All About Leyland (The Home of Fettler's Workshop):
Leyland is deeply rooted in History, and it can be traced much further back than you can imagine. The very earliest information to Leyland's history is an artefact found dating back to 96AD, it was found in 1819 on Leyland moss, several other finds have also been made dating back to 258 AD. The first main settlers and expansion of Leyland most likely began with the Romans. Leyland is geographically in an excellent spot, close to the important station of Walton le Dale, and just a while up the road is the Roman fort and baths at Ribchester. A Roman road did run through the Leyland and Chorley area (thought to follow the path of the modern day A49), its exact location still remains unknown. Given the excellent location, transport links, and fertile land it is very likely that there were Roman Settlers in the Leyland region. When the Romans left, the population up here came in to contact with many new people, Anglo Saxons, Welsh, Nordic Folk, Scandinavian folk, all bringing new influences into the region, from the languages and new ways of living to laminate flooring and odd shaped furniture. The first record of Leyland is in the Doomsday book when it became part of the Leyland Hundred, at this time it was known as Lailond, Leyland has had it's fair share of names throughout history Lailande (meaning grass land), Lailond in the Doomsday book , Leiland in 1212 and finally Leyland in 1243
In about 1250 Leyland was beginning to grow as it absorbed the small hamlets of Worden and Honkington, there were several estates and there are documents from this time showing transactions between landlords. In these times life was hard for the peasants of the growing Leyland who were stretched to their limit by extreme taxes on almost everything you did (if your daughter wished to marry, you would be taxed) The Lord of the land had a large hold over the village, for instance, if the villagers wished to grind corn they had to use the Lords mill, for which he charged them. In the 1350 the black death began to swarm across the country, causing society to change, revolts against poll tax were staged, life became less hierarchical, and currency was used less, more people offering services instead. As populations rose, and industrial development began in nearby Preston during the 18th Century, the land began to change dramatically. The woodlands which previously surrounded Leyland were gone, the nearby mosses were reclaimed for fields for farming. During the 1800's handleloom weaving was setup and houses were built to house the weavers. As the industrial revolution began, the railway came to Leyland and a large mill was constructed, and several other sprung up here and there. Handleloom weaving and the textile industry remained for some time in Leyland, and became the towns main economic source, the population began to rise dramatically over the next few years from 2,088 in 1810 to 3,617 in 1851.
As cotton arrived in the early 19th century Preston became a major centre due to the cheap local labour. Leyland changed from a farming community to an industrial area which is a bit odd as there are no strong running rivers to power the mills, and no canal system from transportation. Weaving remained a home profession until the early 1800's when it was integrated with spinning and bleaching at the local mills. When the railway arrived in the 1840's Leyland was now linked to both London and Scotland. Expansion of Leyland began to slow down. In the early 1900's Leyland was still quite a small area being known as the Garden of Lancashire, just one or two factories and a new rubber industry starting up. During the 19th century production began to shift in Leyland, many new industries began to form, a shift towards engineering began. There was ample farmland available for development, and due to the new railway, had excellent transport links. The Leyland Steam Motor Co was set up in 1896, and began to expand steadily, it had a great effect on the towns growth by becoming the towns greatest employer. By 1914 the company had built over 2,000 petrol driven engines, when the first war came about the company produced 6000 vehicles in 4 years. They expanded and exported a range of vehicles throughout the world. After the first world war, semi-detached housing began to spring up everywhere, but the village remained relatively rural, even with the increasing motor business. The second world caused Leyland motors to boom with 9,000 male workers, after the war, work shifted to civilian needs, eventually a merger took place and British Leyland Motor Corporation was formed in 1968, and became the fifth largest vehicle producer in the world!
Leyland is now developing and improving in leaps and bounds. Recently the famous chimney from the Rubber Factory was blown up for new housing developments. The whole of Leyland is a fascinating place to live, a town which has embraced its past whilst looking to the future.
The town is full of character and warmth, and unlike many towns has managed to retain its past character. The high street (Hough Lane) has a cosmopolitan feel to it with the arrival of many quality coffee shops, restaurants and independent shops selling locally sourced materials and products. The traditional market is still held every Tuesday, Friday and Saturday. The award winning British Commercial Vehicle Museum is well worth a visit. The museum is dedicated to preserving the physical evidence of the history of the road transportation industry in the United Kingdom. This proud history is illustrated through a collection of fully restored vans, trucks and buses produced and sold by the British Commercial Vehicle industry over the past 100 years, including dramatic 'sound and light' sets which bring the role of the vehicle to life. More than 50 exhibits are on permanent display. Special exhibits include the oldest-known preserved commercial vehicle in existance, a 100 tonne Scammell, the world-famous Popemobile, a horse-drawn carriage, steam vehicles and fire engines.
So, next time you are travelling on the M6 and approach junction 28, don’t just drive past, call in and see what Leyland has to offer…