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  Hyndburn History



When Emma Kearney became the landlady of the Black Dog public house in Oswaldtwistle, she soon realised this was a very old pub and set out to find as much as she could about its history and her predecessors.

Her research took her back to 1827 and the first landlady, Catherine Kershaw. This made further research essential as in 1827 it was predominantly a man’s world and almost unheard of for a woman to run a public house.

It was found that he Black Dog was owned by Philip Kershaw from the early 1800s and left to Catherine, along with all its contents, in his will. The pub, however, is all that he left her and it was with the proviso that should she remarry within five years of his death she would lose it all.

Further research revealed that Catherine, whose maiden name was Yates came originally from the Belthorn area and her father was a yeoman farmer who owned parcels of land and on his death left Catherine a vast sum of money. Indeed Robert Yates is thought to have also owned Duckworth Hall, which is next to the pub of the same name that we are familiar with today.

The Kershaw’s were also a well to do family and apart from owning the Black Dog, it is also thought that they owned the two cottages adjacent to it and another public house on what is now the site of Oswaldtwistle Library called The Old House at Home which was probably obtained before the Black Dog. Later they acquired several streets on which they built properties.

As Immanuel Church wasn’t built at that time, the Kershaw family used to worship at St James Church Kirk and it was found by checking church records that the family had their own pew – another indication of their wealth and standing in the community.

It has to be remembered that at the time the Black Dog was built it was probably the only property at the end of a vast moorland and it is largely due the Enclosure Act of 1776, whereby people who had rights to use areas of land, were offered the opportunity to own parcels of it providing they built a wall or fence around it. As the Kershaw’s already occupied vast parts of the land they benefitted greatly from this.

Emma found the Time Tunnel at Oswaldtwistle Mills very useful in researching facts such as the time and nature of the Enclosure Act and this facility is readily available for anyone researching the history of the area.

Catherine and Philip had six surviving children. One of them, also named Philip, married Mary Thwaites, whose father was the original Daniel Thwaites who started the famous brewery. Philip was listed in documents as a surgeon, but it was found that he actually trained as an apothecary and although he went to London, never actually obtained a degree. He was also a witness at a grave robbery trial.

When Catherine died in 1837, she was succeeded at the Black Dog by her son Robert. He was landlord until his death in 1850 when he left only one shilling in his will to his wife and thus the Kershaw family no longer owned The Black Dog.

The next landlord that Emma has been researching was a man called James Halstead who was listed at The Black Dog in 1903. He was a local policeman and he also had another pub elsewhere, it is believed. It is not certain if he bought the pub outright or if this was when the brewery took it over and he was simply the landlord.

Picture  at the back of The Black Dog shows James on the right and Henry as a young boy in the middle

Interestingly, though, when the Black Dog decided to do a tribute to mark the centenary of the end of the First World War, Emma and her fellow members of the Black Dog history group, looked into how many of the young men who became the Accrington Pals may have been locals at the pub and therefore possibly had their last drink there before going to war.

They found out that James’s son Henry Halstead went off to fight in 1916 and died in 1918. He was a member of the machine gun corps. It was learned that James died before the war started.

As Henry was the last male of the Halstead family the name died with him. His sister, however, married and named her son Henry Halstead Greenwood. He went on to fight in World War Two and came home again.

The tribute last year involved 1,100 poppies being placed around the outside of the Black Dog to honour the 1,100 who lost their lives and people were invited to write on cards for loved ones lost in all the wars and place them among the poppies.

The Black Dog was always a hub of the community and in those early days, immunisation clinics, coroners’ courts, miners meetings and inquests were all conducted there.  The pub continues to hold community events with two weekly pensioners’ afternoons, monthly event for adults with learning disabilities and more. All information can be found on their Facebook page @BlackDogOssy or by emailing.

A man came into the pub since Emma took over and told her he had worked at the back of the pub breaking down the wall to make an entrance to the car park and in creating the gap, they found within the stonework knocked down, ornate church windows. Apparently when St James’s second tower was built the stonework had been made available for land owners to buy and it is thought that The Black Dog back yard stonework was used from this.

The Black Dog History Society meets on the first Friday of every month at 10.30 a.m. and has the support of people interested in local history and they are always happy for anyone with any knowledge about the history of the pub to contact them. Two people who have been really supportive of Emma in her research have been Hilary Austin, who has been alongside for most of the quest and Albert Wilkinson who is a local historian and regularly attends the meetings.

Emma is particularly interested as to when the pub was actually built as it is thought from certain clues within the building that it could go back well into the 1700s.

The Black Dog would love to hear from anyone who might be able to uncover more facts about the pub’s history and can be contacted on 01254 390084, blackdogoswaldtwistle@mail.com and on Twitter and Facebook: @BlackDogOssy.

Peter Jones 2019

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Hyndburn Heritage Museum has had several homes in the past. Part of it still occupies the Market Hall but the other part has just moved into its third different unit in the Arndale Centre.

For some time, after H Samuel moved out of the complex the museum was housed there with many artefacts stored in the basement as others formed the changing displays.

Then when H Samuel decided to return to the Arndale they wanted their old unit back. Fortuitously for the museum, the perfume store, J&T Cosmetics had just closed their doors and their empty unit was offered to Hyndburn Heritage.

The only problem was that the upstairs space was much smaller than the first venue and more of the display items had to go down to the basement.

Another unit became available when Blue Inc moved out of their much more spacious unit. This unit had had such previous tenants as New Look and way back in the eighties and nineties, even housed Dixons.

On Saturday September 16th the grand opening took place. Present were Hyndburn’s Mayor and Mayoress, Councillor Peter Britcliffe and his daughter Sara, Hyndburn’s Member of Parliament, Graham Jones and Bernard Scully; the man whose vision first launched the venture when the artefacts were housed under the Town Hall and attracted many visitors on organised tours.

Entertainment was provided by Accrington Accordion Band and refreshments were served.

Amongst the items on show was the clock that was the centrepiece of the Arndale Centre when it first opened in the 1980s and was an attraction for many people coming into the town and gathering on the hour to see it in action. Unfortunately it is now in a display cabinet and no longer works.

Mr Scully escorted the Mayor and Mayoress around the exhibition explaining many of the displays.

Also attending the opening was prominent local artist, Peter Sherburne who presented one of his paintings to Her Majesty the Queen during her visit to the town in 2012.

The festivities came to an end around 4 p.m. but the museum is set to stay in its new home for the foreseeable future and it is hoped it will attract many visitors and house many new exhibitions in the coming years.

Footnote: If you have any memorabilia or pictures relating to the Accrington Pals or any historical information regarding Accrington Fire Brigade, Hyndburn Heritage would love to hear from you. You can contact Bernard Scully at bscully8066@btinternet.com


To listen to an excerpt from the band, please click here

© Peter Jones 2017 Pictures Peter Jones

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