Young People
Making Walls Talk

A local charity has completed the first phase of a project which allowed young people to discover the heritage of Blackburn. The project, ‘Making walls Talk’ is funded by heritage lottery.  

In September 2022 a group of 12 young people from One Voice Blackburn volunteered to uncover the history of the house they currently live in. This project has allowed them to see the changing face of Blackburn and how the town has changed overall both socially and physically. 

To find their information the girls took various trips to Blackburn Central Library where the Community Historian Mary Painter helped the girls access the register of electors. These records allowed the young people to research who lived in the houses during the different periods of time. The girls mentioned that it was ‘exciting’ to see the history of their house but also ‘fascinating’. The oldest house belongs to the Dadd family whose house was built in 1896 over 120 years ago. Before this project many of the young people didn’t even know books and records like this even exist even though in a few years they could potentially be featured in one. 

Udaysah Masters who is taking part in this project has thoroughly enjoyed finding out who has lived in her house. 

“When I heard about the project I couldn’t wait to get started. We have had a few sessions at the library and it’s amazing to learn about all the resources that are available to help us complete the project. I am looking forward to finding out how many people have previously lived at my family house and whether I am able to meet any of these people.” 

Ammarah Ikram who took park in the project said, ‘The heritage project was a project I thought I wouldn’t really like. I didn’t understand it initially but was surprised at how interesting it was and I researched who the first person who lived at our house and all the people that lived there from the year it was built in 1902 all the way till now. It was a fascinating project and broadened my understanding about how important heritage is and basically its backstory and everything.  Once I was done with the project, I was very fascinated by my house’s backstory and heritage.

Making Walls Talk is ongoing and is scheduled to complete by the end of the year. The young people are discovering the purpose of land registries and they will be able to look through the ones for their own house to gain a better understanding of their house in the past.  It is anticipated that the young people will meet people who have lived in their house or their descendants.  Eventually some of the other young people are creating blue plaques to display in front of their homes showcasing the history they have uncovered.

By Hafsah Khonat