Chalets at Haggs Hall Fields, Blackburn

It’s always great to get emails about huts from readers and last year I had a tip-off from John at Bowlandclimber about some huts at Ramsgreave near Blackburn in Lancashire. I’ve finally had a chance to go and photograph them. As you can see from the pictures, they are in a bad way, but it’s a dramatic location and they must have been little havens in their heyday.

The buildings are referred to as “Chalets at Haggs Hall Fields” in a lawful development application from a few years ago, which established that they can be used as holiday chalets in the spring and summer. They’re all in a row on the farm track, and public right of way, leading to Haggs Hall Farm. Each chalet had its own plot as a garden, with bushes, bits of domestic fencing, sheds, and trees on the boundary lines.

Here are the six chalets, from west  to east, two of which are reduced by fire to just the brick chimneys:

haggs_field_chalet1 haggs_field_chalet2haggs_field_chalet3 haggs_field_chalet4haggs_field_chalet5 haggs_field_chalet6

The only evidence I have for the age of the site comes from Ordnance Survey maps. There are no chalets on the field to the south of Haggs Wood on the Six Inch map surveyed in 1910, but when the survey was repeated in 1929/30, four chalets and plots had appeared. The 1:2500 OS Plan of 1968/70 shows the differing footprints of six chalets, with names from west to east: Braeside, Millswood, Beechwood, Kemple View, The Hollies, and Meadowside.

There’s also a classified advert in the “Lancashire Daily Post” from 9th July 1945 right at the end of “Houses for sale” which reads:

SALE, Wood Bungalow; partly furnished; Cabins, etc; v.p. – Apply, The Hollies, Haggs Hall Fields, Ramsgreave, Blackburn.

DSC_0115 DSC_0066Two of the fireplaces shown in the pictures are from around the 1930s or 1950s too, although they may have been recycled when removed from conventional houses.

As I was walking round, I did wonder if the original occupiers were in the wave of hutting by new car drivers in the 1920s, as happened in some Essex plotlands. But a closer look at the map reveals that the Ramsgreave and Wilpshire railway station is about 20 minutes walk away, and the farm track is the first turn off you come to as you walk westwards along Ramsgreave Road away from the last houses.

Each of the chalets is different from the next, and entirely constructed from wood apart from the brick chimney, glass windows, and felt or tiled roof. They look just like the kind of buildings people bodged together themselves at weekends up and down the country when plotlands and hutting sites were flourishing. There’s also some plywood and even sections of OSB from the last few decades, and I’m guessing they’ve been continually repaired and modified over the years.

The chalets are now dangerously unstable and the interior pictures were taken through the windows at arms length. I don’t know how long they’ll last, but it looks like an ideal site to benefit from a new wave of hutting.


Ramsgreave, Blackburn, Lancashire BB1 9DS, UK

7 Replies to “Chalets at Haggs Hall Fields, Blackburn”

  1. Fascinating post, pleased you visited. I wish I’d had that info when I was there last year but will add a link to your post on my blog which gets a lot of interest. Thanks.John

  2. The group of chalets were known locally as Chinatown and, during the late 1940s and 1950s, they were permanently occupied. I knew one family who lived there and whose
    sons went to my school. They had moved to this remote spot during the Second World War to escape bombing in Manchester, only to have a German landmine dropped by parachute behind their chalet. My father, who was in the Home Guard, had the unenviable task of of standing guard over it until bomb disposal personnel dealt with it.

  3. I was there in November 2014. A man mending a barn or shed told me they were known as Chinatown because there was a lot of China clay in the ground there. He also said they were built as holiday homes between the wars, which fits the timing. He said they were about to be demolished to make way for new holiday homes, but if they were still there in 2016, that plan must have changed.

  4. My Grandmother lived in ‘Meadowside’ in the late 1950s/60s – it’s the first chalet you reach coming down the hill where the road bends to the left. There was no electricity, no mains water, no flushing loo, but as children it was part of the charm – we loved it there. My family – including many cousins – used to spend time there, especially in the summer. Nan had a magnificent garden, grew her own veg and fruit, kept chickens. After she died in 1965, it was sold to the local farmer who used it for his workers’ accomodation. I saw the place in 2002 and was appalled at the condition – it was overgrown and in a poor state. I hate to think of what it’s like now. So sad. BTW, I never once heard the the chalets refered to as ‘chalets’ nor ‘Chinatown’. Meadowside was always refered to as ‘the bungalow’.

  5. My father in law was a doctor (Dr Hargreaves) who lived locally. I remember him telling me about a patient who lived in one of the chalets. He didn’t know how he survived in winter let alone permanently in such a flimsy building with no electricity etc. These people were certainly made of tough stuff!

  6. As a child In early 50s I went to Haggs hall farm with our late father as his brother was the girlfriends partner who owned the farm we went past the chalets on left going down to the farm my dad lelped to put the septic tank in the two boys Derek and Peter I believe are still there 2023 but will be getting on a bit now. The farm has now been made into a luxury housing complex I believe.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *