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Symbol of Padiham's industrial past is preserved
4:40pm Saturday 16th June 2012 in Padiham
A HUGE stone representation of a lion, deemed a key symbol of Padiham’s industrial past, has been preserved as part of a supermarket development.
The Brittania lion, which stood proud at the mill of the same name for more than 150 years has been reinstated as a centrepiece of the controversial new Tesco development in the town centre.
An agreement to incorporate the four tonne feature was made when former owner Brent Whitehead, the former owner of site, sold the land to Tesco.
The plinth, which has the lion above the inscription ‘Britannia Mill A.D 1860’, is now located at the entrance to the store, on the junction of Wyre Street and Lune Street.
It will greet shoppers as they arrive at the new 48,500 sq ft store which will employ 250 full and part-time workers once opened.
Councillor Bob Clark, who is the town council’s archivist says the retention of the feature and its new location is a ‘splendid achievement’.
“It would have been a shame to have lost this symbol of Padiham’s past,” said councillor Clark.
“I think it’s a credit to all concerned that the Britannia lion will be on display and it is a very special feature for the town centre.
“The original plinth was in the mill yard but know it can be viewed by everyone in the town.
“It will have stood guard over thousands of mill workers over generations and now it’s out in the open.”
Large quantities of reclaimed stone from the mill building will also live on.
Bricks and masonry are being cleaned up on site to be used for the perimeter wall.
Britannia Mill employed hundreds of workers in the 19th Century as The Hargreaves family ran the Padiham Cotton and Waste Cotton Co there.
In more recent times it housed firms such as Padiham Carpet Mill, Padiham Paints and British Velvets, which employed 50 staff.
Permission to build the store came from Government inspectors in 2010 after initially being refused by councillors after opposition from town centre traders.
They feared the store could put them out of business and sound the death knell for the town centre.
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