Longridge town centre
Longridge shown within Lancashire
|Population||7,546 (2001 Census)|
|OS grid reference|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|EU Parliament||North West England|
|UK Parliament||Ribble Valley|
Longridge is a small town and civil parish in the borough of Ribble Valley in Lancashire, England. It is situated 8 miles (13 km) north-east of the city of Preston, at the western end of Longridge Fell, a long ridge above the River Ribble. Its nearest neighbours are Grimsargh and the Roman town of Ribchester (Bremetennacum), 3.5 miles (6 km) to the southeast. The parish of Longridge had a population of 7,546 recorded in the 2001 census.
Longridge initially developed outwards from an area around St. Lawrence's Church, at the boundary of the townships of Dilworth and Alston and to the south of the modern-day town centre. Though there was a thoroughfare called 'Market Place', there was no development around that area. Most of the development of the town occurred after 1800. After this time, development occurred at a much faster pace, with expansion northwards including a mill to the north of Kestor Lane.
The demand for stone from Longridge's quarries led to the opening of the Preston and Longridge Railway in 1840 to carry the stone away, for use in such places as Lancaster town hall and Liverpool Docks. The arrival of the railway led to the opening of several cotton mills and the town grew considerably larger from the mid-19th century. The mills and quarries have now all closed, although stone quarried in the town was used to construct the M55 motorway in the 1970s. One of the quarries was used as Longridge motor-racing circuit between 1973 and 1978. Longridge railway station closed to passengers in 1930, and the railway was dismantled in 1967. The station buildings were then used as offices for the parish council until 2010 when the Longridge Town Council began a project to renovate and reopen the buildings to the public with help from the Lottery Heritage Fund. The Longridge Station is now managed by Longridge Social Enterprise Company and is home to a heritage centre, the Old Station Cafe and has various business facilities available.
The appearance of the town centre has changed little from when it was first built. Many of the buildings are built of locally quarried sandstone and despite more modern developments the town centre remains largely as it was when it was first developed. The town itself has expanded since the closure of the quarries with the building of new housing estates, as well as council housing.
The town is home to 11 pubs, several restaurants, a public library, and a number of primary and high schools. It is also home to an Air Training Corps squadron. and an Army Cadet Force detachment. Longridge is also the location of Alston Hall, a residential adult education college operated by Lancashire Adult Learning. The local football club, Longridge Town FC, has two senior teams and plays in the West Lancashire Football League. Its ground and clubhouse are situated off Inglewhite Road, behind the Alston Arms. As of 2011, Longridge has its own monthly farmers' market.
Longridge Field Day is a long standing annual event that consists of a parade through the town and various attractions being held on the town's recreational playing field. It donates money to a different local charity each year. The Field Day organisers also run a pram race through the town, usually on Boxing Day each year, to raise funds for both the Field Day and a local charity.
John Farnworth, a freestyle footballer; Alan Kelly, footballer who played for the Irish national team along with Preston North End; Andrew Miller, who currently plays cricket for Warwickshire (all of which were students at the local Catholic High School, St Cecilias RC High School). Actress Christina Chong lived here and trained at the Sutcliffe School of Dance.
- "Parish headcount". Lancashire County Council. Retrieved 2009-01-10.
- Lancashire County Council (June 2006). "Longridge Historic Town Assessment Report" (PDF). http://www.lancscc.gov.uk. Retrieved 2006-06-01.
- The Longridge Station
- County Library and Information Service: Longridge Home Page
- 143 (Longridge) SQN
- "Christina’s acting star is rising". Longridge News. 8 August 2011. Retrieved 27 February 2013.