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The collection is known as the Rossendale Collection and contains all types of material on the Rossendale area, although there is less information available for Whitworth. A large collection of general books on Lancashire and the North West has also been maintained, and there are many titles relating to the individual towns within Lancashire and adjacent counties.
There is a large selection of material other than books, comprising pamphlets, manuscripts, newscuttings, photographs, maps, plans, posters, slides, microforms, and miscellaneous items such as the Rossendale Tea Towel. There is, in theory, no restriction to the type of material added to stock, but, if large 3-dimensional objects are offered as donations, these are referred to the museum service.
Local studies collections exist in three other major libraries in the area, Bacup, Haslingden and, to a lesser extent, Whitworth, each concentrating on its own town (see separate entries). Some general works on other places within Rossendale and Lancashire are also present in those collections. Students undertaking research into the history of Rossendale towns would be well-advised to consult the stock of the library concerned, but the collection at Rawtenstall has been built up with these other areas in mind, resulting in a certain amount of duplication.
In order to encourage greater use of the local collection, some books may be borrowed if there is more than one copy of the title available and the item is suitable for loan. The loan of items is at the discretion of the library staff.
There is a card catalogue to the collection, consisting of author, title and classified sequences. There are separate classified sequences for maps, manuscripts, and plans.
Since 1986, additions to the local studies collection have been included on the Lancashire County Library and Information Service’s online Talis catalogue, to which the public have access via public-access pcs in the lending and reference libraries. A subject index has been compiled giving the class number for a particular subject and the type of material filed, e.g. newscuttings.
All Lancashire Bibliography volumes published to date are held.
There are regional trade directories for Lancashire or North-east Lancashire for the period 1824 to 1924.
1824-5 BAINES, Edward. History, directory and gazetteer of the County Palatine of Lancaster. 2 vols.
1848 SLATER, Isaac. Slater's Royal National Commercial Directory and Topography of Chester, Cumberland, Durham, Lancaster, Northumberland, Westmorland and York.
1854 MANNEX and Co. History, Topography and Directory of Mid- Lancashire.
1865 SLATER, Isaac. Slater's Royal National Commercial Directory of Lancashire.
1872 WORRALL’S Directory. Photocopy of Haslingden section.
1875 MANNEX P. and Co. Directory of North East Lancashire.
1879 SLATER, Isaac. Slater's Royal National Commercial Directory of Lancashire.
1879 MACDONALD and MACDONALD. Macdonald's Directory of Rochdale, Milnrow, Littleborough, Bacup, Rossendale, Haslingden and Todmorden.
1885 SLATER, Isaac. Slater's Royal National Commercial Directory of Lancashire: Bacup and Rawtenstall sections. Photocopies.
1890 SLATER, Isaac. Slater's Royal National Commercial Directory of Lancashire:Ramsbottom, Rawtenstall and Rochdale sections. Photocopies.
1892 SLATER, Isaac. Slater's Royal National Commercial Directory of Lancashire: Rawtenstall section.
1895 SLATER, Isaac. Slater’s Directory of Lancashire: Rawtenstall section. Photocopy.
1909 KELLY'S Directory of Lancashire: Rossendale section.
1913 KELLY'S Directory of Lancashire
1913 KELLY'S Directory of Lancashire : Rawtenstall section.
1924 KELLY'S Directory of Lancashire.
1947 BARRETT’s Directory of Blackburn and District.
North Western Counties of England Trades Directory: 1938, 1939, 1954, 1955-56, 1958, 1960-61, 1966-67, 1969-70
These directories are useful for their classified sections, but there are also lists of gentry and clergy in most, and short lists of private residents in the Mannex directories 1854 and 1876, and Macdonald's Directory of Rochdale 1879. Kelly's Lancashire Directory 1924 does not contain a classified section but lists private residents and commercial enterprises in alphabetical order.
Telephone directories for the local area are filed from 1938 but the set is incomplete.
Directories can be found on the Library’s online catalogue.
Electoral registers for Rawtenstall 1897 - 1915, 1954 - 1973.
Registers for Rossendale District 1974 -
The rate books for Rawtenstall and surrounding districts from 1846, Rawtenstall Local Board 1880, and Township of Higher Booths 1846, 1860, 1871, 1880, 1881, and 1892 have been transferred to the Lancashire Record Office.
