Littleborough, Greater Manchester

Littleborough is a town[1] within the Metropolitan Borough of Rochdale, in Greater Manchester, England.[2] It is located in the upper Roch Valley by the foothills of the South Pennines, 3 miles (4.8 km) northeast of Rochdale and 12.6 miles (20.3 km) north-northeast of Manchester; Milnrow and the M62 motorway are to the south, and the rural uplands of Blackstone Edge are to the east. In 2001, Littleborough and its suburbs of Calderbrook, Shore and Smithy Bridge,[3][4] had a population of 13,807. [5]

Historically a part of Lancashire, Littleborough and its surroundings have provided evidence of Neolithic, Celtic, Roman and Anglo-Saxon activity in the area.[4] During the Middle Ages, Littleborough was a hamlet in the manor of Hundersfield, parish of Rochdale and hundred of Salford.[1][6][7] It was focussed upon the junction of two ancient routes over the Pennines — one of which may have been a Roman road[4] — that joined to cross the River Roch. By 1472, Littleborough consisted of a chapel, a cluster of cottages, and an inn, and its inhabitants were broadly farmers who were spurred to weave wool by merchants who passed between the markets at Rochdale and Halifax.[1] When cotton was introduced as a base to make textiles, Littleborough experienced an influx of families, mostly from the neighbouring West Riding of Yorkshire.[1][7] Affluent homes and estates were established on Littleborough's fringes.[3]

In the late 18th century, the low-altitude Summit Gap between Littleborough and Walsden was approved as the best route over the Pennines for the Rochdale Canal and the Manchester to Leeds railway; Hollingworth Lake was built at Littleborough's south side as a feeder reservoir to regulate the waters of the canal. This infrastructure encouraged industrialists to modify Littleborough's traditional handloom cloth workshops with a mechanised form of textile production.[3] Attracted to the area's natural resources and modern infrastructure, coal mining, engineering ventures and increasingly large textile mills contributed to Littleborough's population growth and urbanisation, sealing its status as a mill town. Local government reforms established the Littleborough Urban District in 1894 which was governed by its own district council until its abolition in 1974.

During the mid-20th century, imports of cheaper foreign goods prompted the gradual deindustrialisation of Littleborough, but its commercial diversity allowed it to repel the ensuing economic depression experienced elsewhere in North West England. Subsumed into the Metropolitan Borough of Rochdale in 1974, Littleborough endures as a commuter town with a distinct community; its Civic Trust works to preserve and enhance its historic character, and societies exist to use the surrounding countryside for water-skiing, horse riding and other recreational activities.[1] Littleborough's stone-built town centre is designated as a Conservation Area for its special architectural qualities.[8]

Church Street in Littleborough

Church Street, in Littleborough town centre
Littleborough is located in Greater Manchester
Location within Greater Manchester
OS grid referenceSD9316
• London170 mi (270 km) SSE
Metropolitan borough
Metropolitan county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Postcode districtOL15
Dialling code01706
PoliceGreater Manchester
FireGreater Manchester
AmbulanceNorth West
EU ParliamentNorth West England
UK Parliament


Evidence of human activity in the area, dating to at least the Neolithic period, exists in the form of ancient flint tool and arrowhead discoveries.[4] Rochdale Museum hold an early Iron Age bracelet made of a shale from Kimmeridge in Dorset, which was found in 1929 on Flint Hill, east of Blackstone Edge.[4] A torque (or necklet) with ornamentation of a late-Celtic design was found in the Mawrode area of Littleborough in 1832;[4] and the name Calderbrook is derived from an ancient Celtic language,[4] two factors implying inhabitation by Britons.

