THE musical history of Darwen is being compiled for a new exhibition later this year.

Terry Walsh and Ian Gillibrand of Darwen Music Projects are looking for information and memorabilia from bands and venues in the town.

Ian said: “Terry was in bands like the Boneshakers and Little Boy Blue in the Sixties and has some fantastic memorabilia from those time. We got chatting about all the bands who have played in Darwen over the years and all the musicians involved and it sort of started from there.”

Ultimately the pair hope to cover the period from the end of the Second World War through to the arrival of a new millennium and the first Darwen Live event although they are currently concentrating on the Fifties through to the 1970s.

Their research will go on display in Darwen Heritage Centre.

“Darwen was a real centre for live music,” said Ian. “The old Co-op on School Street was a popular venue and the Beatles played there once - we’ve actually got a ticket from that show for the exhibition.

“Then there was the old Darwen Baths where in winter they would put boards over the pool for concerts. Gene Vincent was among those to have played there.”

Major names would often come over to Darwen to play at the Cranberry nightclub.

“Within a few weeks in 1967 Tom Jones, Lulu and Englebert Humperdink all played there,” said Eric. “And these weren’t just one-off shows - they would play a residency for a week.”

The pair have been looking through files of the old Darwen Advertiser for adverts for dances and concerts and have come across scores of bands.

“Some of them we know little about,” said Ian. “We’re hoping that the people of Darwen will be able to help us. The problem is that a lot of people who were in those bands in the early days may have died and taken their memories with them. That’s why it is so important to us now to find out as much as we can.”

Among the bands who were regular performers in Darwen in the Sixties were The Vampires, the Electrones, Sammy’s Originals and the Wot-Nots.

One band which is of particular interest in the extravagantly named Wynder K Frog.

“That’s a real mystery band,” said Ian. “They seemed to have an ever-changing line-up it’s impossible to work out a band family tree.”

The pair are also looking for information on the dance bands who were a major feature in the halls in the late 40s and early 50s.

Ian and Terry are hoping to launch the exhibition with some kind of musical event.

If you have any memories of Darwen bands from the Sixties and Seventies or any memorabilia, contact Terry on 01254 702363 or Ian on 07707 699983.