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BLACKBURN, a town, a township, a parish, a subdistrict, a district, and a hundred in Lancashire. The town stands on the river Blackwater, 9 miles E by S of Preston, and 12½ N by W of Bolton. The Leeds and Liverpool canal passes through it; and railways go from it N, S, E, and W. The country around it possesses little scenic interest, yet is sheltered by hills on the NE and NW; and it lay for ages wild and barren, but has been much improved by cultivation. The town is large; was very prosperous up to the juncture of the cotton distress in 1862; and has owed most of its importance to modern manufactures. Cottonmills and print works are numerous, and employ a large proportion of the inhabitants. The value of cotton goods produced prior to 1862 exceeded 2,000,000 a year. The cotton-spinning was much advanced by an invention of James Hargrave, a native, originally a carpenter; and the cotton-printing was introduced by the family of Sir Robert Peel. Some woollen cloth also is made; considerable industry is carried on in breweries, foundries, and machine-works, particularly in the manufacture of weaving-machinery; and much business is done in connexion with neighbouring factories, corn mills, paper-mills, and collieries. Weekly markets are held on Wednesday and Saturday; and fairs on the Wednesday before 2 Feb., on every alternate Wednesday thence till Michaelmas, and on Easter Monday, 11 and 12 May, 29 Sept., and 17 Oct. The town has a head post office, a telegraph station, four banking offices, and three chief inns; and publishes four weekly newspapers. It is a seat of courts. and a polling-place; it was constituted, by the act of 1832, a parliamentary borough sending two members to parliament; and it was made municipal in 1851, with government by a mayor, twelve aldermen, and thirty-six councillors. Acres, 3,610. Real property, in 1860, 170,703. Direct taxes, in 1857, 26,354. Electors in 1868, 1,894. Pop. in 1841, 36,629; in 1861, 63,126. Houses, 11,306.

John Marius Wilson, Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales (1870-72) more ...

Archives and libraries

Blackburn Central Library,
Town Hall Street,



Details about the census records, and indexes for Blackburn.

Church History

Church Records

You can also perform a more selective search for churches in the Blackburn area that are recorded in the GENUKI church database. This will also help identify other churches in nearby townships and/or parishes. You also have the option to see the location of the churches marked on a map.

The following items have been produced by the LFH&HS.

Civil Registration

The Register Office covering the Blackburn area is Blackburn.

Description and Travel

You can see pictures of Blackburn which are provided by:


Ask for the gazetteer for a calculation of the distance from Blackburn to another place.

Historical Geography

In 1835 the parish of Blackburn contained the townships of Blackburn, Walton le Dale, Cuerdale, Samlesbury, Balderstone, Osbaldeston, Clayton-le-Dale, Salesbury, Dinckley, Billington, Mellor, Ramsgreave, Wilpshire, Pleasington, Livesey, Tockholes, Lower Darwen, Over Darwen, Little Harwood, Great Harwood, Rishton, Witton, Yate with Pickup Bank and Eccleshill.


The following Facebook groups discuss the past and contain old pictures:


View maps of Blackburn and places within its boundaries.

You can see maps centred on OS grid reference SD682279 (Lat/Lon: 53.746494, -2.483685), Blackburn which are provided by:

Poor Houses, Poor Law

The Workhouse site has an interesting description of Blackburn workhouse.

Probate Records

For probate purposes prior to 1858, Blackburn was in the Archdeaconry of Chester, in the Diocese of Chester. The original Lancashire wills for the Archdeaconry of Chester are held at the Lancashire Record Office.


You can also see Family History Societies covering the nearby area, plotted on a map. This facility is being developed, and is awaiting societies to enter information about the places they cover.