PLANS are being put together to mark the 175th anniversary of a riot by textile workers in Blackburn.

On August 15, 1842, hundreds walked out of the mills over a dispute over working conditions and trying to improve parliamentary democracy.

After the Riot Act was read and the Army open fired on the crowd, it is thought between three and six people were killed and around 15 others seriously injured.

The five men from Blackburn who incited the riot were sent to Tasmania and never returned.

A blue plaque has been installed in Darwen Street for many years and now there is a move to commemorate the event and boost people’s awareness of the bloodshed.

Lancashire historian Simon Entwistle, who leads a ‘Heroes and Villains’ tour in Blackburn which covers the riot, said: “It’s a very sad tale and I’m surprised a film or a TV movie has not been made of this yet.

“The five local men, John Rawlinson, William Walmsley, Ratcliffe Ingham. Robert Hartley and William Proctor met in a pub called the Unicorn in Darwen Street and came up with a plan to put out the boilers at factories in Blackburn.

“However someone had overheard and tipped off the authorities.

“One the day itself they went to two mills and put out the boilers and were joined by the workers there.

“But when they were walking up Darwen Street they were met by the Army who opened fire.

“All five of the plotters were arrested and sentenced to death. That was commuted and they were sent to Tasmania and literally worked to death.”

To mark the anniversary Mark Metcalfe, 57, from Peterlee, County Durham, is organising a series of events in Halifax, where riots also took place that month including a play, a new plaque and a memorial.

He is also calling on people to lay a wreath at the Blackburn plaque on August 15 and help to raise awareness of the riot.

For more call Mr Metcalfe on 07392 852561.