Locally Produced Technology
Technological developments have always been at the forefront locally since the days of James Hargreaves. Skilled hands and quick, inventive brains, have combined to produce countless innovations and improvements. The need for technical education was recognised back in the 1880s and the Technical School was opened in Blackburn in 1891.
Blackburn exported this technical know-how all over the world, ironically leading to the demise of its own major industry. It was this tradition though, which was to form the basis of its regeneration. This is clearly demonstrated in the case of the British Northrop Loom Co. Limited. Henry Livesey's textile machinery company worked from the Greenbank Works. They built the first model "T" looms for the fledgling British Northrop Loom Co. Limited. Once the business was growing British Northrop built their own factory on Moss Street and in 1929 they built a larger factory at the end of Moss Street. Makers of Northrop Looms which were exported overseas, they supplied machinery to countries who had previously relied upon the cloth made in Blackburn. Increasingly, they were the owners of up-to-date machinery and methods and their use of the automatic loom far outstripped its use in Blackburn where the Lancashire loom was still prevalent. However, this demand for looms and machinery ensured that their business stayed healthy.
Another step in the regeneration of Blackburn was the building of the industrial estate at Whitebirk in 1938. This was the first of many to come and was the home of Mullard, which became a household name in Blackburn and who made radio valves. They later produced components for aircraft before settling with the manufacture of components for television sets. This locally-produced technology kept many in work.