Littleborough is supposed to have been the site of a small station along the Roman road that is routed from Mamucium (Manchester) to Eboracum (York) which skirts the town. Evidence of Roman occupation in Littleborough comes from finds of coins and pottery,[4] and the right arm of a silver statue of Victory.[9] Following the Roman departure from Britain, the remaining population came under the influence of the Anglo-Saxons.[4] Place names indicate the Anglo-Saxon settlement of the Littleborough area, for example the ‘gate' element in Lydgate and Reddyshore Scout Gate is Old English for ‘road'.[4] The name Littleborough is itself derived from the Old English lȳtel bruh (meaning small fortified place) or else lȳtel bróc (meaning small watercourse).

In 1848 the population was chiefly employed in three flannel-mills, four cotton-factories, in bleachworks, six coal-pits, a stone-quarry and in brick-making.[9]


Lying within the historic county boundaries of Lancashire since the early 12th century, Littleborough was a chapelry and component area of Hundersfield, an ancient township within the parish of Rochdale and hundred of Salford.[2] Hundersfield later constituted a civil parish encompassing several settlements to the northeast of Rochdale, until its dissolution.[2][10]

Littleborough's first local authority was a Local board of health established in 1870; Littlborough Local Board of Health was a regulatory body responsible for standards of hygiene and sanitation for parts of the then townships of Blatchinworth and Calderbrook, of Wuerdle and Wardle and of Butterworth, with the local board's territory being expanded into further parts of these townships in 1879.[2] Under the Local Government Act 1894, the area of the local board expanded to encompass all of Blatchinworth and Calderbrook and became the Littleborough Urban District, a local government district in the Rochdale Poor Law Union and administrative county of Lancashire.[2] Under the Local Government Act 1972, the Littleborough Urban District was abolished, and Littleborough and its outlying settlements have, since 1 April 1974, formed an unparished area of the Metropolitan Borough of Rochdale, within the Metropolitan county of Greater Manchester.[2] In anticipation of the new local government arrangement, Littleborough Urban District Council applied for civil parish status to be granted to the locality after 1974, however the application was not successful.[11] The Littleborough Neighbourhood Forum is now forming as a result of the Localism Act 2011.[12]


The Aiggin Stone
A view towards Littleborough and Rochdale from Blackstone Edge.

At 53°38′38″N 2°5′53″W / 53.64389°N 2.09806°W (53.644°, −2.098°), and 170 miles (274 km) north-northwest of central London, Littleborough stands roughly 623 feet (190 m) above sea level,[13] on the western slopes of the Pennines, 12.6 miles (20.3 km) north-northeast of Manchester city centre, in the valley of the River Roch. Blackstone Edge and West Yorkshire are to the east; Rochdale and Milnrow are to the southwest and south respectively.

In Littleborough are the localities and suburbs of Calderbrook, Chelburn, Durn, Featherstall, Gale, Hollinworth, Laneside, Rake, Shore, Sladen, Smithy Bridge, Stansfield, Summit and Whitelees.[14]


Littleborough is served by the town's two railway stations, Littleborough itself and at Smithy Bridge. The town is situated on the A58 between Rochdale and Halifax and is the starting point of the A6033 which runs northwards up to Todmorden. The town is also well provided with buses which connect all districts in the Rochdale area and into the Pennine towns as far as Halifax.

Notable people

  • Agyness Deyn was born in Littleborough.[15][16]
  • Keith Parry (died 2005) was a local author with several published works such as Trans-Pennine Heritage and a broadcaster with Greater Manchester Radio.
  • Broadcasters Andy and Liz Kershaw were both born in Littleborough.
  • Karl Smith of rock music favourites Electric Viper Club is often spotted wandering the streets.

