Pendle & Burnley Branch

The Gazette
Issue No.45 - January 2012


  1  Your branch really does need you

  2  Programme Report

  3  Colne's Giant Flagstone

  4  Certificates

  5  BMD Project Report 

  6  2012 Programme

  7  Gazette

  8  Archive News

  9  Query Corner

 10  A Thirst for Family History

 11  The North West Film Archive



    The March A.G.M is approaching and there are still several vacant posts on our committee.  Last year we were very fortunate to get three volunteers, one as a committee member, one as Webmaster, and one as Gazette Editor.  Unfortunately, this was not enough and there are other posts which urgently need filling to keep our branch running.  These are Vice Chairman, Secretary, Programme Secretary, Projects Coordinator and Executive Representative.  All are for a 2 year term of office.

    In addition to the above, the Chairman’s post will also be due for re-election for a 2 year term.  After a great deal of thought and consideration I have decided not to stand for election this year.  Having been chairman for 9 years (as well as Acting Programme Secretary for the last five, and Acting Secretary for the past year) I feel it is now time for a change.  However, I do intend to stand as an ordinary committee member.

    Each of the posts could be operated on a job sharing basis; a job shared is work halved!  Anyone of the membership is capable of doing these jobs; all it needs is common sense, a willingness to help, and, above all, a desire to ensure that Pendle & Burnley Branch continues to exist.

    The majority of the present hard-working committee have now served for many years (in one case for over 20) and in many official  capacities; so we really do need some extra help.  None of the jobs are especially onerous, and all very definitely have their own satisfactions and rewards.  Information packs for each of the posts are available at the meetings or by contacting me at .

    We are especially including in this appeal those members who do not necessarily attend meetings, but who live within reasonable travel distance and could attend the four committee meetings a year. We know a great many of you out there will have useful work/life experience or just a willingness to help, but maybe have not previously considered yourself in this capacity.  We are a friendly, welcoming committee, and full training and support is always made available to all new officers.

    Finally, if the Branch has to close it will mean the end of all current branch activities: no more lectures, no more workshops, no more newsletters, and no more localised family history help. This is YOUR Branch. Please give some consideration to taking an active part in helping it to continue.

Jean Ingham (Chairman)


    Bookings for 2012 are complete with the exception of the May and Christmas Meetings.  A possible choice for the May meeting is a visit to Astley Hall, Chorley. Full details will be available soon.

    Monthly surgeries will continue to be held in Colne library January to March on the fourth Wednesday of the month.

Jean Ingham (Chairman and Acting Programme Secretary)

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    At a recent meeting a slide was shown of Colne Town Hall.  During the discussion the large flagstone outside the main entrance was mentioned.  The following article was originally printed in the Colne Times and was submitted by Margaret Heap.


    Colne Town Hall was built in 1893/4, and it's main claim to fame is the massive flagstone outside the front door.  The stone was reputedly quarried in Rossendale and miraculously transported to Colne in one piece.  However, once it arrived at the Town Hall site it had to be carefully laid in place.  It would have taken many skilled paviours to undertake this task, not only skilled, but also strong.  The flag weighs around two tons, measures ten feet by nine feet, and is five inches thick.  One man known to have helped with this task was a Norwegian, born Lars Larsen, who came to England as a mariner.  Lars changed his name to Lewis Marinus Lawson when he married in Liverpool before settling in Colne as a Sagger's labourer.  He was born near Oslo and his father, also Lars, died when he was young.  Apparently Lars did not get on with his stepfather, so he went to sea and came to England.  He married Emma Ann Robinson in 1879 and they had at least eight children.  Their early married life was spent in Lidgett, but when Lars died aged 69 in 1923 they were living in Rook Street.  Lars and Emma Ann are both buried in Colne cemetery. 

     Unlike some secrets which are taken to the grave, the story of the flagstone's hidden gold was passed on through Lars's family, namely that under each corner of the flagstone was laid a gold sovereign, although all the flaggers were sworn to secrecy about the coins's existence. Are they still there, and, if not, what happened to them? They probably disappeared many years ago, but lifting the massive stone will only prove the case.


