It has been brought to our notice that the web site has not had any additions for some time – so now to make amends!


The Trust is alive and well, with a healthy bank balance and rising membership. Our Weavers’ Cottage HQ has new windows, replicating the ones that were there in the 1940s, when they were believed to be original. We are busy putting our collection back together in new exhibition mode, and look forward to welcoming visitors again this

Also, hopefully, Rawtenstall will soon be more presentable and accessible. We have had almost ten years of delays, disruption and road closures, which have seriously hampered the life of the town.

Picking up from one of the last comments on the site, it must be said that the Council’s decision to pull out of the many ambitious scheme put forward for Valley Centre Part 2 seems to have been widely welcomed. Well, it was predicted that it wouldn’t work, and now’s the time to go back to the drawing board and make something of the space we are left with.

Of course we have the new bus station at last, and surely more can be of that? If the retail spaces facing the empty square aren’t taken up by commercial users, can we find community uses for them? Just as the former Astoria was linked to the old square for both indoor and outdoor events, can these covered spaces be used for presentations,
exhibitions etc. linked to events on the new space? Above all let’s be positive about this – it is a great opportunity to get something worth while out of all the effort and change.

But this comes with a warning; our town centres, Bacup, Rawtenstall and now Haslingden, are Conservation Areas, and that means all that goes with them. The idea of Conservation Areas was put forward over 50 years ago, with the idea of carefully nurturing what was felt to be worth treasuring from the work of previous generations. That did not mean preservation without change, but to guard against unsympathetic change to things people love, and there is a great danger that the input of unprecedented amounts of money from Government grants could lead to bold and unsympathetic interventions. This is something that must be monitored; while we add our own imprints to our towns, care must be taken not to eradicate what has survived from the past, and that includes the feel and character of the place as well as the buildings themselves. Current buzz words and phrases such as ‘harm and benefit’ need to be properly understood, and above all, the people who live and work in those places should be consulted at an early stage on any proposals.

There is a lot of work for Civic Trusts and Societies like ours to do not only in Rossendale but across the whole country, and Rossendale Civic Trust is a part of that national movement, and will continue to work with colleagues at all levels and in all places to make our environment better for all.



As the last of the of the valley settlements to become a town, Rawtenstall has seen constant changes over the last hundred years, all driven by over-ambition. These are evident in the Library, which stands alone from the great civic project of the 1900s, to the loss of New Hall Hey Hall and the creation of the huge centre island (gyratory) for a bus interchange, and the proposals for the extension of the M66 which has left the dual carriageway ‘by-pass’ ending in a bottleneck at Tup Bridge. 

The clearance of the town centre and desire to see an all-singing, all dancing, shopping and leisure complex is the current manifestation of this. The fact remains; if it had been possible, both financially and in terms of access and viability, appropriate development would either have happened a long time ago, or punters would be now be queuing up and vying for favour with our beleaguered Council.  

It can’t help but be said that successive Councils have all missed the point; speculation gets you nowhere; what is needed is positivity.  Although, some time ago, Lancashire County Council put forward plans and finance for a perfectly functional bus station, RBC’s attempts to make this into something much grander has spiralled into a plethora of overlapping proposals that most people have now lost track of, and put Rossendale in the firing line for most of the possible expense. 

In their present form, the plans have mutated into a bus station that will demand road closures, traffic restrictions and multiple control systems, a ‘town square’ shrinking to little more than a widened pedestrian street cluttered with planters and accessed by ramps and steps, and two huge blocks whose uses are still not determined. So how can parking and servicing be anticipated? Royal Mail have made it clear that their early morning activity needs to be catered for, and Lancashire County Council have already said that deliveries must be between 12.00 midnight and 6.30am. 

 The statement from Councillor Alyson Barnes that none of the new build will be started until takers are found is good common sense, but it rests on the assumption that, despite all the hurdles of access and service, someone will take the risk. Maybe, some day, the present approach to shopping trends and private and public transport will change, but until then, it looks as if Rawtenstall’s future is being shelved for yet another dream based on speculation and uncertainty. 

If RBC could accept that the current use of the open space of the square for events and community activities is the demonstration of public ideals, and take this forward as a positive long term factor, it would not only avoid the pitfalls of speculative investment, but bring some stability and assurance. let alone confidence, to a town which desperately needs it.  Anything more will surely evolve, naturally, from there. 


Craft Fair 2017

The third annual craft fair is next week, and we’ve been busy cramming every stall we can into the Weavers’ Cottage.

From Paper Craft to Chair Seating. Felt Work to Tweed. Next weekend (7th & 8th October) we’re going to fill the Weavers’ Cottage with traditional arts and crafts form across Lancashire.

As well as our usual weaving demonstrations we will also have; Soap making, hand crafted jewellery, baskets, cards, Yarn craft and all manor of other trades.

We will also have food, live music and more!

