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Westhoughton is a town and civil parish of the Metropolitan Borough of Boltonmarker in Greater Manchestermarker, England. It is southwest of Boltonmarker and northwest of Manchestermarker.

Historically a part of Lancashiremarker, Westhoughton was once a centre for mining, cotton-spinning and textile manufacture. However, today it is predominantly a residential town with a total population of 23,056.

As well as the central town area, Westhoughton is made up of several "villages" which have (or at least had) their own distinctive character, sports traditions, amenities including railway stations, these include: Wingatesmarker (famous for its Wingates Brass Band), Whimberry Hill, Four Gates (or locally Fourgates), Cooper Turning, Marsh Brook, Hilton House, Chequerbent (which was all but totally destroyed by the building of a motorway), Snydale, Hart Common, Daisy Hill and Dobb Brow.

History

Toponymy

The name Westhoughton is derived from the Old English words "halh" (dialectal "haugh") for a nook or corner of land, and "tun" for a farmstead or settlement - meaning a "westerly settlement in a corner of land".

The town has been spelt various ways, often the "West-" affix was omitted. In 1210 it was spelt as Halcton, 1240 as Westhalcton, 1292 as Westhalghton, 1302 as Westhalton, and in the 16th century as Westhaughton and Westhoughton. On some of the gravestones at Deane Church in Bolton, Wefthoughton appears as well from around 1650.

The people of Westhoughton are known as "Keawyeds" (cow heads) and the town is known as "Keawyed City". There are two local stories how this name came about. In one tells that in 1815 a celebration was held to mark the end of the Napoleonic Wars and that an ox's head was roasted, which was mounted on a pole and was fought over by two opposing factions in the town. The victors were dubbed "Keaw-Yeds". In another story tells that a farmer in Westhoughton found his cow had got its head stuck in a five barred gate (or fence), and rather than cut the gate, the farmer cut the cow's head off, since the cow cost less than the gate.

Civil War

During the English Civil War, a battle was fought on Westhoughton Common in 1642 between Lord Derby's forces on the one side and Parliamentarians on the other. Later in the war, it is believed that Prince Rupert of the Rhine gathered his troops in Westhoughton prior to the attack and ensuing massacre at Boltonmarker in 1644.

Luddites

On the 25 March 1812 a group of Luddites torched a Westhoughton millmarker, owned by Wray & Duncroff, in one of the first major terrorist acts in Britain. Twelve people were arrested on the orders of William Hulton, the High Sheriff of Lancashire. Four of them, James Smith, Thomas Kerfoot, John (or Job) Fletcher and Abraham Charlston, were sentenced to death for taking part in the attack. The Charlston family claimed Abraham was only twelve years old but he was not reprieved. They were publicly hanged outside Lancaster Castlemarker on the 13 June 1812. It was reported that Abraham cried for his mother on the scaffold. By this time however (contrary to popular belief) the hanging of those under 18 was rare and for those under 16 in practice abolished. Five others arrested were transported to Australia. Westhoughton Calendar of Events. Lancashire OnLine Parish Clerks. URL accessed 22 May 2007.

Coal mining

Westhoughton has the sad distinction of having had one of the worst coal-mining disasters in the United Kingdom. In December 1910, 344 men and boys lost their lives at the Pretoria Pit. The Pretoria Pit Disastermarker was the third worst in British mining history, after the 1866 Barnsley Oaks Disastermarker in Yorkshire (361 deaths), and the 1913 Senghenydd Colliery Disaster in Glamorgan (439 deaths).

Parish church

In 1870, St. Bartholomew’s Parish Church was completed. Its beauty and grandeur was known both locally and nationally, especially for its elegant east window, which depicted the Twelve Apostles. On the Wednesday before Advent Sunday, 28 November, 1990, the church was sadly gutted by fire, but luckily the church tower was saved.
St. Bartholomew's Parish Church.


A new church was designed by architects Dane, Ashworth & Cottam. Laing North West built the church with Bradshaw Gass & Hope as project managers and structural engineers, at an approximate cost of £1 million.

The new church was consecrated on 28 October, 1995. The procession led from the top of Wingatesmarker into the church grounds, ready for the Right Reverend Christopher Mayfield, Bishop of Manchester to enter and bless the doorway. Having a new church meant having a new organ. 'Nicholsons' of Malvern were brought in to build, erect and test a brand new 2 manual organ. There are 1,256 pipes ranging from 1/2 inch to 16 feet. They are constructed of tin, spotted metal and hammered lead.

Civic history

Until the 19th century, Westhoughton was a chapelry and township in the ecclesiastical parish of Deanemarker, in the Salford hundredmarker of Lancashiremarker.

In 1837, Westhoughton joined with other township (or civil parishes) in the area to form the Boltonmarker Poor Law Union and took joint responsibility for the administration and funding of the Poor Law in that area.