See also



  1. ^ a b c d e Rochdale Metropolitan Borough Council 1985, p. 32.
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Greater Manchester Gazetteer". Greater Manchester County Record Office. Places names – I-L. Archived from the original on 18 July 2011. Retrieved 20 June 2007.
  3. ^ a b c Rochdale Metropolitan Borough Council & N.D., p. 32.
  4. ^ "Census 2001 Key Statistics – Urban area results by population size of urban area". Office for National Statistics. 22 July 2004. KS01 Usual resident population Page white excel.png. Retrieved 7 December 2008.
  5. ^ Hignett 1991, p. 2.
  6. ^ a b "Rochdale Towns". Retrieved 20 April 2008.
  7. ^ Rochdale Metropolitan Borough Council. "Conservation areas". Archived from the original on 8 January 2011. Retrieved 24 January 2011.
  8. ^ a b Lewis 1848, pp. 101–104.
  9. ^ Brownbill & Farrer 1911, p. 222.
  10. ^ Clark 1973, p. 106.
  11. ^ Neighbourhood Forum website Archived 18 March 2014 at the Wayback Machine
  12. ^ "Littleborough, United Kingdom". Global Gazetteer, Version 2.1. Falling Rain Genomics, Inc. Retrieved 2 January 2008.
  13. ^ Great Britain Historical GIS Project (2004). "History of Littleborough, in Rochdale and Lancashire. Map and description". A vision of Britain through time. University of Portsmouth. Retrieved 24 January 2011.
  14. ^ "Hooray for Henry Holland as green goddess Agyness Deyn graces his colourful catwalk". 15 February 2009. Retrieved 24 January 2011.
  15. ^ Barber, Lynn (11 January 2009). "From the bland to the blonde". The Observer. London. Retrieved 24 January 2011.


  • Brownbill, John; Farrer, William (1911). A History of the County of Lancaster. 5. Victoria County History. ISBN 978-0-7129-1055-2.
  • Clark, David M. (1973). Greater Manchester Votes: A Guide to the New Metropolitan Authorities. Redrose.
  • Hignett, Tim (1991). Milnrow & Newhey: A Lancashire Legacy. Littleborough: George Kelsall Publishing. ISBN 0-946571-19-8.
  • Lewis, Samuel (1848). A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research. ISBN 978-0-8063-1508-9.
  • Rochdale Metropolitan Borough Council (n.d.). Metropolitan Rochdale Official Guide. London: Ed. J. Burrow & Co. Limited.
  • Rochdale Metropolitan Borough Council (1985). Official Guide to Rochdale Metropolitan Borough. Gloucester: The British Publishing Company. ISBN 978-0-7140-2276-5.
Agyness Deyn

Agyness Deyn (; born Laura Michelle Hollins; 16 February 1983) is an English model and actress.

Bert Stansfield

James Burton "Bert" Stansfield (1874–1938) is a former manager of English football clubs Carlisle United and Norwich City.

Stansfield was United's and City's fourth manager, and was in charge for the latter for 248 matches between 1910 and 1915, returning to the job for a short spell in 1926. His sides won 78, lost 95 and drew 75 games.FULL NAME - James Burton Stansfield.

BORN - Q3 1874, Littleborough, Lancashire.

CENSUS 3 APR 1881. Place - Newchurch With Bacup, Lancashire. Address - Old Tunstead Road. Summary - STANSFIELD household of 7 persons. Head: Abraham, 38, married, cotton weaver, born Walsden Lancashire. Wife: Mary Ann, 32, married, cotton weaver, bn Stacksteads Lancashire. Daughter: Amelia, 8, scholar, bn Littleboro [sic, Littleborough] Lancashire. Sons: James B., 7, scholar, bn Littleboro [sic, Littleborough]; Ernest, 5, bn Littleboro [sic, Littleborough]. Boarders: Jane RILEY, 56, widowed, cotton weaver, bn Stacksteads; Sam RILEY, 24, single, coal miner, bn Stacksteads.

CENSUS 5 APR 1891. Place - Spotland, Lancashire. Address - Brandwood Road. Summary - STANSFIELD family of 4 persons. Head: Abram [sic], 42, widowed, weaver cotton, born Todmorden Yorkshire [sic]. Daughter: Amelia, 18, single, weaver cotton, bn Littleborough Lancashire. Sons: James Burton, 16, single, weaver cotton, bn Lancashire [sic]; Ernest, 15, single, stone labourer, bn Lancashire.

