The Gazette
Pendle and Burnley Branch
  Issue No.37 - January 2010


  1  Family History Surgeries

  2  Branch AGM

  3  Diary Dates (What's on)

  4  Programme

  5  LancashireBMD Project

  6  Richard Haighton, Iron Works

  7  A Flying Visit

  8  Lancashire Record Office 

  9  Federation News

10  Resource Centre 

11  Old News

12  Query Corner

13  Items for publication




Membership subscriptions were due on 1st January.  Renewal forms were in the centre pages of the November 2009 issue of "Lancashire", the Society's journal. 


    Wednesday morning help sessions for family history will be held at Colne Library, 10am to 12noon on 27th January, 24th February, and 24th March 2010.  If you are willing to help out at these sessions, please let Chairman Jean know. 


    The following officials are due for re-election at this year's Branch AGM 

    To serve for TWO years:  Chairman,  Vice-Chairman,  Minutes Secretary,  Librarian,  Executive Liaison Officer,  Programme Secretary,  Gazette Editor,  Committee Members

    To serve for ONE year:  Projects Co-ordinator 

    The current committee is as follows

Chairman Jean Ingham Vice Chairman Position vacant
Secretary Annette Malpass Treasurer Geoff Riley
Librarian Margaret Heap Minutes Secretary Margaret Heap
Programme Secretary Position vacant Projects Coordinator Position vacant
Executive Liaison Position vacant Gazette Editor Position vacant
Lancashire BMD Coordinator Christine Windle
Committee Members Bob Ellis, Christine Haworth, Mary Jackson, Janet Knowles, John Lustig, Moira Whittaker


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All meetings are held at The LFHHS Resource Centre, 2 Straits, Oswaldtwistle on Saturdays

• A Short History of the McNamara Family in Ireland - Philip McNamara
    Saturday 13th February 2010, 1 pm to 4.30 pm

    Saturday 10th April 2010, 1 pm to 4.30 pm

Enquiries to Miss , 128 Red Bank Road, Bispham, Blackpool, Lancashire FY2 9DZ

FAMILY HISTORY DAY hosted by Yorkshire
    The Arboretum, Castle Howard, near Malton, North Yorkshire  YO60 7DA
    23rd January 2010. 10am to 3pm
    Free admission. Free car parking

    Malpas Road, Northallerton  DL7 8TB .. One of a series of monthly talks
       Pray for the Poor of this Parish - Geoff Keeble A look at the historical records
       of poor people in an Upper Dales parish, including sources from the Record Office
       and elsewhere
    29th January 2010, Starting at 12.30 and lasting about 45 minutes.
    Entry fee £2 including light refreshments.
    To book places contact John Sheehan on 01609-771878

    International Slavery Museum, Albert Dock  Liverpool L3 4AQ
    7th August 2009 to 28th February 2010  Free admission

    London's Olympia Fri 26th-28th February 2010 at 10am to 4pm
    Further details at

    Memorial Hall, Chester Way, Northwich
    Saturday 20th February 2010, 10 am to 4 pm
    Free Car Parking adjacent to venue.

    Hulme Hall, 23 Bolton Road, Port Sunlight, Wirral  CH6 5DH
    Sunday 7th March 2010, 10 am to 5 pm
    Admission £2, Accomp. Children free

    The Folk Hall, New Earswick, York  YO32 4AQ
    Saturday 27th March 2010, 10 am to 4 pm
    Admission £1.  Free Car Parking.

    United Reform Church Hall, Wickersley Road, Rotherham
    Saturday 27th March 2010, 10 am to 4 pm
    Admission £1.  Free Parking.

    Pudsey Civic Hall, Dawson's Corner, Pudsey  LS28 5TA
    Saturday 10th April 2010, 10 am to 4 pm
    Admission £2.00 per person.  Under 16 accompanied by an adult, free.

