Hapton hidden history project boosted by £37,200 lottery cash

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A HISTORY group has received a £37,200 cash boost to keep the heritage of Hapton alive. The Hapton Heritage Group bid for Lottery funding to help unlock the hidden history of the village before it was lost forever.

Now, with the Heritage Lottery Fund cash, the group hopes to research and record Hapton’s ancient past and explore the growth of the area during the Industrial Revolution.

The village sprang up around the Leeds and Liverpool Canal in the 19th Century but has a much deeper history.

Hapton has a castle which was built at Castle Clough in 1242 and, in the 16th Century, the Towneley family built Hapton Tower –a fortified hunting lodge set in one of the region’s largest deer parks.

It was also the first village in the country to be powered by electricity, thanks to the Simpson brothers in 1886.

The Red Coats who fought in the Boer War used to train at a shooting range on Hameldon Hill in the 1800s and Ladysmith Quarry there is named after the Siege of Ladysmith in South Africa.

In March 1962, the village suffered a terrible tragedy at Hapton Colliery when a mine explosion killed 19 men and injured another 22.

It is this fascinating history that volunteers from the group hope to research and record for future generations.

Mrs Joan Lakeland, project manager for Hapton Heritage group, said: “We have a very hard working and enthusiastic group of residents and are very excited to have been granted the funding for our project.

“We are receiving help and support from several groups, including Burnley Film Makers, Lancashire Sound Archives, Burnley CVS, Padiham Archives and BBC Graphics Dept. Our findings will be published through brochures, information boards and aHapton Heritage website.”

Steve Butterfield, a member of the group, added: “We should be keeping the history of Hapton alive for future generations.”

Dr Jennie Stopford, Inspector of Ancient Monuments for Cheshire, Lancashire and Merseyside, said ‘English Heritage is extremely glad to support this excellent project, which will lead to a better understanding and appreciation of the rich history and heritage of Hapton. Congratulations are due to everyone involved.’

Sara Hilton, Head of HLF North West, said: ‘We are delighted to support this community project that will unlock the hidden, or forgotten, history of the village while giving local volunteers the chance to acquire skills in research, film making, IT and website creation”.

If anyone would like to join the group or submit information or photographs they would be very welcome. Contact Joan Lakeland on 01282 779690. heritaGe boost: Hapton Heritage Group will use their cash boost to unlock the area’s hidden history.