St Michael’s and All Angels church is one of Ashton’s most impressive buildings. The church, on the corner of Tulketh Road and Egerton Road, is, today, particularly famous for its regular farmers’ market.
The genesis of St Michael’s goes back to 1878, when a small school was begun in a building called the Slate House. The State house was located on the old Ashton Marsh, near to where the old dock office used to stand.
The school flourished, although it was nothing more than a single class. Soon it became evident that a larger building was needed. A house at 8 Swansea Terrace was used from 1879. This new school was called Ashton British Workman.
Such was the success of the Ashton British Workman school that, in 1883, it was decided that a dedicated school-chapel should be built. The new building cost £1,700 and was given the name St Michael’s and All Angels school-chapel.
Even this building was found to be too small. Further extensions were made in 1895-1897 but by 1900 a plot of land had been bought to build a fully fledged church. The land was not where today’s church can be found, however. The original St Michael’s was going to be built on the corner of Swansea St and Tulketh Road. Planning objections meant that another site had to be found.
In 1901 Mrs Birley, one of the original founders of that first class, donated a plot of land on Egerton Road. Her generous offer was accepted at a parish meeting on 15 April 1901. Mrs Birley laid the foundation stone of the new church.
St Michael’s and All Angels church was built in two stages. The first section of the church was consecrated in 1908 but a second section would not be completed until 1915.
A History of the Parish of St Andrew’s Ashton-on-Ribble, by Douglas B Cochrane ASAA