    Stockport Town Hall, Wellington Rd South, Stockport  SK1 3XE
    Sunday 11th April 2010 10 am to 4 pm
    Admission £2 (accompanied children under 16 free)

    'The Centre in the Park' Norfolk Heritage Park, Guildford Road, Sheffield  S1 2PL
    Saturday 24th April 2010 10 am to 4 pm
    Admission free.  Refreshments available
    Visitors can catch Supertram from Midland Station or access the Centre via A6135

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    The Programme of Events for the coming meetings is shown below and can also be viewed on this website 

•  20.January The Early Life of Winston Churchill - Smith Benson
•  17.February Small Business families in the North West, 1760-1820 - Hannah Barker
•  17.March Exploring Irish Ancestry using the Internet - Brenda Hustler
•  31.March A.G.M. & Practical Evening
•  21.April Social History of Haworth in the times of the Brontes - Isobel Stirk
•  19.May Out-visit to Martholme Manor

Whilst Colne library was closed, our meetings were held in the Peter Birtwistle Centre but the New Year sees a return to our normal venue in Colne library.  The library has now re-opened and has a bright new modern look.  The meeting room has been extended to provide more seating and a kitchen area.  Other new facilities are a power-point projector, laptops and a loop system.

The programme for 2010 is now complete with the exception of the Christmas Meeting.  Please note that in order to avoid the annual Pendle Cycle Race our July meeting will be held on the second Wednesday of the month.

A possible visit to the John Rylands library in Manchester is being considered for Spring and since the Liverpool trip last summer was a success, we hope to arrange another day outing this Summer.  Lancaster is the proposed destination and in the next few weeks enquiries will be made regarding coach hire etc.

 Jean Ingham, Acting Programme Secretary

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    Two members of the team are now three quarters of the way through transcribing the closed church and chapel marriage registers and all the completed ones, approximately 5,000 marriages, are on the internet.  The remaining members of the team continue to work on the birth registers from 1900 onwards of which 43 have been completed and forwarded to the webmaster.

    Many thanks to all who give their time to this project.

Christine Windle, Lancashire BMD Project Coordinator

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Submitted by W K Todd

    Richard Haighton, born in 1825, the son of a tinplate maker and his wife Susannah, started a small foundry at Brick Croft in his hometown of Colne in Lancashire in the late 1840's.  In 1864 he moved down the valley to Nelson and started the Walverdon foundry, employing eight men and four boys, including his eldest son William, and paying himself the princely sum of £1 5s 0d a week, which was actually a few shillings less than he was paying his senior workers!

    By the time Richard died in 1878, the foundry had grown into a substantial operation.  They had a three foot diameter by sixteen foot high Cupola [furnace] with iron plates, lined inside with brick, for the melt, and a lifting crane for handling, all powered by a horizontal high-pressure engine with an eight inch cylinder, eighteen inch stroke.  The boiler house had a stone chimney, 15 yards high.

    Susannah, a Yorkshire lass born in Thornton-in-Craven in 1830, took over the running of the firm until her boys, William, John, Albert and Richard (junior), were old enough to take over as Haighton Bros, Ironmongers of 4 Nelson Street, and Iron-founders operating out of the Walverdon works.

    With the formation in 1894 of Richard Haighton Ltd and the Vulcan Iron Works off Leeds Road, Nelson 1, the firm had established itself as one of prime movers in Nelson, developing land, building houses and the Bankfield cotton mill.  In 1898, they leased part of the unused Walverden foundry site to Edward Crossley of Nelson, a wholesale fruiterer.  They later, bought back the Colne foundry, first started by Richard senior.

    By the turn of the century, the foundry business had done very well. Its owners had moved to prestigious addresses in Nelson and the surrounding area. William, the eldest, became a local councillor 2 and even the youngest, Richard, was able to employ a domestic servant.

