Bamber Bridge

Bamber Bridge

infobox UK place
country = England
latitude= 53.733
longitude= -2.660
population= 12,126 [2001 census returns for the three Bamber Bridge Wards.]
official_name= Bamber Bridge
map_type= Lancashire
shire_district= South Ribble
shire_county= Lancashire
region= North West England
constituency_westminster= Preston
post_town= PRESTON
postcode_district = PR5
postcode_area= PR
dial_code= 01772
os_grid_reference= SD564265

Bamber Bridge is a village to the south of Preston, Lancashire, England. The name derives from the Old English 'bēam' and 'brycg', which probably means "tree-trunk bridge". It is mentioned in an undated medieval document. [Bamber Bridge" A Dictionary of British Place-Names. A. D. Mills. Oxford University Press, 2003.] The village is often referred to as "The Brig" by residents. People born in the village, are known as "Briggers".



By 1764 calico printing had been established in the village and this was the first example of calico printing anywhere in Lancashire. Prior to the establishment of calico printing in the north, it was predominantly carried out in the south of England, before spreading to Scotland and the northern counties. [The Times, Friday, June 27, 1913; pg. 31; Issue 40249; col B] [The Calico Printing Industry of Lancastria in the 1840s by K. L. Wallwork. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, No. 45. (Sep., 1968), pp. 143-156.]

In 1857, the effect of the downturn in the cotton trade was such that a large manufacturer and spinner (Bamber Bridge SP & WN Co.) in the village reported liabilities estimated at £40,000 to £60,000, and were about to go on short time. [The Times, Wednesday, May 27, 1857; pg. 10; Issue 22691; col F]

At approximately 7:00pm on Monday, 31 October, 1859, a catastrophic fire burnt down the Withy Trees Mill in the village, owned by Eccles and Company. Contemporary reports said that the spinning-master and engineer had stayed on after the mill had closed at 6:00pm in order to effect some repairs to machinery on the third floor. A spark from the lamp they were using for illumination is said to have dropped upon some cotton waste, igniting it. Nobody was killed or injured in the fire, but between 16,000 and 17,000 spindles and 270 looms were destroyed and 250 hands were rendered unemployed at a stroke. [The Times, Friday, November 4, 1859; pg. 4; Issue 23455; col E]

Reporting on 7 June 1862, "The Times" stated that 600 hands had been thrown out of work with the stoppage of Dewhurst’s Mill. The same report also gave some indication of the economic strife that shopkeepers and other villagers now found themselves in – it was said that 1 in every 5 people in Bamber Bridge and Walton-le-Dale and the surrounding area were now reduced to pauperism. [The Times, Saturday, June 7, 1862; pg. 12; Issue 24266; col F]

A petition against the recognition of the Confederate States of America was presented to the House of Commons on Monday. June 29, 1863, by a villager, Mr. Barnes. No mention is made of his first name or what organisation he represented. [The Times, Tuesday, June 30, 1863; pg. 7; Issue 24598; col D]

The trade unionist George Woodcock was born in the village on October 20, 1904. He was a voluntary official of the Bamber Bridge branch of the Weavers' Association after a spell of tuberculosis. He won a TUC scholarship to Ruskin College, Oxford in 1929. He was awarded the CBE in 1953 and appointed a member of the Privy Council in 1957. He was General Secretary of the TUC in 1960 and a member of the Royal Commission on Trade Unions and Employers’ Associations in 1965 and served as chairman from 1969 to 1971. He died on October 30, 1979 [The Times, Monday, November 19, 1979; pg. 25; Issue 60478; col C] [Geoffrey Goodman, ‘Woodcock, George (1904–1979)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004]


The railway came to Bamber Bridge around the same time as the first cotton mills. A line was built connecting Blackburn with the West Coast Main Line at Farington, with a branch connecting Bamber Bridge directly to Preston. A station was built where the railway crossed Station Road at a level crossing.

The stretch of track through the village was first owned by The East Lancashire Railway, then the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway following incorporation in 1847.

In March 1859, a Hurricane engine bolted off the rails at Bamber Bridge and ran across the level-crossings and caught the end of a house knocking down the gable end. The accident did not end with any death or injury, even though a woman was washing in the kitchen of the house. [The Times, Monday, March 14, 1859; pg. 9; Issue 23253; col F]

The railway was then amalgamated into the London & Northwestern Railway in 1922 and twelve months later became part of the London, Midland and Scottish Railway (citation). The LMS plaque was still in existence on the station subway buildings before their demolition in 2005 due to their dilapidation. The railways were nationalised in 1948, first becoming part of British Railways and then British Rail when rebranded many years later. The railways were privatised in 1994 by the Conservative government.

The line from Farington to Blackburn is now part of the East Lancashire Line.

The direct route to Preston was closed by British Rail in the 1970s, and most of the route is now a cycle route, as part of the National Cycle Network.


