Towneley Park
Towneley Park comprises Towneley Hall, a large country house, and its surrounding estate on the outskirts of Burnley, Lancashire, England. Most of the land is open, although a nature trail follows the woodland to the rear of the hall. On the trail can be seen sculptures of various woodland and mythical creatures emerging from the trees. The open ground is mostly taken up by a golf course and many football pitches; there are 4 full size pitches and 12 smaller pitches, which are used in Sunday League games and in children's football matches. There is also a changing block for teams to use in bigger matches. Other sports played in Towneley Park include cricket, bowls, rugby and tennis. There is also a pitch and putt course in the park. The River Calder flows through the grounds. The local high school, Unity College, formerly Towneley High, opened in September 2010, moving from the main entrance of the park to a new build further inside the land.

The Towneleys were an important Catholic family and once owned extensive estates in and around Burnley, the West Riding of Yorkshire, and County Durham. From 1835, they held the powerful Lordship of Bowland in north-east Lancashire, making them so-called Lords of the Fells. Towneley Hall not only contains the 15th Century Whalley Abbey vestments, but also has its own chapel - with a finely carved altarpiece made in Antwerp around 1525. The hall was the home of the Towneley family for over 500 years. The male line of the family died out in 1878 and in 1901 one of the daughters, Lady O'Hagan, sold the house together with 62 acres (250,000 m 2) of land to Burnley Corporation. The family departed in March 1902, leaving behind a building almost completely empty except for a couple of tables and a few pictures in the chapel. The park was opened to the public in June 1902, and in May 1903 the Great Hall and the south wing of the house were opened for a temporary art exhibition.

Today, the Museum houses a variety of displays, encompassing natural history, Egyptology, local history, textiles, decorative art and regional furniture, together with an art gallery. The art gallery includes a large collection of paintings, focusing on romantic Victorian and pre-Raphaelite art, with some earlier paintings. Of note are the gallery's Waterhouse paintings (including the original 'Destiny'), works by Poynter and Zoffany, and the ovine-themed paintings of 'Frozen Mutton' Farquharson. In July 2005 the Heritage Lottery Fund granted £2 million to help fund a major programme of restoration of the Park that is still on-going. A previous Heritage Lottery Fund helped to build a museum shop, lecture theatre and offices in the footprint of the old servants' quarters. This new building was opened in 2002.

Many annual events in Burnley are held at Towneley Park owing to its size and central location, including a Balloon Festival and a classic cars show.

Towneley Hall Opening times
  • Saturday - Thursday 12.00pm - 5.00pm
  • Friday closed (private bookings only)
Entry to Burnley residents and children/students is free. Adults visiting from outside the Borough are asked to pay £3.70 per person for entry to the museum.

Building Activity

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