​20th Century 1970-2000

Albert Lord​ | John Simpson | Thomas Ellis | Dr. David B. Murray | Tom H. MarshJames H. Swanton​
Frank Beetham BEM | Nancy R. Bramley Haworth | Frank Hulme | Rendall J. Allen | Frank Gorton 
Reg N.S. Edwards | James Watson​ | John Tarbuck​ | Clifford West | Eric Smith | Michael A. Madigan 
Sylvia L​​iddleGordon Toole | Bill Taylor​ | Malcolm T. Doherty​ | George Bramley Haworth​ | Eileen Entwistle​ 
Paul N. Browne | Edna Arnold | Maureen Bateson​ | Mary Leaver | Peter Greenwood | Florence Oldfield​
Salas R. Kiani | Jack Bury, O.B.E.

Albert Lord
 Mayor of Blackburn 1970-71
098 Albert Lord Mayor of Blackburn 1970-1971.jpg​​​​​

​Albert Lord

Albert was the son of Robert and Annie Lord born on the 10th of June 1901. In 1911 the family lived on Ash Street and Albert had four sisters at that time. He went on to be educated at Bangor Street School. Albert married Ivy Gates on the 23rd of May 1925 and he was employed as a railway fireman. Albert and the previous mayor, Edmund Gregson, worked together as foot plate-men at the old Lower Darwen locomotive shed and Albert's career spanned nearly fifty years taking in the change-over from steam to diesel. It was like armchair driving in an enclosed cab after the primitive condition of an open footplate. The two men had opposing political views and Albert was a keen supporter of the Labour Party.

Albert, who lived at number six, Ramsey Road, was sixty eight when he took over as mayor and had been a widower for seven years - his sister Mrs. Mary Roberts was installed as the mayoress. He spoke of Blackburn's refusal to decay in spite of years of depression and its determination to attract and encourage new industries. The town-centre re-development scheme was a symbol of the new Blackburn plus new housing projects, new schools, health centres and hostels. Albert had been a Labour Councillor since 1948 with just one year's break when he had been defeated in St. John's Ward in 1965. His main interest had been electricity and he was a member of the North West Electricity Consultative Council and a member of the Pennine Committee of that council. He was a former chairman of the corporation's old Salaries and Establishment Committee and during his four year term of office the new Organisation and Methods Department was set up in the Town Hall. Albert was an Alderman for three years.

Albert died on the 1st. of June 1985 aged eighty three and at probate his estate was said to be no more than £40,000. He had a married son who lived in Reigate, Surrey.
Much of the above information is contained in articles from the Evening Telegraph of February and May 1970 and June 1985.​
Janet Burke

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John S​impson
Mayor of Blackburn 1971-72
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John Simpson

John was born on the 6th of May 1922 to William and Annie. He went to St. Joseph's primary school and then on to St. Albans. In 1939 the family lived on Walter Street - John was a junior clerk at Prospect Mill and his younger brother James was an office boy. John had started his career in textiles by polishing shuttle tips at Jones Textiles and after working at Prospect he moved to Eli Heyworth & sons at Audley Hall Mills. He concentrated on the administrative and sales side of the industry and studied at night school. During the Second World War he served for six years in the Naval Air Service in the writer and supply branch. John then joined W. Robinson & Co, (Haslingden) as a company director. The family lived on Buncer Lane and John's wife Lois was a teacher at St. Anne’s Junior School Accrington.

After the death of Alderman John Stirrup, John, together with Tom Marsden, became the joint deputy leader of the controlling Conservative group on Blackburn Council. John had been the representative for St. Andrew's Ward since 1959 and was chairman of the Amenities Committee and in charge of Blackburn's House Building and Environmental Improvement Committee. This committee oversaw the granting of home loans, slum clearance, the Clean Air Program, Parks, Allotments, Cemeteries, Public Baths and Witton Park athletic track. John was appointed an Alderman in 1970 and became a magistrate in 1971. He became the new chairman of the North East Lancashire Development Association.  He was a governor of St. Mary's and Notre Dame schools, treasurer of the multiple sclerosis organisation and chairman of the management committee of the West End Catholic Youth Centre. He was associated with Sacred Heart Catholic Church and President of Blackburn Catenian Association.

John gave tireless service for Blackburn - both the old borough and the new council formed in 1974. He died at the Town Hall after making a speech as Conservative Leader in 1994.

Much of the above information is contained in the articles published by the Lancashire Evening Telegraph on the 1st. October 1969, 12th. February 1971, 27th April 1974 and 29th April 1994.
Janet Burke

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Thomas Ellis
Mayor of Blackburn​ 1972-73
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Tom Ellis and with his Wife Mary

Thomas was born on the 24th of June 1909 to William, a spinner and Mary, a weaver who lived at 37, Plane Street, Bastwell, Blackburn. Thomas married May Hacking in July 1933 and they lived at 65, Shadsworth Road. Thomas worked at Thomas Gillibrand (Blackburn) Ltd. motor body builders on Cherry Street as works manager and became a director of the company.

Thomas was a member of the Labour Party for most of his adult life and a councilor representing St. Thomas's Ward for twenty one years with only one year's break when he was defeated at the elections of 1969/70. He was the chairman of the Public Utilities Committee which oversaw roads, road safety and traffic planning, the direct works building department, sewage disposal and street lighting. He became a Borough Magistrate in 1962 and represented Blackburn on the North East Lancashire Development Association. He was appointed chairman of the newly formed District Manpower committee for the Blackburn, Hyndburn and Ribble Valley areas for the promotion of jobs and training. Thomas, at the age of seventy, retired from the bench after seventeen years - he had also been the town's representative on the Lancashire Police committee.

Thomas was a keen gardener and associated with St Theresa's Roman Catholic Church. He was also a member of the Blackburn Council of the Knights of Saint Columba. May who in 1939 had worked as a confectioner died in November 1983 aged 76 and at probate the proceeds were £61,427. Thomas died on the 7th of August 1989 and at probate, granted to his sons-in-law, the proceeds were £184,015.

