Tuesday, 26 July 2011

PEEK INTO THE PAST: Transport hub of Burnley town centre

OLD photos of the most familiar parts of Burnley town centre are very popular with readers of this series. I get the most questions and comments about this part of town so am always careful to be as accurate as possible with views like the one today.

As you can see, the image is of the part of St James’s Street, now pedestrianised, but formerly the bus station and, before that, the main stopping place for the trams. In fact, in this picture, something of the tram era survives though buses have taken over.
In the middle of the photo notice the clock. This, for many years, in both the tram and bus eras, was very much part of Burnley centre. It was vital for telling the time in an age when not everyone had their own watch and this clock regulated, in their days, the tram and bus timetables. Lots of Burnley people, and doubtless those from outside town, arranged to meet under the famous clock attached to the office of Burnley’s Tramways Department.
In the photo, if you look carefully, you will notice some of the buses are awaiting new passengers while parked at pedestrian islands. These islands were created in the tram era and it was once a common sight for as many as four trams to be parked next to each other in this part of St James’s Street. The street itself had been designed to be wider than the rest of the highway and it was here t Burnley’s Open Market was held once it had moved from Church Street in the 18th Century.



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