THREE weeks ago Bygones looked at the early history of the Cherry Tree and Feniscliffe areas of Blackburn.

Today we examine how the canal and railway boosted the development of their textile industry.

Research for the Cotton Town local history website by Mike Sumner records: "The close proximity of the railway and the Leeds Liverpool Canal led to the development of Cherry Tree as a settlement.

"The railway and canal facilitated early industrial development, especially textiles, with power and transport requirements and dictated where industry sited its mills and allied works.

"Canal transport provide a water supply for steam powered machinery and a cheap transportation system for bulky goods,

"Cherry Tree became a self-contained textile community, relatively remote from Blackburn,. Although the railway opened in 1846, neither of the mills in Cherry Tree preferred the canal till well into the 20th century.

"Cherry Tree Mill was squeezed between the railway and canal. By 1850 it employed 500 to 600 people many being young children.

"The 1848 map shows terraced mill housing built to the west of the mill on both sides of Granville Street by the original owners to house their workers many of whom would have migrated from the surrounding rural areas and farming employment to work in the new cotton mill.

"Bank Mill was built to the west of Cherry Tree Mill between 1861 and 1865 on the tow path side of the Leeds Liverpool canal by Thomas Alexander Mercer. By 1878, it had 29,444 spinning spindles and 415 weaving looms.

"Cherry Tree became a company village from 1869 when both its textile mills were first owned by the Cherry Tree Mill Company and by 1877 John Dugdale and Sons.

"Bank Mill itself was a four storey spinning mill with a yarn cellar under part of it. An engine house projected from the west wall and contained large round-headed windows. There was a crenelated tower with a cast iron water tank on the south wall of the mill with a two-storey office block at the main gate."

"The Dugdales ceased business at the mill in 1959. Demolished in the 1970s, it was replaced by a small sheltered housing estate."