From 1894 until 1974 it was part of the Ramsbottom Urban District (and possibly part of Ramsbottom civil parish). In the nationwide reorganization of local government of 1974 it was placed in the Borough of Rossendale. For local government purposes, it receives services from both Rossendale Borough Council and Lancashire County Council.
Stubbins has a long history; its name means 'a place with tree stumps' and looks back to the Middle Ages when people were carving new farms out of the heavily wooded countryside. Like other communities in Rossendale, Stubbins grew in the Industrial Revolution. The change to an industrial village began towards the end of the 18th century when a calico printworks was built on the site now occupied by a large international pulp and paper mill.
The 19th century owners of the printworks began to give the village its present shape by building rows of terraced houses for their workers. The other main employers were the Porritt family who built Stubbins Vale mill in 1851 and the Ramsbottom Spinning and Manufacturing Company, a co-operative of working men, whose 1861 factory was christened Union Mill. Much of Stubbins Vale mill was demolished in the 1970s, but the old weaving sheds were taken over as the administrative head office of a well-known international distribution company.