Future uncertain for Blackburn stately home gutted in arson attack

Future uncertain for Blackburn stately home gutted in arson attack

The burned out Griffin Lodge has been fenced off

Councillor pledges to start fundraising campaign after suspected arson attack

First published in Blackburn Blackburn Citizen: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

THE future of a historic building once the ‘heart of the community’ remains uncertain after it was gutted in a blaze.

Councillors and senior police expressed their sadness and worry about the cost of regeneration of the council-owned Griffin Lodge and coach house.

Police are investigating a suspected arson attack on the building in the Mill Hill area of Blackburn.

The grade two listed structure was in the process of being sold to a private buyer as part of a £33m council savings plan. Now it has no roof and the doors are boarded up.

Andy Kay, executive member for resources at Blackburn with Darwen Council, said talks were taking place with insurers to assess the damage.

Mill Hill councillor Carol Walsh has raised concerns that the property could be too costly to repair.

The fire, which started at around 4.15am last Saturday, was the third in a week at the property, known locally as ‘red doors’.

Coun Walsh said the building, formerly owned by cotton magnate Thomas Dugdale, was an integral part of the area’s industrial heritage.

She added: “The whole community has been left absolutely gutted and heartbroken.

“No-one can believe that someone would do this to something so well-loved.

“I am worried it will cost too much to repair but when the damage has been assessed I will start a fundraising campaign if money is not found elsewhere to ensure that it can be restored and not torn down.”

Coun Kay said: “We are currently in talks with our insurers to assess the damage but our main focus at the moment is ensuring that the building is safe and secure.”

Detective Sergeant Ian Proctor said: “It is quite clear the fire has been started deliberately.

“The area in which it took place was a popular drinking spot for young people and it is a tragedy that such an impressive building should be damaged in this way.”

Comments (12)

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10:32am Tue 8 Oct 13

Joseph O'M says...

Good words from Councillor Walsh. I'll happily chip in some money to help get it restored and I'm sure many more from Blackburn would. Maybe now that all the internal features that made it a listed building have gone, the facade at least could be kept (like the Boulveard pub by the train station) and the building could be completely modernised inside and made suitable for Council or commercial use. It'd be a travesty to lose the whole building.
Good words from Councillor Walsh. I'll happily chip in some money to help get it restored and I'm sure many more from Blackburn would. Maybe now that all the internal features that made it a listed building have gone, the facade at least could be kept (like the Boulveard pub by the train station) and the building could be completely modernised inside and made suitable for Council or commercial use. It'd be a travesty to lose the whole building. Joseph O'M
  • Score: 21

11:17am Tue 8 Oct 13

ladysal says...

Me too. It needs to be restored, and brought back into use for the people of Blackburn. A new home for the museum? A working museum of Blackburn's heritage? Maybe a model based on Wythenshawe Hall - when I lived out there it was closed to the public, rarely used and just seemed to have been left to rot. Now it is regularly open and has reclaimed its place at the heart of the community. It helps to pay for itself as a wedding venue. How about forming some sort of group like "the friends of ........" and seeing how we can bring it back once the damage is repaired? Much better than sitting at a computer and bemoaning its loss.
Me too. It needs to be restored, and brought back into use for the people of Blackburn. A new home for the museum? A working museum of Blackburn's heritage? Maybe a model based on Wythenshawe Hall - when I lived out there it was closed to the public, rarely used and just seemed to have been left to rot. Now it is regularly open and has reclaimed its place at the heart of the community. It helps to pay for itself as a wedding venue. How about forming some sort of group like "the friends of ........" and seeing how we can bring it back once the damage is repaired? Much better than sitting at a computer and bemoaning its loss. ladysal
  • Score: 17

11:30am Tue 8 Oct 13

Angusam says...

Its a sorry world we live in when someone can actually deliberately set fire to anything let alone a piece of history and a home as beautiful as Griffin Lodge.

Someone must know something about how this happened, perhaps heard someone mention it or perhaps was even there and if anyone knows anything it should be reported to the Police. This sort of thing cannot happen in our society and the offender/s need to be caught.

After the generations of people who must of lived their lives here, servants, children. To think of the births and deaths that must have taken place in this beautiful house since it was built in 1825.

