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​20th Century 1970-2000

Albert Lord​ | John Simpson | Thomas Ellis | Dr. David B. Murray | Tom H. MarshJames H. Swanton​

Albert Lord
Mayor of Blackburn 1970-71

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

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​

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

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

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 and Elsie Marsh (Mayoress)

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 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​