The first newspaper to be issued in Rossendale was the monthly Bacup Chronicle & Rossendale
Advertiser, edited by James Bentley, but which had ceased by the end of 1855. The Bacup & Rossendale
News began on the 23rd March 1863, published by Thomas Leach. This was a weekly co-operative effort
with a liberal bias. However within two years the proprietors of that paper decided to change its political
direction, so that it became a Conservative newspaper.
Then along came Thomas Brown a Wigan man of Particular Baptist learning’s. A zealous Liberal with no
love for Toryism, he began the Bacup Times which ran from 8th April 1865 to the 27th November 1965.
Thomas Leach acquired the Bacup Times in 1868 he carried on the hard hitting editorials against the
Conservatives, a remarkable achievement considering Thomas was eleven years old before he learnt to
read. In 1851 he left his work as a twister in a mill and opened a day and night school in the old mission
room belonging to the Primitive Methodists in Market Street, Bacup, known at the time as “Up the steps”.A
year later he opened up a second hand book shop in St James Street, Bacup, carrying out the occupation
of bookbinder, and newsagent. He later moved to Market Street, where he added printing to his
business.The Bacup Times & Rossendale News reported everything you could wish to know about the
happenings in Bacup and the surrounding areas along with national and international news. The American
Civil War for instance had a massive impact on Bacup and the surrounding towns and villages. The
shortage of cotton causing what would become known as the “Cotton Famine”.
Following his third marriage in 1878 Mr Leach moved to Birkenhead and his son Isaac continued as editor
for the next 32 years until 1901. Lord John Priestley was editor for 31 years covering the events of the
Great War and overseeing the move to new premises on King Street in 1913. The newspapers chronicled
every major event that ever took place in Bacup and Rossendale. In February 1894, the Times launched its
sister paper the Rossendale Express which was published every Wednesday until 1917 at a cost of one penny. Over the years of its publication,
the Times moved to various premises, from Market Street it moved in 1878 to the Atlas Steam Printing Works in Forest Street. Where it remained
until 1885 when it moved to Lee Street and King Street. During its first 100 hundred years the Times boasted its record of never having missed an
issue being produced through the General Strike of May 1926 and the printers strike of July 1959. The last independent issue was published in
King Street, on 27th November 1965As well as the local newspapers mentioned other newspapers of the time were:
The Bacup Chronicle, The Northern Daily Telegraph which we know today as the Lancashire Evening News. The Blackburn Standard and Weekly
Gazette which began publishing in 1835, The Preston Chronicle, York Herald, Morning Post and Lancaster Gazette, The Birmingham Daily Post,
Manchester Times, to name just a few, stories being telegraphed from one newspaper editor to another from journalist to journalist. One of these
early journalists was Henry Kerr, who for many years was editor of the Bacup and Rossendale News. During his lifetime in Bacup Mr Kerr, a native
of Dumfries, Scotland contributed many articles to the Newcastle Chronicle, The Manchester Guardian, and other popular newspapers. The first
photograph published by the Times is thats of the Rossendale Volunteers at Klip River featured on the Territorial pages.
Click picture to read about
Bacups stormy weather.