Much of the above information is from articles in the Lancashire Evening Telegraph of the 24th of May 1972, 22nd of October 1975, and the 6th of January 1990 and also the Blackburn Times of 6th. January 1990.​​
Janet Burke

Dr. David B. Murray
Mayor of Blackburn 1973-74

Murray David Mayor 1973-74035.jpg
Dr. David B. Murray with His Wife Myona

David Murray was born in Paisley, Scotland on the 26th of July 1922. He became a Consultant Anaesthetist coming to Blackburn in 1957 and Dr. David B. MurrayDr. David B. Murraylived on St. Silas's Road with his wife Myona - they went on to have six children, four daughters and two sons.

David first represented St. Silas's Ward in 1968 and was the vice-chairman of the Social Services and Children’s Committee, a governor of St. Wilfrid’s and Blackburn House, a member of the Blackburn Health Executive and on the committee of the North East Lancashire Deaf and Dumb Society. His work at Blackburn Infirmary included the design and equipping of the new Intensive Care Unit and also he was responsible for drawing up the Coronary Thrombosis Flying Squad's special ambulance to combat heart disease. 
At the age of fifty he became the last mayor of the County Borough of Blackburn before the local government reforms which made Blackburn a new District Council with Darwen, parts of Turton and Blackburn rural areas. 
According to Ancestry David died on his birthday the 26th of July 2007 aged eighty five.
Much of the above information is from an article in the Lancashire Evening Telegraph dated the 21st of February 1973.
Janet Burke

​Tom H. Marsh​
Mayor of Blackburn 1974-75
102 Tom H Marsh and Elsie Marsh (Mayoress) Mayor of Blackburn 1974-1975.jpg
Tom H. Marsh with his Wife Elsie 

Tom was born on the twenty second of July 1901 to William Henry and Sarah Ellen. In 1911 the family lived on Brothers Street, Blackburn and Tom at that time had two sisters and one brother. Come 1939 he was married and lived at 9, Rosehill Avenue Burnley - his occupation seemed to be that of local manager of an International Correspondence School

Tom was a leading figure in the world of sport and the promotion of tourism in the North West. He was a Labour nominee with more than twenty years’ experience on the existing Blackburn Council and his wife Elsie took the role of mayoress. They lived on Johnston Street in Blackburn. Tom was the chairman of Blackburn Sports Council, chairman of the North West Tourist Board and of the North West Provincial Council for Local Authority and Conditions. He was also chairman of the Blackburn area Guide Dogs for the Blind Association, of the Blackburn and Darwen Blind Society and of the joint Finance Committee for the Blind. Except for one year Tom had represented St. Paul's Ward since 1951 and as a member of the Policy and Resources Committee recommended an expense allowance of £1500 for the mayor and £250 for the deputy mayor.
Tom died aged seventy eight on the sixth of September 1979 and at probate the proceeds were £21,719.

Much of the above information is from the Lancashire Evening Telegraph dated the twentieth of February 1974 and also from Ancestry.​
Janet Burke

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James H. Swanton​
Mayor of Blackburn 1975-76

103 Councillor James Swanton 1975 to 1976.jpg 
James Swanton

James was born on the 21st of July 1918. He was an old boy of Holy Trinity School and Spring Bank Secondary School in Darwen and on leaving school worked in the paint and wallpaper business starting at Belgrave Mill and later became a planning officer with Paragon Wallpapers Ltd. - part of the Leyland Paints Group. He enlisted in 1939​ in the Royal Artillery and served in Burma finishing the war as a sergeant. In July 1946 he married Norah Paynter and they lived in Darwen on Ashworth Terrace. James was a very keen and able cricketer and played for Darwen in the Northern League

In 1968 James was elected to the former Darwen Borough Council as a Conservative for the West Central Ward and in 1970 Became Chairman of the Transport and Market Committees. A member of the former Darwen Divisional Executive he was elected to the new Blackburn Council in 1973 and was a member of the council's Highways and Transport Committees. James was a member of Holy Trinity Church of England and St. Joseph's Roman Catholic Schools Managers. He and his wife were active workers for the Old Peoples Welfare Committee and James would have been the Mayor of Darwen had the towns not merged. It was quite appropriate that a Darwen man should be the Mayor of Blackburn within twelve months of the local reorganisation. He campaigned for the free use of Public Halls for charity functions and as his mayoral charity aimed to raise £10,000 for equipment to be used in the children's intensive care units - CHIC at Blackburn Infirmary and Queens Park Hospital.

Norah died aged eighty six in 2003 and James went into a nursing home where he died in 2007 aged eighty nine.
Janet Burke​

Frank Beetham BEM​​​​
Mayor of Blackburn 1976-77
104 Councillor Francis Beetham 1976 to 1977.jpg
Francis Beetham

Francis J. Beetham was born on the 30th of March 1932 and was educated at St. Joseph's Primary School and Blackburn Technical School. He served in Germany with the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers. Frank became an engineer at the Royal Ordnance Factory and entered politics in 1964 when he won a seat on the former Blackburn Council of which he became Liberal leader. He was the District President of the Amalgamated Union of Engineering Works and the Chairman of the Blackburn Property Owners and Ratepayers Association. In 1970 he stood as the parliamentary candidate for Heywood and Royton and in 1974 for Blackburn. Frank was the Chairman of managers for Daisyfield School and a governor of several others.

