Horwich Community Centre

This building was formerly known as the Drill Hall and was often referred to as the Horwich Barracks.

The land used to be part of the estate owned by Richard Pilkington Esquire of the White House (Ridgmont) and it was later inherited by his son. Richard Pilkington the diarist of Stocks Farm and later New Chapel House followed by his son also Richard who died in 1839. It was then inherited by his nephews.

From legal deeds it shows that in April 1841, Richard Pilkington, William Pilkington, Joseph Rylands and William Wilding made an Indenture of Lease with William Longworth and James Knowles.

In May 1841, William Longworth leased part of the estate to Thomas Wright for an unknown purpose. In June 1861, Charles Wright and Matthew Blackstone let the lease back to William Longworth.

In January 1867 there was an Indenture between Nathanial Longworth, Williams Trustee and six other relatives, Nathanial Eckersley, Joseph Buckley, Elizabeth his wife, Annie, Jane and John Longworth.

In 1867, John Longworth died, having apparently inherited the estate, leaving it to his widow and son William. They sold 6 acres of land, known as Knowles, to Frank Morton Palmer, an architect of Horwich.

He then sold several plots of land, one of which was the area of the Drill Hall, in 1898 to Mr John George Litton who was a Chartered Accountant and the secretary of the Manchester South Bank Ltd.

On 22nd April 1910, the Army Council agreed that the Territorial Association could borrow £1610 for the purchase of land and erection of the Head Quarters of “F” (Horwich) Company of the 4th Loyal North Lancashire Regiment.

The Drill Hall was built by Mr E Yates of Herbert Street, Horwich, of Horwich Brick Works. Colonel Fraser of Liverpool designed the premises. In the main building there was room for Commissioned Officers and Non-Commissioned Officers. An armoury room, canteen for men, Drill Hall and an open-air Drill Yard.

On the 20th May 1911 at 5.00pm the New Territorial Barracks was opened by a Major General Bethune who commanded the West Lancashire Division of the Territorial, along with Major Packard.

A parade of the Horwich Company was led by the Chorley Regimental Band. They marched along Lee Lane, Chorley New Road and then back to the Barracks for inspection by General Bethune.

After the opening a recruiting campaign was launched at Longworth Road. Recruits were required to be aged 17 to 35 years and with a height of 5ft 4in or over.

The Territorial continued to use the Rifle Range at the L&Y Railway canteen in Gooch Street, Horwich.

On 8th August 1914, Horwich Chronicle reported that the Regiment were recalled from camp when World War I was declared on 4th August. Horwich Company only had a strength of 55 but 50 more men were recruited within 2 days. The article also reports that the men marched to the railway station from Longworth Road for the 4:17pm train to Preston where they were asked to volunteer for over seas duty. They landed at Boulogne in France on 3rd May 1915.

During the battle of Festubert, it is reported that 10 Horwich men were killed and 25 wounded. Around 1925, a new Rifle Rage was built on land adjacent to the Barracks on Beaumont Road. At the outbreak of World War II in 1939, the Platoon was naturally called up for active service.

After the war ended, for a period of 6 years (1941-1952) the Drill Hall was used by the 5th Battalion Loyal Army Cadets.

They were able to muster a Drum & Bugle Band. It is recorded that the unit was commanded by Major Duckworth who lived close by in Longworth Road.

Two twin tracked light armoured vehicles were housed in the Drill Hall. These twin Bren Gun Carriers were used as personnel carriers.

The Horwich Air Force Cadets were allowed to use the Drill Hall until the end of May 1958 when the Horwich Territorial Barracks closed its doors.

The Drill Hall was then taken over by Bolton Council and the building was used by Horwich Urban District Council for housing stores. Adjacent to the building was Horwich Town Council Yard on Longworth Road

In 1983 Horwich suffered from unemployment due to the effects of the closure of Horwich Loco Works.

By 1987/88 and after much consultation Horwich Town Council realised that there was a need for a base for local groups in the area. Around that period the former Barracks in Horwich was being vacated BMBC.

Horwich Town Council had some funds in reserve for future development use. BMBC who had, from an earlier investment in Manchester Airport, a dividend of £100,000. A proportion of this, £40,000, was earmarked to be sent in the outer districts of the borough, it was agreed that the Horwich element of the dividend along with Horwich Town Council reserve fund money would be used to refurbish the former barracks into what was known as Horwich Resource Centre. The Centre was opened in April 1991.

Many groups needed an outlet to focus on their activities and skills to increase the possibility of getting back to work. HUG (Horwich Unemployed Group) were one of the first users of the Centre enabling them to increase their own skills and be able to offer assistance to other groups.

Horwich Resource Centre also provided a base for a number of groups who has previously used the premises belonging to the Loco Works and to others who could not afford the expensive rentals of other venues.

Horwich Resource Centre is greatly supported financially Horwich Town Council, without their continued support, the Centre would not be able to survive.

The Centre was awarded a grant from the Big Lottery Fund to enable them to refurbish Phase II (The Old Rifle Range).

Horwich Town Council made a commitment to match fund a percentage of this grant and to provide sustainability for the future.

Horwich Heritage having had their exhibition in Room 4 since 1991 took over the Old Rifle Range in 2005 with a 15 year lease.

Re-branded in 2016 to Horwich Community Centre, T/A Horwich Resource Centre.

After much deliberation it was decided to refurbish the last available space, “The Saddlery” phase III.

The Saddlery was officially opened in April 2017.


The Mortuary

The Mortuary was opened in September 1962 with a loan of £3,500 from the Ministry of Housing and Local Government.

The unit had a cold room capable of storing up to 6 bodies, an adjoining post-mortem room with white porcelain table and sink and was available to pathologists. A viewing room and offices complete this part of the building.

Thirty-five fatalities were taken to this mortuary and also to the local Methodist School on Victoria Road on Winter Hill (27th February 1958).

This was the last time it was used and remained property of Bolton Council until being sold.

Now owned by SKiN by Stephanie.

Our Events

We have lots of different clubs, groups and societies for everyone and the centre hosts many activities, events and functions suitable for all age groups.

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