Kirkham shown within Lancashire
|OS grid reference|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|EU Parliament||North West England|
|List of places: UK • England • Lancashire|
Kirkham, or as it once was known, Kirkam-in-Amounderness is a town in the Fylde district of Lancashire, England, midway between Blackpool and Preston (11 miles west of Preston). It owes its existence to Carr Hill upon which it was built and which was the location of a Roman fort
The town is pre-Roman in its origin with a name originating from the Danish kirk (church) and -ham (Saxon for settlement, or "home"). It appears in the Domesday Book of 1086 under the name of Chicheham and is described as lying on the Roman road between Ribchester (Bremetennacum) and the River Wyre. The town's market has one of the oldest charters in the United Kingdom having been granted in 1269–70 by King Henry III.
In the 15th and 16th centuries Kirkham remained a small market town. But from the late 17th century the town into an thriving textile centre. From 1830 sailcloth was being woven in cottages in the town and later at the Flax Mill, built in 1861 by John Birley. Looms ran in the town from about 1850 until 2003. At one time the town had eleven mills, the last to be built being Progress Mill in 1915. On the lower part of Station Road "The Last Loom" of Kirkham is on permanent display. The loom is a crossrod loom from the 1920s which, with the use of tappets at the side, could produce an extensive range of fabrics including velvets, twills and Bedford cord.
The Church of England parish church is St Michael's. There is also a Roman Catholic church - St John The Evangelist, but known locally as "The Willows" - on Ribby Road, a United Reformed Church on Poulton Street, a Free Methodist church "Cornerstone" based out of The Dove Theatre at Carr Hill High School and a Methodist church on Nelson Street.
Kirkham lies in the centre of a relatively rich agricultural area. By the mid 18th century, however, the manufacture of sail-cloth and the flax-weaving industry had become well established in the town. By 1876 there were several factories employing almost 1,000 workers in the cotton and other industries and by the end of the century the town had grown considerably in importance.
Kirkham and Wesham railway station was opened in 1840 as "Kirkham Station", when the Preston and Wyre Railway and Harbour Company opened its line to Fleetwood. South of the town is Kirkham open prison, built on part of the site of the Royal Air Force base which closed in 1957.
Kirkham has had its own small library since 1939. The town is served by its own free newspaper, the Kirkham and Wesham Advertiser. Both the Blackpool Gazette and the Lancashire Evening Post cover Kirkham news, as does the weekly Kirkham and Fylde Express. Regular bus services are provided by the Ribble branch of Stagecoach Buses.
Kirkham Swimming Baths was erected in 1914 by the bequest of William Segar Hodgson J.P. and has served Kirkham as a public swimming pool for 95 years. Open seven days a week, galas, free children swims and adult-only swims are regularly held. In February 2008 a campaign was initiated to save the baths from closure. This included a public march through Kirkham and Wesham on 1 March attended by some 3,000 local supporters  A local action group was subsequently formed to organise the longer term survival of the baths  and was successful in presenting a business plan to Fylde Borough Council. The baths, now run by the YMCA, has been re-branded as "Rural Splash".
The town's football club is A.F.C. Fylde. The club was known as Kirkham and Wesham F.C until the end of the 2007-08 season, and was formed by the amalgamation of Kirkham Town F.C. and Wesham F.C. The change of name to A.F.C. Fylde was made to try and encourage a broader fan-base from across the Fylde coast.
A.F.C. Fylde is currently based in the nearby village of Warton and plays in the Northern Premier League Division One North. They won the FA Vase in the 2007-08 season, beating Lowestoft Town in the final at Wembley Stadium on 11 May 2008. They were also promoted to the North West Counties Football League Premier Division after finishing second in Division Two. In 2008-09 they were North West Counties Football League champions and so won promotion to the Northern Premier League Division One North.
Kirkham is twinned with both Ancenis in Loire-Atlantique, France and Bad Brückenau a spa town in Bad Kissingen district, northern Bavaria which is situated in the Rhön Mountains in Germany. Kirkham has an active Twinning Association and has regular contact with both Ancenis and Bad Brückenau.