Frank became the first Liberal Mayor for forty years having held his seat in St. Matthew's Ward which he had won twelve years previously. He called for unity in racial and religious matters and launched an appeal for Action in Distress in Blackburn. Along with another Liberal Councillor Freda Barber and Barbara Castle, he received a live bullet in the post as a protest from extreme right wing groups regarding a march - Action against Racism. The mayor had no intention of taking part as he was not in favour of any protest marches. New premises were found for the Samaritans and he pledged his determination for the mammoth task of giving his attention to the towns and villages in the borough. His wife Stella Mary, a printing supervisor, was installed as the mayoress and Frank had a special message for residents of North Turton who may have felt more affinity to Bolton that he and his wife (Bolton born and bred) would endeavour to visit the Bolton end of the borough as much as possible. Frank visited Turton Tower to stake his claim to the chair made for the first Mayor of Blackburn in 1851 and hoped to arrange for it to be brought back to Blackburn. It had been moved to Turton as someone had thought the crest was that of Darwen!

In 1982 Frank was awarded the British Empire Medal for his work at the Royal Ordnance Factory where he had worked for twenty seven years. This length of service led to him also receiving the Imperial Services Medal. He had always been interested in sport and was a former chairman of the factory's sport and social club where he had helped to boost membership and extend the range of activities.
In 1991 aged only fifty nine Frank died after having suffered a stroke - a Requiem Mass was held at St. Joseph's Roman Catholic Church.

Much of the above information is taken from articles in the Lancashire Evening Telegraph dated 20th May 1970, 25th June 1976 and the 23rd April 1991.
Janet Burke

Nancy R. Bramley Haworth​​​​
Mayor of Blackburn 1977-78​​

105 Councillor Nancy  R Bramley-Hawarth 1977 to 1978.jpg
Nancy R. Bramley Haworth

Nancy Rhoda Carruthers known as Nen was born in Flintshire in 1920 and educated in North Wales and Chester. She qualified as a State Registered Nurse and a Queens Nurse. Her father was a Scot and her mother half welsh whose great grandfather was a direct descendant of Owain Gwyndd. Nen married George Bramley- Haworth in 1945 and they had a son Nigel. They lived on Pleckgate Road and Nen became a councillor in 1969 representing St. Luke's Ward until 1973 when she was elected as the representative for St. Andrew's Ward. She took great interest in local affairs and had sat on the old Education Committee before becoming a councillor. Nen was vice-chairman of the Housing Committee, a governor of Billinge School and also chairman of the managers of several other local schools including Longshaw, Lower Darwen and Accrington Road. She was a member of the Community Health Council.

When Nen was selected as mayor it proved to be somewhat controversial since her husband George was the leader of the Conservative majority group of the council and as such may have used his casting vote and it was also thought that she could not be impartial. This was obviously not confirmed but the person who would otherwise have been selected chose not to attend the mayor making ceremony. However Nen took the position and her daughter-in-law Sonia became the mayoress. It was ten years since there had been a woman selected as mayor. The mayor's charity appeal was in support of the Queen's Silver Jubilee Charity Appeal launched last month by the Prince of Wales but also hoped to provide equipment for the revolutionary kidney dialysis unit to be housed at Montague Street Health Centre.

In 1977 an early decision was expected regarding the route for the M65 and also an early appraisal of the government's decision to cut back on the Central Lancashire New Town. The final stage of the pedestrianisation of the shopping precinct was on the agenda and also the further progress of the Cathedral grounds scheme to provide more open access which would be an appropriate conclusion to the Cathedral's Golden Jubilee Year.

George died in August 1994 aged seventy four but Nen lived to be ninety nine dying in 2019.

Much of the above is from Ancestry and articles in the Lancashire Evening Telegraph dated 25th and 28th of January, 25th of March and 19th of May 1977 and the 12th of May 1978.
Janet Burke

Frank Hulme
Mayor of Blackburn 1978-79
Frank Hulm009.jpg
Frank Hulme

Frank was born on the 12th of August 1909 to George Thomas, an engine fitter, and Martha Annie. He had a twin sister Eleanor and four older brothers and at that time the family lived at 38, Trinity Street before moving to 23, Primrose Bank. Frank married Elizabeth Wiggins on the 11th of April 1936 and in 1939 he was described as a turret turner in the motor industry and they lived at 34, Young Avenue, Leyland with his parents. Frank had become a Shop Steward at the age of twenty two at the British Northrop Loom Company and then a full time officer of the Amalgamated Engineering Workers from age thirty eight up to his retirement in 1974. He had worked at the Royal Ordnance Factory and finally at British Leyland before he became a full time Union Official. In 1977 Frank was invested by the Queen with the MBE. On his retirement he was still an active council member of the Group Training Association for Apprentices in the Engineering Union. He was an active promoter of all youth activities, in particular football, and was Chairman of the former Blackburn Youth Council. He was also on the Board of Management for John Rigby, Cedar's Infants, St. Albans and Accrington Road Schools. Frank had been the Chairman of Blackburn College's Board of Governors where he had served for more than fifteen years but felt he had been eased out by an implied ploy of the Tory Party controlling Lancashire County Council, to nominate their members on many local bodies. Frank was asked to be vice-chairman but refused although he remained on the board.

When selected as mayor, Frank had been on the council for more than twenty six years, his wife of forty two years was his mayoress. They lived at Ribble House on the tenth floor and were very involved at Holy Trinity Church where Frank had sung in the choir for sixty one years. Sometime before, Elizabeth had been struck with crippling rheumatoid arthritis and the mayor's charity was raising money for arthritis, rheumatism and multiple sclerosis and named a “Call to ARMS.” The mayoral couple were described as very caring who took the mayoralty to the people. They carried out a record six hundred engagements, including a record number of school visits and visitors to the Mayor's parlour and the Mayor's Charity raised more than £12,500.

Frank was quite outspoken in his views and had strong religious convictions which he felt led to his being ousted in 1982 as representative of Cathedral Ward in favour of Maureen Bateman - some forty years his junior. This was also the year there was a proposal to scrap the position of mayor in favour of a chairman and Frank sided with the Conservatives to stop this and also the sale of the mayoral Rolls.
Elizabeth died in 1989 and Frank remarried but he died suddenly aged eighty four in 1993.

