Darwen Market History
Darwen, or Over Darwen, as it was called until 1879 was a Municipal Borough until 1974 when it joined into a new Authority with its neighbour, Blackburn. Over Darwen was incorporated in 1878.
Darwen Market Hall and the Municipal Offices are housed within a Victorian building. The Market Hall was opened in 1871.
Prior to Local Government Reorganisation in 1974, Darwen Council had programmed for the building of a new 3 Day Market. The modern era of shopping in a covered area had arrived.
In 1975 the final stages were completed. The majority of the food traders from the Open Market moved into a new Annexe which was to be open on more days.
The 3 Day Market food traders who still only wanted to trade on the Market Days and the Drapery and Manufactured Goods traders were to be housed in a new hexagonal building which opened in October 1975. The modernisation of the Town Hall saw the demise of the Arcade – known as “the glass shed”.
Darwen, 4 miles south of Blackburn takes its name from the river which in 1208 was recorded as the “derewent” which means the “river where oak trees grow”. Before a new toll road was built between Blackburn and Bolton the old road went via Blackamoor and entered Darwen at Chapels, continued down Robin Bank, crossed a ford through a stream in Union Street up Wellington Fold down The Green and along Bridge Street and Redearth Road to Sough.
The new road was opened in 1797 following a petition from local landowners and traders to speed up the speed at which goods could be sent to Market. Toll Bars were at Dove Lane, Golden Cup and Ewood and others which lasted until 1877.
By 1907 there were 57 weaving mills and 8 spinning mills which superceded the coal mining, bleaching, printing cloth, farming and stone quarrying. The damp climate aided the development of 10 paper mills within the town as quarrying died out.
Samuel Crompton, of spinning mule fame, rented Spring Vale Works. In fact he built Low Hill House in the Town, living there for 5 years.
In 1931, following India’s threat to reduce cotton imports, Darwen was visited by Ghandi to listen to local views.
Darwen Jubilee Tower stands to the west of the Town on the summit of Beacon Hill. Of course it was built to commemorate Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee and was completed in 1898. It stands some 1225 ft above sea level and is 85 ft high.