Golden Hill Lane

Golden Hill Lane

The name of the lane probably originate from the Gold of Marigolds or buttercups, which indicates permanent pasture land.

The sparse buildings along Golden Hill Lane from the 1844 Map included the terrace of Tup Row, Starkies House, Leyland Workhouse at the bottom of Wheelton Lane and Golden Hill House. By the time of the 1896 Map other houses and farms had appeared, namely Workhouse Farm, which was probably an extension to the Workhouse on Wheelton Lane and Richmond House, which was situated opposite the junction with School Lane. Whilst further east Rothwell House and Pearfield were on the future sites of Leyland Motors - Farington Works and B.T.R. Works respectively.

Heaton Street Cottages

This street of hand loom weavers cottages were known as Tup Row which could mean a ram perhaps indicating that there was a sheep fold hereabouts. The name of the street probably commemorates the landlord of the Wheatsheaf named Heaton between 1810 and 1815, who probably financed the building of the cottages.

Hall Lane

Hall Lane as its name suggests was the lane that lead down to the Hall. This hall being Lower Farington Hall, the first home of the Faringtons and the mansion of Sir Henry Farington. He was the squire of the bodyguard of Henry VII and Knight of the bodyguard of Henry VIII. It remained their home for at least 370 years. There was a moated Manor House and " Greate Barne " on this site though traces of the moat have almost all disappeared.

Before the hall became part of the old Ministry of Supply Tank Factory (later Leyland Motors) test track site, the old hall was used as a farmhouse for many years. The farmhouse was last owned by a family called Forshaw, the grandfather having brought the farm from the previous owners, a family named Wright in about 1920.

Butec Electrics

The original building was developed in the war as a Ministry of Supply factory for gas mask and associated items manufacture and storage. The site being acquired by Leyland Motors and Butec Electrics was established in 1966 by Leyland to build alternators for their commercial vehicles.

It then became an independent company within the British Leyland group with a factory floor area of some 200,000 ft. In the early 1970's, 230 people were employed here, producing a variety of electric components including starter motors, alternators and transistor regulators for automotive, industrial and marine applications. At first the factory manufactured electric components just for the Motors and its subsidiaries though they then obtained orders from outside companies broadening their customer base. Following the purchase by D.A.F. they were acquired in 1988 by Prestolite Electric Inc. of Ann Arbor, Michigan. U.S.A., Leyland now being the European headquarters of the American company.

John Fishwick & Sons

The company was founded by John Fishwick in 1907 as a road haulage company. The first vehicle was a steam wagon made by the then Lancashire Steam Motor Company that later became Leyland Motors. The vehicle was used to haul rubber from Leyland to Liverpool or Manchester at a stately speed of eight miles per hour.

John Fishwick started a Saturday only passenger service in 1911 from Eccleston to Preston via Croston Road. The fare to Preston was nine pence from Eccleston, sixpence from Seven Stars and Earnshaw Bridge and three pence from Tardy Gate. The vehicle used carried goods during the week and the bus body was substituted at weekends.

In 1920 the firm bought their first twenty-seater omnibus with solid tyres and acetyline lamps. This purchase enabled them to introduce a service to Chorley and subsequently take over other smaller local firms and services. By 1930 the fleet had risen to twenty with around sixty public transport and road haulage staff.

The joint service agreement with Ribble Motors Services was established around this time, only ceasing when deregulation came in 1986. The first double decker was brought by Fishwicks in 1931. Following the road improvements on Euxton Lane with the building of the Royal Ordnance Factory, a new joint service, the 119, was established from Leyland to Chorley on 25th June 1938.

The road haulage side of the business, namely ten lorries, was sold to J. Canning and Sons Ltd in 1952, the present small office block being built at this time. The company bought W & H Fowler, a local body builder in 1962, eventually transferring the business to the Golden Hill Lane Garage on Tuer Street. The street was named after a family associated with the Redmaynes who were connected with the rubber industry.

In 1963, the company purchased Singletons, who besides being bus and coach operators had also been funeral directors, cab proprietors and general carters. The company still garages the coaches in a purpose built garage behind Chapel Brow. The majority of buses that the company run today continue to be those with a Leyland name on the front.


J. E. Baxter & Co.

This now closed factory was the result of a board room disagreement at the turn of the century when J.E. Baxter, a director of the Leyland & Birmingham Rubber Co., left the company and set up his own factory next door to his previous employers in Tuer Street.

During the war, the factory in conjunction with the L & B and the Ordnance factories produced inflatable craft, barrage balloons, dummy tanks and gas masks. In 1962, the company returned to become part of the Leyland & Birmingham Rubber Co., which it remained until its closure.


Golden Hill Terrace

This row of houses adjacent to the Leyland and Birmingham Rubber Company offices were built in 1905 to house the manager class of the rubber works, making them very handy for work, no excuses for being late.