The main collection of rate books for the county is held at the Lancashire Record Office.
1841 New and Old Accrington, Rawtenstall, Bacup, Whitworth, part of Rochdale.
1851 Rawtenstall, Edenfield, Bacup, Whitworth, part of Rochdale and Littleborough.
1861 Rawtenstall, Bacup, Whitworth, part of Rochdale.
1871 Rawtenstall, Bacup, Whitworth, part of Rochdale.
1881 Rawtenstall, Bacup, Whitworth, Haslingden, Edenfield and part of Rochdale.
1891 Rawtenstall, Bacup, Whitworth, Haslingden, Edenfield, Ramsbottom, Bury, Birtle, Littleborough, Spotland, Todmorden, Elton, Darwen, Baxenden, Dunnockshaw.
1901 Rossendale Borough, Ramsbottom (part), Holcombe Brook, Habergham Eaves, Dunnockshaw, Walmersley, Shuttleworth, Turn, Clowbridge.
A location index is available for all years.
1841 Surname and first name index for Higher Booths.
1851 Surname and first name index for Rawtenstall and Haslingden. Surname index only for Bacup.
1861, 1871, 1891 and 1901 Surname and first name indexes for most of Rossendale Borough.
1881 Index for all Lancashire available on microfiche and CD-ROM.
LANCASHIRE PARISH REGISTER SOCIETY, No. 1- , 1898 - (lacks vols. 28-9)
Bacup Chapel, 1788-1812 (microfilm)
Cloughfold. St. John's Church, 1890 - 1972 (microfilm)
Goodshaw. St. Mary's and All Saints Parish Church, 1732 - 1899 (microfilm & books)
Haslingden. St. James' Parish Church, 1598 - 1959 (microfilm)
Lumb. St. Michaels' Church, 1846 - 1950 (microfilm)
Newchurch-in-Rossendale. St. Nicholas' Parish Church, 1724 - 1973 (microfilm & books)
Rawtenstall. St. Mary’s Parish Church, 1878 – 1874 (microfilm)
Waterfoot. St. James' Church, 1859 - 1929 (microfilm)
Microfiche copies are also held of the registers for the parish churches of Edenfield, Grane, Holcombe, Musbury, Ramsbottom and Stonefold.
Registers are available in manuscript or microfilm form for a variety of other churches in the Rawtenstall, Bacup and Haslingden areas, including Baptist, Congregational, Methodist, Quaker, Unitarian and United Reformed denominations. A detailed list can be consulted which supplies information on the type of entry, dates covered, format and location.
The main collection of parish records for the county is held at the Lancashire Record Office.
Bacup Echo 1972 - 1977. Not indexed. Microfilmed.
Burnley Evening Star Rossendale Front (page 3). Dec 1967 - Aug 1983.Incomplete file. Not indexed. Microfilmed.
Rossendale Citizen 1989 –March 1993. Complete file. Not indexed. Microfilmed.
Rossendale Divisional Gazette 1893 - 1901. Complete file. Not indexed. Microfilmed.
Rossendale Echo 1904 - 1943. Complete file. Not indexed. Microfilmed.
Rossendale Express 1914 - 1916. Complete file. Not indexed. Microfilmed.
Rossendale Free Press 1883 - . Incomplete file for 19th century. Not indexed. Microfilmed.
Rossendale Times 3rd March 1883 (first edition), 10th March 1883, 17th March 1883, 22nd May 1883, 16th June 1894. Hardcopy.
The Rossendale Free Press forms the basis of an extensive news-cuttings file dating back to the latter end of the last century, but other local newspapers have also been clipped if their articles have been relevant. The newscuttings were used as a base for a subject index to the collection (already mentioned in Section 5) and are, therefore, accessible through this index.
Periodicals of Rossendale and northern interest are collected and include:
Footpath (PENNINE PATHS PROTECTION SOCIETY), 1964 - , incomplete.
