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The Borough of Chorley – 140th Anniversary

On 17th June 2021 Chorley marked the 140th anniversary of being recognised with Borough status and gaining a form of governance that has developed into the authority we know today.


On 25th May 1880, it was felt that an application should be made to incorporate the town, and the following resolution was passed at a meeting of rate payers:


“That in the opinion of this meeting it is expedient to petition her Majesty to grant a charter of incorporation for the town of Chorley, and that the Chorley Improvement Commissioners be requested to take steps to obtain such a charter.”



A Committee comprising of the following gentlemen was organised in order to consider the details of such a petition and to report to the Commissioners: Thomas Anderton, Thomas Forrester, Edward Lawrence, John Richmond, Thomas Saville, John Wareing and John Whitfield.


By July 1880, the Committee had produced its findings and the Clerk of the Chorley Improvement Commissioners was duly instructed to act upon the recommendations. A further petition to progress the cause obtained 2,536 signatories of local householders, and it was presented to Her Majesty’s government along with a scheme and proposal for the future government of the town.


Following a number of public meetings and enquiries, the case for Chorley’s incorporation was submitted in Spring 1881. Chorley received its charter, incorporating the town as a Borough, on 17th June 1881 and later that year, in November, the first municipal elections were held. The first Mayor of Chorley was Alderman Augustus W. Smethurst, JP.



At the time of the Golden Jubilee in 1931, the Mayor was Alderman Arnold Gillett, JP and he commissioned a number of commemorative items including, china ware, a silk handkerchief and a special jubilee book. The Borough of Chorley as we now recognise it was formed following a merger in 1974 of the Municipal Borough of Chorley with the Urban Districts of Adlington, Withnell and Chorley Rural District.