Historic Colne buildings lost through civic vandaliam

Welcome one and all to our column and here to celebrate is a truly superb scene of Church Street in Bonnie Colne captured in the spring of 1956.

TIME-HONOURED VENUES: Church Street, Colne, spring 1956. (S)
TIME-HONOURED VENUES: Church Street, Colne, spring 1956. (S)

This was the Colne of my youth before the fools in high places wiped out centuries of historic places and time-honoured buildings.

These overpaid poltroons destroyed, between 1955 and 1959, almost every emblematic structure from the south side of Church Street, including the irreplaceable ones seen here in today’s rare photo.

Yes, here in the sun, opposite a most spectacular array of daffodils in the parish church grounds, are the now lost Colne buildings of yesteryear. Firstly, in the far distance is my old teacher from Primet Secondary School and England and Lancashire cricketer Alan Wharton’s much-loved sports shop at 9 Church Street.

A little further down to No. 17 and we see Colne’s very last bow-fronted shop of them all. Here in these ancient walls I had my very first proper haircut in 1947 by the genial Cecil Rycroft.


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Down now to the Edwardian huge hostelries of the Parker’s Arms Inn and the Fleece Inn, both rebuilt from the original 1665 buildings in 1905.

At the time of our picture, these now closed pubs were Fred Smith’s auctioneers, Ernest Cowgill’s newsagents and the food office.

By the summer of 1956 the bull-dozers had moved in and the tragic civic vandalism began.