Middle-Class Mill Managers
On a more modest scale, but perhaps no less important in the long run, were the many middle-class cotton managers and minor owners who in mid to late 19th century Blackburn moved from the heart of the old town up the slopes to Revidge, Billinge and Beardwood, creating a fashionable and exclusive new suburb of large and opulent family houses set in wooded grounds and leafy streets. The hill location was not only attractive but also upwind of the increasingly serious problem of smoke from a hundred mills and their belching chimneys. What geographers call the social segregation of the different classes ' their residence in distinct parts of the town' was thus emphasised. The millworkers lived down in the valley and off to the east, the owners and managers were physically, as well as socially, in an elevated position to the west. They were not alone, for another consequence of the growth of a middle class of managers and industrialists was the increasing importance of the professions which served them - the lawyers and solicitors, doctors, accountants, and architects - and the owners or top managers of the shops, private schools and banks which they patronised. These groups, too, moved westwards up the slopes of Preston New Road.
Dr. Alan Crosby