Published January 30, 2018 at 10:33
Rossendale received a visit from two members of the European parliament last week, who came to see the birthplace of the family credited with helping to establish the industrial revolution in Europe.
Wajid Khan, MEP for North West England and colleague Arndt Kohn, a German MEP, visited the Council offices to talk about the Cockerill family who were originally from Haslingden.
William Cockerill, who was born in the Lancashire town in 1759, worked as a blacksmith but was said to be exceptionally skilled as a mechanical engineer.
Having had little success in England he then decided to go abroad ending up in Russia before going to Sweden and eventually settling in Belgium where he manufacturing machines for the spinning and carding of wool.
He then arranged for his family in England to join him, including son John Cockerill who eventually took over the family tradition establishing an ironworks and mechanical engineering company called John Cockerill & Company.
In 1807 William was awarded the Legion of Honor by Napoleon for his services to manufacturing.
And a statue of John who had a reputation as a humanitarian employer was unveiled in 1871 and stands in the Place du Luxembourg in Brussels.