The above information comes from Ancestry and articles in the Lancashire Evening Telegraph dated 26th. October 1977, 6th. June and 21st. July 1978, 18th. May 1979, 31st. December 1980 and 27th November 1982.

Janet Burke​

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​Rendall J. Allen
Mayor of Blackburn 1979-80​​
107 Councillor Rendall Allen 1979 to 1980.jpg
Allen, Rendall

Rendall was born on the 16th of April 1922. At the age of seventeen he was working as a warehouseman in a cotton mill and lived at 150, Leeds Road Nelson. In October 1948 he married Mary Kilroy from Blackburn at St Albans. They had a son Stephen and a daughter Margaret. Rendall and Margaret moved to Darwen and together opened a jeweller's shop. He was a keen sportsman, running marathons and was a first team player for Colne Cricket Club in the fifties and Darwen in the seventies.

Rendall served on the old Darwen Council for a year then, on the reorganisation, became a Liberal Councillor on Blackburn Council. He had been the President of Darwen Chamber of Trade, a member of several boards of school governors and also a member of Darwen Old People's Welfare Committee. When selected as mayor, Rendall became the first Darwen Liberal to hold that office and held the mayoral service at St. Alban's instead of the Cathedral. During his year he led a campaign to rid the streets of pornography after the leak of a government report which indicated the move to licence shops selling pornographic material and to give hard core pornographic films a "P" certificate. Rendall was supported by the Church Organisations and Youth Leaders although local shops welcomed the move to licence shops selling pornographic material. 
Rendall died in July 1992 at the age of seventy.

The above information is from articles in the Lancashire Evening Telegraph dated 26th. November 1979 and 15th of July 1992.
Janet Burke

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Frank Gorton​​​​​​

Mayor of Blackburn 1980-81​​

Frank started working for the Labour Party at the age of twelve when he helped his father to distribute leaflets and collect subscriptions. He left school at fourteen and worked in a chemist's shop for three years but left as his wages were only ten shillings a week for excessive hours. In 1946 he was invalided out of the Royal Medical Corps in India and returned to Blackburn where he started hospital work. He met his wife Edith, a nurse, and they lived on Morecambe Road with their two children Brian and Eileen. Frank was a nurse at Queens Park for thirty years and appointed a member of the Lancashire Area Health Authority. He was Chairman of COHSE - the health service union.

In 1961 Frank represented St. Jude's Ward and became one of the longest serving councillors. He was Group Secretary of the local Labour Party, Chairman of the Council's Personnel Working Group and a member of the Building Committee. When elected as Mayor he chose as his charity the Blackburn and District Amenities Fund and asked staff and patients to write and tell him how to spend the money. He was making jobs a priority and hoping to attract new industry to the town. When the Labour Group on Council proposed to abolish the position of mayor he sided with Councillor Hulme an ex-mayor and fellow Labour Party member against this and said that if any of the people taking that decision had ever held the office of mayor and seen the joy brought to young and old alike they would not be voting to abolish it. Likewise the attempt to sell the mayoral Rolls and its prestigious number plate was also defeated. Frank was not afraid of controversy when he arranged for the Mayoral Ball to be held at the Saxon Inn which upset some of his own party and the staff at the Public Halls. The shop steward of the General and Municipal Workers Union called for a boycott but Frank was clear that the event should not be subsidised by the ratepayers and tickets would be £5.50 instead of £8.00 - the Saxon was offering the ballroom for free and making a donation.
Frank and Edith moved to the nursing home Magdalene House where Frank died in 2007 aged eighty two.

The above information can be found in articles from the Lancashire Evening Telegraph dated 11th September 1975, 4th March, 22nd May and 23rd December 1980.​
Janet Burke

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​Reg N.S. Edwards
Mayor of Blackburn 1981-82
109 Councillor Reginald Edwards 1981 to 1982.jpg
Edwards, Reginald

Reg was born in Portsmouth on the 6th of August 1914. He joined the RAF and served for thirty one years with tours of duty in India, Iraq, Egypt, the Sudan and in 1940 in France with the Advanced Air Striking Force. Reg married Edith Dudley in October 1955. He retired as a Warrant Officer in 1961 and the rest of his working life was spent as a clerical officer with the 4th. Battalion of the East Lancashire Regiment, Territorial Army and later with the Health and Social Security Department reaching a total of fifty years of public service. Reg and Edith lived on Gorse Street and had a daughter Jacqueline.

Reg was first elected to Blackburn Council in 1969 and served as vice-chairman of transport and for the past seven years was chairman of housing - then being the vice- chairman and Conservative spokesman for housing. Reg was Chairman of Governors at Shadsworth High School and a member of the bodies of St. Stephens, John Rigby and Audley Schools. He also served on the district education liaison committee and for sixteen years was treasurer of Intack and Knuzden Conservative Club. Reg was the vice-chairman of the executive of Darwen Conservative Association and Blackburn's representative on the Territorial Army body for Cheshire, Lancashire and the Isle of Man. When selected as Mayor, the Mayoral Ball returned to the public halls and Reg chose the Hospice as his Mayoral Charity which raised over £20,000.
Reg died in 1998 at the age of eighty four.

Much of the above information is from articles in the Lancashire Evening Telegraph dated April 1981 and the 25th of January 1982 and also the Blackburn Times of the 5th of February 1981.
Janet Burke

James Watson
Mayor of Blackburn 1982-83
110 Councillor The Rev James Watson 1982 to 1983.jpg
Rev. James Watson

James was born in Lancaster and educated at Lancaster Grammar school, then Lancashire Independent College and Manchester University. After graduation he was ordained in 1943 and did wartime service with the Manchester Civil Defence Force. James's first pastorals were in the Oldham area. In 1958 he became the minister at Audley Range United Reform Church where he stayed for twenty five years. He had been the Free Church Chaplain at Queens Park Hospital for twenty one years. In June 1982 he completed fifty years in the scouting movement where he has been honoured with many awards including the Silver Wolf. James and Alice, his wife, lived at Lynn Cottage, Everton off Roman Road, Blackburn.