    Sadly, Susannah Haighton died in 1901 having brought up four boys, six girls and run an iron foundry; a remarkable woman. Like so many in Europe, the First World War left its mark on the Haighton family. In 1916, John's youngest son, John Dixon, a private in the 2nd Dragoon Guards died at just 18 years old.  The building boom at the end of Great War opened up new opportunities for the foundry.  Their domestic fire grates and cookers were in great demand.  By the mid 1920's, there were few houses built in the area that were not equipped with a Haighton Range of some description.  The firm had a good reputation for looking after the welfare of its workers, establishing a sports club at the Co-op Room in Pasture lane, Barrowford, specifically for them.

    In 1932, Albert, the last surviving brother died, having retired from the firm some ten years earlier.  By the late 1940's, continuing the family tradition, the board consisted of Vernon, as chairman, and Ernest, Arthur, Richard and Albert all grandsons of Richard, the founder, with his grandson, J K Haighton, managing the foundry.

    In 1948 Pope and Pearson Ltd (the colliery owners) purchased all the shares in the business, retaining the name, all technicians and other employees.  Mr.J Ensby took over the engineering department with Mr.J D S Hoyle as company secretary while J K Haighton continued his role as manager of the foundry.  The Nelson Leader reported at the time: "News that one of Nelson's oldest industrial concerns is to change hands, should not pass, like some common place transaction, without comment, for the history of this firm is a part, a not insignificant part, of the history of Nelson."

    In the early 1950's Pope and Pearson moved the firm, still in the name of Richard Haighton Ltd, into a substantial new operation in Canning Street, Burnley, capable of precision engineering as well as pouring and handling up to 8-ton castings.  The works employed over three hundred people including about a hundred and fifty engineers and seventy foundry workers.  Working along side the foundry and domestic appliance departments, the autonomous precision engineering division was a complete engineering facility producing specialist one-off machines to order, in addition to the production of drilling machines for Elisions.  From early on, it was employed making Haighton branded products.  It has been suggested that the names of Haighton products, the lathe 'The Cadet' and the milling machine 'The Major', came from the owners' military background, as they were both ex-army majors.

    The precision engineering division was closed in 1958 while the foundry and domestic appliance departments concentrated on custom castings 3 and the manufacture of utility products.  Throughout the 1960's the firm was producing; large ships' gearbox castings for David Brown of Sunderland, utility castings (ranging from 250kg to 7 tonnes) for Landis Lund, including 3L and 4R lathe bed castings for their crank-shaft grinding machines, and fully assembled domestic fire and back boiler units and castings (fire grates, pipe work etc.) for many other companies.  Landis Lund's purchase manager has fond memories of the production purchase manager at Haighton's Foundry, "a lovely lady by the name of Mrs Pickup who ruled them with a passion."

    Sadly, in the early 1970's, Haighton's were taken over again, then in 1972 the assets were sold and the firm closed.  The Canning street site, just off of Princess Way, is now an ASDA supermarket 4

(1)   The Vulcan works is now the site of a Stephenson & Sons "Wine Mill"

(2)   There is an illustration from Nelson newspaper of William Haighton when he was a JP.

(3)   There is a picture of Joe Garner preparing a mould for a Churchill lathe bed at Richard Haighton's
        of Canning street Burnley taken in mid 1950's by John A Hunt from an overhead crane.

(4)   There are aerial photographs of the Canning street site taken in the 1950's with description of Haighton's site

    My thanks go to Alyson Walker at the Nelson Library Community History department, Gail, Alison and John at the Burnley Library Community History department, and ex-Haighton's employees; John A Hunt and Stephen Taylor for their great help with this article - W K Todd

    is still researching the history of Richard Haighton Ltd, Iron founders & Engineers of Colne, Nelson and Burnley.  He would like to know more about the Burnley years (specifically who bought-out the firm in the 1970's and closed it!  and any information about the Major miller and Cadet lathe) but any information would be of interest.  Bill also asks if anyone knows where Brick Croft was in Colne in the 1840s. 

