Caught on camera: Shopfront facelifts of historically-important Blackburn buildings

Published Thursday 9 March 2023 at 10:29

Stunning new shopfronts have been revealed on two Blackburn buildings – including one which was once home to pioneering filmmakers Mitchell and Kenyon.

Family Bargains and Baileys Jewellers in Northgate have both undergone impressive transformations – honouring their beautiful building’s Victorian heritage.

The scheme is part of the successful Blakey Moor Townscape Heritage Project – linked to Blackburn’s brand new £50m Cultural Quarter.

Councillor Quesir Mahmood, Blackburn with Darwen Council’s Deputy Leader and Executive Member for Growth and Development, said:

The shops look really impressive following the works – a fantastic celebration of their heritage and a real lift for the area.

Both buildings are part of the Northgate Conservation Area and number 40 Northgate – where Family Bargains is based – is historically significant having been where filmmakers Mitchell and Kenyon were based.

In fact, it’s believed to be where they showed their first ever film – capturing Blackburn Market.

As a Council, we are absolutely committed to restoring our town’s beautiful buildings where we can and this work has been undertaken with support of National Lottery Heritage funding secured by our officers.

It’s a fantastic success and I’d like to thank everyone involved.

Baileys Jewellers

In 1994 a hoard of Mitchell and Kenyon film negatives were found in the basement of 40 Northgate by workmen.

It led to the restoration of the Mitchell & Kenyon Collection, the largest surviving collection of early non-fiction actuality films in the world.

Research by artist Jamie Holman also discovered that Sagar Mitchell and James Kenyon had filmed the first ever Western right here in Blackburn!

Celebrating the recent works, Usman Bhai, Manager of Family Bargains, said:

The shop looks absolutely brilliant and it’s bringing new people in to see what we have to offer.

We’re looking at how we can further improve the shop fronts now – the whole project has been fantastic.

Next door, Eric Carter at Baileys Jewellers has opted for blue and white for his new shop front – a nod to his favourite football team, Blackburn Rovers.

Eric added:

The shop has been in Northgate since 1984 and I’ve worked here since then – that’s almost 40 years!

I took over the business in 2000 and it’s fantastic that we’ve been able to make these improvements – the shop looks fantastic, really classy and we’ve had so many positive comments from customers.

Temperance Bar

The grant covered 80% of the costs of the works with the businesses paying the remaining 20%.

The scheme was designed by Bramley Pate & Partners with the signage being supplied and installed by Blackburn-based Parkinson Signs.

On the corner of Northgate, restoration work has also recently been completed to the former Ribblesdale Hotel.

The 19th Century building is now ready to open its doors as a restaurant or bar – being marketed by Trevor Dawson.

For more information, please click here.

About the Blakey Moor Townscape Heritage Project

The Blakey Moor Townscape Heritage Project is an ambitious £3 million project to transform the historic heart of Blackburn. A joint investment by Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council and the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The project is focused on the Northgate Conservation Area in Blackburn town centre and has already restored properties on Northgate and Lord Street West and improved the public realm around King George’s Hall.

The project also provides local people with opportunities for training in traditional building skills and has delivered a series of complementary events and activities over the last few years.

About The National Lottery Heritage Fund

Using money raised by the National Lottery, we Inspire, lead and resource the UK’s heritage to create positive and lasting change for people and communities, now and in the future.

Follow @HeritageFundUK on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and use #NationalLotteryHeritageFund

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