The Whitworth Historical Society was formed in 1973, and our former Secretary, Mr. Alan Schofield, has produced a history of the society and museum, detailing when and how it came into being, and you can read this interesting story further down this page. You can also find details of our current Society officials below should you wish to contact us (Note# please replace the 'at' with @ symbol when using e-mail addresses):

Society Contact Details:
Chairman: Mr. B. Furness: 01706-344894  e-mail: chairman 'at'
Secretary: Mrs. S. Peel: 01706-344781  e-mail: secretary 'at'
Treasurer: Mr. K. Peel: 01706-344781  
Memberships: Mr. A. Gale:    e-mail: memberships 'at'
Webmaster: Mr. A. Gale:    e-mail: webmaster 'at'

Becoming a member of the Society

We are always pleased to welcome new members into the Society, and if you would like to join us it couldn't be simpler, just come along to the museum one of the days when we are open, or to one of our monthly lectures and just ask one of the staff members for details. Membership is very cheap at just £7 per annum, and since we don't charge for attendance at our lectures this does help us to keep the museum going. Even if you aren't able to come along very often being a member helps you to feel apart of one of Whitworth's most precious assets. More information about how to become a member, and an application form can be found on our 'Join Us' page.


The Society

Founded in October 1973 at the instigation of Rev. P. Foster, at that time Vicar of St. John's Church, Facit. 17 people attended a meeting in the old Civic Hall, and a working party was set up to consider the aims and purpose of the Society. Meetings were first held every two months in the Green room in the Civic Hall, and then with membership increasing, from September 1976 in Whitworth Library.

The Museum

One of the Society's members, Mr. W. Kearns, started collecting items for a future Museum and storing them in his garage, and in May 1977 a Showcase was obtained and put on display in Whitworth Library.

In March, 1980, Whitworth Council offered the Society an upstairs room in the Council Office building for use as a Museum. Although not totally suitable due to the restrictions on access, the offer was accepted, and over the following months members and friends began clearing out the room, decorating, acquiring Showcases, and moving all the items out of Bill Kearns' garage. This first Museum was officially opened by the then Mayor of Whitworth, Councillor Eileen Kershaw, in September, 1981.

Very soon this room became too cramped for our needs, and in August, 1982, the Committee agreed to rent a basement room in Market Street Methodist Chapel, which also had to be re-decorated. Everything was now moved here from the Council Offices, and these Museum premises were officially opened in March, 1983, by the Society's founder, Rev. Philip Foster.

Less than a year later, we learned that the Chapel was to be closed because the church members could no longer afford the upkeep, so the search was on for yet more premises!

Bill Kearns had noticed that the former Whitworth Urban District Council's Works Department premises on North Street had been empty since 1974, and we discovered that the building was now owned by Rossendale Council. During the following year, the Society negotiated with the Council officials, eventually agreeing a seven year Lease on part of this building. For legal reasons we also had to appoint four Trustees to act on the Society's behalf.

These new premises also contained a room large enough to hold the Society's regular meetings, because since 1976, these meetings had been held in Whitworth Library.

The Whitworth Historical Society and Museum, North Street, was officially opened on 1st June 1985 by Joan Douglas, who was the Founding Secretary and also a former Chairman of the Society. In attendance were the Mayor and Mayoress of Rossendale, Councillor and Mrs. Vincent Clegg, and the Mayoress of Whitworth, Mrs. Lois Grogan.

The Footpath Group

In 1981 the Whitworth Footpath Group was formed by two members of the Whitworth Historical Society, Alan Schofield and Joe Taylor, in response to many people in the valley who were trying to walk the footpaths, but came upon blocked stiles, gates etc. and didn't know how to overcome these problems.

Since then, walking fortnightly on Sunday afternoons, the footpath group has worked hard to re-open many of the footpaths in and around Whitworth which have been blocked illegally.



1973 Mr. D. Kippen
1975-76 Mr. E. Chadwick
1976-78 Mr. G. Mainwaring
1978-81 Mr. J. Taylor
1981-82 Mr. R. Mills
1982-84 Mrs. J. Douglas
1984-86 Mrs. A. Ridgeon
1986-92 Mr. W. Kearns
1992-98 Mr. D. Lord
1998-06 Mr. O. James
2006-08 Mr. J. Dalton
2008-2011 Mr. O. James
2011- Mr. B. Furness


1973-75 Mrs. J. Douglas
1975-83 Mr. A. France
1983-86 Mrs. M. Riley
1986-88 Mrs. A. Ridgeon
1988-90 Mrs. M. Riley
1990-2001 Mr. J. Foster
2001-2014 Mr. A. Schofield
2014- Mrs. S. Peel


1973-1975 Mrs. A. Mills.
1975-1986 Mr. A. Schofield
1986-1993 Mr. R. Mills
1993-1996 Mr. R. Lord
1996-1998 Mrs. E. Fitzpatrick
1998-2013 Mr. D. Lord
2013-2014 Mr. W. Jenkins
2014-2015 Mr. B. Furness
2015- Mr. K. Peel


1984-94 Mr. A. Schofield, Mr. R. Mills, Mr. W. Kearns, Mr. J. Taylor
1994-2009 Mr. A. Schofield, Mr. D. Lord, Mr. O. James
2009-2014 Mr. A. Schofield, Mr. D. Lord, Mr. O. James, Mr J. Dalton
2014- Mr. Mr. B. Furness, Mr. J. Dalton, Mr. D. Lord, Mr. O. James

© Copyright 2017 - Whitworth Historical Society.