Accrington, in the County of Lancashire, is a small former mill town in the industrial north west of England which, since the redrawing of the political boundaries in 1974, has formed part of the Borough of Hyndburn - a merging of Accrington together with the smaller 'satellite' towns of Oswaldtwistle, Church, Clayton-le-Moors, Great Harwood and Rishton into one political 'seat'.
The name 'Accrington' (reputedly a corruption of 'acorn-ring-town') is derived from the acorns of its former oak woods still reflected in the name of the town's Oak Hill Park in which an imposing white stone cenotaph stands. The cenotaph is a monument to the town's war dead, most notably members of the 'Accrington Pals', the nickname given to the smallest home town battalion of volunteers formed to fight the First World War. Most were killed in the first few hours of the Battle of the Somme (1916), the battalion's 'first day objectives' never being realised throughout the entire war.
Its other famous association is with 'Accrington Stanley F.C' the butt of many (largely affectionate) jokes. The team's name is often invoked as a symbol of British sport's legion of plucky but hopeless causes (much like British ski-jumping's 'heroic failure' Eddie 'The Eagle' Edwards).
The original Accrington Stanley, having gone into enforced liquidation, were ignominiously ejected from the Football League in the 1960s. The current club plays in the 'non-league' Nationwide Conference divisions. Accrington's famous sons & daughters include Jon Anderson of rock band Yes, author Jeanette Winterson (whose Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit is an account of her childhood in the town) and composer Harrison Birtwistle.