Social History Museum

The Social History Collections contain thousands of objects representing the everyday and exceptional lives of local people from the 18th Century to the present day. It aims to cover aspects of the domestic and social lives of those for whom Rossendale was and is home.

The range of objects in the collection is vast and the overwhelming majority of items have been kindly donated to the museum. Limits on space mean that we can only display a small percentage of our collection at any one time, but the display are changed regularly. We have everything from small personal objects, such as the ‘Acorn’ nutmeg grater in the Domestic Items Cabinet, to a large collection of clogs showing the development of an important local industry. Incredibly, Rossendale still has one active clog maker!

There are relics from the Boer War, and the First and Second World Wars including, diaries, postcards, letters, medals, ration books and kit.

There is a cabinet of childhood that has items both made and used by local children. You can see, clothes, games, samplers, copy books, and school photographs.

The Music Cabinet contains several interesting items, most unusually a series of local, handmade instruments. These belonged to the Deigns of Laycock, a travelling band of musicians who went from chapel to chapel on Sundays to play their own music. 

This room also contains coins and tokens, both local and Roman.  A large collection of ceramic and glass (can you spot a ‘frog’ hiding in the bottom of a mug?) as well as a brief look at the history of our local mills. We also have displays that reference the history of transport and other local industries, and a collection of civic regalia. 

The collection provides a unique visual record of Rosendale’s transition from one of the King’s hunting forests in the 16th Century to no less than three 19th century industrial towns, Rawtenstall, Haslingden and Bacup, as well as many outlying villages and communities.