None of the pictures in your recently deceased grandmother's photo album have names written on them

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    The Identity & Passport Service has warned: don't pay too much for your replacement birth certificates.  This appears on the internet at  This applies equally to other certificates.  When using commercial websites to find an index entry for a birth, marriage or death registration it can be tempting to click on a conveniently placed link to order a certificate.  However, it can be much more costly to take this route rather than going to the official website at

    In due course it is hoped that the General Register Office will complete its digitisation and indexing project so that finding entries in the indexes and ordering certificates can all be done from an official website.  I understand that around 50% of civil registration records have already been digitised and that plans for completing this will be drawn up within the next six months. 

General Register Office (GRO) change of telephone number
From 5 January 2012 GRO will cease to publish the current 0845 603 7788 telephone number for customers who wish to make an enquiry about, or place an order, for certificates.  Customers who previously contacted GRO via the 0845 number will be asked to contact 0300 123 1837.  This aims to be a particularly memorable number for customers as civil registration was introduced in England and Wales in the year 1837.  Telephone numbers beginning with 0300 are non-geographic numbers, specially designated for use by public bodies and not for-profit organisations.  Calls to 0300 numbers are not free and should not be confused with 0800 numbers.

    Thanks to Melanie Lee at GRO for this information.

BMD Project Report

    Since the last committee meeting 24,755 Births have been added to the Lancashire BMD web site and, as at 18th December, a further 11,000 are with the web master waiting to go on.  All remaining deaths, up to 1974, have now been completed and are on the web site.

    A further 5,013 mothers’ maiden names have been added for birth entries that were already searchable on the web site.  This is an ongoing process.  Many thanks to the dedicated team of volunteers.

Janet Knowles, BMD Co­ordinator

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The programme of events for the coming meetings is shown below and can also be viewed on the branch website at http://www.lfhhs­

15 Feb   'A WC by any other name'                   Edward Padgett
29 Feb    Practical Workshop
21 Mar    A.G.M. and 'Maps for Family History'   Fiona McIntyre
18 Apr    'Records of the Poor'                          Elvira Wilmott
16 May   Out Visit (To be arranged)
30 May   Practical Workshop
20 Jun     'The Titanic'                                      Nigel Hampson
18 Jul     Open Evening
15 Aug   'A Magistrate'                                   Anne Redman
29 Aug    Practical Workshop
19 Sept  'The Cracoe Triplets'                         David Marshall
17 Oct   'Lancashire versus Hitler'                  Ron Freethy
31 Oct    Practical Workshop
21 Nov   'Newchurch Families'                        Brenda Hustler
5 Dec     Christmas Festivities (By ticket only)

Printed copies of the programme are available.

Jean Ingham, Acting Programme Secretary.

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.. Editor - Arnold Slater

On behalf of Rod Moorhouse I would like to thank all of those who replied to Rods request for information in the October edition of the Gazette.

Articles are always welcome, I will try and fit them in as soon as possible.  Articles for the April Gazette by the end of March please. 

Please send to or by post to the Editor c/o 6 Sussex Street, Barnoldswick, Lancashire BB18 5DS 

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A number of Archives are reporting revised opening times, some to due to refurbishment and others due to the restrictions on finances.  If you intend to visit any of these Archives you are advised to check the opening times and availability of the collections before arranging a visit.

Lancashire Archives Opening Hours
  Monday – 9am – 5pm
  Tuesday – 9am – 8.30pm
  Wednesday – 9am – 5pm
  Thursday – 10am – 5pm
  Friday – 9am – 5pm
  Second Saturday of every month - 10am – 4pm

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If you can help in any way with the following queries would you please let Jean know at

MEMORIAL RIBBONS - Margaret Heap Branch Librarian
I am in correspondence with LFHHS Member Joan Merrill regarding 6 memorial ribbons which she has recently acquired, but which do not have any connection with her family. Can any member make a claim?
Barrowford : David MARSHALL, husband of Isabella, died 13 July 1918
Burnley Cemetery : Christopher SMITH , 65, wife Kate, died 11 July 1933
Richard Edward DENNER, 70, wife Ellen, died 23 May 1914
Martha HARGREAVES, 47, wife of James, died 28 June 1919
Mary Ann OLDHAM, 48, wife of Joseph, died 29 March 1923
Albert EMSLEY, 3 years 3 months, son of James and Ann EMSLEY, died 3 May 1917

