In 1914 the grounds and hall of Stubylee were purchased by the
then Corporation out of money provided in a trust fund by Mr Miles
Ashworth of Acre Mill, a former councillor of the Borough. The
paddling pool at Stubylee presented to the Borough in 1929 by
Councillor Thomas Coates and Mrs Coates. Looking at the pictures the
paddling pool must have seemed like a real treat for the children using Stubylee Park when it was first built my
memories of it like many others no doubt is slicing my foot open on a broken bottle that someone had thrown in.
The Recreation ground was presented to the Borough in 1893 by the late Sir John
Henry Maden, again to fullfill the wishes of his father Henry Maden, a bandstand stood
where todays footballers play with regular Sunday concerts taking place.
Moorlands Park, which originally contained the mansion house known as Moorlands, was given to the Borough of Bacup by the trustees of the
late Mr Edward Hoyle in 1914. The two parks are home to the Maden Memorial, Tennis Courts, Playing Fields, Bowling Greens, The Dell and
the Mitchell Fountain.
Football was first introduced to Bacup by a Scottish man called John Rankine the manager
of the local dyeworks at Irwell Springs. Irwell Springs football team where there
forerunners of todays Bacup Borough Football team Established in 1877 and registered
with the footnall association in 1878. Springs won the Rossendale Charity Cup 4 times in
the first 5 years of its history 1884,85,86,87. and 1888. Rankine had formed the tean with
men picked from his workgorce they carried such nicknames as, Jimmy Jimnks, Soss
Pudding, Dan Stinks, Harry Pegs and Fat Jack.
The photograph pictured is of the winning team. The players are back row left to right ,
Greenwood Lord, Tom Hunt, James
Whittaker J, W, Taylor, John Coupe (
secretary). Front row, Charles Banham, T
Thompson, Daniel Banham,Jos Ratcliffe, Eli
Titterington, Albert Lord. Springs first football field was behind the Weir Hotel. The first match
played at the new ground at Lane Head was against Accrington , the weather wasnt very kind
and was in fact blowing a gale. The game kicked of at 6, oclock, the first half being played for
forty minutes the second however was only played for 30 minutes due to darkness having
descended. Bacup’s proudest achievement was winning the Lancashire Combination
Championship in 1946/47
Maden Baths was gifted to Bacup in 1893 by the late Sir John Henry Maden, fulfilling a
wish made by his father the late Henry Maden. The baths were built at a cost of £10,000,.
The baths were comprised of first and second class baths with slipper and turkish baths
along with a laundry said to tbe the best in Lancashire. Within weeks of the baths
opening three swimming clubs had been formed these were the Madena, Christ Church
and Bacup Borough. The Madena and was formed in 1894. The Hon Secretary at the time
being Alderman Sam Smith with Bert Brearley being one of its
foundation members. . The first Borough Championship race was
won by Mr Rothwell of Britannia in the time of 104 seconds. The
water unlike swimming baths of today, was of the colour of peat
and was changed about every three months. By the turn of the
century the number of clubs had dwindled and those that were left
formed the Bacup Amateur Swimming Club. Producing it's first
World Champion in the form of David Billington. David Billington held
the Championship from 1900 to 1905, living just across the road from the baths at 35 Rochdale Road, he had plenty of
opportunity to practice living so close and with his father Edward being manager of the swimming baths. David Billington
won nine national championships by the time he was nineteen. David died in February 1955 aged 69.
Another great Bacupian swimmer was Willie Foster, born on the 10th July 1890 Willie
was a freestyle swimmer who took part in the 1908 and 1912 London Olympics. In 1908 he won the Gold
medal as part of the 4 x 200 meter freestyle relay team and in the 400 meter freestyle race he finnished
fourth. In 1912 he won the Bronze medal as part of the British 4×200 metre freestyle relay team. One
hundred years later Willie is still the youngest Britain to hold a Gold medal for his swimming event. Not to
be outdone his sisters Ivy, Mary and Annie were all schoolgirl and Borough Champions in their turns.
Maggie Smith also carved herself a name in the Hall of fame for Bacup Swimmers, becoming the All
Lancashire Champion in the early years of the 20th century. Many
families took part in the various swimming competitions and galas.
