Ormskirk Historical Events Timeline




850 A Viking called ‘Orm’ builds a church on a high spot at the edge of the marsh.
1124 Burscough Priory founded by Robert Fitzhenry de Lathom. It would have been a large and impressive   monastery and held land all over Lancashire but at its dissolution 1532 it only had a prior, 5 monks and 40 dependents.
1286 Edward I awards a Charter to the monks of Burscough Priory to hold a market in Ormskirk.
1359 Black Death probably affects Ormskirk.
1435 Spire first built at Parish Church.
1496 Lathom House develops as one of the biggest and grandest houses in the country.
1496 Henry VII visits Lathom House – worships at Ormskirk Parish Church.
1538 Henry VIII dissolves the monasteries – the Charter for Ormskirk market passed to Earl of Derby.
1542 West Tower built at Parish Church to house the bells from Burscough Priory.
1600 Map shows Ormskirk developed as a cluster of buildings around the Cross.
1614 Ormskirk Grammar School founded.
1617 James I passes Ormskirk Cross on his way to Lathom House en route to take up the throne.
1644/45 Lathom House besieged by Parliament Forces.
1646 Parliament Forces destroy Lathom House.
1648 Earl of Derby captured by Parliament Forces and beheaded at Bolton – he is buried in Ormskirk Parish Church.
1661 Countess of Derby presents font to Ormskirk Parish Church to celebrate restoration.
1743 Road between Preston and Liverpool improved and Turnpiked 1770.
1751 First post passes through Ormskirk from Liverpool to Preston. Stagecoaches would be passing along   Aughton Street – Burscough Street – Coaching inns like the Buck ‘ith Vine would date from this period.
1779 Town Hall built – the original building is still there at the bottom of Church Street.
1796 Dispensary established.
1800 Population probably about 6,000. A small market town with a range of small scale industries -brewing, flax and silk weaving, hat and glove making, rope making, blacksmith, coopers, foundry.
1820 First Bank opened – savings bank in Lydiate Lane (renamed Derby Street in 1890).
1830 Dr. Brandreth opens a dispensary in Burscough Street – this building is now the Farmer’s Club.
1834 Congregational Church built in Chapel Street.
1835 Gas works built in Aughton Street – first gas lamps C 1840.
1848/49 Railway comes to Ormskirk. The Railway Company buys land from the Grammar School to build the station and railway yard.
1849 Grammar School moves to Ruff Lane – new building opened.
1850 Girls’ National school extended in Lydiate Lane.
1851 Social conditions in Ormskirk at this time are pretty hard with little or no sanitation or piped water. There is much overcrowding with the town being very compact.
1850 Sessions House, magistrates court and police building opened in Lydiate Lane – cost £2,200.
1851 St. Annes RC Church is built just outside the then town boundary because of the Anglican domination.
1851 Local Board of Health established and replaced Court Leet as main body of Local Government.
1851 Ormskirk Advertiser established. An excellent Local Newspaper and an asset to the town.
1853 Workhouse built in Wigan Road now Ormskirk General Hospital.
1853 Water piped to houses for the first time.
1854 Public Library opens in Church Street.
1868 Working Men’s Institute is opened by the Rt. Hon. Lord Skelmersdale, later to become Earl of Lathom – situated at junction of St. Helens Road and Moor Street.
1870 Market Charter passes to the Local Authority.
1876 Clock Tower is built by the Court Leet with money raised partly by public subscription and partly using the balance of funds on the dissolution of this body.
1876/8 Emmanuel Church is completed.
1884 Statue of Lord Beaconsfield (Disraeli) is unveiled by Earl of Lathom.
1885 Prince of Wales visits Ormskirk.
1894 Local Government Reform. Ormskirk Urban District and West Lanes Rural District established within   Lancashire County Council.
1890 Victoria Park established.
1870/90 Major restoration of Parish Church undertaken.
1896 Brandreth Hospital opened.
1900 Population C.6,500 Ormskirk Town. During the 19C. Ormskirk has remained a small market town with a wide range of small scale industries, while the towns around have grown dramatically. St. Helens has increased in population from 4,000 in 1821 to 85,000 in 1901, Southport from practically nil population 1801 to 60,000 in 1900. Liverpool from 77,000 in 1801 to 700,000 in 1900.
1900 Drill Hall in Southport Road is opened.
1900 Derby Street West is created and the name of Lydiate Lane is changed to Derby Street.
1913 Railway line to Liverpool is electrified – commuting to Liverpool begins in earnest. The development of   Aughton really stems from this point.
1921 Population Ormskirk Town 7,400.
1920 County Road is built to take the Liverpool – Preston Road round Ormskirk. County Road then passes through open fields well to the west of the town.
1931 Population – Ormskirk Town 9,400.
1933 Edge Hill College is opened.
1944 Education Act. Post-war period sees many new schools open in response to increased population and general trends in Education as new Schools replace the Board Schools of the 19C. e.g. Greetby Hill, West End, St. Anne’s, St. Bedes.
1948 National Health Service – Wigan Road Hospital developed from 19C workhouse origin.
1951 Population – Ormskirk Town 10,350.
1962 Skelmersdale designated as a New Town.
1961 Population – Ormskirk Town 10,600.
1960’s Traffic problems in Ormskirk town centre as in every other centre became acute. Various traffic management schemes introduced and eventually through traffic diverted from the ‘cross’. Much redevelopment of town centre. Many old buildings replaced by new shops, car parks.
1970s Drill Hall becomes Public Hall. Ormskirk baths opened. Cinemas close.
1971 Population: Ormskirk Town 14,300. West Lanes Planning Dept. consider that 80% of the population growth   in the period 1961-71 has been caused by people buying newly built private houses in and around Ormskirk.
1974 Local Government reorganised. Ormskirk Urban District Council and West Lanes Rural District Council combine with others to form West Lanes District Council.
1981 Population: Ormskirk town C. 15000. Ormskirk originally developed as a market town with a wide range of small scale industries. The market still attracts many visitors and brings income to the town. Ormskirk is now the service centre for the West Lanes area with the main employment locally being Local Government, Education, the Health Service, shops and offices in the town centre. Ormskirk is also a nice place to live and many people live here and work elsewhere. Commuting is now large scale with people travelling both into and out of the town to live and work.


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