James was elected to the old council in 1964 and for a time was chairman of health and social services committee, he was also on the education committee and served on Blackburn education liaison committee. During the local government re-organisation he left politics for a while - mainly because his two main interests of education and health and social security had been taken over by the county. James stood again in 1976 because of the National Front activities. When he was asked to be mayor the Elders of his church unanimously agreed that he should accept and he appreciated their forward look regarding council work as it was part of the Christian Commitment to serve the community. Alice his wife became the mayoress - an accomplished speaker and a licentiate of the London College of Music. During this mayoral year Blackburn finally had its coat of arms on the mayoral chain almost ten years since the authority came into being. The new jewel was fixed to the old Darwen chain and was a symbol of unity. There had been a pay out of £93,000 for the loss of the old Blackburn chain which had vanished two years earlier and the riddle of where that money had gone was solved - it had been paid into a capital receipts account and spent. The cost of having a mayor had risen from £29,500 to £54,153.

Alice died on the 23rd. of January 1998 aged eighty one and James died on the 4th of January 2013 aged ninety five.
Janet Burke

John Tarbuck​
Mayor of Blackburn 1983-84
111 Councillor John Tarbuck 1983 to 1984.jpg
John Tarbuck

John was born in Chester in 1915 and served in the RAF during the Second World War. He married Agnes Maisie Smith in 1941 and they had two sons and two daughters. John had trained at Chester Diocesan College and taught at schools in the Liverpool area before moving to Blackburn in 1951 to take up the position of headmaster at St. Luke's Primary School - he retired in 1978 after twenty seven years. The family lived on the Crescent at Cherry Tree and it was well known that he was a keen Everton supporter. 

John was the chairman of Blackburn Rural District Council from 1966 to 1968 and had served on that council for sixteen years. He was chairman of the Livesey with Pleasington branch of Blackburn Conservative Association, a member of the executive finance committee of the Darwen Conservative constituency and a member of the steering committee looking into the constituency boundary changes. John had been a magistrate since 1969 sitting on the Church Bench and was closely associated with Church matters. At the age of sixty eight he accepted the position of Mayor in spite of a bid by some Labour councillors to scrap this office and his mayoral charity appeal was in support of children. After some years of debate it was finally decided to sell off the mayoral Rolls Royce and perhaps separately the number plate CB1 - (originally from a cleansing wagon). 

John stood down in 1997 aged eighty two after thirty nine years as a councillor for the Livesey with Pleasington area. He received an award from the Conservative Party in 1999 in the form of a scroll outlining his many achievements and his work for the Conservatives. John died on the 18th of May 2007 aged ninety two.
Janet Burke

Clifford West​​​​​
mayorWest and wife for CT.jpg

Mayor of Blackburn 1984-85 

Clifford was born in Stockport on the 1st of February 1922. He was stationed at Samlesbury during the Second World War where he met Edith May Aspin. They married in 1947 and had six children. Clifford worked as a glass cutter at Mullards but had an accident injuring his hand and had to leave this employment. He went to Remploy where he worked as an inspector for seventeen years and during his time there ran a savings club for disabled workers and founded a social club organising sports events, xmas parties and outings. Clifford was awarded the British Empire Medal in recognition of his work for the disabled and the community.

In May 1964 Clifford, living at that time on Laburnum Road, successfully contested St. Andrew's Ward having tried twice before. In spite of chronic arthritis for sixteen years he devoted himself to council duties on the recreation, community, employment and building committees. When Clifford became Mayor, he and Edith raised over £8000 for blind and deaf children. Although a member of the Labour Party, he was opposed to their plans to change the mayor making ceremony to a simple handing over of office after the April council meeting and the halving of the budget for the Mayor. These proposals were not achieved at that time.

Clifford and Edith lived on Deganwy Avenue and had eleven grandchildren, nine great grandchildren and one great great grandchild. Edith died in 2005 aged eighty two and Clifford died in 2010 aged eighty eight.

Much of this information is from articles in the Lancashire Evening Telegraph dated 29th. January 1964, 9th. February and the 10th. March 1985.

Janet Burke

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​​Eric Smith

Mayor of Blackburn 1985-86

Eric lived on Shadsworth Road and worked at the Royal Ordnance Factory. He was married to Shirley and from 1971-73 had represented St. Thomas's Ward on the old Blackburn Council. From 1973 he was a member for Shadsworth on Blackburn Borough Council and Shadsworth and Queens Park on Lancashire County Council. Eric had been the chairman of the county's fire service and public protection committees for eight years. He was a past president of Blackburn's Trades Council and a past chairman of the Blackburn Constituency Labour Party. He was also a governor at Blackburn College and vice chairman and governor at Shadsworth Primary School.

It was a controversial break with tradition when he became the second Labour Mayor in succession and the mayor making ceremony was limited to a brief handing over at the end of an ordinary council meeting. Eric was concerned about the number of unemployed and intended to encourage investment within the borough. The mayoral ball was held at the Moat House and the President of the town's Chamber of Trade whilst complimenting the Mayor and Mayoress on the decorum they had brought to the office hoped that the position of Mayor would never be scrapped in favour of a chair person. Eric alienated himself from his Labour colleagues by refusing to support the brown route of the M65 which would have cut Blackburn in two and he asked Blackburn people to bombard Barbara Castle with their objections.
In 1992 Eric died at home aged sixty two and Jack Straw paid tribute to his work for Blackburn and the Labour Party.

Much of this information is from articles in the Lancashire Evening Telegraph dated 1st. February, 17th. May and 3rd. of December 1985 and the 20th. January 1992.

Janet Burke

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Michael A. Madiga​​n​​​

Mayor of Blackburn 1986-87

Michael was the manager of a jeweller's shop in Preston. He was married to Maura and they had three children, a son and twin girls.

