Chipping – a History walk.

20 Brabins almshouses

Chipping’s Industrial Heritage: 17 July 2015.

We met at the Community Centre on Windy Street (and apologies to those who turned up at the Village Hall at the other end of the village!). After a brief introduction by Irena Preston of  the Chipping Local History Society, we set out round the back of the old Catholic school to see a reconstructed length of park pale, within sight of the line of the old pale of Leagram Park. We then walked via narrow footpaths past St Mary’s RC church to Chipping Mill, whose wheel is still in place, although the mill-stone is now displayed by the road side. We walked on through the village streets to Brabin’s shop, still trading after 347 years, surely the oldest shop in England, alongside the house of Chipping’s great benefactor, cloth merchant John Brabin, whose will in 1683 led to the establishment of almshouses and a school, and whose Trust continues to provide housing in the village to this day.

As we walked on past St Bartholomew’s Church we passed the sad derelict remains of the great chair-making factory of HJ Berry & Sons, which went into liquidation in 2010, after five generations as the village’s leading employer. We then inspected the old Kirk Mill, once a corn mill, then an Arkwright cotton spinning mill, then a joinery mill for Berry, and now empty and its future uncertain. Having admired the early 19th century Friendly Society cottages in Club Row, we returned via Windy Street, looking at the amazing early stone work on the backs of the houses, and on past the school founded by the Brabin will, where we contemplated the relevance today of the school’s Latin motto “Doce, Disce vel Discede” – “teach, learn – or leave”!

Click the image at the top to see all the photographs from the walk (courtesy of Bill Shannon and Chris Birkett).

Our thanks to Irena Preston and the Chipping History Society for a fascinating insight into an early Lancashire industrial village – and if you’ve never been there, try and do so. Village walk leaflets are available in the Community Centre

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