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|EU Parliament||North West England|
The name Bacup is derived from the Old English fūlbæchop. The Oxford Dictionary of British Place Names translates this as "muddy valley by a ridge"; the fūl- element, which meant "foul" or "muddy" was used in the earliest known reference to the area, in a charter by Robert de Lacey, around the year 1200, as used in the Middle English spelling fulebachope. The prefix ful- was dropped from the toponym. The -bæchop element is less clear, possibly meaning "ridge valley", or else "back valley" referring to the locale's position at the back part of the Irwell Valley.
Bacup and its hinterland has provided archeological evidence of human activity in the area during the Neolithic. Anglo-Saxons settled in the Early Middle Ages. It has been claimed that in the 10th century the Anglo-Saxons battled against Gaels and Norsemen at Broadclough, a village to the north of Bacup. From the medieval period in this area, the River Irwell separated the ancient parishes of Whalley and Rochdale (in the hundreds of Blackburn and Salford respectively). The settlement developed mainly in the Whalley township of Newchurch but extending into Rochdale's Spotland.
The geology and topography of the village lent itself to urbanisation and domestic industries; primitive weavers' cottages, coal pits and stonequarries were propelled by Bacup's natural supply of water power in the Early Modern period. The adoption of the factory system, which developed into the Industrial Revolution, enabled the transformation of Bacup from a small rural village into a mill town, populated by an influx of families attracted by Bacup's cotton mills, civic amenities and regional railway network. Locally sourced coal provided the fuel for industrial scale quarrying, cotton spinning and shoe making operations, stimulating the local economy. Bacup received a charter of incorporation in 1882, giving it honorific borough status and its own elected town government, consisting of a mayor, aldermen and councillors to oversee local affairs.
Bacup's boom in textile manufacture during the Industrial Revolution resulted in the town developing into a prosperous and thickly populated industrial area by early-20th century. But the Great Depression and the ensuing deindustrialisation of the United Kingdom largely eliminated Bacup's textile processing sector and economic prosperity.
Bacup followed the regional and national trend of deindustrialisation during the early and mid-20th century; a process exacerbated by the closure of Bacup railway station in 1966. Bacup also experienced population decline; from 22,000 at the time of the United Kingdom Census 1911, to 15,000 at the United Kingdom Census 1971. Much of Bacup's infrastructure became derelict owing to urban decay, despite regeneration schemes and government funding. Shops became empty and some deteriorated. The houses along the main roads endured as the original terraces from Bacup's industrial age, but behind these, on the hillsides, are several council estates.
In 2013 it was announced that Rossendale Borough Council was successful in securing £2m funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund for a 5-year regeneration project, to be delivered by the Bacup Townscape Heritage Initiative (THI). The project focuses on the redevelopment and restoration of Bacup’s unique built and cultural heritage whilst providing training in traditional building skills and to facilitate activities and events for local people. The injection of funds has significantly contributed to growing property prices in the area with the investments in the area being cited as one of the major reasons why the area is becoming increasingly attractive to people commuting to larger conurbations such as Greater Manchester.
Records in 2005 show Bacup to have some of the lowest crime levels in the county, and the relative small change to Bacup's infrastructure and appearance has given the town a "historic character and distinctive sense of place". In 2007, the murder of Sophie Lancaster attracted media attention to the town and highlighted its urban blight and lack of amenities and regeneration.
Lying within the historic county boundaries of Lancashire since the High Middle Ages, Bacup was a chapelry linked with the parishes of Whalley and Rochdale, and divided between the townships of Newchurch and Spotland in the hundred of Blackburn.
Bacup's first local authority was a Local board of health established in 1863; Bacup Local Board of Health was a regulatory body responsible for standards of hygiene and sanitation in the Bacup Urban Sanitary District. The area of the sanitary authority was granted a charter of incorporation in 1882, giving it honorific borough status and its own elected town government, consisting of a mayor, aldermen and councillors to oversee local affairs. The Municipal Borough of Bacup became a local government district of the administrative county of Lancashire under the Local Government Act 1894, meaning it shared power with the strategic Lancashire County Council. Under the Local Government Act 1972, the Municipal Borough of Bacup was abolished, and since 1 April 1974 Bacup has formed an unparished area of Rossendale, a local government district of the non-metropolitan county of Lancashire.
From 1992 until 2010, Bacup was represented in the House of Commons as part of the parliamentary constituency of Rossendale and Darwen, by Janet Anderson, a Labour Party MP. Bacup had previously formed part of the Rossendale constituency. In the general election of 2010, the seat was taken by Jake Berry of the Conservative Party.
