Happy anniversary! The borough of Chorley is now 140 years old

As the Chorley Guardian looks towards celebrating its 150th anniversary, Chorley as a borough that we recognise in 2021 is 10 years younger.

Thursday, 17th June 2021, 8:00 am
Updated Thursday, 17th June 2021, 8:51 am
50th anniversary souvenirs of the founding of the borough of Chorley. Picture courtesy of Stuart Clewlow
50th anniversary souvenirs of the founding of the borough of Chorley. Picture courtesy of Stuart Clewlow

The Chorley Guardian is featuring 150 stories about Chorley: Inspirational people, places that we love, or special moments in the life of the borough.

It's a countdown to our 150th anniversary on November 4 and we’re celebrating the community we’re proud to be a part of.

The Guardian isn't the only Chorley institution celebrating a special anniversary this year.

The ceremonial gavel and presentation box. Picture courtesy of Stuart Clewlow

June 17th marks the 140th anniversary of Chorley being recognised with borough status and the beginning of a form of local governance that has developed into the authority we know today.

On 25th May 1880, it was felt that an application should be made to incorporate the town and the following resolution was passed at a meeting of rate payers:

“That in the opinion of this meeting it is expedient to petition her Majesty to grant a charter of incorporation for the town of Chorley, and that the Chorley Improvement Commissioners be requested to take steps to obtain such a charter.”

A committee comprising of the following gentlemen was organised in order to consider the details of such a petition and to report to the Commissioners:

The Chorley Guardian is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year

Thomas Anderton, Thomas Forrester, Edward Lawrence, John Richmond, Thomas Saville, John Wareing and John Whitfield.

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Help us celebrate 150th anniversary by telling us why you're proud of Chorley

By July 1880, the committee had produced its findings and the clerk of the Chorley Improvement Commissioners was duly instructed to act upon the recommendations.

A further petition to progress the cause obtained 2,536 signatories of local householders and it was presented to Her Majesty’s government along with a scheme and proposal for the future government of the town.

The presentation box. Picture courtesy of Stuart Clewlow

Following a number of public meetings and enquiries, the case for Chorley’s incorporation was submitted in Spring 1881.

Chorley received its charter, incorporating the town as a borough on 17th June 1881 and later that year, in November, the first municipal elections were held.

The first Mayor of Chorley was Alderman Augustus W. Smethurst, JP.

At the time of the Golden Jubilee in 1931, the Mayor was Alderman Arnold Gillett, JP and he commissioned a number of commemorative items including, china ware, a silk handkerchief, and special jubilee book.

The plaque on the presentation box, mentioning the Chorley Guardian's centenary and gift to the council. Picture courtesy of Stuart Clewlow

To mark the centenary of the Chorley Guardian in 1971 and to also acknowledge the 90th anniversary of the borough, the newspaper presented the council with a ceremonial gavel and presentation box.

To this day, it is still kept on display in the Mayors Parlour inside Chorley Town Hall.

Chorley 150 countdown

Send in your suggestions for our stories to come in the next few months and let's celebrate 150 years together.

Whether its a person, a place, an event, a sporting moment email [email protected]

We'd love to hear from you.

More in our Chorley 150 series: