Book charts history of two villages

Whittingham Hospital
Whittingham Hospital
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A book charting the history of two villages on the outskirts of Preston is being written by a local author.

Janet Rigby, who has already had two books published about the Lancaster Canal, is now working on a book looking back at Whittingham and Goosnargh.

And the 68-year-old is now calling on anyone with memories or photographs of the villages to get in touch.

Janet lived in Whittingham until she was 14, and has strong family links to the areas.

She said: “It’s only a small place, but there is so much history to it.

“My parents Eddie and Mollie Smithson, my grandfather George Foden and several members of his family were employed at some time in their lives at the asylum, including my great grandfather who came from Cheshire to work as farm bailiff at the newly opened asylum in the 1870s.

“My grandfather George Foden was well known in Goosnargh and lived in Makinson Row, Church Lane, thought to be the second oldest house in the village dating from 1669 - formerly a handloom weavers cottage.

“Goosnargh area is rich in history, in the 19th century two books were published, Henry Fishwick’s History of the Parochial Chapelry of Goosnargh and Richard Cookson’s Goosnargh Past and Present.

“Other short books have been written in the past about Goosnargh but my aim is to write about how both Goosnargh and Whittingham developed over the years, especially the influence the asylum had on the local population.”

Janet, who now lives in St Annes, said: “I have already had invaluable help from David Butters, David Hindle and Whitechapel school.

“There are families who have been in the community for generations and I would like to talk to anyone in the village where I spent my childhood who can help me to create a picture of the area in time past and the not too distant one.

“If anyone is willing to help me, especially with photographic memories I would be very grateful.”

Anyone with any information can contact Janet on 01253 724035.