Doors are going be open from 11.00am to 4.30pm on both days, please come on down and see what we have to offer!

Another Excellent Open Day at Grane Mill

A warm welcome awaited the many enthusiasts who travelled from near and far
on the weekend of Saturday and Sunday, 9th and 10th September, 2017, to visit the Scheduled Ancient Monument, Grane Mill, Laneside Road (just off Bury Road), Haslingden, to experience the workings of the preserved engine.
The engine, which has been restored by Messrs. David Arnfield and Anthony Pilling, has now been given protection as a Scheduled Ancient Monument and, as from 24th August ,
2017,  the whole mill is now listed as Grade 11*.  This is to enable the cohesive management of this important complex as one unit for the future, which hopefully, one day, will be a major
historical asset in reminding people of Lancashire’s great past.
S. S. Stott of Haslingden built the engine.  It is a 500 horse power, horizontal cross compound engine.  It drove 15 ropes which connected with shafting in the mill and powered over 1000 looms.  It also generated the electricity for lighting the mill.
The weekend was a huge success for both adults and children alike and a “must entry”, in the future, on the engine enthusiast’s calendar to visit this remarkable and, until recently, relatively unknown Boiler restoration situated within the Rossendale Valley.
A special “thank you” to all those who helped to make the weekend event such a huge success (Dave, Anthony, Kathy, Harry, Josh, Vera, Joy and Radio Lancashire).
A little gem in the Industrial crown!

Flood Fayre 2017


The Rawtenstall Flood Forum, a local group dedicated to investigating flooding risks around Rawtenstall, are holding a Flood Fayre on Thursday 29th June 2017.

Flooding is a real risk in some parts of Rawtenstall. The Flood Forum works with the County and Borough Councils, as well as the Environment Agency and United Utilities, to identify and combat the problem.

The Fayre is at St Mary’s Chambers, Rawtenstall, between 2pm and 8pm. The hope is to make members of the public more aware of identified risk areas and to find others if they exist. It is also hoped to get more information out there about what you can do if you are in one of those areas and how it effects you.

More events…

Rawtenstall’s 1940s WEEKEND

If you’re in Rawtenstall for the 40’s weekend this bank holiday don’t forget to pop in to our 1940s ‘cafe’ on the Sunday and Monday (May 28th and 29th) between 1.30 and 4.30pm

Come and try a taste of the past – things you might have forgotten, or things you’ve only heard about!

Plus of course all our usual displays, information and unique local souvenirs are for sale.

All profits, as always, go to the upkeep of the Cottage!

For more details, Contact us



We are hoping to have a stand at the Rawtenstall Flood Forum event at St. Mary’s Chambers this June. This is planned to be a major event, looking to promoting solutions to issues arising from flooding in the Valley.

The event will be open from 2.00 – 8.00pm and we hope to have material on display, showing how our area has historically suffered from flooding.

There will be lots more from other exhibitors, plus refreshments provided.

Watch the local Press and this website for more details!




Flowers at the Cottage; 1.00pm -5.00pm

Rossendale Valley Flower Club are accepting the challenge of flower
arrangements to compliment and enhance our unique Weavers’ Cottage; we
did this once before and the results were amazing. Open 1.00pm until
5.00pm every day, free admission.


1940s Food Favourites – Sunday 28th and Monday 29th 1.00pm -5.00pm

To complement Rossendale’s 1940s weekend, we are reviving memories –
and tastes – of wartime food; try some of the things you would have
had for tea during rationing! Ingenious recipes and forgotten

But don’t forget, we will be open on Saturday May 27th as usual.

SATURDAY MAY13th and SUNDAY MAY 14th. Mills’ Weekend

Grane Mill, Haslingden. Open 11.30am – 4.00pm both days.
Grane Mill, off Bury Road in Haslingden, has recently been Listed as
Grade II*, putting in the top quarter of the country’s best buildings.
The huge steam engine and its housing are a scheduled Ancient
Monument, even more prestigious. This is a rare chance to see this
complex which is slowly but surely being restored.


3rd Annual Craft Fair

At the Weavers’ Cottage, October 7th and 8th.
Demonstrations and crafts for sale; our successful event is now a firm
favourite and looks even more promising. Make this a ‘must’ in your

Bus Station Update March 2017


Concerns continue about the proposed bus station in Rawtenstall town centre. Rossendale Civic Trust’s investigation has discovered that the roads surrounding the site have yet to be subject to an official Closing Order. Until this issue is addressed work on the project can not continue.

There are several objections to the Closing Order, including our own. We, and others, are very concerned as to how the closing of several well used roads will effect the flow of traffic in the heart of Rawtenstall. While the Council has presented their outline plan for this it has yet to be officially addressed and we feel that it’s implementation will create even more problems then it is supposed to solve.

We will continue to monitor the situation and keep you updated.