Archive for March, 2012

Dressed to Impress

Humaira is a student on a placement with us and a dress within the collection caught her eye. Here is what she has to sya about it:

Everyone is always talking about history repeating itself – we’ve had the riots, we’re working through the recession and war is continuous, but how about fashion?

 Yes, people do say that clothing comes in and out of fashion for a period of time but how about when something from 50 years ago makes a big comeback?  The very flattering dress pictured dates back to the 1960’s.

Think Barbra Streisand, Diana Ross and Audrey Hepburn. They all probably wore a dress in this style throughout their careers’ and led the general public to follow in their steps.

 But young people, such as my friends and I, will only wear something if a celebrity is wearing it. If a superstar isn’t wearing something then neither will we, so why are they suddenly back ‘in’?

 Well, celebrities and the media have a big effect on what the youth look like these days, as more or less everyone wants to style themselves like their icon, whether that be their hair, clothes or general attitude – I have had some pretty bad experience with hair dye before!

 The main reason for ‘Old School’ being back in is probably due to the impact on teens after watching T.V shows or movies such as Hairspray, Footloose (both remakes of older versions) and Dream Girls,. Watching re-runs of old shows such as ‘That 70’s Show’ or ‘Happy Days’ which air throughout the year and which I think are just eye catching and fab.

I also think that the 80’s is in fact a repeat of the 50’s, with the narrow ankle jeans, and so the noughties and double digit years are generally a repeat of the 60’s through to the 90’s with the flower power shirts and flowing trousers (I have to say I’d draw the line at padded shoulders and the boom boxes!)

 But fashion from the 60’s and 70’s isn’t the only thing that has come back in. Anyone know a ‘little’ superstar named Justin Bieber? His hair from when he first became famous that swept across his face pays a little resemblance to Sir Paul McCartney’s hair from when he was younger. The amount of young boys I’ve seen trying to pull that off is unbelievable!

 Perhaps modern fashion is nothing more than designers taking a look back in an old next catalogue and thinking they can just bring something back in – which in some cases it’s a pretty good effort. Any bets on whether the fluorescent frilly 80’s look will make a come back? I really hope it doesn’t.

Q: What do you get if you jump out and scare a fruit?

A: You get a petrified apple!

An apple a day keeps the doctor away...That's because this one will bring the funeral director round!

(This is according to whoever identified it in the late 19th Century. If you think it’s not a petrified apple please get in touch through the comments section. Just be aware you will be ruining my joke)

Tear it down or build it up?

‘Leave it alone!!’ Say the traditionalists. They like their buildings historical. They like them with red bricks, straight lines and character.

‘Smash it! Rip it down’ say the regenerative types. They like their buildings new. They like them with glass fronts, sleek curvy lines and glowing colours lighting up the night sky.

So which is right? 

At the moment we have an exhibition on photos of old Blackburn. Some of these photos are from the earliest days of photography, whilst others are from the 1950’s and 60’s. As you would expect, the photos have created a large amount of nostalgia for the way blackburn used to be. What makes it interesting are the current developments which are happening around the town. The same thing was happening in the 1960’s and there were very similar reactions to the developments then as there are now.

A convincing guide for the people of Blackburn?

Using a guide for the newly built market from the 60’s (this is the market which has just closed) it is interesting to see the vision the leaders of Blackburn had for it’s future. Removing the old clock tower and cloth covered stalls to create the new indoor market was portrayed as the key to the development. As the guide states ‘Blackburn’s new market…is much more than a market…Rather it is the symbol of the new Blackburn, The beginning of the final onslaught on the old and the ugly in our town centre, and their replacement with the new and the graceful’. I’m sure many of you don’t agree, but it’s worth wondering whether the current developments will stand the test of time.

In the exhibition we have a comment box asking your view on developments within Blackburn and whether new buildings replacing old ones is a good thing or not. About half the people that commented stated they wanted to see both, a reflection of the history but new buildings to show the town as a modern, dynamic place. Interestingly, of the remaining people, there are a lot of comments supporting the demolition of the majority of old buildings. There are no comments, however, lamenting the demise of the market (the one that’s just closed). People still remember the original one and it appears the wounds from the demolition of the market tower have not healed.

The market tower only took a few hours to demolish. Do you wish it was stilll here?

What do you think? Was the rebuilding scheme of the 1960’s a total failure?  Will the new developments last the test of time? Do they need to last the test of time? Should the town have a large overhaul every 50 years?

Put your thoughts below. It would be interesting to hear them.


Blackburn Museum can be found in Blackburn, Lancashire. It houses objects documenting Blackburn's industrial past as well as a world class collection of Fine Art, Japanese prints, Icons, Numismatics and Manuscripts. Come and visit us to find out more.

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