History Detectives

Stories from our past

The Exchange as an Art Sales Room

in October 1889 this painting was the property of the Thwaites family and black and white artist’s proofs of this painting were exhibited for sale in The Exchange by a company called Messrs Thomas Agnew and Sons. The original of this painting was gifted to the Blackburn Museum and Art Gallery in 1919 after the First…

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Days of Wine and Roses

The basement and cellar spaces of The Exchange were once used by wine and spirit wholesalers, Addison & Co who also had premises on Church Street. Here’s an advert from the 1870s. In the more recent past, this was where families celebrated milestone birthdays, anniversaries and Christmas works dos at Tiggis Italian restaurant. Do you have…

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Swiss Choir’s Sobriety Show

Professor Andre’s Alpine Choir performed annually for several years at The Exchange as part of a UK tour. Dressed in Swiss costume, they performed a mix of sacred and non-religious tunes with some musical sketches. This was part of a programme of events promoted by the Temperance Movement. The Blackburn Times advertised the show which…

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Architecture Competition was a RERUN!

On the 31 March 1860 the Blackburn Times carried an advertisement and editorial article promoting a competition for architects and builders to submit designs for the building of The Exchange. The winning design by Brakespear of Manchester was commissioned and the northern range and octagonal tower was built between 1863 and 1865. The southern range was…

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Majestic Cheque Ceremony 1928

£20,000 is an amazing amount of money to win on the football pools by today’s standards, but when Tom Hartley of 121 Higher Audley Street, Blackburn received his winner’s cheque on the stage at The Majestic Cinema in September 1928 it was a record breaking achievement that made the pages of the Sunday Mirror. For…

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History & Mystery of Tablecloth

Bill McKeich is looking forward to the forthcoming wedding of his granddaughter, Anna Thomson when a beloved family heirloom from Blackburn will take pride of place, the other side of the world in New Zealand.

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Rory’s Stories

Rory Lushman took part in our Heritage Open Days event by bringing the past to life with a very personal guided tour of the places and spaces in the building.

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