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Dozens of new mills were constructed, along with many foundries and ironworks that supplied the cotton mills and coal mines with machinery and cast and wrought iron for construction.The town became renowned for its mill-engines, and the Burnley Loom was recognised as one of the best in the world.In 2013, in recognition of its success, Burnley received an Enterprising Britain award from the UK Government, for being the "Most Enterprising Area in the UK".For the first time in more than fifty years, a direct train service now operates between the town's Manchester Road railway station and Manchester's Victoria station, via the newly restored Todmorden Curve, which opened in May 2015.During the Industrial Revolution it became one of Lancashire's most prominent mill towns; at its peak it was one of the world's largest producers of cotton cloth, and a major centre of engineering.
It is known that weaving was established in the town by the middle of the 17th century, and in 1617 a new Market House was built.
A permanent military presence was established in the town with the completion of Burnley Barracks in 1820. This was followed by a summer drought, which caused serious problems for many of the others, leading to high levels of unemployment and possibly contributing to the national financial crisis of 1825.
By 1830 there were 32 steam engines in cotton mills throughout the rapidly expanding town, The Irish Potato Famine led to an influx of Irish families during the 1840s, who formed a community in one of the poorest districts.
The 18th century also saw the rapid development of coal mining: the drift mines and shallow bell-pits of earlier centuries were replaced by deeper shafts, meeting industrial as well as domestic demand locally, and by 1800 there were over a dozen pits in the modern-day centre of the town alone.
The arrival of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal in 1796 made possible transportation of goods in bulk, bringing a huge boost to the town's economy.
In 1122 a charter granted the church of Burnley to the monks of Pontefract Abbey. At this point, it was within the manor of Ightenhill, one of five that made up the Honor of Clitheroe, then a far more significant settlement, and consisted of no more than 50 families.