Lancashire Life, 1958 -
Lancashire Magazine, Feb. 1982 -
Manchester Sketch, 1967 - 1970
Pennine Magazine , Feb. 1983 –
Ramsbottom Heritage Society Magazine, 1990 -
The Record ( LANCASHIRE AUTHORS' ASSOCIATION), 1917 - 1920, 1961 - 1970, 1972 -
Really Lancashire 1996 - 1997
Red Rose Magazine 1989 - 1994
Valley Magazine 1984 - 1988
Whitworth Gazette (Newsletter of the town council) 1979 - 1989.
Serials taken are:-
CHETHAM SOCIETY. Remains....., No. 1- , 1844 to date, with two index volumes for the 1st series covering Vols. 1-30 and Vols. 31-114.
HISTORIC SOCIETY OF LANCASHIRE AND CHESHIRE. Transactions, Vol. 1-32, (lacks vols. 26 and 31), Vol. 37- ,(lacks 78 - 81, 83, 87, 88, 92 - 95, 106), 1854 - Indexes in Vols. 61, 86, 110.
LANCASHIRE AND CHESHIRE ANTIQUARIAN SOCIETY. Transactions, Vol. 1- , 1883 - , (lacks vol. 78). Indexes in every tenth volume.
RECORD SOCIETY OF LANCASHIRE AND CHESHIRE series. Vol. 1-48, 50, 54, 60, 64, 66-7, 97, 101, 103, 110 - , 1879 - . (Vols. 47-9 incorporate Index to Lancashire Assize Rolls).
There is a large collection of printed or photocopied maps dating from 1577 to the present day in various scales and covering mainly Rossendale. There are, however, several maps of adjacent areas including some extending into Yorkshire.
6"/1:10,560 Complete set of sheets for Rossendale in the 1st edition (1844).
There are maps of the Rossendale area in the following surveys:
1890, 1911, 1931, 1955, 1960, but the sets are incomplete. Some sheets for adjoining districts (Accrington, Burnley, Bury, Littleborough and Todmorden) are also included at this scale.
25"/1:2500 Maps from 1891 to date cover the Rossendale area and other neighbouring towns, e.g., Oswaldtwistle and Norden. This set, like the 6" scale, is incomplete.
50"/1:1250 This scale covers only Rossendale and dates from 1913 to date, but there are only a few old maps, the majority being new editions.
Small scale maps
A collection of miscellaneous smaller scale maps includes maps of Rawtenstall, Haslingden, Bacup and other towns in the north such as Accrington, Blackburn, Bolton, Burnley, Bury, Chorley, Huddersfield, Littleborough, Preston, Rochdale, Todmorden and Wigan.
A microfiche copy of the O.S. Landranger Gazetteer provides a list of all names shown on the O.S. 1:50,000 (1") maps.
There are photocopies or reprints in the collection of several old maps of Lancashire dating from 1577 to 1839. The cartographers are C. Saxton (1577), J. Gibson (1777), W. Yates (1786), J. Cary (1787 and 1806), G. Hennet (1830), C. & J. Greenwood (1830) and the Scarborough Co. (1905).
Local Government maps
There is a varied selection of maps in this category, ranging from street plans of individual towns and villages within Rossendale to maps of Rossendale ward boundaries and parliamentary constituency boundaries in the U.K. Another two useful maps are those of Haslingden Union 1890 and Rawtenstall Local Board 1880. Other maps show, for example, tram and bus routes round Rawtenstall in 1925 and Rawtenstall Civil Defence Districts in 1944.
1" to 1 mile maps span the period 1912 to 1974 and cover Rossendale, Accrington, Clitheroe, Manchester, Preston and Rochdale. In addition, some 6" to 1 mile are available for local places, e.g., Goodshaw Hill (1906) and Limy Valley (1976).
Agricultural land classification maps
1" to 1 mile for 1969 cover the northern area and another series of maps shows types of farms in Lancashire and Yorkshire (1968).
Photocopies of footpath maps for Rossendale district are also available.
The plans collection is large and varied and consists principally of plans of local buildings and estates. Plans of estates date from 1852; farms from 1873; hotels, inns and breweries from 1890; mills from 1873; mines and quarries from 1851; and shops from 1891. Local branches of railways and reservoirs are included in the plans; scales vary.
An extensive collection of minutes of councils and other official bodies is available for inspection.
