Local historians bid to protect commemorative blue plaques in Blackburn

Blackburn Citizen: Jack Walker's blue plaque Jack Walker's blue plaque

LOCAL historians want to take on responsibility for blue plaques commemorating in famous Blackburn people after several have been stolen, including one marking Jack Walker’s birthplace.

Responsibility for the commemorative signs used to rest with Blackburn Civic Society until it folded a few years ago.

Now Blackburn Local History Society has agreed with English Heritage, which oversees the national scheme, to keep the list of 24 plaques.

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

They mark places related to historically important people and events, including 96 Randal Street, Audley which is the birthplace of ‘Uncle’ Jack Walker who was the benefactor behind Blackburn Rover’s winning the Premiership title in 1995.

Last year owner Sajid Munshi converted the premises into a shop and took the plaque down planning to resite it.

His agent Khalid Khan said: “It was ready to go back up but was stolen just before he could do so.

“Sajid is hoping to replace it but needs an organisation so he can follow the proper procedures. He was very sad when it was stolen.”

Local history society chairman Ray Smith said: “We have applied to the Blackburn with Darwen council to take over the process.

“We now keep the list but need approval from the corporation to take over full responsibility.

“We need a small grant to pay for the plaques and permission to use the borough coat of arms.

“We want to start soon as thieves are targetting them for the scrap value.

“Several have already been stolen including the ones on Jack Walker’s birthplace and Darwen Street Bridge.

“The existing ones cost around £380 but we would use metal with no scrap value, costing £180.”

Borough planning chairman Dave Smith said: “I will sort this out.

“They are approved by English Heritage and we want someone to take charge before any more are stolen.”

Blackburn MP Jack Straw, who unveiled the plaque on Mr Walker’s birthplace in 2001, said: “It’s appalling that thieves steal these plaques. It seems a good idea for the society to take over responsibility.”

Comments (7)

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8:24pm Fri 7 Feb 14

noddy57 says...

Is there nothing sacred any more ?
Is there nothing sacred any more ? noddy57
  • Score: 7

9:04pm Fri 7 Feb 14

woolywords says...

If I have said once, I've said it many a time, these plaques should be made out of fibreglass, to make them both durable and utterly worthless in scrap value. Did they listen?
And I said that, in a local newspaper comments column, when the house of John Loudon McAdam, inventor of tarmac, had a plaque commemorating his stay in Penrith, stolen, 3 times, way back in the 80's. Did they listen then?
Are they listening now?
Why is that we don't see the removal of these plaques, be it in good nature or not, as being a reportable thing? You report to the council that you intend to remove it and stipulate a time for it's replacement.
There is a certain kudos in having them on your premises, that few seem to quite grasp. From your humble abode, sprang forth great people and you should engender a certain pride that you now own that place, not see it as an embuggarnce to your current trade.
If I have said once, I've said it many a time, these plaques should be made out of fibreglass, to make them both durable and utterly worthless in scrap value. Did they listen? And I said that, in a local newspaper comments column, when the house of John Loudon McAdam, inventor of tarmac, had a plaque commemorating his stay in Penrith, stolen, 3 times, way back in the 80's. Did they listen then? Are they listening now? Why is that we don't see the removal of these plaques, be it in good nature or not, as being a reportable thing? You report to the council that you intend to remove it and stipulate a time for it's replacement. There is a certain kudos in having them on your premises, that few seem to quite grasp. From your humble abode, sprang forth great people and you should engender a certain pride that you now own that place, not see it as an embuggarnce to your current trade. woolywords
  • Score: 11

9:28pm Fri 7 Feb 14

kenbro says...

Has Randal Street moved to Audley ?
Has Randal Street moved to Audley ? kenbro
  • Score: 4

9:43pm Fri 7 Feb 14

woolywords says...

Am utterly certain that most of those whom claim to have an interest in the local history, are themselves, clueless, as to the effects, locally, nationally and internationally, that this town has had upon the World.
From the endless ropes, made of cotton waste in Lambeth St, to the Blackburn boilers or even the looms of Northrop, with their healds made at Ewood, this town should be studded, on virtually every road with the names of it's famous folks.
Instead, I find myself, boring the backsides of people, explaining whom Sir Charles Napier was, why such a street is so named and generally looking like a repository of local history, that nobody ever told them about.
Am utterly certain that most of those whom claim to have an interest in the local history, are themselves, clueless, as to the effects, locally, nationally and internationally, that this town has had upon the World. From the endless ropes, made of cotton waste in Lambeth St, to the Blackburn boilers or even the looms of Northrop, with their healds made at Ewood, this town should be studded, on virtually every road with the names of it's famous folks. Instead, I find myself, boring the backsides of people, explaining whom Sir Charles Napier was, why such a street is so named and generally looking like a repository of local history, that nobody ever told them about. woolywords
  • Score: 3

9:49pm Fri 7 Feb 14

woolywords says...

Sajid Munshi will, of course, be able to produce either the claim he made for the loss of the plaque or at least suggest when it was reported stolen, of course.
Only the cynic in me would think otherwise.
Or will he issue a denial of any wrong-doing, through another mouthpiece?
Sajid Munshi will, of course, be able to produce either the claim he made for the loss of the plaque or at least suggest when it was reported stolen, of course. Only the cynic in me would think otherwise. Or will he issue a denial of any wrong-doing, through another mouthpiece? woolywords
  • Score: 7

11:05pm Fri 7 Feb 14

2 for 5p ridesagain says...

Why then has jack walker got a plaque?
He owned 2 businesses in the Blackburn area, that doesn't Warrent a plaque surely.
Why then has jack walker got a plaque? He owned 2 businesses in the Blackburn area, that doesn't Warrent a plaque surely. 2 for 5p ridesagain
  • Score: -11

4:10pm Sat 8 Feb 14

bluewindow says...

2 for 5p ridesagain wrote:
Why then has jack walker got a plaque?
He owned 2 businesses in the Blackburn area, that doesn't Warrent a plaque surely.
You're correct why has jack walker got a plaque maybe it's due to bring born and raised in Blackburn. Setting up walker steel employing thousands of people in the local area. Buy a local football club and rebuilding it. So pick which you want as to why jack walker got a plaque!
[quote][p][bold]2 for 5p ridesagain[/bold] wrote: Why then has jack walker got a plaque? He owned 2 businesses in the Blackburn area, that doesn't Warrent a plaque surely.[/p][/quote]You're correct why has jack walker got a plaque maybe it's due to bring born and raised in Blackburn. Setting up walker steel employing thousands of people in the local area. Buy a local football club and rebuilding it. So pick which you want as to why jack walker got a plaque! bluewindow
  • Score: 7

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