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Submitted by Pat Dyson

    My partner, who gets a little grumpy when I spend a fine afternoon raptly gazing at grubby microfilm images, suggested that I research his family.  Happy to oblige, I searched backwards and found agricultural families embedded in the soil of North-East Lincolnshire for a couple of hundred years, by-passed by the Industrial Revolution and moving only within a small circle of villages.  'Isn't there anyone interesting in the family?'  I cried despairingly,  'Someone who did something important or even different?'

   'Well, there was cousin George - he won the D.F.C in the War and afterwards joined BOAC.  The family story is that he piloted a plane on one stage of the new Queen's return from Africa to London.  There's also the story about the elephant that got loose when he was bringing it to London.'


    I discovered George's antecedents: he was descended from Martin's great-uncle who had made the daring breakthrough of becoming a brewer's drayman in Leeds.  His younger daughter married a man from North Yorkshire (more rural antecedants) and George was their only child. I found his bmd on Ancestry, the award of the D.F.C in the London Gazette online, and, on an obliging website of photos of graves in Lincolnshire parish churches, even a photograph of the memorial stones to him and his wife in Keelby Parish Churchyard.  A visit to First Avenue House provided probate details for their wills and gave a bonus - as his wife died as late as 2004 her will is on the database there and includes the address of her next-of-kin - George's daughter.

    None of this, of course, gives any clue to his wartime service or subsequent career.  The story of the act that won him his D.F.C turned up in Devon & Cornwall Airfields of WWII (a useful series published by Countryside Books) but enquiries at the RAF Museum at Hendon yielded only general information - details of his wartime service are probably at TNA and will only be released to next-of-kin.  I googled BOAC on the computer, rummaged through the first hundred or two references which came up and finally saw 'BA Archives.'  I went into this and found that it had gone online only a day or two before my search.  The details of a small museum holding memorabilia and archive details for all the various airlines now subsumed into BA were there.  It is sited at Heathrow Airport, so an appointment was made and on our next visit to London we exited via the M4 and found the museum on the airfield.

    It is housed in a former telephone exchange and appears, Tardis-like, to be much larger inside than out.  The front rooms are crammed with everything from tickets to uniforms, seats, model aircraft and publicity material but the real archive is contained in the back rooms which are - not crammed - but stuffed to bursting with paperwork in files, cabinets, bookshelves, boxes and piles on the floor.  It is staffed by volunteers, ex-employees mainly, all friendly and very knowledgeable.  They sat us down with a cup of coffee, pointed out that it was not certain they had any records relating to George, 'There's a lot missing, you know, or not properly filled in' and produced first, background material on BOAC, Comets, and Argonauts, then house magazines, end-of-year reports and finally a HUGE loose-leaf volume with the full career records of all pilots whose surname began with W.  And George was there!   The first page covered his personal details and war service, the numerous following pages gave details of his training, then his flying hours from various bases.  His career was mainly long-haul: Africa; the East, near, middle and far;  Japan and Australia.  It proceeded smoothly, only interrupted by the unfortunate incident when he wrote off a Comet, and after 27 years he retired in 1972.  As icing on the cake there was an item on his retirement in the BOAC News - with a photograph - and also his obituary from Touchdown, the appropriately-named newspaper for all British Airways retired staff.  This revealed that his death took place at a meeting of the PCC in Keelby.

    Here I can insert one of those stories which crop up so often in family history that they can hardly be termed 'coincidences'.  Staying in a small hotel in Keswick earlier in the year, we were chatting after dinner to another guest and the conversation turned to family history as it very often does nowadays and Martin's Lincolnshire origins were mentioned.  'What part of Lincolnshire?'  'North-east, between Grimsby and Caistor'  'Oh, any particular village?'  'Well, quite a few.  My grandmother came from Riby, but Keelby seems to be the family base'.  'There's a lady in the bar who comes from Keelby.  I'll go and get her, shall I?'  Not only did the lady come from Keelby; she had actually known George, who she described as a central figure in village life, although she didn't mention the manner of his death.