FIRST MARRIAGE - Q4 1895, Haslingden registration district, Lancashire, to Clara Barcroft (1874 to 1923).

CENSUS 31 MAR 1901. (Record not found.)

CENSUS 2 APR 1911. Place - Norwich, Norfolk. Address - unknown. Summary - STANSFIELD family of 5 persons. Head: James Burton, 36, married, manager of football club. Wife: Clara, 36, married for 15 years. Daughters: Lily, 13, school; Amy Eunice, 10, school. Son: Henry, 3. All born at Bacup Lancashire, except head at Littleborough Lancashire.

SECOND MARRIAGE - Q3 1926, Mutford registration district, Suffolk, to Mildred Ellen Empson (1886 to 1968).

DIED - Q1 1938, Newcastle upon Tyne registration district, Northumberland.

Bu-Val Buses

Bu-Val Buses was an independent bus operator, situated in Littleborough, Greater Manchester. The company started operations in 1990 and provide a number of local services in the Greater Manchester area, originally in the Rochdale and Littleborough areas, before expanding out to the Bury, Manchester, Oldham, Saddleworth, Salford and Tameside areas. In February 2011, the company started a free night bus service running into Rochdale town centre from surrounding areas. The service runs along three routes. The service starts in Bacup via Whitworth to Rochdale before heading to Littleborough via Milnrow and Newhey into the town centre and then heading to Heywood and running to Middleton and Castleton and back into town. In May 2011, only a few weeks after winning new contracts on evening and Sunday services in the Rochdale area, it was announced that the company had ceased trading following failure to operate services.

Chris Lucketti

Christopher James Lucketti (born 28 September 1971) is an English football manager and former footballer, who played as a central defender. He is mainly known for his success at Bury, for whom he made over 200 appearances, and Preston North End.

He has twice acted as caretaker manager of Fleetwood Town, and was later manager at Bury. He is currently assistant manager at Salford City.

Clegg Hall

Clegg Hall is a 17th-century hall in Littleborough, Greater Manchester (grid reference SD92231448). It is situated just outside Smithy Bridge, Greater Manchester.

The "Clegg" in the name of the current hall refers to the location (Little Clegg or Great Clegg) rather than the local family by the same surname – the house was built by Theophilus Ashton (1584–1621) in the early 17th century, and it has never been suggested that the house has been lived in by Cleggs. It appears to be on the site of an earlier Clegg Hall(s) whose occupants were Cleggs.

According to Oakley's highly romanticised version, the first known Cleggs, Bernulf (and his wife Quernilda) de Clegg were in the Domesday book, though they are more commonly said to date to King Stephen's reign (1135–1154). That would seem sensible dating from the names, as they are all Anglo Saxon apart from the "de" which is a Norman addition, typical of the period before Norman Christian names became common.

Clegg Hall was designated a Grade II* listed building in 1951.

Ealees Brook

Ealees Brook is a water course in Greater Manchester named after the Ealees area of Littleborough. It flows northwards from the Ealees Valley to the River Roch in Littleborough.

Jean Ashworth Bartle

Jean Ashworth Bartle, (born 7 March 1947 Littleborough, Lancashire, England) is a Canadian choral conductor, teacher, and Founder/Conductor Laureate of the Toronto Children's Chorus.

Bartle became a naturalized Canadian in 1968 and received an ARCT in performance in 1970, ARCT in teaching in 1973, and a Bachelor's with Honours from the University of Toronto in 1977. Jean Ashworth Bartle won the 1977 Leslie Bell Scholarship (Prize), and the 1982 Sir Ernest MacMillan Scholarship, which enabled her to study with Sir David Willcocks and Margaret Hillis at Westminster Choir College, Princeton, New Jersey.

