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History of Colne Waterside - Colne Gas Company


Colne Waterside


In the medieval period Colne consisted of two distinct settlements, Colne Town and Waterside, both being joined by Colne Lane. Colne was 1 of 7 manors coming under the jurisdiction of the Honor of Clitheroe. Colne also included Great Marsden (now Nelson) and what is now the village of Foulridge. Grindlestonehurst was one of the commons around Colne, adjacent to the Tum Hills common and taking in the Waterside area.

Waterside was a self-contained area on Colne water, the bridge over which existed in 1323 and probably long before this at it stood at the beginning of 2 main highways to Burnley and Halifax. The present bridge dates to around 1790. A fulling mill stood at Waterside, built in 1296 this was one of the earliest known. There was also a corn mill at this time. *A reference to ‘the old wheel race’ below probably denotes the site of one of these where the Spring House Estate stood before being purchased by the Gas Co.

The Clitheroe Court Rolls refer to a number of cottages 'by the waterside' in Colne: around the middle of the 16th century a man called Kenyon was acused, by the Manor Court, of having built these properties without paying the customary fines. A number of names are given for the various tenants then in occupation.

In 1991 Mr.K.Ashworth purchased part of the Gas Works from British Gas Plc for use in the manufacture of chemicals. When Contractors removed a large diameter gas pipe they found a bottle hidden within the wall. This contained an output recording disk (much like a tachograph disk) from 1850 and a book called Articles of Agreement for the Colne Gas Light & Coke Company dated 1835. Also in the bottle was a hand-written note detailing the births and deaths of past members of Mr. Ashworth’s family (Pickles -see separate posting for Pickles Families). The bottle was a form of ‘time capsule’ placed in the wall by Mr.Ashworth’s family and shows that his 3 x great grandfather was a founding member of the original Coal & Gas Company.

The following indentures and will of Henry pickles mention many family names and give an insight in to the dealings of the notaries and ordinary people of the Waterside area


Colne Gas Light & Coke Company 1835:

Articles of agreement indented, made and entered into this seventeenth day of December in the Year of our Lord, One Thousand Eight Hundred and Thirty eight: between NICHOLAS ENGLAND, of Colne (Cotton Spinner) – THOMAS THORNBER the YOUNGER of Vivary Bridge, near Colne (Cotton Spinner) – ROBERT MIDGELEY of Colne (Gentleman) – WILLIAM BOTTOMLEY of Colne (Shopkeeper) – JOHN WATSON of Colne (Pawnbroker) – ABRAHAM NOWELL of Colne (Innkeeper) – JOHN WHITAKER of Waterside, near Colne, (Innkeeper) – RICHARD SAGAR of Carry Bridge, near Colne (Cotton Spinner) – HARRY BOLTON of Colne (Attorney at Law) – LAWRENCE WHITAKER of Waterside (Shopkeeper) – ROBERT TEMPLE of Colne (Banker’s Clerk) – THOMAS WARD of Colne (Cotton Manufacturer) – and JOHN MIDGELEY of Colne (Hat Manufacturer) :- whereas the several parties hereto have agreed to form a Society or Company for the purpose of making Gas, and therewith Lighting the Streets, Houses, Mills, and other places in the Township and Neighbouhood of Colne:- the Society shall be called “The Colne Gas Light and Coke Company”:- the capital fund required should not exceed £3000 which shall be raised in shares of £20 each:- the Bankers shall be Birkbecks, Alcocks & Co, Colne.

