Lancaster Park & Animal Farm was opened in 2011 by Benjamin Lancaster. Ben, who was born in 1940, started out as a coal miner before moving into demolition.
In 1960 Ben bought some farm land in Chadderton where he built a home and raised his family alongside his wife Lily. Over the years Ben was responsible for the demolition of many of the North West’s cotton mills and chimneys including the Schwabes chimney in Rhodes, the Times Mill and the Laurel Mill. He was always passionate about recycling and reusing materials, even before it became fashionable and would salvage anything that he could.
Alongside his work as a demolition man Ben’s main passion and hobby was his home and farm where he kept a small selection of animals. Over many a summer his friends would bring their children to Ben’s house and he would show them around his chickens pen, his bee hives or his pig pen.
Ben was passionate about wildlife and nature and was dedicated to teaching his children all he knew, he would often take his children walking across fields after work, showing them how to identify edible mushrooms, find birds’ nests, teaching them how to know one tree from the next and spotting hares in the grass.