Griffin Lodge was the Downton Abbey of Blackburn and to loose this history is devastating.
Its a sorry world we live in when someone can actually deliberately set fire to anything let alone a piece of history and a home as beautiful as Griffin Lodge. Someone must know something about how this happened, perhaps heard someone mention it or perhaps was even there and if anyone knows anything it should be reported to the Police. This sort of thing cannot happen in our society and the offender/s need to be caught. After the generations of people who must of lived their lives here, servants, children. To think of the births and deaths that must have taken place in this beautiful house since it was built in 1825. Griffin Lodge was the Downton Abbey of Blackburn and to loose this history is devastating. Angusam
  • Score: 15

12:09pm Tue 8 Oct 13

Joseph O'M says...

ladysal wrote:
Me too. It needs to be restored, and brought back into use for the people of Blackburn. A new home for the museum? A working museum of Blackburn's heritage? Maybe a model based on Wythenshawe Hall - when I lived out there it was closed to the public, rarely used and just seemed to have been left to rot. Now it is regularly open and has reclaimed its place at the heart of the community. It helps to pay for itself as a wedding venue. How about forming some sort of group like "the friends of ........" and seeing how we can bring it back once the damage is repaired? Much better than sitting at a computer and bemoaning its loss.
Great idea....Friends of Griffin Lodge.....let's set up a Facebook page maybe?
[quote][p][bold]ladysal[/bold] wrote: Me too. It needs to be restored, and brought back into use for the people of Blackburn. A new home for the museum? A working museum of Blackburn's heritage? Maybe a model based on Wythenshawe Hall - when I lived out there it was closed to the public, rarely used and just seemed to have been left to rot. Now it is regularly open and has reclaimed its place at the heart of the community. It helps to pay for itself as a wedding venue. How about forming some sort of group like "the friends of ........" and seeing how we can bring it back once the damage is repaired? Much better than sitting at a computer and bemoaning its loss.[/p][/quote]Great idea....Friends of Griffin Lodge.....let's set up a Facebook page maybe? Joseph O'M
  • Score: 11

12:12pm Tue 8 Oct 13

Joseph O'M says...

Angusam wrote:
Its a sorry world we live in when someone can actually deliberately set fire to anything let alone a piece of history and a home as beautiful as Griffin Lodge. Someone must know something about how this happened, perhaps heard someone mention it or perhaps was even there and if anyone knows anything it should be reported to the Police. This sort of thing cannot happen in our society and the offender/s need to be caught. After the generations of people who must of lived their lives here, servants, children. To think of the births and deaths that must have taken place in this beautiful house since it was built in 1825. Griffin Lodge was the Downton Abbey of Blackburn and to loose this history is devastating.
Believe it or not, Blackburn had several "Downtons" as you say (see link below), most now sadly gone. Let's not let this be another...

http://www.cottontow
n.org/Housing/Pages/
Houses-of-Gentry.asp
x
[quote][p][bold]Angusam[/bold] wrote: Its a sorry world we live in when someone can actually deliberately set fire to anything let alone a piece of history and a home as beautiful as Griffin Lodge. Someone must know something about how this happened, perhaps heard someone mention it or perhaps was even there and if anyone knows anything it should be reported to the Police. This sort of thing cannot happen in our society and the offender/s need to be caught. After the generations of people who must of lived their lives here, servants, children. To think of the births and deaths that must have taken place in this beautiful house since it was built in 1825. Griffin Lodge was the Downton Abbey of Blackburn and to loose this history is devastating.[/p][/quote]Believe it or not, Blackburn had several "Downtons" as you say (see link below), most now sadly gone. Let's not let this be another... http://www.cottontow n.org/Housing/Pages/ Houses-of-Gentry.asp x Joseph O'M
  • Score: 10

1:38pm Tue 8 Oct 13

trebormonk says...

I AGREE WITH ALL THE COMMENTS ABOVE. THE BUILDING SHOULD BE MADE INTO A COMMUNITY CENTRE FOR THE CHILDREN AND KIDS ROUND THERE. AS THERE IS NOTHING FOR THEM TO DO. KEEP THEM OCCUPIED AND THERE WONT BE AS MUCH TROUBLE IN THE AREA.
I AGREE WITH ALL THE COMMENTS ABOVE. THE BUILDING SHOULD BE MADE INTO A COMMUNITY CENTRE FOR THE CHILDREN AND KIDS ROUND THERE. AS THERE IS NOTHING FOR THEM TO DO. KEEP THEM OCCUPIED AND THERE WONT BE AS MUCH TROUBLE IN THE AREA. trebormonk
  • Score: 10

2:09pm Tue 8 Oct 13

bow1974 says...

