Pennine Lancashire Football Culture


The British Textile Biennial this year is being hosted in the Pennine Lancashire Area this year with events being held between 3rd October and 3rd November.

This area produced 85% of the world’s cotton goods by the end of the 19th Century and some lives on today through manufacture, design and sales. The British Textile Biennial promotes the industry and encourages people of all ages to embrace the history and promotes the creation of new pathways in this exciting field.

On a recent visit to the area I found two of the events with Football relevance. At the former Burnley Mechanics Institute, now a venue for meetings, leisure and the arts Jacqui McCassey has presented an exhibition ‘Girl Fans’ a photo-zine of female football fans fashion. She has observed and recorded how female fans of Burnley F.C. and Burnley Womens F.C. express their identity. Jacqui’s images and and some ephemera are displayed on the walls of the lounge/bar and restaurant. A small free brochure is available to look at the images and some others at your leisure. Worth a tea/coffee and some time to take a look.


Also as part of the British Textile Biennial was an exhibition at the old Cotton Exchange in Blackburn between October 4th and 20th of Adidas trainers. The trainer has been synonymous with fashion, football and practicality for the last 50 years.


The Adidas Spezial Exhibition showcased over 1200 pairs of their trainers with many rare examples.

Gary Aspen the designer of the Spezial Range  is from nearby Darwen, a son of a Mill Worker, was presenting many of his own collection and many more. Gary is a passionate Blackburn Rovers fan and was showcasing the latest limited edition the ‘Blackburn Nightsafe’. All proceeds from the sale of 200 pairs of the £100 trainers will go to the homeless charity ‘Nightsafe’ based in Darwen. Donations for attending the display were also being collected.

“I’m absolutely over the moon about it. I can’t tell you how happy it makes me,” he said, his Lancastrian accent intact despite years spent working in London. “This is one of the top 10 poorest towns in Europe and I feel strongly that places like Blackburn, which have been hit badly by austerity, can be regenerated with the help of culture.”

Quote by Gary Aspen for an article by  North of England editor. The Guardian 



At the same time there is an exhibition at Townley Hall in Burnley, ‘Bob Lord, Burnley Born and Bred’ which runs until February 29, 2020.

Born in 1908 Bob Lord left school at 14 and built a meat empire employing hundreds of people. as a devoted Burnley fan he eventually became Club Chairman and had high influential positions in the game. His controversial comments did not endear him to everyone and you either loved or hated him.

In Burnley he is best remembered for their successful years in the 1960’s and the setting up of one of the best youth schemes and training grounds in the country, perhaps the forerunner of the modern academy.

The exhibition has some great photographs of his era at Burnley that came to an end just before his death in 1981. A short video has also been produced that is well worth watching.

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