Works from a British composer who spent a lot of time in East Lancashire will be played 'for the first time in living memory' at Blackburn Cathedral.

The concert, ‘Uncovered Treasures – Bairstow in Blackburn', will showcase some of Sir Edward Bairstow’s most famous and most loved sacred works.

Sir Edward, born in Huddersfield in 1874, studied the organ at Oxford and Durham universities and was tutored at Westminster Abbey, and held posts in London, Wigan and Leeds before taking up the role as organist at York Minster, where he played for more than 30 years until his death in 1946.

Sir Edward was knighted 1932 for services to music and had a number of notable pupils, held high ranking roles in musical organisations, and was widely acclaimed for his skill with the organ.

He also famously rejected an offer to take the organist role back at Westminster Abbey.

The concert will be held at Blackburn Cathedral on Wednesday, March 27, performed by Blackburn Music Society and Blackburn Chamber Choir.

Led by the musical director of both choirs and of Blackburn Cathedral, John Robinson, with organist John Hosking, Bairstow's works will be 'heard for the first time in living memory'.

John said: "The music of Sir Edward Bairstow has long been a jewel in the crown of English Choral Music.

"His grumpy rejection of the top job at Westminster Abbey in favour of remaining in his native Yorkshire was typical of the man.

“What is less well known is that from 1907 to 1913 he spent his Tuesday nights in Blackburn, conducting the Blackburn St Cecilia and Vocal Union, and became friends with legendary blind organist William Wolstenholme.

“We are incredibly excited to be giving the first modern performance of Bairstow's arrangements of 'Forty Days and Forty Nights,' and his 'O Come O Come Emmanuel' here in Blackburn.”

The programme includes Bairstow’s arrangements of two popular hymns, never heard in living memory.

The manuscripts were discovered by Pete Asher, a member of the Music Society and volunteer archivist in the Local History section of Blackburn Library.

Years of unstinting volunteer work by archivist Pete catalogued the documents of a blind Blackburn organist, the William Wolstenholme Collection. 

William was born in Blackburn in 1865 and went on to become a celebrated organist and composer despite being born blind.

After his death the resulting collection of documents was donated to Blackburn Library.

The contents were never fully indexed, but contained 130 works in manuscript form, with a few by other composers including Edward Bairstow.

Tickets are priced at £12 and can be found on Blackburn Cathedral's website.