In 1872, a Local Board of Health was established for the township, and was superseded in 1894 when Westhoughton became an Urban District of the administrative county of Lancashire. In 1898 most of Over Hulton became part of the Urban District. Under the Local Government Act 1972, Westhoughton Urban District was abolished in 1974 and its area became a civil parish of the newly created Metropolitan Borough of Boltonmarker in Greater Manchestermarker.

Today, Westhoughton has six councillors who are elected in two borough wards - Westhoughton North & Chew Moor ward and Westhoughton South ward - and they represent the area on the metropolitan borough council of Bolton.

Westhoughton civil parish, with town council status, has eighteen town councillors who are elected in six town council wards - Central, Chequerbent, Daisy Hill, Hoskers & Hart Common, White Horse, and Wingates. Each year, Westhoughton Town Council elects a Town Mayor who as the town's First Citizen represents at various functions and events. This year's mayor is Councillor David Chadwick. Chadwick has asked his daughter, Victoria, to serve as his mayoress in place of his wife, who 'prefers to keep behind the scenes.' Ms. Chadwick will be one of the youngest mayoresses in Britain.

Parliamentary representation

For many years the Westhoughton constituencymarker represented the town until it was abolished in 1983.

Demography

Census population of the chapelry/civil parish of Westhoughton
Year 1801 1811 1821 1831 1841 1851 1861 1871 1881 1891
Population
3,059
3,810
4,211
4,500
4,527
4,547
5,156
6,609
9,197
11,077
Sources: (a) Pauline Tatton: Local population statistics. (b) Westhoughton USD: Total Population.


Cenus population of the urban district of Westhoughton
Year 1901 1911 1921 1931 1939 † 1951 1961 1971
Population
14,377
15,046
15,592
16,018
14,636
15,004
16,260
17,761
Source: Westhoughton UD: Total Population.
The 1939 population is estimated from the National Registration Act figures. The 1941 census did not take place because of the Second World War.

Education

School Type/Status Ofsted Website
Eatock Primary School, Daisy Hill Primary Official site
Sacred Heart R.C. Primary School Primary Official site
St George's C.E. Primary School Primary Official site
St James C.E. Primary School, Daisy Hill Primary Official site
St Thomas' C.E. School, Chequerbent Primary Official site
The Gates Primary School Primary Official site
Washacre Primary School Primary
Westhoughton Parochial C.E. Primary School Primary
Westhoughton Primary School Primary Official site
Westhoughton High Schoolmarker Secondary & Sixth form Official site


The long established St John's, Wingates CE Primary & Fourgates County Primary schools were closed in 2004 following amalgamation to form The Gates CP School. Westhoughton CP School closed in 2008. An earlier round of reorganisation saw the closure of Hart Common Primary School and opening of St George's on The Hoskers.

Transport

Roads

Westhoughton is located south of junction 5 of the M61 motorway. The main roads which run through the town are the A58 (Park Road/Cricketers Way/Wigan Road), and the A6 (Manchester Road/Chorley Road). The secondary roads are the B5236 (Church Street), the B5235 (Bolton Road/Mill Street/Leigh Road), and the B5239 (Dicconson Lane).

The A58 was named Cricketers Way after local schoolgirl Michelle Gilmore won a competition to name the new road.

Railways and trams

There are two railway stations in the town. Westhoughton railway stationmarker on Church Street, and Daisy Hill railway stationmarker on Leigh Road. Both stations are served by Northern Rail and run between Wigan Wallgatemarker and Manchestermarker - trains from Westhoughton to Manchester Piccadillymarker run via Boltonmarker, trains from Daisy Hill to Manchester Victoriamarker run via Athertonmarker. In the past there were stations at Chequerbent (closed 1952) and Hilton House (closed 1956), that area now served by Horwich Parkway railway stationmarker. Westhoughton was served by electric trams (to Bolton) until 1947.

In the late 1980s Westhoughton very nearly had a new third station at Dobb Brow and planning went so far as the proposed station to appear on railway maps as may open during the course of this timetable. Sadly, at the last moment plans were shelved. Lostockmarker and Horwich Parkwaymarker railway stations, on the fringes of the north of Westhoughton, also serve the town.

The total usage of the town's two stations (Daisy Hillmarker and Westhoughtonmarker) at well over a quarter of a million passengers is greater than that of the stations of many important (and well known) towns in the United Kingdom. especially impressive considering the population of just 23,000.

London is reached by changing at Manchester Piccadilly (for Westhoughton) or by changing stations in Wigan (from Wigan North Westernmarker to Wigan Wallgatemarker - just 100 yards) from Daisy Hill. These two routes give a service of at least three per hour to London on Weekdays and a journey time of around three hours (allowing for leisurely changes). By one simple change of trains (at Wigan or Manchester) Westhoughton is linked to most of the United Kingdom.

