A FORGOTTEN corner of Farington has been transformed into a distinctive community garden with features recalling the toughest times of the cotton trade.
A 12-foot replica shuttle and seats in the form of old cotton reels are the focal point of the new garden at the junction of Mill Street and Stanifield Lane, which commemorates the 150th anniversary of the Lancashire Cotton Famine.
Local people came up with the concept for the garden and Farington Parish Council pushed forward the project, which was funded by the parish council, Lancashire Environmental Fund, Lancashire County Council and South Ribble Borough Council’s Central My Neighbourhood Forum.
The garden, which cost around £30,000, was unveiled on Sunday following a service of dedication at St Ambrose Church. After the service the Charnock Richard Brass Band led the people of Farington – including the oldest resident, 101-year-old Mrs Amy Dugdale – along Stanifield Lane to the garden where the commemoration and dedication service concluded with the singing of the Doxology, a hymn sung by the people of Farington when cotton returned in 1864.
A time capsule was also buried containing items contributed by people from Farington, including a book detailing the history of Farington mill, a Farington School prospectus, a scarf and badges from St Ambrose Scouts and many other donated items.
Mayor of South Ribble, Councillor Colin Clark, who opened the garden, said: “This is an excellent project and a really imaginative way to turn an overgrown piece of land into something which both represents the community and will be enjoyed by many people.
“We asked local residents and pupils at Farington Primary School what improvements they wanted to see and their ideas were included in the final design of the scheme, which celebrates the area’s historic links with the cotton industry.”
Councillor Mike Otter, of Farington Parish Council, added: “We realised there was an opportunity to improve this area and transform it into a place that would be a source of pride for people in Farington.
“I’m very pleased with the way it’s turned out and I’m very grateful to everyone who has contributed their ideas, help and funding to achieve this garden, which is a fine legacy of their personal efforts, and the fascinating history of this parish.”
Farington’s huge mill was built in 1834 in an area which, until then, was sparsely populated with agricultural workers and farm labourers. As a result houses were built exclusively for the new mill workers and Farington village began to develop. Unfortunately this meant that when the mill closed the whole village was affected.