P is for parliamentary elections

The issue of parliamentary representation mirrors that of local government, with the Springhill area, and Rossendale of which it is part, often being lumped with other areas with which it has little geographical or cultural connection. The notion of there being ‘two bits of moor’ between parts of the same administrative area holds just as well for national as for local government (see ‘L is for...’).

The 1832 Great Reform Act resulted in the creation of North Lancashire and South Lancashire constituencies. These were formed on the old Hundreds, with Balckburn in North Lancs and Salford in South Lancs. The boundary line was along the River Irwell with Rossendale split between different constituencies. Only one bit of moor lies between Springhill and the main towns of Blackburn (12 miles) and Burnley (8 miles).

Rossendale constituency was formed 1885 containing Rawtenstall, Bacup and Haslindgen with Ramsbottom being added in 1950.

The 1892 by-election was won by the Liberal candidate John Maden (a local mill owner and Methodist) over the Liberal Unionist Candidate Sir Thomas Brooks (a local colliery/quarry owner and C of E). It was strongly contested on the issue of Irish Home Rule. Charles Patrick of Springhill (‘F is for...”) came out in support of Brooks. Maden’s victory by 1225 votes was reported in Australian press as causing a deep gloom on the British Unionists nationally. Maden resigned his seat in 1899.

In 1983 Rossendale was added with Darwen (yes, two bits of moor away with no direct road) to form Rossendale and Darwen.

The constituency has always been marginal and is on most of the ‘must win’ lists of parties aspiring to power.

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