HASLINGDEN. Borough. 1894 - 1914, 1924 - 1953 (1925 - 26 missing)
LANCASHIRE . County Council. Minutes of committees and sub-committees 1984 - LANCASHIRE. County Council. Proceedings, 1983 -
RAWTENSTALL. Borough. 1891 - 1973
ROSSENDALE. Borough. 1974 -
WHITWORTH. Town council, current year
BACUP. Borough. 1902/03 - 1973/74
HASLINGDEN. Borough. 1892 - 1974
LANCASHIRE . County Council. 1949 - 1970, 1988 -
RAWTENSTALL. Borough. 1904 - 1973
ROSSENDALE. Borough. 1974 -
WHITWORTH. Urban District. 1973 - 1974
HASLINGDEN. Borough. Accounts, 1946 - 1957
LANCASHIRE . County Council. Accounts, 1871 - 1929
LANCASHIRE . County Council. Budget, 1967 -
RAWTENSTALL. Borough. Abstract of Accounts, 1891 - 1972
RAWTENSTALL. Borough. Revenue Budget, 1956 - 1973
ROSSENDALE. Borough. Abstract of Accounts, 1974 -
ROSSENDALE. Borough. Revenue Budget, 1974 -
BURNLEY , PENDLE AND ROSSENDALE COMMUNITY HEALTH COUNCIL. Minutes, 1974 -
BURNLEY , PENDLE AND ROSSENDALE HEALTH AUTHORITY. Minutes, 1982 –
HASLINGDEN. Medical Officer of Health. Annual Report, 1898 - 1960.
HASLINGDEN. School Medical Officer of Health. Annual Report, 1943.
RAWTENSTALL. Medical Officer of Health. Annual Report, 1896 - 1898,1939 - 1972.
BURY AND DISTRICT JOINT WATER BOARD. Minutes, 1901 - 1920, 1922 - 1925 (1924 missing).
IRWELL VALLEY WATER BOARD. Minutes, 1946 - 1955.
There is a large and very useful collection of photographs and postcards, which are filed with the newscuttings. They are mostly black and white, but there are some colour photographs, and they cover a wide range of local scenes, buildings and people. Aerial photographs are included in the collection. Negatives are available for some of the photographs, but, if not, subject to copyright restrictions, negatives and photographic prints can be supplied through headquarters’ local studies department.
In addition to the photographs, there are a large number of slides, which have been copied from 3" x 3" lantern slides still in stock; local scenes and people are depicted.
Six video films of 16mm cinefilms are held; the original films have been deposited with the North West Film Archive.
Armistice Service World War II, Mayor's procession. Black and white.
Bocholt Visit 1959 ( Bocholt is Rawtenstall's twin town in Germany). Black and white.
Festival of Faith - Festival of Britain celebrations 1951.2 copies. Colour. 800'. 40 minutes.
Rawtenstall Cricket Club - A cricket match. Black and white. 450'.
Waugh's Well - produced by Granada TV 1966. Commentary by Brian Truman. Black and white. 150'. 10 minutes.
Whitehead, David and Sons Ltd. New twist to an old yarn. 1966. (Documentary on the work of the firm). Black and white. 30 minutes.
The Library is currently developing an online database of photographs from the county’s various library collections; this is available as part of Lancashire Lantern.
The Library is interested in any tape, record, or CD produced by or about local people and several have already been collected, including recordings of local bands.
There is a manuscripts collection covering a wide range of subjects e.g. clearance orders for new roads, correspondence relating to tram services and many other items. Original scripts of a number of published books can be consulted, e.g. NEWBIGGING, Thomas, History of the Forest of Rossendale, 1868. Documents belonging to individuals, e.g. David Whitehead (see http://www.lancashirepioneers.com/whitehead/default.asp ) and Henry Stephenson, a local antiquarian, have been acquired; the latter’s notebooks give valuable information on the history of the area and the ancestry of some local families.
Accounts of the Greave of Rossendale c1691 – 1829 are held on microfilm.
There is also a collection of material from the Borough of Bacup, including:
Appointments of Deputy Mayors 1923 - 1971
Mayors' declarations 1924 - 1968
Councillors' declarations 1882 - 1893, 1916 - 1972
There are many other miscellaneous items in the collection.
Several documentary sources were transferred to the Lancashire Record Office in 1999, which is the main repository for archives in the county.