Original Shareholders in Colne Gas Works – 1835:

No. of Shares Name
10 £200 NICHOLAS ENGLAND
3 £60 THOS.THORNBER JNR.
3 £60 ROBERT MIDGELEY
5 £100 WILLIAM BOTTOMLEY
5 £100 JOHN WATSON
3 £60 ABRAHAM NOWELL
5 £100 JOHN WHITAKER
5 £100 RICHARD SAGAR
5 £100 H.BOLTON
5 £100 LAWRENCE WHITAKER
3 £60 ROBERT TEMPLE
1 £20 THOMAS WARD
1 £20 JOHN MIDGELEY
5 £100 HARTLEY PARKINSON
1 £20 RICHARD HARTLEY
1 £20 HARTLEY EARNSHAW
1 £20 THOMAS PATTERSON
3 £60 JOHN HEATON
5 £100 WILLIAM WILSON
5 £10 WILLIAM WILKINSON
3 £60 J. & E. CARR
5 £100 WILLIAM RICHMOND
3 £60 JOSEPH SNOWDEN
1 £20 W.C.ASQUITH
1 £20 JOHN PHILLIPS SNR.
1 £20 JOHN HARTLEY
2 £40 GEORGE BANNISTER
2 £40 ELIZABETH LEACH
3 £60 ROBERT MASHITER
3 £60 JAMES BALDWIN
1 £20 WILLIAM MIDGELEY
1 £20 WILLIAM ASQUITH
3 £60 JOSEPH PICKLES
5 £100 WILLIAM HOLMES
4 £80 JOHN SMITH JNR.
1 £20 JOHN LAMBERT
3 £60 JOSEPH HOYLE
5 £100 HENRY HOLROYD


From original records for land and property purchases to expand the earlier Gas Works:

17th Feb 1840 Part of site of Colne Gas Works, Knotts Lane


Surrender by Richard Alcock at the request of William Hewson Wood & Betsy Hartley his wife to Nicholas England , Thomas Thornber, Richard Sagar, John Whitaker, William Bottomley, William Wilson, William Richmond, Hartley Parkinson, Henry Holroyd, Thomas Smith, William Wilkinson and William Holmes for the use and purposes of the Colne Gas Company……… All that plot at Waterside adjacent to the river Calder, parcel of a property there formerly the estate of Henry Owen Cunliffe Esquire who sold the same to John Rushton, who in July 1801 sold same to John Mancknowles which plot was then enclosed by buildings and fence walls of the Colne Gas Co and was on the south side thereof, adjacent to said river, 134’ long, on north side 100’ long, on west end 58’ 1” long and on east end 74’ 6” – 891 square yards and liberty of taking out of the river such water as necessary for making gas and to return same to the river within 10 yards from that point…..adm. 1st May.

19th March 1847

Further surrender to above parties by Richard Sagar of all that close of meadow land at Grindlestonehurst, Gt. Marsden adjacent to the River Calder late in occupation of Bernard Blackburn, with right of taking water, but reserving to Richard Sagar as Trustee
(1) Right of conducting said water in a goit upon payment of reasonable compensation to the owners for time being of the said lands, late the estate of Henry Bolton for the damage thereby done to the herbage of said lands
(2) The river, or watercourse, adjacent to said close
(3) Privilege of conducting water of said river down and through the croft to be surrendered in a covered drain or goit
(4) A right of way from said croft, or close, along the front of the building there called “The New Building” and for agricultural purposes along the Lodge Bank then in the occupation of Messieurs Henry Alcock of Bramley & Co and over a certain bridge there called Walk Mill Bridge……..admin. 16 April


18th October 1867

Surrender by Elizabeth Rushton to Richard Sagar, William Richmond and William Wilkinson of all those 2 dwelling houses at Grindlestonehurst, Gt. Marsden, then or late in the possession of William Hartley and James Hopwood and also that in front of the house late of James Hopwood and in his occupation subject to articles of agreement concerning lands or buildings purchased for the Colne Gas Co and reciting that Richard Sagar and William Richmond alone survive.

