"BURNLEY, a town, a township, four chapelries, a sub-d., and a district in Lancashire. The town stands on the river Burn, immediately above its influx to the West Calder, 22 miles N of Manchester. The Leeds and Liverpool canal is adjacent; and railways go in three directions, toward Skipton, Todmorden, and Blackburn. The town itself is almost wholly modern; has undergone vast increase since the latter part of last century; and owes its character to the rise and enterprize of manufactures. It is built chiefly of freestone; and presents a fair appearance. The town has a head post office, two railway stations, a telegraph office, a banking office, four chief inns, a mechanics' institute, and a public reading room; is a seat of petty sessions and county courts, and a polling-place; and publishes two weekly newspapers. A weekly market is held on Monday; and fairs on 6 March, Easter-Eve, 10 July, and 11 Oct. Woollens were the first great manufacture; but cottons are now the staple. There are three worsted mills, and about thirty cotton mills. There are also calico printing-works, corn mills, iron foundries, brass foundries, machinery-works, rope-walks, tan-works, and breweries. Much trade is carried on likewise from neighbouring collieries and freestone quarries. The town was enfranchised by the reform act of 1867, and sends one member to parliament. Pop. in 1851, 20,828; in 1861, 28,700. Houses, 5,085. The township is of less extent than the town, which extends into the township of Habergham-Eaves. Acres, 1,839. Real property, £71,779; of which £10,136 are in mines. Pop., 19,971. Houses, 3,515."
John Marius Wilson, Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales (1870-72)