At Manchester city centre and 175 miles (282 km) north-northwest of central London, Bacup stands on the western slopes of the South Pennines, amongst the upper-Irwell Valley. The River Irwell, a 39-mile (63 km) long tributary of the River Mersey, runs southwesterly through Bacup towards Rawtenstall from its source by the town's upland outskirts at Weir. The Irwell is mostly culverted in central Bacup but it is open in the suburbs. In 2003 there was a proposal to use plate glass for a section of the culvert in the centre of the town however the culvert was eventually replaced with concrete. Bacup is roughly 1,000 feet (305 m) above sea level; the Deerplay area of Weir is 1,350 feet (411 m) above sea level; Bacup town centre is 835 feet (255 m) above sea level.(53.704°, −2.199°), 15.4 miles (24.8 km) north-northeast of
Bacup is surrounded by open moor and grassland on all sides with the exception of Stacksteads at the west which forms a continuous urban area with Waterfoot and Rawtenstall. The major towns of Burnley and Accrington are to the north and northwest respectively; Todmorden, Walsden and the county of West Yorkshire are to the east; Rochdale and the county of Greater Manchester are to the south; Rawtenstall, from where Bacup is governed, is to the west. Areas and suburbs of Bacup include Britannia, Broadclough, Deerplay, Dulesgate, Stacksteads and Weir.
Bacup experiences a temperate maritime climate, like much of the British Isles, with relatively cool summers, yet harsh winters. There is regular but generally light precipitation throughout the year.
English Heritage, a public body responsible for the management and maintenance of England's significant historical architecture and archaeology, has proclaimed Bacup as the best preserved cotton town in England; the town centre has been designated a Conservation Area of Special Architectural and Historic Interest. The majority of Bacup's culturally significant architecture is in the Victorian period, but there are older buildings of note are Fearns Hall (1696), Forest House (1815) and the 18th century Stubbylee Hall. The Bacup Natural History Society Museum was formed in 1878.
Bacup is home to the 17 ft (5.2 m) long Elgin Street which held the record as the shortest street in the world until November 2006, when it was surpassed by Ebenezer Place, in the Scottish Highlands.
Many of the town's historic buildings are set to be renewed in a £2m regeneration scheme.
Bacup railway station was opened in 1852 by the East Lancashire Railway as the terminus of the Rossendale line. The Rochdale and Facit Railway was extended to Bacup in 1883. It rose over a summit of 967 feet (295 m) between Britannia and Shawforth. The Rochdale line closed to passenger services in 1947, and the station finally closed in December 1966, with the cessation of all passenger services to and from Manchester Victoria via Rawtenstall and Bury.
In June 2014 the police announced they would be monitoring the road between Weir and Bacup (which passes through Broadclough) as it has become an accident blackspot with a high number of accidents which have resulted in serious injury and even deaths.
There have been a large number of road traffic incidents on the A671 as it passes through the small hamlets of Broadclough and Weir near Bacup including fatalities. Currently police are monitoring the road and there have been calls from local residents, led by County Councillor Jimmy Easton, for the creation of a bypass with the suggestion of utilising elements of the old highway Bacup Old Road.
The key date in Bacup's cultural calendar is Easter Saturday, when the Britannia Coco-nut Dancers beat the bounds of the town via a dance procession. Britannia Coconut Dancers are an English country dance troupe from Bacup whose routines are steeped in local folk tradition. They wear distinctive costumes and have a custom of blackening their faces. The origin of the troupe is claimed to have its roots in Moorish, pagan, medieval, mining and Cornish customs. The Easter Saturday procession begins annually at the Traveller's Rest Public House on the A671 road. The dancers are accompanied by members of Stacksteads Silver Band and proceed to dance their way through the streets.
Bacup Museum is local history hub and exhibition centre in Bacup. The Bacup Natural History Society was formed in 1878. The work of the society is carried out by a group of volunteers who have a base in the Bacup Museum which contains many domestic, military, industrial, natural history, and religious collections.
Bacup has been used as a filming location for the 1980s BBC TV police drama Juliet Bravo, Hetty Wainthropp Investigates, parts of The League of Gentlemen and much of the film Girls' Night. Elements of the BBC TV drama Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit were also filmed on location in Bacup. The famous 1961 British film Whistle Down the Wind starring Hayley Mills used various parts of Bacup for filming also.