6th April 1877

Agreement between Richard Sagar, Henry Pickles ( Draper/ see posting on the Pickles Families of Colne, Trawden and Wycoller), James Hudson ( Painter), Henry William Hartley ( Gentleman), William Richmond, John Smith of Wackersall (Farmer), John Holroyd (Gentleman), William Ayrton Wilkinson (Tobacco Manufacturer), John Judson Hartley (Grocer), Lazarus Threfall (Gentleman) and William Henry Varley (Plumber), being the Committee for the time being of the Society or Company called the Coke Gas Light & Coke Co. to be deemed the Directors thereof and by said agreement the Company to be called a Gas Company within the meaning of the Public Health Act 1875 and the Local Board that should sell and should buy all the rights and powers and privileges and all lands, premises, works and other property of the Company subject to all liabilities for £32,000, for purposes of the Gas Act……transferred 1877.

30th September 1878

Deed of Indenture between the Most Noble Walter Francis, Duke of Buccleugh and Queensbury, Knight of the Most Noble Order of the Garter, Lord of the Manor of Colne within the Honor of Clitheroe and the Honorable James Archibald Douglas-Home of 6 Grosvenor Square, London, Barrister at Law - for Local Board being enfranchisement for £13.00 of all the above --- this applies to a large plan showing the old Gas Works on Gas Street, Waterside to the north of which property is owned by late Widow Balwin now William Stansfield and others and to the south property owned by late Mancknowles Esquire but now T.T.England Esquire. Buildings on the highway from Primet Bridge to Waterside, adjacent to River Calder owned by late Mrs.Rushton now Thomas B.Hey, H.H.Bolton Esquire, Edward James Taylor and adjacent land owned by the Right Honorable Earl of Derby.

20th June 1881

Deed of Indenture between Charles Edward Partington of Platt Terrace, Rusholme, Manchester, Clerk in Holy Orders and George Peter Allen of the City of Manchester, Gentleman, and Sydney Preston of Colne, Cotton Manufacturer, and the Local Board. Reciting 12th July a Memo of Agreement between Edward James Taylor of Walk Mill, Colne, Yeoman, and William Henry Partington of the City of Manchester, Gentleman, Charles edward Partington and George Peter Allen by which borrowed £300 from Sydney Preston on security of above …..?

10th February 1876

Daughter of William Henry Partington who was interred in Kensington Cemetery, Hawell, London.

1st March 1880

Action in Chancery over none-payment of debts resulted in foreclosing.

13th April 1881

Sale by auction by George Peter Allen of Manchester at which Sydney Preston of Colne was the highest bidder of lot 4 for £390 and that such purchase was made by Sydney Preston, but acting for the Corporation and George Peter Allen surrenders to the Local Board ALL that dwelling house at Grindlestonehurst late in occupation of Miss Bancroft, thereof John Halstead, since of John and Betty Blackburn and others. And ALL that mill and warehouse and cellar adjacent to the Local Board’s side of dwelling houses. And ALL that shippon or cow house formerly in the occupation of Oates Sagar, then unoccupied, then of Edward James Taylor situated near the River Calder and better known as……? And ALL that building called The New Bridge at Grindlestonehurst, Gt.Marsden, with the garden adjacent at the south end thereof and with a piece of ground behind or on the west side of the same part of the close called The Copy formerly an *Old Wheel-Race formerly occupied with the said new building and a piece of ground of equal width therewith extending from thence to the River Calder and the garden, or orchard, in front of the said new building and part of the River Calder.

21st January 1884

Indenture between Henry Hargreaves Bolton of Heightside, Newchurch-in-Rossendale, Colliery Proprietor, and Jane, his wife and the Local Board. Reciting 15th October 1883 surrender from John Bolton to Henry Hargreaves Bolton of (inter alia) estate to be surrendered and that the Local Board require said ….. for the purpose of the works and undertaking authorised by the Colne Act 1877 and has agreed with Henry Hargreaves Bolton to purchase the same for £522, in consequence of which Henry Hargreaves Bolton surrenders ALL that strip of land at Grindlestonehurst bounded on the north side by the River Calder, Colne Waterside or east by the Gas Works, south by other properties of Henry Hargreaves Bolton and west by Knotts Lane – 1060 square yards. A large plan then shows this area adjacent to the old Colne and Marsden Local Board Gas Works, the River Calder and Knotts Lane and Green Road. The area contains properties, one large one is called Spring House with a large garden running down to Colne Water (possibly the New Building refered to above) and 6 or 7 other terraced properties called Spring House estate.

