Blackburn during World War One
Blackburn, in common with the rest of the nation, was deeply concerned by the momentous events of early August 1914. The major nations were mobilising their forces and scenes in Blackburn were likened to those witnessed in the days preceding Waterloo. Sunday the 2nd August was a day of suspense. From morning to night, crowds gathered outside newspaper offices waiting for the posting of telegrams. That the Cabinet was sitting on a Sunday indicated the gravity of the situation. In the churches there were prayers for peace. War was declared on the evening of August 4th.
As a result of the outbreak of War, there was a rise in food prices and housewives began stockpiling provisions, in case of future shortages. Parliament rushed through an emergency Act which enforced the closure of banks until Friday 7th August. This was to allay any financial difficulties caused by a temporary shortage of gold.
Blackburn's holidays which had begun the previous Friday were spoiled. Railway companies stopped running excursions. People cancelled their holidays in order to conserve their resources.
Mobilization of local troops began. Blackburn Territorials who formed the 4th Battalion of the East Lancashire Regiment assembled at their headquarters on Canterbury Street. Billets were provided at schools close by until August 19th when the 4th and 5th Battalions (the 5th being based in Burnley) marched to Bury where they were based at Chesham Fold Camp.