History to come alive in Blackburn

Published Wednesday 9 September 2015 at 11:31

The Blackburn Heritage Festival returns this weekend with a packed schedule of history and fun.

Thousands of people are expected to enjoy the festival, including the iconic Victorian Fairground rides, vintage buses and a big wheel on September 12 and 13.

Visitors are encouraged to discover the hidden history of the town centre, with vintage hop-off hop on buses to help visitors to get around all the sites including Corporation Park and Eanam Wharf. A vintage fairground including helter skelter, carousel and big wheel will be on King William Street in Blackburn town centre.

The event has been organised by Blackburn’s Business Improvement District (BID) and BID manager Harriet Roberts said:

“I’m delighted that there are over 50 Heritage Open Day events taking place across the borough and most of the festival activities are completely free. Thanks to the BID businesses, the rides are only £1 again this year.”

Events include:

  • A vintage fairground including helter skelter, carousel and big wheel on King William Street in Blackburn town centre
  • Patrick Grant, celebrity judge of the BBC Great British Sewing Bee, will talk about his career in design at the Hornby Lecture theatre, Blackburn Library, on Saturday, September 12, from 11.30am – 12.30pm before officially opening a museum of sewing machines at Hobkirk on Darwen Street at 1pm where signed books can be purchased
  • A presentation at Blackburn Library on Saturday about the life and collections of Blackburn Industrialist, RE Hart by Cynthia Johnston, the curator of the new museum exhibition, ‘Cotton to Gold’ at 2pm and a screening of black and white Mitchell and Kenyon Footage from 3pm.
  • ‘Sew and tell’ demonstration and interactive workshops at The Mall Blackburn on Saturday and Sunday 10am – 4pm
  • Blackburn College’s high-tech RATH building on Feilden Street will showcase some classic cars, vintage motorcycles and obsolete technology on Saturday. Exhibits will include Graham and Brown’s wall paper wrapped Morris Minor, Doris and a local collector’s piece which will feature in the new Dad’s Army movie.
  • A clog dancing troupe from St Thomas’ school in Blackburn will perform on the plaza area at Sudell Cross on Saturday, 12 September between 10am – 4pm and Sunday, 13 September from 12pm – 1pm.
  • Ainsworth’s Jewellers has organised a display of archives and exhibits from the family owned business as part of the national Heritage Open Days showcase of free history events. The business, which was established in Blackburn 145 years ago, will be open on Saturday from 9:30am – 5pm and on Sunday between 11am – 4pm.
  • Vintage pastimes, peg dollies and dressing up at Blackburn Market, including a Vintage Crescent Moon booth where visitors will be able to pick up props and accessories to have a portrait taken in a 1920s photo parlour.

Parking in all council car parks is free for the whole weekend.

Councillor Mohammed Khan, Leader of Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council, said:

“This festival is a fantastic way to celebrate Blackburn’s proud past and look towards its exciting future. There will be something for everyone and I hope all visitors will get the chance to discover what a great borough this is.”


The festival coincides with the national programme of Heritage Open Days. For more information please visit: www.blackburnheritage.com.  The Blackburn BID team were invited as VIP guests to the launch of Heritage Open Days in London earlier this year, to share the incredible success of the heritage festival which has grown to over 30 events attracting 29,000 additional people to the town. This short film explains how the festival links in with thousands of other Heritage Open Day events across the UK.

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