The Iron Horse
The Railway reached Ormskirk in the 1840s and with its arrival a whole new world of opportunity opened up for ordinary people of the town. Everyday travel to work at all destinations to Liverpool and Preston meant that people were motivated to learn new trades and skills and this meant a change in income.
The type of housing being built in the town to accommodate the professional working class and the growing number of successful tradesmen led to the building of the towns own areas of superior quality housing. Many of these large detached houses are still standing today in the St Helens Road, Ruff Lane and later Knowsley Road, areas. Southport Road was also a part of the town which saw rapid development from a road containing old cottages and a busy rope factory to a well planned modern street offering larger homes to the business people living and working in the town.
The Railway also created a demand for hotel and Inn accommodation which in turn led to the renovation and extension of several town centre hostelries. The Commercial Hotel on Railway Road became a thriving concern for travellers and there was also carriage service there for travellers wishing to visit the area on business or pleasure.
Market Days were destination points for travellers from all over the County and indeed beyond and this swelled the towns population each Thursday and Saturday, bringing revenue to the town regularly and allowing many local businesses to expand and diversify. With the emergence of the retail concept in the latter half of the 19th century, shops in Ormskirk became bigger and better appointed with a wide range of stock on offer to visitors and locals, the range of market stalls began to change from farm produce and agricultural supplies to more domestic needs, like materials, clothing, footwear and even souvenirs for the visitors to take away with them.
Ormskirk thrived with the new Railway connection and continued to expand and grow , whilst its local agricultural production increased with the new markets the farmers could reach using the goods trains into Preston and Liverpool.
If you have any of your own stories about the railway in Ormskirk we would love to hear them, you can get in touch with us here.