Buses

Given the success of the town's railway stations, bus services have suffered over the years (for example, the long running service 37/38 service to Manchester - in passing, the last major Greater Manchester bus service to have conductors - was finally withdrawn).Westhoughton however is still served by several bus services, linking the town with Boltonmarker, Wiganmarker and Leighmarker. The most frequent service is the 540 between Bolton and Wigan. The service is run by First Manchester and Arriva and operates every 10 minutes during the day, Monday to Saturday and every 30 minutes in the evenings and on Sundays. There are additional journeys run by Arriva between Bolton and Daisy Hill. Other bus services in Westhoughton are the 38 Daisy Hill - Walkden (peak mornings only), 516 Leigh - Horwich (Evenings only), 521 Blackrod - Little Lever, 559 Bolton - Hindley (much reduced in recent years) , 615 Leigh - Wigan and 715 Bolton - Wigan.

Notable residents

  • Robert Shaw was born on King Street, in Westhoughton in 1927, he most notably appeared in Steven Spielberg's Jaws and the James Bond film, From Russia With Love. Robert Shaw is fondly remembered as one of the town's sons. A plaque on Westhoughton Town Hall commemorates him and his works. The J. D. Wetherspoon chain of Free Houses has also named its Westhoughton branch on Market Street, situated opposite King Street, after the actor.
  • Richard Turner - Author
  • Francis Lee - Footballer. Bolton Wanderers, Manchester City, Derby County. England (27 caps).
  • Nicky Hunt - Footballer
  • Houghton Weavers a local folk group who had their own BBC TV series in the 1970s entitled Sit thi' Deawn.


References

  1. AA Route Planner. URL accessed 29 May 2007.
  2. Neighbourhood Statistics - Westhoughton CP (Parish). URL accessed 22 May 2007.
  3. English Place Names - The Anglo-Saxons. URL accessed 23 May 2007.
  4. Gazetteer of Greater Manchester Placenames - Westhoughton. URL accessed 22 May 2007.
  5. Townships: Westhoughton, A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 5 (1911), pp. 20-5. URL accessed 22 May 2007.
  6. Billington, W.D. (1982). From Affetside to Yarrow : Bolton place names and their history, Ross Anderson Publications (ISBN 0-86360-003-4).
  7. Gazetteer of Greater Manchester Placenames - Westhoughton. URL accessed 22 May 2007.
  8. Townships: Westhoughton, A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 5 (1911), pp. 20-5. URL accessed 22 May 2007.
  9. Billington, W.D. (1982). From Affetside to Yarrow : Bolton place names and their history, Ross Anderson Publications (ISBN 0-86360-003-4).
  10. Trouble at' Mill - Keawyed City. URL accessed 22 May 2007.
  11. Townships: Westhoughton, A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 5 (1911), pp. 20-5. URL accessed 22 May 2007.
  12. Spatacus schoolnet - The Luddites. URL accessed 22 May 2007.
  13. Cotton Times - Luddites: War against the machines - Page 2. URL accessed 22 May 2007.
  14. Spatacus schoolnet - The Luddites. URL accessed 22 May 2007.
  15. Capital Punishment U.K. - Public executions 1800-1827. URL accessed 22 May 2007.
  16. Cotton Times - Luddites: War against the machines - Page 2. URL accessed 22 May 2007.
  17. The execution of children and juveniles. URL accessed 22 May 2007.
  18. The Pretoria Pit Disaster. Lancashire OnLine Parish Clerks. URL accessed 22 May 2007.
  19. The Barnsley Oaks Colliery. URL accessed 22 May 2007.
  20. The Senghenydd Coal Mining Disaster. URL accessed 22 May 2007.
  21. St Bartholomew’s Church, Westhoughton (Lancashire OnLine Parish Clerk Project). URL accessed 26 October 2006.
  22. Bradshaw Gass & Hope website. URL accessed 26 October 2007.
  23. Blessing for church that's risen from ashes. The Bolton Evening News, dated 30 October 1995.
  24. Nicholsons of Malvern - portfolio. URL accessed 26 October 2006.
  25. Bolton Poor Law Union. URL accessed 22 May 2007.
  26. Westhoughton UD: Historical Boundaries. Vision of Britain. URL accessed 26 February 2008.
  27. Greater Manchester Record Office - Westhoughton. URL accessed 22 May 2007.
  28. Bolton Metropolitan Borough Councillors. URL accessed 22 May 2007.
  29. Town Council Election Results 2007 - Blackrod, Horwich, and Westhoughton. URL accessed 22 May 2007.
  30. Young mayoress dressed for success
  31. Pauline Tatton, Local population statistics 1801-1986, Bolton Central Library Archives, Le Mans Crescent, Bolton, BL1 1SE.
  32. Westhoughton USD: Total Population. Vision of Britain. URL accessed 22 May 2007.
  33. Westhoughton UD: Total Population. Vision of Britain.URL accessed 26 February 2008.
  34. National Registration Act, 1939. Rootsweb.com. URL accessed 8 June 2007.
  35. Chequerbent stations ). Disused Stations Site Record.
  36. Top Priority On The Trains. The Bolton Evening News, published 28 October 2000.
  37. Network Rail. (see Network Rail figures).
  38. Internet Movie Database - Robert Shaw. URL accessed 27 May 2007.


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