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Middleton was incorporated as a Borough by Royal Charter on 21st July 1886, when the Corporation consisted of the Mayor, 6 Aldermen and 18 Councillors. It was described in Slater's Directory of Lancashire, 1901, as a Municipal Borough, ancient market town and parish, in a fertile vale on the river Irk. In 1770 Middleton was a village with 20 houses, and yet it boasted a Grammar School. It gained its Market Charter around 20 years later, in 1791, market day then being Friday. Like many other villages & towns in the area, the 1780's began to see a growth in population & trade. Middleton was a centre for silk manufacturing at that time.