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 below:




THE HISTORY OF THE WHITWORTH HISTORICAL SOCIETY

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.


OFFICERS AND TRUSTEES

CHAIRMAN:

1973-1975 Mr. D. Kippen
1975-1976 Mr. E. Chadwick
1976-1978 Mr. G. Mainwaring
1978-1981 Mr. J. Taylor
1981-1982 Mr. R. Mills
1982-1984 Mrs. J. Douglas
1984-1986 Mrs. A. Ridgeon
1986-1992 Mr. W. Kearns
1992-1998 Mr. D. Lord
1998-2006 Mr. O. James
2006-2008 Mr. J. Dalton
2008-2011 Mr. O. James
2011- Mr. B. Furness


SECRETARY:

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


TREASURER:

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


TRUSTEES:

1984-1994 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


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.





© Copyright 2017 - Whitworth Historical Society.