Burnley & Pendle


Burnley is a former mill town in East Lancashire. In fact, it is located near countryside with the smaller towns of Padiham and Nelson to the west. It has a reputation as a regional centre of excellence for the manufacturing and aerospace industries.

The town began to develop in the early medieval period as a number of farming hamlets surrounded by manor houses and royal forests, and has held a market for more than 700 years. During the Industrial Revolution it became one of Lancashire’s most prominent mill towns. In fact, at its peak it was one of the world’s largest producers of cotton cloth, and a major centre of engineering.


Burnley is a microcosm of what northern England is all about. Originally a small farming community, “surrounded by manor houses and royal forests, it has held a market for more than 700 years. During the Industrial Revolution it became one of Lancashire’s most prominent mill towns; at its peak it was one of the world’s largest producers of cotton cloth and a major centre of engineering.” Its name probably derives from ‘Brun Lea’, after the River Bru. On the edge of the town, surrounded by rows of terraced houses and old-fashioned corner shops is Queen Street Mill and Textile Museum, the world’s only surviving 19th century steam-powered weaving mill.  Indeed, Burnley was one of many cotton mills constructed near the Leeds and Liverpool Canal, vital waterway to transport goods to and from the Lancashire mill towns.

The town provides a riveting glimpse of a time when industry was at its height in Britain. Times were tough and engineering ingenuity was vibrant.However, it was also incredibly noisy. Furthermore, the weaving shed has over 300 Lancashire looms and you can still hear them clattering and rattling away weaving cloth as they did for almost 100 years.

The whole factory is still powered by a huge steam engine called ‘Peace’, a favourite of Fred Dibnah.  The Boiler House, Engine Room and Chimney are Scheduled Ancient Monuments and are sure to delight children, steam lovers and anyone who appreciates beautifully constructed machinery.

The museum tells the story of cotton weaving with regular demonstrations to show how it was done. I bought a natty cotton apron made from quality material produced by those noisy, historic, important machines.


Burnley has retained a strong manufacturing sector. With strong economic links with the cities of Manchester and Leeds, as well as neighbouring towns along the M65 corridor. In 2013, in recognition of its success, Burnley received an Enterprising Britain award from the UK Government, for being the “Most Enterprising Area in the UK”.



Burnley FC have been playing football in the Premier League since 2016/17.

Traditionally, their biggest rivals are Blackburn Rovers and Bolton Wanderers, both these teams currently play in the Championship. Burnley play at Turf Moor, which has a capacity of 21,401. But, the record attendance at the stadium was 54,755 for an FA Cup match against Huddersfield Town in 1924.

Burnley have played at Turf Moor since 1883, making it one of the oldest stadiums in the Premier League. Only Newcastle’s St. James’ Park (1880) and Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge (1877) are older. Burnley play in claret and sky blue shirts and socks with white shorts. They chose these colours in 1910 to imitate Aston Villa, who were the strongest team in English football at that time. Burnley’s nickname is The Clarets, after the colour of their shirts.

The club was founded in 1882. In 1888, the club became one of the original twelve founding members of the Football League. Burnley are one of only three teams to have won all four professional divisions in English football. Despite spending most of their history in the top two divisions, Burnley didn’t play in the top division at all between 1976 and 2009. They have won two league titles (1920-21 and 1959-60) and one FA Cup (1914). However, these honours were won a long time ago.

Burnley has a population of about 73,000 and is the smallest town in the UK to have a Premier League club. There are many other past and present Premier League clubs in the north-west of England. These include Manchester City, Everton, Manchester United, Liverpool, Bolton Wanderers, Wigan Athletic. Also, on this list includes Burnley’s main rivals Blackburn Rovers. The match between Burnley and Blackburn is sometimes called ‘The Cotton Mills Derby’. Obviously, because both towns were famous for their cotton mills in the 19th and 20th centuries.


In 1612 ten people were executed on the moors about Lancaster, having been found guilty of witchcraft at Lancaster Castle. The evidence given against the so called ‘Pendle Witches’ was based on memories, hearsay and superstition and would not be considered in a modern court. But life was very different 400 years ago; religious persecution was rife and people lived in wretched fear and poverty.