Entertainment in the early 19th Century for our
Bacupian ancestors consisted of such activites as
cock fighting, dog fighting and badger baiting . A
favourite location for these activities was Crown
Point. The annual fair which up until the late 1860’s
was held in the Union Street areas quite often
featured the sad spectacle of bear baiting.
Gambling was very popular, and with an abumdance
of pubs court appearances for gambling and being
drunk and disorderly were common, in 1865 a
Bacup man was brought before the court for biting
off the head of a live rat for a bet.
Bacup held many celebration parades these were
known as demonstrations, in the early years of Bacup's history they were used as a way
of raising funds for the various charities such as Hospital Sunday. If there was one thing
our Bacup and Stacksteads ancestors knew how to do it was Celebrate. Whether it be a
Royal Coronation, Royal Visit, Carnival, Church Parade or Fund Raising event out
would come the bunting and the crowds.
Like many industrial towns in the North Bacup and Stacksteads had its own brass
bands, Bacup Old Band which became Irwell Springs and Change Band were two of the
most popular , during the 1860’s Stacksteads band being described in 1873 as a “
young band” . The Bands played at concerts, garden parties and Sunday schools
processions. Taking part in the various band contest such as Belle Vue which began in
1853 and Crystal Palace which began in 1860.
Whilst several theaters appear in the local newspapers during the early 1860’s the only
one which seems to be of a permanent structure was Pickles Theater others such as
the Royal Standard and Lyceum seem to be mobile theaters.In 1867 a young man
brought to Bacup to entertain the populace with his euphonium was thtreatened with
death and all other sorts of unimaginable things. It was common for concerts to be
disrupted by marauding children and adults and theaters in general had a very
unsavoury reputation until the opening of the Royal Court Theater.
The first organised sporting activities in Bacup were gymnastics and athletics, followed
by cricket , football and swimming. With an abundance of well built men who worked in
the quarries,and mines bare knuckle fighting was also a common and popular past-time.
Broadclough was describe in 1865 as a scene of disorder and riot, with men comming
reeling out of the local inn still dressed in thier filthy work clothes and clogs, swearing,
cursing and fighting looking like the filthiest rascals Lancashire could ever produce.