Who Was Peter Birtwistle?

PETER BIRTWISTLE (1841 to 1927)

A Brief History

Peter Birtwistle was born in Colne on 31st October 1841. As a young man he trained as a teacher in Birmingham, and at the age of 21, he emigrated to Canada.

After only a couple of years however, Peter returned to Colne and worked with his brother-in-law, Roger Broughton, in business as a cotton manufacturer.

Peter Birtwistle returned to Canada in the early 1870s and settled in London, Ontario where he became assistant to Joseph Pickles, a jeweller.

Peter gradually established himself as a successful and wealthy merchant and by 1889 he had become one of the most prominent citizens of London, Ontario.

In 1918, some 9 years before his death, Peter Birtwistle decided to leave his entire estate to the Borough of Colne.

The will stipulated that the money should be used for “the benefit of the aged and deserving poor of the said Town of Colne in such manner and without restriction of any kind”

Peter Birtwistle also left a diamond ring for the personal use of the Mayor of Colne.

The diamond from the ring can now be seen on the Mayoress of Pendle’s Chain of Office.

Peter Birtwistle died in 1927 at the age of 85.

At that time his bequest to Colne amounted to $354,076.77 Canadian Dollars (£72,750).

The original bequest was left in trust for a further 21 years by which time it had amounted to £180,000.

The Peter Birtwistle Trust was established to administer the sum.

History of the Peter Birtwistle Trust

The Peter Birtwistle Trust was established under a Charity Commission Scheme (Reg no. 224640) dated 4th December 1951, its purpose being to provide housing to the elderly of Colne. On 13th May 2019, the charity became a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO) (Reg no. 1183388).

The Peter Birtwistle Trust is also a member of the Almshouse Association.

The Community Centre on Keighley Road was the first acquisition.  The first 22 almshouses were built at Peter Birtwistle Close in 1957 followed by a further 18 at Birtwistle Fold in 1964.  10 more were built at Birtwistle Standroyd in the early 1970’s.

In 1993 the Trust became a Housing Association which enabled it to receive grants from the Housing Corporation.  With the additional finance of a mortgage from the Marsden Building Society, 10 flats and 4 bungalows were built at Birtwistle Hyde Park.

In 2008 a refurbishment of the Community Centre enabled the creation of 4 new flats on Keighley Road and in September 2014, a further 2 bungalows were created on Peter Birtwistle Close.

Birtwistle East Lemes, a development of 12 new bungalows accessed via Peter Birtwistle Close, was completed in early 2018.

Peter Birtwistle House, a development of 12 new flats located on the site of the former Health Centre in Colne is currently under construction.