Maden baths was said to be the best fitted baths in the north of England replete with every modern comfort
and appliance. Complete with Turkish Baths said to help preserve the publics health by opening pours
removing hindrances to the circulation. Mixed Bathing was introduced in 1927.
Gymnastics and athletics were some of the first oranised sports in Bacup and
Stacksteads, probably due to the fact that all that was required was a feild. Sunday
schools often featured running contests between scholars. In October 1864 the Bacup
Gymnasium was formed facilities included parallel and horizontal bars, indian clubs and
dumbbells with various vaulting apparatus. The hours of opening were three days a
week 9am - 5pm and 7pm to 10pm the evening sessions being sceduled as such so that
the mill operatives could also attend if they wanted to or that is if they could afford the
subscription fee of 2/- per quarter women were not allowed to be members. A similar
gym opened at the same time in Stacksteads amongst its rules were “ no swearing, no
betting, no obscene language. By 1870 these gyms had folded.Many of the local
Sunday schools organised sports days, events at these included speed and distance
races, obstacle and handicap races, with jumping a throwing races.
In 1899 Bacup Cricket Club became the Lancashire League champions and in 1903
the Bacup Golf club opened its doors. In 1913 the Bacup amateur football league was
founded. The Rossendale Valley Football Club held a competition that lasted 21 years
and was known as the Rossendale Charity Cup. Irwell Springs F.C the forerunners of
the present Bacup Borough won this trophy four times in its first five years. Bacup
cricket club was formed about 1858 or shortly after, Stacksteads Cricket Club was
formed at a public meeting held at Stacksteads Workmen's Club on July 29th
1902.Formed in the first half of 1910 the first Golf links in Bacup were at Cowtoot
Farm. Officially opened on July 2nd 1910 by the Mayor Alderman J. H. Maden. Who
was also president of the club. The ceremony took place on a day of heavy rainfall.
The Mayor officially opened the course with a suitably nscribed driver he had been
presented with earlier on in the proceedings. A friendly match between the Mayor and
the Captain of the club Mr Joseph Entwistle ensued.
In 1916 the club moved to Bankside Lane, a cottage being used as a clubhouse for
about seven years. In May, 1923, New Barn Farm, Bacup, was erected to serve as a
club house. This was 30 yards long and two storeys high.On January 19, 1939 tragedy hit
in the shape if a fierce fire which completely burned out the clubhouse and educed it to a charred shell. The Steward and Stewardess Mr and
Mrs. G. W. Taylor, together with their ten year old son had a exciting escape. The cause of the fire was unknown. A new clubhouse was
opened in April 1940 by Alderman George Baron. Membership of the club at that time stood at 170 men and women including house
members. A ladies section of the club being set up in 1923.In 1928 Bacup Golfers won the East Lancashire Handicap Trophy for the first
Bacup Cricket club was established in 1858 though there is another date of 26th June 1860
mentioned in other works, the first members included. Arthur Pickup-Chemist, John Harris-
Excise Officer, J Hamilton-Cotton Manufaturer W Manley, Sam Hall, and J H Sykes-
Solicitors., James Smith- Cotton Manufaturer. William Greaves-Warp Sizer, Thos
Barrowclough, Wm Aked-Managers. Alfred Humberstone- Cashier. Varley Smith-Queens
Hotel. James Munn-Stacksteads. Edmund Ashworth-Staghills, Edmund Lord-Brynbella,
James Bowness and Dr Whitaker the first president. The teams played at two levels, the
Lancashire League, in which one proffesionalwas allowed and the Rossendale League
which was made up of various churches and Sunday schools such has St Johns,
Ebeneezer, and St Joseph.Games being played every weekend on Sundays.
Stacksteads Cricket Club was formed at a public meeting held at Stacksteads Workmen's Club on July 29th 1902
there was a attendance of between 250 and 300 people present. Shortly after the meeting negotiations were
completed for a plot of land near Waterbarn Baptist Chapel for use as a Cricket Field and the first annual general
meeting of the club took place on February 10th 1903. On April 20th 1904 the club finally managed to persuade
magistrates to grant them a licence so they could sell intoxicants at their home matches. The club had quite a
successful existence with first class players which even included two paid professionals who went by the names of
Woods and Getrix and were paid about 30s per week. Other players included names such as Billy Walkden,
Herbert Shepherd, Harry Maudlsey, Jos Brookes and John Ed Maden.