The Residence of William Ainsworth
The Residence of William Ainsworth At the southern corner of Cross Street stood another very beautiful building, the Italian-style villa of William Ainsworth, cotton manufacturer.This photograph was taken in the 1860s.

The RULES TO BE OBEYED BY THE OPERATIVES in his mill in Cotton Court were nothing short of slavery. They bore evidence of long working hours, restrictions on personal freedom, and a ruthless system of fines, which the management did not fail to enforce in the courts.

After the death of William Ainsworth in 1862, Mr. Parker, a wealthy grocer, acquired the villa. It then became known as 'Pepper Hall', possibly because its owner was known as 'Pepper' Parker!

Dr. Hammond, who followed Mr. Parker, was the last private resident before the villa passed into commercial hands. In the 1940s it was a County Court Office, named 'Winckley House' and was still regarded as a beautiful building whose demolition in favour of a modern construction bearing the same name was much regretted.

Mr. Ainsworth's villa was numbered 11 Winckley Square. The house next door, number 12, was once the home of John Humber, cotton manufacturer, but about 1910, it became the headquarters of the Royal Lancashire Agricultural Society. It was known as Derby House, because Lord Derby was the President of that Society. This house marks the end of the eastern side of Winckley Square; beyond it lies Starkie Street.

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© Marian Roberts 1966