The best of Burnley was on show as the town celebrated its proud history, culture and architecture
Hundreds of visitors flocked to explore some of the town’s hidden treasures in an action-packed weekend of events.
Towneley Hall, Burnley Football Club and Moorhouses Brewery were just a few of the borough’s prized attractions which threw open their doors as part of the free Heritage Open Days.
The second Burnley Canal Festival started with a spectacular fireworks display as the town welcomed dozens of colourful canal barges along its historic waterway.
Children tried their hand at canoeing, artists painted, families browsed stalls and enjoyed live music at the Inn on the Wharf before night fell and the Straight Mile was illuminated by the dazzling boat glow.
Emma Bartlett, of the Canal and River Trust, said that despite miserable weather on the Sunday, the event was a big success.
She said: “
The Weavers Triangle Visitors Centre was packed with visitors from as far away as Russia and Australia who came to marvel at history of the town’s textile industry.
The town’s celebrated £10m. University Technical College, which has regenerated the heart of the iconic Weavers’ Triangle, was open for tours.
Emma Bartlett, of the Canal and Rivers Trust, said: “We tried some new things at this year’s festival. The film show at the technical college went well and the fireworks on Friday were fantastic.
“We had people coming from Liverpool, Blackpool and Warrington.
“The Weavers’ Triangle Visitors Centre had more than 600 people come through the doors.
“We have had some great feedback. Boaters were saying it is the most friendly canal festival they have been to.
“Sunday was disappointing because the weather was bad but we managed to set all the stalls up in the Inn on the Wharf. If we had the weather we would have surpassed last year’s numbers.”
History was brought to life for tourist who visited places like the Hogwarts-esque old Burnley Grammar School, the vast Brierfield Mill and the former home of tea merchant Abraham Altham which is now the Oaks Hotel.
Leading Burnley historian Roger frost lead a walk around the town’s church trail which delved into the history of St Catherine’s, St Stephen’s and St Mary’s.
Some visitors toured Burnley by bike through the Brun Valley and the Padiham Greenway – and others took in the sights with boat trips from Reedley Marina.
Visitors went behind the scenes at Burnley Football Club and Moorhouses Brewery and some joined one of the walks and trails across the area looking at everything from Burnley’s part in Hitler’s downfall to the countryside around Padiham.
Attractions like the Woodend Mining Museum, the famous Queen Street Mill and the Oakmount Mill Engine House showed people Burnley’s industrial past while Witch Walks from Barley gave a taste of local folklore.
Tours were conducted on the art-deco style Padiham Town Hall building which is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year.
Dozens of people took the chance to look round the hundreds of fascinating items in the Padiham Archive.
Archivist Ann Clark said: “We had people visiting from all over. Not just Burnley, but people came from Stretford, North Shields, Leeds and London.
“We were getting people coming back to their hometown of Padiham to trace family history and look at our collection of photos and memorabilia.”
Karlen Antiques held a vintage market which saw visitors flock in their droves to explore 100 stalls brimming with old-fashioned and retro clothes, ornaments and food.
As well as arts, crafts and all things vintage, customers enjoyed live music, a charity auction and even got to have their photo taken in an old MG sports car.
A thirty-strong group from the Western Cull Peppers Charity Team decked head-to-toe in American West costumes entertained crowds with infectious singing and dancing to raise money for children with terminal illness.
Lia Homes, of Karlen Antiques, said: “Everybody has loved it. We had customers and stallholders dressing up – people were saying it was like stepping back in time.
“There was over 100 stalls inside and we had lots going on outside too. It has been a real success.”