BLACKBURN is famous for many things – and now it can add inventing the classic Hollywood cowboy and western movie to the list.

New research has found the first wild west films were made in the borough in 1899, by legendary filmmakers Mitchell and Kenyon.

It is the first known example of the classic genre. To celebrate, a big parade will be held in Blackburn town centre, featuring the renowned Lonestar Old West Re-enactment Group in authentic costumes.

There will also be a banner parade and special viewings of the incredibly rare film, which was discovered in the 1990s. It has been certified by the British Film Institute as the first example of a Western movie.

It is being overseen by Blackburn artist Jamie Holman, who has weaved together the story of Mitchell and Kenyon with the cotton famine in the North West during the American Civil War, and the support given by local weavers to President Abraham Lincoln and the fight to free the slaves; establishing an unexpected link between industrial revolution Blackburn and the ‘Wild West.’

Mitchell and Kenyon are recognised as one of the best filmmaking teams in history, pioneering the artform when it was very new, and filming normal, everyday scenes and people all over Blackburn, Darwen, Lancashire and the UK.

The big parade will officially close the British Textile Biennial, which has held events across Blackburn over the past month, including the massive adidas spezial exhibition, which attracted visitors from all over the world.

Commissioned by Blackburn with Darwen Council’s Townscape Heritage Project, the banner parade and special screening will take place in Northgate, in the historic heart of Blackburn at noon on November 2. There will then be viewings of the film at the Cotton Exchange.

Held in a private collection the films – Kidnap by Indians, The Tramps and the Artist, Diving Lucy, A Tragic Elopement and The Poacher’s Revenge – will be shown publicly for the first time.

Cllr Phil Riley, executive member for growth and development, said: “These movies and the belief by experts that this is the first Western film ever made, right here in Blackburn, is a massive find and a big surprise. It is the most classic and well-known Hollywood film genre so to have it begin here is amazing. Jamie is a great artist and has done a brilliant job bringing all this together.”