Listed buildings in Littleborough, Greater Manchester

Littleborough is a town in the Metropolitan Borough of Rochdale, Greater Manchester, England, and it is unparished. The town, its suburbs of Calderbrook and Smithy Bridge, and the surrounding countryside contain 79 listed buildings that are recorded in the National Heritage List for England. Of these, five are listed at Grade II*, the middle grade, and the others are at Grade II, the lowest grade. The area is largely rural, and most of the listed buildings are houses and associated structures, farmhouses, and farm buildings. Following the Industrial Revolution textile mills were built, some of which remain and are listed. The Rochdale Canal passes through the area and bridges and locks associated with it are listed. Also passing through the area was the Manchester and Leeds Railway, and structures associated with it are listed. The other listed buildings include churches, public houses, a former toll house, a bandstand, a drinking fountain, and two war memorials.

Littleborough and Saddleworth (UK Parliament constituency)

Littleborough and Saddleworth was a parliamentary constituency in Greater Manchester, England. It returned one Member of Parliament to the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom.

The constituency was created for the 1983 general election, and abolished for the 1997 general election.

Littleborough railway station

Littleborough railway station serves the small town of Littleborough in the Metropolitan Borough of Rochdale, Greater Manchester, England.

It lies on the Caldervale Line 13¾ miles (22 km) north of Manchester Victoria towards Halifax, Bradford Interchange and Leeds.

This is the last station on the Caldervale Line in the Greater Manchester area. It was one of the original Manchester and Leeds Railway station sites and for the first year of operation following its opening in July 1839, it was the temporary terminus of the line from Manchester (the section on through the Summit Tunnel towards Mirfield not being completed until 1841). It did so again for some eight months after the December 1984 Summit Tunnel fire - passengers transferring between the trains to/from Manchester and a rail-replacement bus service onwards to Todmorden until repairs to the tunnel could be completed and the line reopened.

Longden End Brook

Longden End Brook is a watercourse in Greater Manchester. It rises near Windy Hill, and flows down Rakewood Valley and underneath the M62 motorway at Rakewood Viaduct, before arriving at Hollingworth Lake, where it is the main feeder stream.

Lorna Fitzsimons

Lorna Fitzsimons (born 6 August 1967, Littleborough, Lancashire) is a British politician who was the Labour Party Member of Parliament (MP) for Rochdale from 1997 to 2005, when she lost her seat.

Malcolm Pledger

Air Chief Marshal Sir Malcolm David Pledger, (born 24 July 1948) is a retired Royal Air Force officer.

Queenie Newall

Sybil Fenton Newall (17 October 1854 – 24 June 1929), best known as Queenie Newall, was an English archer who won the gold medal at the 1908 Summer Olympics in London. She was 53 years old at the time, still the oldest female gold medal winner at the Olympic Games. Great Britain did not win another women's archery medal at the Olympics until 2004. She joined the Cheltenham Archers club in 1905, and was national champion on three occasions in 1911, 1912 and 1914.

Robbie Dale

Robbie Dale (real name Robbie Robinson) 'The Admiral' was born in Littleborough, Lancashire, England on 21 April 1940.

Shore Lane Brook

Shore Lane Brook is a water course in Greater Manchester and a tributary of Ealees Brook in Littleborough.

Smithy Bridge

Smithy Bridge is a suburb of Littleborough within the Metropolitan Borough of Rochdale, in Greater Manchester, England. Hollingworth Lake Country Park is close by. It also has a link to the Rochdale Canal and has its own railway station. It was once a route on the packhorse trip through to Yorkshire.

Smithy Bridge was formerly a part of Butterworth.

Smithy Bridge railway station

Smithy Bridge railway station serves the village of Smithy Bridge and Hollingworth Lake near Rochdale in Greater Manchester, England. The station is on the Caldervale Line 12 3⁄4 miles (20.5 km) north of Manchester Victoria on the way to Leeds.

Town House Brook

Town House Brook is a watercourse in Greater Manchester and a tributary of the River Roch.

Neighbouring places
Statutory City Region
Metropolitan districts
Major settlements

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.