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Nelson, Lancashire facts for kids

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Marsden Park.jpg
Marsden Park, Nelson
Area 4.64 km2 (1.79 sq mi)
Population 29,135 (2011 Census)
• Density 16,187/sq mi (6,250/km2)
OS grid reference SD856376
• London 184 miles (296 km) SSE
  • Pendle
Shire county
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town NELSON
Postcode district BB9
Dialling code 01282
Police Lancashire
Fire Lancashire
Ambulance North West
EU Parliament North West England
UK Parliament
  • Pendle
Website Pendle Borough Council
List of places
LancashireCoordinates: 53°50′05″N 2°13′05″W / 53.8346°N 2.2180°W / 53.8346; -2.2180

Nelson is a town and civil parish in the Borough of Pendle in Lancashire, England, with a population of 29,135 in 2011. It is 4 miles (6.4 km) north of Burnley on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal.

It developed as a mill town during the Industrial Revolution, but has today lost much of its industry and is characterised by pockets of severe deprivation and some of the lowest house prices in the country.


An Iron Age hillfort called Castercliff is on a hill to the east of the town. The area was historically known as Marsden. The modern town spans two townships of the ancient parish of Whalley. Little Marsden was on the southwest of Walverden Water, its lands considered part of the manor of Ightenhill and Great Marsden to the northeast, part of the manor of Colne. Great Marsden included the southern parts of Colne, and Little Marsden included all of modern-day Brierfield. Walverden Water joins Pendle Water next to Nelson & Colne College, that river formed the boundary of the Forest of Pendle. Both the manors and forest where parts of the Honour of Clitheroe. The forest of Pendle was made famous by the Pendle witch trials of 1612. One of the accused in the less well-known witch trails of 1634, Margaret Johnson, confessed that she first met her familiar in Marsden.

A small mill had been established by the Ecroyd family at Edge End as early as 1740, and there were two coal mines nearby, but it was the coming of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal in 1796, followed by the East Lancashire Railway Line in 1849, that spurred its development as an industrial town, with an economy based mainly upon cotton weaving. The first Ordnance Survey map of the area, published in 1848 shows three small villages; Marsden (around St Paul's church), and Hebson and Bradley, both on Walverden Water in the modern-day centre of town. Also apparent are the estates of Marsden Hall to the east and Carr Hall across Pendle Water to the northwest. And the turnpike roads of the Marsden, Gisburn and Long Preston trust (Scotland Road) heading north and the Blackburn, Addingham and Cocking End trust (Manchester Road) heading east. Brierfield railway station was originally called Marsden and Nelson railway station became known as the Nelson Inn, Great Marsden, after the adjacent public house, the Lord Nelson Inn (named after Admiral Lord Nelson). As the villages developed into a town, the name Nelson was chosen to differentiate it from Marsden across the Pennines in the neighbouring county of Yorkshire (West Riding).

Queen Street Mill - Tandem Compound 5479
An 1895 stationary steam engine built by William Roberts & Co of Nelson installed at Queen Street Mill Textile Museum, Burnley

There was a worsted mill at Lomeshaye close to a "cotton factory" and another cotton mill along the canal at Reedyford by 1848. Walverden Mill in Leeds Road was built in 1850, and was soon followed by others. From 1862, Phoenix Foundry, the steam engine factory of William Roberts stood at the site of the shopping centre's car park, and has been called "Nelson's most significant engineering site". The town became associated in the 20th century with the production of confectionery as well, including Jelly Babies and Victory V and was where the package holiday company Airtours (formerly Pendle Travel and now part of Thomas Cook) began life as an independent travel agent. The textile industry, in particular, has now sharply declined, leaving the town with low property prices and higher than average unemployment.


Year 1911 1921 1931 1939 1951 1961 1971 2001 2011
Population 39,479 39,841 38,304 34,803 34,384 32,292 31,286 28,998 29,135
Bradley Ward
Council houses in Bradley ward

The United Kingdom Census 2011 showed a total resident population for Nelson of 29,135. The town forms part of the Burnley-Nelson urban area, which has an estimated population of 149,796; for comparison purposes, this is about the same size as Huddersfield or Oxford.

The racial composition of the town in 2011 was 57.8% White (53.6% White British), 40.4% Asian, 0.1% Black, 1.5% Mixed and 0.2% Other. The largest religious groups are Christian (39.0%) and Muslim (37.6%).

59.02% of adults between the ages of 16 and 74 are classed as economically active and in work.


Nelson is served by Junction 13 of the M65 motorway, which runs west to Burnley, Accrington, Blackburn and Preston, and northeast to Colne. From the town centre, the A56 runs southwest to the M65 at Brierfield and northeast to Colne and beyond, while the A682 – Britain's most dangerous road – heads north into the Yorkshire Dales.

In November 1969, a multi-storey car park with space for 350 cars was opened in Nelson.

In December 2008, the town's new bus and rail interchange was opened at a site which used the existing railway station. The new interchange facility cost £4.5 million and included enhancements such as cycle stands, taxi and car drop off facilities, electronic information displays, a direct link to the railway station including a passenger lift and an enclosed passenger concourse with 10 bus stands.

Rail services to and from Nelson are provided by Northern. The Interchange has an hourly stopping service west to Blackpool South via Blackburn and Preston, and east to Colne.

The main bus operator in Nelson is Transdev, Burnley & Pendle, although Tyrer Bus operate some services. National Express operates one coach service to London Victoria Coach Station each day from the Interchange. The town has good bus links into Burnley and then on to Manchester, compensating for the lack of a frequent rail link: X43 Witch Way service (operated by Transdev, Burnley & Pendle) runs from Skipton via Colne, M65, Burnley and Rawtenstall to Manchester city centre, using a fleet of specially-branded double-decker buses with leather seats and WiFi.


The town is home to several parks the most notable of which are Victoria Park and Marsden Park. The recently opened Arts, Culture and Enterprise Centre (The ACE Centre) [1] provides the residents with a new multi-purpose venue and incorporates a cinema, theatre and bistro. The Heritage Trust for the North West have numerous campaigns and projects in the area. One of which has seen the restoration and conservation of a whole street of Victorian workers housing, a former primary school and cotton mill, as it was feared that the Industrial Heritage of the town was at risk. St Mary's Church is also another major project in the town, which is planned to open as an exhibition centre in Summer 2012.

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