FOR generations the imposing building just on the outskirts of Blackburn town centre played an important role in their lives.

Blackburn Royal Infirmary was, for decades, the town’s main hospital; a place where the sick were treated, where bumps and scrapes were fixed up.

BRI had a proud history, opening in 1864. To mark the diamond jubilee of Queen Victoria some 33 years later, the Victoria Wing was added to the main building and over the years the hospital continued to grow in size.

Thanks to a substantial donation from Elma Yerburgh, chairman of Thwaites Brewery, a memorial wing honouring soldiers who died in the First World War was opened in 1928.

The stained glass windows from the ward can still be seen lining one of the main corridors of the Royal Blackburn Hospital which eventually replaced the old BRI.

As Blackburn’s population expanded, demands on the hospital grew and various additions and extensions were added on wherever space on the site would allow.

But by 2006 the decision had been made to transfer patients to the new Royal Blackburn Hospital and the Infirmary site was sold. It is now home to a housing development and even a small supermarket.

But these photographs from the Telegraph archives remind us of what it once was.