Blackburn’s Cultural History in the Making

Blackburn’s place in cultural history will be celebrated at this year’s Blackburn Heritage Festival with a range of activities taking place across the town centre on Saturday 12th and Sunday 13th September.

The life and work of internationally famous contralto, Kathleen Ferrier will be celebrated with an exhibition at Eanam Wharf.  A team from the Kathleen Ferrier society will be showcasing pieces from the archive collection and will be on hand to share their passion for the singer on Saturday 12th and Sunday 13th September at the DAPA centre between 10am and 4pm.

The films of Mitchell and Kenyon will be shown in the Hornby Lecture Theatre at Blackburn Library on Saturday and Sunday. Over a century ago, filmmakers Sagar Mitchell and James Kenyon roamed the British Isles filming the everyday lives of people at work and play. For around 70 years, 800 rolls sat in the basement of a shop in Blackburn.  Miraculously discovered and painstakingly restored by the BFI, this now ranks as the most exciting film discovery of recent times.  Edwardian Sports will be screened at 3pm on Saturday and Electric Edwardians will be screened at 3pm on Sunday.

Meanwhile Blackburn Museum, sees the launch of ‘Cotton to Gold’, an exhibition of a world-class collection of art amassed by local cotton mill owners and entrepreneurs during the Industrial Revolution.  The museum is open on Saturday from 10am till 4pm and Sunday from noon until 4pm. The Thwaites Empire Theatre also opens its doors to explain its history as one of the UK’s original electric light cinemas on Sunday between 1.30pm – 3pm.

Blackburn’s BID Manager and festival organiser, Harriet Roberts said, ‘The quality of the activities at this year’s Blackburn Heritage Festival is so strong, I think new visitors to the town will be genuinely surprised at the wealth of talent that has come from this area and the contribution local people have made to art and culture on an international scale.’

Discover more about the Blackburn Heritage Festival online at

*Photograph used with permission of the Kathleen Ferrier Society.

©2023 Blackburn BID

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