Balshaws Grammar School

The stone tablet in the centre of this Grade II listed building, states that it was built as a charity school by Richard Balshaw in 1784, the trust having been established in 1782. It was to instruct the poor children in reading, writing and arithmetic and the principles of the Church of England. The girls had to be taught to knit, sew and mark. The most famous headmaster was Mr Jackson, often referred to as " Pa Jackson ", who lived in the house attached to the school, his wife being the headmistress. The original regulations stated that the headmaster and schoolmistress should be members of the Church of England. The schoolmistress should not be the wife, daughter or relation of the schoolmaster.

In 1817, the schoolroom was enlarged and the room formerly occupied by the schoolmistress was used to form a school for girls. At the same time, a schoolmistress's house was built. Before the enlargement the numbers were limited to 50 boys and 50 girls, while by 1889, there were 110 boys and 70 girls attending the school. A new hall and classrooms being added in 1904.


When Balshaws moved into their new premises on Church Road in 1931, the old school was sold to the Roman Catholic Church. They bought it for 6800 in 1932 and moved in from their old premises in Towngate. The school had been long vacant and much maintenance was needed along with replacement of old-fashioned fittings and the gas lighting. Besides the school buildings and playgrounds, the whole site was about four acres including an old farm, barn and orchard, these being demolished in the 1950's to make way for further expansion. The Roman Catholic school was " all age " catering for infant, junior and senior pupils. This continued until 1957 when the Secondary School was opened in Royal Avenue, followed by the new Infants School in Haig Avenue in 1959.


The plaque reads
" In the Year of our Lord 1784
This Charity School was founded, endowed and erected by Richard Balshaw Gentleman
For Instructing the Children of the Poor only of this Parish
In Reading, Writing and Arithmetic in the English Tongue
And in the principles of the Church of England As By Law Established
The Girls to be taught also to Knit Sew and Mark."


Leyland & Birmingham Rubber Company

When James Quin brought the new rubber industry to Leyland in 1862, he purchased a small factory in East Street. The pioneer, Thomas Hancock of London, had developed vulcanisation in 1844 and was beginning to discover the benefits of additives such as carbon black and fillers. James Quin learned these techniques from his successor, James Lyne Hancock, with the result that Hancock's employees were sent to Leyland to pass on their skills to the Leyland workforce.

In 1868 the expanding business moved to their new site on Golden Hill Lane taking over the site of the workhouse. Following the increase in business, the firm became a public company in 1873 as Mr Quin's Indian Rubber & Hosepipe Works.

James Quin & Co Ltd., were described as " manufacturers of all kinds of india rubber articles, valves, sheets, buffers, washers, rings, cylinders, steam packing, hose tubing, india rubber machinery, belting, woven linen hose pipes for agricultural, fire brigade and mill purposes, and all india rubber articles used for engineering purposes, elastic steam rope, round or square, with core in the centre, and all kinds of water proof covers made to order, also water proof horse cloths etc. "


Following the death of Mr Quin in 1883, the works then became the Leyland Rubber Company in 1886, while the amalgamation with the Birmingham Rubber Company in 1898, led to the company we now know as The Leyland & Birmingham Rubber Company.

The early 1900's witnessed a steady expansion of the product range to include solid and pneumatic tyres, hoses, belting, waterproof clothing and a range of surgical products that was later to become the foundation of Leyland Medical International.

Following the fire at " Th'owd Rubber " on January 18th 1913, the rebuilding of the three-storey frontage to Golden Hill Lane enabled the company to reach new heights with the two world wars making it ever busier. In 1962, the take over of J.E. Baxter & Co, (Mr Baxter having being a former director of the L & B until the turn of the century), led to a friendly merger in 1969 with their close rival, B.T.R., the L & B continuing to operate as a separate company within the B.T.R. group until it closed in the summer of 2002 and was demolished in the following September.


Leyland Workhouse

Leyland Workhouse was situated on the corner of Golden Hill Lane and Wheelton Lane with a garden fronting Golden Hill Lane. The land was purchased in 1780, the mortgage being raised by people of means in the vicinity including the Faringtons.

It was a substantial block of buildings covering 130 feet square with a quadrangle or yard. There were two weaving departments, bedrooms, sick rooms, schoolroom, offices for the warden and a separate building called on the plan " The Nessecaries " and " Bog ".

When the Workhouse was closed after the New Poor Law Act of 1834, it was let in 1851 to a Mr Smith and later taken by Mr James Quin for the manufacture of rubberised cloth and hosepipe in 1868.


Leyland Motors - North Works

At the entrance to the North Works on Northcote Street on the wall of a small office building, there used to be a brass plate, which read " The Lancashire Steam Motor Co. - Registered Office ". The office and the adjoining shop constituted the whole of the factory in 1902. Building on this site continued until 1916, when lack of space prevented expansion.

However, the whole of the Leyland output of chassis was produced from this plant until after the First World War. It undertook all the machining, the assembly of units and the erection and testing of the chassis. Following the departure of the other departments, the North Works became engaged solely on the machining and heat treatment of parts for subsequent assembly in other parts of the factory complex. When the North Works was closed and the site cleared, the area was then redeveloped with housing and offices. Here pictured are the gates to the North Works on Golden Hill Lane still in situ.


