Thank you Ma'am for taking time to recognise our town / Rachel Bayley Burnley Place Brand Manager Economy and Growth
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Of course, we knew this time would come – she was, after all, an incredible 96 years old. But she is also all we (the majority of us) have known and she did have an everlasting aura about her.
It is poignant, therefore, that we celebrated her 70th jubilee in our recent edition of Burnley Lifestyle magazine.
In our special feature, we have included dozens of photos of people celebrating the recent platinum jubilee in summer, but also the 60th jubilee. Ten years ago, several members of the Royal family visited our borough.
Our streets were lined with children waving Union Jack flags, flags hung from buildings and the sun was thankfully shining as Her Majesty the Queen, Prince Philip and Prince Charles arrived in our borough. Indeed, it is a rare occurrence for three senior royals to embark on such a tour together and the special memory will no doubt be etched in the minds of many of us.
I tried to research whether there are any places in the UK the Queen hasn’t visited. Google did not provide me with a definitive answer, but considering Burnley has been blessed with Her Majesty on more than one occasion, I think that makes us very lucky indeed.
And, with Prince William and Kate Middleton also recently visiting Burnley and our new King’s very public passion for heritage and our Weavers’ Triangle, we are in a blessed position indeed.
During her 60th jubilee visit, the Queen acknowledged the incredible efforts that had gone into transforming the borough. If the Royal Highness had blessed us with a visit for her 70th jubilee, she would no doubt be even more amazed at how far Burnley has come since her last visit.
Padiham has had a tremendous amount of work carried out over the past two years alone, from the attractive public realm and shop fronts to the restored Padiham Town Hall.
Over in Burnley town centre, where to begin? The framework of Pioneer Place has shot up from the ground in what feels like a blink of an eye.
This complex will provide yet another bow to the arrow of our thriving town centre, which has repeatedly been singled out in the press for having enjoyed impressive recovery both during and following the pandemic. Rather than travelling to neighbouring towns to access similar offerings, residents and students can enjoy the facilities on their doorstep instead.
The £100 million expansion of Burnley College continues at apace and really is a “they didn’t have this in my day” moment should you ever get the chance to take a tour. Alongside the expansion of UCLan Burnley, more recently with plans to occupy the former empty Newtown Mill on Queen Lancashire Way, Burnley certainly has gone to the next level of redevelopment ten years down the line from the Queen’s visit.
Ten years ago, the Queen, Prince Philip and their son (the then) Prince Charles stepped off the train at Manchester Road (the station again has come on a long way since 2012, with the opening of the Todmorden Curve in 2015 to connect Burnley directly to Manchester, and further improvements in the pipeline still) and stepped onto a canal boat barge for a half-mile tour.
They travelled through the Weavers’ Triangle before moving onwards to Slater Terrace and Victoria Mill.
Once again, this part of town is unrecognisable from the 60th jubilee and is akin to something you would find in a city such as Manchester, Leeds or Liverpool. Slater Terrace is a thriving hub of creative and digital businesses, whilst the interiors still provide a nod to their cotton-making heydays.
Sandygate Halls, the purpose-built student accommodation for UCLan Burnley, houses over 90 students alongside the canal and is an incredible asset to our university town status. Not only is it conveniently next toVictoria Mill, but also the canal and a short walk from the town centre, really providing an affordable quality of life and environment that is truly unique.
Burnley FC was another stop on the royal tour, with Turf Moor seeing a substantial amount of investment into both its corporate hospitality and external appearance over the past couple of years. The digital screens both in and around the ground befit the prestige of the club, whilst the incredible hospitality facilities have made our party venue feature also in this edition.
Meanwhile, Burnley College now boasts a £100 million campus, with plans to expand this further still.
If you want a piece of Burnley history in memory of the Queen, then please do pick up a copy of Burnley Lifestyle Magazine from Towneley and Gawthorpe Halls and Burnley and Padiham Town Halls.
And thank you, Queen Elizabeth, for taking the time to recognise Burnley.