The Holcombe Hunt met at the White Horse until relatively recent times,the Hunting Act of 2004 banned the use of hounds to pursue and kill wild animals.
A move was made in 2017 to repeal the act but due to lack of support the proposal was withdrawn by Theresa May following the Tories poor election performance.
William Turner was a main driving force behind the development of Helmshore. Living at Flaxmoss House,Turner owned 4 mills; Higher Mill,Middle Mill (later the site of the Airtours business)Tanpits and Bridge End. Six members of his family had purchased land to build Higher Mill on for £725 in February 1789(about £56,000 in todays value.)
Turner was instrumental in bringing the railways to Helmshore.An insurance payout of £5,000 due to a fire at Higher Mill enabled the mill owner to build a railway spur to serve his mills.
He was also a great influence in the construction of Holden Wood reservoir in 1840.The close proximity of Higher Mill to the reservoir ensured a constant water supply for his manufacturing needs!
A local magistrate he was known to be rather severe on any of his 2,000 employees who appeared before him,actually imprisoning those employees he thought guilty of shoddy work! It should be noted however that the money raised in fines was donated to St.Stephen’s School.
As well as mill owner Turner also owned the houses where his employees lived,this of course was another method of “man management”; lose your job and lose your home.
On the plus side he largely funded the building of St.Thomas’s church, paying £2,000,towards the construction. He further donated £400 for the eight church bells( naming seven after his surviving daughters) and also purchased the church organ.
Following Turner’s death on 23rd.March 1852 the consecration of the church was brought forwards and Turner became the first person to be buried there on the 25th.March 1852.
His estate including 140 workers cottages was auctioned off at the Turners Arms Inn(Station Hotel.)
After his death he had no male heir having eleven daughters,the mills soon closed causing mass unemployment and a migration of Helmshore mill workers left the area to seek other employment.
On the 4th. September 1860 there was a railway accident between Snig Hole and the Ogden viaduct.
Three special excursion trains had been organised to take some 3,000 people from Helmshore to visit the Belle Vue Gardens.
One train with some 1,000 passengers had stopped to disembark passengers, on releasing the brakes to continue the journey,16 of the carriages became detached from the rest of the train and began to run downhill towards Ramsbottom.
Despite efforts to warn an oncoming train, the runaway carriages collided with the approaching train .The resulting crash killed 11 people with a further 77 injured.
The injured were taken to the Turner Arms Inn(Station Hotel) for treatment.The Inn was also the venue for the inquest into the fatal accident.
The resulting investigation ruled that a combination of defective couplings , inadequate braking power and an overloaded train combined to bring about the resulting disaster.