Published Tuesday 7 November 2017 at 13:40
Darwen resident Eileen Helliwell has donated three early photographs of Blackburn Rovers to Blackburn Library.
Eileen was clearing out whilst moving house and found the photos in her loft. She decided to give them to Cllr Dave Smith as she knew he was a keen Blackburn Rovers fan.
Dave realised the photos were important historical images and donated them to the library and the digital local history website ‘Cotton Town’.
The photos originally belonged to Eileen’s grandfather, Walter Wood, who is pictured in the photos and was a non-playing member of the team. Walter died in 1909, which helps to date the photos as 1909 or earlier.
Mary Painter, Community Historian at Blackburn Library, has researched the people in the photographs. Players pictured include Eddie Latheron who was killed during the Battle of Passchendaele in the First World War. Also pictured is Bob Crompton who was a Rovers player, manager and director as well as an England player.
Mike Jackman, author of several books about Blackburn Rovers, suggested that the images are some of the earliest known photographs of the team. The photos were taken soon after the team moved to Ewood Park.
Cllr Damian Talbot, Executive Member for Leisure, Culture & Young People said: “We’re very grateful to Mrs Helliwell for donating the photos, they’re a wonderful piece of history.”
Cllr Dave Smith said: “As a keen Blackburn Rovers fan it’s fantastic that these historical photos have been donated by Mrs Helliwell.”
Eileen Helliwell’s son Andrew said: “I’m glad to be part of something very old even though I’m not a big fan of football.”
The photos are available to view on the ‘Cotton Town’ website. The website features a large archive of old photographs and information related to Blackburn and Darwen. Any help identifying other players and non-playing members in the team would be greatly appreciated.
Blackburn with Darwen Library & Information Service welcomes donations of photographs relating to Blackburn, Darwen and surrounding areas. For more information please contact Blackburn Library on 01254 661221 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org