The Marquis of Hartington, M.P. for that division of North Lancashire, was to have opened, last week, the new building which has been erected for market purposes and municipal business in this thriving town; but his Lordship was detained in London by his official duties as a Cabinet Minister. The building, of which we give an Illustration, stands on the banks of the small river Darwen, which has been turned out of its original channel to make the chosen site available; it is adjacent to Railway-road and Church-street. Its cost has been £25,000; the architect was Mr. C. Bell, of New Broad-street; and the contractors were Messrs. J. Orrell and Sons, of Darwen, for the stonework, and several other local and London tradesmen. The foundation-stone was laid on Oct. 2, 1880, by Alderman Snape, then Mayor of the borough; and the building has now been opened by the present Mayor, Alderman Green. It is constructed of local stone, and the front, designed in the free Italian style, is not without some architectural dignity; the dome is surmounted by a turret of teak, roofed with iron, and with an ornamental finial and vane, of wrought-iron, at the height of 87 ft. 6 in. The ground floor, in front, is divided into handsome shops; on the first floor, to the west, are the Town Council Chamber, the Mayor's Parlour, Committee-rooms, and municipal offices. On the north side, opposite the Co-operative Ball, which is in School-street, is the Market, which is spacious and commodious, 126ft. long by 76 ft. wide, with a fine wrought-iron roof of two bays resting in the centre on three iron pillars, and decorated in grey and drab, with touches of scarlet. Fish-stalls and butchers'-stalls are adjacent to the market, which is walled with buff and red brickwork, and is entered through a vestibule paved with mosaic; there is a gallery on the south side, communicating with the municipal offices on the upper floor. The market-hall will hold 6000 persons at a large public meeting.
A Townhall is to be erected adjacent to this building.
Source: The Illustrated London News, July 1, 1882, p.24