Station Road is the main road through the village, and most of the shops are along the road. It crosses the railway at a level crossing next to the railway station. It was formerly part of the A6, until a bypass was built in the 1980s. [SABRE - Road Lists - The First 99 - A6]

The village is also at the northern end of the A49, where it meets the A6.

The section of the M6 motorway around the village is part of the Preston Bypass opened in 1958 [ [ CBRD - Motorway Database - M6 ] ] , the first motorway in Britain, and includes the junction with the M61 from Manchester. More recently the M65 has been extended to join the A6, also in Bamber Bridge.


The Lancaster Canal Tramroad connected two parts of the Lancaster Canal, and crossed Station Road.

The 'Battle' of Bamber Bridge

During World War II, Bamber Bridge played host to a number of American servicemen. Their base was situated on Mounsey Road (part of which is now an Air Cadets' base). Trouble began on the evening of 24 June 1943, and it was largely an all-American affair that helped to highlight racial tensions within the American forces.

Two white military policemen had entered the Hob Inn on Church Road to arrest a black soldier, who was out without a pass. An argument ensued between the black soldier and the white MPs, with local people and British servicemen siding with the black soldier and the small group of comrades he was with. The MPs left the pub to seek reinforcements and intercepted the soldiers as they returned to their barrack rooms. A melee broke out, guns were drawn and several men were shot.

Rumours abounded at the camp that the MPs were going to shoot the intercepted men and a crowd gathered at the gates of the camp. A party of armed men then commandeered a vehicle and drove out into the village, where more shooting broke out. White Americans were chased down the street and passing army vehicles were fired upon. Military reinforcements were brought in and a machine gun ambush was set up along Station Road. The local police stayed away from the area and locals were warned to stay indoors.

At midnight, a large group of MPs arrived at the camp armed with machine guns. A general panic broke out resulting in black soldiers arming themselves from the camp gunroom. There was then general chaos. Groups of armed men were stalking each other in the fields and back lanes of the village until around 4.00am the next morning, when an American general arrived. The only black officer was placed in charge of the situation and the rifles were then all handed in. One man was killed (Pte. William Crossland), 3 were injured and 35 arrested. ['A History Of Preston', By David Hunt. pp. 246-247, Carnegie Press 1992] [ [ BBC - WW2 People's War - The Battle of Bamber Bridge ] ] [ [ BBC - Manchester - Features - Remembering the North at War ] ]


Location grid

Culture and recreation

Public houses

Ye Olde Hob Inn, Church Road. A 17th century coach house, built c.1616 and originally smaller than its present dimensions. Before it was known as The Hob, it was called 'The Black Horse'.
The Black Bull, Station Road
'Mackenzies In Brig bar (formerly the Mackenzie Arms), Station Road
The Lancs & Yorks, Station Road
The White Bull, Station Road
Last Orders (chain-pub formerly known as 'The Blue Ball'. The building was also the old police station), Station Road
Ye Olde Original Withy Trees (formerly Withy Trees Farm), Station Road
The Top House (formerly 'Shifty O'Shea's', an Irish theme bar and prior to that the Withy Trees), Station Road
The Pear Tree, Station Road
The Peters Bar, School Lane
The Woodsman, School Lane
The Hospital Inn, Brindle Road [ [ index ] ]
The Poachers, Lostock Lane
The Walton Fox, South Rings Business Park

Clubs and associations

Bamber Bridge Band Club, Station Road
Bamber Bridge Conservative Club, Cranbourne Street (Opened by Lord Cranbourne)
The Trades Hall, Station Road (formerly the Liberal Club)
Bamber Bridge & County Catholic Club, Aspden Street

Bamber Bridge F.C., Irongate, Brownedge Road
School Lane Working Men's Club & Institute, St. Aidan's Road
Bamber Bridge Scooter Club, Lancs and Yorks Pub, Station Road



Bamber Bridge is at present in the district of South Ribble council. It is represented on the council by two councillors in each of three wards; Bamber Bridge East (Cllr. James Owen & Cllr. David John Watts (Mayor), both Labour Party), Bamber Bridge North (Cllr. Stephen Bennett, Labour & Cllr. Carol Ann Chisholm, Conservative) and Bamber Bridge West (Cllr. Thomas George Hanson, Labour & Cllr. Paul Andrew Foster, Labour). [ [wards] . [ward] &header=wardname#Bamber%20Bridge%20East]


The village is covered by two electoral divisions on Lancashire County Council. The first, Bamber Bridge & Walton-le-Dale covers the majority of the village and is represented by Cllr. Graham Davies, Labour. [ [ Councillor Info - Graham Davies ] ] The second, South Ribble Rural East, covers the southern part of the village and is represented by Cllr. Tom Sharrat, Idle Toad. [ [ Councillor Info - Tom Sharratt ] ]