If you can make a connection with any of the above, please contact direct


The photograph is of William Henry Douglas FLACK born Ireland 1852, died Burnley 1936.  He was Honorary Treasurer at Victoria Hospital for over 20 years.  His grandson has a lot of information about him but would like to know if anyone can identify the cap and lapel badge he is wearing

(This photo first appeared in the October edition of the Gazette) .. Barrie McKnight suggests the following:
It looks as though the cap and collar badges might be those of the Royal Army Medical Corps although they are difficult to see the details.  The neck wear of a bow tie is something I have never seen with Field Service dress!  I have been looking at the badge recently in relation to my great uncle Jack Cogill born in Nelson, who served in the RAMC in WWI and was awarded the Military Medal.  My mother used to talk of a Doctor Flack.  Perhaps there is some connection.


The public ceremony in which your distinguished ancestor participated
and at which the platform collapsed 
under him turned out to be a hanging

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– by John Rodney Moorhouse

    I’ve always enjoyed a pint of ale so sometimes wondered about the possibility of a connection between my family and that of Moorhouse’s Brewery [Burnley] Ltd.  Some years ago I wrote to the brewery and asked whether there were any members of the Moorhouse family still connected with the business.  The short answer was 'no' but the General Manager was very helpful and sent me an information pack setting out the history of the brewery.  The founder was a William Moorhouse who had two sons, Thomas [Samuel Thomas] and Edward.  By 1870 their business was thriving so William had a new brewery built on the present day site in Moorhouse Street.  The buildings included stables for the dray horses and some houses for the family and the brewery workers.  On the 1881 census the family are recorded living at 245 Accrington Road, next door to what is now the 'General Scarlett' inn.  Father and Thomas are described as 'Ginger Beer Manufacturers'.  Towards the end of the 1800's William and his wife lived in Hartley Street while Thomas and his wife Sarah Ann together with at least seven children live round the corner at 2 Moorhouse Street.  One of my great, great uncles was named William Moorhouse.  He lived in Burnley during the 19th century and one of his sons was named Thomas.  A search through census records and trade directories soon establishes that he was a 'Glass and China dealer' but never a brewer – nor were his sons.

    So, apparently there is no family relationship with Moorhouse's Brewery - but there may be a different kind of connection.  My great-great uncle William had a younger brother, my Great Grandfather, James Moorhouse who was a builder in Burnley during the 1860's and 70's.  According to his autobiography he built many 'workmen's houses' in the Accrington Road district of the town.  Could he have built the Brewery?  He often named his houses, choosing names which seem to have religious or moral references, e.g. he built 'Peace Terrace' in Burnley, 'Peace cottages', 'Hope Terrace' in Blackpool and Peace Villas in Skipton.  With this sort of theme in mind did he, for example, build in and around Peace Street on the North side of the Accrington road in Burnley?

    Around 1870 James lived on Accrington Road in 'Olive Terrace'.  According to the '71 census, this was a row of three houses, probably newly built by James and named after his youngest daughter, born in 1869.  Apart from his business activities James was a Temperance worker and a member of the Independent chapel.  Within the local community it seems likely that he would have known William the brewer.  Had he been asked to build a mineral water brewery then, bearing in mind his social views it is possible he would have supported the venture.  A clue to this notion lies in the fact that later in the 1870's James built and then ran the 'The British Workman Coffee House', described as a 'temperance public house' on the front at Blackpool.  So, did he also build the Burnley Brewery?

    Writing articles along these lines often sparks off new ideas – I now intend to write to the brewery again to ask about the possible existence of deeds and accounts documents from that earliest period which might provide some firm evidence.  Perhaps other FHS members may have further information?

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    The North West Film Archive have made available on line at several of Sam Hanna's films.  Sam Hanna, a Burnley woodwork teacher was renowned for his filming activities.  The films are mostly silent and monochrome but very interesting and educational and who knows you may even spot a relative.  You may be required to download a programme called QuickTime in order to view these films and a restart may be necessary before you can access the films.

Submitted by Keith Baldwin

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© 2012 LFHHS Pendle & Burnley Branch