A particularly important collection is that of a large number of photocopies of music scores written and used by the Deighn Layrocks, a local group of musicians of the 18th century. These scores are also available on microfiche and the original scores are on permanent loan to the Lancashire Record Office.
There are four boxes of plans and many photographs of local mines and quarries, bequeathed by former miner and local historian John Davies.
In manuscript form, Rossendale Chronology by Thomas NEWBIGGING gives a guide to events within Rossendale from 1701 - 1864.
A street index and name index to the census returns have been completed. (See Section 9). Printed.
A subject index to the collection is available. (See Sections 5 and 11). On cards.
A name index to World War One casualties of local men, compiled from the Rossendale Free Press. On computer; printouts can be made.
A directory of local societies is also maintained by the Library staff.
Indexes exist for references in the local press to various named Rawtenstall and some Rossendale specialist areas, e.g. mills, coalmines, schools. Some historical background and illustrations are covered. On cards.
Three microfilm readers are available all of which are extensively used so it is advisable to book a machine in advance. There is also a reader-printer to supply prints from microfilm.
Two microfiche readers are also available which normally do not require advance booking.
Three computers for public use are available in Local Studies, plus another 14 computers in the lending dept.
A photocopier is available for public use.
ASHWORTH, Christine. The Growth of the Rossendale cotton industry. Thesis 1968. Typescript.
BARNES, C. The Changing industrial pattern in Rossendale 1598 - 1850. Thesis. St. John's College, York. 1957. Typescript.
BIRCH, Graham E. Revolution in Rossendale? A case study in historical geography. Thesis 1971. Typescript.
CORDEY, Michelle. Rossendale: the regeneration of an old industrial area. Thesis 1989. Typescript.
DAVIES, John. The Hills of Rossendale. 1983. Typescript.
GOLDSWORTHY, Patricia. The Development of industry in Rossendale 1750 - 1965. Thesis. College of Education, Ilkley 1965. Typescript.
GOLDTHORPE, Ian. Rossendale rambles. Rossendale Groundwork Trust, 1985.
GOOD, Robert. 18th and 19th century housing in Rossendale. Thesis. Royal Institute of British Architects, 1952. Typescript.
GUYNER, A.G. The Agricultural geography of Rossendale. Thesis. 1965. Typescript.
HEAP, Moses. My life and times - Moses Heap of Rossendale 1824 - 1913. Manuscript original and typescript copy, 1961.
HOLDEN, Kathryn J. The Decline of the textile industry in the Rossendale valley and its impact. Thesis, 1982. Typescript.
KING, William. The Economic and demographic development of Rossendale 1650 - 1795. Thesis, 1979. Typescript.
KIRK, Jack. The Industrial revolution in Rossendale. Thesis. County of Stafford Training College. 1961. Typescript.
LEWIS, Olwen. Industrial changes in Rossendale and their economic and social consequences. Thesis 1972. Typescript.
MATHER, J. Marshall. Rambles round Rossendale. John Heywood. 1888. 2nd edition. 1894.
NEWBIGGING, Thomas. History of the Forest of Rossendale. Simpkin, Marshall and Co., 1868. 2nd ed. J.J. Riley, Rawtenstall. 1893.
SIXSMITH, A.J. Industrial decline in Rossendale. Thesis, University of Keele Geography Department 1978. Typescript.
SMITH, Steven. The Effects of the M66 upon recent social and economic changes in Rawtenstall and its environs. Thesis, 1980. Typescript.
TUPLING, G.H. The Economic history of the Forest of Rossendale. Manchester University Press, 1927.
WHITEHEAD , David. David Whitehead of Rossendale 1790 - 1860. Manuscript original and typescript copy, 1973.
There are also various books of photograph collections with some explanatory texts, e.g.
BOWDEN, Ken. Rossendale – the second selection. 2002.
FISHWICK, Kathy. Spirit of Rawtenstall. 2003.
HALSTEAD, Susan. Around Rossendale. 1996.
HARRISON, Jean. Round about Rawtenstall. 1985.
MOORE, Benita. Rossendale in old photographs. 1994.
All our libraries provide free access to the Ancestry website which gives access to Census Records for England, Wales and Scotland 1841-1901) and indexes to Births, Deaths and Marriages for England and Wales (1837-2005).