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Summary Article: Blackburn
from The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide

Industrial city and administrative headquarters of Blackburn with Darwen unitary authority, northwest England, on the Leeds–Liverpool canal, 32 km/20 mi northwest of Manchester; population (2001) 105,100. Blackburn lies in the Calder valley, between the Rossendale upland to the south and hilly country to the north, and is part of the geographic county of Lancashire. Historically the city was a centre of the cotton-weaving industry, but other important trades now include engineering, brewing, and high-tech industries. Paint, office furniture, motor manufacturer supplies, rubber, plastics, electronics, radio and television components, leather, chemicals, paper, carpets, and compact discs (Polygram) are produced.

History In Saxon and Viking times, Blackburn was the chief town of northeast Lancashire. Blackburn market dates from the 13th century. Flemish weavers settled here in the 14th century, and the town grew rapidly after the completion of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal in 1816. The town prospered as the centre of Lancashire's cotton-weaving industry until the industry's decline in the 1930s and 1940s.

Features A working model of the spinning jenny, invented in 1764 by James Hargreaves, can be seen at the Lewis Textile Museum. Some of Blackburn's spinning-mills, weaving sheds, and chimneys survive, and the town's Victorian prosperity is reflected in large public buildings, including the town hall and the exchange building. The cathedral was originally a parish church, rebuilt in 1826 and enlarged in 1937–1950 as part of an Anglican diocese founded in 1926. The museum and art gallery contains a collection of Japanese prints and English watercolours.

Much redevelopment and refurbishment took place in the Victorian town centre during the late 20th century. New buildings included a shopping centre, a refurbished market, and bus and railway stations, as well as retail parks and sporting and leisure centres.

The contralto Kathleen Ferrier (1912–1953) grew up in Blackburn, and the Liberal politician John Morley, later Viscount Morley of Blackburn, hails from the town.

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Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council

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