As a councillor in 1984 Michael had urged the council to set a budget for the mayoral year as costs were spiralling out of control. He was the chairman of the council's corporate development working group and became the third successive Labour mayor which enabled the Labour group to have the casting vote in debates. The first change to the mayoral year was to preside over a new style annual council meeting which cut the installation of mayor down to a streamlined handing over of office ceremony with refreshments sponsored by BT and Matthew Brown. There was a demonstration of an alarm system for older people which Michael hoped to buy through his year's charity fund raising. The highlight of his year was the visit of delegates from Blackburn's two twin towns, the Irish Festival Week and in the November the visit of Princess Anne.

Michael became a Labour Party election agent but resigned in 2004 when three candidates for the Bastwell area quit Labour only days after being elected. This plunged the council into chaos when they joined three other councillors to form an alliance with the Conservative and Lib Dem councillors to take control of the council which had had a Labour majority since 1983.

This information is from articles in the Lancashire Evening Telegraph dated February 1986, 15th of May 1987 and the 24th of June 2004.​
Janet Burke

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Sylvia Liddle​​​
​Mayor of Blackburn 1987-88​​
Sylvia Liddle mayor Suzanne Liddle 1987-88.jpg​​​
Sylvia Liddle with her Daughter

Sylvia, a divorcee, became one of the youngest mayors and her daughter, aged fifteen, was her mayoress. Sylvia was a school swimming instructor and had represented Queens Park Ward since 1979 and she chaired the community employment committee which oversaw the YTS schemes. At the mayoral ceremony, Sylvia was the first Labour mayor for three years to wear the black and red ceremonial robes and she chose the East Lancashire Scanner Appeal as her mayoral charity.

When it came time for the council elections in May 1988 in a left wing coup, Sylvia was not selected by her own ward party for Queens Park Ward. She would not stand against an existing councillor but would have considered standing if there was a vacancy in another ward. It seemed that Bank Top might have come to her rescue but she failed to win their nomination and this meant that Mike Madigan would continue as Deputy Mayor for a second year. She was complimented by all parties and said to have been one of Blackburn's best mayors.

This information is from articles in the Lancashire Evening Telegraph dated the 6th of February and the 7th and 9th of December 1987 and also the Citizen dated 21st of May 1988.
Janet Burke


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Gordon Toole​​​
Mayor of Blackburn 1988-89​
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Gorden Tool with his Wife Joan

Gordon had been a dance band drummer with Vince Hill, the Colin Hilton Trio and locally at Tony's New Empress Ballroom. He had worked in the textile industry and been employed as a supervisor in the Health Service for ten years. Gordon married Joan Hartley in 1959 and they lived on Emerald Street. Their life was dedicated to the children in their care and they had three daughters of their own. Gordon enjoyed reading, music and the countryside.

Gordon had represented Moorgate Ward since 1979 and had served on nearly all council committees. He had been chairman of the Civic Affairs sub-committee and vice chairman of the Police Liaison committee before becoming the mayor. Gordon was a governor of Sacred Heart Roman Catholic School, Meadowhead Infants and junior |Schools and Crosshill Special School. Gordon became the fifth consecutive Labour mayor and named Multiple Sclerosis as his mayoral charity with the aim of purchasing and kitting out a special ambulance for the Blackburn and district branch. His first task as Mayor was to welcome the Prince of Wales who visited Blackburn on the 2nd of June to launch the Business in the Community Project. Gordon was also a county councillor representing Queens Park and Shadsworth.

The above information is from articles in the Lancashire Evening Telegraph dated the 12th of May 1986 and the Citizen dated June 1988.
Janet Burke

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Bill T​aylor​
Mayor of Blackburn 1989-90

Sir William Taylor (Bill) was born in Leeds in 1952 and met his wife Anne at university. They had two children and moved to Blackburn living on Mollington Road and on retirement in Pleasington. Bill was a youth worker working closely within the community especially in youth projects and the setting up of neighbourhood centres. He had represented Cathedral Ward since 1980 and was the deputy Labour leader of the ward from 1980 to 1996. Bill was actively involved with many local organisations including governing bodies of schools, the arts and community groups. He raised money for charity and helped to develop the "passport to leisure" enabling disadvantaged people to enjoy leisure facilities. 

In 1989, at the age of thirty seven, Bill was Blackburn's youngest mayor, and also, the sixth Labour mayor in succession. He nominated Youth Theme '90 as his Mayoral Charity and the last mayoral engagement of his year was the six hundred and seventy fifth which had meant a hectic but rewarding year.

Bill became the deputy Labour leader in Audley Ward in 1996, serving until 2003, and from 1997 he was on the committee of the Local Government Association's Education Committee. Bill received a knighthood in 2003 in tribute to his youth work in the community and his work for the Labour Party.

The above information is from articles in the Lancashire Evening Telegraph dated the 21st. December 1988 and the 12th. May 1989.
Janet Burke

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Malcolm T. Doherty
Mayor of Blackburn 1990-91

Malcolm was born in Kendall and attended university gaining an MA. He lives in Mill Hill with his wife Jean and they have two children - Jill and Paul. Malcolm attends St. Aiden's Church where he sings in the choir and serves on the church council and arts group. He is a keen marathon runner, a theatre goer and a Blackburn Rovers fan. 

Malcolm was a full time NALGO official, was deputy leader of the Labour group for four years and had represented Mill Hill since 1981. He was a director of Blackburn Transport, a member of the Prince of Wales Community Venture steering committee, governor of St. Wilfrid’s, St. Mary's sixth form college and St. Aiden’s CE primary school.

In his mayoral year there were several new developments including the new waterside development, the opening of the ice-skating arena and the Hollywood Bowl arena. His mayoral appeal raised £26,000 for Shared Care which provided specialised furnishings and fittings for a new "home from home" for the disabled.

