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Rhyddings Park was originally the grounds of a private house belonging to a local mill owning family. The first house at Rhyddings was demolished in 1853 and re-built in the style of an early Victoria country house villa for Mr Robert Watson, a local cotton magnate, who owned nearby Rhyddings Mill, and was also connected with Stonebridge Mill in Oswaldtwistle.

Today the layout of the park owes much to Mr Watson's house, which was situated behind the ornamental balustrade until it was demolished in the 1930's. Other remnants of Mr Watson's residence besides the balustrade are the Coach House, which is currently used as a depot facility and a folly, which has been incorporated into the park as a feature. 

Mr Watson was also a local benefactor who donated the site for the Parish Church of St Paul's, on land close to the park. Mrs Watson laid the foundation stone for the Church in 1882. 

Mr Watson was also responsible for the development of housing in the vicinity of the park to provide accommodation for his workforce and thus had a strong influence on the area around the park.


Rhyddings Hall, as the house was known, ceased to be a private residence in 1909 when it was acquired by Oswaldtwistle Urban District Council along with its grounds, to provide a recreational facility for the people of Oswaldtwistle. The main impetus for the local Council acquiring Rhyddings Park came from Mr Arthur Hargreaves, a local industrialist and philanthropist who served on the Council between 1904 and 1922. Mr Hargreaves was the son-in-law of the owner of Moscow Mill. Also to Mr Hargreaves' credit can be attributed the establishment of the Carnegie Library in Oswaldtwistle which was opened on October 1915. Councillor Arthur Hargreaves officially opened the grounds of Rhyddings Hall for use as a public park on Saturday 29 May 1909.