12th January 1891

Converted from Henry Hargreaves Bolton and his wife Jane to the Local Board (purchaser) for £2000 of ALL that property and the dwelling house known as Spring House and other buildings mentiond thereon 5980 square yards including a strip of land along the south side at 6’ wide to be a back street. Plan shows all of Spring House estate edged in red. The plot of 1060 square yards is now the road to the Gas Works and a portion of the south side of the plot became the Primet Bridge Co-Op Society Ltd.

29th April 1891

Converted from Thomas Butterfield Hey , Grocer , of George Street, Colne and his wife to the Local Board. Reciting 30th October 1875 the surrender by Betty Hartley to Thomas Butterfield Hey of ALL those 2 dwelling houses at Grindlestonehurst, otherwise Colne Green not Colne but in Gt.Marsden, formerly in occupation of Joseph Pilling and Henry Bannister but then of Henry Bannister alone, with the vacant land adjacent at the west end.

And surrender 28th April 1876 by Christopher Ridehalgh and his wife, Ann, to T.B.Hey of ALL those 3 dwelling houses at Grindlestonehurst formerly in the occupation of Widow Hartley, William Hartley and Harry Stansfield but then of William Smithh, Henry Harris and John Varley.

And surrender 15th July 1876 by Henry Rushton, Bachelor, to T.B.Hey of ALL those 2 dwelling houses at Grindlestonehurst formerly in the occupation of Ormerod Rushton and Henry Bertwistle, after of John Greenwood and Mary Nutter and afterwards of Ellen Hartley and William Collins with vacant land at the front and adjacent. And that the Local Board require said lands for their Gas undertaking and have agreed with T.B.Hey for the sale to them for £50, wherefore T.B.Hey surrenders ALL those lands described firstly above, the cottage being now empty and about to be pulled down and those described thirdly and adjacent to those lastly described and being numbers: 62, 64 and 66 Gas Street, Colne and in the occupation of Susannah Folds, Thomas Haselwood and Margaret Connor and those described secondly and now numbered 56, 58 and 60 Gas Street and in the occupation of Robert Turner, William Strickland and Henry Barcroft, being coloured on the plan firstly brown thirdly blue and secondly yellow. Shown on plan are the above properties on Gas Street and Green Road.

27th March 1961

Conversion from the Corporation of Colne to the North West Gas Board of ALL those plots forming the site of the Colne Gas Works and O.D Gasworks site.

15th June 1961

Conversion from the North west Gas Board to the Corporation of Colne for £1000 of ALL that plot with buildings thereon formerly part of the Colne Gas Works on the east side of Knotts Lane bounded on the north in part by Colne Water in other parts by the centre of the river-bed, on the south by the back street and the remainder of the Gas Works retained in the ownership of the Local Board. Very large plan of buildings shows vertical retort and coal stores demolished. The tar and liquor well were underground.


Will of Henry pickles of Stanley Villas, Colne – 1886

All those his copyhold stables, croft and cottages in Colne Lane and ALL his copyhold shop,warehouse and cottages at waterside to the use and intent that William Bradshaw then Out porter in the services of his firm at Waterside should receive during his lifetime charge of £52 and subject thereto in respect of his warehouses at Waterside to the provision in favour of William Walton to the use of his nephew Joseph Henry pickles, Hatter of Market street, Colne.

