Greater Manchester UK




Modern Lancashire History

Industrialisation in Victorian

The industrialisation of Lancashire was fast and
furious from the 1750s onwards. Towns, factories and industry developed
rapidly amongst the many small villages of central Lancashire as textile
industries were established within the county. Fuelled by water and
then driven by steam power, and hastened by technological advances,
entrepreneurialism and commercial acumen, by the middle of the 19th
century the county had become the major manufacturing base of Britain.
As the burgeoning factories needed expanding labour forces, mass migrations
took place from agricultural Lancashire into towns like Manchester,
Salford, Darwen, Blackburn, Burnley, Oldham, Rochdale, Accrington and
Haslingden. It was to become the model for world wide industrialisation.
Canals and railways made the importation of raw materials and exportation
of finished manufactures feasible and inexpensive and many fortunes
would be made by irresponsible and callous mill owners at the expense
of their workers. The typical working day was 14 hours long, but many
were much longer, as, without regulation, unscrupulous mill owners could
demand any terms they liked. (See: “
Conditions in Victorian Manchester
” ) . East Lancashire pits
and coal mines at Worsley made the fuel of industry readily available.
The Manchester Ship Canal
made international trade a reality without the need for slow or
expensive overland transportation.
Cotton dominated Lancashire (See: “King
). By the mid-19th century Lancashire cotton dominated
the world market in textiles – by the end of the century its output
exceeded 1 billion kilos and contributed around 11% of the national
economy, employing around 5% of the population of England.

Contemporary Map of Lancashire
Map of Contemporary Lancashire © John
Moss 2003

Contemporary Lancashire

After 1914, many of Lancashire’s smaller townships
and parishes were rationalised and combined, as was the case with Lytham
St Anns, Morecambe and Heysham. By 1955 Lancashire had 17 county boroughs,
26 municipal boroughs, 66 urban districts and 14 rural districts.
1974 saw massive reorganisation and rationalisation, with the county
effectively being truncated as three major areas were taken out of its
domain: Boroughs like Wigan, Rochdale, Oldham and Bolton were absorbed
into the newly created Greater Manchester Metropolitan County.
Similarly, parts of Sefton, Liverpool and St Helens were incorporated
into the new Merseyside Metropolitan County. Finally, the Furness and
Cartmel Peninsulas in the southern Lake District were taken out of Lancashire
and since then have been part of the county of Cumbria.
Few of these “removed” areas were happy with the arrangement,
and the people of Bolton, Oldham and Rochdale proudly insist that they
still live in Lancashire and largely spurn all attempts to persuade
them to accept Greater Manchester as anything more than an unfortunate
administrative concoction. Other parts of Greater Manchester were taken
from the old county of Cheshire, (Stockport and Altrincham, for example),
and they in like manner cling to Cheshire as their native county

See Also: Map
of 17th Century Parishes of Lancashire

Lancashire Information

Lancashire County Council

PO Box 78, Christ Church Precinct, County Hall,
Preston, Lancashire PR1 8XJ

Lancashire Related websites

Lancashire & Regional Tourist
Information Centres

See Also:

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© John Moss, Papillon Graphics AD 2013 Manchester, United Kingdom – all rights reserved.
This page last updated 6 Feb 12.