Bamber Bridge is currently represented in the House of Commons by Mark Hendrick, the Labour/Co-operative Party Member of Parliament for Preston. In the UK General Election on 5 May 2005, Hendrick polled a total of 17,210 votes (50.5 % of all votes cast), a clear majority of 9407 over the Conservative candidate, Ms F. J. Bryce. [ [ The Electoral Commission : Election results ] ] Following their review of parliamentary representation in Lancashire, the Boundary Commission for England has created a modified Ribble Valley seat in which the three Bamber Bridge parliamentary wards; Bamber Bridge East, Bamber Bridge North and Bamber Bridge West, will move at the next UK general election. The decision to move the wards was made despite objections raised by the Labour Party in Bamber Bridge. [News Release dated 19 January 2005, The Boundary Commission for England] At the last general election, the Ribble Valley was confirmed as a safe Conservative Party seat and is currently represented by Nigel Evans MP.


Population. The 2001 Census data for the three wards that make up Bamber Bridge listed the entire population as 12,126. Of this number, 5,882 are listed as male and 6,244 as female.

Age. The population was divided into the following age groups; 0-4 years, 5.86%; 5-15 years, 14.64%; 16-19 years, 4.19%; 20-44 years, 34.34%; 45-64 years, 25.21%, and; over 65 years, 15.75%.

Ethnicity. According to census returns, the ethnic make-up of the village was; White, 98.10%; Mixed, 0.50%; Asian or Asian British, 0.66%; Black, Black British, 0.23%, and; Chinese or other ethnic group, 0.51%.

Religion. The percentage of people listing themselves as; Christian, 86.68%; Buddhist, 0.10%; Hindu, 0.32%; Jewish, 0.00%; Muslim, 0.21%; Sikh, 0.11%; Other religions, 0.07%; No religion, 7.91%, and; Religion not stated, 4.60%.

Housing. In 2001, there were a total of 5027 households in the three wards. Of the total 84.14% were owner occupied and 15.86% were rented. Expressed as a percentage of the total; 34.50% owned their property outright; 48.47% owned their property with a mortgage or a loan, and; 1.16% of householders had shared ownership of their property. Expressed as a percentage of the total; 0.86% rented their home from the local authority; 10.22% rented from a housing association or a registered social landlord; 3.05% rented from a private landlord or a letting agency, and; 1.73% rented from another source.

Health. In 2001; 67.28% of people were listed as 'in good health'; 22.89% in fairly good health; 9.83% not in good health, and; 19.74% of people were listed with a limiting long-term illness. [2001 census returns for the three Bamber Bridge Wards.]


The village has an unmanned railway station with hourly direct trains to Preston, Lytham St Annes, Blackpool South, Blackburn, Accrington and Burnley and various stations in between. Trains to Bradford, Leeds, York, and Blackpool North which pass through the station normally require a change at either Blackburn or Preston, except for one service each way daily which calls at Bamber Bridge. On Sundays between April and October, the "Dalesrail" service operates from Blackpool North to Carlisle via Blackburn, Clitheroe and the Settle to Carlise line, calling at Bamber Bridge.


Bamber Bridge has two Church of England churches, both are parish churches in the Diocese of Blackburn. [cite web url= | title=Leyland Deanery | publisher=Diocese of Blackburn | accessdate=2008-10-01 ] The first to be built was St.Saviour's Anglican Church, on Church Road at the south end of the village, was built in 1837 on land given by Mr. R. Townley Parker (Guild mayor of Preston in 1862) and was considerably altered and enlarged in 1886/1987, when the altered church was opened by Lord Cranbourne. The land for the churchyard was donated by Mr. R. A. Tatton of Cuerden Hall. [ [,GR=249,FT=Bamber%20Bridge%20St%20Saviour%20Church%20Road%20Church%20of%20England GENUKI: Central Wesleyan Methodist, Bacup, Lancashire genealogy ] ] It is a Grade II listed building. [cite web | url= | title=Detailed Record: Church of St Saviour, Church Road, Bamber Bridge, South Ribble, Lancashire | work=Images of England | publisher=English Heritage | accessdate=2008-10-01 ] St. Aidan's Church, on Station Road, was founded in 1895. [ [,GR=248,FT=Bamber%20Bridge%20St%20Aidan%20Station%20Road%20Church%20of%20England GENUKI: Burnley Road United Methodist Free Church, Bacup, Lancashire genealogy ] ]

The village's Roman Catholic church, St. Mary's & St. Benedict's Church, is on Brownedge Lane, and was built in 1826, as a replacement for a chapel. A spire was added in 1866, and the church was partly rebuilt by Peter Paul Pugin in 1892. The church has a neo-gothic altar. [ [ Home Page ] ]

Wesley Street Methodist Church is on Station Road, and was opened in 2006, as a replacement for an older building on the same site. [ [ Bamber Bridge Methodist Church ] ]



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