A village that vanished from the map in the middle of the twentieth century is being recreated by artists and historians.

The long-lost hamlet known as 'Stormy Corner' in Skelmersdale is being featured in a new calendar by the Skelmersdale Heritage Society.

The vanished village, as well as a number of features of the new town, is being depicted in paintings by local artists, reports Lancs Live.

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Known as ‘Stormy Corner’, the little-known hamlet is understood to have been located at the site of the current Great Bear Warehouse on the Stanley Industrial Estate.

It stretched from Berry Street under the present roundabout at Neverstitch Road to encompass Summer Street, Mill Lane and Vale Lane.

Summer Street in Stormy Corner
Summer Street in Stormy Corner

Dating from the mid 19th century, when nearby Skelmersdale took off as a mining town, Stormy Corner was a separate entity to the town.

A pleasant, rural location, the hamlet of Stormy Corner was very much off the beaten track with a handful of cottages and three shops, known as Fosters, a sweet shop, Dugdale’s, a grocers, and Drapers, the Co-op.

Seven Stars Public House, Stormy Corner
Seven Stars Public House, Stormy Corner

A humble little hamlet, it also had two pubs - the Beehive pub and the Seven Stars pub. It also had a school which was disused by the mid 20th century and a Wesleyan Methodist Church.

According to local legend, its name derived from a funeral which took place in the hamlet in the early 19th century.

Tawd Vale Inn on Berry Street
Tawd Vale Inn on Berry Street

At the funeral procession, the wind was so strong that it was said to have whipped the coffin lid off, exposing the corpse to the assembled, horrified mourners.

Allan Foster, 73, recalls growing up in Stormy Corner as a child, where the family had moved after the war when his father went to work for the Royal Engineers in Burscough.

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He said: “It was about half a mile away from Skem, and there were about 50 houses.

It was folklore that it was called Stormy because there was a windy stormy day, in the 1830s and a funeral cortege was going up Summer Street. As it turned the corner, the wind whipped the coffin lid off. It would have been on a horse and cart. Then it got called Stormy Corner.

“People in Stormy originally came from Wales in the early days, as it had been a mining village. We came from Hindley - like many people who moved to Stormy from the surrounding areas."

Summer Street in Stormy Corner
Summer Street in Stormy Corner

But the bulldozers moved in in the 1970s, and despite the land initially being earmarked for development, it was then left as wasteland for a couple of decades, until The Great Bear Distribution was built on the land at the turn of the 21st century.

Allan remembers the thriving, rural community where he grew up – and the opposition from the local residents to the demolition plans.

He admits: “We had never known any thing else."

“I grew up in Summer Street. You went up the garden to go to the toilet – it was called an ash midden.

“People wanted to stay there, in the countryside – everybody in Stormy wanted to stay.”

However, eventually, residents’ objections were overcome, says Allan, and after they had been rehoused, their homes were demolished.

Allan said: “It was sad. People had been born there and lived there for 70 years and they had to get out.

The Thompson family pictured in Stormy Corner
The Thompson family pictured in Stormy Corner

“My mother, Eileen, didn’t like it after we moved to Up Holland when I was 20. She always said, I wish we were back in Stormy, even though we had a big house in Up Holland.

“What upset residents in Stormy was that they agreed to move because they thought the land was going to be a hospital. But then the hospital never came.”

Now, says Allan, only one farm house remains of what was once a thriving rural community.

The stormy corner on Summer Street
The stormy corner on Summer Street

Mark Boardman, Chairman of Skelmersdale Heritage Society, said: “When I was a kid in the 80s and 90s what was Stormy Corner was just an overgrown wasteland.

"Stormy Corner, as far as I can tell, was a combination of old houses that it would take to much to bring up to modern standards and the plan was to build a hospital on the site as part of the New Town development.

"Obviously this didn't happen. A number of reasons have been suggested including the economic situation in the 70s and the fact there's so many mine workings under Skem. It was still being talked about as late as the early 90s. I absolutely think photos and memories of the area (and Skelmersdale in general) should be preserved.

"Skelmersdale was part of the Lancashire coalfields; it has very strong mining heritage which is all but forgotten nowadays when you compare it to other former mining towns.

"Plus Stormy specifically is just an interesting story, a village that was wiped off the map, barren for years then a warehouse built on the site.

"People lived there, they grew up there, raised families, worked and now it's an industrial estate, that's interesting to me.”

Allan Foster and friend David growing up in Stormy Corner
Allan Foster and friend David growing up in Stormy Corner

Allan still has fond memories of his antics as a young boy growing up in Stormy Corner.

He adds: ”I remember crawling across logs, crawling down the mine shafts. I used to light a newspaper and drop it down the mine-shaft in Skelmersdale. I had nightmares about that mine-shaft!

“Looking at the old photos, Stormy was a thriving community, with its own football team at the turn of the 20th century, holding carnivals and community events.

“There’s not many people who can remember it now.”

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