Online Encyclopedia

LANCASHIRE

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V16, Page 140 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
Spread the word: del.icio.us del.icio.us it!
LANCASHIRE, a north-western county of England, bounded N.E. by Westmorland, E. by Yorkshire, S. by Cheshire, W. by the Irish Sea and N.W. by Cumberland. The area is 1880.2 sq. m., the county being the sixth in size in England. The coast is generally flat, and broken by great inlets, with wide expanses of sandy foreshore at low tide. The chief inlets, from N. to S., are—the estuary of the river Duddon, which, with the river itself, separates the county from Cumberland; Morecambe Bay; and the estuaries of the Ribble and the Mersey. Morecambe Bay receives the rivers Crake and Leven in a common estuary, and the Kent from Westmorland; while the Lune and the Wyre discharge into Lancaster Bay, which is only partially separated from Morecambe Bay by the promontory of Red Nab. Morecambe Bay also detaches from the rest of the county the district of Furness (q.v.), extending westward to the Duddon, and having off its coast the island of Walney, 8 m. in length, and several small isles within the strait between Walney and the mainland. The principal seaside resorts and watering-places, from S. to N., are Southport, Lytham, St Anne's-on-the-Sea, Blackpool, Fleetwood and Morecambe; while at the head of Morecambe Bay are several pleasant villages frequented by visitors, such as Arnside and Grange. Of the rivers the Mersey (q.v.), separating the county from Cheshire, is the principal, and receives from Lancashire the Irwell, Sankey and other small streams. The Ribble, which rises in the mountains of the West Riding of Yorkshire, forms for a few miles the boundary with that county, and then flows S.W. to Preston, receiving the Hodder from the N. and the Calder and Darwen from the S. Lancashire has a share in two of the English districts most famous for their scenery, but does not include the finest part of either. Furness, entirely hilly except for a narrow coastal tract, extends N. to include the southern part of the Lake District (q.v.); it contains Coniston Lake and borders Winder-mere, which are drained respectively by the Leven and Crake, with some smaller lakes and such mountains as the Old Man and Wetherlam. Another elevated district, forming part of a mountainous chain stretching from the Scottish border, covered by the name of Pennine uplands in its broader application, runs along the whole eastern boundary of the main portion of the county, and to the south of the Ribble occupies more than half the area, stretching west nearly to Liverpool. The moorlands in the southern district are generally bleak and covered with heather. Towards the north the scenery is frequently beautiful, the green rounded elevated ridges being separated by pleasant cultivated valleys variegated by woods and watered by rivers. None of the summits of the range within Lancashire attains an elevation of 2000 ft., the highest being Blackstone Edge (1323 ft.), Pendle Hill (1831 ft.) and Boulsworth Hill (1700 ft.). Along the sea-coast from the Mersey to Lancaster there is a continuous plain formerly occupied by peat mosses, many of which have been reclaimed. The largest is Chat Moss between Liverpool and Manchester. In some instances these mosses have exhibited the phenomenon of a moving bog. A large district in the north belonging to the duchy of Lancaster was at one time occupied by forests, but these have wholly disappeared, though their existence is recalled in nomenclature, as in the Forest of Rossendale, near the Yorkshire boundary somewhat south of the centre. Geology.—The greater part of Lancashire, the central and eastern portions, is occupied by Carboniferous rocks; a broad belt of Triassic strata fringes the west and south; while most of the detached northern portion is made up of Silurian and Ordovician formations. The Carboniferous system includes the great coal-field in which are gathered all the principal manufacturing towns, Colne, Burnley, Blackburn, Chorley, Wigan, Bolton, Preston, Oldham, Rochdale and Manchester. In the centre of the coal-field is an elevated moor-land tract formed of the grits and shales of the Millstone Grit series. Part of the small coal-field of Ingleton also lies within the county. Between these two coal basins there is a moderately hilly district in which grits and black shales predominate, with a broad tract of limestone and shales which are well exposed in the quarries at Clitheroe and at Longridge, Chipping, Whalley and Downham. The limestone again appears in the north at Bolton-le-Sands, Burton-in-Kendall, Grange, Ulverston and Dalton-in-Furness. Large pockets of rich iron ore are worked in the limestone in the Furness district. The belt of Trias includes the Bunter sandstone and conglomerate, which ranges from Barrow-in-Furness, through Garstang, Preston, Ormskirk, Liverpool, Warrington and Salford; and Keuper marls, which underlie the surface between the Bunter outcrop and the sea. On the coast there is a considerable development of blown sand between Blackpool and Lytham and between Southport and Sea-forth. North of Broughton-in-Furness, Ulverston and Cartmel are the Silurian rocks around Lakes Windermere and Coniston Water, including the Coniston grits and flags and the Brathay flags. These rocks are bounded by the Ordovician Coniston limestone, ranging north-east and south-west, and the volcanic series of Borrowdale. A good deal of the solid geology is obscured in many places by glacial drift, boulder clay and sands. The available coal supply of Lancashire has been estimated at about five thousand millions of tons. In 1852 the amount raised was 8,225,000 tons; in 1899 it was 24,387,475 tons. In the production of coal Lancashire vies with Yorkshire, but each is about one-third below Durham. There are also raised in large quantities—fireclay, limestone, sandstone, slate and salt, which is also obtained from brine. The red hematitic iron obtained in the Furness district is very valuable, but is liable to decrease. The district also produces a fine blue slate. Metals, excepting iron, are unimportant. Climate and Agriculture.