In 1785, John Watson built Penwortham Mill on Factory Lane. This was a textile factory which included weaving and fabric production. The factory was originally powered by a water mill running off a stream that fed into the Ribble.
Owners of large textile mills purchased large numbers of children from workhouses and orphanages in all the larger towns and cities, including London. By the late 1790s, about a third of the workers in the cotton industry were children and known as pauper apprentices.
Penwortham Mill was purchased by Vernon Carus in 1915 and specialised in the manufacture of surgical lint. A product which was in massive demand during the First World War. The mill is now closed.
(in fact it might be demolished, need to check).
I used to walk along the Tram Road and into Factory Lane and the mill always looked quite smart as a fairly compact building with a neat chimney. Quite a neat community tucked away behind the former Southport Railway line and it's 2 bridges. Around it are sports grounds that always looked well kept. That was in the 1970's.
The 1790's was a period of great economic distress with agrarian decline, industrial revolution and the Napoleonic Wars.
In 1796, Penwortham Workhouse opened not far from the factory in what is now Greenbank Road (across and just along from the Fire Station on Leyland Road). This took the paupers of the parish and served the township of Penwortham and Middleforth Green.
Land to the north, which is now occupied by a yard and car park, was originally the 'Potato Ground' on which potatoes were grown to feed the paupers in the workhouse. This was designated as a Union's Girls' School in 1834.
During 1842 to 1847, the, building was adapted as a hostel for aged and infirm male paupers.
During 1847 to 1851, the male paupers were evicted and sent to other workhouses so that Penwortham Workhouse could be used as a 'House of Recovery' during the Preston typhoid epidemic.
During 1851 to 1860's, a maximum of 86 female pauper children (aged 4-13) were accommodated there and a school was set up within it to cater for them and other poor children locally. In the 1860's, the workhouse was closed which was then converted to a row of whitewashed cottages (known as Manor Cottages at present). The original 'T' shaped plan of the workhouse building was kept.
Greenbank Road is, in October 2009, subject of a Conservation Area debate and South Ribble Council have prepared a Management Plan containing details of the area.
Greenbank Road properties are mainly Georgian, Victorian and Edwardian. There is a cluster of residential properties and community buildings with associated unsurfaced car park. The small area of greenspace fronting onto Leyland Road was dotted with semi-mature trees. Penwortham Sports and Social Club is a modern building and the former Penwortham Workhouse is converted into residential properties in 1860's (known as 'Manor Cottages'). There are no pavements.
At present this is the same basic building layout as 1890's.