Blackburn is a large industrial town located in Lancashire, England, north of the West Pennine Moors on the southern edge of the Ribble Valley, 8 miles (13 km) east of Preston and 20.9 miles (34 km) NNW of Manchester. Blackburn is bounded to the south by Darwen, with which it forms the unitary authority of Blackburn with Darwen; Blackburn is its administrative centre.
The town centre is noted for the Church Street area with its Grade II listed art deco Waterloo Pavilions complemented by street furniture and sculptures. The Mall Blackburn is the main shopping centre in Blackburn with over 130 shops and 400 further outlets close by. Blackburn Market operates from a site under the shopping centre and is open six days a week (Monday–Saturday). The town centre was expanded to include the Grimshaw Park retail development (including Blackburn Arena). The adjacent Townsmoor Retail Park and Peel Leisure and Retail Park are more recent developments. Markets continue to offer a wide range of local produce, such as Lancashire cheeses, tripe, Bowland beef and lamb. Walsh's Sarsaparilla stall opens six days a week.
Major employers in Blackburn include: Blackburn College, Thwaites Brewery, BAE Systems (Samlesbury Aerodrome site, located at Samlesbury, north-west of Blackburn); Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council; and the East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust (based at the Royal Blackburn Hospital). Drumstone Trade Park near the town centre has trade outlets. Numerous business parks exist in and around the town.
Blackburn has a population of over 182,000 people. Blackburn also forms part of the wider Blackburn metropolitan area which has a population of over 391,000 people.
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