And after bequeathing to william Walton, ironmonger, absolutely the goodwill of his business as a draper then carried on by the Testator at Waterside and all the capital stock-in-trade etc. he declared it should be lawful for William Walton to occupy rent free for any period not exceeding 3 years from the time of his death for purposes of realising etc. of said business and until he should have realised the same, all or part of shop, warehouse and premises at Waterside and the dwelling houses adjacent.

Said Henry pickles by surrender from William Lister Sagar, William John and Robert Midgeley and Richard Bolton of 1st oct 1845 became fined and seized of (inter alia):-
1) ALL that messuage, cottage and dwelling house long since converted into two and formerly in occupation of Samuel Tillotson and Mary Hartley, Widow. Also one barn with several then newly erected houses adjacent or near the same formerly in occupation of William Longsdale and John Duerden. Also one close of meadow ground adjacent and a small garden at the top of the same containing one acre, formerly in occupation of John craven after of Thomas Wilkinson as Steward of the Methodist Society and then William Walton, all in Colne Lane.
2) ALL that close formerly the estate of John Clayton and after John Parr on west side of Colne Lane, late in occupation of Thomas Lonsdale and after of stephen Peel and then William Walton (excepting part of road comprised in a surrender of 25th April 1781 made by Lister Sagar to William Sagar, Abraham Brandland and others and excepting also a reserve to William Lister sagar out of the above indenture ALL that parcel of ground then used as a garden bounded on the north by the premises therefore excepted on west close of land then the estate of Bannister Walton and on south east by hereditors hereby surrendered and then continued from west to east on north side then in occupation of Francis Blakey and Samuel Chadwick).

All those dwelling houses and closes were then better known as 75 – 83 Colne Lane, 1-8 Pickles Place, 8 Essex Street, 104-106 Colne Lane, 4 – 11 Croft Terrace, 10 – 13 Back Croft Terrace, 12 – 16 Waterside Road, 2 & 3 Whitaker Square, 1 Bank Street, 2 – 14 Bank Terrace North and 1 – 14 Bank terrace South

Abstract of title of William Nutter Stansfield and John Ridehalgh, the Trustees of the will of Joseph Henry Pickles deceased reciting 1886 the will of Henry Pickles of Stanley Villas, Colne, and of Acraplatts in Kirby Malham, West Riding of Yorkshire. Estates devised to his nephew Joseph Henry Pickles, Hatter of market Street, Colne:- 1889 finding Henry Pickles fined and seized of 62 – 72 Colne Lane and 1 –5 and 9 – 11 Chapel Fold and also that close of meadow land called Chapel Meadow and continuous according to the late survey of Colne in the occupation of William walton.

By surrender of 30 Oct 1878 from sarah Shackleton and William Heap of ALL those 2 single dwelling houses with the pantry thereto belonging at the top of Waterside and facing up Colne Lane then in occupation of William Whitaker and John Barker, that occupied by W.Whitaker adjacent to that surrendered on same day to Reuben Schofield and then occupied by William Gregson

By surrender on 10th july 1849 from Thomas Greenwood ALL those 2 dwelling houses at the top of Colne Waterside lately in occupation of Henry Lee but then of Holmes Whalley with the cellar on south side and another on north side, then also occupied by Henry Lee but after by Hannah Waddington adjacent premises then lately purchased by Ellis Stuttard and also ALL those 2 dwelling houses at the top of Colne waterside with the gardens adjacent in the front then latterly in occupation of Robert Duxbury and John Lee but then of Hannah Waddington and Thomas Hitchen.

By surrender of 5th November 1850 from Robert Rushton ALL those 3 newly erected dwelling houses in Colne Waterside then formerly in occupation of Robert Hartley, Mary Hind and Elizabeth pollard lately occupied as two tenements.

All those 2 dwelling houses in Colne Waterside formerly in occupation of James Haworth and James Slater and then Robert Thornton and the other unoccupied being then in a delapidated condition,….. with a right of road or foot to and from the said cottages on the north or back side of the shop, dwelling houses and premises occupied by Henry Pickles into the highway from Waterside to Colne.

