The origin of Blackburn Market is lost in the veil of time but the earliest date known was in 567 AD and it was usual for markets to be held within the grounds of The Cathedral.
In 1101, the Market moved to an area bounded by Church Street, Darwen Street, Mill Lane, Market Street Lane and Astley Gate. At the top of Church Street, Robert de Lacy erected a Market Cross, but it was completely destroyed during the Civil War in 1642 and never replaced.
In 1803, the power to hold Markets was vested in the Town Commissioners, later called Improvement Commissioners.
In 1848, a new Market Hall was built with an Open Market adjacent to Blackburn Town Hall. A clock tower was built at the King William Street side of the Market Hall. The clock tower had a brass ball which was raised at 12 noon and lowered at 1 pm. When the ball returned to the bottom at 12 noon, a cannon was fired.
In 1872, a second Market Hall and a Fish Market was added to the Market.
In the early 1960's, the proposal was made to move the Market to a new site all under cover and build of a brand new shopping centre. The river Blakewater was culverted and the new Market opened in 1964. The local market still retained it's traditional feel and was the second biggest in the country.
The market offered Lancashire specialities such as locally produced cheeses and black puddings. A trip to the market wasn't complete without a visit to the Walsh's chemist stall where glasses of traditional sarsaparilla were served. The indoor market also boasted an excellent fish market.
Late in 2009, it was decided that the building was no longer fit for purpose and it was decided to build a new market in the brand new £66 million Mall shopping centre across the road. Based in the ground floor of the shopping centre and connected by escalators and lifts to the department stores and parking above it, the new £8 million Blackburn Market offers traditional values but within a modern, new, bright environment.
The Council has taken a 35 year lease on the new premises and invested £1.5m in the internal fittings alone. Traders have been involved in the design of their bespoke stalls which have been fitted with the latest technology. There will be continuity of trade when stallholders from the existing market relocate to the new site. And many more traders have decided to come to the town for the first time. The new market will concentrate on supplying quality, fresh and locally sourced food and services and will be open six days a week.