    So, one way or another a lot of information has turned up about Captain George Willerton D.F.C although much remains to be done of course - re-establishing contact with his daughter, visiting Keelby and looking at local newspapers, being perhaps the most important.  The visit to the BA Archive proved a real turning-point and although not many may have a pilot in their ancestry, the museum is well worth a visit for anyone interested in the history of commercial flying.  Oh, and flying the Queen home - that doesn't appear to be accurate but in 1965 he did captain a Royal flight which took Princess Alexandra to the Middle East and Japan.  The elephant story cannot as yet be verified although Martin swears he had a newspaper cutting, preserved by his mother and sent to him while he was at school.  These are exemplars of the adage that you listen to family stories but take them with a pinch of salt, a grain of which may be true.

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First Friday of every month at 2.30 pm
    Beginners' sessions on using the Record Office will be held and will last about 1½ hours.
    Limited places so booking is essential

Saturday opening dates
    Office open from 10am to 4pm on the second Saturday in each month (except April) 
    Please note that no documents will be produced between 12.30 and 1.30pm

13.February.2010 13.March.2010 10.April.2010
 8.May.2010 12.June.2010


LANCAT - Lancashire R.O. online catalogue is available at ..

Catalogue update
    MBNE 16/9 Nelson Municipal Borough: Medical Officer of Health report 1963

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190,000 Welsh Wills Online - Free to View

    Over 190,000 Welsh wills (some 800,000 pages) have been digitised and are now available on the National Library of Wales's website or direct on their online catalogue and are free to view.

    Wills which were proved in the Welsh ecclesiastical courts before the introduction of Civil Probate on 11 January 1858 have long been deposited at The National Library of Wales.  An online index and an opportunity to view digital images of these wills within the Library building has been available for some time, however, remote users can also view the digital images following the release of a new site on 16 October.

    Amongst the collection is the will of Twm Siôn Cati alias Thomas Johnes, Fountaine Gate, Caron (SD1609-20), this year being the 400th anniversary of his death.  The will of Howell Harris, the famous Welsh religious reformer can also be seen (BR1773-51).  As well as being a fabulous source of information the National Library's online wills offer the ability to view all 193,000 wills free of charge, a service few other similar institutions are able to offer.  Whilst most institutions charge readers to view their documents, the Library only charges for providing copies of them.

    More information can be viewed at

More overseas birth, marriage and death records available online

    The National Archives announced in November that records from the General Register Office: Miscellaneous Foreign Returns, 1831-1964 (RG 32) have been added to the online service at BMD Registers ( )   Searching the records is free, but there is a charge to download images of the original documents.

    The records contain largely non-statutory documents relating to births, baptisms, marriages, deaths and burials abroad, and on British as well as foreign ships, of British subjects, nationals of the colonies, the Commonwealth and countries under British jurisdiction.  Events affecting some foreign nationals are also included.  More information can be seen at

Archives for the 21st Century

    The National Archives and the Museums Libraries and Archives Council (MLA) have welcomed the new government policy on archives - Archives for the 21st Century - which was laid before Parliament on 24 November 2009.  Archives for the 21st Century is a strategic vision for the archives sector, and is the first such policy for ten years.  Designed to support archive services around the country - particularly publicly funded services - Archives for the 21st Century outlines the challenges currently facing the archives sector and highlights the important contributions that archives can make to local communities.

    This policy does not offer a single blueprint for the way forward, but suggests a range of options that can be applied to short and long term planning in archives, according to local need and priorities.  To see the final policy document, please visit the website on

GRO Digitisation Project

    The General Register Office announced in November that the digitisation of GRO's births, marriages and deaths records is moving forward and a new project, called the Digitisation and Indexing (D&I) Project, has been initiated.

    The new project covers the digitisation of the records themselves together with indexing and upgrading the online certificate ordering process.  The digitisation page on the IPS corporate website has been updated and further details including a Q & A can be accessed via

The Devon Wills Project

    On 27 May 2009 we reported on a new project to produce a complete list of all Devon testamentary matter. The first progress report has now been posted on the Devon FHS


    They say everyone has a book inside them. This autumn the BBC is on the hunt for real life stories that could become best selling books.  Following on from the success of the recent poetry season, the BBC is launching a major new campaign designed to encourage the nation to discover the joy of books.

