Blackburn, city (1991 pop. 109,564) and district, Lancashire, NW England. It was formerly a great cotton-weaving center, noted especially for calicoes. Textiles are still produced; other industries produce engineering equipment, electronic components, beer, felt, and carpets. Blackburn is also an agricultural market. The city's textile industry started very early—Blackburn checks (a linen product made of Irish flax) were well known about the middle of the 17th cent. When James Hargreaves invented (c.1765) the spinning jenny nearby, the manufacture of cotton goods received a new impetus. The completion of the Leeds-Blackburn-Liverpool Canal in 1816 substantially aided Blackburn's 19th-century economic growth. The English statesman John Morley was born in Blackburn.
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