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Fact-tastic Accrington!

LOCAL historian Bob Dobson and the Accrington Local Studies Library compiled a list of fascinating facts about the town ... you'll be surprised at what you might find.

LOCAL historian Bob Dobson and the Accrington Local Studies Library compiled a list of fascinating facts about the town ... you'll be surprised at what you might find.

  • Accrington is in the Lancashire borough of Hyndburn, which is the name of the river flowing through it. In the days of intensive industry, cotton weaving, engineering and coal mining, the River Hyndburn was called the River Stink by locals.
  • Accrington was first mentioned in a document in 1194. It was first mentioned in an Act of Parliament in 1609.
  • The fabric called Terylene was invented in Accrington in 1941.
  • The Accrington Pals were a battalion of soldiers raised locally during the First World War. Between 1916 and 1918, the battalion lost over 700 men and hundreds more were badly injured.
  • Accrington probably got its name from an old English leader, though it is possible that it derives its name from the acorns on the oak trees which were abundant there. Therefore, Accrington equals "Acorntown" and there is no other town in the world which shares its name.
  • William Shakespere appeared in Accrington on the occasion of the opening of the town's fine market hall. This was not the Bard of Stratford-on-Avon, but a concert pianist of the same name. A newspaper report of the time said that Mr Shakespere "executed Rigoletto on the pianoforte''.
  • Famous Accrington-ians include Jon Anderson of Yes fame and more latterly Jon and Vangelis fame. He wrote the words for the hit theme tune from Chariots of Fire. He also performed with Demis Roussos. Also we have John Tomlinson, a world- famous opera singer, Jeanette Winterson, authoress and gay icon, who grew up in Accrington, as did the lady known to the world as "Mystic Meg''.
  • The most famous football team in the world is Accrington Stanley. This is despite leaving the Football League 40 years ago in 1962 through bankruptcy. In fact, an earlier Accrington football team had also left the Football League, despite being one of the 12 founder members of the League. Accrington Stanley, who were re-formed in 1968, play in the Unibond League and need just two promotions to regain their Football League status.
  • Before leaving the Football League, Accrington Stanley played on the Peel Park ground. The Peel family, one of whom was Sir Robert Peel, is credited as being the founder of the British Police Force. The Peels were big in the world of calico printing.
  • The first penalty kick in English League football was taken in 1891 following the introduction of a new rule on handling the ball. It was successfully taken against the Accrington team by a Wolverhampton player.
  • Accrington Stanley were so called because their first meetings were held in the Stanley Arms pub in Stanley Street. The Stanley family, several of whom were called Earl Derby, were friends of the Peel family, who owned the land the street was built on.
  • Another famous son of Accrington is David Lloyd, one-time manager/coach of the England cricket team. He is well known for his Lancashire accent and forthright, down-to-earth manner of speech.
  • An Accrington man, Daniel Ellwood, was responsible for proving that Lord Haw-Haw, William Joyce, was British and therefore guilty of treason in World War Two. He searched Joyce's home and found his passport.
  • John Mercer, inventor of the process resulting in "mercerised cotton'' lived and worked in Accrington, as did Frederick Gatty who invented khaki dye used by the British Army.
  • A railway engineer, Oliver Vaughan Snell Bulleid, described as "the last giant of steam'', was also a product of Accrington Grammar School.
  • Accrington's most famous product is bricks. Accrington's red bricks are very dense and hard wearing. This is because of the clay, called shale, which is dug out of quarries on the hills above the town.
  • The former host of TV's Bullseye programme, the comedian Jim Bowen, went to Accrington Grammar School and later taught in the town. He now hosts a daily programme on BBC Radio Lancashire.


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