    As part of the campaign five people will win a major book deal with one of the country's leading publishers plus a cash advance of £20,000.  The campaign is called MY STORY and it's open to anyone.

    The BBC is looking to find true stories about ordinary people's real lives.  It doesn't matter who you are or where you come from, all that matters is that the story is true and based on your life or your family's life.  It can't be fiction or fictionalised.  It must be based on true events that have happened to you.

    15 stories will feature in a major new five part TV series called MY STORY that will go out on primetime BBC One next year, and five of the stories from the series will be published as books.  A small literary panel will select the winning stories and the books will all be published by Harper Collins and will all be available to buy in bookshops across the country immediately after each of the five TV programmes has been broadcast.

    All you have to do to take part is to go to the MY STORY website and put in a summary of your story in no more than 1500 words. That's it.

    So if you've had a remarkable life or something extraordinary has happened to you or your family then get writing and you could win a publishing deal with a cash advance of £20,000.

Free access to The National Archives Documents Online service from Devon

    On 15 October we announced that TNA had decided that, as each regional archive exhausts its free 1911 Census credit quota, it will provide it with three months' free access to its Documents Online service.  Free access to Documents Online is now available at the Devon Record Office.

    More information can be found at

Early Irish maps at The National Archives (TNA)

    TNA has made available for the first time online a collection of early Irish maps (c.1558 - c.1610).  They depict plantations, fortifications and townships from the reigns of Elizabeth I and James I.  The maps often name the local chiefs and major families in an area, providing useful information for family historians.  You can obtain more information at

The Sale of the Broadlands Archives

    The archives contain some 4,500 boxes, dating from the sixteenth century to the present, centred on the Temple (Palmerston), Ashley, Cassel and Mountbatten families.  It is an exceptional collection, including many materials of the first rank for the history of the UK and its relations with its colonies and foreign powers.  The Mountbatten papers are effectively the foundation archive for the modern states of India and Pakistan, and in addition illuminate Britain's first major act of post-war decolonisation; the papers of the third Viscount Palmerston include some 40,000 letters, many from his private correspondence as Foreign Secretary and Prime Minister; and the diaries of the seventh Earl of Shaftesbury, reformer and philanthropist, are one of the great monuments to social progress in Victorian England.

    The Trustees of the Broadlands Archives have determined to sell the collection and have offered it to the University of Southampton.  The expectation is that if negotiations fail, the collection will be sold at auction, and may well be broken up and dispersed, with many parts not finding places in public repositories.  The net price is a substantial one, £2.85 million, and the University believes it has 6 months to complete the transaction.  The University is undertaking a major fund-raising campaign to assure the future of the collection.  It is working with funding bodies including the National Heritage Memorial Fund, but will need to raise considerable sums from other sources.  More information about the archives can be obtained at  while information about the fundraising campaign is at

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    The centre is open every Thursday afternoon from 1pm to 5pm.  If you have not already been to visit the LFHHS Resource Centre, it is near to Oswaldtwistle Mills.  There are four PCs with internet access to Ancestry (Worldwide), a set of all the Society's microfiche plus some from other societies and hundreds of reference books.

    The following is a link for a map of the area: 

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OLD NEWS - Dec.14th 1882 - Birmingham Daily Post

    The Weather Yesterday, thirty-two degrees of frost were registered, and a dense fog enveloped the country, rendering public traffic difficult and dangerous.  The railway and mail services were greatly disarranged.

    At Burnley snow fell nearly the whole of yesterday and there is no appearance of the weather abating.  Outside Burnley the snow lies three feet deep.

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    Items for publication should be sent by email to the or
    by post to the Editor, c/o 49 Stone Edge Road, Barrowford, Nelson, Lancashire  BB9 6BB

© 2010 Pendle and Burnley Branch of LFHHS