Blackburn is a large industrial town in Lancashire, England. It lies to the north of the West Pennine Moors on the southern edge of the Ribble Valley, east of the city of Preston,_Lancashire, north-northwest of the city of Manchester. and is north of the border with Greater Manchester. Blackburn is bounded to the south by Darwen, with which it forms the Unitary authorities of England of Blackburn with Darwen, Blackburn being the administrative centre. At the time of the United Kingdom Census 2001, Blackburn had a population of List of urban areas in England by population, whilst the wider borough of Blackburn with Darwen had a population of List of English districts by population.
A former mill town, textiles have been produced in Blackburn since the middle of the 13th century, when wool was woven in people's houses in the domestic system. Flemish people weavers who settled in the area during the 14th century helped to develop the woollen cottage industry in the region.Burrow, J& Co. (Eds.) (1960), p. 8. James Hargreaves, inventor of the spinning jenny, was a weaver in Blackburn.Abram (1990), p. 204. The most rapid period of growth and development in Blackburn's history coincided with the industrialisation and expansion of textile manufacture during the Industrial Revolution. Blackburn was a boomtown of the Industrial Revolution, and amongst the first Industrialisation towns in the world.
Blackburn's textile sector fell into a terminal decline from the mid-20th century. Blackburn has subsequently faced similar challenges to other Post-industrial society Northern England towns, including deindustrialisation, economic deprivation and housing issues. Since the 1950s the town has experienced significant levels of migration, particularly from India and Pakistan, and consequently has the third highest proportion of Muslims (c.25%) in England and Wales and the highest in the United Kingdom outside London. Blackburn has had significant investment and redevelopment in the past 60 years by monies from government and the European Regional Development Fund.