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Farnworth 1894

by Mrs Teresa Hall

My first acquaintance with Farnworth was in the year 1894 when I came on a visit to some relatives who lived here. While I was at their home they took me to see some friends who were living at Birch House as caretakers for Captain Whittam. They were Mr and Mrs Quinn. They showed us over the house. I was only a little girl but I was impressed when they showed us the room where Lord Derby hid the night before he was caught and executed where the cross in Churchgate, Bolton now stands. The site where Birch House was is where Farnworth Grammar School now stands.

There have not been many notable buildings erected since then except the Carnegie Library and of course the Town Hall (I once heard it described as the Town Hall without a Town Hall). Most of the buildings here in those days were mills - splendid mills where cotton was spun and woven to go all over the world. Atlas, the mills are now no more and the splendid weavers are in other employment. This has (to my mind) been a great mistake for weaving was in the blood of the people of Farnworth.

We often hear people talk of the "Good Old Days". Were they good in comparison to today? Don't we old folks remember the days of the 'knocker-up' at 5 am with his stick with wires on tapping on the window to get us off for 5.30 am. Work started at 6 am. We had no bus to take us to work, no canteens. We had to take our day's food with us. When we had to stay off through sickness, there was no Health Service. When the Bread-winner of the family died there was no pension for the wife who was perhaps left with several children to bring up. There was no family allowance. I cannot in truth say they were the good old days but there is one thing we can in Farnworth pride ourselves on. WE HAVE NO SLUMS. We can thank the Revd Mr Wilcockson who was the Vicar of St Thomas's church. He worked hard to clear the town of Farnworth of slums and he did.