Earlier in our blog we posted three articles on Farnworth Park and how it was donated by a local family – The Barnes – in the 1860s, the opening ceremony, and Mr Gladstone’s speech. Below is a little background information about the town and the Barnes family.
The Progress of Farnworth
The progress of Farnworth is indicated by the following facts: The population in the year  was 1,439; in  it was 1,798; in  it was 2,044; in  it was 3,006; in  it was 4,829; in  it was 6,389; in  it was 8,720; and it is now about 10,000. (Today in 2012 the population is about 25,000).
The assessment to the poors’ rate which was in  only £2,709 was in  £14,509; in  £16,301; and is now about £25,000. Before the introduction of cotton spinning and manufactures the people of the district were very poor, and depended for subsistence mainly upon mining and farming.
Mr. J.R. Barnes, the father of Mr. Thomas Barnes, [M.P.], was the first to inaugurate a new order of things. He began business about 55 years ago, and employed then about 50 hand-loom weavers. The warehouse in which he commenced was comparatively a small building; but, in his case, the work of the diligent prospered. In  he erected a loom shop, in which he placed 192 looms, and a 14-horse power steam engine. In  a five-storey mill was built; and in  a second large mill at Dixon Green. In these buildings about 1,000 operatives found employment. Mr. Barnes was followed in these enterprises by the late firm of Joseph and Robert Lord, of Kearsley, and by these individuals the cotton trade, which has been so great an advantage to the district, was fostered and encouraged. There are now in the locality between 20 and 30 cotton mills, besides foundries, spindle shops, and other works, which give employment to upwards of 4,000 hands.
Excerpt from Proceedings at the Opening of Farnworth Park – 1864
Further Reading and External Links
Farnworth Park Archive Pictures