Stacksteads is home to the World Gravy Wrestling Championships held on the late August bank holiday.
Bacup Borough Football Club is a football club based in Bacup, Lancashire, England. The club are currently members of the North West Counties League Division One North and play at West View. They are full members of the Lancashire County Football Association.Bacup Cricket Club
Bacup Cricket Club, based at Lanehead in Bacup, Lancashire, are a cricket club in the Lancashire League.
The club started in 1892 when the Lancashire League was formed. Their professional for the 2008 season was Chris Harris. Their captain for the 2018 season is Aaron Fielding and their professional is Ernest Kemm. In their history, they have won the league championship 10 times and the cup 6 times.Bacup and Rawtenstall Grammar School
Bacup and Rawtenstall Grammar School (BRGS) is a selective co-educational academy grammar school in Waterfoot, Rossendale, Lancashire, England. The school is named after the two main towns either side of Waterfoot, Bacup and Rawtenstall.Bacup railway station
Bacup railway station served the town of Bacup in Rossendale, Lancashire, England, from 1852 until closure in 1966 and was the terminus of two lines one from Rawtenstall and the other from Rochdale.Borough of Rossendale
Rossendale is a district with borough status in Lancashire, England, holding a number of small former mill towns centred on the valley of the River Irwell in the industrial North West. Rossendale combines modest size urban development with rural villages and is immediately south of the more populated town of Burnley, east of Blackburn and north of Bolton, Bury, Manchester and Rochdale, centred 15 miles (24 km) north of Manchester.In the 2001 census the population of Rossendale was 65,652, spread between the larger towns of Bacup, Haslingden and Rawtenstall; the villages of Crawshawbooth, Edenfield, Helmshore, Waterfoot, Whitworth; and as well as Britannia, Broadclough, Chatterton, Cloughfold, Cowpe, Irwell Vale, Loveclough, Newchurch, Shawforth, Stacksteads, Stubbins, Turn and Weir. The population at the 2011 Census had risen to 67,922.The district was formed on 1 April 1974 under the Local Government Act 1972, from the municipal boroughs of Bacup, Haslingden, Rawtenstall, part of Ramsbottom Urban District and Whitworth Urban District.
Rossendale is twinned with the German town of Bocholt, located close to the Netherlands border.
The name "Rossendale" may also refer geographically to Rossendale Valley, and historically refers to the medieval Forest or "Chase" of Rossendale, which encompassed approximately the same area as the modern district.
Rossendale is part of the Rossendale and Darwen constituency. Jake Berry MP has been the Member of Parliament for Rossendale and Darwen since 2010.
All of Rossendale is unparished, except for Whitworth, which has a town council.Britannia railway station
Britannia railway station served Britannia near Bacup in Rossendale, Lancashire, England, from 1881 until closure in 1917. The station was just to the west of the summit of the line, which was also the highest point on the entire Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway (LYR) system.Broadclough
Broadclough – historically Broad Clough (meaning "broad valley") – is a village located to the north of Bacup (where population details are included), previously having been a part of the old borough of Bacup and now with Rossendale borough of Lancashire and part of the Greenclough Ward. It is part of the Rossendale and Darwen constituency, with Jake Berry having been the Member of Parliament since 2010. Like much of Bacup, Broadclough is rapidly becoming a commuter area for cities and towns such as Manchester, Burnley, Accrington, Preston, Blackburn, Rochdale (and further afield).
Broadclough is serviced by the mixed maintained Northern Primary School, which sits at the top of the ridge of the clough from which the village gets its name and Broadclough Lodge which is a special school. Children at Northern Primary School may take an 11 Plus exam to be considered for selection to Bacup and Rawtenstall Grammar School.Christ Church, Bacup
Christ Church is in Beech Street, off Todmorden Road, Bacup, Lancashire, England. It is a former Anglican parish church in the deanery of Rossendale, the archdeaconry of Bolton and the diocese of Manchester. The church is recorded in the National Heritage List for England as a designated Grade II listed building.OL postcode area
The OL postcode area, also known as the Oldham postcode area, is a group of postcode districts around Ashton-under-Lyne, Bacup, Heywood, Littleborough, Oldham, Rochdale and Todmorden in England.
Whilst including almost all of Oldham and most of the wider Metropolitan Borough of Oldham, it is not exclusive to these areas, extending into most of the Metropolitan Borough of Rochdale and parts of the Tameside borough of Greater Manchester, and through a very small part of both Lancashire and West Yorkshire.Paul Stephenson (police officer)
Sir Paul Robert Stephenson (born 26 September 1953) was the Metropolitan Police Commissioner from 2009 to 2011.