By surrender of 3rd May 1878 from william and Thomas Heaton of ALL that dwelling house opposite or near to Buck Spout in Waterside formerly occupied by Jonathan Catlow after Hartley Heaton.

By surrender of 21st April 1871 from Betty and John Schofield and John Pilling ALL those 3 dweling houses with a vacant piece of ground at the west or south-west situate at the “top of the hill” in Waterside, two formerly in occupation of Mary Morville and James Firth and the other empty, but then of Mary Morville, James Thornton and one empty.

By surrender of 31st Dec 1869 from Richard Sagar and Haworth sagar and Rebecca his wife ALL those 3 dwelling houses and Smithy, with the workshop over the latter, and yard, outbuildings etc. in Waterside formerly occupied by William Jackson but then late of Thomas Jackson and his undertenants William Smith, Robert Scaif and John Mally.

By surrender of 11 Aug 1857 from Joseph, Elizabeth and Adam Waller ALL that plot portion of a close called Bank, part of an estate there the property of Robert Midgeley and William Sagar and another portion of thje estate herefore surrendered to James Whalley. And ALL those 13 dwelling houses erected and built by Joseph Waller thereon then or late in occupation of Joseph Waller, Robert Crawshaw, Henry Whitehead, William Kendal, Robert whitaker, James Holgate, James Shoesmith, Emanuel Greenwood, John Moore, Atkinson Hartley and Robert Parkinson and two empty subject to rent of £1/1s – premises subject to payment of £400 to Henry pickles on redemption.

By surrender of 15th July 1866 from William Varley and Abraham Duerden: assignees duly approved by by N.M.Court of Bankruptcy of the estate and effects of John Waller then a bankrupt to the use and behalf of Henry Pickles by virtue of a surrender by Henry Dixon and Elizabeth.

All those 8 dwelling houses in Bank terrace late occupied by Edmund Smith, John Bradshaw, Mary Redman, Alexander Bartle, Hartley Hindle, Anthony Baldwin, John Greenwood and Maria Whalley but then of Edmund Smith, Joseph Catlow, James Buchanan, Hargreaves Spencer, Hartley Hindle, Hannah Baldwin, John Greenwood, Thomas Smith all which premises were then some time ago erected upon a plot formerly a close of meadow land called ‘The Bank’ and added to the road at Colne Waterside.

By surrender 11th June 1874 from William Midgeley and William Carr ALL those dwelling houses on west side of Colne Lane and near to the old Methodist Chapel there with the stable adjacent and then formerly occupied as a barn and garden and the buildings and outbuildings belonging, then occupied by Robert Varley, James Stuttard, Martha Pickles, Jabey Stuttard, Henry Pickles, Nancy Laycock, Mary Halstead, Widow Foulds, Messrs. Shaw and Phillips and William Walton.


From later wills of Pickles family:

May 1936 Compensation paid for Manorial Incidents on numbers: 62,64,66,68,70,72,74 Colne Lane and numbers: 1,2,3,4,5 Chapel Fold and numbers: 9,10,11 Chapel Fold and their sites to £13/18s

October 1939 William Stansfield and James Ridehalgh pay Colne Corporation £150 for all of the above property.

11December 1944 Colne Corporation pay Caleb DuckworthLtd, of Colne Lane, Fruit Preservers and Jam Manufacturers, £250 for premises.

1948 Robert edward Cattle, Painter & Decorator, owned 76 Colne Lane, this was left standing when others were demolished.

14th June 1976 Pendle District Council pay Margaret Sarah Lever of 76 Colne Lane £45 for ALL that plot adjacent to 76 Colne Lane of 234 square yards.


The above will of Henry Pickles was transcribed by Mrs.D.Crowther of Higherford for Keith Ashworth who is a descendant of Henry Pickles.

John A Clayton
Barrowford   Copyright 2005

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