IN 1843, a fearful storm caused a torrent of water to cascade down from Darwen’s surrounding moorland into the town centre, drowning 12 people.

Two decades later, the Over Darwen Industrial Co-operative Society was established, with a central stores in Green Street.

In 1881, the first tramway in the kingdom worked entirely by steam opened on a five-mile stretch between Darwen and Blackburn.

The headquarters of the tramway, including offices and commodious sheds for the engines and cars, which carried passengers inside and out, were in Lorne Street.

Later that decade, the Corporation built a permanent hospital for infectious diseases on Bull Hill, costing £4,000, as a precaution against epidemics.

These fascinating facts, and many more, can all be found in a history book, which details the life, and times, of Darwen, available again today, after first coming out in 1889.

It has been published by local history enthusiast Chris Vaughan, of Blackburn, but only 300 copies of Darwen and Its People will be available.

The book is a reprint of a work written by former Blackburn Times editor J G Shaw, more than 120 years ago.

Said Chris: “It is a detailed history of Darwen, and was originally written as two books, but published as just one.

“The first was called ‘Darwen and Its People’ and the second ‘Old Darwen Families’.

“There are not many detailed books on the history of Darwen and this one is detailed enough to be considered a major work.”

The book provides a comprehensive and definitive history of Darwen.

Carefully researched, it reveals details of such events as the Roman burials near Whitehall; the cotton strike and riots of 1878, and the typhoid fever epidemic of 1874, which caused more than 600 deaths.

Old Darwen Families provides details, anecdotes, and information, on 20 families, considered to be the ‘original clans’.

It tells of families pivotal in the founding of the town, such as the Smalleys and their property struggles at Heys Fold with the Railway Company.

It was dictated to Mr Shaw by an elderly Jeremy Hunt, a Times columnist and Darwen history expert.

Darwen and its People is now available in paperback priced at £15.99, with a numbered hardback priced at £29.99, from Heritage Publications, on 01254 245709.