Blackburn, a town of Lancashire, 21 miles NNW. of Manchester, and 9 E. of Preston, stands on a stream from which it appears to derive its name, a branch of the Ribble. It had acquired some importance as a market-town in the 16th century, and in the middle of the 17th it was noted for its Blackburn Checks, a kind of linsey-woolsey, afterwards superseded by the Blackburn Grays, so called from their being printed unbleached. During the 18th century the cotton manufacture became the chief industry of the place, which is now the largest and most important cotton manufacturing town in the world, the number of cotton-factories being very great, and many of them employing from 1000 to 2000 operatives. Great improvements in machinery for the cotton manufacture have been made in Blackburn - e.g. the invention of the spinning-jenny by James Hargreaves, a native of the town, in 1767. The chief public buildings are the town-hall (1856), an Italian edifice built at a cost of 30,000; the Gothic exchange (1865); the infirmary (1862); and St Mary's Church, of very ancient foundation, but almost entirely rebuilt (1826-57). There is a corporation park of 50 acres, part of which is 700 feet above sea-level, and commands a wide view; a new Queen's Park of 35 acres was opened on Jubilee day, 1887. The grammar-school was established by Queen Elizabeth in 1567; in 1888 the Prince of Wales laid the foundation-stone of the technical school. Mr John Morley was born here. Blackburn has returned two members since 1832; it received its municipal charter in 1851, and in 1888 became a county borough. Pop. (1831) 36,629; (1891) 120,064; (1901) 129,216. See Abram's History of Blackburn (1878).