Stephenson joined the Lancashire police in 1975 and attended the Bramshill staff training course. As a superintendent, he was closely involved in the inquiry into the 1989 Hillsborough stadium disaster. After serving as chief constable of Lancashire, he was promoted deputy commissioner of the Metropolitan Police in 2005, acting commissioner in 2008, and finally commissioner in January 2009. In July 2011, Stephenson resigned over speculation regarding his connection with Neil Wallis, suspected of involvement in the News International phone hacking scandal.Rawtenstall railway station
Rawtenstall railway station serves the town of Rawtenstall in Lancashire, England, and is the northern terminus of the East Lancashire Railway.
It was formerly on the national railway network on the line to Bacup as well as Bury and Manchester.
The Association of Train Operating Companies have identified that the community of Rawtenstall on the East Lancashire Railway Heritage Railway could benefit from services connecting the station to the National Network.Rawtenstall to Bacup Line
The Rawtenstall to Bacup railway line opened in two stages, from Rawtenstall to Waterfoot in 1848, and from Waterfoot to the Bacup terminus in 1852. There were stations at Rawtenstall, Cloughfold, Stacksteads and Bacup. The line was doubled in 1880, at the same time as the line from Bacup to Rochdale was also opened (closed 1947). Passenger and freight services operated until the Beeching cuts in 1966, the last passenger train running on 5 December 1966 and the track being lifted in 1969.
As the Irwell valley is quite narrow the line had many engineering features in its 5-mile length, including 14 crossings of the River Irwell alone, plus many over and underbridges, embankments and cuttings, and tunnels at Thrutch Gorge (The Glen) in Waterfoot. Most of the bridges have been demolished or infilled in the years since closure. A foot and cycle path now follows much of the route including the 1/4 mile Newchurch No 2 Tunnel, with plans to open the sealed-up 1/8 mile No 1 tunnel to join the route.
However, there are proposals to reopen the line as part of the Governments strategy to reopen old rail lines in the country which have been closed in the 1960s or later cuts under British Rail.Rochdale–Bacup line
The Rochdale–Bacup line was a branch railway line which ran between Rochdale in Lancashire and Bacup in Lancashire via seven intermediate stops, Wardleworth, Shawclough and Healey, Broadley, Whitworth, Facit, Shawforth, and Britannia.Rossendale Valley
The Rossendale Valley also known as the Valley of Rossendale, is situated in the Rossendale area of Lancashire, England, between the West Pennine Moors and the main range of the Pennines. The area includes the steep-sided valleys of the River Irwell and its tributaries (between Rawtenstall and Bacup), which flow southwards into Greater Manchester. The rivers cut through the moorland of the Rossendale Hills, generally characterized by open unwooded land, despite the ancient designation of "forest". The Valley is part of the Rossendale and Darwen constituency. Jake Berry has been the Member of Parliament for Rossendale and Darwen since 2010.Shawforth railway station
Shawforth railway station served Shawforth near Bacup in Rossendale, Lancashire, England, from 1881 until closure in 1947.Stacksteads railway station
Stacksteads railway station served Stacksteads near Bacup, Lancashire from 1852 until the line closed in 1966. The station was just to the west of Blackwood Road, with the island platform spanning the River Irwell.Waterfoot, Lancashire
Waterfoot is a small Rossendale mill town between Rawtenstall and Bacup in Lancashire, England, where the B6238 road from Burnley meets the A681 road. It is located at the confluence of the Whitewell Brook and River Irwell.
It is part of the Rossendale and Darwen constituency. Jake Berry became the constituency's Member of Parliament in 2010.Waterfoot railway station
Waterfoot railway station served Waterfoot near Rawtenstall from 1848 until the line closed in 1966.Whitworth, Lancashire
Whitworth is a small town and civil parish in Rossendale, Lancashire, England, amongst the foothills of the Pennines between Bacup, to the north, and Rochdale, to the south. It had a population of 7,500 at the 2011 Census.Whitworth spans the Whitworth Valley, a 7 square miles (18.1 km2) area consisting of Healey, Broadley, Whitworth, Facit and Shawforth, linked by the A671 road. Several smaller hamlets are now part of Whitworth, such as Cowm Top, which was removed to make way for Cowm Reservoir.Whitworth is twinned with Kandel, Germany.
Neighbouring towns, villages and places
Geography of the Borough of Rossendale
|Boroughs or districts|