The towns of Lancashire are both diverse and distinct, having developed for a variety of reasons over the last millennium. A small number, such as Lancaster and Ribchester, started out as Roman settlements whilst others, like Clitheroe and Ormskirk, were established in the medieval period. However, much of Lancashire's urban heritage was born of the industrial revolution, and it is the towns of the 19th century that are often seen as typical of the county.
Many of these 19th century towns owe their success directly to the textile industry but others, such as Blackpool and Morecambe, developed as popular seaside resorts where the working population were able to go as day trips and holidays became affordable.
The demands of new industries, coupled with the decline of traditional manufacturing within the county, have placed increasing pressure for change upon the historic fabric of Lancashire's towns. Whilst change itself has been and will continue to be a feature of life in Lancashire, it is important not to forget what has gone before and to ensure that the unique character of the county's towns is preserved. Local features and landmark buildings are valued by the people who live, visit and work in Lancashire's towns. The imprint of history gives localities their distinctive character and marks their individuality. It contributes towards a sense of place and to the social and economic life of the county.
At present, buildings and sites of historical and archaeological importance are protected in a number of ways. These include the designation of a small proportion as Listed Buildings or Scheduled Monuments, and inclusion within Conservation Areas. For the remainder, Government Planning Policy Guidance and relevant polices within Structure Plans and Local Development Frameworks ensure that archaeological and historical remains that may be affected by development proposals are considered during the planning process.
Unfortunately we can only protect sites and buildings where we have sufficient information to assess their importance. As more and more demands are made of planners and archaeologists because of development pressures in our towns and cities, the need for more comprehensive and consistent information became clear.
As part of a national programme, the Lancashire Historic Towns Survey was undertaken by the County Archaeology Service from 2001 to 2006, with the support of English Heritage and the fourteen Local Planning Authorities of Lancashire. It comprised a three-stage survey of the historical and archaeological aspects of each of 33 historic towns across the county, in terms of structures, buildings and the individual character of neighbourhoods. Whilst it concentrated on assessing the built environment, it also identified areas that may contain preserved archaeological remains.
Each of the 33 towns is described and assessed in a series of Historic Environment Guidance Strategy Reports. Whilst these are mainly intended for the use of the County Archaeology Service and the Local Planning Authorities, they will be of use to anyone who has an interest in the towns.
Within the reports we have described the development of the town and the various character areas that they can be divided into. Zones that merit special management policies have been identified and a large number of new sites added to the Lancashire Sites and Monuments Record and existing records upgraded. The final stage of the work is to produce, for the planners, a series of constraint maps and planning guidance.
In order to minimise costs and reduce environmental impacts, the reports for each of the towns have had a fairly limited circulation, but each has been converted into Adobe Acrobat ‘PDF’ files, so that anyone who wishes can download a copy for their own personal use. Please be aware, however, that some of the reports are very large and may take some time to download.
A number of users have reported that, when attempting to download a file, they get an error message that states something like “The file is damaged and cannot be repaired”. We have checked and found that the files are not broken, but that the file is taking too long to download and save for your internet connection to cope with. Solutions include closing down all other activity on your computer whilst trying to download the file, making sure your copy of the Adobe Acrobat reader is up to date, trying to download the file when the internet is less busy or try using another, faster, internet connection. If all of these fail please contact us and we will try to post out a copy on CD-ROM for you.
If you do have any problems downloading the above reports please contact Peter Iles on 01772 531550 or email@example.com
It is intended that the Character Area and Historic Development maps will be available on the Council’s MARIO system, so that they can be examined in more detail.