Return to home page

Memories of Brinscall, nr. Chorley, Lancs. UK - by Dora Beaver

Jimmy Beaver,

Dora's father

My Grandfather was the first Surveyor Withnell Urban District Council had. He died when he was 35 yeas old. My Grandma said he got cold that turned to pneumonia when he was supervising the building of the Gas Works on the Canal Bank, Withnell Fold. He drew the plans for the Gas Works.

In 1904 my Father was 10 years old. They lived at 'Hill Side' near the Cricket field, the Methodist Manse was next door. My Grandmother had four children and they had to leave 'Hillside' because it was the 'Surveyors House'. So she bought a shop lower down the village. She died when she was 83, so had the Shop all those years. Sweets, tobacco, Newspapers and most other things. The Railway Bridge ran over the road a little further down and Whittle Confectionery Shop was next door. On the other side of the Road was Benson's Shoe Shop, the Hardressers shop is there now and the Post Office was in the front part of Benson's House. A little further up the road, next to the 'Bull' Public house, there was an approach up to the Railway Station on each side of the bridge and Fred Hull had a grocery shop on the corner of 'Lodge Bank' for many years.

My Aunty lived on 'Lodge Bank' for some years and I remember swimming across the Croft Lodge from one side to the other when I was ten years old.

We were all good swimmers at St Pauls School in Bury Lane in those days, we always won the swimming cup and I won the best diver's medal when I was eleven.

My Father's friend Bully Barns owned the fields at he back of the Catholic Club which was the 'Working Men's Club' and he had a huge Barn at the back of my Grandma's House in the field, which was known as 'The Band Room' when Brinscall had a Brass Band. We could hear them 'Oum Paping' in the living room when they were practicing.

About 1917 my Dad hired the Band Room from Billy Barns and started to show 'Silent Pictures' when they first started, and in 1920 he bought three shops with houses, that came for sale at the bottom of Brinscall at the corner of Railway Road, where the car park and the old peoples Bungalows now are.


He gutted them all except the roof and outside walls and made a picture theatre out of them - he did it all himself and the only help he had was when a friend helped him to erect the Balcony. It took him 2 years and I remember when I was older all the Charley Chaplin, Buster Keaton, Our Gang, Harold Loyd & Billy Doulley Commies and all the famous Film Stars. He closed them in 1933 and took all the seats out downstars and made it into a Dance Hall - and had dances on Wednesday and Saturday nights and all the young people used to come from Brinscall, Withnell, Abbey Village, Withnell Fold and as far away as Feniscowles. He also had a printing business and did all the printing for the Villages, Hand Bills for the Pictures, Election Addresses for would be Councillors, Concerts and Coop Balance Sheets etc.

Brinscall and Withnell had three schools - The Wesleyan School in School Lane, The St. Pauls Church School in Bury Lane, the Catholic School in Bury Lane and a School in Abbey Village and also one in Withnell Fold.

The Wesleyan Chapel is still in School Lane and there used to a Wesleyan Chapel across from the Pictures where the entrance to the Playing Field is.

St Lukes Church - St Pauls Church and the Catholic Churches are still there, but the Wesleyan Chapel in Abbey Village is now a Bungalow.

Railway Road had an approach up to the Station where the last of the Old Peoples Bungalows now are and a high wall used to be along Railway Road and a Banking with a wide road on the other side of the bank where the fields now are, which horses and carts and wagons used up to the Station Siding to deliver and collect goods and coal.

My Aunt's Husband & his family had a big warehouse under the Station Siding and three or four lorries where they had a Hay & Farm Foods business and used to deliver to all the farms in the area.

Starting at Chapel Street where the Village Shop now is was No 1 Co-op and a Co-op Shop on Railway Road. No 2 & one in Bury Lane and a Butchers Shop No 3 & one in Abbey Village. Altogether there used to be 54 shops, starting with the Co-op at Chapel Street & along Railway Road and to halfway up Bury Lane.

All the houses were terraced houses except about half a dozen detached that I remember until 1947 when the first Council Houses were built, and when I was secretary to the then Surveyor and Clerk to the Council and used to attend all the Council and Committee Meetings to take the minutes. Then they built all the Cicket Field & Pike Lowe, Sandy lane & Park Road and Withnell Fold Old Road - better known as the Old Lane. Bungalows on Dick-Lane and to the end of Lodge Bank and all the new houses up both sides of Bury Lane.

The old Gantry Bridge used to run across Railway Road from the Quarry to the Railway Siding at the old Brick Yard at the back of Hulms wood-yard and it was always full of holes when I was a child and I remember when I was about eight deciding to walk across it. I got about a third of the way and then panicked because it was full of holes so I turned back and crawled on my hands and knees until I was safely back at the top of the moors.

We all used to congregate outside Arnold Moon's  Toffy Shop on Railway Road when we were children to play tops & whips, skipping ropes, tally-ho & marbles. We drove Arnold Mad going into the shop to ask 'If he had any ice buns and to slide on them' He was always coming out and chasing us up Railway Road.

Most of the men & women worked at Murrage's Mill at the end of Railway Road where the woodyard and Health Centre are now, or at the Mill in Abbey Village or at the Calico Printers at the end of Croft Bottoms.

Brinscall was the best place in the World to live in those days. We used to have picnics on the Moors and pick Bluebells  up the Coppice & the Bake-House and swing on the wire railings at the end of Lodge Bank, Paddle in the goit under Coppice Bridge and prey Cutting Harry wouldn't catch us, Picnic & Paddle in Hatch Brook, Skate on Croft Lodge. Toboggan down Colton's Field, Climb the Waterfall, Pick whimberries & rasberries up Scotsman's Lane and walk to the Wishing Well past 'Heather Lea' and on to White Coppice. Walk past Brinscall Hall and up to the Monk's Hill and the Forty Steps and spend hours in Brinscall Swimming Baths after we got free passes every year if we swam 1/4 mile the first time 1/2 mile the 2nd time & 1 full mile the third time which most of us did (three full years in all)

My Dad said Brinscall was called after a Captain Brinn who camped on the moors with his Regiment of Soldiers during the Civil War. Hence 'Brins-Call' His father told him that and who better to know than the first Surveyor.

'Funny! But the sun always seems to be shining in your memories'

 Dora Beaver.

Return to home page