Earby put back on the map by locals

Lancashire Telegraph: Coun Vera Cocker and Coun Morris Horsfield at Sam Lawson allotments Coun Vera Cocker and Coun Morris Horsfield at Sam Lawson allotments

UP until 39 years ago the small town of Earby on the Lancashire border was part of the West Riding of Yorkshire.

After administrative boundaries were redrawn in 1974 the town became part of the West Craven area of Pendle.

Historically the village of Earby was little more than a scattering of farms and a few handloom weavers cottages.

The old village lies away from the main road, close to the stream which powered a 12th Century mill.

The Leeds Liverpool Canal in the 18th Century and then the Lancashire Yorkshire Railway in the 19th Century, brought great changes with wool mills developing, and the population increasing in the town.

However as many mills closed down during the 20th Century and people travelled further afield to work. Many of the towns shops closed along with the cinema and dance hall.

Fearing the future of the town, a group of locals petitioned to become a town council, and have since helped to put the town back on the map.

Facilities in the town now include a doctors, library, a bus station, a fire station, a primary school as well as a mixture of shops and eating establishments.

The grade II Old Grammar School was converted into The Yorkshire Dales Lead Mining Museum in 1970 as a museum to Earby Mines Research Group, which is now a popular historical attraction. The town also boasts dozens of community groups and a community minibus which is used for hospital visits, social outings and trips to the shops.

Vera Cocker, from Earby town council, described Earby as ‘a really unique and wonderful place’.

She said: “Earby really is fantastic. I’ve lived here for 40 years and now I wouldn’t live anywhere else.

“There is something quite magical about it. I don’t think there is anywhere in the country which is quite like Earby. The community in Earby are fantastic. There are three fantastic community centre and dozens of brilliant community groups who bring so much to the town.

“The small town centre shops are doing well despite the downturn in the economy and we have some great facilities and larger businesses.

“We now also benefit from a regular bus service from Skipton through to Burnley. After the route was extended a lot of hard work has taken place to spruce up Earby bus station.

“Some beautiful flowers have been planted in the area and people have commented on how good it now looks.

“Other improvements in Earby recently include a new multi use games area and 16 allotments and a lawn and sitting area on land which was formerly wasteland.”

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