History Detectives

Stories from our past

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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Majestic Hairdressers Cuttings

This is a photo from Bernie Gostling who worked at the Majestic Hairdressers in the basement as a Saturday girl for Margaret Whittaker. She was then given an apprenticeship in the 1980s. Bernie said: ‘I am the blonde one on the right hand side. The lady at the front to the left of the photo…

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Happy Birthday to The Exchange!

  It was a momentous day for Blackburn when the doors of the Cotton Exchange opened for the first time on 26th April 1865. 94 years later, the Essoldo cinema marked the anniversary and the screening of High Society with a full page history article in the Blackburn Times on 26 April 1957, along with…

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CINEMA STAFF UP ON THE ROOF ESCAPE PRISON

CINEMA STAFF UP ON THE ROOF ESCAPE PRISON On this day in history, 17 August 1954, the Lancashire Evening Post reported on the court case of cinema staff prosecuted for stealing tiles off the roof of The Majestic Cinema at The Exchange, Blackburn.   ‘Fines totalling £33 were imposed at Blackburn today on cinema projectionists…

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Majestic Wide Screen Reopening

  On this day in history, 2 November 1953 the Mayor of Blackburn reopened The Majestic Cinema at The Exchange, Blackburn after extensive refurbishment. Looking ahead to the ceremony, Kinematograph Weekly reported: The kinema is being renovated, redecorated and refurnished and it is being equipped with wide screen—the first in the district. The Mayor of…

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Goodbye Major Yorke

DEATH OF WELL-KNOWN BLACKBURN CINEMA MANAGER AT THE EXCHANGE This is how death of the manager of the Majestic Cinema at The Exchange, Blackburn made the headlines in theatre circles in 1935. There will be general regret in Lancashire kinema circles on the news of the death, at the age of 51, of Major Reginald…

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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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Football Hero’s Cinema Court Case

  FROM THE BRITISH NEWSPAPER ARCHIVES: Kinematograph Weekly – Thursday 10 June 1920 A Kinema Tenancy. Three days were devoted in the Chancery Court at Manchester to the hearing by Vice. Chancellor R. Lawrence, K.C., of an action arising out of leasing of a picture hall at Blackburn. The plaintiffs were the Exchange (Blackburn) Ltd.,…

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More space ‘to swing the proverbial cat’ 1898

On this day in history, 30 April 1898, news was announced of modernisations and building alterations to the Exchange, Blackburn. These included relocating the stage to create a gallery to increase capacity to 350 people and moving internal pillars to improve the spectators’ view. This would also make better use of new exit doors to…

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Exchange Audiences Shun Piano Great

One of the world’s greatest pianists of the day, Alfred Reisenauer – a pupil of the composer Franz Liszt performed at The Exchange, Blackburn on 2 January 1896 to a disappointingly poor crowd according to the reviews in the papers of the day which described a ‘meagre attendance’. Reisenauer led a highly successful career as…

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