Blaze destroys buildings on the same site 87 years earlier

Liveseys Undertakers
Liveseys Undertakers
Share this article

A devastating blaze which razed a large section of Chorley town centre will go down in history.

But a similar blaze, which happened 87 years earlier has already carved out its own place in town history - and it happened on exactly the same spot.

The fire, which destroyed the Amalfi restaurant, Cash Converters store, and the former Bon Marche on Cleveland Street on Thursday, March 29, bears a striking resemblance to that which destroyed the stables of what was then known as Livesey’s Undertakers.

Chris Livesey, who owns what is now known as Livesey’s Funeral Directors, explained the blaze, which started off Market Street where the company kept their horses.

He said: “It was 1925 and a fire started in the stables of Livesey’s Undertakers.

“The stables were at the rear of what was the Royal oak pub, and now opposite what is now Nigel Clare Menswear.

“The fire started in the early hours and the funeral hackney horses kicked their way out, or were hastily released, and then galloped down St Thomas’s Road and Southport Road.

“They were later found safe at the cemetery gates.

“The local solicitor’s vehicles among them were also lost in the flames.”

The funeral service company was then owned by Benjamin Livesey, Chris’s great-grand father.

In those days, the company owned their own horses which were used in processions as well as a number of cars. The company bought their first motorcar in 1923.

It was for this reason that they became the proud owners of one of the first petrol pumps in Chorley in the 1920s.

Chris said: “When horses were preceded by other vehicles in 1920s if you needed petrol you got a petrol pump.

“The pump became a petrol station and the business was expanding. Had a petrol pump from 1925 up until 1994.” The stables were later rebuilt after being completely destroyed by the blaze.

The site, at the corner of Cleveland Street and Market Street, is now derelict after demolition crews dismantled what was left of the burnt-out buildings.

It is not yet known what will happen to the site.