Secret Blackburn river revealed again

Town centre development uncovers hidden waterway

Town centre development uncovers hidden waterway

First published in News This Is Lancashire: Photograph of the Author by , Local government reporter

BLACKBURN town centre’s hidden watercourse has been revealed in all its glory for the first time in more than half a century.

Construction work on the Cathedral Quarter has uncovered the normally culverted and roofed River Blakewater.

Most of its length through the Cathedral grounds and alongside the Boulevard is now visible.

The first part of the river was opened up in March and now the majority can be seen —but only for a few weeks as it is set to be covered over again next month.

The ambitious £28million Cathedral Quarter plan to transform the town centre includes strengthening of the concrete tunnels rebuilt during the town centre redevelopment of the 1960s.

The Victorian culvert through which the River Blakewater runs goes right under the town centre, with a small branch from the historic All Hallows Spring, behind the Adelphi pub, joining the main flow down from its source on the moors above Guide.

For just a few more weeks as experts from the Eric Wright Group repair and strengthen the walls and roof of the tunnel, visitors will be able to see the river for the first time since the height of the Industrial Revolution.

The maintenance is essential to take the weight of the new Cathedral Quarter development and lorries needed to build the hotel, offices and clergy court that will rise on the site.

The strengthening of the south end of the culvert roof will be complete in mid-June to enable access across to Dandy Walk for vehicles, allowing the next phase of to commence with the construction of the office building and Premier Inn at the beginning of July either side of the culverted river.

Ray Smith, chairman of Blackburn Local History Society, said: “For many people this offers a fascinating chance to see a bit of the town’s past. When I was a youngster, kids used go under the culvert roof and run through to the other end. A lot of local people of a certain age will be very interested.”

Blackburn with Darwen council regeneration director Brian Bailey said: “It is very exciting to see the different parts of the scheme coming to life. As well as uncovering parts of our town's history, the Cathedral Quarter development will play an important part of the future of town centre.”

Comments (10)

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10:07pm Fri 23 May 14

Graham Hartley says...

"Secret Blackburn river revealed again"

Given that the presence of this river has been recorded with creditable evidence, how can it be described as 'secret' unless to an audience of Spiritualists, Christians, and the like?
"Secret Blackburn river revealed again" Given that the presence of this river has been recorded with creditable evidence, how can it be described as 'secret' unless to an audience of Spiritualists, Christians, and the like? Graham Hartley
  • Score: 46

10:20pm Fri 23 May 14

woolywords says...

Oh my, gosh and golly...
The river Blakewater runs through the middle of Blackburn!
Feigned shock, horror and surprise.

What next, will the Telegraph reveal to us?
Am biting the edge of my keyboard in anticipation.
Oh my, gosh and golly... The river Blakewater runs through the middle of Blackburn! Feigned shock, horror and surprise. What next, will the Telegraph reveal to us? Am biting the edge of my keyboard in anticipation. woolywords
  • Score: 52

11:16pm Fri 23 May 14

fireonthemountain says...

Why on earth is this not made a feature of the new build ?

Everyone loves the sight and sound of moving water .

Can you imagine a park without lakes and streams ?

Look at some top tourist attractions - Niagra Falls , Venice , The
Lake District . Do we see a theme here ?

Now I certainly can't classify Blackburn with those in the same breath !

But look at Sainsbury's in Darwen - everyone who parks there looks at the
river , it is nice , sometimes peaceful , sometimes raging , but never boring !

Seaside resorts were built because.......?
Canals are popular because......?

But Blackburn is going to cover it over - so that lorries can gain access in order to pour concrete .

Mind you , if an open river were to be allowed , it would probably become an open urinal , and a place to chuck takeaway cartons , so maybe just as well .

How sad .
Why on earth is this not made a feature of the new build ? Everyone loves the sight and sound of moving water . Can you imagine a park without lakes and streams ? Look at some top tourist attractions - Niagra Falls , Venice , The Lake District . Do we see a theme here ? Now I certainly can't classify Blackburn with those in the same breath ! But look at Sainsbury's in Darwen - everyone who parks there looks at the river , it is nice , sometimes peaceful , sometimes raging , but never boring ! Seaside resorts were built because.......? Canals are popular because......? But Blackburn is going to cover it over - so that lorries can gain access in order to pour concrete . Mind you , if an open river were to be allowed , it would probably become an open urinal , and a place to chuck takeaway cartons , so maybe just as well . How sad . fireonthemountain
  • Score: 77

2:01am Sat 24 May 14

noddy57 says...

makes you wonder why they covered it up in the first place.
makes you wonder why they covered it up in the first place. noddy57
  • Score: 57

1:00pm Sat 24 May 14

woolywords says...

Although I cannot speak for it currently, this river used to stink to high heaven during the Summer months, when the water was low.
Although I cannot speak for it currently, this river used to stink to high heaven during the Summer months, when the water was low. woolywords
  • Score: 41

3:26pm Sat 24 May 14

vicn1956 says...

Get some gondalas ordered.
Get some gondalas ordered. vicn1956
  • Score: 46

6:23pm Sat 24 May 14

onsidecobra says...

noddy57 wrote:
makes you wonder why they covered it up in the first place.
Did you see the state of it prior to it being covered over?
[quote][p][bold]noddy57[/bold] wrote: makes you wonder why they covered it up in the first place.[/p][/quote]Did you see the state of it prior to it being covered over? onsidecobra
  • Score: 42

11:35pm Sat 24 May 14

Biscay says...

Hidden Gem?!!
Hidden Gem?!! Biscay
  • Score: 37

11:47am Mon 26 May 14

ConcernedOssy says...

SO WHAT"S THE SECRET !!!!
SO WHAT"S THE SECRET !!!! ConcernedOssy
  • Score: 44

3:51pm Wed 11 Jun 14

ConcernedOssy says...

vicn1956 wrote:
Get some gondalas ordered.
How about a Ferry from the Market to the Train Station I'm sure P & O would Oblige !! lol.
[quote][p][bold]vicn1956[/bold] wrote: Get some gondalas ordered.[/p][/quote]How about a Ferry from the Market to the Train Station I'm sure P & O would Oblige !! lol. ConcernedOssy
  • Score: 7

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