—The climate in the hilly districts is frequently cold, but in the more sheltered parts lying to the south and west it is mild and genial. From its westerly situation and the attraction of the hills there is a high rainfall in the hilly districts (e.g. at Bolton the average is 58.71 in.), while the average for the other districts is about 35. The soil after reclamation and drainage is fertile; but, as it is for the most part a strong clayey loam it requires a large amount of labour. In some districts it is more of a peaty nature, and in the Old Red Sandstone districts of the Mersey there is a tract of light sandy loam, easily worked, and well adapted for wheat and potatoes. In many districts the ground has been rendered unfit for agricultural operations by the rubbish from coal-pits. A low proportion (about seven-tenths) of the total area is under cultivation, and of this nearly three-fourths is in permanent pasture, cows being largely kept for the supply of milk to the towns, while in the uplands many sheep are reared. In addition to the cultivated area, about 92,000 acres are under hill pasturage. A gradual increase is noticeable in the acreage under oats, which occupy more than seven-tenths of the area under grain crops, and in that under wheat, to the exclusion of the cultivation of barley. Of green crops the potato is the chief. Industries and Trade.—South Lancashire is the principal seat of the cotton manufacture in the world, the trade centring upon Manchester, Oldham and the neighbouring densely populated district. It employs upwards of 400,000 operatives. The worsted, woollen and silk manufactures, flax, hemp and jute industries, though of less importance, employ considerable numbers. Non-textile factories employ about 385,000 hands. The manufacture of machines, appliances, conveyances, tools, &c., are very important, especially in supplying the needs of the immense weaving and spinning industries. For the same purpose there is a large branch of industry in the manufacture of bobbins from the wood grown in the northern districts of the county. Of industries principally confined to certain definite centres there may be mentioned—the manufacture of iron and steel at Barrow-in-Furness, a town of remarkably rapid growth since the middle of the 19th century; the great glass works at St Helens; the watch-making works at Prescot and the leather works at Warrington. Printing, bleaching and dyeing works, paper and chemical works, india-rubber and tobacco manufactures are among the chief of the other resources of this great industrial region. Besides the port of Liverpool, of world-wide importance, the principal ports are Manchester, brought into communication with the sea by the Manchester Ship Canal opened in 1894, Barrow-in-Furness and Fleetwood, while Preston and Lancaster have docks and a considerable shipping trade by the rivers Lune and Ribble respectively. The sea fisheries, for which Fleetwood and Liverpool are the chief ports, are of considerable value. 1 g 1 5 B ) ?''',es Communications.—Apart from the Manchester Ship Canal, canal-traffic plays an important part in the industrial region. In 176o the Sankey canal, 10 m. long, the first canal opened in Britain (apart from very early works), was constructed to carry coal from St Helens to Liverpool. Shortly afterwards the duke of Bridgewater projected the great canal from Manchester across the Irvell to Worsley, completed in 1761 and bearing the name of its originator. The Leeds and Liverpool canal, begun in 1770, connects Liverpool and other important towns with Leeds by a circuitous route of 130 M. The other principal canals are the Rochdale, the Manchester (to Huddersfield) and the Lancaster, connecting Preston and Kendal. A short canal connects Ulverston with Morecambe Bay. A network of rail-ways covers the industrial region. The main line of the London and North Western railway enters the county at Warrington, and runs north through Wigan, Preston, Lancaster and Carnforth. It also serves Liverpool and Manchester, providing the shortest route to each of these cities from London, and shares with the Lancashire and Yorkshire company joint lines to Southport, to Blackpool and to Fleetwood, whence there is regular steamship communication with Belfast. The Lancashire and Yorkshire line serves practically all the important centres as far north as Preston and Fleetwood. Allthe northern trunk lines from London have services to Manchester and Liverpool. The Cheshire Lines system, worked by a committee of the Great Northern, Great Central and Midland companies, links their systems with the South Lancashire district generally, and maintains lines between Liverpool and Manchester, both these cities with Southport, and numerous branches. Branches of the Midland railway from its main line in Yorkshire serve Lancaster, Morecambe, and Heysham and Carnforth, where connexion is made with the Furness railway to Ulverston, Barrow, Lake Side, Coniston, &c. Population and Administration.—The area of the ancient county is 1,203,365 acres. Its population in'i8or was 673,486; in 1891, 3,926,760; and in 1901, 4,406,409. The area of the administrative county is 1,196,753 acres. The distribution of the industrial population may be best appreciated by showing the parliamentary divisions, parliamentary, county and municipal boroughs and urban districts as placed among the four divisions of the ancient county. In the case of urban districts 1 the name of the great town to which each is near or adjacent follows where necessary. The figures show population in 1901.
End of Article: LANCASHIRE
[back]
LANARKSHIRE
[next]
LANCASTER

Additional information and Comments

There are no comments yet for this article.
» Add information or comments to this article.
Please link directly to this article:
Highlight the code below, right click and select "copy." Paste it into a website, email, or other HTML document.