Several items of historic civic memorabilia have been returned home to Darwen - and are on display to the public. 

An ornamental casket, a ceremonial mace and a historic trophy were presented in a civic ceremony by the Mayor of Blackburn, Cllr Parwaiz Ahktar.

The artefacts were received by the Chair of Darwen Heritage Centre Tony Foster.

The historic memorabilia will be housed in a specially built secure cabinet at Darwen Heritage Centre on Railway Road, where visitors can see the items and read about their rich history.

The ceremonial mace, which dates back to 1878, has been located securely in Blackburn Town Hall since 1974 as the storage and display cabinets there provided higher levels of security and were able to be insured there.

Lancashire Telegraph: The ceremonial mace has been in Blackburn Town Hall since 1974The ceremonial mace has been in Blackburn Town Hall since 1974 (Image: Blackburn with Darwen Council)

The silver trophy is the original Darwen Brass Band Challenge Trophy dating back to 1923. Following many years on display at Blackburn Town Hall, it was presented to the winner of the Eighth Annual Festival of Brass in Darwen by Blackburn with Darwen Council Mayor in June 2023.

The Darwen Mayoral chain will remain in Blackburn, as it has been in use by the Mayor of Blackburn with Darwen as the borough’s civic regalia since the Blackburn Mayoral Chain was stolen in 1980.

Blackburn with Darwen Council leader Cllr Phil Riley said: “We are delighted to be able to return the mace, brass band trophy and casket to Darwen Heritage Centre. This is their natural home and I’m sure visitors will enjoy seeing them displayed at the centre.

“We had to make sure that we had the correct levels of security and insurance to fully protect these precious artefacts and we have worked closely with the dedicated team at Darwen Heritage Centre to make sure their new home is as fitting as possible. I would like to thank them all for their hard work and passion in helping to make this happen.”

Lancashire Telegraph: The Freeman's CasketThe Freeman's Casket (Image: Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council)

Albert Gavagan, secretary of Darwen Heritage Centre, said: “We have worked closely alongside the council to bring these artefacts to Darwen Heritage Centre and it is going to be wonderful to see this memorabilia proudly on display in our new secure museum quality cabinet at the heritage centre.

“The heritage centre is the perfect place for visitors to be able to see the historic items on display along with all the other items and collections that are important to Darwen that we have here.”

Darwen Heritage Centre is on Railway Road in Darwen, and you can visit and see the memorabilia items on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from 10am until 3pm.