Blue plaques to honour Blackburn's stars

This Is Lancashire: Jack Walker’s birthplace Jack Walker’s birthplace

NEW plaques commemorating famous Blackburn people could soon be appearing on the town’s streets.

Regeneration boss Maureen Bateson has pledged to seal a deal with local historians to revive the scheme.

She is keen not just to replace lost and stolen plaques, including one marking Jack Walker’s birthplace, but add new ones as part of her revitalisation plans.

Coun Bateson said: “I have a few names in mind, including a couple of Blackburn Rovers footballers.”

She intervened after Blackburn Local History Society appealed for action to revive the scheme after the plaque to Mr Walker went missing.

Responsibility for the plaques rested with Blackburn Civic Society until it folded a few years ago. The history society has an agreement with English Heritage, which oversees the national scheme, to keep the list of the existing 24 plaques.

As scrap metal thieves can target the distinctive badges, they asked Blackburn with Darwen Council for permission to maintain, replace and add to the commemorative plates dotted around the town.

Coun Bateson said: “I am very keen to bring back the blue plaque scheme. I have instructed officers to move quickly to conclude an agreement with the society.

“It is important that we have this means of marking important people and places in the town’s history.”

Blackburn memorial maker Brent Stevenson has offered to give replacement plaques to replace those stolen, including the one dedicated to Jack Walker.

He said: “We would make exact copies in black granite, which are maintenance free, last longer than metal and have no scrap value.”

Local history society chairman Ray Smith said: “We would welcome an agreement with Coun Bateson. We have had a meeting with council officials and hope to have another one soon.

n Any similar deal to revive the scheme in Darwen would have to be concluded with that town’s local historians.

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