DEFFO AGREE COULD BE MADE INTO A GREAT COMMUNITY CENTRE FOR EVERYBODY GET THE KIDS OFF THE STREETS GIVE THEM SOMTHING TO DO AND SOMEWHERE TO GO THERE IS SO MANY THINGS THAT COULD BE DONE A SORT OF BIKER GROVE LETS GET THE BALL ROLLING I WOULD CERTAINLY HELP WITH RAISING MONEY AND IM SURE THERE ARE ALOT OF PEOPLE OUT THERE WILLING TO HELP THIS SHOULD HAVE BEEN DONE YEARS AGO.
DEFFO AGREE COULD BE MADE INTO A GREAT COMMUNITY CENTRE FOR EVERYBODY GET THE KIDS OFF THE STREETS GIVE THEM SOMTHING TO DO AND SOMEWHERE TO GO THERE IS SO MANY THINGS THAT COULD BE DONE A SORT OF BIKER GROVE LETS GET THE BALL ROLLING I WOULD CERTAINLY HELP WITH RAISING MONEY AND IM SURE THERE ARE ALOT OF PEOPLE OUT THERE WILLING TO HELP THIS SHOULD HAVE BEEN DONE YEARS AGO. bow1974
  • Score: 7

7:12pm Tue 8 Oct 13

expat pop says...

It should be kept and restored if only to show the disparages of life in those days, when the wealthy lived off the backs of the 'lower class'.
It should be kept and restored if only to show the disparages of life in those days, when the wealthy lived off the backs of the 'lower class'. expat pop
  • Score: 6

8:23pm Tue 8 Oct 13

Angusam says...

trebormonk wrote:
I AGREE WITH ALL THE COMMENTS ABOVE. THE BUILDING SHOULD BE MADE INTO A COMMUNITY CENTRE FOR THE CHILDREN AND KIDS ROUND THERE. AS THERE IS NOTHING FOR THEM TO DO. KEEP THEM OCCUPIED AND THERE WONT BE AS MUCH TROUBLE IN THE AREA.
I can't agree with this, what message does this put out to people. Burn a building down and then it will be turned into something to help get you off your backsides and give you something to do?.

I do understand that it is tough out there for young people, actually its tough for everyone. But it was no different 15 years ago when I was in my late teens. When I was younger, I always had to be proactive at getting a job and I did not wait for things to happen nor did I expect that the world owed me a living as seems to be the expectation today.

I started at the bottom at one point I worked two jobs, pushed trolleys and delivered pizzas, life has always been tough but I certainly wouldn't be getting into trouble and hanging out on the Streets with this hopeless defeated attitude that many have today.

How many community centres does the area already have? It obviously hasn't made much of a difference.
[quote][p][bold]trebormonk[/bold] wrote: I AGREE WITH ALL THE COMMENTS ABOVE. THE BUILDING SHOULD BE MADE INTO A COMMUNITY CENTRE FOR THE CHILDREN AND KIDS ROUND THERE. AS THERE IS NOTHING FOR THEM TO DO. KEEP THEM OCCUPIED AND THERE WONT BE AS MUCH TROUBLE IN THE AREA.[/p][/quote]I can't agree with this, what message does this put out to people. Burn a building down and then it will be turned into something to help get you off your backsides and give you something to do?. I do understand that it is tough out there for young people, actually its tough for everyone. But it was no different 15 years ago when I was in my late teens. When I was younger, I always had to be proactive at getting a job and I did not wait for things to happen nor did I expect that the world owed me a living as seems to be the expectation today. I started at the bottom at one point I worked two jobs, pushed trolleys and delivered pizzas, life has always been tough but I certainly wouldn't be getting into trouble and hanging out on the Streets with this hopeless defeated attitude that many have today. How many community centres does the area already have? It obviously hasn't made much of a difference. Angusam
  • Score: -4

9:24pm Tue 8 Oct 13

bow1974 says...

