Belthorn in a Gobbin of a mix-up!

First published in Belthorn Lancashire Telegraph: Photograph of the Author by , Education reporter

RESIDENTS are up in arms that they are now living in a "lost village" after signs for a neighbouring town were put up in their community.

Many People in Belthorn say the village - surrounded by ancient fields and farmsteads - is slowly losing its identity to nearby Oswaldtwistle.

And now motorists driving from Blackburn are greeted with a new sign saying Oswaldtwistle - at the entrance to Belthorn.

The sign, put up in Belthorn Road by Hyndburn Council, has now been vandalised - with "Belthorn - Not Ossie Gobbins" written across it in black marker pen.

Gobbiners is a traditional nickname for people from Oswaldtwistle.

Belthorn has always been plagued by confusion.

It is covered by three MPs, has the same postcode as Blackburn town centre and is served by both Hyndburn and Blackburn with Darwen councils Two sides of the village once even had different licensing laws.

Locals say you could drink for half-an-hour longer on one side of the Dog Inn, Belthorn Road, than on the other, when time used to be called at 10.30pm.

Mum-of-two Christine Leach, who has lived in the village for 30 years, said: "I'm furious.

"I knew they were putting something up because they've been digging, but I expected a sign for Belthorn.

"Driving up I could see a smart crest but when I saw "Oswaldtwistle" l was absolutely wild. It's such a waste of money."

Her son Tom, 19, said: "It makes no sense and we're only classed as Oswaldtwistle when it suits them.

"Oswaldtwistle has three playing fields but we don't get the same treatment.

"Playing on our pitch is like playing on the Himalayas.

"There's definitely better ways to spend this money."

However Kath Holden, who is on Belthorn village committee disagreed.

She said: "I think they're returning to the old townships of 'Accrington and District', which is more traditional and the coat of arms is really good.

"I am probably a lone voice though."

Fellow resident Roy Donaldson, 77, said: "It's very confusing.

"Anyone who was lost and looking for Oswaltwistle could get themselves in a right mess."

His wife Dorene, 78, said: "We're the lost village.

"We pay high insurance because of our postcode but we don't get a Blackburn bus service.

"If we are Oswaldtwistle, why don't we have a different postcode?"

Hyndburn Council leader Coun Peter Britcliffe said the idea behind the sign was to give old townships like Oswaldtwistle greater prominence.

He added: "I understand Belthorn might feel a bit lost and could have a case with the boundary commission.

"The new signs are not on the boundary of Belthorn - they're on the boundary of Oswaldtwistle and have the traditional coat of arms for the township.

"The signs for Belthorn will remain unchanged - these are just boundary signs."

  • Belthorn has long had a divided history.

The section of the village now under Blackburn with Darwen Council was largely within the ancient parish of Yate and Pickup Bank.

A small area in the north was in the parish of Lower Darwen.

The section now governed by Hyndburn Council was formerly part of the township of Oswaldtwistle.

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