17th Century Swinden Hall lost forever

CHARMING HOME: Swinden Hall in the summer of 1963. (S)
CHARMING HOME: Swinden Hall in the summer of 1963. (S)
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This week’s column brings a rare 50-year-old picture of a 17th Century building that has today, sadly, gone forever.

Yes, captured here in the summer of 1963, is the splendid Swinden Hall, which had proudly stood by the Nelson and Colne boundary for centuries.

This historic photo is from the archive of Margaret Foster, whose family had the nearby Long Swinden Farm for many years.

Margaret has a most special claim to fame. For back in the year 1956, while at Primet School, she and her classmate Roger Cookson became the very first secondary school pupils in Lancashire to take GCE exams.

Margaret was highly delighted to gain eight passes in these inaugural GCE exams for non-grammar school pupils.

As for Swinden Hall, by the time this picture was taken its days were numbered, the last occupants being Harold and Harriet Birtwistle. Along with the Foster family home, Long Swinden Farm was bulldozed to the ground.

In the year 1951, the Ministry of Housing and Local Government issued a list of local buildings that were of architectural and historic interest and should be preserved.

Here are a few names on the list: Cloth Hall, Alkincoates Hall, Emmott Hall, Swinden Hall – all now gone forever, with only photos and memories remaining.