Angusam wrote:
trebormonk wrote:
I AGREE WITH ALL THE COMMENTS ABOVE. THE BUILDING SHOULD BE MADE INTO A COMMUNITY CENTRE FOR THE CHILDREN AND KIDS ROUND THERE. AS THERE IS NOTHING FOR THEM TO DO. KEEP THEM OCCUPIED AND THERE WONT BE AS MUCH TROUBLE IN THE AREA.
I can't agree with this, what message does this put out to people. Burn a building down and then it will be turned into something to help get you off your backsides and give you something to do?.

I do understand that it is tough out there for young people, actually its tough for everyone. But it was no different 15 years ago when I was in my late teens. When I was younger, I always had to be proactive at getting a job and I did not wait for things to happen nor did I expect that the world owed me a living as seems to be the expectation today.

I started at the bottom at one point I worked two jobs, pushed trolleys and delivered pizzas, life has always been tough but I certainly wouldn't be getting into trouble and hanging out on the Streets with this hopeless defeated attitude that many have today.

How many community centres does the area already have? It obviously hasn't made much of a difference.
have you ever been to the area, there is nothing around for kids and teens, talk to any teenager around griffin and they will tell you. obviously you dont get out much to have a look around. get your facts right before commenting on others comments. i think trebormonk makes a great point. i have 2 teens and they are in every night due to lack of amenities in the area.
[quote][p][bold]Angusam[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]trebormonk[/bold] wrote: I AGREE WITH ALL THE COMMENTS ABOVE. THE BUILDING SHOULD BE MADE INTO A COMMUNITY CENTRE FOR THE CHILDREN AND KIDS ROUND THERE. AS THERE IS NOTHING FOR THEM TO DO. KEEP THEM OCCUPIED AND THERE WONT BE AS MUCH TROUBLE IN THE AREA.[/p][/quote]I can't agree with this, what message does this put out to people. Burn a building down and then it will be turned into something to help get you off your backsides and give you something to do?. I do understand that it is tough out there for young people, actually its tough for everyone. But it was no different 15 years ago when I was in my late teens. When I was younger, I always had to be proactive at getting a job and I did not wait for things to happen nor did I expect that the world owed me a living as seems to be the expectation today. I started at the bottom at one point I worked two jobs, pushed trolleys and delivered pizzas, life has always been tough but I certainly wouldn't be getting into trouble and hanging out on the Streets with this hopeless defeated attitude that many have today. How many community centres does the area already have? It obviously hasn't made much of a difference.[/p][/quote]have you ever been to the area, there is nothing around for kids and teens, talk to any teenager around griffin and they will tell you. obviously you dont get out much to have a look around. get your facts right before commenting on others comments. i think trebormonk makes a great point. i have 2 teens and they are in every night due to lack of amenities in the area. bow1974
  • Score: 5

12:43am Wed 9 Oct 13

kenbro says...

In 1953 the Lodge was used by the GPO for offices. We played a table tennis match there against the Post Office Telephone men..
If there is a shortage of Community facilities in the Griffin area it would be great if the building can be resurrected and used as a Community Centre and Youth Club. Youngsters need a place to go to where they can play snooker, table tennis, etc rather than roaming the streets.
Yes, there will be a minority that just want to get in trouble or go boozing, but there are a lot of good kids that could use such a facility. I hope they can do it.
In 1953 the Lodge was used by the GPO for offices. We played a table tennis match there against the Post Office Telephone men.. If there is a shortage of Community facilities in the Griffin area it would be great if the building can be resurrected and used as a Community Centre and Youth Club. Youngsters need a place to go to where they can play snooker, table tennis, etc rather than roaming the streets. Yes, there will be a minority that just want to get in trouble or go boozing, but there are a lot of good kids that could use such a facility. I hope they can do it. kenbro
  • Score: 10

12:46pm Thu 10 Oct 13

what goes around comes around says...

BBC could not sell it for years,or afford to maintain it.How convenient it is
now burnt out........Bet it's well insured though.....Just saying....!
BBC could not sell it for years,or afford to maintain it.How convenient it is now burnt out........Bet it's well insured though.....Just saying....! what goes around comes around
  • Score: 3

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