Leyland Motors - Farington Works

In the early 1950's the new Farington Works was completed in the new Industrial Zone of Leyland, the majority of the buildings having been built in the preceding fifteen years.

The first building on the site was the foundry with its power station for steel melting. It was completed in 1918 to supply cast steel wheels and the large casings of the double reduction axle then fitted to Leyland vehicles. The 8 bay B/X factory for tank manufacture was added during the Second World War.

It was then converted to be the chassis assembly shop, with the tool room being relocated from the North Works. There then followed the building of a new assembly and machine shop with a floor area of 250,000 sq. ft., making the site extend to a total of 246 acres. This included the land off Golden Hill Lane, which enabled the site to have a direct entrance to the centre of town, rather than the previous entrance on Carr Lane.

Following the split up of the British Leyland business, the Farington Works has now become the Farington Business Park with numerous small businesses established on the site.

B.T.R - Golden Hill Factory

The B.T.R. Golden Hill Lane factory was opened by Wood Milne Rubber Company, which was owned by the Roberts family of Farington House, this house now being the B.T.R. social club.

They also took over the land adjacent formerly known as Mr William Higham's Hay and Straw Works, part of which disappeared under Churchill Way. The hay and straw business provided the carting establishments with food and bedding for their horses. The raw material was purchased from local farmers and often the hay was chopped and steamed. The process producing a very strong yet not unpleasant smell, which filled the air along that part of Golden Hill Lane.

The variety of items made by the Wood Milne Company included rubber heels, soles and tips, pneumatic tyres and inner tubes for motor cars and motor cycles, solid band tyres for motor vehicles, belts for motor cycles, foot pumps for motor tyres and golf balls.

In 1924, Wood Milne Ltd. was acquired by an American company, which in 1934 became the British Tyre and Rubber Co. The name B.T.R. Industries came about in 1957 when the old B.T.R. (British Tyre and Rubber Co) ceased production of tyres and felt that the old name was inappropriate. They moved into their new factory on Centurion Way, Farington in the same year, the Golden Hill factory surviving into the seventies.

Gas Works

When the Gas Works was demolished in the early sixties to make way for Churchill Way, there not only disappeared the sight but also the smell of an industry. This was built after the Leyland & Farington Gas Company was registered in 1856 and empowered in 1863, the first Gas Works being sited previously behind the Ship Inn in Towngate.

The now demolished showrooms and offices on Chapel Brow were opened in 1927. The output in 1938 was about 134.5 million cubic feet, which rose to 497.5 million cubic feet by 1955. The local company was taken over by the United Kingdom Corporation before being nationalization in 1949. The production of gas ceasing around 1959 / 1960. The retort house was demolished in May / June 1964 to make way for the new roundabout.

Even though the Gas Works only just intruded on Hough Lane in a physical sense, its presence through to the end of gas production in September 1956 was hard to ignore. A Fishwicks bus conductor during World War Two always referred to the Gas Works bus stop as " Leyland Perfumery ".

Employment Office

This Employment Office was opened here in the 1930's having moved from the previous site opposite the Post Office in Chapel Brow. The office, now known as a " Job Centre " transferred to a new building in Towngate in the early 1980's.


Market Place & Billiard Hall

With the coming of the railway in 1838, a market was established on Golden Hill Lane. This remained on the site until the new market place was created on Towngate following the demolition of the step houses in 1936. Both markets worked until 1939 when the old market closed down. The long building next to the market was the village's billiard hall, before its current use as a warehouse.


Wesleyan Chapel

The Chapel was built in 1814 following the use of a room in Towngate. As the movement continued to expand, all the seats were taken and the Sunday school attendances doubled. The building was then enlarged by the erection of a gallery with extensions being made to the front and the side.

The foundation stone for a replacement church in Turpin Green was laid by J.G McMinnies, the owner of Farington Mill, on September 18th 1875. The site was then taken by the County Bank, now being the National Westminster Bank.


Leyland & Farington Co - op Golden Hill shop

This was the original shop and distribution centre and still shows signs of its original use even though it is now a restaurant. A well-known manager in the 1930's and through the years of World War II was Tom Marsden.

The Co - operative Society built their stores to a regular plan, ground floor shop and upper storey for storage of the bulk supplies. These were " chuted down to the cellars where the " bagging up " of the flour, sugar, rice etc., was done on a Monday morning.

The hoist can still be seen on the west side of the building down the back entry between Golden Hill Lane and Grundy Street with "Leyland & Farington Co - operative Society " picked out in cast iron.

Queens Hotel

This public house was built in the 1850's, with the Leyland and Farington Co-op Store next door being built as one building. In Chapel Brow, the Vaults was a separate building with entry through a door onto the Brow.

As Golden Hill Lane meets Station Brow (B5254), the walk continues left up the brow and over the bridge, followed by a right turn into Moss Lane.