Bacup is the second largest town in the Rossendale Valley, and arguably the oldest, and has a long and varied history dating back to the Neolithic era. Indeed the name ‘Bacup’ itself dates back to the early 13th Century and evidence suggests that there were settlements here dating back to the early middle ages and the time of the Anglo-Saxons.
Business has been carried out here for centuries, with the earliest traders dealing in woollen cloths and domestic flannels. The Industrial Revolution transformed Bacup in to a prosperous Mill Town, with many large cotton mills benefiting from the close proximity to the River Irwell, the Leeds and Liverpool Canal, and the growth of the regional railway network.
During the Victorian period the town prospered, with quarrying, weaving, mining, cotton spinning and shoe manufacturing providing a variety of occupations for the population of the town, and the natural geography offering a wealth of resources for businessmen and women to utilise to it’s fullest potential.
With this, the mills offered whole families a chance of employment and the population expanded as the textile boom continued in to the early 20th Century.
Indeed now, modern day Bacup, has been given the title of the ‘best preserved cotton town in England’ by English Heritage. The town centre has also been designated as ‘A Conservation Area of Special Architectural and Historic Interest’, with Burnley Road to the north of the Town and Todmorden to the east, boasting a number of Grade II listed buildings.
Slightly out of the town centre, buildings such as Fearns Hall, which dates back to 1696, and Stubbylee Hall, situated in the towns beautiful Stubbylee Park, from the 18th Century add to the historical interest of our quaint little mill town.
Now with many of the mills no longer in production the air is much cleaner and the area has become popular with walkers, mountain bikers and shoppers alike, offering a convenient mix of striking rural scenery of rolling hills and open fields, yet with the warmth and bustle of a deep-rooted town centre.
Bacup's Businesses Today
There are a variety of independent shops, cafes and a traditional market, that has sustained the people of Bacup for decades, with long-established traders in meats, fish, vegetables, and homewares, even the more recent, nationwide, trend in beauty salons opening is playing catch up to Bacup, with Beauty Culture on St James Street being established in 1991, some 27 years ago!
So why not come and pay us a visit? We have lots to offer to make your day out a memorable one.
If you come on Easter Saturday for example, you will be hard pressed not to see our very own Brittannia Coconutters, a traditional dance troupe dating back to the 1850’s, steeped in local tradition and loved and well regarded throughout the town.
Or why not visit the Bacup Natural History Museum? Known locally as ‘The Nat’, the museum is run completely by volunteers, who do a remarkable job of preserving the history of the town, providing regular lectures, exhibitions and school visits to people who come back regularly to take in all the information and soak up the atmosphere of times of a bygone era.
A more recent tradition, but one that has certainly gathered pace and literally world-wide interest, is the Annual Gravy Wrestling Championships, held every August Bank Holiday at the Rose and Bowl, a couple of miles out of the town centre; grown men and women battling it out in a huge pool a gravy is certainly something to behold!
Or if you just fancy a leisurely stroll, why not call in to The Crown Inn? A traditional pub about half a mile out of the town centre, with roaring fires in the winter, a string of family fun festivals throughout the summer, and their very own resident Alien, keeping an eye on all who enter! (Clue: when you first arrive, don’t forget to look UP!)