From 1999 Malcolm was chairman of the East Lancashire Partnership - having been a member since 1997. He was also chairman of Blackburn Regeneration Partnership and the representative for Lancashire Police Authority and Lancashire Fire Authority. From 1997 Malcolm was a director of the East Lancashire Health Authority.

The above information is from articles in the Lancashire Evening Telegraph dated 11th. May 1990, 27th. July 1991 and the 9th. June 2001.
Janet Burke


George Bramley Haworth​
Mayor of Blackburn 1991-92

George and his wife Nen clocked up more than forty years between them on Blackburn council and their son Nigel was following in their footsteps on Hyndburn council.  George had married Nen in 1945 and they came to Blackburn where he had been a personnel officer for the Trustee Savings Bank. George began his political career when elected to represent St. Silas's Ward in 1967 - this became Revidge Ward in the reorganisation of 1974. 

George became the first Conservative mayor in almost a decade and his wife Nen was his mayoress - she was the first lady to hold the positions of mayor and mayoress in the same borough. George was a governor of Witton park High School and a former co-ordinator for Barnardos Homes in Blackburn. He launched an appeal to raise money for equipment and other benefits for children who attended special schools and units in the borough and who suffer from disabilities and disorders which affect their quality of life. He praised local environment initiatives including the local Telegraph's Grimewatch campaign and the council's Greenwatch Charter. When elected it was stated that he had served on virtually every committee, chairman of many, council leader and also leader of the Conservative group for seventeen years. He hoped that Blackburn's appeal for city status would be successful.
George died in August 1994 after serving the people of Blackburn for twenty seven years.

Much of the above information is from articles in the Lancashire Evening Telegraph dated 14th of February 1991 and the 12th of August 1994.
Janet Burke

Eileen Entwistle​
Mayor of Blackburn 1992-93​
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Eileen Entwistle with her Daughter Barbara

Eileen and husband Brian have four grown up children and live on Highfield Road, Darwen. She gave up her job with Crown Wallcoverings to devote more time to her civic duties and in 1979 was appointed a magistrate to serve on the Darwen Bench. She was a governor of Sudell Primary school, a member of Blackburn Arts Council and the Sports Council and a committee member of the Blackburn and Darwen Band, Action Factory community theatre group and the Raw Cotton theatre group. Eileen had represented Sudell ward since 1986 and was also a county councillor for the Sudell/Sunnyhurst ward since 1990. She served on the district liaison committees for youth, social services and the police.

Since the local government re-organisation of 1974, Eileen became the first woman from the Darwen Labour party to be chosen as the mayor - since 1984 there had been seven Labour mayors. At this time the borough achieved a great deal with the council business link up in the Blackburn Partnership which helped to put forward a strong bid for city challenge money. Eileen, as mayor, attended almost five hundred functions and raised more than £8,000 to help homeless young people.

Some of the above information is from an article in the Lancashire Evening Telegraph dated the 22nd May 1992.
Janet Burke​

Paul N. Browne
Mayor of Blackbu​rn 1993-94​
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Paul Brown with his Wife Ruth

Paul was born in Darwen, married to Ruth and they had a daughter Jane - they lived on Greenway Street and he had a television aerial rigging business. He was a Liberal Democrat councillor well known for his outspoken and down to earth manner, and had represented Sudell ward since 1974 - the last Liberal mayor had been Rendall Allen in 1979.

Paul had been the leader of the Liberals then the Liberal Democrats for twelve years and held the record for having served on the council the longest without being offered the position of mayor. He joined the steering group of the newly formed Blackburn Borough Council in 1973 and had been a past member of every committee on Blackburn council apart from the old Transport committee. Currently he was a director of Blackburn Borough Transport. Paul had been a county councillor for eight years and been the vice chairman of Lancashire County Council for one year. He was proud of the part he had played in promoting the building of industrial units on Railway Road Darwen and when a director of Lancashire Enterprises Limited, the Chapels Estate owed much of its existence to Paul for fighting for the demolition of old property and the building of the Chapels council estate - he was dubbed "Bulldozer Browne".

When elected as mayor he intended to do his utmost to represent all parts of the borough and instead of choosing one charity he asked for money to be put into a fund to help as many local charities as possible.

Much of the above information is from the Citizen dated the 7th January 1993 and the Lancashire Evening Telegraph dated the 4th May 1993.
Janet Burke

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Edna Arnold​
Mayor of Blackburn 1994-95

Edna, with her husband Keith and their two sons Julian and Mark, lived on Preston Old Road. She had represented the West Rural Ward since 1973 and had been the first chairman of Blackburn Transport and later a director. In her spare time she devoted herself to voluntary work for the young people of the borough and was one of the founders of the Nightsafe Trust which provides emergency help for homeless young people. She was also chairman of the Fusebox Youth Complex. Edna was the chairman of Wensley Fold Primary School board of governors, a governor at St. Bede's High School, Audley Nursery, Infant and Junior Schools, schools at Chapels, Turncroft and Sudell Darwen, Tullyallen Special School Darwen and vice chairman of Darwen Vale High School. Edna was the first woman to be appointed a governor of Queen Elizabeth's Grammar School now that girls were admitted to the sixth form, she had always believed in co-education and had become the vice chairman of the District Liaison Committee for Education.

Edna was only the second Conservative mayor chosen in the last decade and Keith was her consort. She was de-selected by the West Rural Ward in 2001.

The above information is from articles in the Lancashire Evening Telegraph dated 25th.of February 1977 and the 10th of January 1994.
Janet Burke

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Maureen Bateson​
Mayor of Blackburn 1995-96​​
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Maureen Bateson with her Sister Cavilla

Maureen was keen to free Blackburn from the County Hall and strengthen the town's community spirit with a greater involvement of women. The borough had won the city challenge and more recently the Single Generation which had brought £57,000 of public money to the borough. She was keen to ensure that the case for unitary status was heard and by the end of her year would learn whether Blackburn was to become a unitary authority. Maureen had been a councillor for twelve years representing Cathedral ward for eight years and then Ewood for four years. She served on the District Liaison committees for social services and education, the Blackburn partnership, Shadsworth Estate Management Board and the Racial Equality Council. As well as being the deputy leader from 1990- 93 she was chairman of the housing and finance committees. In her mayoral year she was a member of the Ewood and Fernhurst and Audley/Queens Park Community Associations.

