LETTER: Burnley’s own ‘Little Rome’ in the 1800s

AS a former pupil of St Mary’s Infants’ School in the mid-1940s I was interested to read Peek Into The Past number 663 by Roger Frost concerning Burnley’s Catholic community.

During my time at the school the road that ran past the convent was known as the Broad Walk.

The building Roger Frost refers to was known as the assembly rooms and was built from the stone of Burnley Wood Catholic Chapel which was demolished after the opening of St Mary’s Church in 1849. Burnley Wood Catholic Chapel stood on the site between Leven Street and Tarleton Avenue. The land was presented by Peregrine Edward Towneley. The rectory of the chapel still exists and is known as Towneley Villa. A nearby large dwelling, Tarleton House, was built by a Catholic land agent of the Towneleys, Edward Lovat. He had a son who became a Catholic priest. This area of Todmorden Road in the 19th Century was known as little Rome.