Thursday, 22 June 2017

An invitation to Blackburn residents to help with plans to commemorate famous events in the town in 1842.

Press release — immediate 

An invitation to Blackburn residents to help with plans 
to commemorate famous events in the town in 1842. 

Thursday 29 June at 6pm at Blackburn Museum 

An invitation is extended to anyone who would like to help with plans to mark the 175th anniversary of Blackburn’s part in the first General Strike.

In August 1842, what began as a strike movement in Lancashire, Staffordshire and West Riding of united resistance to the imposition of massive wage cuts among workers in the coal, cotton and engineering industries immediately took on a political character to become an all-out struggle for universal suffrage. 

In Blackburn on 15 August 1842, thousands walked out of the mills to meet crowds converging on the town from right across Lancashire. 

After the Riot Act was read the Army opened fire and, at least, four women were killed and many others seriously injured. The five men who organised the strike in Blackburn were later sent to Tasmania and never returned. 

In August 1993 a plaque that commemorated this bloody chapter in Blackburn’s history was unveiled at BBC Radio Lancashire’s headquarters in Darwen Street. It is still there 24 years later.

On of those involved in 1993 was councillor Tony Humphrys and he subsequently went on to conduct further research into the events in 1842 and even discovered the names of four women who were killed on 15 August 1842. These names and other information remain unpublished but it is proposed to end some of the mysteries on 15 August this year.

A meeting to help plan events on 15 August is to be held at 6pm at the Blackburn Museum. It will be chaired by councillor Tony Humphrys. Also in attendance will be Mark Metcalf, who is employed by Unite the union on the Rebel Road project (*) that publicly commemorates labour movement heroes and events that are publicly commemorated in the form of plaques, statues and buildings named after them.

For more details contact councillor Tony Humphrys on 07759 629361 and/or Mark Metcalf on 07392 852561

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