Maureen worked in the accounts department of East Lancashire Coach Builders. She chose her sister Marjorie Coville to be her mayoress and at the end of her year officially opened the Women’s Resource Centre on Ainsworth Street, a project she had been involved with for the past two years so was pleased that on her last engagement this initiative was finally off the ground. Funding of £211,000 had come from the City Challenge as well as support from Blackburn Council, the Regeneration Partnership and the European Social Fund. This was intended to breathe new confidence in women who had been away from the workplace, training or education.

Much of this information is from articles in the Lancashire Evening Telegraph dated the 9th of May 1995 and the 17th of May 1996.
Janet Burke

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Mary Leaver​​​​
Mayor of Blackburn 1996-97​
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Mary Leaver

Mary, of Pringle Street Blackburn, was a widow with seven children and eleven grandchildren. Before retiring she had spent twenty years in the manufacturing industry at Lucas, Mullards and Rists Wires and Cables and was still a fully paid up member of the GMB Union.

Maureen was elected as a councillor for Earcroft Ward Darwen in May 1995 having been the representative for Queens Park the previous eight years. She was chairman of the council's housing sub-committee and took an active role in Blackburn's Racial Equality Council, the Well Woman initiative and Age Concern. Mary was a governor of St. Mary's Primary School in Bennington Street and Audley Primary School. She served as vice-chairman of the Housing and Community Leisure Services committees as well as sitting on the Economic Development and Employment committee. Maureen chose her son-in-law Keith Ladd, an actor living in Salesbury, as her consort and raised a sum of £10,000 for her mayoral charity Borough Aid.

Mary died on the 29th of February 2004 at the age of seventy three and her funeral was held at St. Joseph's Roman Catholic Church, Audley.

Much of this information is from articles in the Lancashire Evening Telegraph dated the 8th of January and 17th of May 1996 and the 2nd of March 2004
Janet Burke


​Peter Greenwood​​

Mayor of Blackburn, 1997-98

Peter, a former council leader, had the honour of being the last mayor of Blackburn Borough Council. The fifty seven year old represented Cathedral ward and his wife Dorothy, also a councillor, was to be his mayoress. He was also a member of the National Association of District Councils and voted on to its executive in 1993. Peter had resigned the Labour party leadership three years previously following a row over spending. There was now a massive challenge ahead as the council prepared for unitary status and the break from County Hall.
Peter and his wife chose children's charities to benefit from their fund raising and were disappointed when some councillors chose not to attend the mayoral ball because of a comment regarding the town hall decisions being made by a small group of councillors.
Much of the above information is from an article in the Lancashire Evening Telegraph dated the 10th. of January 1997.
Janet Burke

Florence Oldfield​

Mayor of Blackburn with Darwen 1998-99
Florence, a former mill girl, was chosen to be the first mayor of the new unitary authority, Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council. She had become a councillor for Ewood nine years ago, following the death of her husband and she was also a magistrate. Florence lived on Hollin Street, Mill Hill and worked at the Royal Ordnance Factory, she had a daughter Janette. Her charity for the mayoral year was to raise money for the elderly and her friend, Ann Sharples, was her mayoress - together they raised over £11,000.
Florence died in 2014 aged seventy eight.
Information from an article in the Lancashire Evening Telegraph dated the 23rd. of January 1998.
Janet Burke

Salas R.Kiani ​

Mayor of Blackburn with Darwen 1999-2000
Salas was originally from the village of Siakh in the Mirpur district of Azad Kashmir in Pakistan. He was educated in Pakistan and graduated with qualifications in physics, chemistry, hygiene and physiology. Salas moved to Blackburn in 1979 and married Zohra and they had three sons and one daughter. Zohra's father had served in the British army and the family had moved to England in 1968. Salas worked in the insurance industry for a time.

Salas represented Audley on the council and he was elected in 1991; he was the longest serving councillor who wanted to be the mayor and had yet to fill the post. Finally, Salas became the first Asian mayor for the new millennium. He pledged to use his year to bring together all cultures and communities in the Borough. The mayor's fund raising was to be called the Millennium Children Mayor's Charity and worked with existing fund raisers for youngsters in the Borough.

The information above is from articles in the Lancashire Evening Telegraph dated the 3rd. of February and the 21st. of May 1999.
Janet Burke

Jack Bury, O.B.E.

Mayor of Blackburn with Darwen 2000-01
Jack and his wife Freda lived on Hayes Lane and he had started work as a postman. Jack served in the Royal Navy and had also worked for an insurance company.
Jack was elected to the council in 1972 and became a County Councillor for Ewood and Higher Croft in 1975. He had been Chairman of the Council in 1990-91 and had been Vice Chairman of Social Services since Blackburn had taken over responsibility from Lancashire in 1998. In 1998, he received the O.B.E. for his work in social sevices, and, in 1999, he was re-appointed the Vice-Chairman of the Local Government's Social Affairs and Health committee. Jack was also re-elected as Chairman of the powerful committee A.C.C., (Association of County Councils). On average, he spent two days a week at the London headquarters, meeting ministers every six weeks. A very active member of the Local Government Association, Jack has given evidence to Parliamentary Select Committees on social issues and chaired national conferences.
When chosen to be mayor, his daughter Pamela was his mayoress - his other daughter Gail was also a councillor and, at one time, Deputy Council Leader. His wife Freda had always supported him in his work but died in 1985. Jack lost his fight against cancer and died in 2004 at the age of eighty.

Much of the above information is from articles in the Citizen dated June 1996 and the Lancashire Evening Telegraph dated the 19th of November 1999 and the 18th of May 2000.